Monday, January 2, 2017

Entertainment Round up for 2016



As I do every year, here's a round up of my entertainment diversions from 2016...

As usual, it was the usual smorgasbord of entertainment, particularly given that, in addition to having DirecTV, I also maintain Amazon Prime and Netflix accounts. But this past season, network/basic television made it back onto my radar, with shows like Pitch, The Goldbergs and Timeless being particular favorites (though I admittedly lost the thread to Timeless as the season went on). And with Netflix and Amazon Prime Streaming services part of my menu, binge-worthy shows like The Crown (Netflix) and Good Girls Revolt (Amazon) made it onto my plate.

As is typical in recent years, I caught up with some previous year's films this year when they made it onto DVD/streaming — last year's Oscar Best Picture winner Spotlight, turned out to be terrific, as did The Big Short.  Other older films I caught up with which turned out to be winners were Love and Mercy and Mr. Holmes. Among my favorites this year were the sleeper Sing Street, which I caught on Netflix after Entertainment Weekly included it on their list of Best 10 Films for 2016, and Florence Foster Jenkins. (I'd like to add for the record that I also enjoyed the 2016-released film musical La La Land in the theaters, though I technically did not see it in 2016—I caught it New Year's Day 2017.) And, yes, I caught many of this year's geek blockbusters, including DeadpoolBatman vs. Superman: Dawn of JusticeCaptain America: Civil WarSuicide SquadDoctor Strange, and Star Wars: Rogue One, in theaters. Captain America, Doctor Strange, and Rogue One were great popcorn movies—while I probably would say I enjoyed Force Awakens more than Rogue One, the latter's segue into Star Wars: A New Hope at the end made the entire film worth it.

In addition to the afore-mentioned Crown and Good Girls Revolt, tops on my list of serial television shows were Fleabag (Amazon), Love (Season 1 - Netflix), The Real Rob (Season 1 - Netflix), Easy (Season 1 - Netflix), and seasons 1 and 2 of Documentary Now! Let me also add the documentary about Kitty Genovese, The Witness, to this list of memorable streaming television this past year. Among the plays I saw this past year, "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" was an enjoyable romp and, among books, I greatly enjoyed Washington's Circle and volume I of cartoonist Osamu Tezuka's multi-volume graphic novel, Message to Adolf, which reads as the equivalent of a serialized drama one would find on Netflix or Amazon.

I often use this annual post as an opportunity to list what I thought were the worst films or otherwise disappointing. Among those that disappointed me was director/writer Warren Beatty's latest, Rules Don't Apply; I also thought Deadpool and Suicide Squad were overrated films. Amazon's Man in the High Castle also was a letdown. After barely making it through the first episode, I decided to give it another show, but still found it tough going after four episodes. Though I'm familiar with the book and the concept seems right up my alley, about an alternative world where Nazi Germany and Japan won World War II and now occupy the U.S.—the show was not only dour to the extreme, but even worse, plain boring.

In any case, without any further ado, here's my watch list...

Films:

Remember the Night (1/16/2016)
Adult World - Netflix streaming (1/23/2016)
Experimenter (2/16/16)
Deadpool (2/27/2016)
Dope- Netflix streaming (3/11/2016)
Man Up - Netflix streaming (3/12/2016)
Summer of ‘42 - TCM (3/12/2016)
Trainwreck - DVD (3/14/2016)
Man from UNCLE - DVD (3/14/2016)
Flight (3/18/2016)
Mortdecai - Amazon streaming (3/3016)
For a Good Time Call (3/30/16)
Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (4/2/2016)
Hudsucker Proxy - Amazon streaming (4/23/16)
The Campaign - TV (4/24/16)
Special Correspondents - Netflix streaming (5/6/16)
All Through the Night - TMC (5/5/16)
Captain America: Civil War (5/7/16)
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (5/9/16)
W/ Bob and David: Season 1: "Episode 2" - Netflix streaming (5/11/2016)
Break Point - Amazon streaming (5/13/16)
Pawn Sacrifice - Amazon streaming (5/14/16)
The Big Short - DVD (5/14/16)
Palo Alto - Amazon streaming (5/15/16)
That Gal…Who Was in That Thing: That Guy 2 - Netflix streaming (5/17/16)
Scoop  - Netflix streaming (5/17/16)
Spotlight - DVD (5/15/16)
Dear Mr. Watterson (5/20/16)
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen - Amazon Prime (5/25/16)
A.C.O.D. (A Child of Divorce)  - Netflix streaming (5/28/16)
Gran Torino - cable (6/16)
Love and Mercy - Amazon Prime (6/11/16)
The Late Shift - Amazon Prime
The Last Tycoon - Amazon Prime (06/17/2016)
Now You See Me (06/15/2016)
We Are the Millers (06/23/16)
Unstoppable (6/24/16)
The Fundamentals of Caring (6/28/16)
Star Trek: Beyond (07/30/16)
David Cross: Making America Great Again! - Netflix (8/6/16)
Suicide Squad (8/7/2016)
Mr. Holmes - Amazon Prime (8/24/16)
Bob Roberts - Amazon Prime(8/25/16)
Elvis and Nixon - Amazon Prime (8/25/16)
Teacher’s Pet - Netflix (8/29/16)
Escape from East Berlin (9/3/16)
Mississippi Burning (9/4/16)
The Other Woman (9/4/16)
Florence Foster Jenkins (9/5/16)
Do the Right Thing (9/10/16)
Trouble with the Curve (9/19/16)
Mascots (10/15/16)
Trumbo
Doctor Strange (11/12/16)
The Commitments - Netflix (11/13/16)
Love, Rosie - Amazon (11/16/16)
Spectre (11/21/16)
Moana (11/24/16)
The Commitments (11/26/16)
Rules Don’t Apply (11/26/16)
Floyd Norman: An Animated Life (11/27/16)
I Am Your Father (11/28/2016)
The Witness (12/3/2016)
Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made (12/3/2016)
Unlocking Sherlock - Netflix (12/3/2016)
Sing Street - Netflix (12/11/2016)
Star Wars: Rogue One (12/18/2016)
Elstree 2976 - Netflix
Background to Danger - TCM (12/31/2016)


Television:

Peep Show - Seasons 1-5  (6/27/2016)
Bored to Death, Seasons 1-3 (4/30/16)
Madoff (2/3-4/2016)
Angie Tribeca (1/17/2016)
War & Peace
Mercy Street
Downton Abbey, Season 6
Agent Carter
Love, Season 1 - Netflix Streaming (2/26/2016)
Master of None, Season 1  (3/2016)
The Real Rob (3/2016)
Portlandia Season 1 and 2 (6/5/2016)
To the End of the World - Netflix Streaming (06/23/16)
Fleabag - Amazon streaming (9/16/16)
Lovesick, Season 1, episodes 1 and 2 - Netflix (11/17/16)
Good Girls Revolt, Season 1 - Amazon Prime (11/2016)
The Crown - Netflix (11/20/16)
Easy, Season 1 - Netflix (12/3/2016)
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Season 2 - Netflix streaming
Pitch
Timeless
Documentary Now! Seasons 1 and 2
Man in the High Castle, Season 1 (eps 1-3)

Plays/Live Performance:

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder - Ahmanson Theatre (4/24/2016)
Dream Girls (5/8/2016)
JAVA Gala VIII (6/4/2016)
L.A. Dodgers (7/5/2016)
Hollywood Babble-On at the Improv (8/13/2016)
San Diego Padres (8/18/2016)
San Diego Zoo (8/19/2016)
Actor's Gang/Shakespeare in the Park: Romeo and Juliet and Pokemon Go (8/21/2016)

Books:

Washington’s Circle by David S. Heidler, Jeanne T. Heidler
Playboy 50th Anniversary Interviews - John Lennon and Yoko Ono (2/4/2016)
Playboy 50th Anniversary Interviews - Screen Gods (3/15/2016)
The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
Message to Adolf, Volume I by Osamu Tezuka
American Flagg! Volume I by Howard Chaykin
American Flagg! Volume II by Howard Chaykin

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