Posts Tagged ‘No Reservations’

Holy moly I did not expect it to take TEN MONTHS before I would update my blog rather than the family blog but hey that is life with two babies. (Not much life just lots of babies.)

So what am I going to be watching this fall well not much. Time is really limited so no watching what ever I want. I’ve dropped so many shows as I’ve either lost interest or don’t have the time to invest emotionally. Sure I’d love to give Game of Thrones a go but not yet. So it’s quality over quantity for the next few years and then lots and lots of box sets…

Sunday: The Good Wife and Homeland

Both shows left the viewer hanging at the end of their respective seasons. Will Kalinda shoot the shit out of her ex and will Carrie remember anything post electr0-shock treatment?

Monday: No Reservations/Layover, Castle and Revolution

I love me some Bourdain so will continue on with No Reservations slash Layover till he packs up for CNN (curious to see what they do with the show – hasn’t he been everywhere?), and he also has a new show with Nigella that is filming in LA at the mo. Curious but will his sardonic wit be too much for NBC? Castle is on the cusp as I am growing weary of procedural crime shows (shocker!) I don’t even bother to DVR just catch it thru On Demand if there is nothing else on. Revolution is new and by Eric Kripet who steered the first 5 seasons of Supernatural (if only they had ended then!) it’s about electricity stopping working and what happens. I assume the Amish take over, right? I’ve got one episode on the DVR so will give it a whirl.

Tuesday: Nothing

We dropped NCIS last year as it’s just too samey-samey.

Wednesday: Nothing

This is the new night for Supernatural but I dumped it at the end of last season as the plot had got too convoluted even for me and it should have ended seasons ago.

Thursday: Last Resort, The Big Bang Theory and Scandal

The Last Resort has submarines so I might be able to entice Alex to watch it; we are one season behind on TBBT so will be DVR-ing and catching up, and Scandal was trashy fun with a good cliff hanger.

Friday: Fringe

It’s the final season! Very excited to see how everything wraps up but if they pull the same stunt that X-Files did with the dullest final episodes every I will weep real tears.

Saturday: Date night!

Watch a movie via Netflix Instant or iTunes

So that’s it. The least amount of TV I have ever watched. The Cylonettes better get early admission to MIT for all this TV sacrificing.

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Since my monthly Netflix payment is going up, and I need a push to review the stuff I’ve seen I figure that a monthly review is a good way of making sure I am still getting value for money from Netflix.

DVDs:

Nights in Rodanthe – Awful, awful film. It’s all about “old” people finding love post-divorce and medical malpractice suits in the midst of storm. I honestly only rented it because James Franco was in it but he is barely present. It’s one of his homeopathic films where you just get essence of Franco, and frankly it is not enough.

Just Go With It – An Aniston-Sandler rom-com that isn’t actually as bad as it should be, and the kid actors are the least annoying I’ve seen in a long time (they are actually clever, manipulative and funny).

Macross: Vol. 3 – This was an Alex rental so I dozed through it.

Leverage: Season 3 (disc 2, 3 & 4) – More adventures from our con men with hearts of gold. Still not as good as the first season but helped me dodge the heat.

Battle: Los Angeles – LOVE IT! All those reviews trashing it were obviously expecting a sci-fi movie rather than a straight up war film. It is really good war film. The soldiers methodically figure out how to defeat the enemy (aliens).

Mamma Mia! – What can I say I needed a hit of Greece and ABBA. Blue skies and catchy lyrics made not being able to go on vacation this summer bearable.

Unknown – AWFUL! I thought this was going to be cool fightie film like Taken instead it’s dull. There is zero chemistry between Liam Neeson and January Jones before, during and after amnesia.  Avoid it like the plague as you will never get those hours back.

The Adjustment Bureau – Not bad. It is of course based on a Philip K. Dick short story than the powers that be decided to romanticize.

Source Code – Definitely one of the best films I’ve seen this year. Kudos to Duncan Jones for producing a solid follow-up to Moon. It’s so much more than “Jake on a train”. It is a much smarter and layered film than the trailers had presented. Like Moon I don’t want to give any thing away but by the end you will be craving coffee and donuts.

How Do You Know – Terrible film about a women (Reese Whitherspoon) with low self esteem who is still playing soft ball professionally into her 30s (or is it late 20s I forget when women are over-the-hill), and then gets cut from the national team or something. She dates a man who treats her badly, and Jack Nicholson keeps randomly appearing but doesn’t really aid the plot.

Instants:

TV: Hoarders (1 episodes), No Reservations (6 episodes), Firefly (2 episodes), Farscape (1 episode), Sherlock Holmes (3 episodes), Coupling: Season 4 (1 episode), and Sports Night: Seasons 1 & 2 (33 episodes)

Wow I watched a lot of Sports Night last month. I must have been on a serious Dan Rydell and Aaron Sorkin high after all of that. No Reservations is Alex and I’s go to Instant on the weekend when there is nothing to watch, and Bourdain’s adventures are always amusing. Everything else I watched must have been whilst I was overheating on the sofa is something of a blur.

Documentary: Art & Copy

In honor of Alex going to work for a branding agency we thought we should watch this documentary about movers and shakers of the industry and how it’s evolved. It’s pretty interesting and worth a watch.

Films: America’s Sweethearts, Blue Crush, & Blue Juice,

These were “vacation” substitute films. America’s Sweethearts is set in a lush hotel, Blue Crush is in Hawaii (again with a lush hotel), and Blue Juice is set in Cornwall (the Hawaii of the UK). Roll on next year when we can have an actual vacation – even if it is to my mum’s in Scotland.

Stats for July: DVDs (12) & Instant (51)

Looks like July was a really heavy Netflix month thanks to the soaring temps and limited mobility. Source Code and Battle: Los Angeles were definitely the best things.

Oh I wish that I was blogging about eating at El Bulli rather than just watching documentaries about it but since Chef Ferran has now closed its doors for good it’s all we got. For our first dose of El Bulli Alex and I watched the documentary ‘El Bulli – Cooking in Progress’ which followed Chef Ferran and his team for over a year. Including the six months of every year when the restaurant is closed so that the chefs can relocate to Barcelona to experiment and start devising the new menu. El Bulli was famous for Ferran’s innovative approach to gastronomy especially molecular gastronomy. But, what is obvious from the documentary is that it is not molecular gastronomy just for the sake of it they really want to push the boundaries and excite themselves and their customers. It is slow in parts but there are some great scenes as they take their produce (e.g. sweet potato) and compare and contrast various cooking techniques to see just how far they can transform it. Everything is painfully recorded in detail, and woe betide the chef who doesn’t back up or have a copy of Spin Rite to hand for when his hard drive fails.  There is a great bit at the market where the chefs have to buy just five grapes and three beans as that’s all they need to experiment with, and the stall holders hold them in such high esteem they let them get away with it! The documentary is definitely worth a watch if gastro-porn is your thing.

We followed up our viewing of the documentary with Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservation episode focused on El Bulli. It was a perfect pairing (like mint choc chip ice-cream) and after the serious tone of the document No Reservation’s lightened things up though it was obvious how much Bourdain respects Chef Ferran. It was funny seeing Bourdain working the line (hands shaking with all the detail work), and the joy when he was eating his way through the tasting menu.  Made me wish we’d try to get a reservation there as it would have been worth the trip to Spain.

Like most people I am not a fan of price hikes. Every time I book a flight back to the UK I weep for days because I remember the time when I could fly there AND back for less than $400 (and you wouldn’t land hungry). But, there is not much I can do as the prices are comparable across all airlines flying that route, and there aren’t any other viable transportation options. I just have to suck it up, and try to fly in the cheapest periods.

Earlier this month Netflix announced that they were separating out their streaming and DVD rental businesses and this re-shuffle would have an associated price hike. And oh my the internets and the twitter went bat shit crazy about the $6 increase (based on if you had unlimited instant and one disc rental), and how Netflix Instant is not worth $7.99 because of its limited offerings.

My plan (unlimited streaming plus two discs) has gone up to almost $20 per month, and whilst there are other things I could spend that $6 on (three bags of Haribo cola bottles or two iced lattes or 3.4 trips on the PATH train) I’m okay with the price hike because it’s still great value for money – especially when you compare it to the alternatives (e.g. premiere cable, movies on-demand, etc).

In an average month we’ll get through 10-14 DVDs, and umpteen hours of Netflix Instant. (Am too scared to look up this exact figure otherwise Alex will tell me off but I’m at home and pregnant during the hottest months of the year so by 3pm AC and collapsing on the sofa look good.) So for our household Netflix is still great value for money especially when you consider that three years ago we quit premium cable and said bye bye to $60 a month, and then a year ago we quit going to the movies and said bye bye to $24 for two tickets (and that’s the cheap end given the horrible trend for turning crappy movies into even crappier 3D movies).

I don’t care about seeing films when they open (or premiere cable shows when they air). I’m happy to wait a couple of months and see them in the comfort of my own home cinema where I can watch ’em when I like,  pause ’em for pee breaks and eat my own snacks that aren’t going to induce adult onset diabetes or drain the cylons’ college fund.

With Netflix DVDs I manage our list like some people manage their stock portfolios. Pushing the new releases to the top, and alternating with the TV series we are working through. I always try to make sure we have some that Alex will watch come the weekend.  But really he loves Netflix Instant because of all the documentaries they have on offer, and the access to back seasons of No Reservations, Top Shot and StarTrek. Also, using Netflix Instant on Apple TV is a dream so much better than via the XBox 360 or DVD player.

Sure I’d love for there to be more new content on Netflix Instant, and I’m excited that they are going to develop their own programming but all this costs $$$, and I am sure this is where the price increase comes in. There is a lot of competition in this space but as far as I am concerned Netflix is still the best value for money and has a great user experience.