Entertainment Inquiry #3 | A Q&A Guide to the Movies on Netflix

Since there is only so much time in the day to read 750+word reviews and there are many things that have been seen and not yet written about, it seemed right to boil down all of the sentiments expressed on Eclectic Pop into a simple question and answer format; getting to the point in a concise and clear manner that transforms those broader analyses into various bite-size reads. This special Netflix edition addresses the movie content available on the streaming giant…

What’s a good option on Netflix Instant that I might not have heard of?
The dramedy “Mountain Men”, which stars Tyler Labine (“The Boss”) and Chase Crawford (“Blood & Oil”) as two opposite brothers who come together to kick a squatter out of their family’s mountain house. When disastrous circumstances arise, they end up learning what it means to finally grow up. This is a feel good movie that deals with heavy topics in a way that makes them accessible without bogging you down. Tyler Labine is excellent and Chase Crawford gives the best performance of his career, so far.

What are the top 3 foreign thrillers currently streaming?
There are so many, it is hard to narrow them down. If you are looking for straightforward suspense, South Korea's "A Hard Day" and France's "Tell No One" and "The Prey" should more than quench your thriller thirst.

How about English-language?
The Nicole Kidman starrer “Before I Go to Sleep” and indie thriller “Preservation”. Do not believe the abysmal user rating for the latter. It is way better than the cult fave “Eden Lake”. As for "Before I Go to Sleep", look out for a bravura performance from Colin Firth, whose crushing turn clinches the film.

What is the verdict on "Hush" – to see or not to see?
There’s no reason not to. While it falls short of realizing its maximum potential, that issue plagues a lot of films. If you watch it and decide you want something in a similar vein, stream “Kristy”. Pairing the movies back-to-back will make for a strong double feature. To read Eclectic Pop’s full review of “Hush” click here

TV Rundown: Week of April 17 | "Bates Motel" Opens a Vault , "Blacklist" Gets Trippy - Plus, "Vikings" Mid-Season Finale

Bates Motel: Season 4.Episode 6 – “The Vault”
What Happened: Norma (Vera Farmiga) struggled to find a way out of Chick’s (Ryan Hurst) blackmail scheme. Norman (Freddie Highmore) had a breakthrough in his session with Dr. Edwards (Damon Gupton); being told for the first time that he has D.I.D. (dissociative personality disorder). Dylan (Max Thieriot) told Norma he was moving to Seattle with Emma (Olivia Cooke). 

The Rundown: When it gets down to it, “Bates Motel” has always been about a mother and the differing relationships she shares with her two sons. “The Vault” was special in a lot of ways and one of those aspects was in how it centered more on Norma’s relationship with Dylan and finally clarified the sordid history between her and her brother, Caleb (Kenny Johnson). Norma, Dylan and Norman might share different last names but they are all connected as Calhouns. In this episode we learned more about their pre-motel days. How Norma’s abusive marriage to Norman’s father splintered her relationship with her eldest son and the psyche of her younger one. Since the show began they have been slowly finding their way back to each other, rebuilding as a family unit. As this episode pointed out, reunions for the Calhouns are often rife with painful conflict.

Norma, having recently found more happiness than she has ever experienced on the series, dealt with a veritable sword of Damocles. As Chick threatened to expose Dylan’s paternity to Romero (Nestor Carbonell) and his speculation regarding the true nature of her relationship with Caleb, Norma had a decision to make: take a leap of faith and come clean to Romero or keep the truth buried as long as possible. She bravely chose the former.

Two scenes really stood out in “The Vault”. First, the harrowing flashback sequence that revealed the horrific abuse Norma suffered at the hands of Norman’s father. In an excruciatingly heartrending scene, Norman simultaneously reached out to his mother to comfort her and she him. The second came at the end of the episode when Norma (Farmiga in another tour de force performance) opened her heart to Romero and bared her soul’s darkest secrets to him. With the newlyweds finally hitting their stride, this secret threatened to destroy them and in true Nomero fashion, they overcame it. There were so many profound aspects to her speech but the one that registered with the most profundity was her assertion that until Romero, she had not had a person she loved enough to be honest with. It was a remarkable scene that will forever rate as one of “Bates Motel’s” most outstanding; providing an astonishing showcase for Vera Farmiga, a powerful moment for Norma and an equally magnificent one for the Nomero relationship.

We Got This Covered Review Link: "Game of Thrones" Season 6 Premiere

I reviewed the season six premiere of  “Game of Thrones” for WeGotThisCovered.com and here’s why you should read the full review over there. If you tuned in on Sunday night, you know “The Red Woman” was more eventful than previous season openers. From revealing the possible fate of Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) to unveiling the unvarnished face lying beneath true evil’s mask; “Thrones” was certainly making an effort to generate some major waves for its first, completely off-book season. More on those analyses here.

Episode Synopsis: At The Wall, word of Jon Snow’s fate spreads as Sir Davos (Liam Cunningham) devises a plan. A disillusioned Red Witch (Carice Van Houten) contemplates her next move. The Lannister twins (Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) plot their revenge and return to absolute power. Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) attempts to diplomatically maneuver a Dothraki homecoming. Jorah (Iain Glenn) and Daario (Michiel Huisman) continue their search for the erstwhile Khaleesi. 

Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Theon (Alfie Allen) join forces to make a harrowing escape from House Bolton. The demented Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) vows to retrieve his bride. Dorne suffers a disturbing revolt at the hands of unsurprising revolutionaries. A blinded Arya (Maisie Williams) attempts to adapt to life in her new condition. Queen Margaery (Natalie Dormer) valiantly refuses to budge against the mounting pressure of the Faith’s cruel interrogation tactics. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Varys (Conleth Hill) watch as dissidents make a stir in Meereen. To read my full review of “The Red Woman”, click here

Entertainment Inquiry #2 | Answers to What TV's Worth Watching on Netflix

Since there is only so much time in the day to read 750+word reviews and there are many things that have been seen and not yet written about, it seemed right to boil down all of the sentiments expressed on Eclectic Pop into a simple question and answer format; getting to the point in a concise and clear manner that transforms those broader analyses into various bite-size reads. This special Netflix edition of the Entertainment Inquiry addresses the TV content that is currently available on the streaming giant…

What's a strong sci-fi series that is currently available to stream?
If there has ever been a series that was taken too soon it was, The CW’s “Tomorrow People” starring Luke Mitchell ("Agents of Shield") and Robbie Amell ("The Flash"). Throughout its first and only season, it steadily improved with every episode and was one of the true standouts amongst the class of 2013. It centers on a group of evolved millennials who possess super powers (think X-Men) and the conflicts that arise when they join forces to fight an omnipresent organization. This is a show you can easily watch as an extended mini-series (it lasts 22 episodes). Its storylines are neatly wrapped-up whilst giving the audience a few things to ponder when it ends.

What is the deal with “Fuller House”? Is it on par with the original?
The short answer (as crushing as it is to write) is no. The reunion episode earns all of the emotion you would hope to experience watching it and seeing everyone together again, sharing their trademark repartee is definitely tear-inducing in its sentimentality. As is when Uncle Jesse sings his cover of The Beach Boys' “Forever" and the rest of the cast joins in. Those are the nostalgic moments fans have been longing for since the show ended 20 years ago. After that stellar reintroduction, “Fuller House” feels empty.

Entertainment Inquiry #1 | Answers About Movies, Music & TV

Welcome to the very first Entertainment Inquiry. So what is this new feature about? Good question. Since there is only so much time in the day to read 750+word reviews, it seemed right to boil down all of the sentiments expressed on Eclectic Pop into a simple question and answer format; getting to the point in a concise and clear manner that transforms those broader analyses into a bite-size read.

If there is an entertainment topic you want a quick answer to, this feature aims to give it to you. These questions have been generated by taking into account current hot topics and the entertainment interests you already come to Eclectic Pop for coverage on. From which current movie releases merit a trip to the theater, to which music needs listening to and which TV shows are worth checking out, here are the answers...

Is “Deadpool” this year's “Mad Max: Fury Road” – a movie overrated by critics and fans?
“Deadpool” has not reached anywhere near the level of overrated saturation, “Mad Max” has. Let’s put it this way, until “Deadpool” is nominated for Best Picture, there is really no contest. At least "Deadpool" was entertaining, which is more than can be said for "Mad Max". Plus, the titular character in “Deadpool” is actually the lead of the movie. Imagine that? To read Eclectic Pop’s complete review of “Deadpool” click here

What's the buzz on "The Boss" - is it worth seeing?
Do not believe the bad buzz; “The Boss” is worth seeing. That said, it is not as funny as McCarthy’s "Tammy" or "Identity Theft". It is within striking distance of "Spy" and leagues better than "Bridesmaids". I know...that is a bold statement. To read Eclectic Pop’s full review of “The Boss” click here

Is "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" as bad as everyone is saying?
It is not the worst superhero movie ever made. It is just not a very good one either. It is overly ambitious, caught up in trying to do too much and Batman has seen better days. For all of its faults, it does give fans a satisfying return outing for Superman and his paramour, Lois Lane. The iconic characters’ coupling has not seen a better rendering throughout its various portrayals on film. To read Eclectic Pop’s full review of “Batman v Superman” click here

Is "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2" good as or better than the original?
It is as good as the original, it is not necessarily better. The charm of the original is hard to match, given that you did not know what to expect going in the first time. It is one of the best sequels to arrive in some time and it is certainly in keeping with the tone and sentimentality of the first. This is one of the rare comedy franchises that actually deserve to have future installments.
With spring now upon us, which album should I be listening to in preparation for summer?
When it comes to summery melodies it is hard to think of any singer better than Jason Mraz and his fourth studio album “Love Is a Four Letter Word”, solidifies that. Music fans will probably best remember the record for its chart-topping single “I Won’t Give Up” but Mraz has more than one phenomenal song on that album. Quite frankly you will not find a bad song on it. Must-listens include: “The Woman I Love”, “Living in the Moment”, “Frank D. Fixer”, “93 Million Miles”, “Who’s Thinking About You Now?”, “The World as I See It” and everything else.

TV Rundown: Week of April 10 | "The Blacklist" Delivers Perfection, "Bates Motel" Follows Suit - "Vikings" Preps for Mid-Season Finale

The Blacklist: Season 3.Episode 18 – “Mr. Solomon (No. 32): Conclusion”
What Happened: Mr. Solomon’s (Edi Gathegi) relentless hunt for Liz (Megan Boone), led to a car accident that triggered the premature birth of her and Tom’s (Ryan Eggold) daughter. A series of health complications ensued, resulting in Liz’s life hanging in the balance and a mind blowing fate for our heroine.

The Rundown: When you see a series deliver an episode of absolute perfection, there is nothing else quite like it. In the case of this enthralling installment of “The Blacklist”, fans were treated to riveting excitement, soaring sentimentality, hyper dramatic stakes, tender comedic flourishes, beautiful performances and one jaw dropping ending. The tension of its storyline was believably taut and gave every character's relationship with Liz, a huge payoff. There really are not enough positive adjectives in the English language to describe how stellar this episode was. “The Blacklist” is officially better than it has ever been.