Netflix Original Documentary review: ‘STRIP DOWN, RISE UP’ is raw and revelatory film on the power of pole dance.

STRIP DOWN, RISE UP

STRIP DOWN, RISE UP is a cinema verité film about women from different walks of life—all ages and ethnic backgrounds—who shed trauma, body image shame, sexual abuse, and other issues locked in their bodies to reclaim their sensuality and sense of self through sensual movement and pole dance. While pole has the stigmas of being a strip club activity, and more recently, an exercise fad, the film tells deeply transformative stories of women within this little-known, supportive community who embark on a journey to heal themselves.

Did I think I would be weeping while watching a documentary about pole dancing? Absolutely not. Strip Down, Rise Up is one of the most personally impactful docs I’ve ever seen. As a dancer, a competitor, a choreographer, a performer, a wife, a mother, a sexual trauma survivor, a film critic, this movie is a therapy session and motherf*cking triumphant scream into the abyss. The stigma that pole dancing carries were created by, everyone say it with me, “Patriarchal Structure!” When I say this, I don’t just mean men. When someone tells you that a particular thing “isn’t feminine” they are part of the problem. Suggesting a stripper is a whore, that’s definitely part of the problem. These are just two examples of how we’ve all been trained to toe the line in outdated gender normative behavior. Take your bullshit standards and eat them. Strip Down, Rise Up is empowerment to the nth degree.

Actress Sheila Kelley began The S Factor after doing research for a role. After falling in love with the art and sport and strength of pole she decided to start a studio. This movement is about the reclamation of our bodies. The power, both physically and emotionally it takes to do pole is beyond most of our basic understanding. The women profiled in the film come from every background, are every age and shape. One is a widow, one a victim of Dr. Larry Nassar. Another is a cancer patient, another a first-time mother. Then there’s the lawyer, pole competitor, and studio owner. And that’s just a few of the unique individuals spotlighted here Through pole exploration, these women are allowed to feel sexy, build strength, and reclaim their bodies. Too often they are sexual assault survivors. The fear and disconnection spread so much further than I ever thought, even after the #MeToo movement kicked off. The amount of trauma is both shocking and not. Which is a scary commentary unto itself. There is so much complexity built into the intimate stories of these women. Director Michèle Ohayon has given every viewer a gift. Throw your expectations out the window. Burn them to the ground. Strip Down, Rise Up will free you.

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Michèle Ohayon‘s new doc feature, STRIP DOWN, RISE UP, is now on Netflix.

Review: Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez Is Another Netflix Doc Win

It’s no secret that Netflix has been on fire it when it comes to original content these past few years. It’s said that Netflix spent over $15 billion on original content in 2019 and this year for the first time, Netflix-produced films garnered more Oscar nominations (24) than any other studio including Disney which owns nearly everything media-related in the world (take that, Mouse!). As the world’s favorite media streaming service, Netflix is hitting its stride at a time when more and more competition is trying to take a bite out of its market share.

One of the best parts of Netflix’s business model is that because they have millions of users paying a monthly fee to use their service, they have a constant stream of revenue coming in that allows them to take chances on their original content. Because of that, we are able to get content like Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez. Netflix has produced some of the most highly acclaimed true crime series of the last few years in the critically acclaimed Making a Murderer, Evil Genius and their documentary about Amanda Knox. Killer Inside fits nicely alongside these series/films.

Following the demise of once heralded New England Patriots football star Aaron Hernandez, this series tries to put together how a rising football star and role model for the Latino community could be a cold blooded killer off the field. In 2013, Hernandez was arrested initially for the murder of his fiancee’s sister’s boyfriend Odin Lloyd. Over the 3+ hour three-part series, director Geno McDermott unpacks the confounding tale of how this all happened as best as possible. McDermott and the editing team do a masterful job of tracking back and forth in Hernandez’s timeline incorporating interviews with friends, former teammates, trial footage and jailhouse phone call audio from the various people with whom Hernandez spoke while in prison. For a story that twists and turns as much as this one does, they really do a masterful job grounding the viewer and not overloading us with too much or too little information.

Many of the details of this story are very familiar, not just to football fans but to the public at large. This case was a huge deal. It was played out in public and while it wasn’t OJ Simpson-like in scale, it was still a case in the public eye for multiple years. So giving new information or drilling down on points that weren’t already well known was McDermott‘s real challenge here. He did a great job moving both forward and backward in the timeline in particular to incorporate the bombshell news that Hernandez was implicated, later indicted and tried for two additional murders.

I do appreciate that this film tried its best to tackle the why – what caused a high-profile athlete playing for the best franchise in the sport who had yet to hit his peak only being 23 years old to bafflingly murder someone from his own inner circle…and in such a stupid manner that he was so easily caught? The film visits and revisits the claims that Hernandez was gay or bisexual throughout the film with a corroborating interview with his high school quarterback, Dennis Sansoucie, that they were lovers in high school. That shame of who he really was and that should it come out it would ruin him was posited as a possible motive. McDermott interestingly knits the story of former Patriot offensive lineman Ryan O’Callaghan who came out as gay after leaving the NFL throughout the series. His tale demonstrates the weight of what being gay in the macho culture of the NFL is like and what that can do to one’s psyche. It was an interesting take and sadly a perspective that is far too uncommon.

Near the end of the film, it’s revealed that Hernandez definitely had CTE, the degenerative disorder from repeated blows to head/concussions. This, too, was listed as a possible reason. The doctor who examined his brain said it was the worst case she’d ever seen for someone his age. His family life is probed thoroughly and shows that cracks the developed after the death of his father pushed him into hanging out with the wrong crowd at the wrong time in his life. All of these things combined may have been the cause of what pushed him to do the unthinkable for someone who was legitimately on the top of his own world. It’s something that will likely never be known as the true motive died with Aaron Hernandez. The series never comes off as preachy, pushing the viewer in any specific direction as to how this all happened and why.

This is a well-made series and it has a particularly poignant end with his last recorded phone call with his fiancee Shayanna Jenkins and his then 4-year old daughter, a sad end to a life that should have been different. I will give infinite credit to McDermott for not keeping Odin Lloyd, his family and likewise Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, the two victims of a murder for which Hernandez was ultimately acquitted, in the background. They deserved at least that.

Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez premieres today on Netflix.

Here’s the trailer:

Review: Award-winning documentary ‘The Push’ now available on VOD platforms.

The Push


Grant Korgan is a scientist and a professional athlete. Grant Korgan should not be able to do the things he does. After sustaining a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the belly button down, his entire spirit was deflated. Until he discovered other disabled athletes were training to continue their sports and beyond. Along comes an opportunity of a lifetime; go to The South Pole, and not just go, traverse 100 miles across the polar plateau of Antarctica using only his arms to pull himself on a sled. It had never been done by someone like Grant. His entire journey, from the accident on is documented. He literally had a camera on his person as he hit the ground and, unbeknownst to him, became paralyzed. Not only does he have a camera, but his best friends and extreme sports buddies are also filming him from the bottom of the mountain. The Korgans have a camera running for all the good, the bad, the ugly of recovery and training. The Push is a story of the human spirit and the determination of Grant, his wife Shawna, and Tal, Grant’s trekking partner, and ultimate caretaker on the ice. The bond forged between these two people is unreal. Teamwork doesn’t accurately define their relationship. Tal essentially becomes the lifeguard that Shawna had been. Now she’s not there and Tal has to make decisions for the both of them. Things do not go as planned. It’s impossible to predict how Mother Nature will treat you. Faith is a real driving force in this story. Not the religious kind of faith but the belief that anything can be achieved if you just persist hard enough, long enough. The Push will make you root for these guys to succeed. Challenge after challenge will they make it to the South Pole?  And at the point of real-life danger and all the odds against them, and after all they’ve already achieved, does it even matter? Not only do we experience Grant’s South Pole excursion, but the aftermath. This is where it comes back to the human spirit, once again. There is a lot of soul searching and as Grant says, ” there is a beauty in being broken” and how you choose to view your circumstances. If you’re not crying at the end of this film I don’t even know if you’re a human being. The Push is inspiring and a film that should be shared far and wide for anyone struggling. It’s truly uplifting.

A Gravitas Ventures release, the film has just landed on Amazon and Netflix and other VOD platforms.

THE PUSH

Winner of “Best Documentary” at AmDocs Palm Springs, Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival, The Impact DOCS Awards, Long Beach International Film Festival, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Sonoma International Film Festival, and the Vero Beach Wine & Film Festival.

How to see the Tribeca Audience Award Winners & Runner-ups

These films will be showing tomorrow on the last day of the Tribeca Film Festival or you can also catch them below. See You Yesterday is coming to Netflix!

  • Documentary Audience Award
  • Narrative Audience Award

Airbnb-produced Gay Chorus Deep South is making its way around the country on the festival circuit. Next stop will be Montclair, NJ followed by Greenville, SC. Check out the schedule here: https://www.gaychorusdeepsouth.com/seethefilm

Gay Chorus Deep South, directed by David Charles Rodrigues, written by David Charles Rodrigues, Jeff Gilbert. Produced by Bud Johnston, Jesse Moss. (USA) – World Premiere, Feature Documentary. To confront a resurgence of anti-LGBTQ laws, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus embarks on an unprecedented bus tour through the Deep South, celebrating music, challenging intolerance, and confronting their own dark coming out stories. With The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, Dr. Tim Seelig, Ashlé, Jimmy White


Plus One is to be released June 14th, and I assume that means theatrically, although it is not clear.

Plus One, directed and written by Jeff Chan, Andrew Rhymer. Produced by Jeremy Reitz, Debbie Liebling, Ross Putman, Jeff Chan, Andrew Rhymer, Greg Beauchamp. (USA) – World Premiere. In order to survive a summer of wedding fever, longtime single friends Ben and Alice agree to be each other’s plus one at every goddamn wedding they’re invited to. With Maya Erskine, Jack Quaid, Ed Begley Jr., Rosalind Chao, Beck Bennett, Finn Wittrock.


You’ll find See You Yesterday on Netflix on May 17th.

See You Yesterday, directed by Stefon Bristol, written by Stefon Bristol & Fredrica Bailey. Produced by Spike Lee, Jason Sokoloff, Matt Myers. (USA) – World Premiere, Feature Narrative. Two Brooklyn teenage prodigies, C.J. Walker and Sebastian Thomas, build make-shift time machines to save C.J.’s brother, Calvin, from being wrongfully killed by a police officer.


Watson, directed by Lesley Chilcott. Producers: Louise Runge, Lesley Chilcott, Wolfgang Knöpfler. . (USA, Costa Rica, Tonga) – World Premiere. Co-founder of Greenpeace and founder of Sea Shepherd, Captain Paul Watson has spent 40 years fighting to end the destruction of the ocean’s wildlife and its habitat. Part pirate, part philosopher, Watson’s methods stop at nothing to protect what lies beneath.

Here’s how to watch the 20 movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

It’s hard to believe there are have been 20 movies since Iron Man started it all in 2008. Crazy, right? Why not revise your favorites? All are available to rent or buy, but here’s where they can also be found with subscriptions:

amazon Prime & hulu & EPIX

  • Iron Man 2 (2010)

FX (FXNOW app with a subscription from your service provider)

Warning: commercials

  • Iron Man 3 (2013)

Syfy (Syfy app with a subscription from your service provider)

Warning: commercials

  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  • Ant-Man (2015)

STARZ

  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Netflix

  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
  • Thor: Ragnorok (2017)
  • Black Panther (2018)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

The rest are Rent or Buy only – find pretty much anywhere you want to rent

  • Iron Man (2008)
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  • Thor (2011)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
  • The Avengers (2012)
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  • Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  • Doctor Strange (2016)

Prefer to see them in order? Of release date, that is. There is debate on the actual chronological order.

  • Iron Man (2008) Rent/Buy only
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008) Rent/Buy only
  • Iron Man 2 (2010) Prime Video, hulu, EPIX
  • Thor (2011) Rent/Buy only
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) Rent/Buy only
  • The Avengers (2012) Rent/Buy only
  • Iron Man 3 (2013) FXNOW (commercials)
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013) Rent/Buy only
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) Rent/Buy only
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) Rent/Buy only
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) SyFy (commercials)
  • Ant-Man (2015) SyFy (commercials)
  • Captain America: Civil War (2016) Rent/Buy only
  • Doctor Strange (2016) Rent/Buy only
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) Netflix
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) STARZ
  • Thor: Ragnorok (2017) Netflix
  • Black Panther (2018) Netflix
  • Avengers: Infinity War (2018) Netflix
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) Netflix

New York Film Festival Review: ‘Private Life’ – Now on Netflix!

There is an age-old dilemma in Manhattan in respect to career and family. When I was a preschool teacher 10 years ago, the average age of the parents in my class when they gave birth was 40. My own mother had me at 22. This was the “normal” I understood. But, after I got married at 31 and moved back to Manhattan after years of traveling the world, I realized that I was faced with the same dilemma. My husband had not just hinted but boldly stated that he was ready for kids. I had just gotten deep into film criticism and similar projects, there was no way I was about to slow down now. Then, once I was ready it took a grueling 8 months to get pregnant. I know, some people will say that’s not a very long time, it takes years for some women to get pregnant. But that feeling of disappointment and fear month after month is palpable still. Those visceral memories are what made Tamara Jenkins new film Private Life so engrossing for me.

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Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti play a couple that put arts careers first and family second. Then the reality of the situation slams into them head-on. With adoption, fertility treatments, and surrogacy all on the table, this couple cannot seem to catch a break. The brilliance of this film is the fact that it’s rooted in reality. The emotional rollercoaster that is trying to be parents is all emotions at once. The comedy is as pure as the heartbreak. Giamatti is always fantastic. There is a beautiful juxtaposition in a performance from Molly Shannon. On the surface, it may appear to be an uncomplicated foil for Katherine’s character, but it is anything but. Private Life‘s essence lies in Hahn’s performance. Her soul-baring work will most certainly catch you off guard. It’s the quietest moments that crush you. Her specificity is award-worthy stuff, no doubt. Private Life is not just about having a kid, it’s about marriage. It’s about the delicate balance of love and hate and resentment between two people who promise to be together forever. Hands down, in my top three films from the festival this year. You can catch Private Life right now on Netflix. I highly recommend you do.

Netflix News: Everything new to watch today & released in the last week – June 22nd

Films

Brain on Fire (Film) [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Friday, June 22
One morning, 24-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up in a hospital bed. She couldn’t speak. She couldn’t move. And she had no idea how she got there.

Derren Brown: Miracle (Film) [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Friday, June 22
Derren toured the UK and returned to London’s historic Palace Theatre with his seventh one-man show, MIRACLE. Through extraordinary demonstrations and exposés of evangelical faith healing, the sell-out show examined the stories we tell ourselves and the value of the present moment.

Hannah Gadsby: Nanette (Film) [NETFLIX ORIGINAL]- Available Tuesday, June 19
Winner of Best Show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Hannah Gadsby is bringing her show ‘Nanette’ to New York.

In Bruges (Film) – Available Saturday, June 16
Guilt-stricken after a job gone wrong, hitman Ray and his partner await orders from their ruthless boss in Bruges, Belgium, the last place in the world Ray wants to be. Director: Martin McDonagh | Stars: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ciarán Hinds, Elizabeth Berrington

Set It Up (Film) [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Friday, June 15
Two young assistants in New York City realize they can make their lives easier by setting up their workaholics bosses to date. While trying to perpetuate this romantic ruse between their nightmare bosses, the assistants realize they might be right for each other. Starring: Glenn Powell, Zoey Deutch, Lucy Liu, Taye Diggs Written by: Katie Silberman Directed by: Claire Scanlon

Sunday’s Illness (La Enfermedad del Domingo) (Film) [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Friday, June 15
After Anabel hosts an opulent dinner, she is confronted by Chiara, the daughter she abandoned decades earlier. Chiara arrives with just one request: that she and her mother spend ten days together.

Lust Stories (Film) [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Friday, June 15
Get ready for a climactic event this June. Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee and Anurag Kashyap come together for Lust Stories premiering 15th June only on Netflix.

La Hora Final (Film) – Available Friday, June 15
The hunting and capture of Abigail Guzmán, Leader of Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path), and the man that killed thousands of people in his reign of terror. Director: Eduardo Mendoza de Echave | Stars: Nidia Bermejo, Katerina D’Onofrio, Pietro Sibille, Miguel Vargas

Step Up 2: The Streets (Film) – Available Friday, June 15
Romantic sparks occur between two dance students from different backgrounds at the Maryland School of the Arts. Director: Jon M. Chu | Stars: Robert Hoffman, Briana Evigan, Cassie Ventura, Adam Sevani

The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus (Film) – Available Friday, June 15
A traveling theater company gives its audience much more than they were expecting. Director: Terry Gilliam | Stars: Christopher Plummer, Lily Cole, Heath Ledger, Andrew Garfield

Maktub (Film) [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Friday, June 15
Two criminals are the sole survivors of a terrorist attack at a restaurant in Jerusalem. They decide to change their ways and become guardian angels.

Cutie And The Boxer (Film) – Available Thursday, June 14
This candid New York love story explores the chaotic 40-year marriage of famed boxing painter Ushio Shinohara and his wife, Noriko. Anxious to shed her role as her overbearing husband’s assistant, Noriko finds an identity of her own. Director: Zachary Heinzerling | Stars: Ushio Shinohara, Noriko Shinohara, Alex Shinohara, Ethan Cohen

Series

Luke Cage: Season 2 [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Friday, June 22
After clearing his name, Luke Cage has become a celebrity on the streets of Harlem with a reputation as bulletproof as his skin. But being so visible has only increased his need to protect the community and find the limits of who he can and can’t save. With the rise of a formidable new foe, Luke is forced to confront the fine line that separates a hero from a villa

Cooking On High: Season 1 [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Friday, June 22
COOKING ON HIGH is a high-stakes cooking competition series involving one key ingredient: weed. Josh Leyva hosts while chefs hash it out over cannabis cuisine for judges with a serious case of the munchies.

Heavy Rescue: 401: Season 2 [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Friday, June 22
Crews work to keep North America’s most intense stretch of highway open in any weather conditions.

Encerrados (Series)Available Monday, June 18

La Balada de Hugo Sanchez (Series) [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Sunday, June 17
Hugo Sanchez receives his most important mission since he was named Chava Iglesias’ Personal Assistant: lead the “Cuervos” team to win the Tournament “Duel of the Birds” in Nicaragua. Hugo Sánchez takes off from the nest towards the adventure of a lifetime, but for that he’ll have to confront Luna, his mother, who wants him to return to the family caskets sale business. Hugo will not only have to prove his skills go beyond being Chava’s assistant but it will also be a journey into manhood. The series is produced by Alazraki Entertainment. Created by Mark Alazraki, Moises Chiver and Gaz Alazraki. Mark Alazraki, Moises Chiver, Mehar Sethi and Gaz Alazraki serve as executive producers. The directors include Alvaro Curiel and Mark Alazraki. Screenwriters include: Mehar Sethi (as lead writer), Mark Alazraki, Conor Galvin, Dave Newberg, L.E. Correia and Jack Moore.

Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 5Available Sunday, June 17

The Break with Michelle Wolf (Series) [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Sunday, June 17
The Break with Michelle Wolf, a weekly half hour variety/sketch series, launches Sunday, May 27 on Netflix.
With four years of working on shows including, The Daily Show and Late Night w/ Seth Meyers, it’s now Michelle’s turn to host and her new weekly show will take a break from the seriousness of today’s late night comedy.
Michelle Wolf will also be hosting the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday, April 28.

Grey’s Anatomy: Season 14 (Series)Available Saturday, June 16

The Ranch: Part 5 [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Friday, June 15
Set in present day on a Colorado ranch outside Denver, this multi-camera family comedy series stars Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson, Sam Elliott and Debra Winger. The show follows Colt’s (Kutcher) return home after a brief and failed semi- pro football career to run the family ranching business with his older brother Jameson “Rooster” (Masterson) and father Beau (Elliott), whom he hasn’t seen in 15 years. Winger stars as Colt’s and Jimmy’s mother, Maggie, who runs the local town bar. The series also features Elisha Cuthbert (Abby), and fellow That 70’s Show alum Wilmer Valderrama (Umberto).

True: Magical Friends: Season 1 [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Friday, June 15
The power of friendship can solve any problem – and the Rainbow Kingdom’s got plenty to go around. Cue Bartleby and True for the resuce!

True: Wonderful Wishes: Season 1 [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Friday, June 15
Do-gooding True and Bartleby will go anywhere to make wishes come true – from the bottom of the Living Sea to the tip of Mount Tippy Tippy Top!

Voltron: Legendary Defender: Season 6 [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Friday, June 15

Queer Eye: Season 2 [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Friday, June 15
Queer Eye is back and ready to transform the stylistically challenged into hip and happening savants at the hands of the new Fab Five. These fearless ambassadors of taste are about to embark on Queer Eye’s boldest crusade ever, bringing a message of encouragement and uplift to eight new heroes in season two.

Marlon: Season 1Available Thursday, June 14

Netflix News: A whole lotta Barbra Streisand specials releasing tomorrow & ‘A Star Is

As previously announced by Barbra Streisand and Netflix at the 2018 Netflix FYSee closing night celebration which featured Streisand in conversation with Jamie Foxx in support of Barbra: The Music… The Mem’ries… The Magic! Netflix audiences worldwide will soon enjoy a fresh selection of content from the Streisand library including award-winning My Name Is Barbra (1965), Color Me Barbra (1966), Barbra Streisand: A Happening in Central Park (1968), Barbra Streisand and Other Musical Instruments (1973), Barbra Streisand: The Concert (1994), and Barbra Streisand: Timeless (2001). Netflix is also thrilled to present a special edition of Barbra Streisand’s classic movie A Star Is Born (1976). Supervising the edit, Ms. Streisand was happy to include never-before-seen footage – the scene where she first plays “Evergreen” on the guitar for Mr. Kristofferson. To Ms. Streisand’s surprise almost a year later, the song went on to win the Academy Award, the Grammy, and the Golden Globe. The other never-before-seen footage includes a rock n’ roll version of the film’s finale “Watch Closely Now.”  All of the titles will launch on Netflix in the US this Friday, June 15.

Newest on Netflix to watch over the Memorial Day weekend!

Happy Friday! Just in time for the long weekend, there’s all kinds of new stuff to watch! Here’s the latest:

Ibiza [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Friday, May 25
When Harper’s two best friends tag along on her work trip to Barcelona, they ditch work and fly to Ibiza for Harper, who against her better judgment, falls for a hot DJ.

Gillian Jacobs, Vanessa Bayer

Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life  [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Friday, May 25
Comedy icons Steve Martin and Martin Short team up for musical sketches and conversations about their legendary lives in show business and stand-up.

The Toys That Made Us  [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Friday, May 25
For the casual to the hardcore collector, Toys is an international journey through parts of our history and culture shaped by popular toys (Barbie, GI Joe, etc).

Trollhunters  [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Friday, May 25
Tatiana Maslany, Diego Luna and Emile Hirsch have joined the third and final season of Netflix’s critically acclaimed, Emmy-winning original series DreamWorks Trollhunters, from Oscar-winner Guillermo del Toro. They join an already star-studded cast from seasons one and two that includes Kelsey Grammer in his Emmy-winning role as Blinky, Mark Hamill (Dictatious), Lena Headey (Morgana), David Bradley (Merlin), Ron Perlman (Bular), Steven Yeun (Steve), Anjelica Huston (Queen Ursurna), Jonathan Hyde (Strickler), Amy Landecker (Barbara), Charlie Saxton (Toby), Lexi Medrano (Claire) and Fred Tatasciore (AAARRRGGHH!!!)

Fauda  [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Thursday, May 24
Learning that the Hamas militant he thought he killed is still at large, veteran Israeli operative Doron comes out of retirement to hunt down his foe.

Survivors Guide to PrisonAvailable Thursday, May 24
Narrated by Academy Award® winner Susan Sarandon, the nonstop film chronicles the stories of two men who spent decades behind bars for murders they did not commit. With additional narration by activist celebrities like Danny Trejo, Patricia Arquette, Jesse Williams, Ice T, RZA, Busta Rhymes, Tom Morello, Macklemore, B-Real, Deepak Chopra, Warren G and more joining forces to change this broken system, the Survivors Guide exposes a failed punishment model.

Explained  [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Wednesday, May 23
Produced by Vox Entertainment, this weekly short-form series will explore a wide range of global topics and take on the big “why” questions that animate our age. Each episode will pull a different subject from the zeitgeist, from politics to science to pop culture, and give the bigger picture story — featuring interviews with some of the most authoritative experts in their respective fields. Ezra Klein, Vox co-founder and editor-at-large, will serve as an executive producer; along with Joe Posner, Vox’s executive producer; and showrunner Claire Gordon.

Mob Psycho 100  [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Tuesday, May 22
There’s an organization gathering espers for a nefarious purpose. Powerful psychic Mob, however, is just trying to be the protagonist of his own life.

Shooter: Season 2Available Tuesday, May 22
A conspiracy thriller that follows the journey of Bob Lee Swagger, a highly-decorated veteran who is coaxed back into action to prevent a plot to kill the President.

Terrace House: Opening New DoorsAvailable Tuesday, May 22
Terrace House: Opening New Doors is a Japanese reality television series in the Terrace House franchise set in Karuizawa of the Nagano prefecture in Japan.

Tig Notaro Happy To Be Here  [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] Available Tuesday, May 22
Comedian Tig Notaro brings her signature deadpan silliness in Tig Notaro Happy To Be Here, available only on Netflix starting May 22, 2018. Filmed at the historic Heights Theater in Houston, Tig tackles the comedic sides of marriage, parenting and being invited to an Ellen DeGeneres party, then closes the set with a tease that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

Señora Acero: Season 4Available Monday, May 21
This season of the hit series follows the adventures of Vicenta Acero, the feared coyote who now leads the dynasty of illicit dealings once under the control of her father. With the help of Daniel Phillips, a United States ICE agent, she has brought an end to the life of the ruthless drug lord Chucho Casares. This season, there are more enemies than ever, including the violent Colombian drug lord Julian Romero, and the head of the Homeland Security Department and Texas Border Patrol, Indira Cardenas. Romero, who seeks revenge on the Acero clan, ends up madly obsessed with Vicenta. Meanwhile, Indira cannot forgive Daniel for choosing Vicenta over her. Together, Vicenta and Daniel fight to survive and escape from the threats that endanger their love.

Some Kind of BeautifulAvailable Sunday, May 20
A woman (Salma Hayek) starts to fall in love with a successful college professor (Pierce Brosnan) who had a baby with her younger sister (Jessica Alba).

Bridge to TerabithiaAvailable Saturday, May 19
A preteen’s life turns upside down when he befriends the new girl in school and they imagine a whole new fantasy world to escape reality.

Disney’s Scandal: Season 7Available Saturday, May 19
The season focuses on the new direction of Olivia Pope’s crisis management firm, which is now headlined by Quinn Perkins, as well as staff at the White House in Washington, D.C. Season seven will have twelve series regulars, all returning from the previous season, out of which six are part of the original cast of eight regulars from the first season.

Small Town CrimeAvailable Saturday, May 19
When alcoholic ex-cop Mike Kendall finds the body of a young woman, he becomes obsessed with redeeming himself by finding the killer. In the process, he puts himself and his family in danger while hanging out with an assortment of shady characters.

Cargo  [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Friday, May 18
Stranded in rural Australia in the aftermath of a violent pandemic, an infected father desperately seeks a new home for his infant child, and a means to protect her from his own changing nature.
Starring: Martin Freeman
Written by: Yolanda Ramke
Directed by: Yolanda Ramke and Ben Howling
Produced by: Russell Ackerman, Kristine Ceyton, Samantha Jennings and John Schoenfelder.

Catching Feelings  [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Friday, May 18
A dark romantic comedy which follows an urbane young academic and his beautiful wife, as their lives get turned upside down when a celebrated hedonistic older writer moves into their Johannesburg home with them.

Inspector Gadget  [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Friday, May 18
Inspector Gadget is back with his niece, Penny, and her dog Brain, to stop the evil Dr. Claw, who has reactivated M.A.D., his global crime syndicate

13 Reasons Why  [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Friday, May 18
Season 2 picks up in the aftermath of Hannah’s death and the start of our characters’ complicated journeys toward healing and recovery. Liberty High prepares to go on trial, but someone will stop at nothing to keep the truth surrounding Hannah’s death concealed. A series of ominous polaroids lead Clay and his classmates to uncover a sickening secret and a conspiracy to cover it up.

SUNDAY

The Break with Michelle Wolf [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Sunday, May 27
The Break with Michelle Wolf, a weekly half hour variety/sketch series, launches Sunday, May 27 on Netflix.
With four years of working on shows including, The Daily Show and Late Night w/ Seth Meyers, it’s now Michelle’s turn to host and her new weekly show will take a break from the seriousness of today’s late night comedy.

Sara’s Notebook [NETFLIX ORIGINAL] – Available Saturday, May 26
A naive Madrid lawyer travels to Africa to search for her younger sister who has gone missing in a part of Congo plagued by violence and strife.

Netflix News: Ryan Reynolds to star in ‘Six Underground’ directed by Michael Bay

Press release – Skydance Media announced today they will partner with Netflix to co-produce and release their upcoming original feature film Six Underground directed by Michael Bay (Transformers) and starring Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool). The action film is based on an original idea from writers and executive producers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, best known for their irreverent work on Deadpool and Deadpool 2. Skydance’s David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Don Granger will produce Six Underground along with Bay.

Bay, best known for high-concept action films is one of the most commercially successful filmmakers. Reynolds’ latest film, Deadpool 2 is coming off a blockbuster opening weekend and Deadpool is the highest-grossing R-rated movie in box office history.

The film, produced by Skydance Media and Netflix, is targeting a summer start of production for worldwide release in 2019 on Netflix.

This marks the first collaboration between Skydance Media and Netflix for an event level feature film and the first Netflix project for both Michael Bay and Ryan Reynolds.

Skydance has a long-standing relationship with Netflix in television where they produce the critically acclaimed and Emmy Nominated series “Grace and Frankie” and earlier this year launched the high-concept, strong IP based sci-fi series “Altered Carbon” on the platform.

 

Netflix News: The Obamas partner with Netflix for a bunch of new projects

“Barack and Michelle Obama are among the world’s most respected and highly-recognized public figures and are uniquely positioned to discover and highlight stories of people who make a difference in their communities and strive to change the world for the better,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “We are incredibly proud they have chosen to make Netflix the home for their formidable storytelling abilities.”

According to the press release, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have entered into a multi-year agreement to produce films and series with Netflix, the world’s leading internet entertainment service.

The Obamas will produce a diverse mix of content, including the potential for scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features. These projects will be available to the 125 million member Netflix households in 190 countries.

The Obamas have established Higher Ground Productions as the entity under which they will produce content for Netflix.

“One of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life, and to help them share their experiences with a wider audience,” said President Obama. “That’s why Michelle and I are so excited to partner with Netflix – we hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world.”

“Barack and I have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire us, to make us think differently about the world around us, and to help us open our minds and hearts to others,” said Mrs. Obama. “Netflix’s unparalleled service is a natural fit for the kinds of stories we want to share, and we look forward to starting this exciting new partnership.”

Tribeca Film Festival Reviews: ‘Cargo’ & ‘The Night Eats The World’ breathe new life into the zombie genre.

Cargo

Director: Ben Howling, Yolanda Ramke

Writer: Yolanda Ramke

Producers: Samantha Jennings, Kristina Ceyton, Russell Ackerman, John Schoenfelder, Mark Patterson

Cast: Martin Freeman, Anthony Hayes, Susie Porter

Stranded in rural Australia in the aftermath of a violent pandemic, an infected father desperately seeks a new home for his infant child, and a means to protect her from his own changing nature.

 

Cargo, starring Martin Freeman will undoubtedly rip your heart out if you are a parent. It’s a race against time form the very first scene. It contains an intriguing bit of cannon with respect to this particular zombie outbreak. I’m always curious how this will be addressed in the genre and in Cargo, it’s very different from what we’re used to seeing. This film has a wonderful pace. It is dark with a constant feeling of dread looming. Freeman plays a believably loving and caring father of his infant daughter. The action and terror are unrelenting. In the genre what more can you really ask for? The film will be coming to Netflix next Friday, May 18th!


The Night Eats The World

Directed by

Dominique Rocher

Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)

Pit Agarmen (novel)
Jérémie Guez (screenplay) (adaptation) (dialogue)
Guillaume Lemans (screenplay) (adaptation) (dialogue)
Dominique Rocher (screenplay) (adaptation) (dialogue)

The morning after a party, a young man wakes up to find Paris invaded by zombies.

The Night Eats The World is all about isolation. Sam is alone in his ex’s apartment, walls splattered with blood, and the other floors are not much better. Realizing the outside is even less safe, he begins to use his wits by gathering what he can find, little by little, staying organized but perhaps not sane. Actor Anders Danielsen Lie is in every single scene of the film. His performance is so engrossing that I almost missed his complete physical transformation along the way. He must remain as calm as possible, which is pretty difficult considering the circumstances. An interesting element to his character is that he is a musician. This becomes both an advantage and a misstep in the plot. We’ve all watched The Walking Dead for years now but off the top of my head, I’m not sure I would be as methodic in my solitary survival as Sam. While we don’t get any information about the outbreak specifically, it never stopped me from enjoying the film, rooting for Sam to stay alive. Sometimes you don’t need it all spelled out for you, sometimes great storytelling is more than enough. 

Netflix News: The Bluths are back May 29th for Season 5 of ‘Arrested Development’

In the aftermath of Cinco de Quatro, the Bluth family are all facing one question, that no one quite has the answer to; where is Lucille Two? As this Netflix (semi) original series returns on May 29th, the Bluths are back together, and finally getting the award they think they deserve – for family of the year. A development which will help Lindsay as she begins her campaign for Congress, to become ‘part of the problem’. But whatever happens, Michael will always come back to save the family. Probably. Visit VoteBluth.com for updates from the Bluth for Family of the Year campaign.

Netflix News: Could have been a woman on the moon – documentary of the ‘Mercury 13’

I can’t wait to see this story!

Premiering on Netflix April 20, 2018

Directed by: David Sington and Heather Walsh

On April 9, 1959, NASA introduced their first astronaut class of all men, Mercury 7, to the world. This is the story of the 13 women who were just as deserving of their place in space.

Mercury 13 is a remarkable story of the women who were tested for spaceflight in 1961 before their dreams were dashed in being the first to make the trip beyond Earth. NASA’s ‘man in space’ program, dubbed ‘Project Mercury’ began in 1958. The men chosen – all military test pilots – became known as The Mercury 7. But away from the glare of the media, behind firmly closed doors, female pilots were also screened. Thirteen of them passed and, in some cases, performed better than the men. They were called the Mercury 13 and had the ‘right stuff’ but were, unfortunately, the wrong gender. Underneath the obsession of the space race that gripped America, the women were aviation pioneers who emerged thirsty for a new frontier, but whose time would have to wait. The film tells the definitive story of thirteen truly remarkable women who reached for the stars but were ahead of their time. A Netflix original documentary directed by David Sington (The Fear of 13) and Heather Walsh.

**Official Selections of the 2018 San Francisco International Film Festival and the 2018 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival **

Please visit netflix.com/mercury13 for more information.

Review: ‘The Vanishing of Sidney Hall’ weighs heavy.

The idea of personal responsibility can be a double-edged sword. It can be our life’s motivating factor or our downfall. In the new film The Vanishing of Sidney Hall, one young man’s past has an effect on the entire world around him.

After publishing a bestselling novel based on the death of one of his high school classmates, the controversial writer Sidney Hall (Logan Lerman) finds himself catapulted to unexpected fame and renown. His relationship with his girlfriend (Elle Fanning) begins to fall apart as the dark consequences of the book intrude on their life together, and he disappears without a trace. Nearly a decade later, an enigmatic detective searches for the missing author, whose books are connected to a string of mysterious arsons.

There was something about this film that really affected me throughout its nonlinear two-hour run. The script tackles issues from resentment to guilt, human connection to the feeling of powerlessness. With the award-winning performances from no less than four cast members, including Logan Lerman, Elle Fanning, Michelle Monohan, and Blake Jenner, The Vanishing of Sidney Hall has a twisted plot that pulls your emotions in various directions throughout. The one overall theme here is undoubtedly sadness. The film has a heaviness that is unshakeable. It’s a strangely perfect companion piece to Netflix‘s 13 Reason’s Why, and without going into too much detail (because I want you to see it) the film’s themes are universally relevant. The film’s score acts as an emotional and nostalgic catalyst to the time jumps. Despite the terrible beard on Logan Lerman throughout a third of the film, he gives the audience a multilayered and tragic performance that makes Sidney Hall what it is. Speaking of tragic, Blake Jenner plays a seemingly typical jock with a hard-on for bullying but it’s his character’s home life that haunts many others in the film. A massive departure from his role in GLEE, I hope Jenner gets some much-deserved attention from this one. Elle Fanning is ever surprising as a bold, unique, and confident girl next door (or across the street to be exact) saddled with both the romantic and strained man Lerner becomes. Michelle Monaghan plays against type as Sidney’s mother. A woman’s whose vitriol and resentment make her loathsome. The cast boasts other heavy hitters like Kyle Chandler and Nathan Lane. There is not a weak link in the entire ensemble.  I can tell you, you won’t be able to guess how this one wraps up. The Vanishing of Sidney Hall is fraught with love but mostly the loss of it. Be prepared prior to viewing.

THE VANISHING OF SIDNEY HALL  

Exclusively on Direct TV on January 25th & In Theaters on March 2nd

Director by:  Shawn Christensen (Academy Award Winner – Curfew, Abduction,)

Written by: Shawn Christensen & Jason Dolan

THE VANISHING OF SIDNEY HALL stars Logan Lerman (Perks of Being a Wallflower, Indignation), Elle Fanning (Super 8, Maleficent, The Neon Demon)Michelle Monaghan (“True Detective,” Gone Baby Gone, Source Code)Kyle Chandler (“Friday Night Lights”, “Bloodline”, and Manchester By The Sea) and Nathan Lane (“Modern Family,” The “People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story”).

Netflix News: ‘Benji’ is back to steal your heart

I LOVED Benji growing up. I had an almost life-size stuffed animal of him and rented the 2nd movie in the semi-series, For the Love of Benji, so many times that I’m sure my sister can’t stand him. The trailer looks adorable and pulls the same heartstrings. And guess what? The son of the original director is directing!

Directed By: Brandon Camp (LOVE HAPPENS)
Produced By: Brandon Camp and Jason Blum (GET OUT, THE VISIT, WHIPLASH)
Starring: Kiele Sanchez (“Lost”, “The Glades”), Gabriel Bateman (”Stalker”) and Darby Camp (“Big Little Lies”)

A modern day retelling of the classic, the story of Benji follows one orphaned puppy and Carter and Frankie, two capricious New Orleans school kids who strike up a friendship with the tenacious street dog.  When danger befalls them and they end up kidnapped by robbers who are in over their heads, Benji and his scruffy sidekick come to the rescue.

Written and directed by Brandon Camp, whose father Joe Camp created the original, Benji is produced by Jason Blum and Brandon Camp.  The film stars Kiele Sanchez, Gabriel Bateman and Darby Camp.

Facebook: facebook.com/GenuineBenji
Instagram: instagram.com/GenuineBenji
Twitter: twitter.com/GenuineBenji
#BenjiTheMovie

Netflix News: First guests on ‘The Joel McHale Show: with Joel McHale’

The new weekly series launches Sunday, February 18 on Netflix with guest Kevin Hart and appearances by Alison Brie, Mike Colter, Paul Reiser, Jodie Sweetin and Jim Rash.

The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale is a new, weekly half-hour topical series that takes a sharp, absurdist look at pop culture and news from across the globe. It’s a fast and funny distillation of everything people are talking about that week. Featuring celebrity guests, comedy sketches, and insane video clips from the worldwide realms of TV, sports, politics, celebrity culture, and every corner of the internet, The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale is destination viewing for comedy lovers, or people who just really, really like green screens.

The show is hosted and executive produced by Joel McHale. Paul Feig, KP Anderson, Jessie Henderson, Brad Stevens, and Boyd Vico also serve as executive producers. The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale is produced by Pygmy Wolf Productions, Free Period Productions, and Feigco Entertainment in association with Lionsgate Television.

Netflix News: Filter, sort & search for original series & movies in 2018 & beyond

Netflix loves to be cryptic about their releases. I’ve started a fun little database in Airtable to keep track. Feel free to filter, sort and search. I’ll be updating to add more ways to search; it’s a work-in-progress. Let me know if you have any suggestions!

  • What’s new today?
  • What are the newest movies?
  • What are the newest series?
  • What’s coming up in the next month?
  • What’s the latest stand-up comedy specials?

All these questions and more are now at your fingertips! See below or you can always find it on our homepage.

Read More →

This year’s Oscar-Nominated movies on HBO

Get Out

A black photographer’s weekend meeting his white girlfriend’s parents takes a terrifying turn in this horror hit from Jordan Peele.

  1. Performance by an actor in a leading role: Daniel Kaluuyain
  2. Achievement in directing: Jordan Peele
  3. Best motion picture of the year: Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr. and Jordan Peele, Producers
  4. Original screenplay: Written by Jordan Peele

Kong: Skull Island

An expedition to a mythical island finds the place crawling with prehistoric dangers, led by the giant ape himself, King Kong.

  • Achievement in visual effects: Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza and Mike Meinardus

Logan

A broken-down Logan (Hugh Jackman) comes to the aid of a young mutant girl who is just like him in this 3rd ‘Wolverine’ film.

  • Adapted screenplay: Screenplay by Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green; Story by James Mangold

This year’s Oscar-Nominated movies to Rent or Buy

RENT OR BUY

Blade Runner 2049

Officer K (Ryan Gosling), a new blade runner for the Los Angeles Police Department, unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. His discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former blade runner who’s been missing for 30 years.

  1. Achievement in cinematography: Roger A. Deakins
  2. Achievement in production design: Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Alessandra Querzola
  3. Achievement in sound editing: Mark Mangini and Theo Green
  4. Achievement in sound mixing: Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill and Mac Ruth
  5. Achievement in visual effects: John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert and Richard R. Hoover

Dunkirk

In May 1940, Germany advanced into France, trapping Allied troops on the beaches of Dunkirk. Under air and ground cover from British and French forces, troops were slowly and methodically evacuated from the beach using every serviceable naval and civilian vessel that could be found. At the end of this heroic mission, 330,000 French, British, Belgian and Dutch soldiers were safely evacuated.

  1. Achievement in cinematography: Hoyte van Hoytema
  2. Achievement in directing: Christopher Nolan
  3. Achievement in editing: Lee Smith
  4. Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score): Hans Zimmer
  5. Best motion picture of the year: Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers
  6. Achievement in production design: Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
  7. Achievement in sound editing: Richard King and Alex Gibson
  8. Achievement in sound mixing: Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker and Gary A. Rizzo

Beauty and the Beast

Belle (Emma Watson), a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast (Dan Stevens) in its castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the beast’s hideous exterior, allowing her to recognize the kind heart and soul of the true prince that hides on the inside.

  1. Achievement in costume design: Jacqueline Durran
  2. Achievement in production design: Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer

Victoria & Abdul

Abdul Karim arrives from India to participate in Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee. The young clerk is surprised to find favor with the queen herself. As Victoria questions the constrictions of her long-held position, the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance that her household and inner circle try to destroy. As their friendship deepens, the queen begins to see a changing world through new eyes, joyfully reclaiming her humanity.

  1. Achievement in costume design: Consolata Boyle
  2. Achievement in makeup and hairstyling: Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard

Last Men in Aleppo

Members of the volunteer group White Helmets offer aid to the wounded during the Syrian civil war.

  • Best documentary feature: Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed and Søren Steen Jespersen

Baby Driver

Talented getaway driver Baby (Ansel Elgort) relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the game. After meeting the woman (Lily James) of his dreams, he sees a chance to ditch his shady lifestyle and make a clean break. Coerced into working for a crime boss (Kevin Spacey), Baby must face the music as a doomed heist threatens his life, love and freedom.

  1. Achievement in film editing: Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos
  2. Achievement in sound editing: Julian Slater
  3. Achievement in sound mixing: Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin and Mary H. Ellis

War for the Planet of the Apes

Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless colonel (Woody Harrelson). After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both of their species and the future of the planet.

  • Achievement in visual effects: Joe Letteri, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon and Joel Whist

Loving Vincent

Loving Vincent is the world’s first fully painted feature film produced by Oscar-winning studios Breakthru Films and Trademark Films.

  • Best animated feature film of the year: Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman and Ivan Mactaggart