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This Netflix Original is the best hidden gem you’ve never heard of

Charmaine Blake

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Every shot is a painting in ‘I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House’

Image: netflix

You’ve never heard of 2016’s I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House. But you should have.

The lapse in coverage on it may come from Netflix’s inability to promote its Originals, with niche art house films like this one getting buried beneath the never-ending barrage of new content. Or maybe it’s because this ghost story is often categorized as a horror movie, but better suited to suspense lovers. Perhaps it’s the sentence-long title which, while intriguing, is not very search friendly.

For whatever reason, you’ve missed out on one of Netflix’s most daring experiments, and one of the most evocative atmospheric horror films exploring the female psyche since Polanksi’s Repulsion.

And we’re here to fix that.

I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House might best be understood as The Witch meets The Hours. Writer-director Osgood Perkins, previously known for his debut film festival-darling The Blackcoat’s Daughter (AKA February), employs a tantalizing, maddening kind of minimalism while exploring a story of all-encompassing breadth.

But, listen, the unfortunate souls who were “bored” by The Witch will find no jump scares to distract from the unrelentingly evasiveness of I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, where every shot looks like a painting and speaks volumes with only the sparsest dialogue. And those not interested in the new trend of horror movies focusing on women’s experiences will likely agree with the critics who accuse the film of being empty and devoid of any real substance.

To everyone else, you are in for a hidden gem of slow-burning horror. The film’s dream-like narrative emerges through the disparate yet intertwined lives (and deaths) of three women, all colliding under the same roof of a haunted house. I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives suffocates you in a skin-crawling tension that reeks of dread and rot, while somehow still wafting in the scent of Chanel’s most alluring perfume.

We meet protagonist Lily Saylor (Ruth Wilson), a live-in nurse, on the day she moves into elderly horror author Iris Blum’s (Paula Prentiss) house to take care of her. But as she says, “A house with a death in it can never again be bought or sold by the living. It can only be borrowed from the ghosts that have stayed behind.”

The most impressive aspect of I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House is ironically the same reason so many critics found it frustrating. Perkins obscures everything tangible behind a hazy film of blurred boundaries, whether between dreams and reality, fiction and fact.

Like the opening shot depicting a spectral woman in white gliding across the screen, elusive yet pleading, the film proves impossible to pin down. But what it holds back in terms of concrete meaning it makes up for with an effervescent sense of things. And it sticks with you. Because, sure, every plot point and character remains at arms length and out of focus, but that only makes them more piercing.

Because every woman is caught in this purgatory between life and death. And we’re caught in that frozen suspension with them.

The ghostly woman in white, Polly (Lucy Boynton), is the (supposedly) fictionalized character from Iris’ most famous novel, The Lady in the Wall. Or, as Iris believes, a real person who died in the house and came to her so she could tell the world her story. Iris embodies another version of female death: aging. Meanwhile Lily tells us in the very first scene that, “The pretty thing you are looking at is me. Of this I am sure… Three days ago I turned 28 years old. I will never be 29 years old.”

Lily reading ‘The Lady in the Wall’

Image: netflix

Often, each woman looks directly into the camera, reversing the inherent voyeurism of watching a film. Throughout, Perkins subverts the male gaze and its uncomfortable relationship between pretty female “things” and cameras. Again and again, we are shown seductively beautiful and disturbingly immaculate images of feminine beauty. The camera fixates on them — until the pretty thing turns her head to face us head-on, her unwavering gaze of defiance, sadness, or fear somehow implicating the audience in her distress. What was an object of desire suddenly becomes a subject of undefinable depth.

As the stories of each woman blur together, a new meaning behind the title of Iris’ famous novel (and Polly’s allegedly true story), The Lady in the Wall, emerges. Invoking famous feminist texts like The Yellow Wallpaper, we come to understand that every woman in the house is not only some form of a ghost — but confined by the walls of the walls of domesticity that keep them trapped in the house. Each of them imprisoned, the women are terrified yet desperate to reach out and connect with one another.

Ultimately, I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House is not a movie for everyone. But if you’re looking for horror movies pushing the cinematic boundaries of the genre — and a spooky experience that inspires more awe than fright — just try giving it ten minutes of your life.

You may find yourself unable to look away from every pretty thing dying in their houses daily.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/11/25/i-am-pretty-thing-lives-house-netflix-witch-horror/

Netflix Stuff

Is Netflix the new king of stand-up comedy?

Charmaine Blake

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(CNN)For fans of stand-up comedy, this decade has been a dream come true.

“That’s because more stand-up is available to watch now than there has been in years. It’s largely due to Netflix, which has poured millions into expanding its library of stand-up specials.
While longtime stalwarts such as HBO and Comedy Central have dialed back their investments in stand-up, Netflix has opened up its checkbook.
Netflix has largely gone unchallenged on the streaming front, but that battle will soon reach a fever pitch. HBO is being pressured to expand its library to compete against Netflix (CNN and HBO are both owned by WarnerMedia), Amazon Studios is growing and investing more into original programming and, arguably the biggest threat of all, Disney’s streaming service is set to launch next year.
Continuing to build up an arsenal of original content to separate themselves from the competition could be the key to winning the war.
Netflix has made a bold choice to double down on stand-up. While the company was founded in 1997, it didn’t start producing original content until 2012. Meanwhile, the legacy video giants that it has challenged in the stand-up space have been producing specials for decades.
It may be a big bet for Netflix, but it’s a proven strategy.
“If you look at the history of relatively new channels, they often go early into stand-up,” says Jason Zinoman, comedy critic for The New York Times. “HBO invested in stand-up early in the ’70s. Stand-up is cheap, and you can get a huge amount of attention for something that only requires a microphone stand and one employee.”
Another reason to focus on stand-up, says Jonas Larsen, executive vice president and co-head of talent and development for Comedy Central, is star power.
“On one hand, to be able to put Jerry Seinfeld or Chris Rock on a billboard and a bus and have the Netflix logo next to it, it drives subscribers so it makes sense,” says Larsen. “It’s almost like marketing dollars that they’re paying for content because it’s marketing their brand. So maybe it makes sense for them to spend that kind of money to get the press.”
More important than adding subscribers is retaining them.
Over the years, Netflix has gathered……………..”

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/13/entertainment/netflix-standup-comedy-central-hbo-chappelle-rock/index.html

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Netflix Stuff

Nappily Ever After – Official Netflix Trailer

Charmaine Blake

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Violet Jones has a seemingly flawless life – a great job, a handsome doctor boyfriend, and a meticulously maintained perfect coiffure. But after an accident at the hair-dresser, each of these things start to unravel, and Violet begins to realize that she was living the life she thought she was supposed to live, not the one that she really wanted.
Starring Sanaa Lathan, Ricky Whittle, Lyriq Bent with Ernie Hudson and Lynn Whitfield.
Nappily Ever After premieres September 21st only on Netflix.

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Netflix Stuff

Netflix ‘Maniac’ trailer gets weird with Jonah Hill and Emma Stone

Charmaine Blake

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Jonah Hill and Emma Stone played high school sweethearts more than a decade ago in Greg Mottola’s 2007 comedy, Superbad. Now they’re reuniting on screen for the first time since then in a new Netflix limited series from Beasts of No Nation director Cary Fukunaga.

In Maniac, Hill and Stone star as Owen Milgrim and Annie Landsberg, respectively. The two choose to participate in some kind of mysterious pharmaceutical trial for a drug that purports to fix any troubles of the mind.

The 10-episode story is based on a Norwegian TV series of the same name, and it comes to Netflix on Sept. 21. This trailer doesn’t reveal much, but it definitely sets a mood.

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/07/29/netflix-maniac-trailer-tca/

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