10.24.2010

Pursuit four: The joys of Netflix

If you have ever had the opportunity to experience Netflix, a company that offers online flat rate DVD and Blue-ray Disc rental-by-mail and video streaming in the United States and Canada (streaming only), I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have recently.

                                               http://www.netflix.com


My parents subscribed to Netflix a couple of years ago. Although they have similar tastes, I felt that in the beginning of their life with Netflix, the movies that were being selected in their Queue (personal online list of the movies that you are renting) were ultimately different versions of classic British movies (i.e. Jane Eyre, Pride & Prejudice, etc.). Although I like my fair share of British classics... I had had enough, and slowly stopped watching the Netflix DVDs that came in weekly for their weekend movie night.

However, in the past year, I have gotten back into Netflix. While abroad I had a lot of spare time. When I was not going to class or traveling, I spent time catching up on the latest television shows or movies over the Internet since we did not have a television in our flat. Once coming back to the States, I had become accustomed to watching TV shows or movies online. My boyfriend has enjoyed the video streaming that Netflix offers, so I got on the bandwagon too.

Although I do not have my own personal Netflix account, I have enjoyed hacking into my parents Netflix account (not really hacking) to watch movies and documentaries. If you do not have a Netflix account or have never browsed the website, purchasing an account will run you about $4.99 a month for a starter package. This gives you two DVDs per month, an unlimited amount of time that you can keep the DVD, and access to video streaming. Packages with more DVD rental access can range to about $16.99 a month.

Recently, I have been watching documentaries on the Netflix video streaming. This has been great because you can instantly watch the videos (no waiting for a movie to download or come in the mail).

Here are the top five documentaries and movies that I have recently viewed. If you are looking for something to watch, I would highly recommend these.

1. Prodigal Sons

Prodigal Sons, a documentary by Kimberly Reed, follows Kimberly as she goes back to her small town home in Montana for a high school reunion. Kimberly, a magazine editor and filmmaker in New York City, is transgendered. Born as a boy (Paul), Kimberly became who she was meant to be (a female) in her early twenties. During this documentary, viewers will witness Kimberly's relations with her other two brothers (one who she is estranged from), her experiences in Montana, and her overall views on how her life has turned out. Although sad at some points, this documentary is very thought provoking and gave me insight into what life might be like for someone who is transgendered.

2. Babies

A documentary directed by Thomas Balm├Ęs, Babies  follows the first year of four babies lives. Each child is growing up in a completely different part of the world. The first baby, Ponijao is from Opuwo, Nambia. The second baby, Mari is from Tokyo, Japan. The third baby, Bayar is from Bayanchandmani, Mongolia. The fourth baby, Hattie is from San Francisco, California. This film was interesting because I got to see how cultural differences shape a persons life, as well as the universal similarities humans share in life. 


3. National Geographic: Science of Dogs

National Geographic's Science of Dogs is a film directed by Jackie Mow. In this documentary, viewers gain insight into the history of dogs and how humans have taken an active role in shaping their experience and behavior. Being a lover of dogs, I was tuned into this movie the entire time. After watching this documentary, I learned that there are more variety of dogs than any other species on Earth. I was also able to learn about a wide variety of dog breeds that I had never heard about before viewing this film.

4. Bela Fleck: Throw Down Your Heart
Bela Fleck: Thrown Down Your Heart is a documentary that follows around famous musician Bela Fleck during his quest to bring the banjo back to Africa. Believing that the banjo originated in Africa, Bela Fleck along with a couple of banjos (he plays the banjo) and a film crew travel to different countries in Africa to bring the banjo back to Africa. Traveling to Uganda, Tanzania, Gambia, and Mali, Fleck has the opportunity to play music with the locals, enjoy the beauty of the land, and introduce the present day banjo that we have grown up with to many people for the first time. This is a great movie to hear great music, learn about different cultures in Africa, and see some great sights.

5. The Constant Gardener
The Constant Gardener a film by Fernando Meirelles follows Justin Quayle (Ralph Fiennes), a member of the British High Commission based in Africa. During this movie, Quayle launches a quest for the truth and begins his own international investigation when his wife (Rachel Weisz) murdered. This movie is filled with twists and turns involving drugs, rumors of infidelity, and corrupt governmental practices. The only aspect of this film that turned me off was the ending. I would have hoped for a different one, but other than that it was a great view.

So, even if you do not have a Netflix account, or know anyone that does, if you get the chance you should check out these films or some other documentaries/movies that peak your interest!

Following my pursuits,

Price

Special thanks to:
Netflix: http://www.netflix.com
The Prodigal Sons official website: http://www.prodigalsonsfilm.com/
The Babies official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/babies
The National Geographic website: http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/series/explorer/3093/Overview
Bela Fleck: Throw Down Your Heart: http://www.throwdownyourheart.com/

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