Netflix describes Joseph Gordon-Levitt's new project a "crowdsourced variety show." I remember reading about this when he launched the project. I remember thinking, "Damn, I wish I was famous enough to pull something like that off." But I'm not, and he his, and that's the whole point. He organized it, and now he's leaving the talent part up to everyone else. It started in 2005, with just Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his brother, Dan. He calls the ongoing project, hitRECord. As in, do something and record it. Even now, there are only 8 people who work for the company, the rest is people remixing and creating via the internet. Gordon-Levitt is also pulling out themes from the projects that have been recorded, and putting them into a "TV show." It's a good idea. Basically, he throws out assignments or ideas, and people create. The show itself comes off as a bit corny, (the live audience, Gordon-Levitt being a ham), but if you stick with it, the actual projects created are super impressive: especially when you see the breakdown of how many are involved in each. So, someone writes a script and posts it, someone acts it out and posts it, someone writes music and posts it, on and on, and the result is pretty amazing. The short film and the song in the first episode are memorable. If Gordon-Levitt maintains this brand, it seems like it's only going to grow.
Netflix just posted the third season of A&E's Longmire. I lived in Montana for 2 summers, and it's homesick-inducing to see the gorgeous, empty land. I read that this is largely filmed in New Mexico, even though it mostly takes place in Wyoming, near the Cheyenne reservation. Marcus Redthunder advises the creation and depiction of Natives and the reservation. The show is hugely entertaining on its own, but it's also fairly remarkable in its education of Native traditions and its use of Native actors. Australian actor, Robert Taylor, is also surprisingly believable as a Wyoming cowboy-sheriff. Some of the other actors take some warming up to really like, but this show is doing a lot to depict a wild, largely forgotten land.
Beginners , written and directed by Mike Mills, starring Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, and Melanie Laurent. I haven't actually watched and enjoyed a film a several weeks. I've been watching a few different shows on Netflix (Daredevil, Halt and Catch Fire, Death in Paradise, The Code), so I feel like I've almost lost my patience for anything I know won't be a finished episode in 52 minutes. But this film had me floored. McGregor is fully Oliver Fields. One of the key players is Arthur, a Jack Terrier, who speaks to Oliver (we get subtitles). This isn't so much a coming-out-at-old-age story, as much as a there's-no-time-for-self-pity story. The editing and directing are amazing here. I might re-watch this film weekly. This rocks your perception of relationships, and what it means to be present.