Farewell Andy Whitfield

First off, I’d like to take a moment to remember actor Andy Whitfield. Whitfield played the lead role in the first season of Star’s Sparticus. I wrote about the series in the Aug. 19 “We Love It” column. Whitfield passed away last Sunday due to complications from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Diagnosed after the first season in January 2010, the writers created a six-episode prequel in hopes of bringing back Whitfield. A year later, Whitfield would be unable to return to the set. They cast Liam McIntyre in the lead role. Whitfield also appeared in Australian TV shows “Packed to the Rafters” and “McLeod’s Daughters.”

As I mentioned last week, my list is full of Jason Statham. Statham shows up in Sylvester Stallone’s “The Expendables.” Statham is the only reason this was in my queue, but in my queue everyone gets a shot. There isn’t much to the story; it’s mostly guns, noise and smoke. Stallone appears to be action movies’ Joan Rivers. Arnold Schwarzenegger makes a cameo appearance (man, is he looking old). The only memorable scene involves Terry Crews and a AA12 shotgun. (Dear Santa…) Statham tried, but even he couldn’t save the old guys.

I probably added “Agora” to the queue based on the cover alone. I can’t remember adding it. But if it’s there, I’ll watch it. The film explores the noted scholar Hypatia of Alexandria. She taught at Ancient Library of Alexandria, the first library charged with collecting all the world’s knowledge. Hypatia is rumored to have made observations about the planet and solar system centuries before Nicolaus Copernicus displaced heliocentric cosmology. (It’s OK, I had to look it up also). But the library, Hypatia and her observations run head-on into a blossoming Christian- Roman empire. This movie is full of history and had me running to Wikipedia. Check out the Planets app on your iPhone or iPad. The 3-D feature will change how you look at the stars.

Netflix’s recommendation computer sent me “Black Snake Moan.” At first, I questioned the computer, but it has sent me some gems and BSM qualifies. There’s blues music, cheating wives, sex, chains and guns. Lazarus is an aptly named character, as he looks to put his life back together in the deep south. Delta blues legend Son House appears in archival footage defining the blues. If you like the blues, you’ll love BSM.

‘The Expendables’

Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li and MORE. A veritable cornucopia of action superstars

This show is: Violent, exciting

Rated: R

Common Sense rating: Strong action, bloody violence and horrible use of plastic surgery (Come on, Stallone). Iffy for 15+

Stallone leads a group of hired guns on a mission to overthrow a South American dictator. Guns, noise, smoke. 2 of 5 Netflix stars.


Cast: Rachel Weisz, Max Minghella, Oscar Isaac

This show is: Emotional

Rated: R

Common Sense rating: Adult themes, intense, persistent violence

A film based on the life of Hypatia of Alexandria, a noted Greek scholar and mathematician. An atheist professor of philosophy who finds herself on the wrong side of the tracks as Christianity sweeps through 4th Century Roman Egypt. 3 of 5 Netflix stars.

‘Black Snake Moan’

Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci, Justin Timberlake

This show is: Steamy, mind bending

Rated: R

Common Sense rating: Strong sexual content, language, some violence and drug use and chains. Not for kids.

Older, broken, blues musician and farmer Lazarus finds young sex-addicted Rae, beaten and bloodied, and sets forth to cure her of the Black Snake Moan. Gotta love the blues. 4 of 5 Netflix stars.


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