Category: Netflix Hidden Gems

Netflix Hidden Gem: Carnage Park

Carnage Park (2016) Director: Mickey Keating Genre: Horror IFC Midnight Synopsis: Psychotic Vietnam war veteran Wyatt Moss (Pat Healy) terrorizes a young woman named Vivian Fontaine (Ashley Young) in a deadly game of cat and mouse in the California desert. Overview: Written and directed by Mickey Keating as a thematic and aesthetic throwback to classic 1970s exploitation films, Carnage Park sees Pat Healy flexing all of his character actor chops as a supremely deranged central antagonist. After a hapless bank robber mistakenly makes his way into a stretch of privately owned California desert, Wyatt makes short work of ‘Scorpion’ Joe Clay (James...

Read More

Netflix Hidden Gem: Donald Cried

Donald Cried (2017) Director: Kristopher Avedisian Genre: Comedy The Orchard Overveiw: A frazzled man returns home when his grandmother dies only to find himself beset upon by a troubled acquaintance that he soon becomes indebted to. Synopsis: Following its premiere at South by Southwest in 2016, Donald Cried saw theatrical release earlier this year. Serving as the directorial debut of lead actor and screenwriter Kristopher Avedisian, Donald Cried is an unsettling dark comedy about fraternal friendship. As Donald Treebeck, Avedisian has crafted one of the most accurate portrayals of the surreal nature beholden to an inherently juvenile intimacy. When...

Read More

Netflix Hidden Gem: Goon

Goon (2011) Director: Michael Dowse Genre: Comedy Magnet Releasing Synopsis: A simple-minded bouncer, who is professionally and emotionally adrift, inadvertently winds up becoming an enforcer for a minor league ice hockey team. Overview: Like the thematically akin sports comedy cult-classic Slap Shot from 1977 starring Paul Newman, director Michael Dowse offers a light-hearted send up of some of the more brutal aspects of professional ice hockey as the other great contact sport beside American football. With American Pie alumnus Seann William Scott in the lead role as the charmingly dimwitted Doug “The Thug” Glatt, Goon blends several sub-categories of...

Read More

Netflix Hidden Gem: Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau

Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr Moreau covers the making of the disaster that was 1996’s The Island of Doctor Moreau. In movie circles, the story of how the movie went off the rails is probably more well-known than the plot of the actual movie. Richard Stanley, fresh off some weird, well-made horror movies, is given the chance to direct a movie of his favourite book, The Island of Doctor Moreau. Ill-preparedness, prima donna actors, divorces, suicides, hurricanes, anti-social behaviour, and floods all combine to get Stanley kicked off the project and replaced. Lost...

Read More

Netflix Hidden Gem: Maria Bamford: Old Baby

Last year, Maria Bamford’s genius show Lady Dynamite debuted on Netflix. For those unfamiliar with her stand up comedy, it was a great primer to the kinds of jokes to expect from her, and a glimpse into the life of one of the best working comedians today. Now available on Netflix is her new stand up special, Old Baby, and it’s definitely worth your time. Most stand up specials stick to a familiar format. A comedian stands onstage in a large venue packed with people who are all told about the filming and asked to be extra supportive. Pardon my...

Read More

Netflix Hidden Gem: 8MM

8MM Directed By: Joel Schumacher Genre: Mystery, Thriller Columbia Pictures Synopsis: A private detective is hired to determine the authenticity of a snuff film. Overview: Remember when you were a teenager and you watched movies with your friends, and you didn’t know anything about movies, and it didn’t matter? I feel like most of my teen years were spent watching trashy 90s action/thrillers that, looking back, weren’t that great (but were super great in their lack of greatness.) 8MM is one of those types of movies, the ones where you make a giant bowl of extra buttery popcorn and...

Read More

Netflix Hidden Gem: Little Sister

Little Sister Directed By: Zach Clark Genre : Comedy Forager Films Synopsis: A young “former goth” woman returns home from aspiring to be a nun to face her past. Overview: Sometimes Netflix has a bizarre algorithm for its recommendations, but every now and then it gets it just right. Back in January, I discovered a little gem of a comedy/horror film called Lace Crater. It was charming in its imperfection and a welcome addition to a long lineup of little, low-budget, quirky indie movies, a genre that continues to melt my heart and one that seems to just keep...

Read More

Netflix Hidden Gem: Look Who’s Back

Look Who’s Back (2015) Director: David Wnendt Genre: Comedy Constantin Film Synopsis: Adolf Hitler wakes up in modern Germany and becomes a media sensation. Overview: Look Who’s Back is structured like Borat or Bruno — a mix of scripted scenes and those of the main character interacting with the public. The entertainment, of course, comes from the public’s reaction to the eccentric figure at the centre of the movie. However, unlike those films and their heightened stereotype main characters, the protagonist of Look Who’s Back is Adolf Hitler. Waking up in a park in 2014 Berlin, Hitler finds himself transported in time to a world he...

Read More

Netflix Hidden Gem: Trash Fire

Trash Fire (2016) Director: Richard Bates Jr. Genre: Horror Vertical Entertainment Synopsis: A couple whose relationship is on the rocks try to rebuild old family bonds and conquer personal demons, with violent results. Overview: Trash Fire gets into the garbage right away. Meet Owen (Adrian Grenier) and Isabel (the cat-eyed Angela Trimbur) a couple on the rocks at a juncture in their lives. We see them together through an awkward anniversary argument that lets us know things are not going well and only one of them seems to care. Being a fly on the wall for their disintegrating relationship feels like a...

Read More

Netflix Hidden Gem: Inside Job

Inside Job (2010) Directed by: Charles Ferguson Genre: Documentary Sony Pictures Classics Synopsis: A documentary that deconstructs the factors that led to the Credit Crisis of 2008. Overview: Inside Job, Charles Ferguson’s searing documentary about the Credit Crisis, is one of the most deliberate and unrelenting investigations in the popular documentary canon. Taking a politically liberal stance, the film condemns the bankers and government employees in power, and in some ways plays almost as if the director is deconstructing a mastermind heist. Even the title Inside Job is a fitting descriptor for the work done by the film’s interviewees, detailing their roles...

Read More

Netflix Hidden Gem: 3 Women

3 Women (1977) Director: Robert Altman Genre: Drama 20th Century Fox Synopsis: In a barren 1970s California desert town, a woman forms a complicated relationship with her mysterious co-worker at an elderly rehabilitation center. Overview: Among the deluge of outrageous and depressing headlines that came out of November 2016, Shelley Duvall’s appearance on Dr. Phil stood out. Duvall’s obvious mental illness became fodder for the kind of tabloid opportunism that turns human lives and stories into an “eyes at any cost” media strategy. There was of course a collective response of disapproval, but our attentions have been diverted to...

Read More

Netflix Hidden Gem: Lace Crater

Lace Crater Directed By: Harrison Atkins Genre : Comedy Invincible Pictures Synopsis: A woman develops a mysterious illness after meeting a strange figure in a friend’s coach house. Overview: Lace Crater is a weird little film. It views like something a friend has made, and because of that, it seems like your friends are in it. A standard group of mid to late 20-somethings are headed to The Hamptons for the weekend. Someone’s parents have a place there and they’re just going to chill out and do some molly, drink some Pabst, and maybe get laid. Where some horror movies...

Read More

Netflix Hidden Gem #95: The Sons of Katie Elder

The Sons of Katie Elder (1965) Director: Henry Hathaway Genre: Western Paramount Pictures Synopsis: Four men return home for their mother’s funeral to find that the small Texas town they left behind is no longer very welcoming, in this classic late-era Western. Overview: Like any good Western, the climax of The Sons of Katie Elder plays out as a gunfight crescendo against a gorgeous backdrop. But the more satisfying emotional payoff happens near the beginning, as the four Elder brothers return home for their mother’s funeral only to be repeatedly shamed by everyone—from the town minister to the woman running the...

Read More

Netflix Hidden Gem #94: Cheap Thrills

Cheap Thrills (2014) Director: E.L. Katz Genre: Comedy Drafthouse Films Synopsis: A down-on-his-luck, wannabe writer struggling to scrounge up enough money to keep his wife and infant child off the streets comes across a childhood friend and a pair of deranged good samaritans. Overview: Cheap Thrills is a wildly subversive independent comedy in the same vein as the very best theatrical works of Bobcat Goldthwait. Serving as the directorial debut for E.L. Katz, Cheap Thrills stars two of the most under-appreciated character actors of the past twenty-plus years. As former high school friends Craig Daniels and Vince, Pat Healy and Ethan Embry offer two...

Read More

Netflix Hidden Gem #93: The Parent Trap

The Parent Trap (1961) Director: David Swift Genre: Comedy Buena Vista Distribution When The Parent Trap was released nationwide in June of 1961, love and marriage were on our minds. Life Magazine that week featured a cover touting “Weddings Worldwide” in its pages and in the White House a young family was seemingly living out our ever-after daydreams. June 21 was a Wednesday (it will be in 2017, too) and, if astrology is your thing, this was all taking place under the zodiac sign, Gemini—the twins. All of this is to say that it was a pretty auspicious time for...

Read More