Category: Streaming Suggestions

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...

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New on Netflix Instant Streaming: The Transfiguration Explores Black Mental Illness Through Vampirism

Originally published on August 4, 2017. The Transfiguration is now available on Amazon Prime’s streaming service. Overview: A black teenager with an irresistible urge and a fascination with vampires meets a troubled girl who changes his self-perspective. Strand Releasing; 2017; NR; 97 minutes. Lost Boy: When we first meet Milo (Eric Ruffin) he’s sucking blood out of a dead man’s neck in a subway bathroom stall. It’s a grisly first encounter that quickly forfeits any notion that this film will toy with the with ‘is he or isn’t he a vampire?’ Milo believes he’s a vampire, and that’s what...

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Now Available on Amazon Prime Instant Streaming: Faults

Originally published on May 13, 2015. Faults is now available on Amazon Prime’s streaming service. Overview: A financially strapped cult expert is hired to deprogram a young woman, but he soon finds himself in new territory when her beliefs prove far more dangerous than he suspected. 2014; Screen Media Films; NR; 89 minutes. Indoctrination: A large part of what makes Faults such a unique look at cult behavior is screenwriter/director Riley Stearns’ delicate tonal balance. Advertised as a film from the producers of The Guest, Faults has a similar multi-genre feel, though I think the transitions between genres in...

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Filmstruck Hidden Gem: Germany Year Zero

Germany Year Zero Director: Roberto Rossellini Genre: Drama G.D.B. Films Synopsis: A young boy in post-WWII Germany struggles to help his family survive food shortage and illness. The third film in Roberto Rossellini’s “War Trilogy” (connected by themes and time, not by characters or plot, cf. Wright’s “Cornetto Trilogy,” Luhrmann’s “Red Curtain Trilogy,” Renoir’s “Trilogy of Spectacle,” etc.), Germany Year Zero is the first to consider the side of the Germans themselves. While the earlier films, Rome Open City and Paisan, dealt with victims and fighters of Nazi oppression, this concluding chapter focuses on the devastation that German citizens...

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New on Netflix Instant Streaming: The Founder is Almost Golden

Originally published January 23, 2017. The Founder is now available on Netflix Instant streaming. Overview: Ray Kroc turns a single hamburger stand into one of the most successful business models ever—often at the expense of those along the way who help him. The Weinstein Company; 2016; Rated PG-13; 115 minutes. American Dreams: Rarely do the trailers before a film factor into its review, but it was impossible to miss something interesting that was happening in the 15 minutes before The Founder began. If film is a kind of projection of our collective psyche, right now we’re awfully anxious. And the...

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New on Netflix Instant Streaming: The Devil’s Candy Hits the Sweet Spot

Originally published April 5, 2017. The Devil’s Candy is now available on Netflix Instant streaming. Overview: A heavy-metal loving painter and his family move into a house that promises tranquility and inspiration, but offers so much more when the hellish visions begin and the previous occupant comes knocking. IFC Midnight; 2017; Not Rated; 79 minutes. Moth into Flame: Horror iconography has always been a staple of heavy metal, and in turn much of contemporary horror has become infused with heavy metal through soundtrack and aesthetic. Metal has been used as a doorway to satanic forces, playing on the fears...

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New on Amazon Prime Instant Streaming: Chef

Originally published on July 1, 2014. Chef is now available on Amazon Prime’s streaming service. Overview: A once celebrated chef hits a streak of (amusing) bad fortune that sends his career in an unexpected direction. Aldamissa Entertainment; 2014; Rated R; 114 Minutes. In Control of His Kitchen: The first act of Chef displays a downward-spiraling Carl Casper, a culinary artist losing touch of his professional, creative, and personal life. As the film’s lead actor, Jon Favreau injects into Carl as much humor and likability as possible while convincingly selling the loose footing that leads the titular chef to fall...

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New on Netflix Instant Streaming: Rogue One Is Beautiful and Bloodthirsty

Originally published on December 14, 2016. Rogue One is now available on Netflix’s instant streaming service. Overview: A ragtag group of rebels try to steal the plans for the Empire’s newest weapon, The Death Star. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; 2016;  PG-13; 133 Minutes. Long Odds: Disney and Lucasfilm, much like the characters in the newest Star Wars film, had a huge mission. With their acquisition of the Star Wars brand, Disney announced a seemingly endless franchise with a new Star Wars movie every year for  the near future. Some chapters would be continuing episodes of the original saga while...

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New on Amazon Prime Instant Streaming: 20th Century Women & The Distance Between American Generations

Originally published on January 30, 2017. 20th Century Women is now available on Amazon Prime’s instant streaming service. Overview: In 1979 Santa Barbara, single mother Dorothea struggles to raise her son Jaime and seeks the help of two young women. A24; 2016; Rated R; 118 minutes. Mama Can’t Buy You Love: Director and writer Mike Mills, recently nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, has more than proven his mastery of incorporating personal yet universal themes in his work. Mike Mills’ most recent feature, Beginners (2010) was simple yet profound, heartbreaking yet hopeful, and creatively crafted. 20th...

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New on Amazon Prime Instant Streaming: Paterson Gets Almost Everything Right

Originally published on October 11, 2016. Paterson is now available on Amazon Prime’s instant streaming service. Overview:  Jim Jarmusch’s latest film gives us a week in the life of a poet. Amazon Studios; 2016; Rated R; 113 minutes. Disaster Strikes: I nearly missed my first New York Film Festival press screening this morning. I hadn’t yet picked up my badge, so the goal had been to budget an hour of time (the screening started at 8:30 ) to stop by the press and industry office to retrieve it (as I would soon find out, this would not be necessary. The...

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Amazon Prime Hidden Gems: A Long Strange Trip

“Such a long, long time to be gone, and a short time to be there.” “Box of Rain,” The Grateful Dead The lyric above is the one that made me fall in love with the Grateful Dead; what a melancholy, powerful statement. Fifteen words summing up the human experience. Short time to be here, but a long time to be gone. How are we going to spend our time? It’s a big question, one I certainly did not have the answer to. But the idea that a song—alas, one line in a song– could challenge me in this way,...

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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...

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New on Amazon Prime Instant Streaming: They Look Like People Offers Heartfelt Horror

Originally published on May 14, 2016. They Look Like People is now available on Amazon Prime’s instant streaming service. Overview: A man deals with several struggles in his life while his friend struggles with schizophrenic delusions and clinical paranoia. 2015; Not Rated; 80 minutes. Wyatt/Christian: At first there’s a choppy, muted, sloppy casualness to They Look Like People – an unobtrusive, mumblecore-esque distance kept by the story as it watches old friends Christian (Evan Dumouchel) and Wyatt’s (MacLeod Andrews) unexpected reunion. Director Perry Blackshear opens his first feature film with choppy takes, disjointed voiceovers, conversational fragments. The first half of They Look Like...

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New on Amazon Prime Instant Streaming: The Nightmare

Originally published on June 9, 2015. The Nightmare is now available on Amazon Prime’s instant streaming service. Overview: A combination of interviews and re-enactments regarding the experience of different individuals who suffer from sleep paralysis. Gravitas Ventures; Not Rated; 2015; 91 minutes. A Developing Form: There’s a moment in Room 237, Rodney Ascher’s first documentary that covers the elaborately insane interpretative readings from obsessive fans of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, where I had to step back and shake myself back to reality. Left alone with the preposterous, but uninterrupted, explanations with no measured string of factual information with which to weigh...

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New on Amazon Prime Instant Streaming: Deathgasm Offers Buckets of Gore and Fun

Originally published on October 1, 2015. Deathgasm is now available on Amazon Prime’s instant streaming service. Overview: Best friends Brodie (Milo Cawthorne) and Zakk (James Blake) bond over their mutual appreciation of Death Metal in suburban New Zealand, form a band, and perform an ancient black magic hymn that releases a force of evil. Dark Sky Films; 2015; Not Rated; 86 minutes. Splatter-Fun: A self-proclaimed fan of such low-budget, splatter-fest classics as Sam Raimi’s original The Evil Dead and Peter Jackson’s cult-favorite horror comedy Bad Taste, writer and director Jason Lei Howden’s debut feature length film honors both sources...

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