Category: Netflix Hidden Gems

Netflix Hidden Gem #76: The Fundamentals of Caring

The Fundamentals of Caring (2016) Director: Rob Burnett Genre: Drama Netflix Original There is a lot of piss and shit in The Fundamentals of Caring, the new Netflix original film from Rob Burnett based on the novel The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison. The film’s two main characters, caretaker Ben (Paul Rudd) and muscular dystrophy patient and shut-in Trevor (Craig Roberts), connect over an interview question in which the latter asks the former his plans for wiping his ass. From there, two scenes rarely pass without a shit joke or a physical struggle to get Trevor to relieve himself. It’s crass,...

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Netflix Hidden Gem #75: Y tu mamá también

                                                                       Y Tu Mamá También Director: Alfonso Cuarón Genre: Drama, Romance IFC Films Synopsis: Two teenage, Mexican boys go on a roadtrip with an older woman (Maribel Verdú) while they learn more about each other, life, and intimate relationships. Overview: Y Tu Mamá También is like the surf, and watching Alfonso Cuarón’s reflective and sincere coming-of-age, road trip film is like the calm and ever-engaging...

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Netflix Hidden Gem #74: The Bletchley Circle

The Bletchley Circle: Season 1 (2012) Director: Andy De Emmony Genre: Period Drama/Mystery World Productions   Synopsis: Five women who worked together as code-breakers during WWII come together to catch a serial killer when it becomes apparent the police can’t (at least, not as fast as these women can). Their brains and bravery lead them on a thrilling and dangerous chase. Overview: This PBS series’s unassuming name belies the real strength of the show, much like the apparent roles of the women (wife, mother, librarian, etc.), belie their intelligence and influence. Set in 1950s London, The Bletchley Circle follows a...

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Netflix Hidden Gem #73: He Never Died

He Never Died (2015) Director: Jason Krawczyk Genre: Comedy Vertical Entertainment Synopsis: The biblical character Cain is made manifest in surly metropolitan loner Jack (Henry Rollins), an immortal protagonist at constant odds with his baser nature that drives him to feed on human flesh. As a result, he must force himself into self-imposed isolation from others, and bribe a local medical student to supply him with human blood. But all of the sobriety that Jack has been able to establish for himself over the course of recent years is put to the test when a former employer and local...

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Netflix Hidden Gem #72: Coming to America

Coming to America (1988) Director: John Landis Genre: Comedy Paramount Pictures Synopsis:  Coming to America, a film about a wealthy African prince coming to New York City to escape an arranged marriage, is the perfect movie to begin a person’s Eddie education. A hugely funny story with a big heart populated by wild characters, it is, above all things, Murphy at his most effortlessly charming and insane. Overview: It’s been a long time since Eddie Murphy made a good movie. At some point he fell into slapstick kid’s movies and sappy movies about inattentive dads. Dreamgirls was probably the last time he...

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Three Classic Best Picture Winners Hidden on Netflix Now

With the Oscars looming, this is a time when we not only look forward to the Oscars but we also look back at past winners. We lament the movies that were robbed and celebrate the movies that won. We are eternally surprised by the movies that won Best Picture (Chicago? Really?) and find ourselves reappraising them with the benefit of hindsight. However, most of the time we don’t look far back enough. So, with that in mind, here are the three earliest Best Picture winners available on Netflix now. See how it was done in the ’20s and ’50s...

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Netflix Hidden Gem #71: We Need to Talk About Kevin

We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011) Director: Lynne Ramsay Genre: Drama Oscilloscope Laboratories Synopsis: A beleaguered metropolitan woman (Tilda Swinton) gives birth to a particularly troublesome son (Ezra Miller) with her incongruously upbeat husband (John C. Reilly), and after attempting to continue to live in the city for a short time, the young couple moves to the picturesque suburbs, wherein the mother is forced to contend with something seemingly very wrong with the child as he grows up into a mass murdering sociopath. Overview: There are several moments sprinkled throughout writer-director Lynne Ramsay’s We Need to Talk About...

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Netflix Hidden Gem #69: Masters of the Universe

Masters of the Universe (1987) Director: Gary Goddard Genre: Fantasy Cannon Films Synopsis: The heroes of Eternia must find a way to defeat their nemesis, Skeletor. Overview: There are films we like that we know are bad. We know they have poor writing, bad plotting, clunky special effects, silly dialogue, broad characters, and amateurish direction. And even with these faults we can’t help but enjoy the film. In some cases the silliness and wonkiness translates into a fun watch instead of something boring. One such movie is Masters of the Universe. At Audiences Everywhere our Netflix Hidden Gems are usually...

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Netflix Hidden Gems #68: Phoenix

Phoenix (2015) Director: Christian Petzold Genre: Drama IFC Films Synopsis: After undergoing facial reconstruction surgery, a Holocaust survivor goes looking for her husband, who may have sold her out to the Nazis. Overview: People often perceive identity as something inherent to themselves, an inner truth which can be expressed or concealed at one’s will. Cinema traditionally backs this up; we’re drowning in narratives where the moral is “be yourself!” or “express your truth!” or some derivative version of the same. It’s rare to see a film argue another angle. “Your truth is what you choose to express, not the other...

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Netflix Hidden Gems #67: Young & Beautiful

Young & Beautiful (2013) Director: François Ozon Genre: Drama Wild Bunch Films Synopsis: Isabelle, a 17-year old girl, becomes a call girl after losing her virginity. Overview: For such a cold film, Young and Beautiful is oddly compelling. Its plot, regarding beautiful teenager Isabelle’s unexplained transition into a callous call-girl, within its context, is completely confounding yet altogether believable, begging us to to solve the puzzle within her actions. It is a coming of age film that defies its genre. The reasoning behind every decision within it is generally unexplained – left to the viewer to decipher. And its story, interlaced with title...

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Netflix Hidden Gem #66: Eva

Eva (2011) Director: Kike Maíllo Genre: Science Fiction The Weinstein Company Synopsis: Returning to his hometown of Santa Irene, Álex Garel (Daniel Brühl) attempts to complete the engineering of an emotionally perfect robot based off the brain patterns of a young girl. Overview: Robots exist in the everyday world, with their objective being to make life easier for humans. But the robot yet to exist in our world is the free thinker, one that operates under its own free will. Eva explains and depicts consciousness beautifully. The components of the A.I. brain Álex constructs resemble Edison-inspired bulbs, from the radiance they emit to...

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Netflix Hidden Gem #65: The Houses October Built

The Houses October Built Director: Bobby Roe Genre: Horror Image Entertainment/RLJ Entertainment Synopsis: In Bobby Roe’s directorial debut, The Houses October Built centers around a group of life-long friends who go on a tour of backwoods haunted house, road side attractions in search of the most debilitating scares. When the horror begins to prove a little too close for comfort, the line between collaborative fantasy and singular reality gives way to the imagined psycho-pathologies of the employees that maintain and perform in the film’s ostensibly fictive haunts. Overview: The nightmares on display throughout Roe’s film are persistently on the...

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Netflix Hidden Gem #63: Don Jon

  Don Jon Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt Genre: Comedy Relativity Media Synopsis: Jon (Gordon-Levitt) is a guy who loves only a few things in life; his body, his house, his car, his Church, his family, his boys, his girls, and his porn. Jon is a porn addict, but after meeting Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), he is forced to give up porn in order to commit to a real life, mutually beneficial relationship. Overview: When I saw this film in 2013, I immediately fell in love with it. The comedy really clicked, the performances were great, the film was paced really well, and all the scenes just gave off such a unique energy that I came out of the theater buzzing. I recently re-watched Don Jon for the first time, and surprisingly ended up enjoying it even more than I did on first viewing. It isn’t really a date movie, but the film actually manages to go further beyond the tropes and basic structure of raunchy comedies because of the way it handles its themes and its characters. The film really digs deep into Jon’s porn addiction and egocentrism, wherein Gordon-Levitt gets to explore the character and his different relationships while also painting a nice arc of growth for Jon, and the result is a clever and emotionally satisfying, raunchy comedy. There’s no doubt that there’s a certain level of cockiness in the approach...

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Netflix Hidden Gem #62: An Adventure in Space and Time

An Adventure in Space and Time Director: Mark Gatiss Genre: Documentary BBC Synopsis: A dramatisation of the creation of Doctor Who in the 1960s. Overview: Made for the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, An Adventure in Space and Time tells the story of how this international phenomena about a mad man who travels the universe in a police box came to be. It is a fascinating story about sexism and racism at the BBC in the ’60s which gently morphs into the story of one man’s battle to hold on to a job that he loves. Doctor Who was...

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Netflix Hidden Gem #60: Aim High in Creation

Aim High in Creation Director: Anna Broinowski Genre: Documentary Antidote Films Synopsis: Documentary filmmaker Anna Broinowski attempts to make a movie protesting coal seam gas using propaganda methods from North Korea. Overview: A Russian doll of a movie, Aim High in Creation is about film-making, protest, democracy, dictatorship, propaganda, freedom, coal seam gas, North Korea, acting, directing, and culture. It is a credit to Broinowski that the movie never feels cluttered and it’s intent is clearly defined throughout. Fearing the arrival of a coal seam gas drilling operation near her home, and the rise of drilling and fracking throughout Australia, Broinowski decides to...

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