Category: Streaming Suggestions

New Netflix Instant Streaming: Tower Dares An Emotional Connection

Originally published on October 12, 2016. Tower is now available on U.S. Netflix Instant streaming. Overview: Combining archival footage and rotoscope animation, Keith Maitland’s TOWER is a bold documentary on the 1966 mass shooting at the University of Texas at Austin. Kino Lorber; 2016; Not Rated; 82 minutes. A National Sickness: Orlando. San Bernardino. Sandy Hook. Aurora. Virginia Tech. Columbine. These names resonant deep within the American psyche, each synonymous with one of the nation’s deadliest mass shootings. These attacks may not be unique among First World Countries, but they are unmatched in their frequency. Other countries look at...

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New on Amazon Prime Streaming: The Handmaiden Is Erotic and Gorgeous

Originally published on May 15, 2016. The Handmaiden is now available on Amazon Prime instant streaming. Overview: A con man hires a pickpocket to help him, but things go awry when unexpected love develops. CJ Entertainment; 2016; 145 Minutes. The Web: Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden builds a web of deception and manipulation, a story in which the roles of puppeteers and puppets are indistinguishable. The film tangles the relationships between three primary people. Lady Hideko (Kim Min-hee) is a wealthy Japanese heiress promised to her predatory uncle.  Sook-Hee (Kim Tae-ri) is a young thief disguised as Lady Hideko’s eponymous servant. And con...

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New on Netflix Instant: Pete’s Dragon Is the Rare Remake Success Story

Originally published on August 16, 2016. Pete’s Dragon is now available on Netflix Instant in the U.S. Overview: A modern day revisionist retelling of the classic Disney film of 1977 that manages to deliver a wondrous reboot that miraculously supersedes the original. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; 2016; Rated PG; 103 minutes. Folklore: Starting with the opening sequence of David Lowery’s remarkable Pete’s Dragon remake, independent film actor and folk singer iconoclast Bonnie “Prince” Billy provides an original musical composition that serves to set the tone for the entire production. The strains and lyrics to “The Dragon Song” serve...

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New on Netflix Instant: The Eyes of My Mother is Hauntingly Poignant Horror

Originally published on October 26, 2016. The Eyes of My Mother is now available on U.S. Netflix Instant streaming. Overview: After witnessing an act of brutal violence, a young woman deals with her trauma and isolation with creative and depraved methods. Magnet Releasing; 2016; Rated R; 76 minutes. Open Eyes: Shot in stunning black and white, The Eyes of My Mother is a gorgeous looking film that has the added benefit of muting the inevitable gore. Nicolas Pesce’s directorial debut challenges the audience with timelines that expect you to keep up with them and choices that ask you to...

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New on Netflix Instant: Newtown is a Call to Action

Originally published on April 15, 2016. Newtown is now available on Netflix Instant streaming in the U.S. Overview: On December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, a gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School and shot and killed 20 children, aged between six and seven years old, and six adult staff members. Newtown follows the collective grief and trauma of a community in mourning. Mile 22/Transform Films. 2016. Unrated. 85 minutes. The Grieving Process: They say there are 72 hours after a tragedy when everyone stands singularly together. 72 hours where political divisions don’t matter, people comfort each other wholeheartedly, regardless of what...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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