Flicks to Stream: The Best of Netflix and Hulu
It never ceases to amaze just how quickly movies pop up on Netflix and Hulu. Netflix Watch Instantly has been lighting instant queues on fire with fantastic releases just weeks after they are on DVD/Blu-ray -- even a mere few weeks after a limited theatrical run as well.
This week, two new ones can be added the aformentioned list. One is a Bruce Willis thriller where he plays... wait for it... a cop! What a shocking departure for Bruce. But would we want him to be anything else really? A painter or something? Maybe a painter who paints in blood and guns.
The other one is a truly fantastic piece of documentary work, chroncling the height of success in The Door's career. When You're Strange was released to limited theaters back on April 9th, which is about a 10 week delay from the theater to your home theater. Not bad.
If those aren't your style, check out the picks for movie buffs this week. If you have the blues, they'll be cured.
Popcorn Movie of the Week
It never became what it could have been, but Surrogates still delivers. Adapted from a graphic novel, which is becoming a prerequisite now-a-days, Surrogates tackles complex and intricate subject matter -- with a butter knife. Rather than cutting in and hacking away at common misconceptions about life, technology, or what it means to be human, Surrogates decides to overlay a deep plot with scant dialogue and action sequences. Amazingly, it works. Surrogates is a classic B-level action movie. It's slick, stylized, fast-paced, and has enough edge to keep you interested. Throw in Bruce Willis (who I mentally picture holding a gun now) and Surrogates won't disappoint anyone looking for a good time. Surrogates had the premise to be more akin to The Matrix, or even Children of Men, but instead chooses to be chicken, rather than steak. But hey, most people love chicken.
Personally, baseball isn't my thing. Of course there was a time in my childhood spent out in the front lawn playing catch and fielding ground balls thinking I was going to be "the next big thing", but past about 6th grade, baseball lost its charm. Whatever "charm" baseball had then has been nearly erased by steroids, congressional hearings, and a complete mismanagement of the game by the league's front office -- but I digress. The Sandlot is the the antithesis to all of that mess. It represents purity. A bunch of crazy kids playing ball anywhere they can. The Sandlot focuses on those moments everyone remembers from childhood. It's the good stuff. Plus, The Sandlot is an American movie classic, an experience meant to be re-lived over again, and not to be missed for those who haven't seen it.
The One That Got Away
Matthew McConaughey has receieved a lot of negative buzz lately. It's not exactly clear why either. Best guess: people are just tired of him. Maybe it's the smirk, the "I am an ass but you still love me" persona, or maybe it's the fact that even his mother can't spell his last name. Regardless, Matt has some good roles, and can actually act (though that may be a minority opinion). Contact opened in the summer of '97, ranking #2 behind Men in Black, though it was MIB's second weekend, pulling in a cool $20 Million. It didn't really catch on though. Maybe it's because it was a movie about aliens where they aren't show on screen (save for a seriously trippy end sequence), and nothing blows up (save for one scene involving Jake Busey going nuts). Does it seem to crawl towards the ending? Yes. Does it require some patience and genuine interest to keep going? Yes. If you meet those requirements, is it worth it? Totally.
When You're Strange
There were some who were turned off by Oliver Stone's The Doors. Val Kilmer pulled the part off beautifully, both looking and acting the part of Morrison rock and roll's enigmatic frontman. Kilmer captured a part that was both difficult to play, while also seemingly relatively easy. "Okay, in this scene you are tripping acid," was probably heard on-set daily by Kilmer. Not to knock it too much, The Doors does represent a large facet of Morrison's persona, the '60s in general, and especialy the 1960s California bands The Doors didn't grow past the box it set out for itself though. Morrison seemed enigmatic, but the problem with The Doors is that only Jim Morrison can do Jim Morrison justice. So, When You're Strange is here to fill that much needed void in the cinematic landscape. Taken from footage between '66 and '71, When You're Strange gives the Doors a truly proper movie. How could it not be? It onlys stars the band itself.
For the Movie Buff
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Jaws has one of the best movie posters ever. It's just brilliant. That classic style, a simple layout, an amazingly cheesy yet perfect subtitle, and the movie was even better. Jaws recently celebrated its 35 year anniversary. 35 years! And still to this day, Jaws still stands among the very best movies ever in terms of memorable soundtrack, scariest monster, best special effects, best one-liners, and true jump out of your seat moments. For 35 years later, its doing alright. And now you can see it online! Wow, nothing like a beautiful marriage between analog and digital. Now if they will just release the Blu-ray soon...
The Blues Brothers
Anyone who is into the classics is having quite a time with Netflix this week. First Jaws, now The Blues Brothers. The latter of which is among the contenders for "best SNL movie ever". Here's an amazing hypothesis: SNL duos really work. Think about it the best SNL movies: Blues Brothers, Wayne's World, and A Night at the Roxbury. All duos. Now the less-funny ones: Superstar (not a duo because Will Farrell was barely in it), The Ladies Man, Coneheads (thats an ensemble), Pat, and Stuart Saves His Family. Each were missing something -- a friggin' co-star. So, while I sulk about good Macruber is, as no one listens, you can turn on a genuine comedy classic, The Blues Brothers.
Sweet Streams. See You Next Week!
All movies this week are available on Netflix.
Past Weeks of Flicks to Steam