5 Great Dysfunctional Family Movies on Netflix Streaming

We’re very quickly charging into what is the most family-intensive season of the year. Thanksgiving’s cattle drive draws together crazy aunts, grumpy uncles and too-cool-for-school cousins from all over the globe to sit at a table while packing carbo bombs into their mouths and relentlessly talking over one another. Maybe you are blessed enough to have a family that is loving, supportive, and totally in sync with your needs; for the rest of us, here are five dysfunctional family movies available on Netflix streaming that should make you feel a lot better about your own brood.

August: Osage County (2013)

We might as well start this list with one of the more exhaustively dispiriting offerings: John Wells’s adaption of the Tracy Letts play is loud, brutal, and only occasionally relenting (mostly in a tacked-on “happy” ending for co-star Julia Roberts that literally makes no sense in context of what came before it), but it also features a stellar cast, including Roberts, Chris Cooper, Margo Martindale, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Meryl Streep — each pitted against one another in an emotional sort of Hunger Games. Just do yourself a favor and kill the picture immediately right after the last shot of Streep up on the stairs looking bewildered in order to preserve the vibe of abject misery.

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Alfred Hitchcock’s Philly Obsession: 14 Hints He Loved the City of Brotherly Love

Artwork by Mike Hague

Artwork by Mike Hague

In honor of the 60th anniversary of TV’s Alfred Hitchcock Presents (which you can binge-watch on Netflix streaming) we take a look at some of the Philadelphians who worked with the legendary director in film or another capacity on television. Hitchcock enjoyed working with many actors over the course of his career, but there is something about the people from Philadelphia that caught his eye. Just as a warning some minor spoilers ahead.

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Philly Police Union Won’t Back Down on Quentin Tarantino Boycott

On the left, Quentin Tarantino (AP Photo/Patrick Sison) | On the right, John McNesby

On the left, Quentin Tarantino (AP Photo/Patrick Sison) | On the right, John McNesby

Philadelphia’s police union won’t back down from its boycott of Quentin Tarantino, despite the director’s attempts this week to clarify remarks that had been deemed “anti-police.”

The Fraternal Order of Police announced its boycott last week, after Tarantino joined a New York march against police brutality, telling the crowd at one point: “When I see murders, I do not stand by … I have to call a murder a murder, and I have to call the murderers the murderers.”

“Tarantino has shown through his actions that he is anti-police,” FOP President John McNesby said in a statement. Read more »

M. Night Shyamalan Philly-Shot Film Split Gets Release Date

The chattering classes have been whispering about M. Night Shyamalan‘s next project for a while, but with little to go on except that he’s working with a local casting agency and shooting it in Philly, and that it will star X-Men: Days of Future Past star James McAvoy. Today, we’re learning a lot more with Deadline breaking news that the film will be called Split and it has a release date: January 20, 2017.

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7 Local Movies at the Philadelphia Film Festival


Philly film lovers and fans — it’s just about that time of year again. The 24th annual Philadelphia Film Festival begins October 22nd and runs through November 1st. The festival begins with Anomalisa, from screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and ends with Michael Moore’s Where to Invade Next. Classics like Monty Python and Raiders of the Lost Ark, French and Spanish language films, and documentaries are among the hundreds being screened in between. (Here are some of our top picks.)

One collection of flicks we’re particularly excited about is a series called “Greater Filmadelphia,” which will showcase the city’s own filmmaking talent and stories. Here’s what you’ll find among them, listed in alphabetical order. (Click on the films’ names for screening info.)

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10 Films You Need to See at the Philadelphia Film Festival

Philadelphia Film Festival

Traveling to film festivals throughout the year, I’ve seen some of the best and most intriguing films of 2015 in theaters all over North America. Now it’s Philadelphia’s turn to get a crack at ‘em. Running from October 22nd to November 1st, the Philadelphia Film Festival has culled an exciting and varied line-up for its 2015 edition. My list is by no means comprehensive (there are some 100-plus features playing at the fest, many of which could well be tremendous) but it does represent a batch of films you absolutely should be adding to your screening calendar. Here, 10 films not to miss, in alphabetical order:

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer Released During Eagles vs. Giants Game [UPDATED]

UPDATE [10/20/2015, 7:28 am]: Here’s the new Star Wars trailer that was released during the Eagles vs. Giants game during Monday Night Football:

star-wars-force-awakens-official-poster-691x1024ORIGINAL: Fans of football and sci-fi have an extra reason to be excited about tonight’s always-contentious matchup between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Lucasfilm announced that the TV trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens will debut during the game — at halftime on ESPN. The game starts at 8:15 pm, and halftime will be around 10.

After the trailer launch, tickets for the film will be made available everywhere tickets are sold, so you better hit up Fandango with a quickness. The film release is less than two months away, set for December 18th. Star Wars: The Force Awakens, directed by JJ Abrams, stars some newbies to the Star Wars franchise, like Girls’ Adam Driver and Lupita Nyong’o, but also marks the return of some of the original cast: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Chewbacca and C3PO.

Tonight’s trailer should give us the best peek yet at what we can expect from the new film. Up until now, Lucasfilm has released two fairly brief sneak peeks via social media: one in April and one quickie via Instagram in August. (See those here and here.) In anticipation of tonight’s trailer release, the production company debuted a new poster for the film. That’s the one you see to the right.


Awesome Fest Hosting Horror-Themed Sleepover at Prince Theater


I never actually watched a single A Nightmare on Elm Street movie, but all it took was one peep at Freddy Krueger to keep me rattled for years. I spent nights wide-eyed in my sheets, jumping up to flip on the lights so I could check under my bed and in my closet to make sure he wasn’t there. I knew he only visited people in their dreams, but I wasn’t taking any chances. I eventually grew a pair and pushed those thoughts out of my mind, but I wouldn’t be lying if I said I still turn away when Krueger pops on the TV screen.

With that being said, you can be sure that I won’t be anywhere near Awesome Fest’s upcoming sleepover at Prince Theater that will feature six of the seven films in the Wes Craven-created Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, plus a handful of others from the thriller king’s catalog. It’s taking place on Halloween day, October 31st. 

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5 Best New Movies on Netflix Streaming

Having just returned from the Toronto International Film Festival, I can confidently report there will be some pretty good stuff coming to screens over the next couple of months, but for the impatient, there are still some quality offerings available right in your own living room. Here are some of my picks for the best and most interesting flicks on Netflix streaming this month.

Boogie Nights (1997)

If I may, here’s what I wrote about Paul Thomas Anderson’s breakout film when it was first released in 1997: “Boogie Nights lovingly recreates the look and mood of that most innocently tacky and self-fulfilling decade and spins a lush Scorsese-like tale of loss and redemption, chronicling the (ahem) rise and fall and rise again of a talented porn actor. Much time and attention has been paid to the look of the film, from the outfits which were meticulously recreated and found in vintage clothiers, to the music, to the actual mood and tempo of the times. Behind it all is the twenty-six year-old wunderkind writer/director Anderson, in only his second feature. It is a tour de force from this immensely talented artist, standing far apart from his contemporaries in scope and almost astonishing in its dramatic credibility. This film establishes it’s young creator as a new cinematic force to be reckoned with.” If you ignore the last sentence ending in a preposition, it seems just about right on.

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Michael Moore, Charlie Kaufman Attending Philadelphia Film Festival

The 24th annual Philadelphia Film Festival kicks off next Thursday, October 22nd, showcasing over 100 screenings and correlating events around the city. Today, they rolled out their guest-list schedule, which includes A-listers like Todd Haynes, Charlie Kaufman and documentarian Michael Moore.

Young writer/director Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and director Duke Johnson (Marrying God) will be in attendance for the opening night film, their surreal stop-motion animation flick Anomalisa. They’ll stick around afterward for a Q&A with the audience. The duo will also be presented with the festival’s Artistic Achievement Award, honoring their imaginative writing skills and achievements in animation, respectively. On top of that, the Festival is presenting a whole Charlie Kaufman retrospective at the Prince Theater. The mini festival within the Festival will feature six of Kaufman’s best titles, including Adaptation, Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine.

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