Just a quick heads up: Let the Fire Burn, the 2013 documentary detailing Philly’s 1985 MOVE bombing is now available to stream instantly on Netflix. Find that here.
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Having survived the long, cold winter scowl, April brings us the beginnings of renewal and rebirth, you know, all that crap. But that doesn’t mean you should drop your home film and TV binging, no sir, not on our watch. Behold some of the glory newly available to you from your Netflix streaming account.
One-sentence Breakdown: A foolishly conceited playwright arrives in Hollywood in the '40s hoping to write for the pictures. Instead he endures a series of ever more disturbing mishaps while staying at a dilapidated hotel.
What's the Rumpus? The Coen brothers much-celebrated fourth feature came about because the brothers were trying like hell to write the script for The Hudsucker Proxy and kept hitting a creative stone wall. Thus, they created Barton (John Turturro), a writer stuck in hell, trying to write a wrestling picture for a studio that is growing ever more despondent with him. The best moment to this particular ink-stained wretch? When Barton, having finally feverishly producing a script he feels is worthy of him, goes out dancing at a local USO to celebrate and announces: "I'm a writer, you monsters! I create! I create for a living! I'm a creator! I am a creator!" And then gets punched to the ground. A more perfect metaphor for the creative process I've yet to find.
One-sentence Breakdown: A well-known French fashion magazine editor has a sudden stroke and, while mentally fully functional, is physically petrified except for being able to blink one eye.
What's the Rumpus? Based on the remarkable memoir by Jean-Dominique Bauby, an editor at the French version of Elle who suffered a stroke and was completely paralyzed except for his eye, which he used (through no small bit of ingenuity by his nurse and therapists) to write the book before he died. The film, by artist Julian Schnabel is remarkably true to its source material, making frequent use of a POV camera that puts one very closely into the kind of claustrophobic world Bauby was forced to inhabit. Strong stuff and remarkably affecting.
One-sentence Breakdown: In a future where genetics fully determines the course of your life, one man attempts to game the system in order to get into the fabled space program.
What's the Rumpus? Writer/Director Andrew Niccol had a way of taking a basic idea — a genetically predetermined future, say, or in The Truman Show, a man unaware that his day-to-day experience is a completely invented TV show — and riding that notion to its logical conclusion. It sounds simplistic, but it can be surprisingly difficult to do, especially if you're not taking the standard writing cheats that many, many Hollywood films employ as standard procedure. Niccol's tale of the irrepressible Vincent (Ethan Hawke), a man so committed to his dream that he risks everything in order to achieve it, remains the director's high-water mark: an intelligent and well-planned sci-fi tale that has a surprisingly emotional core. For the romantic trivia buffs out there, it is also the production where young Hawke met the early love of his life, Uma Thurman, a marriage that eventually ended spectacularly poorly for all concerned.
One-sentence Breakdown: Two sisters with very different personalities contend with love lost and regained in 19th-century England.
What's the Rumpus? Based on one of Jane Austen's most esteemed novels, Ang Lee's 1995 film adaptation is a rich smorgasbord of delights, including brilliant turns from leads Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet (as well as a dashing turn from Mr. Alan Rickman), the sumptuous cinematography of Michael Coulter, and, of course, the gorgeous prose and narrative drive of Austen, who has become a posthumous Hollywood darling for her works. If you are a Downton Abbey acolyte you are in for a rare treat.
One-sentence Breakdown: A P.I. in post-war L.A. stumbles onto a twisty and far-reaching case that has enormous implications for both him and the entire city, which is just starting to boom.
What's the Rumpus? One of the great screenplays ever written, Robert Towne's complex masterpiece is still taught in screenwriting classes as an example of superb narrative drive and refined character work. A classic in every sense of the word, director Roman Polanski's intelligent thriller represented a pinnacle of his career, earning 11 Academy Award nominations in the process (alas, winning but just one). With an outstanding cast (Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway), a meticulously byzantine plot, and an unforgettable series of revelations, it represents some of the best work from the Hollywood studio's true golden era in the '70s.
Looking to see something good in theaters? The Philadelphia Film Society just announced its upcoming mini spring film festival. Find more details and a screening schedule here.
Every month Philly film critic Piers Marchant shares his picks for the best recent releases on Netflix Instant streaming.
March is in like a lion and hopefully out like a lamb (or, as the great John Belushi said it once on SNL, it comes “in like an emu and out like a taper, and they don’t even know what that means!”) Here are our picks for five of the most worthy spots on your streaming queue for March.
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Every month Philly film critic Piers Marchant shares his picks for the best new releases on Netflix Instant streaming.
Okay, sure, our shortest month is almost over, but it still has eight more days of chilly, ghoulish wintry mix to rain down on our heads. Why not stay inside where it’s warm and the glow of your TV streaming an entirely beguiling movie or two will help take the edge off? Here are our picks for five of the most worthy spots on your streaming queue.
See Piers’s picks after the jump.
Here we are: snowstorm No. 9 (10? 11?) and we have another snow day to contend with. To help you while away your cozy day at home, I asked Philly Mag staffers to help me come up with a list of flicks and TV shows you can stream instantly.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly — Joel Mathis
Three reasons to watch The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: 1. It just arrived on Netflix, and you never know how long you’ll get a great classic movie like this available before it disappears again. 2. It’s three hours long, so it’ll fill up most of your snow afternoon. 3. It has one of the greatest scores in all of cinema history, highlighted by a wailing theme you’ll never forget. It’s almost too much awesome for a snow day.
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Drop everything and watch Bridegroom right now.
The biggie on this month’s list of new films to appear on Netflix Instant is the much-much-recommended Bridegroom, an emotional documentary that tells the story of a gay couple whose time together was cut short by tragedy. It’s an eye-opening must-watch for anyone — gay or straight — but it will speak loudest to those LGBTers dealing with intolerant families. (Quick tip: View with a full box of Kleenex.)
Another tear-jerker, Any Day Now, starring the marvelous Alan Cumming, also made its way from DVD to instant streaming. For those who don’t mind waiting, I’ve also included a list of DVD-only rentals Behind the Candelabra and Petunia, and some that should be coming down the pipe any day now. Check below for more info and trailers.
This month’s newest films on Netflix Instant after the jump »
Yossi, the sequel to 2002′s steamy Yossi & Jagger is now available on Netflix Instant Streaming.
What better way to kick off LGBT History Month than with a marathon of good gay flicks. But before you say, “I’ve already seen them all!,” consider some of these fresh additions to Netflix’s DVD rental and instant-streaming lineups.
Newbies include Stephen Cone’s The Wise Kids, an engaging drama about three teens coming of age in a tight-knit Baptist community; Joshua Tree, 1951: A Portrait of James Dean, a fan favorite at last year’s QFest that takes a peek at a very gay moment in the Hollywood heartthrob’s too-short life; and Yossi, the sequel to 2002′s über-provocative Yossi & Jagger.
Find all the new entries with trailers and links to their Netflix streaming pages (when available) after the jump »