5 Best New Movies on Netflix Instant Streaming

As our biggest pre-summer TV series have begun to wind down (au revoir, Mad Men; see you soon, Game of Thrones), our attention can now be consumed by some new narratives. Here are some of our picks for the best and most interesting new offerings from Netflix streaming this month.

The High and the Mighty (1954)

I’m hardly what you would call a John Wayne devotee, but William Wellman’s high-altitude thriller is sharp, and well-constructed. Wayne plays a burned-out co-pilot of a trans-Pacific flight who suddenly has to take over the plane and land it safely when his pilot loses it. If the plot sounds vaguely familiar, you have to imagine it was one of the many inspirations for the ZAZ boys when they made the ribald Airplane! a couple decades later.

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Here’s the Funny, Retro Trailer for Wet Hot American Summer TV Series, Starring Bradley Cooper

Netflix just released the trailer for the TV series based on the 2001 summer-camp spoof Wet Hot American Summer, starring folks like Philly’s own Bradley Cooper and Amy Poehler.

The trailer views like an ad for the camp that was recorded on an old VHS tape that was probably on the fritz. It promotes Camp Firewood’s many activities and the long-lasting friendships that are waiting to be made. If you watch really closely, there’s even a split-second throw-in of the steamy sex scene between Cooper and fellow star Michael Ian Black. Cooper returns to reprise his role as Ben, the token gay camp leader who runs the theater portion of the camp with fruit-fly Susie (Poehler).

The series is called Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp and it will be released on Netflix on July 31st—unless they decide to surprise us by sharing it early like they did Orange is the New Black.

10 Gay Documentaries on Netflix Streaming

A scene from "Mr. Angel."

A scene from “Mr. Angel.”

Sometimes, you need a little reality check. That’s why a good documentary can be a welcomed change to, say, battering your head against a wall while watching another episode of Game of Thrones. In no particular order, we rounded up ten great LGBT documentaries that you can stream right now on Netflix, and there’s a little something for everyone in our list.

1. Bridegroom: “This timely documentary tells the story of Shane Bitney Crone, who finds himself without marriage’s legal protections when his same-sex partner dies.”

2. Vito: “This documentary explores the life and work of activist Vito Russo, who wrote The Celluloid Closet, which examines movie portrayals of homosexuals. Russo was a powerful force in gay politics and AIDS awareness before dying of the disease in 1990.”

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5 Best New Movies on Netflix Instant Streaming

We’d love to rhapsodize something sweet and meaningful about spring, one of the all-time best seasons, but frankly, we’re sneezing and coughing so much from the pollen, we simply don’t have the strength. In any event, here are some of our picks for the best and most interesting offerings from Netflix streaming this month—all of which are delightfully allergy free.

The Last Waltz (1978)
Martin Scorsese’s indelible concert film about The Band, performing their last ever show in 1976 is both an engrossing portrait of a group of musicians who worked together for 16 years, and a perfect time capsule of the era of Big Rock. Scorsese’s camera captures the magic of their on-stage performance—one that includes guest spots including everyone from Eric Clapton and Neil Young to Joni Mitchell and Emmylou Harris—but also gathers a sense of the off-stage interaction of the band and what made them tick. Even if you aren’t a huge fan of their music, the film is a fascinating take on the delicate psyche of an artistic group collective—and its inevitable dissolution.

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5 Best New Movies on Netflix Instant Streaming

Here are some of our picks for the best and most interesting offerings from Netflix streaming this month.

The Babadook (2014)
Last year’s critical darling (and one much-appreciated by Ticket) is many things: an unconventional spook story, an examination of suppressed parental grief and rage, and an art-house treatment of the standard boogey-man myth. But mostly, Jennifer Kent’s film is straight-up scary as hell. Served best at night, long after the kid(s) have been put safely to bed.

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8 Netflix Hacks to Improve Your Instant-Viewing Experience

"We totally  just hacked the shit out of this, and it's amazing!"

“We totally just hacked the shit out of this, and it’s amazing!”

Last week, the good folks at theweek.com gave us a smorgasbord of what they called Netflix hacks to help improve your overall Netflix experience. While we technically wouldn’t call any of these “hacks” exactly, they do work as enhancers, broadening and strengthening your experience on the site. Here’s what they came up with:

1. Netflix Internacional: Perhaps you are a cultured, multi-cultural sort who would enjoy shows and movies from other countries not being shown in the States. This here browser extension, Hola, should have your bases covered. Essentially, it fools Netflix into thinking you’re based in another country, allowing you access to shows and films otherwise unavailable to you. As it’s technically not exactly on the up-and-up (and apparently Netflix doesn’t give this practice any kind of smiley face emoji), you are assuming a bit of a risk, but it’s your call to make.

2. Netflix Personalized: This is one for heavy users who would like more control over their Netflix experience. Brought to us by Lifehacker, the Chrome extension Flix Plus gives you all sorts of say on how the site runs for you: Check the IMDB/Rotten Tomatoes score, rate things by half-star (for extra precision), hide potential spoilers, and, most importantly, it allows you to filter recommendations so you don’t keep getting the same damn ones over and over.

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Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Star Ellie Kemper to Speak at Penn Museum [UPDATED]

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

UPDATE [4/7/2015, 11:17 am]: This event is officially (and sadly for those who didn’t get tickets) sold out.

ORIGINAL: You’ve already binge-watched the entire first season of Tina Fey’s new Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, so what’s going to tide you over until the release of season two? This:

The show’s star, Ellie Kemper, is coming to Penn on April 21st to chat about her career and experience on the show, and then open up the floor for audience questions.

But don’t come prepared only with questions about crazy cult hairstyles, hilarious gay roommates and stories about working with Tina Fey. As The Daily Pennsylvanian points out, “Kemper is a strong voice for gender dynamics in the entertainment industry. In 2014, she hosted a TED Talk entitled ‘Women are Funny!’ and spoke about her experience as a female comedian in the male-dominated industry.”

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10 Best Lesbian Movies on Netflix Streaming

We rounded up some of our favorite lesbian movies on Netflix Instant Streaming, adding in each of their Rotten Tomatoes scores to back up our claims. We’ve included some well-known films, like the much-talked-about Blue is the Warmest Color and the Meryl Streep-starring The Hours to some under-the-radar picks that we think you might enjoy. Lesbian aliens, anyone?

A Marine Story: “A decorated Marine officer unexpectedly returns home from the war and is quickly recruited to help a troubled teen prepare for boot camp.” While working with the teenager, the Marine officer struggles with accepting herself.” Rotten Tomatoes Score: 60%

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5 Best New Movies On Netflix Instant Streaming

Still trying to figure out whether you’ll need to wear hiking boots, snow shoes, or Wellingtons before venturing outside? Weather is for suckers! Stay inside and fire up the TV for some home entertainment instead. Here are some of our picks for the best and most interesting offerings from Netflix streaming this month.

Finding Neverland (2004)
Before he became a weird, self-conscious parody of himself, Johnny Depp was a spry, sublimely talented actor who would seek out roles that were genuinely interesting to him. Playing Scottish author J.M. Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, was just such an opportunity. The film posits Barrie’s first meeting the Davies family, four children and a stunning widow (played by Kate Winslet), whom he would go on to befriend. Later, of course, he would be inspired by them to write his seminal children’s novel about a group of kids who don’t want to have to grow up. The performances are rich and nuanced and Marc Forster’s direction is steady and sound. It might not be a homerun, but it’s a solid base hit.

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