5 Best New Movies on Netflix Instant
Mayor Nutter has suggested treating this weekend—when the Pope and an estimated 1 to 2 million of his most devoted followers (and almost just as many Port a Potties) descend onto Philly—like a winter storm. That means one thing: Start using the words “hunker” and “down” in the same sentence and cozy up on the couch with a few good flicks. To help you decide what to watch, I present you five of my favorite new entries to hit Netflix instant streaming this month.
Rambo: First Blood (1982)
Clumsily renamed to forever link the film to its indelible American hero, our first John Rambo adventure finds the wounded, miserable Viet Nam vet vagabonding around a small Washington town where he quickly runs afoul of the law, led by evil Sheriff Teasle (Brian Dennehy). Little do they know the hell they’ve just unleashed upon themselves—as Richard Crenna thoughtfully explains. Sly Stallone created two classic American heroes in his career, and both suffered miserably at an endless parade of sequels. If you see any Rambo film, this is most definitely the one. Out there he was in charge of tanks and million dollar equipment, back in the States, the poor guy can’t even keep a job “par-king cars!”
Lawrence of Arabia: Restored Version (1962)
Okay, there was no way I could resist putting this towering, 216-minute David Lean epic on our list this month, but you’ll need to promise me something: If you watch this one, you absolutely have to see it on as big a screen as you can find. Shot on super-expansive 70mm, the desert vistas absolutely beg to be witnessed full-sized. Besides, if you’re trying to watch this on your crappy laptop screen, its three-and-a-half-hour running time will break your will to live.
About Elly (2009)
Iranian auteur Asghar Farhadi’s brilliant films are often built around intricate mysteries, which he uses to plumb the souls of his characters. The Oscar-winning director of A Separation and The Past might have only recently come to the attention of the American public, but he’s been making gorgeous, complex psychological studies for the last 15 years. This film, which concerns a group of friends who embark on a seaside getaway in the north of Iran and what happens to them when one of their companions mysteriously vanishes, is vintage Farhadi: compellingly complex, deeply enigmatic, and powerfully evocative. Not to be missed.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Wes Anderson gets a fair amount of grief over his signature style—one that “SNL” hilariously appropriated in an inspired spoof a couple years ago—but the truth is, he has a very refined, singular vision, and keeps finding perfect projects for which to utilize his aesthetic. This sweet-minded film finds young love amongst a pair of off-beat prepubescents—one a bookish girl, the other a somewhat miserable Khaki Scout. Most of Anderson’s steady stable of actors are on hand, including Philly’s new bestie Bill Murray, Edward Norton, and Jason Schwartzman. The film finds a breezy kind of comic pace between the adults and the children that is positively refreshing.
If the brilliant, late documentarian Albert Maysles taught us anything over the years, it was just how compelling it was to watch singular characters reveal themselves before his camera, be they young and earnest, or elderly and accomplished. His film about legendary fashion icon Iris Apfel—who influenced fashion for better than 75 years—captures her spirit and contentiousness perfectly (“I don’t have any rules,” she tells us, “cuz I’d only be breaking them, so it’s a waste of time”), without ever stooping to condescension of his firecracker subject. As a bookend with his co-directed masterpiece Grey Gardens, it paints a fascinating picture of eccentric New Yorkers absolutely unafraid to be themselves. (Available September 24th)