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.
Some Came Running (1958)
And not just because it’s the inspiration for the title of Glenn Kenny’s beloved film blog. Instead, Vincente Minnelli’s film stars crooner Frank Sinatra as Dave Hirsch, a bitter alcoholic solider returned to his small hometown after WWII with a passel of trouble and a hell of a bad attitude. The cast includes such luminaries as Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine along with Sinatra, and more or less sticks to its dramatically grim tone. It’s a tragedy, by all means, and Sinatra’s rough, cynical character (who one suspects has more good in him than he’s willing to let on) is the perfect witness to everything that befalls him.
The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
Before he was out offending everyone all the time, Matt Damon enjoyed a pretty good run as the amnesiac super agent who is forced to piece together the shattered pieces of his life in the Bourne series. Blessed as they were by fine directors (Doug Limon made the first; Paul Greengrass the other two), and a brilliant screenwriter (Tony Gilroy), the films glide along their twisty thriller path with verve and style. Supremacy is the second of the initial trilogy, but it stands up just fine on its own as Bourne goes on a revenge spree after a failed assassination attempt on his life leads to horrific tragedy. Believe me, this is one dude you don’t want hunting you down. For those completists out there, you can also stream the initial film in the series, The Bourne Identity.
Beasts of No Nation (2015)
Cary Fukunaga’s next directorial effort after the much-heralded first season of HBO’s True Detective (and well away from the hot, flaming mess that was season two) is about a small child (Abraham Attah) in a civil war-torn African country who loses his parents and is forced to hightail it to the woods, where he is soon snatched up by a group of rebel guerrillas, lead by the charismatic but cruel Commandant (Idris Elba, in a command performance). Vital, if somewhat unfocused, Netflix’s first feature film is nevertheless essential viewing. (Available October 16th)
Fans of off-beat comedy might want to check out Andrew Bujalski’s film about a pair of personal trainers (Guy Pierce and Cobie Smulders) in Florida, who become embroiled with a newly rich sad-sack (Kevin Corrigan), who seems to want a great number of things from the pair of trainers, but truly just wants to avoid being lonely. Devoid of direct punchlines, the film is filled with fine performances and engagingly off-kilter dialogue, and quirky character revelations. Bujalski is a gifted humanist, able to coax interesting nuances from his actors as they twist at the end of his script’s peculiar strings. (Available October 22nd)