Netflicked: Netlfix Instant, Feb. 23-March 1

Tuesday, 01 March 2011 12:41 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Netflicked: Netlfix Instant, Feb. 23-March 1

Netflix's streaming Watch Instantly service is fast becoming America's favorite way to watch movies.  The library of available titles is so vast and mutable that you, the avid instant watcher, could no doubt use a guide as you navigate the streaming frontier.  Luckily for you, I'm here every week to update you on the latest titles available for instant-watching, as well as bringing attention some gems out there in the instantly watchable wilds.


This week has seen a veritable movie-dump, with a host of titles leaving the streaming realm and being replaced by sundry new films.  Independent Spirit Award winner Please Give, directed by Nicole Holofcener and starring Catherine Keener, Rebecca Hall, and Oliver Platt, will help you get in touch with your inner guilty Manhattan liberal, and introduce you to the cutthroat mentality of wealthy New Yorkers looking to expand their already posh apartments.

Compare the early days of Adam Sandler's career with his current output by watching a Happy Gilmore/Grown Ups double feature.  Only one of the movies is funny, and if you need a hint, it's the one in which Bob Barker beats the hell out of Sandler and Carl Weathers dispenses sage like advice.  The other movie doubles down on the painfully unfunny by including Rob Schneider and David Spade.

If you actually did watch Grown Ups, you can cleanse your palate with the Ivan Reitman comedy gem Stripes, which stars Bill Murray  at the peak of the smartassed prowess.  Along with hapless sidekick Harold Ramis, Murray joins the Army and ends up in Soviet territory behind the wheel of a combat-ready Winnebago. 

To scratch a vampiric itch, check out the unconventional blood-sucking tale Daybreakers, which takes place in a future overrun by vampires, with humans as an endangered species.  Ethan Hawke plays a vampire scientist attempting to create an artificial blood supply to feed his overpopulated species, and Willem Dafoe plays a human dude who is handy with a crossbow.

Oscar-winning Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow directs a story from James Cameron with Strange Days, the science fiction noir starring Voldemort himself Ralph Fiennes as a hustler of data discs containing information recorded directly from another person's cerebral cortex.  Worth the novelty to watch now in 2011, as it is a 1995 projection of 1999 as the future.

Joel Schumacher does a 180 from his campy work on the Batman franchise with 8MM, a darker-than-dark thriller from the writer of SevenNicholas Cage plays a private eye who, with the help of Joaquin Phoenix, investigates an alleged snuff-film.  It's been a long time since I've seen this, but I'm pretty sure it also contains some crossbow action.  Small world.

The monster-addled imagination of Guillermo del Toro found the perfect vehicle in the comic adaptation Hellboy.  It's not often you find a big budget movie starring Ron Perlman as a gruff but lovable demon conjured by Nazis and working for the government to combat things that go bump in the night. (Monsters, not your mom.  Sick burn, bro.)

Bombastic, stylistic overdose, thy name is McG.  The cinematic equivalent of Pixie Stix is now streaming, with the director's locus classicus, Charlie's Angels, the action comedy that instantly dated itself by including Drew Barrymore's one-time lover Tom Green.  Since Sam Rockwell: Dancing Machine  hit the internet, there's really no reason to watch this entire movie.


Sorry, folks, but there's virtually no new television series streaming this week, certainly none worth mentioning, so we'll recommend a few that have been knocking about for some time.

Both seasons of NBC's Parks and Recreation, starring Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, and Aziz Ansari explore the comedy inherent in the local government of Pawnee, Indiana.  The six-episode first season takes a little while to find its feet, but once you get to the second season, you'll be treated to one of the sharpest series currently on air.  There's a parade of memorable, well-defined characters, including libertarian bureaucrat Ron Swanson and endearingly imbecilic shoe-shiner Andy.

Anthony Bourdain's Travel Channel series No Reservations sends the acerbic chef and author all over this island Earth to sample local cuisines and examine how the dishes reflect culture and history.  The series just started a new season, and you can catch up with the bulk of eight seasons available to stream.  It'll simultaneously inspire your hunger and your wanderlust.

The short lived Starz comedy Party Down will have you hating customer service, even if you've never done it before.  The two quick seasons follow the exploits of the Party Down crew, a motley assortment of aspiring actors and writers catering a different Los Angeles shindig every week.  The cast is stacked with ringers, including Adam Scott, Ken Marino, Jane Lynch, Martin Starr, and Lizzy Caplan.


Remember those few weeks in March of 2008 when the scandal surrounding New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's predilection for high-priced escorts dominated national political discourse, magazine headlines, and terrible Jay Leno monologues?  Last year's Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer is a freshly streaming title that depicts the archetypal story of a flawed man, as well as the details of scandal that was widely distorted and misunderstood as it happened.  Acclaimed documentarian Alex Gibney methodically investigates Spitzer's politcal career as 'The Sheriff of Wall Street', his eventual adventures as a john, and the various political factors that led directly to the one-time presidential hopeful's exposure and downfall.  The story conveyed by the documentary is fascinating for its complexity, which contrasts with the sensationalized, one dimensional perception with which we're all familiar.  Regardless of your political affiliation, Client 9 is worth a watch.

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