Netflicked, Netflix Instant, March 23-28

Tuesday, 29 March 2011 17:00 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Netflicked, Netflix Instant, March 23-28

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'll be here every Tuesday 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.

MOVIES

This week has been slow for new movie and television titles added to the streaming library, but there are still few notable newbies to report.

An almost-masterpiece from Martin Scorsese, the Civil War-era saga Gangs of New York can be frustrating, as it sporadically achieves greatness, but consistently draws back into cliche.  Still, there are perfect elements, including immaculate production design and a towering, endlessly quotable performance from Daniel Day Lewis

In Cheyenne Autumn, the last Western from John Ford, the Cheyenne tribe illegally leaves a barren reservation to return to home and is hunted by the government.  Ford's depiction of the Cheyenne here is a refutation of his frequently reductive American Indian caricatures.  Plus, Ricardo Montalban plays a chief named Little Wolf; that ought to be enough to inspire your curiosity.

By now, you should have seen Mesrine: Killer Instinct, the first half of the sprawling, two-part French crime drama that concludes with Mesrine: Public Enemy #1Vincent Cassel stars as Jacques Mesrine, the famed gangster who was shockingly adept at escaping from police custody.  If you have yet to watch the Killer Instinct, then make it a Mesrine double feature.

Speaking of excellent French movies, there's plenty to say about Micmacs, the latest from Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the director of Amelie and co-director of Delicatessen and City of Lost Children.  You might just overdose on whimsy and Rube Goldbergian-machinations, but you might just go nuts for this tale of a video store clerk with a bullet stuck in his brainpan who takes revenge on two competing arms manufacturers.

TEEVEE

Nary a new television title to mention this week, so here are a few favorites:

If you've never sent some time with Futurama, from The Simpsons creator Matt Groening, then you're missing out.  Luckily, there are five full volumes of the series available instantly, as well as four movies, each consisting of four linked episodes.  The show is crazy-inventive, with funny, surprisingly well defined characters like Philip J. Fry, Bender Bending Rodriguez, Turanga Leela, Zapp Brannigan, and, of course, Scruffy.

Never miss out on another conversation about whether or not the ending of Lost was disappointing with all six seasons of the popular series.  Take it from me, though, television rarely gets better than the first season episode 'Walkabout'.

All seven seasons of the beloved cult series Buffy The Vampire Slayer have been streaming for some time, and while I haven't made it through the whole series, but it's every shade of charming.  Nowadays, the production value sometimes stands out, and the style is dated, but the Scooby Gang is so endearing, and the smartassed sense of humor rarely falters.

Twelve out of fifteen seasons of Trey Parker and Matt Stone's South Park are ready to view, so you can watch as the show progresses from foul-mouthed potty humor to incendiary satire.


ON THE WAY OUT

Classic musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, starring Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, will cease streaming on Thursday, March 31st.

Several films from Woody Allen, including Hannah and Her Sisters, Bananas, Crimes & Misdemeanors, and Manhattan, all expire on Friday, April 1st.

Not even saying 'klaatu barada nikto' will keep the 1951 original The Day the Earth Stood Still from going rental only on Thursday, March 31st.

The Madness of King George, a surprisingly comedic chronicle of the British monarch who lost the Revolutionary War, expires on Friday, April 1st.


DOC OF THE WEEK

It's difficult to avoid cynicism about American politics – and, to an extent, even democracy itself – while watching Marshall Curry's Street Fight.  In 2002, idealistic young politician Cory Booker runs for Mayor of Newark, New Jersey.  He's up against incumbent Sharpe James, who was simultaneously serving as a state senator.  It's a fascinating view of local politics, with dirty tricks, miscalculation, and heated emotions.  Interesting to note as well that, in 2008, James was convicted on five counts of fraud for an incident unrelated to the documentary.

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