Netflicked: Netflix Instant, March 29-April 4

Tuesday, 05 April 2011 11:21 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Netflicked: Netflix Instant, March 29-April 4

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

Everyone rightly worships at the alter of his mafia-flavored masterpiece, but Francis Ford Coppola's follow up the first Corleone epic is no slouch, either.  The Conversation stars Gene Hackman as a surveillance expert who begins to suspect that couple he's been listening in on will soon be murdered.  It also stars the incomparable John Cazale, who only appeared in five films before his death, but all five – including this one – were nominated for Best Picture Oscars.

Bust out your hankies, because Pixar's triumphant Toy Story 3 will wring the tears from you by force if it has to.  Speaking of Pixar, the conveniently-titled documentary The Pixar Story could make an excellent double feature with the latest adventure of Woody and Buzz Lightyear.

If you're like me, then you enjoy the occasional terrible movie, particularly if it stars a certain Austrian Former California governor.  In his feature debut, Hercules in New York, Arnold Schwarzenegger may have started out with his very worst film.  At the time, his accent was so indecipherable that all his lines were dubbed by a different actor, though since becoming a star, his original, masterful line readings were restored.

Gone With the Wind.  It's romantic.  It's epic.  It's almost four hours long.  Adjusted for inflation, it's by far the most successful movie of all time.  And the ladies love it.

In Little Man Tate, her first film as director, Jodie Foster plays the single, working class mother of a genius child, Fred.  The film is a compassionate, low-key look at Fred's attempts to find a suitable role for himself between his mother and intellectual academia.

Mike Nichols is credited with changing the use of music in film with the Simon & Garfunkel soundtrack for The Graduate.  The word "timeless" gets thrown around a lot, but this movie, which Nichols builds around masterful performances from Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft, captures a sense of generational confusion and youthful ennui that at once captures the moment of its making and an emotional sensibility that does appear to be timeless.

It's a deeply flawed movie, but the mid-1990's angst-fest Angus is also a fun, surprisingly effective little flick about a heavyset high school student with a crush.  Also, you can't do better than James 'The Beek' Van Der Beek as the ruthless jock torturing Angus and his sidekick Troy Wedberg.

Martin Scorsese's two-part mega-documentary No Direction Home: Bob Dylan exhaustively chronicle's the musician's career using vintage footage and unprecedented modern interviews.  The interviews even provide context for events included in the D.A. Pennebaker's 1967 Dylan documentary Don't Look Back.  If you're a Dylan fan, you have to give it a look.

Why does the defecting captain of an experimental Soviet submarine speak in a Scottish accent?  Because he's played by Sean Connery, and Connery without a brogue is no Connery at all.  The Hunt for Red October is a deadly serious but also fun thriller from Die Hard director John Mctiernan, and it features the cinematic debut of Tom Clancy's popular hero Jack Ryan, played here by Alec Baldwin.

On the subject of Sean Connery, a mess of 007 films are streaming, including Connery Bonds Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds are Forever.  There are also the Roger Moore entries Octopussy, Thunderball,  and For Your Eyes Only.  But that's not all, as Timothy Dalton also gets his Bond on in The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill.

TELEVISION SERIES

The first two seasons of the FX series Sons of Anarchy, which roughly transplants the plot of Hamlet to a contemporary biker gang, stars Charlie Hunnam, Katey Segal, and Ron Perlman.  You're not likely find a better series about a biker gang involved in drug smuggling, gun running, and porn production.

The Fox show Glee's first season is now agreeably belting out feel-good tunes on your streaming device.  This unappreciated, obscure ratings failure desperately needs your support. 

While selected volumes of the British automotive show Top Gear have been available in the past, a full fifteen series are now available.  Where else are you going to find three gearheads turning regular cars into stretch limos through engineering improvisation?

The entire seven-season run of the original Mission: Impossible  series is streaming, and you'll be surprised to find that Tom Cruise's movie character Ethan Hunt is nowhere to be found.  Instead, the 1960's show features elaborate teamwork and dated espionage.

ON THE WAY OUT

Steve Martin's classic The Jerk will no longer be streaming as of Wednesday, April 6th.

Rock documentary It Might Get Loud, featuring Jack White, Jimmy Page, and The Edge stops a-rockin' Friday, April 8th.

The visceral portrayal of modern warfare in Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down will no longer be available on Wednesday, April 6th.

The original Gojira, aka Godzilla expires on Wednesday, April 6th.

DOC OF THE WEEK

Baseball season just started, and if you're in the mood for an in depth examination of America's past time, then Baseball is just for you.  The epic miniseries from Ken Burns, the renowned documentarian behind PBS miniseries The Civil War, breaks down a century and a half of baseball-centric history.  Originally, the 1994 doc series consisted of nine separate episodes, or 'innings', but in 2010, Burns returned to the diamond for a two-part 'tenth inning', adding to the already illustrious, comprehensive chronicle of the sport that somehow makes a summer day seem even sweeter. 

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