Netflicked: Netflix Instant, April 4-12

Tuesday, 12 April 2011 13:33 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Netflicked: Netflix Instant, April 4-12

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

The film that started the meteoric rise of both a musclebound future California governor and the biggest director of all time, The Terminator has aged into a down-and-dirty little science fiction picture.  Now overshadowed by its huge sequel, the original film is refreshingly lean and comparatively low budget. Plus, Arnold Schwarzenegger never found a character more suited to his abilities than an emotionless, unrelenting cyborg.

Four Lions, the feature directorial debut of Christopher Morris, is a nimble comedy about four British would-be terrorists whose holy war ambitions far exceed their abilities.  The subject matter might sound too sensitive, but Morris manages to create a surprisingly cathartic satire.

If you ever wanted to see Guy Pearce and Hugo Weaving as drag queens going on a roadtrip across the Australian outback with Terence Stamp as a transsexual, then The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert will scratch that itch.

Will Ferrell takes a lot of guff for his frequently loud, obnoxious characters, but in The Other Guys, he plays a buttoned up forensic accountant so well that eventual glimpses of his hidden past as a cold-hearted pimp make his yelling seem fresh.  While Mark Wahlberg plays Ferrell's hot tempered partner, it's Michael Keaton who easily steals the film from both headliners.

The PBS documentary When I Rise is a sobering look at a controversy in Texas and seemingly irreconcilable race relations in America.  A young black singer named Barbara Smith Conrad inadvertently becomes the central figure in a racial rumble when she is cast opposite a white man in an opera at the University of Texas.

It's not a new streaming title, but last year's French prison saga A Prophet  is an astonishingly good film, charting the unexpected journey of an illiterate 18 year-old inmate in Brecourt prison.  This may be a French film, but it is by no means for effete latte-sippers.

TELEVISION SERIES

All three seasons of Arrested Development, one the sharpest comedies ever to grace the idiot box, are readily available.  The show was too dense and rife with rapid-fire repeat gags to play as well week-by-week, but the unprecedented ease of binging through Instant Watch makes this series the perfect streaming title.

I only really know Cheers as a show that my parents enjoyed, but it set a standard for popular sitcoms, and all eleven seasons ready to stream, so perhaps we whipper snappers could learn a thing or two.

If you've never seen the hilarious and incendiary Chappelle's Show, then you're damn near irredeemable.  It combines smart, socially aware satire, and gleefully profane idiocy.  Luckily, you can stream the two complete seasons, as well as the three cobbled-together episodes from the abandoned third season. 

ON THE WAY OUT

The Man Without a Face, Mel Gibson's first film as director, shuffles loose from the instant coil on Saturday, April 16th.

Ken Burns' The Civil War, the staggering 9-part documentary, will no longer be streaming as of Friday, April 15th.

The thriller Frantic, starring Harrison Ford and directed by Roman Polanski, disappears on Friday, April 15th.

Stock up on Michelle Pfeiffer, Susan Sarandon, and Cher now, because The Witches of Eastwick expires on Saturday, April 16th.

The Karate Kid Parts 1-3 all wax off, Macchio-style on Friday, April 15th.

DOC OF THE WEEK

As the title suggests, The Comedians of Comedy is about comedians. Specifically, it's about four stand up comedians touring America and performing not in comedy clubs, but in bars and alternative venues usually reserved for music.  All four comedians taking part, Patton Oswalt, Maria Bamford, Brian Posehn, and Zach Galifianakis have done very well for themselves since the film debuted in 2005.  If you've been annoyed by Galifianakis in his cinematic outings, you might be surprised by his stand up, which is creative and surreal.  For example, he does an entire set as a time-traveling Revolutionary War-era comedian, repeatedly saying, "Thank thee, thank thee.  It's great to be hither."  The whole film feels like being a fly on the wall as four immensely funny people spitball and feed off each other creatively.  Highlights include Oswalt and Posehn describing their purchases at a local comic book shop, Posehn showing off his spectacularly nerdy office, and Galifianakis and Bamford repeatedly making you wonder how deep their acts really go.

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