Netflicked: Netflix Instant, May 4-10

Tuesday, 10 May 2011 11:15 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Netflicked: Netflix Instant, May 4-10

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, we'll be here every Tuesday to update you on the latest titles available for instant-watching, as well as bringing attention some gems and even some enjoyable calamities out there in the instantly watchable wilds.

A word to AT&T subscribers: as of Monday, your monthly internet traffic has been capped.  If you're a broadband UVerse subscriber, your data usage limit is 250 gigs, and if you use AT&T DSL, then your cap is 150 gigs.  Any overages will cause an extra charge on your next bill, so you might have to  limit the streaming.  65 hours of non-HD Netflix streaming is said to equal roughly 150 gigs, so ration your entertainment appropriately.

MOVIES

Tremors is a throwback to unapologetic B-movie creature features, with subterranean monsters snatching people up in the tiny town of Perfection.  Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward basically play grown-up, desert dwelling versions of Beavis and Butthead, trying to stay one step ahead – or above – the predatory slug things.

Purify yourself in the waters of Purple Rain, the musical melodrama starring Prince, Appolonia, and the villainous Morris Day & The Time.

In Matthew Vaughn's Kick-Ass, a dweeby teen becomes a vigilante and gleeful, stylized violence ensues en masse.  Burdened by self-consciousness masquerading as self-awareness and not half as clever as it thinks it is, but fun nonetheless.  Plus, it has Nicholas Cage doing an Adam West impression.

A Los Angeles bus rigged with a bomb that will go boom if said bus goes less than 50 miles per hour.  Keanu Reeves as the one cop who can keep Dennis Hopper's villainous scheme from succeeding.  Speed, people.  The only film in which you'll ever see a municipal bus perform a huge jump that defies all laws of physics.

True Lies: In James Cameron's frequently comedic summer actiongasm, Arnold Schwarzenegger kills a lot of guys to avoid stuff getting destroyed.

Conan the Destroyer: Arnold kills a lot of guys in order to destroy stuff.  Despite the title, he actually does not enough of either activity in the last Arnold-starring Conan film.  Mostly he just runs around with sidekicks on a quest to save a princess.  Damn shame.

Another straight-to-DVD visit to a satirically fascist utopia at war with giant alien insects?  In Starship Troopers 3: Marauder, original star Casper Van Dien returns as Johnny Rico, and original writer Edward Neumeier directs, but that crazy magic that Paul Verhoeven brought to the first film is gone.

How 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper didn't receive more awards season accolades for They Live, I'll never know.  But seriously, this John Carpenter effort is surprisingly sharp for a movie known principally for a never-ending fight between two brawlers.

Howard the Duck  is every bit as bad as you've heard.  In fact, it's probably even worse than you've heard, but it's also fascinating, in that a benevolent creator god has the love and mercy to allow its continued existence.  If you're a fan of bad movies, particularly those from the 80's, then you can't do worse than this one.

TELEVISION SERIES

If only all serial killers were as charming as Michael C. Hall's Dexter.  Not only does he have a dry cool wit and a cool job as a blood-splatter analyst, but he only murders people who totally have it coming.  And he does it with a methodical precision more befitting an accountant.  The first two seasons of the dark, addictive Showtime series are streaming.

Aaron Sorkin applies his trademark snappy dialogue to the backstage goings-on of an SNL-style sketch show on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.  The result is the weakest of Sorkin's small screen work, never approaching the ecstatic heights of Sports Night or The West Wing, but for a Sorkin-phile, Studio 60 is worth a look.

If you're into well done, bite-sized tales of suspense and don't mind that it's aged like a fine wine, the first season of Alfred Hitchcock Presents puts the vast majority of modern TV to shame.  Hitch himself even directed the first episode, but he hosts the whole batch, and even if you've never seen the show, you'll recognize that iconic silhouette right away.

ON THE WAY OUT

Gimme the gun, Tre.  John Singleton's Boyz N the Hood expires on Wednesday, May 11th.

Brewster’s Millions, starring Richard Pryor as a man with an awesome dilemma, also expires on Wednesday, May 11th.

A brilliant, heartbreaking, trippy look at love, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind heads to Lacuna on Sunday, May 15th.

If you've ever wanted to see Buffy's inauspicious debut in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Movie, do it by Monday, May 16th.

DOC OF THE WEEK

Considering the centrality of work to our lives, you'd think there would be more films devoted to the tedium, frustration, and camaraderie of almost any job.  Anyone who has experienced the unique travails of a job in the service industry will immediately identify with the attendants in The Parking Lot Movie

Director Meghan Eckhman followed the comings and goings of the Corner Parking Lot, a paid lot near the campus of the University of Virgina, for three years.  The lot's location and the disposition of its owner, Chris Farina, mean that the employees are almost exclusively over-educated academics – graduate students, undergrads, and even a professor.  These proud and professional "deviant romantics" entertainingly share the indignities of customer service, like dealing with drunk college students, condescending parents, and privileged drivers attempting to squirrel out of paying a dollar (seeing them go ballistic when cars screech past the booth is particularly fun). 

The whole documentary is not much longer than an hour, yet it's packed not only with funny bits, but also with sophisticated anthropological and philosophical musings on "the existential nature" of the place, of parking, of driving, and of our culture.  Out of the boredom that surrounds them each day, the attendants of the Corner Parking Lot create art.  Why don't we see more of that?

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