Netflicked: Netflix Instant, May 18-24

Tuesday, 24 May 2011 19:10 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Netflicked: Netflix Instant, May 18-24

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.


MOVIES

Though the Highlander mythology dictates, "There can only be one," there were somehow four feature sequels.  The first film, starring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery, is a fresh addition to the stream-box.  All those sequels will have to wait, but tis one is the only one of the bunch worth your precious time.  And even then, it's mostly for the Queen music and Connery's accent.

Big Fan features a fine central performance from stand-up comedian Patton Oswalt, but it's not a comedy, really.  It's a very smart, down-and-dirty character study of a man who defines his life through a fanatical devotion to the New York Giants.

In his feature directorial debut, Philip Seymour Hoffman also stars as Jack, who goes boating.  That's right, Jack Goes Boating is available now.  Jack is a strange, timid man who falls for Amy Ryan's Connie, and they go through an awkward but caring courtship while Clyde and Lucy (John Ortiz and Daphne Rubin-Vega) flail through their marriage.

Serenity serves as both a suitable swan song for director Joss Whedon's prematurely canceled series Firefly and a solid little space adventure with no end of heart, a lovable ensemble, and dialogue that sings.  Make sure you've watched all fourteen episodes of the series first.  Luckily they're all available to stream as well.

A duo of middle-aged lifelong friends refuse to cease living metal in Anvil: The Story of AnvilSacha Gervasi's documentary allows you to laugh at the absurdity of Robb Reiner and Steve 'Lips' Kudrow's ongoing pursuit of metal deification, but it's never exploitative or mean-spirited.  Instead, it empathizes with them, and makes their faith a little heroic.

TELEVISION SERIES

The second season of the show has been available for some time, but the wait is finally, blessedly over.  Jersey Shore: Season 1 is now streaming.  You can practically smell the sweat, hairspray, and vomit.  Yet somehow, you'll find yourself coming back for more and perversely loving it, Stockholm Syndrome style.

Those in need of a palate-cleanser can rely on all six seasons of The Larry Sanders Show, a comedic goldmine that has proven remarkably influential for shows like The Office, Arrested Development, and a host of others, even The West WingGarry Shandling stars as Larry Sanders, the host of a late night talk show, and the series mixes behind-the-scenes style footage with fictitious broadcasts.

ON THE WAY OUT

The Vietnam war documentary Hearts and Minds expires on Thursday, May 26th.

Grey Gardens (The 1975 documentary shot by the Maylsles Brothers, not the 2009 HBO movie) will no longer be streaming as of Thursday, May 26th.

Solaris (Andrei Tarkofsky's 1972 original, not the Clooney/Soderbergh joint) also heads for the exit on Thursday, May 26th.

La jetee, the experimental short film created entirely out of still pictures, is another title expiring on Thursday, May 26th.

Rarely do comedies open with a sperm's eye view of insemination, but Amy Heckerling's Look Who's Talking does.  It expires on Friday, May 27th.

DOC OF THE WEEK

Based on his film output since The Hangover, a whole lot of people have dismissed Zach Galifianakis as a one-trick pony.  I, for one, don't know how many tricks ponies are actually supposed to be capable of, but Galifianakis' stand-up comedy shows him to be a pony with many, many tricks.  In the stand-up documentary Zach Galifianakis: Live at the Purple Onion, the bearded wonder demonstrates his bizarre onstage presence and unconventional concepts.  It's not just footage of him performing in San Francisco, where he spends minutes on the floor and even longer interrogating an out-of-place audience member.  The film cuts between that performance, road trip footage of the comic on tour in a Volkswagon bus, and an  unstoppably funny interview with his fictitious brother, Seth Galifianakis.


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