Netflicked: Netflix Instant, May 25-31

Tuesday, 31 May 2011 09:15 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Netflicked: Netflix Instant, May 25-31

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

Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain may leave you puzzled, but it's a gorgeous, wholly unique film, an unabashedly personal meditation on death weaving together three stories, all starring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz.  In one, Jackman is a scientist attempting to save his doomed wife, in another, he's a Conquistador journeying on behalf of his queen, and in the last, he's in a bubble zipping through space.  It is, to say the very least, a trip.

Writer-director David Michod's familial crime drama Animal Kingdom is a wonderfully Australian piece of work, and features a damn fine performance by Joel Edgerton, who is apparently a big deal Stateside at the moment.

An epic, unmistakable three hour tale of greed, criminality, and violence in Las Vegas, Casino is a film with which any enthusiastic acolyte of Martin Scorsese should be very familiar.

If you haven't seen Blazing Saddles, Mel Brooks' western parody and arguably his best film, then you now have a comedy to put right at the top of your queue.  Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder give perfect performances, and Brooks is at the top of his game.

Wondering if Tom Hardy can hold his own as Bat-villain Bane?  Check out Bronson, a strange, compelling character study from Nicholas Winding Refn.  Hardy plays a British criminal who, after years in solitary confinement, adopts an alter ego he calls Charlie Bronson, after the American badass.

Matt Stone and Trey Parker's Broadway play The Book of Mormon has been getting a lot of attention, but the duo first dealt with the religion well before South Park, in Orgazmo.  Parker plays a well-intentioned missionary who becomes involved in hardcore pornography and ends up an Orgazma-ray equipped superhero.

Jennifer Connelly?  Check.  David Bowie?  Check.  Lots and lots of creepy muppets?  Check.  Elaborate musical numbers?  Check.  David Bowie's villainous codpiece?  You know it.  What could I be talking about but Labyrinth.

TELEVISION SERIES

Following the dealer's wisdom that the first taste ought always be free, the first season of the Showtime series Californication, starring David Duchovny as a burned out, womanizing novelist, is available to stream, but subsequent seasons will requite that you queue up actual discs.

On the sitcom Third Rock from the Sun, John Lithgow, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, French Stewart, and Kristen Johnston play the Solomons, a group of aliens-in-disguise investigating humanity.  All six seasons are available for your convenience.

ON THE WAY OUT

Wednesday, June 1st is set to be  streaming massacre, with all the following films expiring:

The first Joel Schumacher-directed camp-stravaganza Batman Forever, starring Val Kilmer in a be-nippled Batsuit.

Bruce Campbell brings Ash to life for the first time in Sam Raimi's low budget, crazy-fun Evil Dead, which paved the way for two incredible sequels.

South Korean horror-comedy-drama The Host schools contemporary American horror, with actual relationships between its characters and no end of fun.

Speaking of horrifying, there's Jesus Camp, an Oscar-nominated documentary about a summer camp for Evangelical Christian children.

If you're ever adapting a hugely successful and controversial Tom Wolfe novel, Bonfire of the Vanities will show you how not to do it. 

Adam Sandler is a dim-witted and anger-prone hockey player turned golfer in Happy Gilmore, which contains Ben Stiller with an awesome mustache, Carl Weathers as a one-handed master, and sundry other wonders.

Remember a simpler time before paternity scandals with James Cameron's original The Terminator.

Fans of poet and novelist Charles Bukowski will revel in the uncomfortable intimacy and griminess of the documentary Bukowski: Born Into This.

In Dances With Wolves, director and star Kevin Costner becomes an unlikely Native American.

An all-time favorite, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is masterful, and Jack Nicholson's performance is one-of-a-kind delirium.

Pixar's Up, which masterfully rips your heart right out in the first ten minutes, expires on Saturday, June 4th.

Airborne rollerblades down the Devil's Backbone for the last time on Monday, June 6th.

Mathematical-genius-janitor-in-therapy drama Good Will Hunting  likes 'dem streaming apples for the last time on Tuesday, June 7th.

DOC OF THE WEEK

Terry Gilliam is a unique director with a proven track record, including Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Twelve Monkeys, Time Bandits, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Brazil.  Like Orson Welles before him, though, he has nurtured a decades-long desire to make a film based on Miguel de Cervantes' legendary two-part novel 'Don Quixote'.  In 2000, he came oh-so close to making The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, and the excellent documentary Lost in La Mancha shows his the sudden implosion of the potential film.  The doc focuses mostly on the project's preproduction, during which it's established that the film's budget and schedule left absolutely no margin for error.  On the first day of filming, with Jean Rochefort as Quixote and Johnny Depp as a modern man miraculously transported into Sancho Panza's shoes, a sense of impending doom becomes real doom.  Basically, Lost in La Mancha shows an ambitious, flawed director whose dreams are subject to the whims of an angry, vengeful deity.  The Man Who Killed Don Quixote did not come to pass, and still has not, sadly.  But hey, Lost in La Mancha is narrated by Jeff Bridges, so check it out.

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