Netflicked: Netflix Instant, June 7-14

Tuesday, 14 June 2011 16:30 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Netflicked: Netflix Instant, June 7-14

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

In Harry Brown, the one and only Michael Caine plays a geriatric who goes on an old fashioned revenge spree when the young punks in his neighborhood go too far.  On paper, the idea of a hard boiled 78 year-old avenger might seem ridiculous, but the film acknowledges Caine's age and makes it a huge asset.

If you enjoyed the first outing of Marvel's resident Asgardian deity last month, then perhaps you'll get some giggles from Almighty Thor, the latest direct-to-DVD cash-in from Global Asylum, the company behind the likes of Snakes on a Train, Titanic II, and AVH: Alien versus Hunter.  In their latest opportunely-titled no-budget affair, Richard Grieco plays Loki and a generically handsome blond guy plays Thor, with the action taking place in Los Angeles.

Sean Bean has an obvious affinity for films where he can swing a sword and/or wear chainmail.  The down and dirty British medieval thriller Black Death gives him ample opportunity to do both.  Bean plays a battle-hardened knight accompanying a young monk played by Eddie Redmayne to a remote village where a necromancer may provide salvation in the midst of the Bubonic Plague.

Before it was released and kicked off a hugely popular action franchise, The Bourne Identity was seen as something of a joke.  Matt Damon was untested as a tough guy and director Doug Liman had never helmed a movie of that scale.  Almost a decade later, though, the film holds up as a very effective actioner with a crazy-charismatic lead performance and novel action.  And hey, Clive Owen as an assassin!

The Men Who Stare At Goats opens with Avatar baddie Stephen Lang staring so fiercely at a solid wall that you think his head might pop.  He then runs full speed into that wall in an idiotic attempt to phase through it.  If that's not enough to get you curious, then the presence of George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, and Kevin Spacey as soldiers harnessing the mystical powers of the cosmos should do the trick. 

TELEVISION SERIES

Soap opera-style twists and self-indulgence actually feel completely right for the slick cable drama Nip/Tuck, which stars Dylan Walsh and Julian McMahon as Miami plastic surgeons constantly embroiled in over-the-top drama.  All six seasons of the series are currently at your fingertips.

The Jackass spin-off Wildboyz doesn't have quite the same self-awareness that defined its predecessor, but Chris Pontius and Steve-O endeavor to make up for it with a surplus of audacious, revolting, and dangerous stunts executed all over the planet.

Weeds started out as a clever little comedy-drama Showtime series with Nancy Botwin, a recent widow and mother played by Mary Louise-Parker, selling weed to support her family's suburban lifestyle.  The satirical bent that initially took upper class Americana to task has become very different thanks to plenty hard left turns and twists, all of which you can see throughout all six seasons.

ON THE WAY OUT

Jackie Brown, Quentin Tarantino's underrated adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel "Rum Punch", expires on Wednesday, June 15th.

Bob Fosse's semi-autobiographical musical All That Jazz takes a bow on Thursday, June 16th.

No amount of cardio will help smartassed post-apocalyptic comedy Zombieland come Thursday, June 16th.

Loving Blaxploitation homage Black Dynamite expires on Friday, June 17th.

The peerless Akira Kurosawa classics Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, Sanjuru, Hidden Fortress, Ikuru, and Rashomon all cease streaming on Tuesday, June 21st.

Paul Verhoeven's wonderfully subversive, fascist-centric science fiction war epic Starship Troopers ends its Instant run on Tuesday, June 16th.

DOC OF THE WEEK

Though its subject is largely regarded as a caricature of herself and an easy target for jokes about excessive plastic surgery, the documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work presents a portrait of a surprisingly complex, soulful individual.  The film charts her decades-long career while providing a look her daily life as she turns 75 years old.  The comedienne hustles through hectic days and lavish surroundings, consistently demonstrating the resilience and determination that has allowed her to maintain a career.  A Piece of Work is an unexpectedly insightful and revealing documentary that is also pretty damn funny.

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