Netflicked: Netflix Instant, June 21-28

Tuesday, 28 June 2011 18:55 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Netflicked: Netflix Instant, June 21-28

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.


The 1988 French film Cinema Paradiso is not just a moving drama, but will remind you of what's so great about movies in the first place.  It will also make you wish you were watching it in an actual theater, with actual film. Still, streaming is an acceptable substitute.

Based on the crazy-popular novel by Khaled Hasseini, The Kite Runner sometimes plays like a Cliff's Notes version of its source material and errs on the side of sentimentality, but is nonetheless a faithful adaptation that examines themes of friendship, loyalty, religion, and redemption.  It also provides an interesting look at Afghanistan through several different eras, reminding audiences that though it is so alien, it is home to suffering humans very much like ourselves.

Do you like kung-fu action?  Ip Man 2, a slice of biographical coolness starring Donnie Yen as real-life master Ip Man, will scratch you martial arts itch and then some. 

To describe Gaspar Noe's drug-fueled Enter the Void as "trippy" is to do the film a disservice.  The story of a dead, drug-dealing ex-pat in Tokyo is gloriously psychedelic and fantastically nasty.  With the stunning, assaultive opening titles, you'll know right away whether or not you can stomach this particular cup of tea.

There's a lot going on in Iron Man 2, director Jon Favreau's follow-up to his 2008 surprise Marvel Studios hit.  Even with Robert Downey Jr getting super-sauced, Mickey Rourke playing a vengeful Russian, and Scarlett Johansson in skin-tight black leather, Sam Rockwell owns the whole endeavor as the insecure weasel Justin Hammer.


Having never actually seen Teen Mom, I can't vouch for it, but if MTV can make horrifically addictive television from the alcohol-soaked adventures of the Jersey Shore gang, then surely the exploits of teenaged baby mamas could make for some riveting viewing in season one of the 16 and Pregnant spin off.

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's original British version of The Office is basically required viewing.  Alternately laugh-out-loud funny and blisteringly awkward, both series and a two-part special are always insightful about the employees of Werham Hogg, whose relationships ultimately prove surprisingly touching.

What?  Samuel L. Jackson and Phil LaMarr lent their voices to a season animated series called Afro Samurai in which the titular samurai goes on a quest to find and properly deal with his father's murderer in a Japan that is at once feudal and futuristic?  That's all one really needs to know.


Vin Diesel's xXx is like James Bond, but totally extreme, and will be less so as of Thursday, June 30th.

A boatload of notable titles all expire on Friday, July 1st, including:

Mel Brooks's classic comedy take on old-fashioned westerns Blazing Saddles

The considerably less-classic hostage situation comedy Airheads, which features Adam Sandler, Steve Buscemi, Chris Farley, and Brendon Frasier.

Cheese-intensive science fiction fantasy Krull.

Joel and Ethan Coen's Barton Fink, a singularly odd, wonderfully Coen-esque film with perfect performances from John Turturro and John Goodman.

Aliens is one of my all-time favorite movies and a master-class in absolutely punishing tension, so refresh your memory or experience it for the first time.

Speaking of kickass James Cameron movies, the original The Terminator also expires on Friday.


There's always somebody making boatloads of money off of wars that have unquantifiable human costs, but Bulletproof Salesman introduces us to an unapologetic war opportunist named Fidelis Cloer.  The German born Cloer is in the business of selling armored cars, principally luxury cars, and as the US invaded Iraq in 2003, he headed right for Bahgdad, knowing full well that anyplace where people are being shot at it is a market for "bulletproof" automobiles, and he was accompanied by a documentary crew.  The result captures the surreal absurdity and the chilling, inhuman economics of war, while also providing an interesting study of Cloer and his peculiar business.

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