Netflix Instant This Week: X-Men, X-Files & Good Will Hunting
by Ethan Anderton
July 8, 2010
Hopefully the past holiday weekend allowed you to take advantage of some new Netflix Instant titles along with some great barbecue and some well-deserved time away from work because this week we've got another batch of fantastic titles to fill up your queue. Some are timely additions to the library while others seemed to have appear a couple days late (you'll see what I mean). But in the mix you'll find not one, but two franchise titles that begin with the letter "X", a couple of movies from Robin Williams, an enraging documentary for these economic times and one of the most critically hated films of all time. So what's in our queue this week?
X-Men (Available Now):
The comic book movie craze of the past decade can basically be traced back to the success of this Bryan Singer directed film which introduced audiences to an ensemble of mutants with super powers as they face the adversity of a human race that doesn't understand them. This is the film that gave Hugh Jackman the successful career he has today after he turned in an amazing performance as the rugged, rough-around-the-edges, animalistic mutant Wolverine. Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, James Marsden, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen and Anna Paquin round out the ensemble of super powered mutants in this first installment of a still growing franchise.
X-Files: Fight the Future (Available Now):
In a surprising turn, here's a film spin-off of a successful TV series that actually seems to please both fans of the series and people who aren't very familiar with the series. I know when I first saw this film, I wasn't very well-versed in the X-Files mythology (hell, I still haven't seen more than a few episodes), but I enjoyed the dynamic between Agent Mulder (David Duchovny) and Agent Scully (Gillian Anderson) not to mention great appearances from actors like Martin Landau and Terry O'Quinn. But if you're looking to immerse yourself in the series beforehand, every single season of the series is also available on Netflix Instant, too.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Available Now):
Though you really should be enjoying this campy, musical, horror parody at a midnight screening at some local indie theater with tons of people dressed up like sluts and transvestites, if you really feel like having your own personal screening, now it's a lot easier. This silly cult classic follows naïve couple Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon) after they stumble upon the lair of transvestite vampire Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry). And of course you can't go wrong with a musical featuring Meatloaf (the singer, not the meal).
Independence Day (Available Now):
Frankly I'm not sure why this flick wasn't available on Netflix Instant for the holiday itself (after all it was definitely enjoyed by plenty on TV and DVD last weekend), but Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich's big budget blockbuster is finally available for streaming. This was the first 4th of July release for Will Smith which inherently led to him being the unofficial king of opening a big summer film over the holiday weekend, and no matter how cheesy or plot-holed this flick is, I enjoy the hell out of it every single time. Sci-fi favorites Brent Spiner and Adam Baldwin have great small roles, too.
Die Hard with a Vengeance (Available Now):
Personally, I find this third installment of Detective John McClane's action adventures to be far superior to Die Harder, but I'm aware I may be in the minority on this one. For my money, teaming McClane (Bruce Willis) up with the abrasive and unnecessarily racially sensitive Zeus (Samuel L. Jackson) makes for a great comedy dynamic and when you have them forced together to play along with playful villain Jeremy Irons, it's a winning combination. Part of me wishes Irons and Alan Rickman (Hans Gruber from Die Hard) would team-up in some other movie. Someday...
The Damned United (Available Now):
With all the craziness that's going on all over the globe with the coverage of the World Cup (personally, I don't care about soccer, football or whatever the hell you want to call it), why not partake in a film set in the world of the professional sport itself? Michael Sheen stars as Brian Clough, the man who led England's soccer champs Leeds United in 1974 alongside confidant and assistant manager Peter Taylor (Timothy Spall) until he was fired after a mere 44 days on the job. Peter Morgan (The Queen) wrote this fictionalized account of his life based on David Peace's novel of the same name.
Capitalism: A Love Story (Available Now):
In these harsh economic times, it's hard to watch two hours of hardship and bureaucratic bullshit, but the infamous Michael Moore puts together a smooth documentary highlighting our obsession with capitalism. While the filmmaker can be very sarcastic and smarmy at times, his investigative work does point out some great flaws in the capitalist system but without calling for a change to a socialist plan. Obviously this could spark some sort of partisan war about our country and its economy, but we can all agree that there are certainly problems to overcome, and they are highlighted right here in this doc.
Gigli (Available July 9th):
Let's be honest, this film is only here because it's widely regarded as one of the biggest box office flops and worst films of all-time. This film swept the 24th Annuel Razzies honoring the worst "achievements" in film as Gigli was dubbed Worst Picture of the year. In addition, stars Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez took home their respective Worst Actor/Actress awards along with Worst Screen Couple. And the talent behind the camera didn't go home empty handed as Martin Brest won both Worst Screenplay and Worst Director. So if you feel like punishing yourself, or re-living the good ole days of "Bennifer," just be careful.
Jack (Available July 9th):
I'm willing to bet there's quite a few people who are unaware that the legendary Francis Ford Coppola directed this interesting and even hilarious Robin Williams comedy. Though Williams brings his staple outrageous improv to the table as a 10 year-old boy with an affliction causing him to look like a 40 year-old man, the movie is filled with some pretty hard-hitting drama and truly touching moments. Jennifer Lopez, Bill Cosby and Diane Lane round out an interesting supporting cast for a film that you should definitely check out if you haven't already.
Good Will Hunting (Available July 9th):
This is one of my favorite films of all-time, and even though Ben Affleck and Matt Damon would have gotten there eventually, this film, which they also wrote themselves, skyrocketed them to the A-List in front of and behind the camera. Gus Van Sant directs this dramatic tale of a rough-around-the edges janitor at MIT, who is also a mathematical genius. Afflicted with demons of his past, and a burden of intelligence that he seems to be afraid of, Damon turns in an amazing performance with Robin Williams stepping up to the plate in the performance of his career.
And now the best of the rest online free movie websites' new additions for your online viewing pleasure...
Mubi: Your online cinema. Anytime. Anywhere.
In Cold Blood, The Ninth Gate, Jarhead, To Catch a Thief, Conversations with Other Women, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Hollywoodland, WALL-E, Romance & Cigarettes, An Education and The Corpse Bride.
That's all for this week's installment of new Netflix Instant titles and other free movies to check out online. And remember, if you ever want to look back at titles already released, look forward to movies on the way, or check out the entire library of Netflix Instant titles, you can head over to InstantWatcher (in my opinion the most complete listing of Netflix's instant titles, updated daily) or also FeedFliks, whose hawk-eyes are on the lookout for future streaming release dates. And of course we'll also be back next week with the latest line-up of new Netflix titles. Now go watch some movies! Are you satisfied with this week's new selection?