Now on Netflix Instant: Christmas Vacation, I'm Still Here & More
by Ethan Anderton
December 24, 2010
What would your holiday break be without movies to pass the time and enjoy with your family? This week on Netflix Instant doesn't have a huge amount of variety, but there's still some great stuff. From a couple really great documentaries to one controversial faux documentary and some holiday comedies, the selection this time around isn't as plentiful as usual, but it should help keep you occupied amidst all the family meals, opening presents and holiday shopping. For an even larger selection of Netflix Instant titles, make sure you check out all of our previous installments of this special feature series. Now what's in our queue this week?
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (Available Now):
After two disastrously hilarious vacations with Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) and the rest of his dysfunctional family, everyone's favorite Midwest family is back for the holidays. When Clark brings both sides of the family together for a "good, old-fashioned family Christmas" holiday cheer is a little hard to come by. From malfunctioning Christmas lights, a torched tree and backwards cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid), it's going to be quite difficult to have "the hap-hap-happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tapdanced with Danny f*ckin' Kaye."
Meet Me in St. Louis (Available Now):
Another holiday and musical classic comes in the form of Judy Garland's beautiful voice as she becomes enamored with the boy next door (Tom Drake). Featuring the now classic holiday song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," and a myriad of other great musical moments, this classic film is one for the whole family to enjoy. Along with the holiday cheer comes some trials and tribulations of a tight-knit family living in St. Louis back during the 1904 World's Fair.
Exit Through the Gift Shop (Available Now):
Following the anonymous yet infamous British stencil artist known only as Bansky, this has been praised as one of the best documentaries of the year. The documentary itself becomes one of Bansky's own works of art as filmmaker Thierry Guetta loses control of the film when Bansky takes over. The tables are suddenly turned when Guetta make a name for himself as a street artist named Mr. Brainwash and begins rocking the Los Angeles art scene. So is this really a documentary? Find out for yourself.
A Prophet (Available Now):
Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards, director Jacques Audiard delivers this hard-hitting drama about an 18-year-old Arab Malik (Tahar Rahim) being thrown into a French prison, where the Corsican mafia rules with a firm fist. As the teen rises through the organizations ranks, he soon begins to double-cross those above him in the chain of command and all bets are off.
Walt & El Grupo (Available Now):
Another one of two great documentaries dealing with Walt Disney's history (the other being Waking Sleeping Beauty), this one chronicles a 1941 government sponsored goodwill tour of South America in the hopes that a growing Nazi presence would be quelled. Including interviews and archival footage, we see "El Grupo" as they encounter the different cultures of Brazil, Argentina and Chile and return to the states with material that inspired their animated film The Three Caballeros.
I'm Still Here (Available Now):
After a supposed retirement from acting and a wild appearance on Late Night with David Letterman, it was reported that a documentary chronicling Joaquin Phoenix's shift from film to music was being filmed. With such exaggerated behavior, it wasn't clear whether or not this was real. Since then, we've learned that all this craziness was staged for a strange yet interesting mockumentary featuring a year of missteps in the life of Phoenix as seen by his brother-in-law, actor turned director Casey Affleck. It honestly has to be seen to be believed.
City Island (Available Now):
This charming but largely ignored film has a collection of great performances from Andy Garcia and Julianna Margulies as a dysfunctional family challenged by an unknown family member. When prison guard Vince Rizzo (Garcia) recognizes his illegitimate son Tony amongst a line-up of inmates, he decides to mentor the man at home amongst his boisterous family. While it's not amazing, this is a great gem of a film that is definitely worth checking out.
Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire (Available Now):
While I'm not a fan of Lee Daniels' direction, this story is heart-breaking and powerful complete with unbelievable performances by amateurs and professionals alike. Gabourey Sidibe shines in her breakthrough, Oscar nominated role as a Harlem teen abused by her vicious mother (Mo'Nique) and impregnated by her father. When she takes a chance to make something of her life at an alternative school, her teacher (Paula Patton) provides encouragement in a place where hope and ambition is hard to come by.
Honorable Mentions (All Available Now): The Extra Man, Time Bandits, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, Middle of Nowhere, The Mambo Kings, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead, The Trotsky, 44-Inch Chest, Kelly's Heroes, Sleepers, White Oleander and Mugabe and the White African.
That's all for this week's installment of Now on Netflix Instant new titles. And remember, if you ever want to look back at the thousands of Netflix titles already released, look forward at what's on the way, or check out the entire library of Netflix Instant titles available, 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 good movies! Are you happy with this week's latest titles?