This Week on Netflix Instant: Bronson, The Proposal & More
by Ethan Anderton
March 9, 2010
And so it's time for another go round of new releases on Netflix Instant up through March 14th. After last week's installment chock full of guilty pleasures and bad video game movies, Netflix amps it up this week with a pretty wide variety of films and only a couple bad ones. There's a few Best Picture nominated films, a couple of flicks that made the festival run for awhile, a couple of blockbusters from last year, and more. But right now only one of our selections is available today, with most of the rest of them getting released later in the week so be sure to check the streaming release date to the right of the title. So what's new this week?
Dare (Available Now):
Provocative and sexually charged, surprisingly without graphic nudity, this Sundance selection seems like a typical high school flick at first, but finds three students (Emmy Rossum, Ashley Springer and Zach Gilford) becoming involved in each others' lives in very surprising ways, weaving a love triangle that's about as awkward as high school was in real life. Genuine performances and a great snapshot of the confusion and obstacles teens face in discovering their identity, this is definitely worth a look.
Bronson (Available March 11th):
A surreal, peculiar and violent biopic of Charles Bronson, Britain's most notorious prisoner. For me Tom Hardy's performance as the fight-loving prisoner was the most engaging part of a film that simply seems to try too hard to be different. Director Nicolas Winding Refn has a unique filmmaking eye, but I'm not so sure it's all that impressive. Still Bronson's life, recounted in his own narration on display in the form of a one-man stage show with flashes to various times in his life, is not objective, and is an interesting take on a man who, otherwise, seems completely insane. You really have to see it to decide for yourself.
Angels & Demons (Available March 11th):
The second installment of adaptations of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code novels brings back director Ron Howard and Tom Hanks as symbologist Robert Langdon for another cryptic adventure, but, sadly, without any real excitement. Unlike the novel, this is actually a makeshift sequel rather than a prequel to The Da Vinci Code. Even bringing in Ewan McGregor and Stellan Skarsgård couldn't make this series more captivating, and I made it a point not to read the book so I was left in the dark to figure out the mystery as it unfolded. The movies simply aren't as engaging as the novels.
Bad Company (Available March 12th):
Yes, back in 2002 Sir Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock teamed up for a buddy cop movie that despite the potential of the combination lived up to the "bad" in its title. But of course, how many times do you get to hear someone like Hopkins call someone like Rock a bitch? But there's not much that can save silly identical twin plots as CIA agent Oakes (Hopkins) hooks up with street-smart bookie Hayes (Rock), who's been asked to replace his murdered, Harvard-educated, twin brother spy on a top-secret mission. The biggest problem is the movie takes itself too seriously when it should've been a straight-up comedy.
A League of Their Own (Available March 12th):
The movie responsible for #54 of AFI's 100 Years, 100 Movie Quotes: "There's no crying in baseball!" From actress/director Penny Marshall (Laverne from "Laverne & Shirley") comes this cherished sports comedy which sees Tom Hanks coaching an ensemble cast of female baseball players including Rosie O'Donnell, Madonna, and Geena Davis. Inspired by the real-life All-American Pro Girls League, the film sees a traveling baseball team and its drunk coach hitting the road and facing trials, tribulations and even triumphs on and off the field.
Broadcast News (Available March 12th):
Nominated for a slew of Oscars including Best Picture, this comedy is one of only a couple cinematic gems from "The Simpsons" creator James L. Brooks as he wrote and directed the story of three ambitious workaholics as their work and personal life intersect in a network TV newsroom. Holly Hunter, William Hurt and Albert Brooks all received Oscar nominations for their performances in a film that is almost the opposite of Network in its presentation of the newsroom, but with just as much substance.
The Sixth Sense (Available March 12th):
It's almost an undisputed fact that M. Night Shyamalan doesn't get much better than this. In a stellar breakthrough turn as writer/director, thus began the endless turn of twists in Shyamalan's films. Though mocked up and down in the years following, "I see dead people" also made the list of AFI's 100 Years, 100 Movie Quotes. Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment (where the hell is he anyway) turn in amazing performances and even a then lesser known Toni Collette puts on her best in a film that Shyamalan may never top. But, still, The Last Airbender looks pretty kick-ass.
The Proposal (Available March 13th):
If you're still on a high after Sandra Bullock taking endless awards for The Blind Side, including an Academy Award this past weekend, then this should hold you over until her next project. However, despite my enjoyment of both Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, their combined efforts just didn't shine as much as I hoped they would. However, a movie-stealing performance from Betty White makes this a bit more entertaining in a film that never quite gets a grasp on a believable romance between Reynolds' and Bullock's characters. Still, if anything your girlfriend or mother will love it.
Whatever Works (Available March 14th):
In my opinion, a vastly underrated film from last year, and one of Woody Allen's most recent sound triumphs has Larry David, the Woody Allen of another dimension, leading the standard awkward, wordy comedy we've come to expect from the bespectacled introvert. The film isn't exactly groundbreaking or even brilliant, but for some reason it just hit all the right chords of my heartstrings and really nailed my funny bone. Evan Rachel Wood and Ed Begley, Jr. also come along for the ride in a comedy that is not only hilarious but heart-warming.
And now the best of the rest online free movie websites' new additions for your online viewing pleasure...
The Auteurs: Your online cinema. Anytime. Anywhere.
Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century, Life Is Beautiful, Ocean's 11, Ocean's 12, Body of Lies, The Lost Boys, The Birdcage, Field of Dreams, The Muppet Movie, See No Evil Hear No Evil, Bee Movie, The Mosquito Coast, Antz, Lethal Weapon, Thumbsucker, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Michael Jackson's Thriller, The Empire Strikes Back, The Hunt for Red October, and Marvin's Room
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?