This Week on Netflix Instant: District 9, Amelie, The Jerk, More
by Ethan Anderton
May 18, 2010
So last week with the Cannes Film Festival shifting into full gear and the time zone difference with our own Alex Billington bringing us the latest from the fest, we didn't have time to publish the newest weekly Netflix Instant update. But now we're back with a vengeance (and last week's list sucked anyway). This week we've got a solid collection of flicks including a film from my Top 10 of 2009, an animated flick that was snubbed for an Oscar nomination, one of my favorite comedies of all-time, an 80's horror favorite that has a remake lined up and a throwback to when Tom Hanks used to actually be funny. So what's in our queue this week?
G-Force (Available Now):
Now let's get something straight about this recommendation. In no way do I think that this hamster secret agent centric film is worth an entire hour and a half of your time, but it might be worth checking out, if only for an instant, to be blown away by Nicolas Cage's voice work as The Mole (both literally and figuratively). I got to see this film at Disney's El Capitan theater in Los Angeles, and while the experience itself left something to be desired, the one thing that stuck with me was finding out that Cage was behind the nasally sounding Mole.
Fright Night (Available Now):
With a remake in the works starring Colin Farrell and Anton Yelchin, why not check out this campy 80's horror favorite about teenager Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) who discovers that his suave new neighbor, Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon), is a vampire. But things get really intense when Charley discovers that Dandridge has his sights set on his girlfriend and only actor Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall), famed for portraying a ghoul hunter, can help him.
The Jerk (Available Now):
"I was born a small black child." Certainly one of the funniest things Steve Martin has ever said on-screen (and leaps and bounds funnier than his recent work) opens up this classic comedy that is one of my favorite comedies of all-time. If you haven't seen this hilarious adventure of Navin Johnson (Martin) leaving his adopted African American family to discover his "special purpose," then you're missing out. I need you to see it. Along with "the ashtray, the remote control, the paddle game, this magazine and the chair. And that's all I need."
District 9 (Available May 21st):
Not only did this film make my personal Top 10 of 2009, but I loved it enough to even throw it in my Best of the Decade list at #6. Neill Blomkamp makes a fantastic feature length debut with this faux culturally relevant documentary following the relocation of stranded aliens in Johannesburg who have been forced to live in rigid containment zones while Multi-National United forces study their weapons and figure out how to keep them isolated and pretty much quarantined. Sharlto Copley now has a bright career ahed because of his stellar performance in this fantastic film.
Amelie (Available May 21st):
A must-see quirky, foreign romantic comedy of sorts that sees Audrey Tautou as Amelie, a young woman living alone who finds a long-hidden trove of toys behind a baseboard in her apartment. Inspired to repatriate the items, her impulse of generosity sparks more benevolent acts in this surreal, funny and wholly entertaining celebration of life and love as only French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet can deliver in this film nominated for an Oscar as Best Foreign Language Film.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (Available May 21st):
One of my biggest beefs with last year's Academy Award's was the snubbing of this fantastic adaptation of one of my favorite childhood books. Phil Lord and Chris Miller brought an amazingly unique vision to life with one hell of a cast (including Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Andy Samberg, Bruce Campbell and Neil Patrick Harris) to bring this book to life in a contemporary and hilarious way. Inventor Flint Lockwood (Hader) creates a machine that makes clouds rain food, enabling the down-and-out citizens of Chewandswallow to feed themselves. But when the falling food reaches gargantuan proportions, Flint must scramble to avert disaster and save the town.
I Am Sam (Available May 21st):
Though Kirk Lazarus (as Sergeant Lincoln Osiris) might say Sean Penn dropped the ball by going "full retard" for this drama, you can't deny that Penn put in one hell of a performance for a film that also showcases just how talented Dakota Fanning was at such a young age. Featuring a soundtrack composed of Beatles cover songs, the film uses their music as one of many bonds between a struggling, but endlessly loving, mentally handicapped father and his intelligent, precocious 7 year-old daughter as the law threatens to tear them apart.
The Karate Kid (Available May 21st):
With the Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan led remake not looking all that bad, you should take the time to enjoy the original story of Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) as he struggles with karate trained bullies at a new school. Quickly learning that it's only going to get worse, Daniel gets help from a resident martial arts master, Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita), who trains Daniel, not only in karate, but life. It's the ultimate underdog story complete with a karate tournament face-off and two sequels (Part II and Part III are also available on Netflix, but we won't talk about Hilary Swank as The Next Karate Kid).
Bachelor Party (Available May 21st):
Remember when Tom Hanks used to be funny in movies? That's not to say I'm not a fan of the actor anymore (he's one of my favorites), but aside from his work in Charlie Wilson's War, I've been mostly unimpressed with his choice in roles for the past 5 years. So it doesn't hurt to look back at a time when Hanks was predominantly a great comedic actor which started with his turn in this crazy, chaotic comedy (they just don't make them like this anymore) that is every bit as good as Animal House complete with a cocaine snorting donkey.
And now the best of the rest online free movie websites' new additions for your online viewing pleasure...
Mubi: Your online cinema. Anytime. Anywhere.
Bulworth, In the Loop, Run, Lola, Run, Interview with a Vampire, My Fair Lady, Pee-wee's Big Adventure, The Devil's Rejects, Romeo + Juliet, Chinatown, The Squid and the Whale, The Shining, Infernal Affairs, The Graduate, and Heavenly Creatures.
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?