This Week on Netflix Instant: Moon, Clash of the Titans, More
by Ethan Anderton
April 13, 2010
Sadly, this week brings another barren installment of new releases on Netflix Instant (only 3 of the titles are new this week), and it looks like it's all because there's a ridiculously huge addition of various "Barney" and "Thomas the Train Engine" programming being added to the library, so if you have kids who like purple dinosaurs and blue trains, then this week is your week. But if you happen to like Sam Rockwell, younger Jeff Goldblum and Jim Carrey, the Coen Brothers and/or a small selection of films that are getting contemporary updates, then you might enjoy this week's other select titles just the same. So what's in our queue this week?
Moon (Available Now):
One of the best films of 2009 (it's definitely in my Top 10 of last year), and one of a handful of film that made science fiction a force to be reckoned with, this debut film from director Duncan Jones doesn't try to show-off, but very subtly presents a somewhat high concept character based story with Sam Rockwell turning in an Oscar-worthy performance (though he, the film and Jones were all snubbed by the Academy) as astronaut Sam Bell and a clone of himself who are confused and bewildered by the others existence on a lunar base mining a precious resource for Earth. Since it's so easy to watch now, you have no excuse to miss it.
We Live in Public (Available Now):
Ironic that this film is now available online, as the subject of the story is essentially the internet itself and the effect the web is having on our society, as seen through the eyes of "the greatest internet pioneer you've never heard of:" Josh Harris. In the world of Twitter, Facebook and countless blogs on cooking, clothing, music, television and *gulp* movies, the documentary is a cautionary tale of the direction our society is headed as technology and the virtual world that has stemmed from it begins to take over our lives. A definite must watch for anyone who spends time online.
Planet of the Apes (Available Now):
With a prequel/reboot on the way relatively soon, why not take a journey into the past to check out the film that started the primate revolution? The classic film has the late Charlton Heston as one of three astronauts marooned on a futuristic planet where apes rule and humans are slaves. The apes, which now talk and walk upright, have created a system of classes and politics creating many sociological themes reminiscent of human history that eventually prove to be more than familiar when Heston finally ends up on a beach in one of most iconic scenes in cinema history.
Clash of the Titans (Available Now):
Instead of wasting your money on a shitty 3-D converted crapfest currently in theaters, check out the campy original starring Harry Hamlin, Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, and Burgess Meredith along with Ray Harryhausen's cherished special effects which were actually the last to grace the screen before his retirement from the industry. The story, which was mostly respected in the remake, has Cassiopeia comparing her daughter's beauty to that of Hera. Angered, the queen of the gods (rather than Liam Neeson's Zeus) has Poseidon unleash the monstrous beast Craken to destroy their village unless Cassiopeia's daughter, Andromeda, is sacrificed.
Arthur (Available Now):
With a Russell Brand led remake in the works, what better time to enjoy a truly great comedy of the past with the late Dudley Moore as Arthur, a very rich, drunken ne'er-do-well, falls in love with a working-class shoplifter just as he is scheduled to marry a properly pedigreed society member. But if he doesn't marry the heiress, he will not inherit a $750 million trust. Liza Minelli is along for the ride which has Moore in his finest and most well-remembered performance as he enjoys the fruits of wealth including limousines, prostitutes, train sets and tuna sandwiches.
The Comedians of Comedy (Available Now):
There's plenty of stand-up specials out here, but with this documentary that was actually produced by Netflix, we're given an inside look into the mind of four comedians as they set out on a tour not too dissimilar from many indie rock bands going across the country, playing intimate, underground venues. Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn, Maria Bamford and Zach Galifianakis are the Comedians of Comedy, on-tour and on-camera for a hilarious documentary which not only features stellar stand-up, but revealing looks into the craft of comedy, including exactly what shapes a comedian's jokes and style.
Earth Girls Are Easy (Available Now):
After crash-landing in Los Angeles' dreadful San Fernando Valley, three colorful aliens (played by a very young Jeff Goldblum, Jim Carrey and Damon Wayans) befriend manicurist Valerie (Geena Davis) and her boss (Julie Brown), who give the threesome makeovers and take them out for a night at the town. This is a low budget, almost spoof-level film taking aim at the Valley, MTV culture, and science fiction, so don't expect to be blown away, but stay for the laughs, as there are plenty.
The Man Who Wasn't There (Available April 16th):
An approach to film noir that only the Coen Brothers can deliver has Billy Bob Thornton in Santa Rosa, California, circa 1949 as a slow-moving, barely talking barber who doesn't seem to want much out of life. He has virtually no relationship with his wife, Doris (Frances McDormand), who has more fun with her boss, Big Dave (James Gandolfini). But when a strange character (Jon Polito) lets it be known that he's looking for a silent partner to finance his dream business (something he calls dry cleaning), he sees a possible way out of his doldrums. In what is essentially a respectful spoof of film noir, the Coen's deliver another underrated film like we've come to expect from them.
And now the best of the rest online free movie websites' new additions for your online viewing pleasure...
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?