This Week on Netflix Instant: The Rock, Short Circuit & More
by Ethan Anderton
March 2, 2010
We've got a bit of a meatier installment for this week's new titles available on Netflix Instant, and there even seems to be a bit of a theme running through them this time as more than a handful aren't exactly the greatest movies, and in some cases are down right terrible, but can definitely be considered guilty pleasures and points of nostalgia for many. And just as another reminder, not all of these films will be available at the time of this post, so look immediately to the right of the title for its availability. If it says it's available now, you're good to go, but if there's a date there, you'll have to wait a bit longer. So what's coming this week?
Short Circuit (Available Now):
Input! Last week John Badham's other 80's sci-fi flick WarGames hit Netflix and this week it's the lovable robot Number 5 who comes to think he's human after being stricken by lightning and escapes the laboratory. But in pursuit is his designer (Steve Gutenberg) who needs to get a hold of him before the military does. However, Ally Sheedy has already taken a cue from E.T. and takes Number 5 into her home, thinking he's an alien, and teaching him about Earth. This one is about as cheesy as they come, but it's an 80's movie well worth your 90 minutes.
Casino Royale (Available Now):
This adaptation of the first James Bond novel by Ian Fleming is more of a spy satire, or even a spoof, than any of the other installments in the secret agent's filmography. David Niven, who was actually Fleming's original choice for Bond over Sean Connery, plays a retired 007 called back into action to thwart the sinister plans of Le Chiffre (played by Orson Welles). Woody Allen and Peter Sellers even make appearances in this film that is almost the exact opposite of the recent incarnation of Casino Royale starring Daniel Craig. Trivia: this film had five different directors.
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (Available Now):
The more cartoon-like and weakest of the two-movie series is still a hell of a lot of fun to watch despite ditching some of the more stylistic elements that made the original such an amazing installment of horror/comedy in the 1980's. Moving to New York City, this sequel follows Billy (Zach Galligan) and Kate (Phoebe Cates) in their new careers at a high tech office park. But when a neighboring science division in the office park stumbles upon Gizmo, an accident in the lab creates a new generation of Gremlins who terrorize the city and its citizens. I always love when the Gremlin who drinks the intelligence formula sits in as a guest on a talk show hosted by Robert Prosky in a Dracula outfit. Classic.
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (Available Now):
Sure this is can be called a social issue drama, but it's also funny. And despite dealing with racial issues of the past, its message is still relevant today in our culture clashing society. In a film that was nominated for Best Picture, the legendary Sidney Poitier meets the parents (Spencer Tracy & Katherine Hepburn) of his caucasian girlfriend (Katharine Houghton) and the result is awkward, poignant and even hilarious. Luckily. this classic film isn't tainted by its less than stellar remake Guess Who starring Ashton Kutcher and the late Bernie Mac.
Mortal Kombat (Available Now):
Ah, yes. One of the many video game based films that just doesn't cut it on the big screen. Still though, I remember being ridiculously excited for this film as a kid. Now of course you can't see it for anything more than a B-action-movie. And with actors like Christopher Lambert and Bridgette Wilson, there's not much room for redemption from any of the performances, or for that matter, the severely outdated special effects. You might say to yourself, well, it was made in 1995. But Jurassic Park was made in 1993 and most of those effects look better than many that make the cut on major films today. I guess I can't expect too much from Paul W.S. Anderson though.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Available March 5th):
One of the last truly great comedies of the 1980's and one of Steve Martin's best sees him paired up with the legendary Michael Caine as two con-men who are competing for the affection of a rich, socialite woman in order to win a bet that will give the winner free reign to con the Riviera. Though slapsticky and silly, the laughs are quality, and sadly this is Steve Martin in his comedic prime that we haven't seen for over a decade. Certainly one of Frank Oz's best comedies.
3 Ninjas (Available March 5th):
Last week it was Cop and a Half, and this week it's this karate fueled installment from 1992 that takes the spot of Godawful Childhood Favorite Movie. There is literally no one worth mentioning who stars in this film, and the film is complete with silly "action" sequences that mesh Home Alone and The Karate Kid to form a film so bad, you can't help but laugh. Truly a film of the 90's complete with awful haircuts and cliche surfer dudes, this movie would never even make the bargain bin at Wal-Mart.
Dirty Work (Available March 5th):
Sure this comedy stands at a pathetic 17% on Rotten Tomatoes, but I can't get enough of the wholly underrated Norm MacDonald and I absolutely love him in this comedy that pairs him up with Artie Lang as they start a revenge for hire business in order to raise $50,000 for their father's heart transplant. With great supporting work from Chris Farley, Don Rickles, Christopher McDonald, Jack Warden and Chevy Chase, this is a terrible movie, but a really funny comedy. And after you watch it, you can say you saw a film directed by Bob Saget. Yes. That guy.
Mallrats (Available March 5th):
While it's universally considered to be Kevin Smith's weakest installment of the New Jersey Chronicles, his staple witty, quick dialogue and cult classic characters are in rare form. Smith regulars Jason Lee and Ben Affleck clash over Brenda Shannon Doherty over the course of one day in one of the crappiest malls you've ever seen. Meanwhile Jeremy London is trying his hardest to win back Claire Forlani before she throws herself at a stranger as a gameshow contestant as a favor to her father. And if you're one of those who needs a special kind of incentive to watch a movie: there's boobs.
The Rock (Available March 5th):
Let's face it, your life would have 75% less explosions without Michael Bay. The unlikely pairing of Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery must stop a group of U.S. marines, under command of a renegade general (Ed Harris), as they threaten San Francisco Bay with biological weapons from a captured Alcatraz prison. Did you know that this, along with Armageddon, are a part of the Criterion Collection? Somewhere there's a cinephile and film collector who almost killed himself because he had to purchase two Michael Bay films to complete his Criterion Collection.
Street Fighter (Available March 5th):
That's right, there's two terrible video game movies this week. But unlike Mortal Kombat, this has the spectacular Raul Julia as the tyrannical M. Bison facing off against Jean-Claude Van Damme as Colonel Guile. Unfortunately there's no "sonic boom" but there's plenty of action and nonsense to go around. Keep an eye out for Australian singer/actress Kylie Minogue as Cammy too. It's sad to think that Julia's last film was so terrible. Still, you know you want to re-visit this one, especially because it's miles better than Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li with Kristin Kreuk from last year.
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.
American Gangster, Finding Neverland, The Others, Evita, Oliver!, Gentlemen's Agreement, Thirteen, Reality Bites, Gettysburg, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Adventures in Babysitting, Hotel Chevalier, Enter the Dragon, The Flight of the Phoenix (1965), and Mothra
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 StreamingSoon, 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 titles. Now go watch some movies! Are you satisfied with this week's new selection?