This Week on Netflix Instant: This Is It, Jaws and The Sandlot
by Ethan Anderton
June 23, 2010
It's been more than a little while since our last Netflix Instant post, but we're back with a vengeance this week catching up on some titles already available and adding some new titles which will be available later this week. Between our last update and this one, we got word that a Netflix app will hit the iPhone later this summer allowing you to stream your favorite instant titles right into the palm of your hand. With or without Roger Ebert's blessing, new film titles that you'll soon be able to view include a must-see documentary for aspiring screenwriters, an absolute childhood classic, and lots of sharks. So what's in our queue this week?
Tales from the Script (Available Now):
While it's not the most groundbreaking documentary and the seemingly endless talking heads become a bit repetitive, this is a must-see for anybody who is or has ever been an aspiring screenwriter. Though formulaic, this is an amazing look at the background and work of those who have put some great films down on paper before they ever make it to a multiplex. The doc features great interviews with John August (Go), Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption), Shane Black (Lethal Weapon), William Goldman (Heat), Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver) and many more.
Law Abiding Citizen (Available Now):
Over-the-top and super intense, this action thriller sees Gerard Butler seeking out cold, calculated and sophisticated revenge on the lawmakers who allowed the killers of his wife and daughter to get off the hook. The film escalates from a face-off with the case's prosecutor, Jamie Foxx, to an all-out war with the city of Philadelphia as Butler manages to kill dozens of people all while holed up in a prison cell. The first and second act make the flick seem like a solid thriller from F. Gary Gray, but in the third act it becomes all too familiar and predictable to have any real impact.
Rudy (Available Now):
Despite my hate for Notre Dame, this is one of those classic inspirational sports movies complete with an amazing and instantly recognizable score from Jerry Goldsmith. David Anspaugh (Hoosiers) tells the story of a scrawny kid who dreams of playing football for Notre Dame. Aside from his obvious physical limitations, Rudy Ruettiger (Sean Astin) has to overcome his family's lack of finances and his less than impressive grades before he even gets a chance to throw on the blue and gold. Featuring a young Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn, this really is a sports classic.
Michael Jackson's This Is It (Available Now):
As exploitative as its speedy release seemed, this documentary from Kenny Ortega (High School Musical) is a fantastic look at what would've been Michael Jackson's last worldwide concert tour before his untimely death last year. The documentary is like a fly on the wall experience allowing us to see the rehearsals and plans for one hell of a concert. One thing becomes clear in the documentary, no matter what your opinion is on Jackson's personal life, he is a music icon and even at 50 years old, he put many of today's pop stars to shame.
The Sandlot (Available June 25th):
Who knows how many times I rented this movie from my local library (I don't know why we never bought it) when I was a kid, but this is one of my favorite childhood films that stands the test of the time. The young cast brings the 60's to life and shows just how great it must have been to be a kid in that decade. Though it contains some fantastical child-like elements, this is just a great family flick all around made with great love for the 60's, baseball, and of course, childhood.
Jaws (Available June 25th):
If you haven't already, now you can partake in celebrating the 35th anniversary of Steven Spielberg's masterpiece Jaws. Just John Williams' simple, yet masterful theme could stop me from getting in the ocean, let alone Bruce the great white shark. Summer cinema rarely gets better than this and if you really feel like going the whole nine yards, you can even check out Jaws 2, and Jaws 3 and Jaws: The Revenge on Netflix Instant, because every single sequel is available for your torture pleasure.
Surrogates (Available June 26th):
Take The Matrix, Terminator and Blade Runner with just a dash of Gamer and you've got yourself the science fiction mess that is Surrogates. It feels like it was manufactured in some sort of machine that combines better movies (with the exception of Gamer) throws them into a pot and comes up with a generic film on the other end. Luckily Bruce Willis makes it somewhat tolerable, but this is a movie that you really just need to see for yourself just so you can say, "Yeah, I saw that. Meh."
Contact (Available June 26th):
One of Robert Zemeckis' great films back before he went and got all obsessed with motion capture animation, this is one of the most scientifically, and realistically based science fiction flicks dealing with extra terrestrial contact. Adapted from Carl Sagan's novel dealing with science and religion, Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Skeritt and James Woods star in this though provoking film. Anyone remember when there was that huge controversy about using real footage of Bill Clinton manipulated to look like footage shot for the film? That was funny.
When You're Strange (Available June 29th):
Composed entirely of original footage from 1966 to 1971, Tom DiCillo's documentary about rock band The Doors filters truth from myth, reveals new insight into Jim Morrison and his bandmates, and captures the essence of the iconic rock group and the era. DiCillo's film pays tribute to the Doors and their music and to a generation's struggle for individuality and authenticity during an unstable and transformative epoch in America. And if that doesn't convince you, it's narrated by Johnny Depp.
Honorable Mentions (All Available Now): Red Cliff: The Theatrical Version, Clockers, Boyz N The Hood, Kurt Cobain: About a Son, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Born on the Fourth of July, Brewster's Millions, X-Games: The Movie, Incendiary and Bright Star.
And now the best of the rest online free movie websites' new additions for your online viewing pleasure...
Mubi: Your online cinema. Anytime. Anywhere.
The Man with the Golden Arm, No Country for Old Men, The Host, Wolf Creek, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Incredibles, Sunset Blvd, Groundhog Day, Mean Creek, Dark City and Saving Private Ryan.
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?