Now on Netflix Instant: Shutter Island, Diner, Insomnia and More
by Ethan Anderton
January 18, 2011
It's that time again! As soon as 2010 came to an end and 2011 kicked off, a whole slew of new titles dropped onto Netflix Instant - so let's get into it. From Best Picture nominees like An Education to winners like Platoon, there's plenty for awards lovers. If you're looking for low-key indie gems you'll want to bask in the glory of Assassination of a High School President or Exam. Or maybe you'll just want to enjoy some classics like 2001: A Space Odyssey or catch up on potential 2010 Oscar nominees like Shutter Island. This time there is something for everyone and plenty to keep you entertained. So what's new in our queue?
Shutter Island (Available Now):
Though it didn't quite make my Top 10 of 2010, this Martin Scorsese film starring Leonardo DiCaprio was still a great piece of cinema last year. Though it's not the most unpredictable of stories, the performances are stellar and Scorsese brings an old school, film noir feel to this psychological thriller. Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, Michelle Williams, Elias Koteas and Jackie Earle Haley all deliver spectacular supporting performances to round out a truly great flick.
Insomnia (Available Now):
As the anticipation builds for The Dark Knight Rises, why not sit back an enjoy one of Christopher Nolan's films that he made before Batman came around and made him a household name. Sent to investigate the murder of a teenage girl in a small Alaska town, police detective Will Dormer (Al Pacino) accidentally shoots his partner, Hap (Martin Donovan), while trying to apprehend a suspect (Robin Williams). But in spite of his guilt, he's still determined to solve the case. Hilary Swank also co-stars.
An Education (Available Now):
One of my favorite films from 2009 is now available for your convenient viewing on Netflix Instant. Starring the adorable, charming and talented Carey Mulligan, this film followsa promising, Oxford-bound teen in 1961 and she strays from her studies and gets a real world education from an exciting, but mysterious older man named David (Peter Sarsgaard). Jenny's parents (Alfred Molina and Cara Seymour) are even intrigued, but the education she receives from this relationship may be too much to handle.
Diner (Available Now):
Barry Levinson's feature directorial debut is one of my favorite coming-of-age stories ever. In 1959 Baltimore, former school chums facing adulthood find solace at the local diner, where the banter between groom-to-be Eddie (Steve Guttenberg), best man Billy (Tim Daly), womanizer Boogie (Mickey Rourke), married Shrevie (Daniel Stern) and quirky Modell (Paul Reiser) ranges from girls to growing old. Ellen Barkin and Kevin Bacon co-star in this great hidden gem.
Assassination of a High School President (Available Now):
Another one of my favorite films from 2010 has made its way to Netflix Instant. This Sundance favorite struggled to find a distributor and get a real theatrical release, but this is easily one of the best dark comedies I've ever seen. While Brick is a film noir set in high school, this film is a high school movie presented like a film noir (if that makes sense to you). Reece Thompson does a great job leading this great indie flick and Bruce Willis makes a great cameo and delivers a line that will keep you laughing well after the movie is over.
2001: A Space Odyssey (Available Now):
A classic not only in Stanley Kubrick's career of films, but in the genre of science fiction in general, this is an iconic film on every level. While investigating the appearance of mysterious monoliths throughout the universe, astronauts David (Keir Dullea) and Frank (Gary Lockwood) battle their ship's intelligent computer, HAL-9000. The stunning visual effects won an Oscar, even if the film itself didn't garner a win. Hopefully HAL-9000 won't stop you from watching this classic.
GoodFellas (Available Now):
Another Martin Scorsese film makes the list simply because it's GoodFellas. I mean you can't just ignore one of the seminal mafia movies getting added to Netflix Instant. The film first glorifies the life of organized criminals and then shoots it down with paranoia and insanity. After dealing with intimidating mobsters like Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro, real-world mobster Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), has his dreams of a smooth life as a gangster ruined when he's forced to join the Witness Protection Program instead.
Network (Available Now):
"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore!" Yes, this is the film that originated the infamous line of madness. When network news anchor Howard Beale (Peter Finch) loses his mind on the air, his outrageous rants reach viewers at home, boost the ratings and intrigue network executives Faye Dunaway and Robert Duvall. Sadly the 1976 film is an early prediction of our obsession with shock news and trashy television on nearly every channel available today.
Best in Show (Available Now):
Christopher Guest is at his best both in front of and behind the camera for this mockumentary that spoofs the world of fancy dog shows. Usual suspects like Parker Posey, John Michael Higgins, Fred Williard, Michael McKean, Jane Lynch, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara and more all have their own wacky antics on display in this hilarious comedy. This is one of my favorite comedies of all-time, and if you haven't taken the time to check it out, the do it right now.
The Wizard of Oz (Available Now):
By now there are very few people who haven't venture down the yellow-brick road for this classic musical. But if you don't have it on DVD or Blu-Ray, now you can conveniently watch it all over again. Let's face it there's no place like home anyway, right? Judy Garland shows off her musical pipes and acting talents in this whimsical fantasy where young Dorothy (Garland), has been swept away from her farm in Kansas to a wonderland of munchkins, flying monkeys and different-colored horses.
Honorable Mentions (Available Now): Exam, 2010: The Year We Make Contact, Frozen, RoboCop, Bonnie & Clyde, Blazing Saddles, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Brothers, Chariots of Fire, A Clockwork Orange, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Empire Records, Dial M for Murder, For Your Consideration, Forever Young, Hellraiser, The Fountain, The Good German, JFK, Johnny Mnemonic, Everything is Illuminated, Eyes Wide Shut, My Fellow Americans, The Lost Boys, Pay It Forward, Poltergeist, Mean Streets, Mars Attacks!, The Rookie, Science of Sleep, Rosemary's Baby, Unthinkable, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Trick 'r Treat, Solitary Man, Smokey and the Bandit, The Informers, Leaving Las Vegas, Platoon, Ocean's Eleven (1960), Blade 2 and Chicago.
That's all for this week's installment of Now on Netflix Instant new titles. And remember, if you ever want to look back at the thousands of Netflix titles already released, look forward at what's on the way, or check out the entire library of Netflix Instant titles available, 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 good movies! Are you happy with this week's latest titles?