Thursday, October 6, 2011

Netflix Instant Gems Vol. 29

Man does life get in the way of loving movies sometimes! Work and family have taken an even more prominent front seat for me lately and that's as it should be. That said, don't be surprised if I drop down to about a post a month on my blog here for a bit. Another factor is lack of inspiration for new film lists(feel free to leave a comment with some ideas please!) and an drop in movies being put up on Instant. I have assembled a small list here for your enjoyment though. I am a fan of all of these films!



BABE: PIG IN THE CITY(1998; George Miller)
A film not mentioned nearly enough alongside GODFATHER II and perhaps ALIENS as a sequel that trumps its former. I was totally captivated by it when I first saw it in the theater upon its initial release and am still in love with it to this day. George Miller is really channeling Terry Gilliam here in the best possible way. Gloriously stylized and wonderful. Showed my little girl and she of course loved it so we moved backwards and watched the first one.




THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA(1954; Joseph L. Mankiewicz)
Ok, this film I must admit I have not yet seen. Been meaning to forever though. I hope to watch it very soon!




CHILD'S PLAY(1988; Tom Holland)
This has really become a classic of sorts. I think those of us of a certain age all recall being drawn in by it. Our discomfort with dolls began with POLTERGEIST(or perhaps MAGIC) and was tapped into in this movie.




CHINATOWN(1974; Roman Polanski)
Polanski's masterpiece. A perfect film. How can you not love this?! Those who've not been entranced by it must do so forthwith. This had a perennial spot on my employee pick's shelf back in my video store days(along with THE THING, THE APARTMENT, THE KING OF COMEDY and THE 'BURBS for whatever that says a about me).




THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY(1978; Michael Crichton)
I was along for the ride with Crichton as a director from the word go. WESTWORLD became an instant favorite for me and I began to look into what else he'd done. This was a surprise as I liked it way more than I ever thought I would from the outset. Great cast, check it out!




HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE(2004; Hayao Miyazaki)
I remember seeing PRINCESS MONONOKE right around the time it came out. Loved it. Didn't follow through with watching too many more Miyazaki films after that though. STILL have not seen SPIRITED AWAY(shameful I know). I guess my aversion to the anime style in general must have derailed me. Nonetheless I have now fully boarded the Miyazaki train. It took the influence of my little girl to truly grab my attention. We showed her MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO and though it wasn't an immediate hit, it has truly become her go-to favorite right now. Branching off of that I've shown her KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE and PONYO as well. I have truly fallen under Miyazaki's spell of fantasy and wonder. He is just an amazing filmmaker. I remember actually seeing HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE several years ago and really enjoying it. I am anxious to revisit.




INTERIORS(1978; Woody Allen)
I am always fascinated by the fact that Woody followed-up ANNIE HALL with this stark, serious chamber drama. It's jarring at first to even try to watch it if you're used to Woody's comedies, but I have grown to have a great appreciation for it over the years. I think I was first turned onto it my Mr. John Waters himself when he mentioned several of Allen's films that he loved and that he like his Woody "Serious as a heart-attack". It also always alarms me how liberally Todd Solondz borrowed from this film for HAPPINESS and how infrequently that is mentioned.




JACKIE BROWN(1997; Quentin Tarantino)
Don't get me wrong. I love all of Tarantino's films. Even the less popular stuff like DEATHPROOF(really do have a fondness for this-might have a lot to do with Kurt Russell). I know it's not uncommon for folks to call this out as their favorite of his films, but I have to agree with that. It hooks me emotionally so much more than anything else he's done. I guess as I've gotten older I find my emotional connection to films to be more and more important. I know QT said he wanted to show people he could make a mature film like this early in his career(and not later as many filmmakers do), but I really would love to see another one like this. Pam Grier and Robert Forster totally hook me and I am with them to that final shot that goes out of focus(great stuff).




LONELY ARE THE BRAVE(1962; David Miller)
For those of us who were introduced to Kirk Douglas via the 80s classic TOUGH GUYS, it's quite an amazing journey back through his filmography. Some really amazing stuff there. Cynical stuff like THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, ACE IN THE HOLE and OUT OF THE PAST. I love all those films. This one too. It's not cynical like those films are. It's different. It celebrates the western hero while trumpeting his demise. Douglas made some great films in his day and this is one of them.




STRANGE BREW(1983; Dave Thomas/Rick Moranis)
The phrase "Take off you hoser" has not been as completely assimilated into the vernacular of popular culture as I would like. It was the first line I ever heard from this film and that was years before I would see it. One friend of mine in middle school used to quote it quite often. "What's a hoser" I would always wonder. As a kid I recall seeing some reruns of SCTV on late night television, but for some reason I always missed the Bob and Doug sketches. Regardless, when I finally did see the film, it's cult cache became stunningly clear to me immediately. So quotable, so wondrous, so sublime. Watch it now.




TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A.(1985; William Friedkin)
I am not myself a big fan of CSI. I am however quite curious if William Petersen's popularity in that show has caused a ton of people to go back and seek out this film and MANHUNTER. If this is the case, it's not nearly as prevalent as I'd like it to be. I still think that neither film gets talked about enough considering how good they are.




VAMPIRE'S KISS(1989; Robert Bierman)
I have become something of a Nicolas Cage apologist. I sometimes try to conceal the fact that I enjoy most of his films on some small level or another. We've all heard of the levels of "Cage" that he brings to each film that he does. I think we are all secretly hoping for that FULL "Cage" to rear his head again each time we sit down to take in one of his schlockfests. Well look no further than VAMPIRE'S KISS my friends as it has some serious full Cage action to offer. Truly bizarre film.

13 comments:

bp said...

great list. keep them up when you can.

I love interiors too!

Cinema Du Meep said...

I've never seen The Great Train Robbery. I really should. Thanks for these!

Rupert Pupkin said...

BP-Thanks kindly sir! Again, late congrats on your fatherhood! It certainly eats into movie watching time, but I wouldn't have it any other way! Very cool to hear you're a fan of the Woody's dramas!
Meep- I'd be curious to hear what you think of it. Pretty well done. Loving your 31 days of 80s movie slashers btw!

Robert M. Lindsey said...

I do something similar on my blog, only I concentrate on what's newly available on Netflix instant. I like the way you do yours though, and may have to imitate it somewhat. That's a form of flattery you know.
RetroHound.com

Grady Hendrix said...

Responding to your call to suggest some lists: Hong Kong and Japan (and Korea)!!!!! The Miramax catalogue, just for one example, is adding tons of great movies to Netflix Instant Watch. While their Jackie Chan movies and Jet Li movies (in particular) are cut to shreds, there are a host of subtitled, unedited movies from Hong Kong's glory days...all in their proper aspect ratios!!!

DRAGONS FOREVER - Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao grew up together in Chinese Opera School and this is quite possibly the best film the three of them made.

TIGER CAGE - super-intense 80's exploitation grottiness featuring squibs and stunts that just won't quit. The sequel, TIGER CAGE II, isn't quite as slambang but still fun.

DREAM LOVERS - I haven't checked the subtitles on this yet, but if it's subbed it's one of the most romantic supernatural romances ever released. Chow Yun-fat gives a great performance, as does Brigitte Lin. This is from 1986 when both superstars were at the beginning of what became massive careers.

MIGHTY PEKING MAN - campy cheesiness doesn't get any better than this. Hong Kong's KING KONG.

THE FLAMING BROTHERS - Chow Yun-fat and pop star Alan Tang play two gangsters in this B-list knock-off of A BETTER TOMORROW. Still, if you've got a jones for 80's fashions and big gundowns, you could do a lot worse.

YES, MADAM - the movie that launched the Girls with Guns genre, Michelle Yeoh and Cynthia Rothrock attack the screen so hard they might just shatter your TV.

Bonus Round -
LITTLE BIG SOLDIER - the best Jackie Chan film in over a decade but not a Miramax title. Here's a write-up:
http://subwaycinema.com/nyaff2010/films/little-big-soldier.html

Poorly organized, and hard-to-find, there's still a lot of really good Asian content on Instant Watch that should be celebrated.

SteveQ said...

You'll like Barefoot Contessa - kinda hard not to like it. When I saw Vampire's Kiss (VHS days), I watched the cockroach scene over and over to spot the edit, only to find out a year later that there was none. [I'm trying not ruin it for those who haven't seen it.]

A fun question I got asked: "What's the best movie you haven't seen and why haven't you seen it?" Of course, there's no way to really know. I came up with "Celine and Julie Go Boating," because I'm told it's a film you want to discuss afterward and I can't find anyone else who wants to see it. So... what's yours?

Direct to Video Connoisseur said...

Excellent list as always, I think the Bogie flick is where I'm going first, as I've been meaning to see The Barefoot Contessa for years, and haven't gotten around to it. Also, I'm beginning to realize that a lot of the greats I saw growing up I saw in Pan and Scan, not widescreen, so I may take advantage of Chinatown.

Rupert Pupkin said...

Grady-Thanks so much for the suggestions! So much stuff there I've not seen!
Steve-Good question, well I haven't seen CELINE AND JULIE GO BOATING either for one. I know I really want to see some Satyajit Ray films. Not sure why I haven't seen them yet either.
DTVC-Let me know what you think of BC when you see it, I am guessing you might see before me!

Grady Hendrix said...

I really love your site and my only complaint is that I wish you didn't have a life so you could update more frequently.

If you're ever interested in a guest post looking at hidden Asian gems on Netflix, let me know. It would be fun!

Grady Hendrix said...

Just wanted to point people towards some of the biggest Netflix news of the last few months: Instant Watch is now streaming CJ Entertainment's library. That means that Korea's biggest distributor now has a lot of their best movies online and available to watch for free:

If you're wondering where to start, check out my recommendation list:
http://www.gradyhendrix.com/netflix-streaming-safari-korean-madness/

SteveQ said...

Just did a list of favorite zombie movies.
http://stevequick.blogspot.com/2011/10/zombie-movies-ate-my-brain.html

Terry Frost said...

I definitely recommend The Barefoot Contessa. Edmond O'Brien is good in it, too.

Rupert Pupkin said...

Grady-Sorry for my delayed response, I really appreciate the kind words! I may be down for a guest post at some point possibly yes, thanks for the invitation! and thanks for the news about CJ Entertainment!

Steve-Great Zombie List! Guess I need to see Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island!

Terry-Still dying to see it. In the midst of a personal Heston Festival right now..

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