In what will probably be a monthly feature, I’ll look to round up the best Netflix additions from the month before. Here’s what got added throughout December/January that I think are worth your time.
Any I’ve missed off? Let me know in the comments below, or via @movieblort on twitter.
The Wolf of Wall Street
“HOW DID HE NOT WIN AN OSCAR!?” – in what will surely go down as one of the biggest injustices of the Academy Awards, Leo Di Caprio gives arguably a career best performance starring as Jordan Belfort. “HOW DID IT NOT WIN ANY OSCARS?”… that’s a tougher question, but the fact it was up for 5 oscars is a clear indication as to just how good this movie is. Di Caprio plays a stockbroker on Wall Street, swimming in money but with a career based on fraud, his life is completely unpredictable. With Scorcese at the reins, this story of a man we should probably hate, becomes one of the most entertaining and dare I say it, hilarious, films to grace our screens.
All is Lost
If too much happened in Captain Phillips for you, and you thought, “I wish there was a film it was just a man on a boat”, then look no further. All is Lost showcases a powerful performance by Robert Redford, by quite literally being the only person in the entire film, and utters only a few sentences throughout. He is faced with adversity and daunting isolation, there is no-one to bounce his frustrations off, and nobody else in the same situation. It’s incredibly bleak. I think the only words he says once the film gets going is “fuck” and “help”… that says it all.
City of God
Most people have seen this film, but if not, now presents a great time to watch it. Set within the slums of Rio De Janeiro, this is a shocking look at what life is like for those growing up with nothing but crime around them. As far as world cinema goes, this is a very accessible film and one that has gone down as a crime classic. Unflinching violence, raw emotion, but always captivating; it is an incredible example of expert storytelling.
Quite rare that you find a film capable of building a female action hero to be such a bad-ass, without succumbing to all the natural sexist traits. Haywire allows MMA fighter Gina Carano in her first ever acting role to exploit her physical dominance in a role that sees her take on those who she used to work for. A special government contract killer, but now she is the one who needs to be killed? We’ve seen it before, but few have done it this well as of late.
A slow, but brooding drama, where Willem Dafoe treks about in beautiful scenery with a gun waiting to kill a tiger. He’s a bit of a loner, but once he befriends a local family who are also on the hunt for one of their family members who has gone missing, his simple mission to retrieve the animal becomes a little more complicated. For some this may be a bit boring, but if you’re a fan of minimalist drama and nice landscape views, then you can’t go far wrong.
We Need To Talk About Kevin
A mortifying thriller, that leans more towards a horror than your typical drama with an edge. Based on the novel of the same name, presumably based on any number of high-school massacres in the US, this is an important and intriguing look at what the mindset is of someone susceptible to commit such atrocities. It’s a little sensationalised, but it needs to be in order to carry the more important message. A truly chilling film.
This Italian film is told via 3 intertwining stories, across two families from very different classes. Bridging the gap between these two is the relationship between their kids, but as the story develops we learn more about each family member, emotional and financial states are put under stress, and we realise that all is not as black and white as first seemed. A sleek and sophisticated film, with great performances throughout, this is a sharply observed social commentary touching upon a variety of genres.
Netflix keep removing and then adding this title for some reason, but maybe it’s to keep putting it to the top of the new additions list. While the concept may sound a bit stale what with all the “Sole Survivor” styled films out there in recent years, but Battle Royale was arguably the first one to hit our screens with such originality and ferocity. Based on the novel of the same name, this controversial and bloody thriller is not easy to stomach. Those looking for an intense viewing experience need look no further.
I can’t plug this documentary enough; it was in my end of year list and I wrote about it in full here, and now it’s on Netflix. Matthew Heineman puts himself in the heart of the action as he looks to showcase those taking on the Mexican drug cartels. This is grass-roots documentary making at its finest, quite often getting caught in the firing line, offering nothing but the most brutal and honest depiction of horrendous violence that takes place on a daily basis. Narcos and Sicario may have caught your attention, but there is no substitute for the real thing.
Deliver Us From Evil
For those who are anticipating the release (or have already seen) the upcoming movie Spotlight, in which the Boston Globe unravels the web if deceit that the Catholic Church has woven around their pedophile ring, then there is a documentary on offer worth watching before you get angry at that. Deliver Us From Evil focuses in on one sick priest, Father O’Grady, as he moved around America violating young boys. It’s as disgusting and shocking as you expect.
Cobain: Montage of Heck
Prolific, inspiring and absolutely game-changing; Kurt Cobain’s life and influence is one that cannot be replicated easily, if at all. Director Brett Morgan’s Montage of Heck puts the focus on the infamous Nirvana frontman, attempting to tell his story through home videos, clever transitional animations, recordings and interviews with surviving family members. This feels truly fresh, and much like the Amy documentary mentioned earlier, as close to a definitive film we will probably get.
A slow-paced film, made up of many individual stories that come together with one overriding and timely theme, and that is the theme of oppression in the name of religion. Sickening, infuriating and above all else, haunting, this depicting of Muslims under the rule of other Muslims is a message that cannot be taken lightly. Perhaps too quiet and slow for some, but one that is worth sticking with until the end.
Drugs? Killing? Pedophiles? Terrorists? Those topics are a bit bleak! Lets lighten the mood. Uncle Buck anyone? An easy-going comedy from the late 80’s starring John Candy, as a haphazard, unemployed babysitter for his brothers kids. Seemingly incapable of being the responsible adult, with your typical irresponsible kids, it’s a recipe for disaster. But still, it’s a happy, heartwarming comedy too. One to watch if you are completely bummed out by the other suggestions.