Friday, August 21, 2015

Netflix This Movie! Vol. 143

If you've got a Netflix subscription we're here to help.

Adam Riske: The Skeleton Twins (2014, dir. Craig Johnson) I really enjoyed The Skeleton Twins when I saw it in theaters last fall but have not thought about it since. Nevertheless, it has some special performances (i.e. maybe their best??) from Bill Hader and Kristin Wiig and even Luke Wilson is good in this. How about that? That almost never happens. The movie is a good blend of comedy and drama and really comes together in one scene where Hader and Wiig bond all over again in a dentist's office. I love that scene.
Adam Thas: Benny & Joon (1993, dir. Jeremiah Chechik) On the Breakfast Club podcast, Patrick was talking about movies that you can no longer divorce yourself from and look at objectively. Benny & Joon is one of those movies for me. If I had to make a list of my top 25 movies, there is a good chance I’d have this one on there. Mary Stuart Masterson plays Joon Pearl (who is mentally disabled, although they never say with what) who falls in love with Sam (played by Johnny Depp), a rather unusual guy obsessed with movies, in particular Buster Keaton movies. I can’t really say Benny & Joon is doing anything spectacular or even different from the norm; all I know is this movie makes me happy every time I watch it. Probably the best thing I can say about it is that Benny & Joon pulls off the “Silly Rom-Com” ending without ever feeling too silly. Johnny Depp outdoes himself by flawlessly recreating some bits made famous by Buster Keaton, and you get to sing along twice to the ever catchy “I’m Gunna Be (500 Miles).” Scottish style.
Heath Holland: Muscle Shoals (2013, dir. Greg "Freddy" Camalier) I just wrote a full "Heath Holland On..." about my feelings pertaining to this documentary, but neglected to mention that the film is currently streaming on Netflix. It offers a great way to learn about a very important time and place in popular music history by the people who were there. Added incentive: it also provides you with the opportunity to hear my native accent in action! I could just sop this movie up with a biscuit, y'all.
JB: Like Water For Chocolate [Como Aqua Para Chocolate] (1992, dir. Alfonso Arau) I have many delightful memories of this groundbreaking film. Directed by Alfonso Arau (General Mapache’s flunky Herrera in The Wild Bunch and El Guapo in Three Amigos!), It was, for a time, the highest grossing foreign language film in America until Mel Gibson’s fun romp, The Passion of the Christ, knocked it off its perch. The film concerns young Tita (Mexican soap-opera star Lumi Cavazos) who learns to channel her frustrated passion for a forbidden love into her cooking with sexy and hilarious results. This film was an introduction to “magical realism” for many in its American audience, and it was a box-office sensation around the world. Back when the film was originally released, a teacher friend and I hosted a monthly foreign film screening and discussion series at five area libraries. Most of the films we chose were older, but the month we screened Like Water For Chocolate, it was still in theaters-- and our crowds were immense. That film yielded some of the better audience conversations we led as well. The book, which I also recommend, features the actual recipes from the film. Read the book, follow the recipes carefully, and you can win your true love’s heart*.

*winning of hearts not guaranteed.
Patrick: These Final Hours (2014, dir. Zak Hilditch) Credit to Chaybee for turning me on to this Australian apocalyptic drama starring Nathan Phillips (Snakes on a Plane) as a fuckup who tries to find some redemption during the last day of human existence. There are echoes of Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (also on Netflix Instant!) in the episodic nature and the unrelenting bleakness of the story being told, but this one is way less concerned with jokes and romance and is much darker and nastier. It's also very beautiful and haunting. Not an easy watch, but worthwhile.

18 comments:

  1. The Skeleton Twins is kind of a rough movie, I still liked it but I think I could see it being kind of polarizing. You'll either get it or you won't. Wiig and Hader can act their asses off though, they show incredible range in this. I really liked Luke Wilson's character, one of the best roles he's had in quite sometime and he nailed it. I don't know if anyone has watched Wiig's newish movie Welcome to Me (also on Netflix Instant) yet, but man what a ridiculous movie, obviously right in her comedic wheelhouse. It's one of those movies that has 2 or 3 giant laughs peppered in between a lot of, 'well that one missed miserably,' and 'I get why that's supposed to be funny,' kind of jokes. The whole part where she starts operating on the dogs on tv is disgusting...then suddenly funny (because of how long they stick with it). I wouldn't say its one of her best efforts though, good to see Wes Bentley getting work, Jennifer Jason Leigh too.

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    1. I totes reviewed Welcome to Me. I didn't like it much.

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  2. Watched Benny & Joon about a week ago for the first time, Johnny Depp is the show, brilliant, you can tell he prepared a lot for that part. I kept seeing Chaplin with what he was doing but you're probably on the money with the Keaton, didn't really think of him when I was watching it.

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    1. No you're correct, there are some Chaplin in there as well.

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  3. Fun f̶a̶c̶t̶ opinion: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is a horrible movie. An East Coast story shot in the environs of LA, it's not funny at all, and Carrell and Knightley have absolutely no chemistry. There is a very big laugh at the end, though, when we're told, as part of a very somber and moving plot point, that a Cessna can be flown from New York State to London. By pit-stopping on several aircraft carriers, maybe?! Seriously, not worth a watch, not even once. ;)

    On a positive note, I'm one ep from finishing the first season of Netflix's original series Bloodline, starring the always-awesome Kyle Chandler, and it is great. Slowly paced, sure, but never dull, and the episodes are so serialized it really feels like watching a 13-hour movie, maybe adapted from a decent-sized novel in which every scene and line of dialogue was filmed. They're not bad people... but they did a bad thing.

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  4. Like Water For Chocolate! I had to read the book and watch the movie in my all-girls high school English class. It made me feel embarrassed to be a girl, like when you have feelings you have to resort to weird, witchy cooking. You know what movie we liked in my all girls-high school English class? A Streetcar Named Desire. There was a lot of seat-gripping.

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    1. Yea. Basically Marlon Brando blew our brains when he walked onscreen.

      I remember we also watched Cold Comfort Farm in English. Not sure why but it was clever and fun.

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    2. I watched it last night due to Chaybee and Patrick, I was worried as I started it with a Faults in our stars type of heart pulling sadness movie, but it wasent that, it had a lot of heart and it was not as depressive as it could of been with the subject matter, I really enjoyed it,
      If anyone listens to my unique recommendations I just watched Love Object by Robert Parigi, a film I missed when it came out but I found it really different, clever and a young Desmond Harrington from Dexter too

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    3. Nice recommendation, Dennis! Haven't seen it and will be checking it out soon.

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    4. Just finished Love Object. Really enjoyed it! The way the story played out was much more than I expected. The lead character made me think of Patrick Bateman for some reason. I was shocked to see that this is the directors only directing credit! That blew my mind as I would love to see more from him. Thanks again, Dennis!

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    5. Yeah its a cool movie, im really glad you liked it, Robert Parigi was on a podcast I heard recently and hes kind of a Genius, super knowledgeable so I was really interested to see his movie, he now produces mainly from stuff like Tales from the crypt to Agents of Shield, he has a unique vision and tone, the dark humour and tone of American Psycho, it would be great for him to direct horror again

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    6. I guess that's why I got a Patrick Bateman vibe.

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  6. Nice, Patrick! Thanks for the shout out. I love that film. In all of it's darkness there is a sweetness that comes gradually with our main characters that packs a whole lot of heart and puts this above the rest in the genre.

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  7. Benny and Joon is wonderful! I second that recommendation.

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  8. Thanks for the recommendation Patrick and Chaybee.
    I just finished watching it and it was great, but now Im a little choked up.

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