The Netflix Weekend Watchlist
1) XX (2017) - I’m so glad this film is finally available to everyone. I first watched it on a “less than legal” website because I had heard hype about it from the film festivals it showed at. It is a four part horror anthology told by women, and from women’s points of view. Something that’s more revolutionary than it should be makes this film a real standout. Some are hits, some are misses, but if you don’t stay until the end, you’ll be missing out. Featuring a film by indie music darling St. Vincent, this film is definitely worth your time.
2) It’s Only the End of the World (2016) - Melodrama’s modern day prince, Xavier Dolan, has a new movie out and it’s one of his most ambitious so far (until his next, of course). It’s gotten mixed reviews and is said to be his worst yet, but even Dolan’s worst is far better than some of what’s out in theaters today. And because we’ve all be wronged before by Netflix snatching away a movie that was on our list before we got to watch it, be sure to watch fast. Dolan has a history of fighting with Netflix so the film could be taken off at a moment’s notice.
3) The Characters (2016) - This show from last year was shamefully underseen and underappreciated. It was a crazy yet very well-formatted comedy series where one comedian gets full creative control over their specific episode. Some are completely unwatchable to be frank. But when you get to the best episodes, it is pure comedic genius. Natasha Rothwell, Kate Berlant and John Early are all prominent voices in the indie comedy scene right now and their talent is on full display in their episodes.
With Bastille Day approaching, I'm going to recommend a cinematic tour of Netflix's Francophile territory.
1) Amelie (2001) - by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, starring the endearing Audrey Tautou. A whimsical, romance-meets-coming-of-age movie, and absolute cute-overload, this adorable, uplifting film with imaginative story and camerawork is guaranteed to claim the hearts of even the most surly of cynical sourpusses.
2) Blue is the Warmest Color (2013) - by director Abdellatif Kechiche, starring Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos. This live-action, graphic novel adaptation is another coming-of-age romance, though as a love story, it’s gritty, and bittersweet. This film is a solid drama, for those in a more serious mood.
3) OUT 1 (1971) - by directors Jacques Rivette & Suzanne Schiffman. France is notorious for its radical cinema—in both montage and theme, and this one is for folks seeking that particular challenge. It follows the lives of a group of actors, some of whom take the theater to the unsuspecting, everyday streets. Some viewers might recognize actor Jean-Pierre Leaud, child star of Truffaut’s classic The 400 Blows (1959) and later Goddard’s Masculin/Feminin (1966) and La Chinoise (1967).
1) Zoom (2015) – No, this isn’t the mediocre superhero comedy starring Tim Allen. Director Pedro Morelli’s film stars Alison Pill and Gael Garcia Bernal in a film with three very different narrative levels. Pill plays an insecure young woman desperate to look like a supermodel, who takes out her frustration on the “dream man” from the comic she draws. That man – portrayed in rotoscoped animated sequences – is a big budget action director desperate to complete his artistic masterpiece, when he isn’t too busy seducing every woman he meets. Meanwhile, the protagonist of his film is a supermodel who is tired of being judged only by her looks. When a publisher seems interested in her first novel, she runs off to complete it and to discover herself. While the movie is uneven, at times, it makes up for it with the way the stories are told (and intersect) as well as having interesting things to say about women, men, and the way media affects the way we see ourselves.
2) Hush (2016) – I’m not a big horror guy, but this film by Mike Flanagan sits nicely on the boundary between Hitchcockian suspense and slasher films. Kate Siegel (in a brilliant performance) plays a hearing-impaired author living alone and trying to finish her next novel. A psychotic killer stumbles upon her, and the rest of the film is the cat and mouse game between the two as he tries to get into the house to kill her, and she tries to stay alive. It owes more than a little to the film Alone in the Dark, but does enough of its own thing to exist alongside it. It’s a tense, claustrophobic film that’s worth checking out.
3) Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil (2010) – From comedy, to horror, to horror/comedy, my last pick is Eli Craig’s hilarious subversion of the hillbilly horror sub-genre. The film stars Alan Tudyk, Tyler Labine, and a gang of disposable preppy college students waiting to be picked off one by one (or so it appears). This movie is consistently hilarious, occasionally scary, and ridiculously gory (including the best woodchipper scene outside of Fargo).
New in Theaters This Week. . .
[Click the posters for more information]
Be sure to check out Matt's recent article on the essential Spider-Man comics to read before you catch the new film!