All of these lovely films are available to you right now on Netflix Instant
At the beginning of this month, in a blog titled “There’s Nothing Good on Netflix!”, I challenged you, faithful reader, to take advantage of the profundity of choices available to you on Netflix Instant Streaming and to seek out new, exciting and unfamiliar movies to sample and hopefully enjoy.
I accepted the challenge myself and thought I would share with you some of the highlights of my May of instant streaming.
A man is viciously attacked outside a bar. Left severely brain-damaged and in financial ruin from huge hospital bills he retreats to the relative safety of his country home. Attempting to deal with the mental trauma of the attack and as a unique form of therapy, he begins to build a 1/6 replica of a European town in the midst of World War II. He populates his city with action figures and Barbie Dolls loosely based and named after the people in his life. He creates a life for himself in the simulated city so much better than anything he knows in reality. He takes artistic photos of the tableau which one day fall into the hands of New York art gallery. They want to put his work on display. He just wants to be left alone to create a better world that he has control over. This is a fascinating documentary about a fascinating man. Very moving. Highly recommended.
Will Ferrell doesnt’ do ‘serious’ often. So when he does, I actually take notice. The last time he played anything so straight was in Stranger Than Fiction, a divisive film amongst those I know, but I liked it. Here he plays Nick, who is having a really bad day, maybe the worst. One of those lose your job, lose your car, lose your wife kind of days. In bitter protest of being thrown from his home along with all of his belongings, he camps out on the front lawn. When informed he can not, in fact, live on his lawn, he skirts the law and decides to sell everything he owns in a yard sale. He strikes up a friendship with a neighborhood kid and slowly realizes he needs to get his shit together. Never overly sentimental, the movie draws you into Nick’s plight and reveals a character who may actually deserve everything that’s happened to him.
If you can manage to look past the heavy influence of Wes Anderson’s Rushmore on this little Welsh gem, you’ll find the rather tidy story of a 15-year old looking to save his parents’ marriage and to get laid. Though not necessarily in that order. Lloyd Tate is a typical teenager in the throes of his first real love. Confused by the whimsical nature of his would-be firebug paramour, he is more often content to be in her mere presence and enjoys their “friendship” while silently praying for more. To make matters worse, his parents have grown steadily distant, a state of affairs no doubt exacerbated by the return of one of his mom’s ex-boyfriends who has moved in next door. Too smart for his own good but not adult enough to realize it, Lloyd precariously balances the tight rope between his precarious relationship and his dissolving home life.
A young boy sees his mom brutally gun downed in a carjacking gone wrong. Years later, that same boy, now a young man approaches a pimp in a darkened park late at night. A vicious fight ensues and a gun is drawn. A bad guy dies. This is how we are introduced to the hero of this dirty mirror version of Mark Millar’s Kick-Ass. The film eschews the superhero costumes of its distant cousin and instead chooses to focus on the vigilante mission and broken life of the troubled teen. He has a detached relationship with his father who chalks up the various bruises on display on the boys face to afterschool workouts at a local gym. He’s a social outcast at school with very few friends. Meanwhile, a freshly promoted detective with her own troubled history is on the case of the park murder. She starts to make connections to other vigilante incidents in town and takes a special interest in the intense, sad young man who often sits at a retiring detective’s computer looking at mug shots of vicious criminals trying to identify the person who killed his mother.
That’s all I’m going to give you. You’d do well to watch any of these flicks. Now go watch them. Or go find some of your own and tell me about them. Do it. I’ll be here. Waiting for the next great flick.