Most of the movies and TV series I watch come from my Netflix Instant Queue. It has been my go to for over five years now. I like to use it to find hidden gems, but not everyone wants to commit two hours of their free time to a decent looking movie poster. I’ve watched a ton of garbage over the years, but have missed even more, so there’s always something I want to watch, whether it’s revisiting an old favorite, or finally catching something I missed over the years. Instant Cinefessions will list some weekly recommendations based on what’s new on the Netflix service. It will also include my “Pull List”, which are films I’m interested in watching in the coming weeks. Look for reviews of the movies in my pull list in future columns. Also featured are brief reviews of films I’ve watched off the Pull List.
Ashe’s Seal of Approval
These are the latest films that hit Netflix in the last week that get my seal of approval. Unfortunately I haven’t seen a single film added to the service in the last week, so I can’t make a comment there. I did watch a few films that weren’t on my Pull List, though, and I figured I’d add them here. These are hard to recommend, mainly because I really didn’t like two of them, and the third was just mediocre.
The first of the two I really didn’t like was I, Frankenstein (2014), which I can only recommend if you want to turn off your brain. If you’ve seen Underworld, though, even turning off your brain won’t help your enjoyment level, as this follows that formula almost exactly plot-wise. The other was The Dead Within, which was a slow burn, zombie, survival horror experience, and was overlong. The sound is really off in the film, so when music and dialogue was happening at the same time, I couldn’t make out any of the dialogue. This felt like an Outer Limits or Twilight Zone episode that got an extended cut it didn’t need. So what about the mediocre entry? Well, I did kind of like it.
Patrick (2013, dir. Mark Hartley)
I do love films that tie-in supernatural events with technology. This couples it with a horror element, and while it’s more of a thriller than a full-blown horror flick, it has a nice build-up to it. Charles Dance does well with what he’s given, but he’s completely underutilized here given his acting ability. This will probably be a one and done for most, but there were enough elements to keep me engaged throughout. I did like the lead they picked for the film, and she does a great job making us buy into what’s going on, but like I said, for most people this will be a one and done horror flick on a quiet night.
Ashe’s Pull List
The Pull List is a list of films I’m interested in but haven’t seen that have been added to Netflix since the beginning of the year. These listed below are the films that have been added to the Pull List since last issue. Look for reviews of some of these in future issues of Instant Cinefessions. Don’t be surprised if I don’t end up clearing out this entire list either. Even I can be picky sometimes.
Blood and Ties (2013), House of Last Things (2013), The Bag Man (2014), Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011), Johnny English Reborn (2011), As the Light Goes Out (2014), Patton Oswalt: Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time (2014), Barefoot (2014)
Ashe’s Picks of the Week
So what did I watch off Netflix this week? I had less time to watch this week due to a bunch of life happenings, and only a few films from the Pull List matched my mood. I’m going to list these in the order I watched them, not necessarily in the order of preference. Here we go.
Autómata (2014, dir. Gabe Ibáñez)
While this may have gotten some mixed reviews, I have to say, as a sci-fi fan, I loved it. Autómata takes a lot of ideas from Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Dick and puts a neat little spin on it that would make this film feel as at home with good ‘80s cyberpunk as it does now. Fantastic practical effects that make the robots seem almost haunting, along with complimentary CGI makes the world they live in feel completely realistic, and the actors performances were great. The only issue comes towards the end with a bit of what has become the genre-standard sneaking in to what could have been a great ending.
Viktor (2014, dir. Philippe Martinez)
I tried to follow this one. No, really, I did. It was either the accents, the slow pace, me not caring about the characters, or just an inability to focus today, but this one didn’t grab me at all. The description sounded right up my alley, but just didn’t deliver. The actors all look really intense about what’s going on in any given scene, but I couldn’t bring myself to care at all. If you’re into foreign crime dramas with a revenge slant, this might be for you. I may give it another viewing, but it’s not high on my list.
Secrets in the Walls (2010, dir. Christopher Leitch)
While this may look like a supernatural horror flick, it is more of a supernatural drama, and a cliché ridden one at that. The jump scares don’t work, there’s no real buildup of dread, and you can see just about every event coming before it happens. So why did I like it? Well, Jeri Ryan was a big part of it. She does a good job with what material she’s given. It was also a nice distraction on a Saturday afternoon. If you’re looking for a serious horror flick, you won’t find it here. If you want a little supernatural mixed with your drama, this would be right up your alley.
Make sure to check back next week for more reviews and recommendations from the Netflix Instant Queue in Issue 03 of Instant Cinefessions!