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.


Netflix BigNew Films added to Netflix as of 03/04/2015
30 for 30: Of Miracles and Men (2015)
Across the Great Divide (1976)
Aleksandr’s Price (2013)
And God Created Woman (1988)
And You Thought Your Parents Were Weird (1991)
Best Seller (1987)
Better Than Chocolate (1999)
Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
Billy Madison (1995)
Bitter Moon (1992)
Black Sheep (1996)
Bleach The Movie: Fade to Black (2008)
Bratz: Rock Angelz (2005)
Bratz: The Movie (2007
Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
Brothers Grimm, The (2005)
Bullett Raja (2013)
City of Ghosts (2003)
Culture High, The (2014)
Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey! (2009)
Days to Come, The (2010)
DeRay Davis: Power Play (2010)
Discoverers, The (2012)
Donnie Brasco (1997)
Dream Lover (1994)
Evelyn (2002)
Event Horizon (1997)
Finding Neverland (2004)
Frankie and Johnny (1991)
Furry Vengeance (2010)
Gospel of John, The: Reina-Valera 1960 (2014)
Grease 2 (1982)
Groundhog Day (1993)
Half of a Yellow Sun (2013)
Happy End (2014)
Harmontown (2014)
Hot Boyz (1997)
Houdini (2 Parts) (2014)
House Arrest (1996)
Humshakals (2014)
Jail Caesar (2012)
Jealousy (2013)
Johnny Dangerously (1984)
Knock ‘Em Dead (2014)
K-Pax (2001)
Lalaloopsy Babies: First Steps (2014)
Last Summer (2013)
Levitated Mass: The Story of Michael Heizer’s Monolithic Sculpture (2013)
Lewis Black: In God We Trust (2011)
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
Madness of King George, The (1994)
Masterpiece Classic: The Diary of Anne Frank (2009)
Mean Machine (2001)
Mercy Rule (2014)
Misfire (2014)
Monster High 13 Wishes (2013)
Monster High: Ghouls Rule (2015)
Mule-Tide Christmas (2014)
Naked After Midnight (2014)
Naruto Shippuden The Movie: Bonds (2008)
Nono, the ZigZag Kid (2012)
Number One With a Bullet (1987)
One Rogue Reporter (2014)
Open Windows (2014)
Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton: This Is Stones Throw Records
Out in the Line-Up (2014)
Out to Kill (2014)
P2 (2007)
Parallels (2014)
Patch Adams (1998)
Paycheck (2003)
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006)
Platoon Leader (1988)
Prince & Me, The (2004)
Rich Hill (2014)
Rules of Engagement (2000)
Rumpelstiltskin (1987)
Russell Brand: Messiah Complex (2013)
Secret of NIMH, The (1982)
Shirley Valentine (1989)
Singham (2011)
Sixth Man, The (2013)
Ski Patrol (1990)
Soul Survivors (2001)
Story of Ruth, The (1960)
Switchback (1997)
Tank Girl (1995)
Taxi Driver (1976)
Teen Witch (1989)
Three Days of the Condor (1975)
Top Gun (1986)
Twilight (2008)
Two Hundred Thousand Dirty (2012)
Vampire in Brooklyn (1995)
Web Junkie (2013)
Missionary (2013)
Wings (1927)
You Will Be Mine (2009)
Zinda Bhaag (2013)

Ashe’s Seal of Approval
These are the films or series that are on Netflix that get my seal of approval. In lieu of something not showing up that I’ve seen with recent additions to Netflix, which is a good problem to have if you’re looking for something new, I’ll recommend something that I’ve seen recently or that I know will be on the service for a while. This week we’ve got a number of new additions that I really did like and some that would be good for MST3K purposes.

House of Cards Season 3
While I haven’t had a chance to sit down and watch this season, after the first two seasons I am fully prepared to binge the whole third season without thinking about it. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright have been amazing, and I’m looking forward to seeing where they go with it.

Event Horizon (1997, dir. Paul W.S. Anderson)
An experimental ship designed to revolutionize space travel has re-appeared 7 years after its disappearance and a rescue crew is sent in to find out what happened. The Ship appears abandoned, but what happened to the crew and where did the ship go? Sam Neill does a fantastic job in this. Fishburne is pretty good as the commander of the rescue crew, and I always like Jason Isaacs. The effects look great, the ship and story is creepy as hell and it’s just one hell of a great sci-fi horror flick.
three_starsPerfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006, dir. Tom Tykwer)
Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, born in the stench of eighteenth century Paris, develops a superior olfactory sense, which he uses to create the world’s finest perfumes. His work, however, takes a dark turn as he tries to preserve scents in the search for the ultimate perfume. This is an interesting horror film with a particularly great cast. It’s a bit esoteric but looks amazing with some fantastic acting. It does have a slow pace to it, but worth a look.
two_and_a_half_stars

Ski Patrol (1990, dir. Richard Correll)
Pops isn’t worried about the renewal of the lease for his ski lodge – the safety record is unblemished in spite of the crew of misfits who make up his ski patrol. But a scheming land developer has other plans and the ski patrol is thrust into a skiing showdown in order to save Pops’ mountain. This is from the creator of Police Academy, so you know what kind of humor you’re getting here. I loved this when I first saw it; I was 13 or 14 at the time. I haven’t watched it since really, but if you’re in need of something along the lines of Police Academy with the humor level of Naked Gun 2 1/2, this is up your alley.
two_and_a_half_stars Groundhog Day (1993, dir. Harold Ramis)
A narcissistic TV weatherman, along with his attractive-but-distant producer and mawkish cameraman, are sent to report on Groundhog Day in the small town of Punxsutawney, where he finds himself repeating the same day over and over. Bill Murray does an amazing job with this one. Andie MacDowell is no slouch either. Where Ski Patrol is low-brow, Groundhog Day is definitely on a much better level and has a nice little story of redemption to go along with the laughs.
three_and_a_half_stars Black Sheep (1996, dir. Penelope Spheeris)
When dignified Albert Donnelly runs for Governor, his team moves to keep his slow-witted and klutzy younger brother, Mike, out of the eye of the media. To babysit Mike, the campaign assigns sarcastic Steve, who gets the experience of a lifetime when he tries to take Mike out of town during the election. David Spade and Chris Farley’s second team up film isn’t nearly as good or as funny as Tommy Boy but it’s not as if they didn’t try. The script for Black Sheep isn’t as good and the jokes do feel a bit flatter. It was worth a run through a few times when it hit video, though, back in the ’90s.
two_and_a_half_stars Lewis Black: In God We Rust (2011)
The Emmy nominated, Grammy-winning Lewis Black hits the historic State Theatre stage in Minneapolis for a rant-filled, cathartic ride through the issues of our baffling world, from inept politicians and the shortcomings of technology to the absurdity of social media. I watched this before off Netflix and it helped cement Lewis Black as one of my favorites all over again.
three_stars House Arrest (1996, dir. Harry Winer)
High-schooler Grover Beindorf and his younger sister Stacy decide that their parents, Janet and Ned, are acting childishly when they decide to divorce after 18 years of marriage, so they lock them up in the basement until they’ll sort out their problems. Their school friends also decide to do the same with their parents to solve their respective problems. This is a mixed bag for me. I vaguely remember it being amusing but I haven’t seen this except one time back in the ’90s, so that’s not a ringing endorsement really. I remember loving Kevin Pollak in this but beyond that, good luck.
two_stars The Secret of NIMH (1982, dir. Don Bluth)
A widowed field mouse must move her family — including an ailing son — to escape a farmer’s plow. Aided by a crow and a pack of super intelligent, escaped lab rats, the brave mother struggles to transplant her home to firmer ground. I loved everything about this movie growing up and even now I love popping this on occasionally because it is a wonderfully animated film with a decent story attached to it.
three_and_a_half_stars Top Gun (1986, dir. Tony Scott)
For Lieutenant Pete Mitchell and his friend and Co-Pilot Nick Bradshaw, being accepted into an elite training school for fighter pilots is a dream come true. Tragedy as well as personal demons, threaten Pete’s dreams of becoming an ace pilot. An ’80s Tom Cruise helmer with Val Kilmer and Anthony Edwards, Tom Skerrit, Michael Ironside, Meg Ryan and Kelly McGillis? Hell yes. Great ’80s music choices and some fantastic fighter scenes make this a great action choice.
three_stars Tank Girl (1995, dir. Rachel Talalay)
Based on the British cult comic-strip, our tank-riding anti-heroine fights a mega-corporation, which controls the world’s water supply. One of my friends was obsessed with the comics, so of course we saw the film and I loved it. Lori Petty really delivers on this quirky comic book adaptation.
three_stars Paycheck (2003, dir. John Woo)
Michael Jennings is a genius who’s hired by high-tech firms to work on highly sensitive projects, after which his short-term memory is erased so he’s incapable of breaching security. But at the end of a three-year job, he isn’t getting paid and must piece together how he’s gotten in hot water. There are some parts of this I really liked and other parts I was kind of meh on. Uma Thurman and Ben Affleck are really all I remember from this one other than kind of being disappointed by how it all came together. The action is pretty good because of Woo, so you’ll get that much out of it at least.
two_and_a_half_stars The Brothers Grimm (2005, dir. Terry Gilliam)
Folklore collectors and con artists, Jake and Will Grimm, travel from village to village pretending to protect townsfolk from enchanted creatures and performing exorcisms. They are put to the test, however, when they encounter a real magical curse in a haunted forest with real magical beings, requiring genuine courage. While this had some studio interference in getting made, I remember loving Ledger and Damon, and of course Monica Belluci. It’s a fun and irreverent take that’s definitely the way the director likes to do things.
three_stars Beverly Hills Cop (1984, dir. Martin Brest)
Detroit cop Axel Foley heads to the rarified world of Beverly Hills in his beat-up Chevy Nova to investigate a friend’s murder. But soon, he realizes he’s stumbled onto something much more complicated. Great soundtrack, fun cast, lots of laughs and it moves well. This is the Eddie Murphy I loved watching.
three_and_a_half_stars Twilight (2008, dir. Catherine Hardwicke)
When Bella Swan moves to a small town in the Pacific Northwest to live with her father, she starts school and meets the reclusive Edward Cullen, a mysterious classmate who reveals himself to be a 108-year-old vampire. I’m mainly recommending this one just for MST3K fodder and not much else. The story is awful (they screwed up Vampires for crying out loud!), none of the actors really wanted to be in this except, you know, for money, and while I have to admit there are a few shots that look good, most of the film is abysmal to sit through.
one_star

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.

30 for 30: Of Miracles and Men (2015)
And God Created Woman (1988)
Best Seller (1987)
Better Than Chocolate (1999)
Bitter Moon (1992)
Bleach The Movie: Fade to Black (2008)
Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
Donnie Brasco (1997)
Dream Lover (1994)
Evelyn (2002)
Finding Neverland (2004)
Frankie and Johnny (1991)
Happy End (2014)
Houdini (2 Parts) (2014)
Johnny Dangerously (1984)
Knock ‘Em Dead (2014)
K-Pax (2001)
Last Summer (2013)
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
Masterpiece Classic: The Diary of Anne Frank (2009)
Naruto Shippuden The Movie: Bonds (2008)
Open Windows (2014)
P2 (2007)
Parallels (2014)
Patch Adams (1998)
Rules of Engagement (2000)
Russell Brand: Messiah Complex (2013)
Singham (2011)
Soul Survivors (2001)
Switchback (1997)
Taxi Driver (1976)
The Madness of King George (1994)
Three Days of the Condor (1975)
Wings (1927)
You Will Be Mine (2009)

Ashe’s Pull List Picks of the Week
So what did I watch off my Netflix Pull List this week? I binged a bit off my Pull List and in my own little tribute to Leonard Nimoy I finished off Star Trek II through VI and then the 09 reboot and Into Darkness. So what made it off the list? Here we go.

The Scribbler (2014, dir. John Suits)
Suki has used an experimental Siamese Burn device to erase most of her multiple personalities, but she’s down to two, and she’s not sure which one is really her. This is a really well done graphic novel adaptation, and while there’s some cheese to it, like the first Sin City film, it works to the film’s advantage. Katie Cassidy is great in the title role, and this is definitely not your typical super hero film and feels more like a sci-fi noir or thriller. It’s great seeing two Buffy alumni back on the screen together as well here. Kind of an odd film and definitely one people are either going to love or hate.
three_stars To Be or Not to Be (1983, dir. Alan Johnson)
When the Nazis invade Warsaw, a Polish acting troupe gets enmeshed in a subterfuge to prevent the Germans from finding a list of underground fighters. This both does and does not feel like a Mel Brooks film. He didn’t direct, but he does produce, and while this is a bit more serious than his more direct satire, this remake of the original film is about as dark comedy as Brooks gets. This has a cast that you’ve probably seen in some of his other films and works amazingly well with the material. This is definitely up there on my Mel Brooks films not and I can’t believe I’d missed it before.
three_stars

Naruto Shippuden: The Movie (2007, dir. Hajime Kamegaki)

The adventures of adolescent ninja Naruto Uzumaki continue in this fourth film outing as he’s tasked with protecting a priestess from a demon, but to do so he must die. Watching this I’m remembering why I quit watching Naruto. The film does have some interesting messages about defying fate, but the over the top of everything else kind of killed most of my interest in this. Some of that might have to do with watching the dubbed version which I really didn’t like the voice actors for half the cast. There are some really well done scenes and the fights work well, but overall I was underwhelmed.
two_stars

White Bird in a Blizzard (2014, dir. Gregg Araki)
When 17-year-old Kat Conner’s mom, Eve, vanishes, the teen realizes her new-found freedom, until the reality of her loss sets in. This should have been something I liked. I like the actors, but this feels so bland and kind of middling that I just couldn’t get into it at all. It feels average and not all that interesting. (Editor’s note: Shailene Woodley does get topless in this, though.)
one_and_a_half_stars

Blood Ties (2013, dir. Guillaume Canet)
When 50-year-old Chris is released from prison, his cop brother Frank welcomes him with open arms. But problems arise when Chris can’t stay straight. This has the look and feel of a ’70s cop drama. You could almost watch this and The French Connection back to back and swear they were made in nearly the same era if not for the fact that this one looks cleaner in the film quality department. The cast is pretty good, and there are some decent music choices. My only issue with this is it’s very dry, and while it has some meat to it, it doesn’t ever really grip you the way a crime drama should.
two_and_a_half_stars

Locked In (2010, dir. Suri Krishnamma)
Hotshot adman Josh goes into a tailspin and lands in a car wreck that puts his daughter in a coma. He’s certain it wasn’t an accident, but everything seems off. This was short. I actually was interested until about 20 minutes in when I figured out what was going on and then it all fell in a predictable plot line . If you don’t figure out what’s going on before the film’s climax you might enjoy this more, but if you’ve seen this type of film before there’s nothing new here. Move along.
two_stars

Young Ones (2014, dir. Jake Paltrow)
As Earth withers in drought, a farmer turns to his young son to defend their land when his daughter’s suitor plots to use it for a devious scheme. This is a very nice blend of the sci-fi and western genre and while it’s a near-future film and definitely feels more like a western, when the sci-fi is used it feels real and genuine and works really well. I love Michael Shannon and Nicholas Hoult in this, and while Elle Fanning is good, her character is just kind of there so she doesn’t get to do a whole lot. Kodi Smit-McPhee is great as Shannon’s son, though, and I was amused to see one of the actual robots being developed over the last few years on screen as an actual production model. This is definitely a slow burn kind of film and won’t be for everyone but I liked the buildup.
three_and_a_half_stars

The Two Faces of January (2014, dir. Hossein Amini)
A tour guide and con artist finds himself caught in a dangerous arrangement when he meets a wealthy couple sightseeing in Greece. I had originally put this on my Pull List because of the main cast, and not knowing anything else about it. Kirsten Dunst is given a few good scenes to work with, but a lot of it falls on Viggo Mortensen and Oscar Isaac to pull off. The idea is interesting and the setting was definitely neat, but for a film billed as a crime thriller, there’s not a lot going on and it feels like it drags despite the great acting.
two_and_a_half_stars
Not Another Happy Ending (2013, dir. John McKay)
After guiding an author through a period of writer’s block and on to success, a publisher faces a new problem: his client is not too happy to write. Done as a vehicle for Karen Gillan, this film is fairly cute and works as an interesting drama about dealing with life’s curve balls and works as a romantic comedy as well. Stanley Weber reminds me a lot of Chris Pine, and it was amusing seeing Ian De Caestecker outside of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Kind of predictable, but definitely amusing.
three_stars

Make sure to check back next week for more reviews and recommendations from the Netflix Instant Queue in Issue 09 of Instant Cinefessions!


Source: Whats on Netflix

Ashe Collins
Film Critic at Cinefessions

Born the same year as Star Wars, it seems Ashe was destined to be into films with big impacts, explosions, and laser swords. With a love for sci-fi and horror, Ashe has a thing for games of both the tabletop and video variety. He is living a charmed, married life of sixteen years, along with several cats, a dog, and a bearded dragon. Ashe currently writes for Diehard Gamefan, covering video and tabletop games since 2008. Starting with Cinefessions just a few years ago, he has decided to tackle one of his original passions: film.