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 05/06/2015
#chicagoGirl: The Social Media Network Takes on a Dictator (2013)
1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992)
A Few Best Men (2011)
A Man Called Peter (1955)
All Is by My Side (2013)
Anita (2013)
Anna Karenina (1948)
Assassins (1995)
Author! Author! (1982)
Balto 3: Wings of Change (2003)
Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse – (New Episode) (2012)
Beyond Clueless (2014)
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Blown Away (1992)
Blue Velvet (1986)
Bluebird (2013)
Born to Defense (1986)
Bratz: Genie Magic (2006)
Bratz: Good Vibes (2011)
Bus Stop (1956)
Concerning Violence (2014)
Cypher (2002)
D.L. Hughley: Clear (2014)
Death Warrant (1990)
Double Whammy (2001)
Elephants: Spy in the Herd (2003)
Farmland (2014)
From the Terrace (1960)
Futuro Beach (2014)
Ghoulies Go to College (1991)
Grizzly Man (2005)
Harold and Maude (1971)
Hayride 2 (2015)
Heart of the Country (2013)
Hero and the Terror (1988)
Hoodwinked (2005)
In Dreams (1999)
Inescapable (2012)
Internal Affairs (1990)
Intersection (1994)
Iris (2001)
Irreplaceable (2014)
Joe Dirt (2001)
Joyride 3: Road Kill (2014)
Kill Dil (2014)
Kiss of Death (1995)
Knockout (2011)
Lalaloopsy: Festival of Sugary Sweets (2015)
Leap of Faith (1992)
Leapfrog Letter Factory Adventures: Amazing Word Explorers (2015)
Left Behind (2014)
Legally Blonde (2001)
Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003)
Leon: The Professional (1994)
Liberty Stands Still (2002)
Little Hope Was Arson (2013)
Mad Hot Ballroom (2005)
Meet the Mormons (2014)
Men in Black II (2002)
Mysteries of the Unseen World (2013)
National Treasure (2004)
No No: A Dockumentary (2014)
Nobody’s Fool (1994)
North Dallas Forty (1979)
Novocaine (2001)
Payback (1999)
Rocket Men (2013)
Rush (1991)
Santee (1973)
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the 13th (2000)
Stripped (2014)
Super Troopers (2001)
Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990)
The Amazing Wizard of Paws (2015)
The Animatrix (2003)
The Big Empty (2003)
The Blues Brothers (1980)
The Cat’s Meow (2001)
The Defender (1994)
The Epic of Everest (1924)
The Exorcist (1973)
The Homesman (2014)
The House on Telegraph Hill (1951)
The Last Waltz (1978)
The Longest Week (2014)
The Mirror (2014)
The Mule (2014)
The Nutty Professor 2: Facing the Fear (2008)
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (2005)
The Puffy Chair (2005)
The Real Blonde (1998)
Turnaround Jake (2014)
Underclassman (2005)
Unstable Fables: 3 Pigs and a Baby (2008)
Watchers of the Sky (2014)
Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)
Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
What’s the Worst That Could Happen? (2001)
Winter Sleep (2014)
Zoey to the Max (2015)

Ashe’s Seal of Approval
These are the films or series that are on Netflix and this week, Amazon Prime, 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.

Sons of Anarchy (Season 7)
I’ve been watching this show on Netflix since they started dropping it on there in huge chunks. It’s been one helluva ride, and I’m sad to see it end, but the last few seasons have been gearing up for it, and this is how the Sons face the Reaper.

National Treasure (2004, dir. Jon Turteltaub)
Modern treasure hunters, led by archaeologist Ben Gates, search for a chest of riches rumored to have been stashed away by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin during the Revolutionary War. The chest’s whereabouts may lie in secret clues embedded in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and Gates is in a race to find the gold before his enemies do. While I like most of this Nic Cage led film, the chase is most of the fun, and the last third of the film kind of drags the rest down with it. I enjoyed it, but not enough to watch the sequel.
two_and_a_half_stars
Blown Away (1992, dir. Brenton Spencer)
After her mother is killed by a car bomb, she begins a relationship with a boy who works at a local ski resort. He falls in love, and she tells him of her suspicions that her strict father was responsible for her mother’s death and wants him to help. He must decide whether she’s telling the truth or using him to her own ends. I watched this a long time ago when it was on cable, mainly because of the Corey’s both being in this, but I didn’t like most of it.
one_and_a_half_stars
Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990, dir. John Harrison)
An anthology film based off the TV series featuring a mummy, a cat that won’t die, gargoyles, and all bookended by a cannibalistic woman who wants to eat her newspaper boy. Not all of the segments in this are good, but I particularly love the gargoyle segment. Slater’s parts in this work pretty well. Tales from the Darkside was regular television’s attempt to clone Tales from the Crypt, which was successful at the time, and the film has that same feel to it as well, although we got more stories out of Tales from the Darkside making the leap to film in one go than we did with the Cryptkeeper. Decent enough and twisted fun. Worth a look.
two_and_a_half_stars
Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994, dir. Wes Craven)
Nancy, the historical nemesis of the man with the satanic snarl and pitchfork fingers, discovers that a new monstrous demon has taken on Freddy’s persona. Can Nancy stop this new threat in time to save her son? A bit more of an adult take on Freddy and the franchise and kind of an anniversary re-visit ten years after the original, Wes Craven manages to inject some fresh ideas into the series and delivers a more fitting send-off for my favorite man with the claws. Loved this when I saw it in theaters and still love watching it now despite a few flaws here and there.
three_stars
Leap of Faith (1992, dir. Richard Pearce)
Jonas Nightengale is a fraudulent Christian faith healer travels around America holding revival meetings and conducting ‘miracles’ with the help of his friend and manager, Jane, and their entourage. When one of their trucks breaks down in Rustwater, a town in desperate need of rain to save their crops, Jonas decides to hold a revival meeting in the town and events in Rustwater make Jonas examine his own faith and doubts. I generally like Steve Martin films and his performance here is great, but I’ve seen too many of these and they’ve made too many of these to the point even Supernatural is parodying them. It’s ok, but very formulaic.
two_stars
Joe Dirt (2001, dir. Dennie Gordon)
Joe Dirt is a janitor with a mullet hairdo, acid-washed jeans and a dream to find the parents that he lost at the Grand Canyon when he was a belligerent, trailer park-raised eight-year-old. Now, blasting Van Halen in his jacked up economy car, the irrepressibly optimistic Joe hits the road alone in search of his folks. I include this one because it has David Spade. I’d rather not comment on it any more than that.
one_star
Super Troopers (2001, dir. Jay Chandrasekhar)
Four bored, occasionally high and always ineffective Vermont state troopers must prove their worth to the governor or lose their jobs. After stumbling on a drug ring, they plan to make a bust, but a rival police force is out to steal the glory. I actually watched this well after I’d seen Jay’s take on the Dukes of Hazard. It has some decent moments, and I like this better than most of what he did with Dukes, but not my favorite comedy ever.
two_stars
The Exorcist (1973, dir. William Friedkin)
Regan MacNeil begins to adapt an explicit new personality as strange events befall the local area of Georgetown. Her mother becomes torn between science and superstition in a desperate bid to save her daughter, and ultimately turns to her last hope: Father Damien Karras, a troubled priest who is struggling with his own faith. This film has probably one of the best “slow burn” possession cases throughout. There are some classic shots in this, and while some of the effects haven’t held up as well as others, it’s still a classic horror film.
four_stars
The Animatrix (2003, dirs. Peter Chung Yoshiaki Kawajiri Takeshi Koike Mahiro Maeda Kôji Morimoto Shinichiro Watanabe)
This collection of short animated films from the world’s leading anime directors fuses computer graphics and Japanese anime to provide the background of the Matrix universe and the conflict between man and machines. Released shortly before the second Matrix film, some can and do argue this is a better follow up to the first film than the two that make up the trilogy. All of the sequences are well put together and the animation and stories are pretty diverse. Final Flight of the Osiris is probably the most notable for getting an actual screening attached to other films before Matrix Reloaded came out.
three_stars
Assassins (1995, dir. Richard Donner)
Assassin Robert Rath arrives at a funeral to kill a prominent mobster, only to witness rival hired gun Miguel Bain complete the job for him. Horrified by the murder of innocent bystanders, Rath decides to take one last job but finding his way out of the world of contract killing grows ever more dangerous as Rath falls for his target, Electra, and becomes a marked man himself. There were parts of this I really liked. Antonio Banderas is probably the highlight of the film as the rival assassin Bain. Stallone is just kind of there through most of it which hurts this film more than it should.
two_and_a_half_stars
1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992, dir. Ridley Scott)
1492: Conquest of Paradise depicts Christopher Columbus’ discovery of The New World and his effect on the indigenous people. While this is shot really well, as to be expected from Ridley Scott, this is long and meandering. I saw this in the theater at fifteen, and that just never sat well with me. I remember liking Weaver as the queen, and that it’s not painting Columbus as this saint who found America. Other than that I haven’t ever gone back to it.
two_and_a_half_stars
The Blues Brothers (1980, dir. John Landis)
Direct out of jail, Jake Blues and his Brother Elwood are off on a “mission from God” to raise funds for the orphanage in which they grew up but the only thing they know is playing music. So they get their old band together and they’re on their way yet not without getting in a bit of trouble here and there. I actually saw this after the sequel attempt that came out around the same time as Apollo 13. Probably a few years later. There is no substitute for the original craziness, although they did try valiantly. If you wanted a comedy to watch between the others I’ve listed already, then this is the one you want to watch.
three_and_a_half_stars
Leon: The Professional (1994, dir. Luc Besson)
Leon, the top hit man in New York, has earned a rep as an effective “cleaner”. But when his next-door neighbors are wiped out by a loose-cannon DEA agent, he becomes the unwilling custodian of Mathilda. Before long, Mathilda’s thoughts turn to revenge, and she considers following in Leon’s footsteps. Jean Reno, a young Natalie Portman, and Gary Oldman absolutely kill their roles in this film. It’s shot well, has a great story to it, some great tense moments, and did I mention Natalie Portman killing her role as the 12-year-old Mathilda?
three_and_a_half_stars
Men in Black II (2002, dir. Barry Sonnenfeld)
It’s been four years since the alien-seeking agents averted an intergalactic disaster of epic proportions. And now it’s a race against the clock as Jay must convince Kay-who not only has absolutely no memory of his time spent with the Men In Black, but is also the only living person left with the expertise to save the galaxy-to reunite with the MIB before the earth submits to ultimate destruction. They really, really try to recapture everything that worked in the first film, and they should have made a go with Linda Fiorentino in her role as Smith’s partner from the first film instead of bringing Jones back. It mostly works, though, and there are some decent laughs here, but it’s just not as well put together as the first  one at all.
three_stars

Big Trouble in Little China (1986, dir. John Carpenter)
When trucker Jack Burton agreed to take his friend Wang Chi to pick up his fiancée at the airport, he never expected to get involved in a supernatural battle between good and evil. This movie never fails to put me in a good mood. Best Kurt Russell role where he plays the inept sidekick with all the best lines. If you’re in the mood for more ’80s era Kurt Russell, then this and Escape From New York are pretty much all you need. It’s fast, fun and bizarre and a great time. We also covered this film in a podcast, which can be found here. Enjoy!
three_stars

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.

Intersection (1994)
All Is by My Side (2013)
The Cat’s Meow (2001)
Kiss of Death (1995)
Iris (2001)
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (2005)
Blue Velvet (1986)
The Mule (2014)
Novocaine (2001)
The Big Empty (2003)
Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
Legally Blonde (2001)
Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003)
From the Terrace (1960)
Bus Stop (1956)
The House on Telegraph Hill (1951)
Anna Karenina (1948)
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
North Dallas Forty (1979)
Rush (1991)
Payback (1999)
Knockout (2011)
Hayride 2 (2015)
The Homesman (2014)
The Longest Week (2014)

Rocket Men (2013)
Watchers of the Sky (2014)
Kill Dil (2014)
The Mirror (2014)
The Defender (1994)
Born to Defense (1986)
Internal Affairs (1990)
In Dreams (1999)
Cypher (2002)
Joyride 3: Road Kill (2014)
Liberty Stands Still (2002)

Ashe’s Pull List Picks of the Week
So what did I watch off my Netflix Pull List this week? Ongoing spring cleaning and a need to beat things and stab things to death in my online games severely reduced my film intake these past few weeks. So what made it off the list?  Here we go.

My Bloody Valentine (1981, dir. George Mihalka)
When a group of teens defies an order not to celebrate Valentine’s Day, a murderous maniac begins dispatching townsfolk in bloody and creative ways. In all the ways that the remake failed to work as a good film, this one actually succeeds. It feels like a movie made to capitalize on the success of Friday the 13th, and takes a lot of its cues from that, and that’s what makes a lot of it work. The kills are actually inventive and they do a lot to make him seem menacing. While there are some scenes that definitely date this film firmly in the era of Dukes of Hazard on TV, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing and gives it a quirky charm along with its slasher flick tropes.
three_stars

Make sure to check back here on the site for more reviews and recommendations from the Netflix Instant Queue in Issue 16 of Instant Cinefessions!


Source: Whats on Netflix and 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.