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 07/01/2015
48 Hrs. (1982)
After the Ball (2015)
Alive (1993)
Almost Famous (2000)
An Honest Liar (2014)
Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004)
Bad Hair Day (2015)
Ballet 422 (2014)
Bandits (2001)
Batman (1989)
Below Dreams (2014)
Beverly Hills Madam (1986)
Beyond the Lights (2014)
Big Daddy (1999)
Bill & Ted’s Bogus Adventure (1991)
Bionicle: The Legend Reborn (2009)
Born to Fly (2014)
Bulworth (1998)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Captive (2012)
Chocolat (2000)
Conan the Barbarian (1982)
Cupcakes (2013)
Dancer and the Dame (2015)
Dancing in the Light: The Janet Collins Story (2015)
Dave Attell: Road Work (2014)
Deadly Hero (1975)
Drive Me Crazy (1999)
Dutch (1991)
El Crimen del Cacaro Gumaro (2014)
Flashdance (1983)
Foreign Letters (2012)
From Here to Eternity (1953)
God of Cookery (1996)
Grandma’s Boy (2006)
Green Street Hooligans: Undefeated (2013)
Hard to Be a God (2013)
Hasee Toh Phasee (2014)
Hell is for Heroes (1962)
Hombre (1967)
Hostage (2005)
House of the Rising Sun (2011)
How I Got Over (2014)
How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
If You Don’t, I Will (2014)
In Enemy Hands (2004)
Katy Perry: The Prismatic World Tour (2015)
King of Comedy (1999)
Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
Love & Engineering (2015)
love and other catastrophes (1996)
Man Up (2015)
Mary Kom (2014)
Mr. Mom (1983)
My Italian Secret: The Forgotten Heroes (2015)
My Name is Joe (1998)
Pantani: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist (2014)
Pi (1998)
Piglet’s Big Movie (2003)
Plot for Peace (2014)
Ralphie May: Imperfectly Yours (2015)
Renaissance (2006)
Rocky (1976)
Rocky II (1979)
Rocky III (1982)
Rocky IV (1985)
Rocky V (1990)
Saw V (2008)
Scary Movie (2000)
Shooting Fish (1997)
Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Sirius (2013)
Some Kind of Hero (1982)
Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)
State Fair (1945)
Street Smart (1987)
Sweet Blackberry Presents: Garrett’s Gift (2007)
Sweet Blackberry Presents: Henry Box Brown (2005)
Tai Chi Master (1993)
Teeth (2007)
The Barber (2014)
The Beverly Hillbillies (1993)
The Concert (2009)
The Delta Force (1986)
The Father’s Love (2014)
The Immortalists (2014)
The Net (1995)
The Pope from the End of the World (2013)
The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2012)
The Secret of Roan Inish (1994)
The Terminator (1984)
The Turning Point (1977)
The Warriors (1979)
The Widowmaker (2015)
Thumbelina (1994)
Toobys in English (2013)
Uncommon Valor (1983)
Underworld: Evolution (2006)
War Games (1983)
What Happened Miss Simone? (2015)
When Day Breaks (2012)
Worms (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.

X-Men Evolution – Season 1 (2002)
Another excellent animated take on the X-Men, while not as involved in the comic story lines of the team as the ‘90s cartoon, this one deals more with them being teenagers but manages some really quality storytelling if you can overlook some of the plot holes within a number of episodes. The series serves as the launching point for Wolverine and the X-Men, which was another excellent animated X-Men series.

NCIS – 11 Seasons (2003-2014)
I mostly watched this show in reruns. I only really like a few of the main characters, but it has its moments. As a crime procedural it’s decent enough. It does make for good background fodder when you’re busy with something but would like something on.

Batman (1989, dir. Tim Burton)
The Dark Knight of Gotham City begins his war on crime with his first major enemy being the clownishly homicidal Joker, who has seized control of Gotham’s underworld. The Batman in this film and in the second Burton outing is far more about the theatrics than actual fighting, which is ok, but get used to him standing around looking intimidating or posing instead of attacking. I do love Nicholson as the Joker, and he bridges the gap between the crazy prankster of the ‘60s live action show and the actual sociopath of the comics quite well, and it works brilliantly. Overall, though, it’s a great first entry in a franchise that would go downhill rather quickly, but also sparked off the animated series, which is probably my favorite interpretation of Batman anyway.
three_stars

Saw V (2008, dir. David Hackl)
Detective Hoffman is seemingly the last person alive to carry on the Jigsaw legacy. But when his secret is threatened, he must go on the hunt to eliminate all the loose ends. For me, the Saw series had already run its course by the time this came out. They try to do too many twists to try and keep pace with what had come before, and it just didn’t do much for me.
two_stars

Underworld: Evolution (2006, dir. Len Wiseman)
As the war between the vampires and the Lycans rages on, Selene and Michael work together in an effort to unlock the secrets of their respective bloodlines. I do like this as a conclusion to the hanging story they left out there with the first film and it has some great moments, but it’s just not as slick or fun as the first film. Worth a look if you liked the first, though.
two_and_a_half_stars

Alive (1993, dir. Frank Marshall)
The amazing, true story of a Uruguayan rugby team’s plane that crashed in the middle of the Andes mountains, and their immense will to survive and pull through alive, forced to do anything and everything they could to stay alive on meager rations and through the freezing cold. I’ve seen this twice, once on VHS and once in the theater and was bored out of my mind both times. While the events are traumatic and awful, the film does a poor job of holding my attention. Worth a look if you’re into the “true story” type of film, though.
two_stars

Kung Fu Hustle (2004, dir. Stephen Chow)
In Shanghai, China in the 1940s, a wannabe gangster aspires to join the notorious “Axe Gang” while residents of a housing complex exhibit extraordinary powers in defending their turf. I only vaguely remember this film, but I remember being amused all the way through.
two_and_a_half_stars

Mr. Mom (1983, dir. Stan Dragoti)
Jack and Caroline are a couple making a decent living When Jack suddenly loses his job. They agree that he should stay at home and look after the house while Caroline works. It’s just that he’s never done it before, and really doesn’t have a clue. I remember loving this film as a kid and I think I rented it once in the 90s, but haven’t seen it since. Lots of funny moments in this.
three_stars

The Beverly Hillbillies (1993, dir. Penelope Spheeris)
Jed Clampett and kin move from Arkansas to Beverly Hills when he becomes a billionaire, after an oil strike. The country folk are very naive with regard to life in the big city, so when Jed starts a search for a new wife there are inevitably plenty of takers and con artists ready to make a fast buck. One of the other tv shows to get a feature film in the 90s. It has a few good moments, but as far as 90s comedies go it’s in the predictable and kind of awful end of the pool.
two_stars

Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991, dir. Peter Hewitt)
Everything’s excellent for everyone’s favorite surf-speaking dudes. With their own apartment, a pair of bodacious princess babes and a spot on the upcoming battle of the bands, life couldn’t be any better. But all that goes down the tubes when Bill and Ted’s evil robot twins kill the San Dimas duo and then take over their lives. I actually saw this back in the day before I ever saw the first one. It has a few decent moments, but it’s a Bill & Ted film, don’t have a high bar set.
two_and_a_half_stars

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969, dir. George Roy Hill)
In late 1890s Wyoming, Butch Cassidy is the affable, clever, talkative leader of the outlaw Hole in the Wall Gang. His closest companion is the laconic dead-shot “Sundance Kid”. As the west rapidly becomes civilized, the law finally catches up to Butch, Sundance and their gang. Chased doggedly by a special posse, the two decide to make their way to South America in hopes of evading their pursuers once and for all. Redford and Newman are fantastic in this. There’s some great banter all over and it’s a pretty good film. I haven’t seen it in years though.
three_stars

Rocky (1976, dir. John G. Avildsen)
When world heavyweight boxing champ Apollo Creed wants to give an unknown fighter a shot at the title as a publicity stunt, his handlers pick palooka Rocky Balboa, an uneducated collector for a Philadelphia loan shark. I have to admit I’ve only seen this film maybe twice and it was when I was much younger and I really couldn’t get into it. I’m sure my more adult sensibilities will kick in if I revisit the series, but for now that’s where this sits.
two_and_a_half_stars

Rocky II (1979, dir. Sylvester Stallone)
Rocky has settled down with Adrian but can’t put his life together outside the ring, while Creed seeks a rematch to restore his reputation. Soon enough, the “Master of Disaster” and the “Italian Stallion” are set on a collision course for a climactic battle that is brutal and unforgettable. I watched this a few more times than the first but still was not my favorite in the series growing up.
three_stars

Rocky III (1982, dir. Sylvester Stallone)
Now the world champion, Rocky Balboa is living in luxury and only fighting opponents who pose no threat to him in the ring. His lifestyle of wealth and idleness is shaken when a powerful young fighter known as Clubber Lang challenges him to a bout. After taking a pounding from Lang, the humbled champ turns to former bitter rival Apollo Creed to help him regain his form for a rematch with Lang. This is the one I watched all the freaking time as a kid. Great theme that’s still around today, an interesting appearance by Hulk Hogan, and he had to fight Mister T of the A-Team in the ring. What wouldn’t a young kid love about this film? I’m sure the nostalgia goggles would reveal this isn’t quite the film I remember, but I’m leaving it at that.
three_and_a_half_stars

Rocky IV (1985, dir. Sylvester Stallone)
Rocky must come out of retirement to battle a gargantuan Soviet fighter named Drago, who brutally punished Rocky’s friend and former rival, Apollo Creed. Seeking revenge in the name of his fallen comrade and his country, Rocky agrees to fight Drago in Moscow on Christmas, and the bout changes both fighters — and the world. Insert obligatory ’80s Cold War related film into your franchise here. I did love this film when it came out, but thinking back on it, it’s probably not going to hold up all that well. So my rating is through those nostalgia goggles.
three_stars

Rocky V (1990, dir. John G. Avildsen)
A lifetime of taking shots has ended Rocky’s career, and a crooked accountant has left him broke. Inspired by the memory of his trainer, however, Rocky finds glory in training and takes on an up-and-coming boxer. I’m more including this one because I have seen it. Once was enough. While the character arc makes sense, I’m not sure we needed more. Because of this one I have yet to see Rocky Balboa either. Maybe that’ll have to change, but the bell was rung for me with Rocky IV so with Rocky V, I tapped out.
one_and_a_half_stars

Silence of the Lambs (1991, dir. Jonathan Demme)
FBI trainee Clarice Starling ventures into a maximum-security asylum to pick the diseased brain of Hannibal Lecter, a psychiatrist turned homicidal cannibal. Starling needs clues to help her capture a serial killer. Unfortunately, her Faustian relationship with Lecter soon leads to his escape, and now two deranged killers are on the loose. One of the best book to film adaptations out there and probably one of the most chilling serial killer films created. If you haven’t seen this one, put it on Netflix. Now.
four_stars

The Net (1995, dir. Irwin Winkler)
Angela Bennett is a freelance software engineer who lives in a world of computer technology. When a cyber friend asks Bennett to debug a CD-ROM game, she discovers a conspiracy that will turn her life upside down. Soon, her records have been erased, and she’s been given a new identity and a police record. Her vacation is ruined as she struggles to determine why she’s been deleted from society. This film suffers a bit in that most of it wouldn’t have worked when the film was made, let alone now. It does work as a serviceable thriller if you can get around what’s wrong with the film.
two_stars

Bandits (2001, dir. Barry Levinson)
Two bank robbers fall in love with the girl they’ve kidnapped. I actually saw this one on a cruise back when it first came out with my late grandmother so there’s a bit of sentimentality in the rating and fondness for this, but I remember Thorton, Willis and Blanchett all being pretty good in this and it worked really well as a comedy as both my grandmother and I had a number of laughs.
three_stars

Flashdance (1983, dir. Adrian Lyne)
Flashdance depicts the life of an exotic dancer with a side job as a welder whose true desire is to get into ballet school. It’s her dream to be a professional dancer and now is her chance. This is the film that cemented my love for Jennifer Beals. It has a slick soundtrack and some great and fun characters and although it’s almost typical fluff, they do enough with it to make it have that extra little bit that set it apart.
three_stars

Star Trek: Insurrection (1998, dir. Jonathan Frakes)
When an alien race and factions within Starfleet attempt to take over a planet that has “regenerative” properties, it falls upon Captain Picard and the crew of the Enterprise to defend the planet’s people as well as the very ideals upon which the Federation itself was founded. There is a lot of humor in this that offsets the darker parts of the story, but despite the action looking tone, this is more of a character piece. The effects are pretty good throughout and F. Murray Abrahm is great as our lead bad guy as who chews on every scene he’s in.
three_stars

War Games (1983, dir. John Badham)
High School student David Lightman has a talent for hacking. But while trying to hack into a computer system to play unreleased video games, he unwittingly taps into the Defense Department’s war computer and initiates a confrontation of global proportions. Together with his girlfriend and a wizardly computer genius, David must race against time to outwit his opponent and prevent a nuclear Armageddon. While this film is very dated as far as technology goes, it is a fantastic thriller and manages to do so while building and maintaining a proper tension throughout. Definitely worth a look even if you’re just curious what was cutting edge tech in 1983.
three_stars

Conan the Barbarian (1982, dir. John Milius)
After years as a slave and as a gladiator, Conan is set free. Joined by an archer named Subotai, a beautiful thief whom he falls in love with named Valeria and a Chinese wizard, Conan sets out to rescue King Osric’s daughter Yasmina, and get his revenge on Thulsa Doom who wiped out his village and resulted in him becoming a slave. I do love this film. It’s got the sword and sorcery bits down. It’s not quite a proper Conan film, but as a fantasy film with a slight smattering of magic, it works really well. The visuals are great and the score is amazing and is what really drives the film forward.
three_stars

The Terminator (1984, dir. James Cameron)
In the post-apocalyptic future, reigning tyrannical supercomputers teleport a cyborg assassin known as the “Terminator” back to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor, whose unborn son is destined to lead insurgents against 21st century mechanical hegemony. Meanwhile, the human-resistance movement dispatches a lone warrior to safeguard Sarah. Can he stop the virtually indestructible killing machine? The film that started an uneven franchise. This is a great action sci-fi and horror flick all rolled into one. Some of the effects haven’t held up as well over the years, but it’s definitely one of the best films in the series.
four_stars

Scary Movie (2000, dir. Keenen Ivory Wayans)
Following on the heels of popular teen-scream horror movies, with uproarious comedy and biting satire. Marlon and Shawn Wayans, Shannon Elizabeth and Carmen Electra pitch in to skewer some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters, including Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Matrix, American Pie and The Blair Witch Project. There are some decent enough laughs in this, but it’s not on the highbrow end of the humor scale and despite the tagline, the sequels just kept coming and getting more and more terrible.
two_and_a_half_stars

Renaissance (2006, dir. Christian Volckman)
To find Ilona and unlock the secrets of her disappearance, Karas must plunge deep into the parallel worlds of corporate espionage, organized crime and genetic research – where the truth imprisons whoever finds it first and miracles can be bought but at a great price. Some interesting animation choices with a great cyberpunk-ish setting and an almost noir feel to the film really make this one stand out. You can draw comparisons to Blade Runner here, but it really does do its own thing.
three_stars

Teeth (2007, dir. Mitchell Lichtenstein)
Still a stranger to her own body, a high school student discovers she has a physical advantage when she becomes the object of male violence. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into a few years ago when I first watched this, but it explores the vagina dentata myth rather effectively and is a pretty good flick if you’re into a different kind of horror film.
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.

48 Hrs. (1982)
After the Ball (2015)
Almost Famous (2000)
Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004)
Bad Hair Day (2015)
Bulworth (1998)
Dutch (1991)
From Here to Eternity (1953)
Green Street Hooligans: Undefeated (2013)
Hell is for Heroes (1962)
Hombre (1967)
Hostage (2005)
How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
In Enemy Hands (2004)
love and other catastrophes (1996)
Man Up (2015)
Mary Kom (2014)
Shooting Fish (1997)
Some Kind of Hero (1982)
State Fair (1945)
The Barber (2014)
The Delta Force (1986)
The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2012)
The Warriors (1979)
Uncommon Valor (1983)
What Happened Miss Simone? (2015)

Ashe’s Pull List Picks of the Week
So what did I watch off my Netflix Pull List for this week? With Cinefessions Summer Screams Challenge 4 having just wrapped up, I indulged in a film that didn’t fit in with my checklist or weekly theme and I’ll probably end up going all over the place with some of these just to cleanse the palette. So what have I got for you this week.

009-1: The End of the Beginning (2013, dir. Koichi Sakamoto)
Marking the 75th anniversary of his birth, Shotaro Ishinomori’s classic spy heroine manga “009-1” has been adapted into a live-action motion picture for the first time ever. A female cyborg designed to be a cold blooded killing machine sets out to bust up a human trafficking ring and rescue the scientist that created her. I only vaguely could tell what was going on here. The action scenes were pretty decent although heavy on the cg, the acting was all over the place like the script, and this feels like there’s a huge chunk of the story missing to tell an over-arching story that would have taken place over a number of episodes in an anime.
two_stars

Make sure to check back here on the site for more reviews and recommendations from the Netflix Instant Queue in Issue 24 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.