Welcome to the inaugural issue of Instant Cinefessions, a weekly column where Ashe Collins runs down the latest additions to the Netflix Instant Queue service. This column is filled with reviews, recommendations, and more, all available on the Netflix Instant Queue service. Issue 00 – In the Beginning…

Netflix BigMost 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.

Ashe’s Seal of Approval
These are the latest films that hit Netflix that get my seal of approval. A lot of titles released this past week so I’ve broken it down a little bit.

If you’re in an ‘80s mood, these films were a staple of the theater and the VHS racks back in the day. I can’t attest to how well they’ll hold up now, or how much you’d get out of them, but I’d put them on at some point for nostalgia factor alone: Dirty Dancing, Footloose, Mr. Mom, Robocop, and The Running Man (we have a full podcast review of this here). Finally, D.A.R.Y.L.. This might seem a bit odd, but I loved D.A.R.Y.L. when I was younger.

Pee-Wees Big AdventureIf you’re in a Mystery Science Theatre 3,000 mood, or you want to enjoy some bad movies, I’d recommend Batman & Robin, Bless The Child, any of the original three Amityville Horror films, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, and the 1953 version of The War of the Worlds.  Remember that while I may have enjoyed these films at some point in my life, I’m recommending them as good, bad movies, so you’ve been forewarned.

As for comedies, Mean Girls is back on Netflix Instant Queue, along with Bruce Almighty, Get Shorty, Wayne’s World 2, and one of my favorites that usually ends up in my holiday rotation, The Ref.

If you’re looking for something with action, Bad Boys II is now available, along with Patriot Games.  If you want something kid friendly I definitely recommend The Road to El Dorado and Fantasia.  For a romantic, tissue-filled evening, there’s always Ghost or Sabrina.

Las but not least is the horror genre. Both Jeepers Creepers and Jeepers Creepers 2 are back streaming. Taking Lives with Angelina Jolie is more of a suspense thriller, but still recommended. Stephen King’s Thinner is up there, as is Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh, if only for one of my favorite actors, Tony Todd.

Like I said, we got a lot dumped on us this past week.

Ashe’s Pull List
This is basically just a list of films I haven’t seen, but want to. Look for reviews of some of these in future issues of Instant Cinefessions.

101 Dalmations, Cast Away, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, French Connection, French Connection 2, Venom, Chinatown, Big Fish, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Enough, The Mod Squad, Murder By Numbers, The Odd Couple, Shining Through, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Lust of the Dead trilogy, Lady Ninja 2, Shin Onimusha, Neverlake, Scorpion King 4, and Brick Mansions.

War of the Worlds 1953Ashe’s Picks of the Week
So what did I watch off Netflix this week? I didn’t have a pull list, so this is all sorts of random.

First up, I re-watched the 1953 version of The War of the Worlds. The last time I’d seen it was in the ‘80s off the local UHF channel, and I was itching to see it again. For 1950s sci-fi, it’s not terrible. Surprisingly enough, it tells a more complete story than the 2005 re-imagining featuring Tom Cruise, and I actually liked most of the characters. The model work was great, but you can tell they’re using models for a number of shots. It’s still fun if you’re into that 1950s sci-fi aesthetic.

Next up was Comforting Skin, which is kind of hard to categorize, and was even harder to make sense of. A lonely woman who’s trying to work through some severe issues gets a tattoo that starts talking to her, and, well, getting intimate with her. It’s definitely some kind of horror film, but hard to really nail down. It’s slow paced and well-acted, but meandered way too much for my liking.

I decided to watch Triple Dog because it was classified as a thriller. It’s not. It’s a teen coming-of-age flick about a group of girls who really don’t like each other much, but are friends anyway. They have a birthday party that goes way overboard.  They play a twisted version of Truth or Dare where you have to do the stunt someone asks or they shave your head. The stunts are mean-spirited and twisted. This is well done, but don’t go in thinking it’s a thriller.

I re-watched Arachnophobia and immediately wished I’d left that one alone. It’s hammy and can’t decide if it wants to be a serious horror film or a comedy, and it ends up being unfunny and completely lacking in any form of suspense unless you’re truly terrified of spiders. In that case, this film won’t help.

Lastly I watched Ragnarok, which was a lot of fun and had some great shots for what I’m assuming was a limited budget. This reeks of the way they shot Jaws and Jurassic Park as far as featuring the tension build up, but it keys into some of my favorite things which is reimagining myths and history. I definitely recommend this one if you like a slow burn in your creature films.

Make sure to check back later this week for more reviews and recommendations from the Netflix Instant Queue in Issue 01 of Instant Cinefessions!