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 Releases from Netflix (January 22 – January 29, 2015)

Ashe’s Seal of Approval
These are the latest films or series that hit Netflix in the last week that get my seal of approval. In lieu of something not showing up that I’ve seen, which is a good problem to have if you’re looking for something new, I’ll recommend an alternative that I’ve seen recently or that I know will be on the service for a while.

This marks another week filled with only new releases that I haven’t seen before. What I ended up doing was diving into a TV show that I’d seen advertised, starring Gillian Anderson, one of my favorites from The X-Files.

The Fall (2013, created by Allan Cubitt)
Gillian Anderson stars as an investigator that’s a bit out of her element in Ireland. She finds herself fighting for control over the investigation of a string of murders that she believes is the work of a serial killer. The other end of the show is the serial killer, played by Jamie Dornan, who I know from Marie Antoinette and as the Sheriff in Once Upon a Time. He’s also going to be in Fifty Shades of Grey, but I won’t hold that against him because he’s fantastic in this series as the serial killer. The Fall is currently only eleven episodes long over two seasons. It mostly has an ending, but there is talk of a third season at this point. It is a bit drawn out, but the cast is great, and the situations are believable and work with what you’re seeing on screen.

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.

Stonehearst Asylum (2014), Iliza Shlesinger: Freezing Hot (2015), The Interview (2014), Morning Star (2014), Iceman (2014), The Hunters (2013), Guardian (2014), 88 (2015), Chef (2014)

Ashe’s Picks of the Week
So what did I watch off Netflix this week? Well I binged for around ten hours on The Fall, so I didn’t watch as many films as usual. Two of the films I did watch weren’t on the Pull List, but are expiring from Netflix in a few days. So what made it off the list?  Here we go.

The Bag Man (2014, dir. David Grovic)
John Cusack plays a hitman sent by a mob boss to a motel deep in the bayou to guard a bag. The thing is, he’s not the only one after the bag, and certainly not the only one with a gun. Cusack and Robert De Niro really sell this film. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. What could have been a lackluster crime drama has a nice dose of black comedy thanks to these two veteran actors. While it won’t blow anyone away, The Bag Man is a different kind of film than I’m used to from Cusack, even though we had a taste of this kind of character before with Gross Pointe Blank.

Brick Mansions (2014, dir. Camille Delamarre)
An undercover cop of the near future is looking for revenge in the murder of his father. He plans to take down the drug lords in and around Detroit, and is sent into a no-go zone known as Brick Mansions after the one directly responsible for his father’s death. I have to admit I like this one just for the inventive action sequences. I’m a sucker for parkour, and there is a lot of it in Brick Mansions. The script isn’t exactly brainy, the ending doesn’t really work for me, and the turns they take to get to the ending that doesn’t work in the last twenty minutes of the film had me raising my eyebrows so hard it made my face hurt. Watch it for the action if you’re in the mood, but don’t expect anything smart from this one.

Stonehearst Asylum (2014, dir. Brad Anderson)
Set in 1899, Stonehearst Asylum sees a young doctor arriving to a less than stellar reception. He falls for a female patient, and begins to question the superintendent’s methods. On top of everything else, there appears to be something far more sinister going on. Based off a story by Poe, this is less the dark comedy satire that Poe originally wrote, and is instead meant to be a very dark, horror-themed thriller. Kate Beckinsale is one of the leads, but isn’t really given that much to do as most of the heavy lifting is from Ben Kingsley and Jim Sturgess. The crux of the film is revealed fairly early on, but how it all plays out is interesting and the cast is well picked, all doing a great job for what it is. Stonehearst Asylum is more psychological horror than anything else, and I’m betting it’s a film that most will either enjoy, or feel indifferent about, with little in between.

Make sure to check back next week for more reviews and recommendations from the Netflix Instant Queue in Issue 04 of Instant Cinefessions!

Source: Whats on Netflix