Ten Netflix Films in April 2015


26 April 2015| No Comments on Ten Netflix Films in April 2015     by Sean Chavel


Titles I happened to check out on Netflix in the month of April 2015 listed from best to worst:

The Master (2012, 137 Minutes, R) was recently named by the A.V. Club as the best from their top 100 list of films from the first half of the decade. I’m starting to believe that’s an excellent choice. When it came out, I made the mistake of putting it at #9 on my year’s best list, finding it mesmerizing on a visually poetic level but failing to connect emotionally. The oddest thing, now with subsequent viewings I find it the most emotional film anywhere. Paul Thomas Anderson’s film is one of those rare bizarre encounters where multiple viewings were necessary – and repeatedly captivating – in unearthing its prod on start-up religions and the quagmire of Joaquin Phoenix’s troubled soul as well as Philip Seymour Hoffman’s vexed hypocritical soul. I also recommend as a supplement Alex Gibney’s entrancing new documentary expose into Scientology called “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.” A+


MASTER the_movie_poster_ art_film

The Imitation Game (2014, 114 Minutes, PG-13) is about the mathematical genius Alan Turing and his sneaky approval from Winston Churchill to build a computer to decipher the Enigma code and defeat the Nazis. Benedict Cumberbatch, for me, finally broke down my skepticism and delivered a great performance that was worthy of his hype. Turing is a genius among a team of codebreakers, but due to his arrogance he is a social outcast (and closet homosexual), and to offset his persona he fancied a relationship with secretarial brain Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley). Some passages are glossed over, but this is thoroughly interesting material and one of the better movies of last year. A-


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Bully (2001, 113 Minutes, R) is a docudrama about a group of kids participating in a senseless killing, with nearly all of them denying in the aftermath they are at fault. The film is shot in Hollywood, Florida where the real crime took place, and it delves into a debauched youth culture where drugs, booze, sex contributes to the aimless ennui. Larry Clark, the director, got very little appreciation for his uncompromising efforts likely because he had courted controversy with his prior film “Kids” (1995) and was labeled as a borderline child exploiter. Nick Stahl and Brad Renfro do amazing work here, and the rest of the cast are young adults playing teens. True crime aficionados will find it most enthralling. A-

Bully_2001 Flick Minute Review

The Sound of Music (1965, 174 Minutes, G) with the unflappable Julie Andrews as a governess to a group of privileged kids is the gorgeous musical set in Salzburg, Austria with one after another snappy tunes. I’ve been back and forth on this flick my entire life, because the Nazi imposition on the third act feels it comes out of nowhere – if there were no Nazis and simply a love story I think it would still have been a beloved film. But especially after the rotten and cynical “Birdman” winning the Oscar recently, “Music” is more than ever a joyful antidote to me. I also find it a recipe of the kind of grandness that is far too removed from today’s movie scene. A-


Sound of Music_1965 Flick Minute Review


White Bird in a Blizzard (2014, 91 Minutes, R), by director “Mysterious Skin” director Gregg Araki, deserves recognition for most unfairly overlooked quality film of last year. Shailene Woodley gets to do a character study, playing a girl just trying to get through high school and escape her dysfunctional household. Eva Green, who makes sadness into something alluring or even teasingly sexual, is the mother who vanishes and brings unexpected freedoms to Woodley and for her father (Christopher Meloni). Woodley experiments with sex with Thomas Jane who is the cop in charge of searching for the mom’s whereabouts (these scenes don’t go far enough, and there’s other sketchy characters too). As time passes Woodley remains uneasy inside, and while she thought she had answers about her mother, the last third is an unspooling revelation where she goes through a change of mind. There are a number of memorably emotional moments. B


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The Skeleton Twins (2014, 93 Minutes, R) is another overlooked film from last year, with Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig doing drama. Brother and sister reunite after years of parting, and both learn they have trouble acclimating healthy relationships with others. Milo is gay with an unhealthy obsession with a former teacher, while Maggie is engaged to wed but helplessly a slut. There is some funny high strung neurotic stuff here, but some tough, soul-searching work to be done, too. The writing is often terrific, I only wish the film had plunged deeper into its characters’ embarrassing foibles. B


Skeleton Twins_2014 Overlooked_Flick Minute

A Most Violent Year (2014, 125 Minutes, R) refers to 1981 New York City when the homicide rate reached new records. Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain are an alleged mob couple – or they aren’t? – perhaps he’s simply in the heat oil business with his sight on a legit port property purchase. Yet the D.A. (David Oyelowo) is threatening him with 14 counts of indictments. Isaac says overwhelmingly again and again, he’s clean. It takes awhile to figure out what this film is up: Isaac is perpetually the victim here, with his employees getting battered and trucks hijacked by mob competition. Pay attention, and by the time it’s half over, it explains itself and you’re pulled in then like a 1970’s gritty New York streets drama. I was more enraptured by J.C. Chandor’s previous films “Margin Call” and “All is Lost.” The film is gripping but at the same time too subtle and restrained. But it’s clear Chandor is a major directorial talent and storyteller. B


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The Babadook (2014, 93 Minutes, NR but would qualify as an R) from Australia was the best horror film of last year although 2014 was a weak year for them. It’s a boogeyman story in such washed out colors that it’s borderline black & white. Six-year old Sam (Noah Wiseman) warns her skeptic mother (Essie Davis) that he’s gonna come kill them, but there is disbelief until the inevitable paranormal contact. I never lost my marbles, but I was sucked in by a mother and son that have some serious emotional problems. The title is an anagram that spells out “A Bad Book.” B


Babadook-2014_ Flick Minute Review

Force Majeure (2014, 118 Minutes, R, Swedish with English subtitles) requires you to pay undivided close attention at the 11-minute mark: an avalanche occurs upsetting a ski resort, and a husband in flash response is the only one to behave cowardly. What follows is anguished drama of marital unease. There are undeniable displays of sex role reversal, the wife seen stronger than the husband in subsequent social situations. But I’m going to have to call bulls**t on it. Only depressed Swedish movie couples have this many endless hypothetical arguments. It’s a Michael Haneke movie made not by Haneke but by copycat stylist Ruben Ostllund. C+


Force Majeure_Sweden Flick Minute Review

The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996, 96 Minutes, PG-13), of animals mutated to be like man, deserves the infamy handed to it as regarded among the worst movies ever made. For all the critical malarkey, however, of Marlon Brando’s insane work as the madman doctor, at least he amuses. The critical coup seems to have gone soft on Val Kilmer’s indifferent henchman and on the truly boring performance by David Thewlis as the hero. Everybody is either erratic or inert at any given time. F


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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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