Ten Netflix Films in August 2013

         
 

03 September 2013| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

Titles I happened to check out on Netflix in the month of August 2013 listed from best to worst:

Witness (1985, 112 Minutes, R) is the unlikeliest but most original of thrillers that hurtles a Philadelphia detective (Harrison Ford) into Amish country to protect a widow and her son (Kelly McGillis and Lucas Haas). Ford uncovers internal police department corruption and goes into hiding, too. The action is out of the ordinary and distinctive, and just as compelling is the defiant love story. Ford and McGillis click into furtive and cautious tells and glances. The screenplay is nearly flawless and director Peter Weir (“The Truman Show”) keeps everything terrifically paced, and makes it convincing and touching as well. Once upon a time, Harrison Ford made intelligent thrillers and this is one of his highlights. A

SUSPENSE-THRILLER / SEXY IMAGES / CLASSIC VIEWING

Witness _FlickMinute Classic Harrison Ford

Murmur of the Heart (1972, 118 Minutes, R, French with English subtitles) is the one you want to see when you become aware just how different French films are from American, and just how willing they are to explore abnormal stories. 14-year old Laurent (Benoit Ferreux) looks to lose his virginity, coming close at a whore house but failing to consummate on the event. Subsequent illness sends him to a sanitarium until he’s well, and dysfunctional circumstances lead him to his first sexual experience with the unlikeliest of partners. You need a liberal outlook on life in order to accept this film. A-

FOREIGN FILM / LIBERAL SEXUALITY / WINTER INTROSPECTION

Murmur of the Heart Review_1972 FlickMinute

The Gold Rush (1925, 69 Minutes, NR) has been hailed in polls as Charlie Chaplin’s best. It just isn’t, but it’s certainly second tier Chaplin. The topsy-turvy cabin on unstable ground is without doubt an unforgettable set-piece. Georgia Hale is the lonely saloon gal who gives open opportunity to good guys everywhere, including the Little Tramp. A-

COMEDY / SILENT FILM / LAZY COUCH VIEWING

Gold Rush Charlie Chaplin _1925 Comedy

Big Night (1996, 109 Minutes, R) is a terrific food movie and Italian-American immigrant comedy, by co-writers and directors Stanley Tucci and Campbell Scott who also star. On the New Jersey Shore in the 1950’s, two brothers – played by Tucci and Tony Shalhoub – make great cuisine but are on the verge of closing because they don’t get enough customers. When they hear jazz singer Louis Prima is going to dine, they prepare a special party in hopes to save the business. It’s sublime simply because authentic Italian behavior is hysterical when it’s done right. Shalhoub was very underrated in this. With Ian Holm, Isabella Rossellini, Minnie Driver. Only the ending is too tame and modest. B+

COMEDY / OLDER TEENS & ADULTS / NIGHTTIME DURING SUPPER

Big Night_ Flick Minute-poster-1996

Me and Orson Welles (2008, 107 Minutes, PG-13) is a backstage theater period piece that surprisingly proves that Zac Efron can act (as an actor in training), and can create chemistry with a co-star like Claire Danes (secretary and social climber). But the real reason to watch is Christian McKay’s very persuasive and sly take on Orson Welles himself during his Mercury Theater days prior to making “Citizen Kane.” McKay chews up the scenery, and it’s quite fine scenery. Richard Linklater wrote and directed, and it’s not just Orson he’s fond of, it’s the affable nostalgia style of vintage Woody Allen. B+

HISTORICAL DRAMA / LIFE LESSONS / WEEKEND AFTERNOON NOSTALGIA

Me_ and_Orson Welles _Flick Minute

Meatballs (1979, 92 Minutes, PG) is a genial summer camp movie with sights gags, yuks and heart – and if that sounds a little generic description it’s because there’s not much to it. For some, this cheapie will be little more than background noise. But somehow it stands out more than that, basically because of Bill Murray as an overgrown boy acting as the camp counselor. Fast-talking enthusiasm, practical jokes and blaring sarcasm is Murray’s M.O. One lonely kid (Chris Makepeace) needs help breaking out of his shell. Nothing too demanding as implied, this romp is easy-going, tittering, inoffensive, negligible. B-

COMEDY / MILD & CHARMING / WEEKEND FAMILY MOVIE

Meatballs-1979 Flick-Minute-poster

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984, 105 Minutes, PG) is kind of directionless for awhile, but at the end, I wish there had been more entries that attempted something like this. The plot has the Enterprise at dock for a longtime as they try to go down and discover an unspecified being of Vulcan origin on the Genesis Planet (Could it be Spock who was dead at the end of Part II?). The Klingons want some of that, too. William Shatner as Captain Kirk and Leonard Nimoy in a rousing resurrection as Spock. Visually transporting, except the Klingon ship interiors are distractingly too shabby. B-

ACTION & ADVENTURE / SCI-FI MYTHOLOGY / LAZY AFTERNOON COUCH

Star-Trek-3-_Search-for-Spock _Flick-Minute

New Jersey Drive (1995, 95 Minutes, R) depicts a teen culture who live for stealing and joyriding cars, and have no answers to live other ways. It’s sociologically engrossing. It has a few early problems establishing a focus and drawing us in. We eventually connect to Jason Petty (Sharron Corley), who steals cars too, but at least has a drawing line. A turf war with cops persists indefinitely, and Roscoe (Saul Stein) is a compellingly abusive man in uniform. The movie is a cycle until it hits the inevitable dead end. B-

STREET DRAMA / TEEN REBELLIOUSNESS / SUNDAY NIGHT REFLECTION

New Jersey Drive - Review_ FlickMinute post

4:44 Last Days on Earth (2012, 85 Minutes, UR) has just enough reflections on an end of the world scenario to make it all the more disappointing at its flaccidity. You have to be an Al Gore theorist to agree with director Abel Ferrara’s take on the end, but what really kills it, I swear, is actress Shanyn Leigh. As the girlfriend to hipster Willem Dafoe (credible in his angst), she seems clueless as to how to act under a director’s whole vision. About the vision: The last day is a whimper, or a final day of resignation, for people on Earth who accept the news but try to abide to social rules and dignity. I pity Ferrara trying to get a thoughtful movie done a low budget, but “4:44” is simply too enclosed indoors. C-

SCIENCE FICTION / ADULT ORIENTATION / WEEKEND FOOD FOR THOUGHT

4.44 Last Day on Earth

Julien Donkey-Boy (1999, 100 Minutes, R) is not going to feel much more than a doodle for even art-film lovers. The title subject is a schizophrenic teen, and the entire thing is shot in a hazy, scratchy 16mm film by Harmony Korine to simulate everyday discordant and disembodied feel. Julien lives at home with his family, run by his misunderstanding father (Werner Herzog). Ten minutes of this is fascinating (and all you need), one hundred minutes is exhausting. D+

AVANTE-GARDE / SOCIOLOGICAL STUDY / EARLY MORNING RAMBLE

Julien donkey-boy- flickminute-poster

 

Summary
Reviewer
Sean Chavel
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Ten Netflix Films in August
Author Rating
5
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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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