Ten Netflix Films in June 2015

         
 

29 June 2015| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

 

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

Jackie Brown (1997, 155 Minutes, R) is the Quentin Tarantino film that has gotten better with age. It’s difficult not to admit that most (like me) were thrown off by “Pulp Fiction” kind of expectations when it came out. Pam Grier is the titular flight attendant and smuggler for Samuel L. Jackson’s frightening hustler, and it’s kind of ridiculous that we all couldn’t see Jackson gives one of the great original tough-talking criminal performances in the history of cinema. All in all, these are real deal streetwise characterizations. Robert Forster is also superb (he was the film’s one Oscar nomination, I also found him amazing in the seductive gem “Diamond Men” three years later) as the weary bail bondsman who gets involved in the story’s core embezzlement scam. He’s into Grier, and how could he not? She’s a firecracker. Robert DeNiro, Bridget Fonda and Michael Keaton are also all excellent. A

CRIME DRAMA / STREET SMARTS / MASTERPIECE VIEWING

Jackie Brown_Brilliant Film_Flick Minute Masterpiece

Dead Man Walking (1995, 122 Minutes, R) has Sean Penn as a rapist-murderer on death row and Susan Sarandon (Oscar winner) as the nun who prepares him to take responsibility for his actions before his time comes. There is of course in the story an appeal boards hearing. This supremely well-made drama (Tim Robbins directed) is about grief, the horror of guilt, penance. Penn is so immersively white trash it’s remarkable what he pulls off, and yet he mumbles to the point you can’t understand him. Sarandon is flawless as the nun who faithfully probes this man as well as her own faith. A-
DRAMA / ADULT ORIENTATION / WEEKEND PENANCE

Dead-Man-Walking_1995 Underrated_Forgotten DVDs

Greenberg (2010, 107 Minutes, R) has Ben Stiller as a neurotic raging bull, a forty-something malcontent who goes through life looking for things to get angry at. He forges a relationship with Florence (Greta Gerwig), his brother’s nanny, and she happens to be exceptionally tolerant, a doormat, and it’s obvious she lets herself get regularly used by variant men. When this mordantly funny film came out five years ago, it came off as a strangely interesting moody character study. If I were a doctor I’d diagnose Greenberg with borderline personality disorder, but whatever the diagnosis, this Noah Baumbach film has become more than just interesting, I realize it’s endlessly fascinating. A-

DRAMA / MOODY CHARACTER STUDY / WEEKEND SELF-REFLECTION
Greenberg_2010 Underrated-Flick Minute

Driving Miss Daisy (1989, 96 Minutes, PG) has been wrung through more internet trash talk of being an unworthy Best Picture Oscar recipient more than any other modern times winner. Who besides me has bothered seeing it lately? The truth is, the movie would be nothing without Morgan Freeman who gives the role unspoken layers and voluminous spirituality that nobody else could have given it. Freeman’s Hoke Colburn drives and befriends Jessica Tandy’s cranky, distrusting Miss Daisy from 1948 to 1973 in race-torn (and watered down) Georgia. Freeman’s performance suggests a black man walking the fine line of ingratiation and courtliness to self-maintain within the social classes through the years. Forget the Oscars hullabaloo and the idea that there were indeed a dozen (at least) better movies that year, and see it for amazing Freeman. B+

HISTORICAL DRAMA / CHARACTER STUDY / LAZY SUNDAY AFTERNOON COUCH

Driving-Miss-Daisy_ Morgan-Freeman_Underrated-Role

Big Eyes (2014, 105 Minutes, PG-13) is Tim Burton’s first good film in ten years, revolving around the 1950’s art work of Margaret Keane (Amy Adams) and the conniving husband (Christoph Waltz) who stole author and sales credit. Her art prevails today, and it’s good-looking art. Yet this is surprisingly stark material on a bullying relationship between one talented woman and a charismatic louse. Less expensive than most Burton made movies, but the production looks great and is evocative of the time period. Adams acting is so understated that it was bound to be underrated. B+
DRAMA / CHARACTER STUDY / LATE NIGHT HUMAN INTEREST

Big-Eyes_Flick Minute_2014 Cinema

Clean and Sober (1988, 124 Minutes, R) is a key movie for anybody who appreciates the acting range of Michael Keaton and Morgan Freeman and needs to understand that phenomenon a little further. First hour is best with Keaton as the hard denial white collar drug addict who goes to rehab to hide from police for theft and potential manslaughter charges, and Freeman as the seen-it-all counselor who instantly calculates his residents’ lies. Second hour features more Keaton than Freeman, with Keaton going over his head to be another recovering addict’s savior and causing more damage than good. B
DRAMA / ADULT ORIENTATION / SUNDAY NIGHT SELF-REFLECTION

Clean and Sober_ Film Overlooked 1988

The Homesman (2014, 122 Minutes, R) is a peculiar western where the challenge is finding a single well-rounded sane person here. Tommy Lee Jones directed, and it’s a Cormac McCarthy kind of misanthropy piece had he written it (the novel it’s based on is by Glendon Swarthout). The story, more of an anti-story, is driven by corrupt instinct. Hilary Swank sometimes fascinates as a scrupulous heroine, but it’s tragic when she realizes she’s not hetero but a lesbian. That’s unstated in the script, but that’s what I deducted. The rest regards Jones’ reversal of fortune and the lunacy that goes along with it. The ending is sort of haunting. B-
WESTERN / ADULT ORIENTATION / SUNDAY NIGHT MADNESS

Homesman_Odd-Western _2014-Flick Minute

Playtime (1967, 124 Minutes, Unrated) is considered one of the all-time major works of French cinema, an often silent comedy of modern manners and diplomacy. I stared at it and for long stretches was far from engrossed. You can read somebody else’s review that tells you the story, but really, any raves towards this needs a reality check. I only see human beings as nothing more than blots here. Directed by Jacques Tati (I gave his “Mon Oncle” a C), but I’ve never understood his vibe. To me, he’s not transcending Chaplin. C
FOREIGN COMEDY / ART FILM / AFTERNOON COUCH SNOOZER

Playtime_Overrated Would-Be Classic_1967

The Cobbler (2015, 99 Minutes, PG-13) is an insignificant fantasy with Adam Sandler as a shoemaker who jumps into other peoples’ shoes and becomes him. I’d write it off as harmless if it wasn’t so clueless in its reinforced racism of black stereotypes. He becomes black and skips on the cheque at a posh restaurant? You gotta be kidding me, but that’s only the beginning of its offenses. Note: Not a Happy Madison production, but an art film by Tom McCarthy (“Win Win,” “The Station Agent”). D
COMEDY / BAD TASTE / AFTERNOON COUCH SNOOZER

Cobbler_2015-Worst Movies

Inherent Vice (2014, 148 Minutes, R) is by my favorite filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson, and there’s artistic skill to every shot except that they don’t add to the next or previous shot. No cohesiveness. Everything has a hazy, stoned ’70’s atmosphere with Joaquin Phoenix as the what-the-bleep private eye. The mystery is what the mystery is, it’s all non-sequitur blind alleys. Far too much of it is a challenging bore. I liked looking at Reese Witherspoon, but that’s it. This has got to be, I hope, the only P.T Anderson film I’ll ever hate.

MYSTERY / SPACE-OUT WEEKEND / UNWATCHABLE ANYTIME OF YEAR

Inherent-Vice_2014_Bad Movie I Hate

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Sean Chavel
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Ten Netflix Films in June 2015
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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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