Ten Netflix Films in May 2012

         
 

30 May 2012| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

Titles alphabetically I happened to check out on Netflix in the month of May 2012 listed from best to worst:

Monsieur Hire (1990, 82 Minutes, R, French with English subtitles). Haunting – perhaps the best French film of the last 25 years. He is a dweeb peeping tom who gets more than he bargained for when his dream woman knocks on his door. It’s a portrait of dysfunctional-sex/mystery/tragedy. The stunning climactic shot demonstrates a sensation of slow-motion vertigo. Directed by Patrice Leconte (other gems by him include “The Hairdresser’s Husband” and “The Widow of St. Pierre”). A

FOREIGN FILM / TWISTED DRAMA / FALL MOVIE

Like Crazy (2011, 90 Minutes, PG-13) understands genuinely how the most simple bureaucratic interferences seem to exist in this world for the sole cynical reason so that they can decay a loving relationship. Anna (Felicity Jones) is a British exchange student in love with Jacob (Anton Yelchin), an L.A. boy. You remember you’re first hard-fought relationship? Then you got to see this movie. Long-distance relationships are not recommended, but when you see these two together, can you help but want to see them in love forever? Anna stays two months past the expiration of her student visa and when she returns to her parents in Great Britain, she doesn’t realize that she won’t be allowed back in the US. After Anna is denied entry to the US, Jacob flies to the UK to visit her. The long distance and immigration tape hassles are torture. Inevitably, the pure love thing falls under duress as Charlie Bewley and Jennifer Lawrence play the enticing romantic second options on both ends of the globe. I don’t usually believe the on-again, off-again thing, but Anna and Jacob made me believe. The film remains true of that hard to conquer things aren’t the same feeling. The young actors ceaselessly implement emotions, of happy-sentimental or sad-brittle, that shine through. A-

ROMANTIC DRAMA / FOOD FOR THOUGHT / END OF FALL MOVIE

The Manhattan Project (1986, 117 Minutes, PG-13) is geared for young teens interested in the fantasy of seeing a kid build his own atomic bomb. Paul (Christopher Collet) gets private tour access into a government research lab when John Mathewson (John Lithgow) begins to date his mother. Paul’s no fool, he’s aware that this is a nuclear weapons research lab. A few nights later, Paul and his girlfriend Jenny (Cynthia Nixon, young before “Sex and the City”) break past security byway of cleverness, manipulation, and smoke and mirrors so he can steal the plutonium needed to build his own bomb at home. His intent is to enter his self-made bomb into the New York City science fair. Of course he gets in over his head and doesn’t foresee what could go wrong. The preposterousness is done in a stern-faced matter of fact way, and a couple of scenes are nail-biting. It’s like “Mission: Impossible” or “Sneakers” but with smart-aleck teens. B

SUSPENSE-THRILLER / TEENS / AFTERNOON DIVERSION MOVIE

Puncture (2011, 100 Minutes, R) is a compelling legal drama about corporate conspiracies to cover up the invention of safe disposable hospital needles, based on fact. Admittedly, this is sometimes difficult material to watch. Chris Evans (“The Avengers”) is terrific, and haywired, as the crusading lawyer putting together a class action lawsuit. Dark secret: Evans’ lawyer protagonist is a habitual drug addict himself. It’s incredible, if delicately believable, that his law firm partner was never aware of his problem. Evans has a conscience, and certainly feels bad about his addiction even when he’s reveling in it. But really, what made him so passionate about a puncture needle case? Does it somehow subconsciously tie into how he uses them on his own arm when he’s doing heroin? Sometimes a man crusades for others even though he continues to dwell in his own self-inflicting pain, I guess. B

HISTORICAL DRAMA / ADULT ORIENTATION / POLITICS / THURSDAY NIGHT MOVIE

Mr. Mom (1983, 91 Minutes, PG) is a broad, goofy comedy with what must have been a slightly shocking angle for its time – the wife works (Teri Garr), and the dad is the homemaker (Michael Keaton). It’s pretty lightweight now, but it’s a hoot watching Keaton make a mess of things. He becomes a coach potato addicted to soaps, and his belly gets flabby – that’s until he’s able to rebound and become a supermom. This was one of John Hughes’ early produced scripts. B-

COMEDY / GOOFY / AFTERNOON CHUCKLES

Internal Affairs (1990, 115 minutes, R) is a standard-issue corrupt cop thriller, with out-dated “planted evidence” and “fall-guy” stuff. But it gets compelling when Richard Gere, as a crooked cop and womanizer, attempts to seduce IAD investigator Andy Garcia’s wife. Garcia, inevitably, can’t help but blow-up into a jealous rage. Stylistic lighting and hallucinogenic flashes by director Mike Figgis (“Leaving Las Vegas”) make it resourcefully artsy. B-

STREET DRAMA / CHARACTER STUDY / LATE NIGHT THRILLS

Smile (1975, 113 Minutes, PG) is a satire on beauty pageants. The films says grace and poise can by fluke get easily overlooked in favor of a tart who can put on a good superficial show – it’s luck, it’s random, it’s demeaning behavior that’s celebrated over true elegance in these pageants. Much of the material has the makings of a classic. But it contains extraneous scenes that have no business being in the film, no matter how innocuous they are, that dulls out everything else good around it. The great jokes get repeated until the jokes aren’t cool anymore. Quick, somebody remake this flick and size it down. Cast includes Bruce Dern, Michael Kidd, Annette O’Toole, Colleen Camp, Joan Prather and Melanie Griffith. C+

SATIRIC COMEDY / LATE TEENS AND ADULTS / SATURDAY AFTERNOON GIGGLES 

Never Let Me Go (2010, 103 Minutes, R) is a tasteful lament of yearning and sacrifice, but too much a sci-fi oddity. The rigidness of the story is so hermetically sealed that you beg for its characters to take a 100-mile car trip. Or you might itch to make a long-distance phone call to director Mark Romanek (“One Hour Photo”) and ask him, really, are they on an island? This looks like 1970’s coming of age nostalgia with shaggy haircuts and polyester & wool threads. But (Spoiler Alert!), the three characters played by Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield – and their three younger actor counterparts – placidly accept that they are test-tube babies designated as relinquishing organ donors for the Earth’s privileged. Emotional timbres are touched, but it’s all so elusive you may wonder if it was worth the trouble. The 22-27 minute mark, the final 15 minutes, a minute here and there between, stayed with me for a reasonable amount of time. The rest of it has abandoned my mind. Based on the Kazuo Ishiguro novel. C

TWISTED DRAMA / ROMANTIC YEARNING / FALL MOVIE 

Cyrus (2010, 92 Minutes, R) sputters out before it gets to the end and too much of it stays within dingy interiors and has a dusty brown look to it. John C. Reilly is a sad-sack middle-aged man who finds love with the right woman in Marisa Tomei, who is the right mix of attractiveness and kookiness. She has a chubby son in Jonah Hill, as Cyrus, who seems nice at first until jealousy rises up – he is out to spoil their romance. The movie wants to be nastily comic, but not many of Cyrus’ pranks are all that vehemently memorable. Reilly does sink down to the boy’s level, forgetting as much about the hot mom as we also come to forget her. It’s a boys being big babies movie. Mark & Jay Duplass movie. 

SCREWBALL COMEDY / TEENS AND ADULTS / SUNDAY-THURSDAY NIGHT COMEDY 

I Melt With You (2011, 125 Minutes, R) is the first rock-it-out suicide pact movie! Thomas Jane, Jeremy Piven, Rob Lowe and Christian McKay over-indulge in drug-using during their dude hang-out weekend, then get philosophical about how they’ve lost their souls while in passage of their adulthood. The suspense of the movie is who is going to take responsibility for their shame first, and then in which order. This is what happens when raging hormones get the better of sane filmmaking. Ridiculous, but if you love self-indulgent crapfests, you might not be able to help yourself from taking a peek. Carla Gugino and Sasha Grey briefly appear. D-

TWISTED DRAMA / ADULT ORIENTATION / FALL MOVIE

 

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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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