Ten Netflix Films in October 2013

         
 

30 October 2013| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

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

Birth (2004, 100 Minutes, R) is a wonderfully strange mystery, eerie and discomforting, and opens with a splendid music score by Alexandre Desplat. New York depressive Anna (Nicole Kidman) is a ten-year widower who meets a 10-year old boy (Cameron Bright) who asserts he is the reincarnation of her husband who died ten years ago. Anna’s family members and friends are justifiably skeptical, but the boy seems to have recall of his former life. It’s not scary – just odd and intriguing. Directed by Jonathan Glazer (“Sexy Beast”). A-

MYSTERY / CHARACTER STUDY / LATE NIGHT WEIRDNESS

Birth_Grade_A- _Nicole-Kidman_FlickMinute

 

The Bling Ring (2013, 90 Minutes, R), about the over-privileged teenage crew who robbed celebrity homes so they could live the high life, had me worried that it would be shallow and inartistic. Conversely, I couldn’t have been more relieved that Sophia Coppola (“Lost in Translation”), maintaining an excellent visual eye throughout, has made a very artistic film about shallow and amoral youths addicted to the illusions of riches. Emma Watson, as the narcissistic larcener who sees herself as a poor little victim of circumstance, is the stand-out in the cast. B+

BIOGRAPHICAL DRAMA / THINKING TEENS / FOOD FOR THOUGHT VIEWING

Bling Ring_Coppola - Sofia - Movie Poster

 

The Hills Have Eyes (1977, 89 Minutes, R) is some nasty and heinous business. Directed by Wes Craven in his low-budget exploitation years, this film centers around a family marooned somewhere in the desert nearby a former bomb-testing site. Surrounding them are hideous, toxic-mutated cannibals that crucify and slash their victims after nightfall. Inflict cruelty first, eat second. They’re not fussy eaters, either, they’ll eat the baby. This original reigns over the overcooked remake. B+

HORROR / MINDLESS FUN / FRIDAY NIGHT SCREAMS

Hills-Have-Eyes _ Wes-Craven-1977

 

Disconnect (2013, 115 Minutes, R) is the ensemble drama of how deceptive online social media can be and control our lives. There are a dozen of effective scenes in the film, which stars Jason Bateman, Paula Patton, Alexander Skarsgard, and Max Theriot among others. Director Henry Alex Rubin shows talent, even though he smears his images with a brownish haze. I couldn’t believe any of the three outcomes to the three collected stories; I was dumbfound with the letdowns of these plots. But I can’t deny that the core of the movie – the disillusionment of Facebook and community chat sites – had a thought-provoking effect on me. B-

DRAMA / CHARACTER STUDY / SELF-REFLECTIVE WEEKEND VIEWING

Disconnect_2013 _Ensemble-Drama _FlickMinute Post

A Hijacking (2013, 103 Minutes, R, Dutch with English subtitles) is a true life docudrama where Somali pirates took a Danish cargo crew hostage. They wanted millions in ransom, but the company CEO refuses to pay top dollar. While it narrowly pre-dates the current hit “Captain Phillips” it’s not quite as good, mostly because there are a few questions unanswered, like why didn’t the military get involved? B-

FOREIGN FILM / DOCUDRAMA / WEEKNIGHT FOOD FOR THOUGHT

120x160 Hijacking 15-05

 

Upside Down (2013, 107 Minutes, PG-13) has already a spotty reputation for being a ludicrous sci-fi romance, but I can’t help but admitting that I fell for this shameless piece of corn. In this star-crossed lovers riff, Jim Sturgess and Kirsten Dunst live on next door planets with branching gravitational pulls. At the Trans-World building which joins two planets, Sturgess breaks the law – and atmospheres – by contriving visits the see the love of his life. They’re destined, meanwhile, there is a very hokey underlining class warfare theme. But here I was rooting for this preposterous romance in spite myself. B-

SCI-FI ROMANCE / TEENS IN LOVE / LAZY AFTERNOON COUCH

Upside-Down_ FlickMinute _Grade_B-

The Last Stand (2013, 107 Minutes, R) is an alright action pic that was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first all-out starring role since retiring from Governor. The FBI is incompetent so it’s up to a Texas border town sheriff to stop a drug boss from fleeing the country. Schwarzenegger has the brusque to return to stardom, but he just needs a slightly better plot and better sidekick buddies then this one – Johnny Knoxville, Luis Guzman and Rodrigo Santoro don’t add much. C+

ACTION-ADVENTURE / ACTION FANS / FRIDAY NIGHT CAMP

Last Stand_ Flick-Minute _MoviePost

Beloved (1998, 171 Minutes, R) is far more avante-garde than I would have expected for a period piece about post-slavery in 1873 America. While it has brief flashes of slavery cruelty that’s powerful, it mostly is a lament of hysteria and maladjustment for former slave Sethe (Oprah Winfrey), her family, and lover Paul D. (Danny Glover) as they try to live free, but can’t successfully. Denver (Kimberly Elise) is the one daughter who must outgrow her mother if she plans to lead a sane life. More power to anyone who can sit through this in one sitting, but I found it too punishing as I untangled my way through lurid symbolic images. Based on the Toni Morrison Pulitzer Prize winning novel. C

HISTORICAL DRAMA / THINKING TEENS / FALL SCHOLASTICS

Beloved _Miscalculated Grade-C_ FlickMinute

The Brood (1979, 92 Minutes, R) is early David Cronenberg body horror. It is poorly constructed plotting – psychiatric cult, killer offspring, traumatic suppressed memories – and actors Oliver Reed and Art Hindle are wooden. It does contain a few good shots, although you wonder who dresses these lethal mutants in snow jackets? C

HORROR / CREATURE FEATURE / SATURDAY NIGHT AFTER DARK

Brood Cronenberg 1979_ FlickMinute _Grade-C

Movie 43 (2013, 94 Minutes, R) is the mother of all bad sketch movies. For five minutes, I couldn’t see what the big hoopla was in regards to its notorious tastelessness but as soon as Hugh Jackman reveals who he really is on a blind date with Kate Winslet in sketch one, my insides revolted (Hugh plays a man born with a scrotum attached to his neck). Two dozen A-list stars participated in little seven to eight minute scenes. Most of them are forgettable, and the rest of them – including Halle Berry humiliating herself – are unforgettably tasteless. I also couldn’t tell at first if Dennis Quaid was playing himself or a character in the hub segments. It’s allegedly a comedy, but it truly is the most horrific movie of the year. F

COMEDY / POLITICALLY INCORRECT HUMOR / UNWATCHABLE ANYTIME OF YEAR

Movie-43 Review_FlickMinute Grade_F

 

Summary
Reviewer
Sean Chavel
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Netflix Suggestions October 2013
Author Rating
4
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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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