Ten Netflix Films in July 2014

         
 

04 August 2014| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

Titles I happened to check out on Netflix in the month of July 2014 listed from best to worst:

Small Change (1976, 104 Minutes, PG, French with English subtitles) by Francois Truffaut is fresh, charming and easy-going – significant vignettes and ensemble episodes of childrens’ adventures and first-time experiences. We don’t usually associate foreign films as feel-good or zesty, this one is miraculous in its innocence. Such moments: a double-date with one boy good with girls the other too shy; a kid telling a dirty joke he doesn’t understand; a haircut gone awry; a 2-year old playing with a kitten amid the hazards of a kitchen; a girl using a bullhorn to guilt-trip her neighbors into feeding her; a young boy embarrassed by his first crush on an older woman. It’s such clean fun that it’s disarming when it gets to a message: the neglected kid nobody sees, not even by the schoolteacher who dismissed him, but even that discovery finds inspirational notes too. A

FOREIGN FILM / MILD & CHARMING / MASTERPIECE VIEWING

Small-Change_Flick Minute_Film-Review

56 Up (2012, 137 Minutes, NR, UK) is a project that began in 1964 that has been an ongoing continuation by British documentarian Michael Apted. Fourteen film subjects within varied social classes, reacquainted to be filmed every seven years, with the result of seeing how they have matured since youth. Whether they know the meaning of life by this point is questionable, but they all seem to have found contentment.  A

DOCUMENTARY / INSPIRATIONAL / MASTERPIECE VIEWING

56-Up_Flick-Minute _Review-Doc

This Boy’s Life (1993, 115 Minutes, R) is a film that has terribly moved me over the years, and for a heartrending subject of child abuse, oddly I have compulsively seen it many times. Leonardo DiCaprio’s first film was his best performance until “The Departed.” This is among Robert DeNiro’s best and most underrated performances, too, as the abusive stepfather who wants to quell any chance the boy has to grow up and leave the small town Concrete, Washington because he can’t bear someone having something in life that he can’t have. He justifies his actions by saying he is “hard because he is bettering the boy.” Ellen Barkin is the bone-weary mother with little fight left in her. Based on the autobiographical novel by Tobias Woolf. A-

DRAMA / TEARJERKER / NIGHTTIME REFLECTION

This-Boys-Life_ FlickMinute_Review

 

Turtles Can Fly (2005, 98 Minutes, PG-13, Persian in English subtitles) is the devastating portrait of a Kurdish refugee camp on the Iraq-Turkey border on the eve of the American invasion after 9/11. Kids collect mines to re-sell them, some of them maimed from previous disarmament mishaps. Soran Ebrahim is extraordinary as the teenage ruler of the community who, yes, has a good heart. Sharp images, good use of color, expert camera movement, good pacing – I’m telling you this because I am reassuring you that you won’t be bored. B+

FOREIGN FILM  / DOWNHEARTED / WEEKEND REFLECTION

Turtles-Can-Fly_Flick Minute

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008, 166 Minutes, PG-13) is the incredibly touching, visually stunning and ultimately over-stunted passage of time parable with Brad Pitt starting life as old and aging backwards to young. Best pathos are of when Pitt is at the perfect age alignment with love Cate Blanchett, but just the same as time living forward “Nothing ever lasts.” I love director David Fincher’s antiquish brown color palette. I hate, however, the dying narrator as story framework device. B

DRAMA / THINKING TEENS / WEEKEND WEIRDNESS 

Curious-Case_ Benjamin-Button-Review_Retro

Shaun of the Dead (2004, 100 Minutes, R, UK) is the well-regarded British zombie comedy with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, by director Edgar Wright, with the inspired beginning that has local schlubs imperceptive to the carnage around them. Way too much time though is spent at the besieged pub in the last third. I can’t believe last year’s “The World’s End” (Grade A in my book) by Wright has less of a reputation than this. B-

COMEDY / ZOMBIE FLICK / LATE NIGHT YUKS 

Shaun-of-the-Dead_Flick Minute_Review-UK

Eraser (1996, 115 Minutes, R) is meat-and-potatoes Arnold Schwarzenegger fare, with him as an invincible U.S. Marshal assigned to target Vanessa Williams in the Witness Protection Program. The plot revolves around illegal high-tech weaponry. He falls out of a plane, shoots some crocodiles and I believe shouts “Get Down!” to his co-star a few times. It’s less epic than Arnie’s early 1990’s flicks, but it zips along. B-

ACTION-ADVENTURE / MINDLESS FUN / SATURDAY NIGHT EXCITEMENT

Eraser-FlickMinute_ Film-Review

 

The Warriors (1979, 93 Minutes, R) has no social conscience and therefore should be unjustifiable. But it sometimes works as macho mania satire. Ten gangs dress up in different themes (“Clockwork Orange” is the influence) for a summit meeting; after a murder, one gang is on the run from the other nine. Best when it’s highly stylized, yet it often doesn’t amp up and dazzle when it should — too many missed opportunities and spotty pacing has you thumbing around. Still, it’s watchable. “The Purge” movies likely got the “Survive the Night” concept from this flick. C+

ACTION FANS / MINDLESS FUN / SATURDAY NIGHT BLOODLUST

Warriors_1979-Film Review

 

Heart of Glass (1978, 94 Minutes, NR, German with English subtitles) is director Werner Herzog’s conceptualized film where he hypnotized all his actors before shooting each scene. In an 1800’s Bavarian village stymied by social madness, ruby-stained glass blowing is the only export worth a damn. When the factory owner dies the town has nothing left to do.  Fascinating for a few minutes, it loses its’ trancelike seduction and becomes inert as well as intolerably slow. But there are several astonishing images. C

DRAMA / AVANTE-GARDE / SATURDAY NIGHT WEIRDNESS

Heart-of-Glass_Film-Poster

Jack (1996, 113 Minutes, PG-13) has Robin Williams as a 10-year old boy whose medical condition makes him look 40. Lame storytelling and choke-on-it schmaltz. I can’t believe Francis Ford Coppola made a film this artless. D

COMEDY / COMING OF AGE / BAD MOVIES WE HATE

Jack_FlickMinute Film-Review

Summary
Reviewer
Sean Chavel
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Ten Netflix Film Recommendations in July 2014
Author Rating
5
Print Friendly
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.

 

There are No Comments about this post

Add Yours!
 

You must be logged in to post a comment.