Ten Netflix Films in March 2014

         
 

27 March 2014| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

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

Amadeus (1984, 160 Minutes, R) is a look back at a deserved Oscar winner, the radical bio of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart versus third-rate composer Salieri who envied him to a drastic fault. Part of the fun is arguing who gives the more genius performance – Tom Hulce as a simpering child with instant gratification whims as music genius Mozart? Or F. Murray Abraham as the spiteful, unforgiving Salieri who wishes greatness be removed so he could have a spotlight in 18th century Vienna? When I was younger, I was into the nuances of Oscar winner Abraham. But now that I’m older – Hulce is too much fun, and audaciously eccentric. I’m in love with his performance now. Symphony creations come to life on the stage, and director Milos Forman brings enormous vivacity to the opera scenes. Big-scaled epics on historical icons used to be more common than superhero movies. Here is one of the must-see essentials. A

HISTORICAL DRAMA / MUSIC LOVERS / MASTERPIECE VIEWING

Amadeus_1984_ FlickMinute_Poster-Oscar

After Hours (1985, 97 Minutes, R) is the singular black comedy by director Martin Scorsese, about a way too-nice guy stuck in the SoHo district of New York, unable to get home no matter how hard he tries. Ultimately, he becomes the target of a vigilante mob, and while he manages too easily to stay a step ahead of their assault, Scorsese rouses unbridled desperation into this Kafka-esque tale. With Linda Fiorentino and Rosanna Arquette as the urban-neo femme fatales, Griffin Dunne as the hapless hero. A-

BLACK COMEDY / TWISTED MINDS / LATE NIGHT YUKS

After-Hour_1985_ Scorsese_Underrated

Pleasantville (1998, 124 Minutes, PG-13) is in beautiful black & white… and color. Contemporary teens Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon get sucked inside a 1950’s square TV sitcom and learn they can influence the social mores of the town. What emerges is an uncanny allegory of how the ’50’s were not that precious after all, that desires were suppressed and prejudices were funneling through society. It’s a tad too slow in the last section of the film. But I love how (and why) these black & white people get affected with colorization. Written and directed by Gary Ross. A-

COMEDY / ENCHANTING FANTASY / WEEKEND FOOD FOR THOUGHT

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Samaritan Girl (2004, 97 Minutes, R, Korean with English subtitles) is the upsetting, controversial but moralist social issues piece by Kim Ki-Duk. Two underage middle-class girls prostitute themselves, thinking it’s a grown-up way to pay their own way to Europe. You will be surprised by how far the father goes in retribution when he finds out about his own girl. I am now convinced Americans are too incapable of adapting the human empathy necessary to understand a film like this. A-

FOREIGN FILM / DARK DRAMA / SUNDAY NIGHT CRY

Samaritan-Girl_FlickMinute-Kim-Ki-Duk

Bull Durham (1988, 108 Minutes, R) is a Kevin Costner baseball comedy that still holds up more than twenty-five years later. It’s the inside truth of the game, as brought to us by writer-director Ron Shelton. It’s also pretty kinky, with Susan Sarandon as a muse/slut who toys with veteran Costner and upstart Tim Robbins – she’s going to sleep with one and only one of them for the season, or so she states. The whole scenario is a little dirty in all the right ways. B+

SPORTS COMEDY / SEXY IMAGES / LATE NIGHT CHUCKLES

Bull-Durham_1988_ FlickMinute-Review

Guilty as Sin (1993, 107 Minutes, R) is a slightly sleazy courtroom thriller B-movie by director Sidney Lumet. This isn’t one of his better known movies, but despite its dismissed reputation, its’ kinky melodrama. Don Johnson is an accused ladykiller who begins harassing his attractive defense counsel Rebecca DeMornay. This is the truth: Johnson is so damn good as this sexual serpent that part of the suspense is wondering who he is going to seduce next. B

SUSPENSE-THRILLER / GUILTY PLEASURE / LATE NIGHT CHILLS

Guilty-As-Sin_FlickMinute-Review-Recommended

Chances Are (1989, 108 Minutes, PG) is a bonkers romantic comedy of reincarnation with Cybill Shepherd’s deceased husband coming back twenty years later as Robert Downey Jr. The film directing is sometimes awful, sometimes brave – it has at least three perfectly timed screwball comedy scenes. Downey is quick and sharp-witted, beyond his contemporaries for this kind of 80’s movie. But you couldn’t possibly begin enjoying it unless you have a penchant for shamelessly corny sentiment. B

COMEDY / GUILTY PLEASURE / WEEKEND UPLIFT

Chances-Are_1989_ FlickMinute

Heart and Souls (1993, 103 Minutes, PG-13) is nice enough if you’re in the mood for a really corny heart-tugging comedy. Robert Downey Jr. is a yuppie that has to help out four ghosts before they go into the afterlife forever, to tie up unfinished business. Downey Jr. has a few out of body a lá Steve Martin “All of Me” moments. B

COMEDY / MILD & CHARMING / WEEKEND UPLIFT

Heart-and-Souls_FlickMinute-Review

Machete Kills (2013, 108 Minutes, R) gets everything outrageously right that the rusty 2010 original got wrong (Christ, that first one was boring). Danny Trejo is the anti-hero with a leathery face who gets throttled into a preposterous plot in Mexico that will by the end launch him into space. Mel Gibson is one of several outlandish bad guys. Director Robert Rodriguez goes for larger than cheese for his post-modern grindhouse bloodbath. B

ACTION & ADVENTURE / YUK-FEST / WEEKEND PANDEMONIUM

Machete-Kills_FlickMinute_Review

Catch-22 (1970, 121 Minutes, R), based on the classic Joseph Heller novel, isn’t the horrible disaster that has accompanied its’ reputation. But it’s too slapdash and repetitive of an anti-war message, so despite some crackpot genius here and there it ultimately is too annoying. Alan Arkin fakes insanity in an attempt to be discharged. Mike Nichols directed. C-

WAR SATIRE / MOODY CHARACTER STUDY / SUNDAY NIGHT SNOOZER

Catch-22_FlickMinute-Review

 

Summary
Reviewer
Sean Chavel
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Ten Netflix Films in March 2014
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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