Netflix Picks for October & November, 2013

TheFairy

It’s been a while since I have created a list of movies and TV shows that I have found on Netflix. My wife and I have been watching lots of Netflix Instant shows just about every night and there seems to be no end of great entertainment. It is still a bit difficult to find the gems, though. That’s where this blog comes in. I believe that if you check out the items that we recommend you will save time and be pleasantly surprised.  The list follows!

Every Title in this list is a hot link to a YouTube trailer. Most are official trailers. All will open in a separate screen.

 

Wallander, the Swedish version. This is a great detective series. We first watched the BBC series of the same name that was a copy of this one, only with a different cast, different stories, and done in English. This series has subtitles that do not get in the way. In no time at all you will not even know they are there. Please note that this Swedish show is often quite graphic and violent. The trailer that I have linked to is not so good. Just watch the show!

2010, 13 episodes.

Unrest. How about a horror story that actually gives you a genuine fright? This one will do the trick. The basic plot concerns medical students and their dissection cadavers. One cadaver in particular refuses to stay down. My favorite scene involves a giant glass pool where fresh cadavers are kept. You must remove your selection with a big hook. I know this is authentic because my wife’s cousin, who is a dentist, told me all about this particular medical school feature. I’ve told you enough. This one is for those with strong stomachs and hearts.

2006, 1 hr 27m, starring Corri English, Marisa Petroro, and Ben Livingston.

Man of the House. This is a comedy about some cheerleaders who witness a murder. They agree to testify at an upcoming trial but this puts them at risk. You guessed it, witness protection program. They need protection and they get it from Tex Ranger Roland Sharp (Tommy Lee Jones). Generations clash and the fun ensues. This was a nice little break in the routine of serious stuff. It’s not a blockbuster but it is a fun diversion.

2005, 1hr 39m, starring Tommy Lee Jones, Cedric the Entertainer, Christina Milian.

Flypaper. This is a bank robbery drama, comedy, action, and whatever other category you want to use, video. A couple of gangs decide to rob the same bank on the same day. The gangs don’t get along too well. The bank employees and customers are not doing well either. You will spend the whole movie trying to figure out who did what. It was pretty good, maybe a 7.5/10. Give it a try.

2011, 1hr 27m, starring Patrick Dempsey and Ashley Judd.

The Intouchables. This is a French film that is based on the life of a quadriplegic aristocrat (rich guy) and the ex-con who takes care of all of his personal needs. I have to admit that it took some time before I decided to watch this one. I do not like documentaries (I showed too many when I was a high school teacher) and I do not like sob stories. This film, though, exceeded my expectations. It was well acted and told an engaging tale. The subtitles are OK but if I remember right they had the bad habit of running the text before the person spoke it….sometimes confusing.

2011, 1hr 52m, starring Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy.

Mr. Bean’s Holiday. Did I review this one before? I can’t remember and I have misplaced my movie review notebook. Well, just watch the film. It is pure comedy fun. I have seen it at least twice and may watch it again. Rowan Atkinson is at the top of his game. Of course if you are turned off by Mr. Bean (as my wife is) stay away from this movie. Oh, just getting one look at Emma de Caunes is well worth the admission price.

2007, 1hr 26m, starring Rowan Atkinson and Emma de Caunes.

Continuum. This is a futuristic space-cop thriller. Sometime in the future a group of anarchists are about to be executed. Unfortunately they are transported back in time where they are just as happy creating havoc at an earlier date. Unlucky for them, one of their chief protagonists, a female cop, also was transported with them. She is now their pursuer to the end of time. Netflix has two seasons available of this show that is currently showing on TV. I enjoyed the 2 seasons on Netflix but it got a bit old after a while and I am not watching it anymore. Give it a try. There is a lot of action and good character development.

2013, 2 seasons, starring Rachel Nichols and Victor Webster.

Awake. This is an American crime series (13 episodes). Sometimes we watched two a night because we could not wait to see the next one. The story is about a police officer who has an automobile accident. His wife and son are in the car. He survives. One of them does not. When he wakes up each day either his wife or his son is alive, never both. This freaks him out to no end. It also allows him to live two lives at the same time. The effect on his job (police detective) is quite noticeable when he finds that he has two different sets of partners and a variety of investigations that appear related across two different worlds. Does that sound complicated? Even the main character, Michael Britten, has to wear a colored string on his finger to remember which reality he is waking up to each day. This is a must watch!

2012, 13 episodes, starring Jason Isascs, Dylan Minnette, Laura Allen, B.D. Wong.

Safe. Now for some excitement that will give your heart a workout equivalent to a half marathon! A 12-year-old girl is kidnapped by some Asian mobsters. Along comes a cage fighter who steps in to rescue her. Now the mobsters chase him and the girl. They are also pursued by the Russian Mafia and a contingent of corrupt New York police. It gets real confusing after a while, but who cares. This one is all about action and it delivers. The ultimate fight and flight film.

2012, 1hr 34m, starring Jason Statham, Catherine Chan, and Robert John Burke.

Romantics Anonymous. She makes chocolates. She loses her job. He owns a chocolate factory. He hires her. She is the best in the world at making chocolates. It’s a match made in Hershey (heaven). Unfortunately these two poor souls have the social acumen of quahogs. How will they ever get together? Watch the movie and have some fun, in spite of the captions. You won’t notice them.

2010, 1hr 18m, starring Benoit Poelvoorde and Isabelle Carre.

The Fairy. We have tried to watch French films. Often they are slow, strange, and somehow not fulfilling. The Fairy is strange. It is a bit slow. It is fulfilling! This romantic comedy is about the unlikely romance between the night shift clerk at a small hotel and a wet woman who appears at the door barefoot one night. She claims to be a fairy. So the romance (if you can call it that) develops. Nothing is ordinary, including the day when Fiona (the fairy) just disappears one day and Dom goes into search mode. This was a really neat film and worth your time. Watch it on a stormy night. It is in French with subtitles, but by now your French should be getting pretty good.

2011, 1hr 34m, starring Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon (they also directed along with Bruno Romy)

The Company Man. This one is about the cocky business executive who loses his job. Actually a whole bunch of them lose their jobs. How to cope? What to do? That’s what it is all about. The acting is especially good (not surprising when you look at the cast list) and I think you will enjoy this drama. It is a quality flick.

2010, 1hr 44m, starring Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper.

Captain America: The First Avenger. This was truly strange. It’s about a weakling enlisted man who volunteers to be the guinea pig in an experiment. The time is WWII. The experiment involves changing an ordinary man into a super warrorier. What ensues is as much campy comic book action as it is drama. It is really hard to put a category to this film (Netflix lists 9 genres that it fits). This one was well done. Give it a try.

2011, 2hr 4m, starring Chris Evans and Hugo Weaving.

Crazy People. How many movies have the word ‘crazy’ in their title? I would guess it is in the hundreds. This one equates crazy with having a nervous breakdown due to workplace stress. That’s what happens to the main character, Emory. He is played by Dudley Moore. Emory ends up in the home for the mentally unstable and while there he experiences a different side of life. The crazy people actually turn out to be quite a fun and productive group. Excellent movie! Oh, you get to watch Daryl Hannah, always a treat.

1990, 1hr 31m, starring Dudley Moore and Daryl Hannah.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home. One brother does OK as a car salesman. The other one is a total loser. It starts a bit slow, but stick with it. These brothers have lessons to teach other and along the way you will enjoy tons of laughs. This is a ‘quirky’ comedy.

2011, 1hr 23m, starring Jason Segel and Ed Helms.

The Big White. Robin Williams is one of those actors who has done almost everything. But there is one thread running through most of his films. He is a bit quirky, on and off the set. This movie takes his quirkyness to the limit. I loved it! If you want something really different, entertaining, and unexpected, watch this one. What is it about? Life insurance, frozen bodies, missing brother, crazy woman, snow….you get the drift (snow drift, that is).

2005, 1hr 44m, starring Robin Williams, Holly Hunter, Giovanni Ribisi, Woody Harrelson.

The Castle. This one is from Australia. They make some strange movies down under. Darryl Kerrigan is the hero. His home is right in the path of the proposed airport expansion. He has to move. He doesn’t really understand what is going on. Why should he and his neighbors be forced to move from the most wonderful tract of homes in the country? His place is a dump and he and the family love it. Do they get to stay or must they be forced out? This comedy is quite strange and there rests its charm. Please watch it and see if you agree with me. Let me know!

1997, 1hr 24m, starring Michael Caton, Anne Tenney, Stephen Curry.

Double Indemnity. Here is a classic from 1944. I was surprised that it was directed by Billy Wilder and not Alfred Hitchcock. It’s the old story of the insurance man helping his married girlfriend to kill her husband and collect the life insurance. Nothing goes quite as you may expect. This was an exciting drama in the old style. All big-name actors. Watch it!

1944, 1hr 47m, starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson.

Witness for the Prosecution. I gave this one the maximum rating. I also think I have it confused with Double Indemnity (see above). This movie is based upon an Agatha Christie play. Give it a try and let me know what you thought of it. Also, does anyone know if this is a remake of Double Indemnity?

1957, 1hr 56m, starring Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, and Charles Laughton. Directed by Billy Wilder.

Tomorrow When The War Began. A group of Australian teenagers go off on a camping trip out in the wild. When they return home they find that the entire country has been invaded by an unnamed Asian enemy. It’s guerrilla warfare Australian style. There was a US movie like this, right? I really liked this one. It starts slowly and then takes off. Give it a try.

2010, 1hr 43m, starring Caitlin Stasey and Rachel Hurd-Wood.

The Catherine Tate Show, 3 series. Are you old enough to remember Red Skelton or Jackie Gleason? Both comics developed several characters that they would play in short sketches during their TV shows. Jackie Gleason might be a bartender at the beginning of the show and later play the “poor soul” bum. Catherine Tate is the irreverent descendent of such comedy. She has created at least 15 different ridiculous personas, not all of them being women either. My personal favorite is is the character Lauren. “Am I bovvered?” is her response to an impossible situation. This stuff is simultaneously classic and current. Get ready to laugh your bling off.

2004-2006, starring Catherine Tate, Niky Wardley, Mathew Horne, Andy Dennehy, Angela McHale & Bruce Mackinnon.

Monarch of the Glen, 6 series. This is my second all-time British TV show (second only to Doc Martin). Archie’s family lives on a Scottish estate the size of Rhode Island. He is the heir and should be running the place. Instead he is trying to run a restaurant in London. He dutifully goes home temporarily to help right the financial mess the estate is in. Of course he never gets a chance to return to London. This is a warm and complex comedy/drama. Once you start watching it you won’t be able to stop (assuming you taste is similar to mine). As a bonus, the photography of the Scottish countryside is awesome.

2000-2004, 6 series, starring Alexander Morton, Susan Hamshire, Hamish Clark, Dawn Steele, Alastair Mackenzie, Lloyd Owen, and a host of others.

How To Marry A Millionaire.. Three girls just want to have fun … and marry a rich guy. This ’50’s comedy is a lot of fun. You just know the girls are going to get what they are looking for and what they deserve. Are those both the same thing? I enjoyed this one. It has heart, redeeming value, and Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, and Lauren Bacall. What more can a guy ask for?

1953, 1hr 35m, starring Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, and Lauren Bacall.

The Rundown. A bounty hunter named Beck (not Glen) is asked to find the son of a gangster and bring him home. Actually, he isn’t given much choice. The son is in South America. This job looks like a piece of cake to Beck. He finds out different. This is an action flick, pure unstoppable action. Watch it for that reason only and you will love it. I did.

2003, 1hr 44m, starring Dwayne Johnson, Seann William Scott, Christopher Walken (the bad guy as usual; He’s not that bad. He once was in line at the grocery and asked my daughter to help him work the automatic checkout – no guns involved) and Rosario Dawson.

Quigley Down Under. This is the western to beat all westerns. Tom Selleck stars as American Matt Quigley who is reporting to an Australian ranch in answer to a job notice. The action starts before he even gets off the boat. I saw this once before years ago. 23 years later it is even better. Too young to remember this one? You are in for a treat! Saw it before? Watch it again. And for all you women out there, how can you take your eyes off of Tom Selleck?

1990, 1hr 59m, starring Tom Selleck, Laura San Giacomo, Alan Rickman.

The Brass Teapot. This is a strange one. It is categorized as a quirky, witty, independent comedy. That just about says it. A young couple finds a brass teapot that mints cash almost on demand. There is a cost, however. You will have to watch the movie to get the details.

1hr 41m, 2012, starring Juno Temple and Michael Angarano.

Sherlock, 2 series. There have been several modern takes on the Sherlock Holmes stories. This is the best one I have come across. My wife and I both enjoyed this. All the characters you expect are present, but it is modern times. Benedict Cumberbatch is so spot on as Sherlock!

2010-2012, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs, Rupert Graves & Loo Brealey.

George Gently, 4 series. This British TV series is way at the top of my list. I only hope they bring the show back. It is the typical buddy series. Two unlikely cops, the mature and near-perfect chief inspector and the brash and insensitive Sargent. The kicker is that the time frame is 1964. This is one to watch. We were sorry when we completed the series.

2007-2011, starring Martin Shaw and Lee Ingleby.

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