Netflix Instant Picks for July, 2012

Well, I missed a month or two since my last movie recommendations but that does not mean that I have not been watching Netflix. The movies just keep rolling in and I keep finding ones that are fun to watch. The current list follows. All titles are linked to trailers.

The Killing, 2011, 13 episodes; Crime drama

This cop drama has chemistry. Two very unalike detectives are thrown together with the goal of determining who murdered an innocent teenage girl. There is plenty of conflict and emotion in this one and sometimes the emphasis on emotion is just a bit too much.

At one point I thought I was watching a Lifetime movie –the worst transgression of all. I quickly solved this with the fast forward button on my remote. Fortunately most of the series episodes were contagious; I could not wait to see the next one. The main characters were so imperfect that they came through as being real and this made it all the more fun to watch. Acting is the key and Enos and Campbell will draw you right in with this one.

Starring: Mireille Enos, Billy Campbell

 

 

 

The Parking Lot Movie, 2010, 1 hour 10 min.; Documentary

I really do not care much for documentaries. I spent many years playing them for high school biology students – enough already! In spite of my natural inclination to avoid such films I was intrigued by this one. I decided to give it the old Netflix 5-minute test. If I was bored after 5 minutes I would turn it off and look for something else. This one passed the test. It was well past 12:30 am when it ended and I felt that it was time well spent. You can sometimes get a special feeling from working with people that you like; you develop a kind of shared experience that creates a strong bond of friendship and common purpose. This film really got to the heart of that experience with interviews and recordings of the daily interactions between employees with other employees and with customers. The Parking Lot presents you with one of the best educated parking lot staff around. They are all holding down a job that rates about as low as you can go on the employment status scale. They are well aware of this. Their customers, who are representative of all walks of life, are well aware of this. Thus develops an interesting conflict of values and philosophies. I loved it. I hope you will too.

Starring: Patrick Baran and Chris Farina

Lbs, 2004, 1 hour 40 min.; Drama/Comedy

What happens when an overweight young man has a heart attack while driving a bus filled with children? He loses his job right away (the children were all OK). Most of his family rallies around him, but conflict develops, as it will in any family. Our hero decides that he has to improve himself and his solution is to live alone in an old trailer out in the country. This is the proving ground for his resolution to shed the problematic weight. The story that develops is not typical. This is one of those independent films that has its quirky qualities and a sometimes meandering storyline. Maybe that is why I liked this film. Give it the old 5-minute test. Hopefully it will pass for you (my wife slept through this one…we do not always agree on everything).

Starring: Carmine Famiglietti, Michael Aronov, Miriam Shor

 

Thor, 2011, 1 hour 54 min.; Adventure

When I saw this title come up on my Netflix screen I thought it might be a cartoon. It is based on what they now call a graphic novel (when I was a kid it was called a comic book). If it was a cartoon I was not going to watch it. Thor has all live characters. Well, mostly. I suspect that many of those nasty villains were drawn in, but they were done well.

The plot centers about the two sons of the elderly king. Each wants to be the next king. That can’t happen. Conflict develops (doesn’t it always? … see my earlier reference to conflict in families). The conflict results in some rather spectacular battle scenes and the ultimate banishment of Thor by his dad. He is banished to Earth and must go there with his god-like powers stripped. Thus ensues one heck of an exciting action film, exactly what I was looking for when I chose this one. Sit back and enjoy the battles (and the love interest part too, gals). This one was nicely done.

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, and Anthony Hopkins.

 

 

The Third Wheel, 2002, 1 hour 26 min., Romantic Comedy

The most liked guy in the office just can’t seem to find the right girl even though everyone is rooting for him.  Then the girl of his dreams joins the company as a top executive.  Will he get the courage to ask her out?  He does, the date happens, and so does Phil.  Phil is a homeless guy who somehow becomes attached to the hapless couple for the duration of their first date. Where is all this going?  Watch the film to see a quirky and unique comedy with heart.

Starring: Luke Wilson and Ben Aflak, Denise Richards.

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