Netflix Watch Instantly: Gems and Finds - AVS Forum
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Video Download Services & Hardware > Netflix Watch Instantly: Gems and Finds
mproper's Avatar mproper 07:49 AM 02-01-2010
With all the complaining about the selection/quality, etc, I thought it would be nice to start a thread about stuff I've found on Netflix Watch Instantly that I think is worth watching.

Yes we all know there's not the latest and greatest Hollwood releases, but there is plenty of great stuff if you are willing to watch something you may not have before.

While I could probably list about 75-100, I don't have that time right now, so I figured I'd get the ball rolling with a few of my faves I've watched over the last couple of weeks.

This is not for those movies everyone's heard of, but for those gems that you may not have seen otherwise. Movies maybe everyone hasn't heard of.

The Boy In the Striped Pajamas (2008)
When his family moves from their home in Berlin to a strange new house in Poland, young Bruno (Asa Butterfield) befriends Shmuel (Jack Scanlon), a boy who lives on the other side of the fence, where everyone seems to be wearing striped pajamas. Unaware of Shmuel's fate as a Jewish prisoner or the role his own Nazi father plays in his imprisonment, Bruno embarks on a dangerous journey inside the camp's walls.

My Take: Chilling, heartbreaking, and just downright a great movie, and unique story as seen through the eyes of children.

The Architecture of Doom (1991)
This chilling documentary explores how artistic, cultural and historical trends forged the National Socialist aesthetic, which in turn contributed to the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust. Swedish-born filmmaker Peter Cohen, whose parents escaped the Nazis, examines Hitler's failed career as an artist, his fascination with Wagner, the Nazi obsession with cleanliness, the paradoxical link between "beauty" and evil in the Third Reich, and more.

My Take: Full of never before seen footage and Nazi propaganda films that I had never seen, this doco really explores how the Nazis actually came to power and how they managed to get buy-in for the "purification" from people.

Ink (2009)
Late one night, a lost soul named Ink snatches 8-year-old Emma (Quinn Hunchar) into the world of dreams. There, he hopes to use her soul to join the ranks of the evil Incubi. In the real world, Emma lies comatose, to the despair of her father, John (Chris Kelly). But the Incubi's benevolent opposites -- the Storytellers -- rally to help Emma, motivating John to wage war for his daughter. Jessica Duffy co-stars in this dark fable.

My Take: Visually stunning and a felt a unique story, there is deeper meanings under the obvious storyline. Unfortunately the PQ isn't the best on this title, but certainly acceptable.

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2007)
A self-promoting serial killer who dreams of being the most infamous slasher of all time hires a documentary film crew to follow him as he launches a reign of terror on a small town. Preparing tirelessly for his murderous debut, Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel) shares his bloody ambitions with director Taylor Gentry (Angela Goethals) and her crew. Directed by Scott Glosserman, this quirky indie also stars Robert Englund and Scott Wilson.

My Take: I thought the idea was great, and has some LOL moments as Leslie Vernon trains to be the next Jason or Michael Myers, as well as setting up his plan and traps and how things will play out. Really enjoyed it.

DragonLoaf's Avatar DragonLoaf 01:47 PM 02-01-2010
The Virgin Spring
A black and white Swedish film directed by Ingmar Bergman. Stark, unadorned, and bleak realism with stunning cinematography. The acting is extraordinary in the way it conveys emotions without much speech. This one will hit some nerves and make you think. I was riveted.

Surveillance
A bizarre thriller, not unexpected since it is directed by Jennifer Lynch, daughter of David. There is a great twist at the end and the acting is superb. Unlike David's movies, I understood this one from start to finish. I am not ashamed to admit I am just too dumb to comprehend Mulholland Drive.

The Life of David Gale
One of my all time favorite movies, but somehow under the radar. It will make you think about the death penalty for sure, and probably many other issues. Kate Winslet is incredibly awesome as always.
CRAW's Avatar CRAW 02:19 PM 02-01-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by DragonLoaf View Post

The Life of David Gale
One of my all time favorite movies, but somehow under the radar. It will make you think about the death penalty for sure, and probably many other issues. Kate Winslet is incredibly awesome as always.

VERY good movie!
mproper's Avatar mproper 04:21 PM 02-01-2010
I have Surveillance in my queue already and have seen The Life of David Gale, but will check The Virgin Spring.

Thanks!
ozzzie3's Avatar ozzzie3 08:02 AM 02-02-2010
mproper

Thanks for the "boy in the striped pajamas". I watched it last night. Acting & story were great as well as disturbing.
guile42's Avatar guile42 02:43 AM 02-03-2010
i feel sad about 2 kids..
mproper's Avatar mproper 07:17 AM 02-03-2010
Here's a few more. Some of these fall into the "quirky" and "cheesey" category, but still enjoyable if you like those types.

The Machine Girl
Japanese Subtitled. Age old story....kid gets bullied to death, sister vows revenge, loses her arm, gets a freaking gatling gun attachment for the stump, and goes on murderous rampage. While this is nothing great, it's very Kill-Billish like in the way the killings are done (amputations and beheadings and spraying of blood) and it's pretty amusing throughout as she fights gangs like the "Junior High Shuriken Ninjas" and a gang made up of grieving parents of her victims called "The Super Mourners Club." Quirky cheesy goodness!

Big Man Japan
When Japan is threatened by giant monsters (as it all too frequently is), normal citizen Daisato transforms from normal man into "Big Man Japan" to save it. His battles are broadcast much like LA car chases are. Unfortunately he's a second rate, third generation superhero. The ratings for the battles are in the tank, his family is embarrassed by him, everyone hates him, his agent wants to brand Big Man Japan with ads (on his chest/back/legs/arms), etc. Whiile a bit slow to start out, I found it quirky and interesting. The CGI for the monster battles fit in well (esp. considering the outcome of the movie), and there are some simply hilarious scenes.

Spiral
Socially awkward Mason (played to absolute perfection by Joel Moore) fancies himself an artist. Befriended by the new girl at work, he goes about painting her. But she has no idea of the dangers she is in as his sociopathic tendencies slowly begin unveiling themselves. This is a bit slow, but it's due to the character and tension build up. I really ended up liking this by the end.

Believers
I'm hesitant to put this on my list of recommendations, but overall I did enjoy it and I was intrigued throughout. When two paramedics arrive at a call, they find themselves kidnapped by a suicide cult and must plan their escape. This is directed by Daniel Myrick (Blair Witch)

The Atheism Tapes
This is a series of ~30 minute interviews. While it's dry material, it's fascinating if you are at all interested in religion or atheism and what drives both. Only for the open minded since the interviews are with atheists. I will leave it at that since it's a touchy subject.

Deliver Us From Evil
Disturbing and completely infuriating documentary about Father Oliver O'Grady, who leaves a trail of dozens (hundreds?) of abused kids in his wake as the Catholic church turns a blind eye and simply moves him from parish to parish. You'll be (not-so) pleasantly surprised by where he is now! I was so mad after watching it that I had trouble sleeping.

The IT Crowd
All 3 seasons are available. Simply hilarious show, if you have never seen it.
mproper's Avatar mproper 09:19 PM 02-03-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by DragonLoaf View Post

Surveillance
A bizarre thriller, not unexpected since it is directed by Jennifer Lynch, daughter of David. There is a great twist at the end and the acting is superb. Unlike David's movies, I understood this one from start to finish. I am not ashamed to admit I am just too dumb to comprehend Mulholland Drive.

Just finished this up. Pretty decent (if not a bit predictable IMO). Those cops are jerks!
Goatse's Avatar Goatse 10:06 AM 02-04-2010
Outsourced - Surprisingly well acted and written indie movie about falling in love with a Hindu woman after being sent to India to train a call center.

Food Inc - Where your food really comes from and how its produced.
mproper's Avatar mproper 10:54 AM 02-04-2010
Both of those are good. Outsourced hit a little close to home...well, the first half before it devolves into "Man finds himself" plotlines.

I will throw out:
Special
Enrolling in a drug study to spice up his humdrum life as a low-paid meter reader, Les Franken (Michael Rapaport) begins taking an experimental antidepressant, which proves to have a few unexpected side effects. Convinced that he's actually developing special powers that can be used to fight evil, Les decides to quit his day job and focus on being a superhero … despite his doctor's professional opinion that his abilities are all in his mind.

Rapaport does an excellent job in this dark comedy.
Dark Rider's Avatar Dark Rider 12:27 PM 02-04-2010
Great idea for a thread!

Here's a must see, now that it's available via streaming:
Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan
In 12th-century Asia, an orphaned young slave named Temudjin (Tadanobu Asano) escapes from his captors' clutches and begins a journey that will lead him to become one of the greatest conquerors the world has ever known. Honglei Sun and Ying Bai co-star in this Academy Award-nominated epic from writer-director Sergei Bodrov, the first in a trilogy of adventure films relating the life story of Genghis Khan.


My wife and I watched it on blu-ray and really liked it. It does have sequences that are pretty violent, but the blood and gore factor is not overdone at all. It also has a very humanistic element. It's definitely not what you'd expect, and in a very good way.
DragonLoaf's Avatar DragonLoaf 01:56 PM 02-04-2010
The Machine Girl was one of the first movies I watched on streaming. It is really an absolutely horrible movie in many ways, but it is cheesy goodness, with emphasis on the cheesy. It's great how the blood doesn't spurt from the bodies, but sprays like a fire hose. I love the shot where the upper torso is completely cut off and the plastic nozzle that is spraying blood from the lower torso is visible. I guess bad guys have a heart in one of their legs. MUCH better after a few beers.

Turtles Can Fly

This Kurdish movie explores the trials of the Kurds during Desert Storm through the eyes of children. It is an incredibly powerful and heartbreaking tale. Highly recommended.

Doubt

This seems like it might be the fictional brother of mproper's recommendation Deliver Us From Evil in that it is about the suspicions that a priest is abusing a young boy. This movie feels very uncomfortable because, well, the title says it all. Mostly I recommend this one for the superb acting of Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Streep is one of those rare people like Manning or Brady who elevates the game of those around them.
mproper's Avatar mproper 02:49 PM 02-04-2010
I have both Doubt and Mongol in my queue, but have been debating about getting the Blu-Ray of both.

I have a feeling Doubt doesn't matter much (it's a slow-paced drama from what I can tell) but Mongol probably has a lot of action/battles, so I might have the Blu-Ray shipped.

Here's a few more of my favs that I've seen:
The Bothersome Man
Mysteriously deposited in a perfectly serene but colorless city where every need is met, Andreas soon realizes that not even a new lover can change the sterile banality drowning him. Is this placid life a dream come true or an inescapable hell? Is the lovely music coming from a crack in the basement his ticket out?

The Pusher Trilogy:
Foreign drug gangsta movies. Unfortunately the video quality of these aren't the best....but it's low-budget film making at it's best.
Pusher
Pusher 2: With Blood On My Hands
Pusher 3: I'm The Angel Of Death

Bon Cop, Bad Cop
Canadian(!) Buddy Cop movie. Somewhat funny, but overall very good, and has the best "is this your jurisdiction or mine" plot device I've ever seen. The only complaint I had was it switches constantly between English (the Toronto cop) and French (the Montreal Cop). I don't mind subtitles but at points it was switching languages every other line....kindof made my brain hurt.
Karmyna's Avatar Karmyna 04:27 PM 02-04-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by mproper View Post

I have both Doubt and Mongol in my queue, but have been debating about getting the Blu-Ray of both.

I have a feeling Doubt doesn't matter much (it's a slow-paced drama from what I can tell) but Mongol probably has a lot of action/battles, so I might have the Blu-Ray shipped.

Here's a few more of my favs that I've seen:
The Bothersome Man
Mysteriously deposited in a perfectly serene but colorless city where every need is met, Andreas soon realizes that not even a new lover can change the sterile banality drowning him. Is this placid life a dream come true or an inescapable hell? Is the lovely music coming from a crack in the basement his ticket out?

The Pusher Trilogy:
Foreign drug gangsta movies. Unfortunately the video quality of these aren't the best....but it's low-budget film making at it's best.
Pusher
Pusher 2: With Blood On My Hands
Pusher 3: I'm The Angel Of Death

Bon Cop, Bad Cop
Canadian(!) Buddy Cop movie. Somewhat funny, but overall very good, and has the best "is this your jurisdiction or mine" plot device I've ever seen. The only complaint I had was it switches constantly between English (the Toronto cop) and French (the Montreal Cop). I don't mind subtitles but at points it was switching languages every other line....kindof made my brain hurt.

Well you do know that Canada is an offcially bilingual country
It is a comedy about what we call "the two solitude" since the two main culture here have to live toghetter while being so different in their way of doing things.
mproper's Avatar mproper 07:38 PM 02-04-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karmyna View Post

Well you do know that Canada is an offcially bilingual country
It is a comedy about what we call "the two solitude" since the two main culture here have to live toghetter while being so different in their way of doing things.

Yeah, I know. Just was pointing it out that the movie switches (rapidly) between English and French.
Karmyna's Avatar Karmyna 07:00 AM 02-05-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by mproper View Post

Yeah, I know. Just was pointing it out that the movie switches (rapidly) between English and French.

I love movies that use multiple language. Have you seen The Gladiators? It's a 70's era scifi/anticipation movies where instead of doing war on a large scale, team from the UN and their enemy battle in a closed setting. Both team use their own language and even within one team.

There is also a japanese/australian scifi movie about a team infiltrating a robot factory that does this also. A character will ask a question in japanese and the other answer in english.
Dark Rider's Avatar Dark Rider 09:33 AM 02-05-2010
mproper, Mongol was a very good blu-ray encode, and the cinematography was beautiful. You won't be disappointed if you wait for the blu-ray.
DragonLoaf's Avatar DragonLoaf 01:29 PM 02-05-2010
Yeah, mproper, I don't think there's a real reason to get the Blu-Ray of Doubt. You are correct that it is rather slow-paced and given the uncomfortable subject matter I wouldn't be watching it repeatedly anyway. I don't need to count facial pores to recognize superlative acting, so don't see a need for 1080p on this one.

I am anxious to check out your recommendations in your original post, they sound great.
peka j.'s Avatar peka j. 09:38 PM 02-05-2010
Good idea for a thread. I have seen Doubt and the Architecture of Doom, and just added David Gale to my queue. I'll make some recommendations:

Chop Shop
Documentary style fiction story about a boy growing up trying to get by living in an auto repair shop near Shea Stadium in New York. The kid is excellent and the story has a way of grabbing you.

The King of Kong
This is a documentary about the world of competitive gaming and one man's quest to break the all time Donkey Kong record. You won't believe some of these characters are real - it is actually very entertaining.

Julia
Tilda Swinton is either a psycho kidnapper alcoholic from hell or a basiaclly good person with some problems and bad breaks who just happens to kidnap a child. You decide. Either way, it has drama, comedy and suspense all wrapped up in one and is highly recommended. Plus, quite a lot of nude bits of Ms. Swinton are featured, if you like that sort of thing.
DragonLoaf's Avatar DragonLoaf 07:44 AM 02-06-2010
Over winter break when my sons were home I came downstairs to find them watching The King of Kong. I was getting ready to poke fun right before I found myself watching the whole thing with them. Indeed it is hard to believe that such people are real, but the feature character is endearing and pathetic all at once. Nice recommendation, peka j.
swtguy's Avatar swtguy 01:05 PM 02-08-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by peka j. View Post

Good idea for a thread. I have seen Doubt and the Architecture of Doom, and just added David Gale to my queue. I'll make some recommendations:

Chop Shop
Documentary style fiction story about a boy growing up trying to get by living in an auto repair shop near Shea Stadium in New York. The kid is excellent and the story has a way of grabbing you.

The King of Kong
This is a documentary about the world of competitive gaming and one man's quest to break the all time Donkey Kong record. You won't believe some of these characters are real - it is actually very entertaining.

Julia
Tilda Swinton is either a psycho kidnapper alcoholic from hell or a basiaclly good person with some problems and bad breaks who just happens to kidnap a child. You decide. Either way, it has drama, comedy and suspense all wrapped up in one and is highly recommended. Plus, quite a lot of nude bits of Ms. Swinton are featured, if you like that sort of thing.

I really enjoyed The King of Kong.
PSound's Avatar PSound 02:20 PM 02-08-2010
Great thread! I also recommend King of Kong. Absolutely fascinating sub-culture!
ccotenj's Avatar ccotenj 02:26 PM 02-08-2010
good thread!

i've been into documentaries recently... a few i've found lately that were pretty watchable are:

"very young girls": documents how young teenage girls are lured into prostitution, and a group that is helping some of them.

"american meth": documents meth usage in american small towns...

"small town gay bar": documents gay bars in small communities, primarily in the south. didn't pull any punches on either side.

"big rig": documents truck drivers lives in america...

edit: one more... "the atomic cafe"... a rather amusing look at some of the fear mongering and so on that went on at the beginning of the cold war (1945-1955)...

i also came across a movie called "gangster #1" that i like a great deal... i also watched a movie called "hank and mike" that i found utterly hilarious...

oh... and about 100 episodes or so of "dirty jobs" and "mythbusters"...
ccotenj's Avatar ccotenj 02:32 PM 02-08-2010
mproper... re: "deliver us from evil"... also check out "fall from grace"....
lwright84's Avatar lwright84 06:05 AM 02-09-2010
Goatse's Avatar Goatse 07:09 AM 02-09-2010
Beer wars - Documentary on the beer industry. Micro brews vs Budwiser monopoly
moviegeek's Avatar moviegeek 10:14 AM 02-10-2010
Becoming Human:Nova
Interesting documentary on the evolution of mankind.
OtaOnly's Avatar OtaOnly 01:36 PM 02-11-2010
If you like history check out Empires: The Medici, Godfathers of the Renaissance
http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/Empir...?trkid=1211018

I also enjoyed The Last Picture Show
http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/The_L...?trkid=1211018
Maestro J's Avatar Maestro J 01:39 PM 02-11-2010
Thanks for the King of Kong recommendation. Just got finished watching it and I was hooked throughout.
ericpizzapie's Avatar ericpizzapie 01:40 PM 02-11-2010
An absolute Must watch show from Starz- "Party Down" about out of work actors who work in the catering industry. HILARIOUS. Paul Rudd produced
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