Some exciting releases for this Sunday, plus a look at a big release that happened earlier this week. As always, click on the title to go to the film’s Netflix page:
The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
The first part of the most successful fantasy trilogy ever comes to Netflix Instant Watch. Peter Jackson’s masterful adaptation of J.R.R.Tolkein’s best-selling series finally comes to streaming video. While the fantasy elements turn some people off (my wife, a die-hard Harry Potter fan, is unable to get into these films), make no mistake, this is one of the all-time great feats from a sheer filmmaking perspective, a triumph of effects work, cinematography and casting. Sometimes, filmmaking is about creating visual majesty, and these may be the most majestic, epic films of all time. (NOTE: This is the theatrical version, not the extended.)
The Bad News Bears
There simply won’t be another Walter Matthau, the cantankerous genius that left his indelible mark on the Hollywood landscape for over 40 years. One of his most famous roles, The Bad News Bears, comes to Netflix Instant Watch today. Featuring a young Jodie Foster and Jackie Earle Haley (who made a comeback in recent years in films like Little Children, Watchmen and the Nightmare on Elm Street remake), The Bad News Bears is one of the great comedies of the 70s.
I freely admit that the only reason I make mention of this release is because it’s called Zombie Strippers. It stars former porn star Jenna Jameson. Let’s move on.
The White Ribbon
Michael Haneke is a singular filmmaker. His films are often difficult, combining fractured narratives and brutal violence to create stinging treatises of modern society. At times, his films can feel like a lecture (I’m looking at you, Funny Games), but his style is certainly one of a kind. His most recent film, The White Ribbon, is a black and white study of paranoia set in Germany in 1913. If you’re a lover of adventurous film, by all means check it out.
Also out this week are seasons 6-12 of Saturday Night Live! The seasons cover the years directly after the original cast, from the disastrous Gilbert Gottfried/Denny Dillon season to the first season of the Carvey / Hartman era. Re-live great moments like Charles Rocket’s F-bomb, the bizarre Robert Downey/Anthony Michael Hall Season, the Billy Crystal / Christopher Guest season that seemed like it was nearly all pre-filmed bits, and the beloved Robin Duke Era today. (NOTE: The episodes are heavily edited, removing the musical acts and several sketches.)
Do you know of any underrated gems available on Netflix Instant Watch that deserve to be seen? Know of anything coming to Netflix Instant Watch soon? Leave them in the comments below, or drop me a line on Facebook or Twitter.