Each week within this column we strive to pair the latest in theatrical releases to worthwhile titles currently available on Netflix Instant Watch. This week we offer alternatives to Shame, The Lady & Coriolanus.
With the Christmas holiday soon to hit, a string of smaller flicks are set to open in limited release this Friday. A sex addict will battle his demons while facing off against a vengeance-seeking Shakespearean hero, and a world-changing real-life heroine. But if these releases won’t satisfy your thirst for history, Shakespeare, and drama, we’ve got you covered with some stellar selects that are Now Streaming.
Lonely leads seek sex, love and solace in these steamy dramas:
Rabbit Hole (2010) Inspired by David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, indie provocateur/auteur John Cameron Mitchell tackles marriage and grief in this compelling and Spirit Award-nominated drama. Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart star as a couple on the brink of collapse following the unexpected death of their four-year-old son. Seeking solace, both find unique ways of coping. If you missed this during it’s winter run last year, curl up with a box of tissues to view this truly extraordinary tearjerker.
Y Tu Mamá También (2001) Alfonso Cuarón’s titillating Mexican drama scored numerous accolades, and even an Oscar nod thanks to its frank and poignant portrayal of loneliness and longing. A middle-aged but gorgeous woman (Maribel Verdu) throws caution to the wind when she joins two sexually charged (and confused) young men on a road trip that’s punctuated by kinetic music and sexual adventure. It’s a rare combination of titillating and heartbreaking.
I Am Love (2009) Featuring one of the most mouthwatering movie moments of all time, this lushly realized Italian drama follows a wife and mother’s quest for self-discovery via a path of sex and gourmet cuisine. Tilda Swinton stars as a woman who has long surrendered her own identity in favor of being a supportive spouse and doting mother. But all this self-sacrifice is finally abandoned when her daughter’s secretive love affair inspires her to explore a romance of her own.
Luc Besson returns to the director’s chair to tell the stunning true story of Aung San Suu Kyi (Michelle Yeoh), a Burmese pro-democracy activist who was forced to choose between her family and her principles. David Thewlis co-stars.
Women of history choose love or country:
Anne of the Thousand Days (1969) One of history’s most-fascinating femme fatales, Anne Boleyn (Geneviève Bujold) inspired such lust in King Henry VIII (Richard Burton) that he split with the Vatican and created a whole new religion just to wed and bed her — after divorcing his long-time wife and mother to his daughter, devoted Catholic Katherine of Aragon (Irene Papas). This poignant look at the woman behind the ultimate Bluebeard-style mayhem earned massive acclaim, including a bevvy of Oscar nods.
Elizabeth (1998) The daughter of Henry VIII was Elizabeth, a redhead with a wild-streak and the daughter of the reviled Anne Boleyn. This highly acclaimed biopic follows her treacherous path to the crown and enduring majesty, a journey that forced her to surrender her own desires to better serve her country. Cate Blanchett dazzles in this empowering drama.
Her Majesty, Mrs. Brown (1997) The British monarchy seems forever drawn to romantic scandals. Centuries after The Virgin Queen’s reign ended, it was a widowed Queen Victoria who was expected to live chaste for the rest of her days. So when her friendship with a gruff Scottish servant became the source of scandal and gossip, the rumored “Mrs. Brown” had a difficult decision: love or country? Judi Dench and Billy Connolly star in this sweeping period drama.
Oscar-nominated actor Ralph Fiennes steps behind the camera to direct this blood-streaked adaptation of William Shakespeare’s history play. Caius Martius Coriolanus (Fiennes) is a general, who is banished from his native land after a peasant revolt, leading to a gruesome journey. Gerard Butler and Jessica Chastain co-star.
Pride comes before the fall for these Shakespearean heroes:
Henry V (1989) Shakespeare aficionado Kenneth Branagh directs and stars in this Oscar-nominated adaptation of this bloody tale of conquest and nationalistic pride. Having just taken the throne following the death of his father, Henry V aims to rise above his reputation as a cavorting and rabble-rousing prince to become a great leader of men. An effort he begins by claiming portions of France as the rightful property of England.
King Lear (2009) Ian McKellan earned an Emmy nod for his portrayal of the tragic hero Lear in this stirring Royal Shakespeare Company production. Lear is an aging king who decides to prematurely divide his lands among his three daughters, Cordelia, Goneril and Regan. To get their inheritance early, all they need to do is rain praise (however false) on their proud father, but when the young and loyal Cordelia cannot properly express her devotion, Lear casts her out, leaving him defenseless against his deceitful older daughters.
Macbeth (2010) Seeking to capture the grandeur and greatness of Rupert Goold’s heralded stage production of Shakespeare’s superstition-laden masterpiece, PBS captured the captivating performances of Patrick Stewart and Kate Fleetwood as Maccers and Lady M as a conniving couple manipulating the landscape of a 20th-century militaristic society through deception and a string of murders.
How I Met Your Mother (2005) Finally! CBS’s pithy and playful buddy-sitcom is streaming! Shot in Los Angeles, but pretty effectively set in New York City (aside from the enviably and unrealistically huge apartments), HIMYM follows the adventures of five friends: the soul-mate-searching Ted (Josh Radnor), the smirking single girl Robin (Cobie Smulders), the catch-phrase-spouting playboy Barney (Neil Patrick Harris), and quirky yet cute ultra-couple Lilly & Marshall (Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel). Much of the cast has been making waves in movies this past year, with Radnor writing and directing Happythankyoumoreplease, Smulders joing The Avengers, NPH reuniting with Harold and Kumar for holiday frolics, and Segel resurrecting the Muppets franchise! Each performer offers something fun and dynamic to this often wild but always sweet sitcom, creating an onscreen chemistry that makes them feel like truly believable friends – from the petty bets (or slap bets) to the joyful barbs, to the abundance of in-jokes. Creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas manage to make you feel like one of the gang while creating a comedy series that is legend – (wait for it!) – dairy! Seasons 1-6 are Now Streaming.
Is there a title Now Streaming that you think is worth recommending?
Send your pick(s) to Kristy.
Film Society of Lincoln Center To commemorate her passing, free screenings of Chantal Akerman‘s Jeanne Dielman (on 35mm) and her self-portrait Chantal Akerman by Chantal Akerman will screen for free on Friday. Hou Hsiao-hsien‘s The Boys from Fengkuei will play on Friday night, with Hou making an appearance. Museum of the Moving Image Frederick Wiseman‘s […]
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