Each week within this column we strive to pair the latest in theatrical releases to the worthwhile titles currently available on Netflix Instant Watch.
This week while the Film Stage crew has been tearing it up at Tribeca’s Film Fest, Vin Diesel returns to franchise that launched him, teens hit up the prom, fairy tale figures face off, and Herzog goes underground. Whether or not you make it to the theater this weekend, you can still enjoy pulse-pounding action, animated antics, high school highs and lows, and the weird worldview of Werner Herzog.
Vin Diesel reunites with his fast and furious crew to pull off a heist that is as absurd as it is thrilling. Paul Walker and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson co-star.
The Fast and the Furious (2001) The first feature of this kinetic car-chasing franchise is now streaming along with its Diesel-free sequel 2 Fast 2 Furious. Fill your Friday with high-octane action with this stunt-packed double feature.
The Other Guys (2010) Dwayne Johnson parodies extreme action heroes in this buddy comedy that stars Will Ferrell and Mark Walhberg as a pair of cops who are often overlooked – you know, the other guys.
Salt (2010) Angelina Jolie stars as Evelyn Salt, a secret agent who goes on the run after being accused of treason. This espionage thriller includes some intense action set-pieces, and crazy car chases.
Hoodwinked Too! Hood Vs. Evil
Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf return in an adventure that pits this odd couple against an evil witch whose kidnapped Granny! Hayden Panettiere, Patrick Warburton, Glenn Close, Joan Cusack, Bill Hader and Amy Poehler star.
Sadly the first Hoodwinked is not streaming, but here’s a trio of cartoons with some equally bold heroines.
Anastasia (1997) Inspired by a legend of Russian royalty, this Don Bluth feature follows an outspoken young woman’s transformation from lonely pauper to loved princess. Meg Ryan, John Cusack and Kelsey Grammer co-star in this rollicking adventure that boasts catchy songs, exciting action, and a darling love story.
Mighty B! (2008) Created by H2′s Poehler, this Nickelodeon animated series centers on an unabashedly eager Honeybee Scout named Bessie, who dreams of earning all possible badges so she can become a superhero. Silly, warm, and cheeky, this quirky cartoon is fun for kids of all ages.
The Swan Princess (1994) Based on Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s ballet, this lively musical-adventure focuses on the tale Princess Odette, who is cursed to live as a swan by day and lonely princess by night. Her only friends are a slow-speaking turtle (the perfectly cast Steven Wright), a spastic frog (John Cleese), and an ambitious puffin (Steve Vinovich.) Together, this odd crew bands together to free Odette from the evil spell and reunite her with her true love.
Disney goes to prom in this teen-centered dramedy that stars Aimee Teegarden and Thomas McDonell.
High School Musical (2006) For a DIY Disney double-feature pair this wildly popular tween-adored flick with its high-energy sequel, aptly titled High School Musical 2. Both feature tales of teens overcoming their troubles through toe-tapping pop performances.
Friday Night Lights (2006) For some intense high school-set drama, try out this Emmy-winning series that features Prom’s Teegarden. This ensemble effort centers on the small town of Dillon, Texas, where high school football fuels the life force of the town and its residents. Notably, you don’t need to be a sports fan to be drawn into the deftly crafted storylines of the players, and their families.
Angus (1995) This cult classic comedy centers on an unpopular, overweight teen, who sees the upcoming school dance as a chance to win the attention and affection of his crush. While High School Musical may appeal to those who think of high school fondly, Angus is for the rest of us.
Cave of Forgotten Dreams
The oft-enigmatic Werner Herzog takes viewers into the depths of Southern France’s Chauvet caves in this 3-D documentary.
Encounters at the End of the World (2007) In this adventure doc Herzog takes viewers on a dangerous expedition deep into the heart of the South Pole. It’s a poetic portrait of life in one of the world’s harshest environments.
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009) For a taste of Herzog’s take on drama, try this deeply strange cop thriller. Nic Cage is fittingly cast in this bonkers tale of murder, drug addiction and iguanas.
Burden of Dreams (1982) This documentary turns the lens on Herzog, exploring his problematic production of the iconic adventure Fitzcarraldo. It’s a revealing look into the megalomaniacal director and his creative process.
Wild Card Pick
Marwencol (2010) This beautifully crafted documentary unveils the bittersweet tale of Mark Hogancamp, a man who had to rebuild his life from scratch after a brutal assault wiped away all memories of his former existence. To re-establish his motor skills and work through his trauma, Mark constructs a model town called Marwencol. In this World War II-era Belgium village, Mark’s doll-sized doppelganger battles Nazis, enchants a time-traveling witch, and discovers a love all his own. His journey reflects Mark’s own ambitions and obstacles, making for a remarkable emotional journey. Director Jeff Malmberg lovingly unfolds Mark’s story of self-discovery with stunning cinematography and a deep compassion for its offbeat hero. It’s a poignant portrait with an inspiring message about the healing power of art and the resilience of the human spirit. Read my full review here.
Can you think of a connection/suggestion we missed? Share them in comments.
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