Each week within this column we strive to pair the latest in theatrical releases to the worthwhile titles now streaming on Netflix Instant Watch. This week we look at alternatives to Footloose, The Skin I Live In and Texas Killing Fields .
This weekend music , murder and madness collide in theaters, where small-town teens discover the joys of choreography, a devastated widower delves into madness, and Texan detectives track a sadistic killer. But if these features won’t sate your cravings for badass dance moves, Spanish flavored drama, and true to life crime tales, we got you covered with a list of hot titles that are currently available online.
A town where dancing is illegal is turned upside down by a teen-aged rebel (Kenny Wormald) with the deep desire to cut loose…footloose. Craig Brewer, the subversive director behind Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan, helms this sassy remake of the 1984 teen movie that made Kevin Bacon a star.
For more toe-tapping tales of teen rebellion, try these dramas with jaw-dropping moves and head-spinning soundtracks:
Dirty Dancing (1987) The ultimate dance-rebellion drama stars Jennifer Grey as Frances “Baby” Houseman, a brainy daddy’s girl who comes into her own thanks to a steamy romance with a studly dance instructor (Patrick Swayze) who shows her the time of her life. Jerry Orbach co-stars.
Billy Elliot (2000) Set in Northern England amid the societal turmoil of the 1984 miner’s strike, this Oscar-nominated offering from Stephen Daldry, centers on a boy (Jamie Bell) who dreams of leaving his blue-collared town behind to become a ballet dancer, an ambition at which his weary miner father sneers. But Bell ignites with the sheer jubilation of dance, kick-stepping his way to a happy ending.
Step Up 3D (2010) While the plot of the third installment of Step Up is paper-thin (dance teams do battle, romance, sabotage, teen dreams of dance while his folks dream of him getting a job someday, etc.), the dance in this drama is staggering, packed with gravity defying tricks, freaky flows and killer musicality. Sure it loses a dimension in 2D, but it’s still striking and fearless fun. Stephen “Twitch” Boss of So You Think You Can Dance and Harry Shum Jr. of Glee are featured.
After his wife is mutilated in a fiery automobile accident, plastic surgeon Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas) becomes obsessed with developing invincible skin. Elena Anaya and Blanca Suárez co-star in this full-throttle thriller directed by Pedro Almodóvar.
Craving more films with Spanish flare?
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! [Atame!](1990) One of Almodóvar and Banderas’ early collaborations, this transgressive dramedy also has Banderas as a man obsessed. This time around his fixation is his undying devotion and affection for porn star Marina Osorio (Victoria Abril). To win her love, this dedicated stalker kidnaps Marina, binding her to his bed until she falls for him. Almodóvar manages to find the humor in this deeply dark premise.
Un Chien Andalou (1929) Before Almodóvar, there was Luis Buñuel, the surrealist auteur who churned his Catholic guilt and sexual obsession/repression into a number of mind-bending masterworks. Take this opportunity to screen his iconic directorial debut, a short he co-wrote with long-time friend Salvador Dalí.
Shiver [Eskalofrío] (2008) When high schooler Santi (Junio Valverde) moves with his mother to a rural mountain town, the boy’s sunlight allergy makes him an instant outcast in the fearful and small community. So when a strange rash of murders take the town by siege, it’s not long before his new neighbors suspect Santi. The Skin I Live In’s Blanca Suárez co-stars.
Sam Worthington and Jeffrey Dean Morgan co-star in this crime thriller based on real-events as a pair of detectives investigating in a strange string of murders in the marshes of a small Texas town.
Fact is stranger than fiction in these crime dramas:
Law & Order (1990) Dick Wolf’s quintessential procedural series is studded with “ripped from the headlines” plotlines, and now you can make your own mega-marathon with the first 8 seasons streaming. (Also streaming are its spin-offs: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Criminal Intent)
Dog Day Afternoon (1975) When a pair of bumbling bank robbers take hostages and catch the imagination of the press and public, things get hot on the streets of New York. Al Pacino stars in this scorching heist-gone-wrong drama based on the real (and really strange) circumstances of a Brooklyn bank robbery. Chris Sarandon, Charles Durning and James Broderick co-star in this captivating classic directed by Sidney Lumet.
Cropsey (2009) In this horrifying and harrowing documentary, filmmakers Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio investigate the origins of Cropsey, the Staten Island bogeyman born from urban legends…or is he? The tale of a crazed child murderer became more than a campfire story when several local children went missing in the ’70s and ’80s. Was a deranged drifter the kid-killer? Or just a convenient scapegoat? Zeman and Brancaccio uncover unsettling possibilities and terrible truths in this haunting exposé.
Spaceballs (1987) In the mood for something silly? Then revisit Mel Brooks cult-adored parody of all things Star Wars. In a galaxy far far away Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) terrorizes planet Druidia by kidnapping its stern but beautiful princess (Daphne Zuniga) to blackmail King Roland (Dick Van Patten) into surrendering the planet’s air supply to the dying orb where the malevolent Spaceballs live! Druidia’s last hope is Lone Star (Bill Pullman), a surly pilot with a junker spaceship and a best friend who is equal parts man and dog (John Candy). What could go wrong? Full of camp, cultural references, and crude humor, Spaceballs is as goofy a goodtime as it ever was. So, kick back, enjoy, and may the Schwartz be with you!
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