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 John Carter, Friends With Kids and Footnote.
Friday theaters will determine the fate of Disney’s big budget epic John Carter, which faces off against the closest thing to a Bridesmaids sequel your likely to see and an Oscar contender that transcends the language barrier. But if these offerings pique your desire for adventure, rated-R romance and heralded Hebrew features, then we’ve got you covered with some of the best titles Now Streaming.
Director Andrew Stanton makes his live-action debut with this this Mars-set adventure about a Civil War veteran (Taylor Kitsch) who finds he has extraordinary powers on this extraterrestrial terrain that enables him to be a hero to a beautiful alien princess (Lynn Collins). Willem Dafoe co-stars.
More man on a mission adventures:
Hombre (1967) Westerns are chock-full of macho men saving the day. In this one, that man is none other than screen legend Paul Newman, who plays a half-Indian cowboy shunned by the his fellow stagecoach passengers, until it’s clear he’s their only hope of survival following a holdup. Frederic March co-stars.
Marathon Man (1976) In John Schlesinger’s Oscar-nominated thriller Dustin Hoffman stars as a graduate student caught in a deadly game of diamonds and Nazi dentistry! All jokes aside, this one will keep you on the edge of your seat. Laurence Olivier co-stars.
Escape from New York (1981) In this gritty dystopian classic, Kurt Russell stars as the ultimate movie badass. Once a terrorist attack lands the President of the United States at the center of the land of mayhem known as New York City, special ops-cum-convict Snake Plissken is offered a pardon if he can rescue the Commander-in-chief. Donald Pleasence and Isaac Hayes co-stars.
Writer-director Jennifer Westfeldt calls on some famous friends (Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd and Adam Scott) to star in her latest New York-set rom-com about two friends who decide to skip the romance and go right to child rearing.
Craving more cheeky rom-coms?
Kissing Jessica Stein (2001) Westfeldt’s first feature is adapted from her and co-writer Heather Juergensen’s off-Broadway play Lipschtick. This dynamic duo stars as two straight girls who have had no luck with the men of Manhattan, and so decide to dabble in dating women. Scott Cohen co-stars, and Jon Hamm has a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance. For a DIY double feature, pair with Westfeldt’s quirky follow-up Ira & Abby.
Never Again (2001) For more mature look at love in Manhattan, try writer-director Eric Schaeffer’s tale of late-in-life romance starring Jeffrey Tambor and Jill Clayburgh as two fifty-somethings who are through with love, but game for good times. They become casual f*ck buddies, but soon find their affection for each other growing into something deeper. Sandy Duncan and Bill Duke co-stars, and Peter Dinklage makes a special appearance!
Happy Happy (2011) For something a little wilder, try Anne Sewitsky’s delightfully wacky comedy out of Norway that tackles parenthood, infidelity, wife-swapping, and naked frolics in the snow! Agnes Kittlesen stars as Kaja, a loving wife and mother who is generally jeered by her frigid husband and mean little boy. But when some new, chic neighbors move in next-door, Kaja glimpses a life she’d rather have and begins an affair that will change them all for the better. I can’t recommend this one enough. It was one of my favorites of the year.
This incredibly funny offering from Israel was the country’s submission for the Oscar’s Best Foreign Film category this year. And yes, it lost to A Separation, but as I recently discovered during Voting Spirit, this tale of father-son rivalry is extraordinary in its humor and poignancy. Joseph Cedar writes and directs.
Revel in the best if Israeli cinema with these Oscar-submitted offerings:
Beaufort (2007) Another Oscar-nominated feature from Joseph Cedar, this drama is set in the final days of the Israeli occupation of Lebanon and follows a band of Israeli soldiers as they prepare for the evacuation of the mountain stronghold Beaufort.
The House on Chelouche Street (1973) This Oscar-nominated drama centers on the coming-of-age of Sami, a devoted student and Egyptian teen who is forced to abandon his studies in 1946 Tel Aviv, when he must get a job at a factory to help his family. However, he finds a happiness he never anticipated in the friendship of his fellow laborers and the affection of a Russian librarian.
The Human Resources Manager (2010) Though it did not make Oscar’s final cut, this feature was Israel’s submission for 2011. It’s a deeply dark comedy that centers on a workaholic HR manager whose is forced out of the confines of his office when a work-related death forces him to do some PR abroad. Along the way, he makes some profound self-discoveries.
Velvet Goldmine (1998) For this week’s Wild Card, I’ve selected something decadent and deeply daring. Todd Haynes glam rock take on Citizen Kane centers on a David Bowie-like rock star called Brian Slade, played with androgynous allure by Jonathan Rhys-Meyers. Slade was a glam rock icon who jettisoned to stardom before being shot on stage, but years later when an aspiring journalist and former fan (Christian Bale) looks back on the life of times of Brian Slade, he finds something far more shocking than drug use, sexual experimentation and dangerous amounts of glitter. This little-known indie is stuffed with style and studded with before-they-were stars performances from a bevvy of foreign-born luminaries like Ewan McGregor, who plays an Iggy Pop-like figure, Toni Collette as the Nancy to Meyer’s Sid, and Eddie Izzard as a record exec well aware of the need for razzle dazzle. It’s visually lush and glamorous with a tremendous soundtrack that demands you have yours speakers turned all the way up. If you’ve never seen this fabulous fable, now you have no excuse.
For more picks, check our Now Streaming archive.
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