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[Now Streaming] Your ‘Sherlock Holmes,’ ‘Alvin and The Chipmunks,’ & ‘Corman’s World’ Alternatives

Written by on December 15, 2011 

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 Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked, and Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel.

This weekend a trio of song-singing chipmunks will do box office battle with a charming super sleuth and the ultimate Hollywood rebel. But if the weather outside’s too frightful for you to venture out, enjoy these selected streaming adventures that feature beguiling gumshoes, screwball siblings and brilliant and bizarre showbiz docs — all from the comfort of your couch!

The to sequel Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes has the dapper detective (Robert Downey Jr.) and his devoted Watson (Jude Law) chasing down Holmes’ malevolent nemesis Moriarty (Jared Harris). Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams co-star.

Screen Sherlocks through the ages:

Sherlock Holmes: Dressed to Kill (1946) Basil Rathbone, the most prolific onscreen Sherlock, starred in 14 films as the pipe-smoking sleuth. In this adventure Holmes and Watson (Nigel Bruce) investigate the mysterious deaths of two strangers, whose only connection is the purchase of a peculiar box. What could it mean?

Murder by Decree (1979) Also known as Sherlock Holmes and Saucy Jack, this chilling thriller stars Christopher Plummer as Holmes, who is seeking out the identity of the grisly serial killer Jack the Ripper. James Mason co-stars as Watson.

The Hound of the Baskervilles (2003) As I suggested the contemporary Sherlock  just last week, for a more modern take on Arthur Conan Doyle’s master detective, I’m offering this traditional BBC drama starring Richard Roxburgh and Ian Hart as Holmes and Watson. When asked to investigate the strange curse that besieges the Baskerville clan with a horrifying supernatural hound, Sherlock is naturally suspicious of the superstition.

Alvin, Simon and Theodore and the Chippettes are back to drive Dave (Jason Lee) crazy when their vacation cruise turns into a shipwrecked mess on a seemingly deserted island. David Cross and Jenny Slate co-star.

For more adventures featuring animated siblings, try these quirky cartoons:

Angry Beavers (1997) In lieu of singing chipmunks, try some angry beavers! Easily agitated Daggett and naturally nonchalant Norbert are two bucktoothed beaver brothers who have discovered a world of adventure since leaving the safety of their parents’ dam. Be it striving to stay up all night, grudge match staring contests, or battling invading lumberjacks Dag and Norbie are a barrel of laughs. Three seasons are now streaming.

Rugrats Go Wild (2003) Worlds collide when the Rugrats cross paths with The Wild Thornberrys on a dessert island in this action-packed family-adventure. Meaning of course that Tommy and Dil Pickles join forces with Eliza Thornberry and her feral brother Donnie, resulting in a gleefully exciting escapade that will thrill kids ages 5-10.

Phineas and Ferb (2007) The title characters of this wildly popular Disney series are two ten-year-old stepbrothers who devote each day of summer to a new incredible invention, much to the chagrin of their older sister Candace who wants nothing more than to have their mother catch the boys in the act! But while the boys are distracted building rockets, roller coasters and a working time machine, their pet platypus sneaks off to engage in a never-ending battle with a wonderfully inept villain Heinz Doofenshmirtz, whose more devious schemes involve chasing all dogs out of the tristate area, making the local men wear dresses so he can be more macho in comparison, and stealing and shrinking all the worlds wonders for his model train set. While this may sound like an uber kiddie offering, this cartoon is full of witty asides and wide range of pop culture allusions (including Run Lola Run, Jurassic Park, and The Fly) that will definitely delight older audiences. Plus each episode features at least one song number, with influences that range from Elvis Costello and The B-52s to hip hop, musical theater, and disco. With more than 100 episodes streaming, not to mention the TV-movie Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension , this could easily fill your weekend, if not your holiday break.

This NYFF-featured documentary reveals the curious career trajectory of B-movie impresario and career-launcher Roger Corman. Features interviews with Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and Ron Howard, and more.

Craving more showbiz docs? Check these offbeat offerings.

Not Quite Hollywood  (2008) Exploitation flick fanatic Quentin Tarantino also appears in this showbiz doc that explores the history and impact of Australia’s Ozploitation movement. Packed with bizarre movie clips and telling and compelling interviews, documentarian Mark Hartley reveals how the gritty and goofy schlock cinema that Australia churned out in the 1970s, grew the nation’s filmmaking abilities and paved the way for Aussie auteurs like Gillian Armstrong and P.J. Hogan.

Nollywood Babylon (2008) For another far-from Hollywood showbiz doc, try this colorful effort from Candian filmmakers Ben Addelman and Samir Mallal, who travel to the heart of Africa to explore Nigeria’s version of Hollywood. Nollywood is the name given to the prolific straight-to-video movie industry that provides more than 2,5000 to its ravenous local fanbase. It’s truly movies for the people by the people, and it’s extraordinary.

Inside Deep Throat (2005) Last but not least a doc that scored a rare NC-17 rating for its archival footage, that includes graphic scenes from the porn film that became a cultural phenomenon Deep Throat. Far from a cheeky excuse to revel in old-school porn, Inside Deep Throat unveils the story of Deep Throat’s creation as well as its shocking aftermath that entailed censorship wars, social revolution, sexual rebellion, a U.S. Supreme Court case, and some Christian conversion.  Hugh Hefner, Erica Jong and John Waters are just a few of the scads of celebs who sit down for revealing interviews. If you’re at all interested in the issue of censorship, this racy doc is an absolute must-see.

Die Hard (1988) With Christmas approaching I chose a traditional holiday movie for this week’s wild card. Well, traditional in our household. In this classic rogue cop tale, NYPD officer John McClane (Bruce Willis) has flown to Los Angeles to reconnect with his estranged wife (Bonnie Bedella) over the Christmas holiday. While his plan to crash her office’s holiday party is initially unwelcomed, when terrorist take the building by storm the former Mrs. McClane is glad someone other than Santa is watching the mayhem unfold. Sneaking through air ducts and slinking through glass in bare feet, McClane is the ultimate badass as he saves Christmas and the lives of his wife and her coworkers. And the hits can keep on coming, as Die Hard 2: Die Harder  and Die Hard: With a Vengeance are also now streaming!

 Is there a title Now Streaming that you think is worth recommending?
Send your pick(s) to Kristy.

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