Looking for the latest and greatest films to hit LOVEFiLM or Netflix? We are at your service.
Welcome to the first part of The VoDFather, a new weekly column where we will be pointing out some of the best new film content to hit the UK’s two big streaming film suppliers, LOVEFiLM and Netflix. Streaming is fast becoming one of the most popular ways to consume films and its an exciting time to get in on the action, as more and more devices become compatiable with these services and many films now being available in HD and 5.1 surround sound – something we will be pointing out is available with these titles as applicable.
A quick note: This column will only deal with the UK side of Netflix, there are plenty of sites out there which can show you the latest films to hit the US service (Instant Watcher is basically a one-stop shop) and as we are a UK site, we think it best to cater to our home peeps.
Well then ramblers, without further ado, let’s get rambling.
Coming and going without all that much fanfare a couple of years ago, Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut is a film which really struck a chord on a first watch and continues to do so a couple of watches in.
Eschewing the oh-so-smart, up herself performance given in Juno, here Ellen Page is far more successful as a smart and independent girl who is also unafraid to have moments of real frailty. Discovering a life she never thought she’d have, and getting burned quite a bit along the way, as she joins a team of all-female roller derby competitiors. This comes at odds with the life her mother, played by Marcia Gay Harden, has written out for her and as the two worlds collide, tough decisions have to be made.
This may sound like a rather generic growing up/finding your place kind of film but what Barrymore does is inject moments of unpredicatability along with a cracking strain of physically violent slapstick and an Austin, Texas setting which soaks in a rather unique brand of cool all into a package which looks great. It has it’s fair share of smarts but also embraces that its ‘hot girls skating and kicking the crap out of each other’ surface level.
Already pretty much forgotten 2 years on, I am part of a small band of folks who actually quite liked Ridley Scott’s troubled take on the legendary figure.
I will put my hands up right now and say that this film is not as interesting as it could have been, back in the heady days of production development this was to be a revisionist take on the Sheriff of Nottingham, who here is reduced to a buffon-ish bit part from Matthew McFadyen. However, I’d still contend that what we have here is more than ‘worth a go, thanks’ to a performance from Russell Crowe, which is one of the only times in his latter-day career that reminded me of why he became a star in the first place. With a rugged but also personable performance that really understands why people would get behind him, a warrior on the battlefield who you’d also quite like to get absolutely wasted with.
Scott’s usual flair behind the camera is in full force, using a large budget to depict some pretty brilliant action sequences, one of which seems to be almost deliberately copied in the recent Snow White & The Huntsman. Not forgetting its stellar supporting cast including Oscar Isacc, Cate Blanchett and Mark Strong among others who lend real gravitas to what is in all reality a rather silly story. I’m very much of the opinion that this needs re-evaluating and I hope more people give it a chance now it’s available so easily. And yes, the accent is terrible.
It’s hot outside. You can’t be bothered to really do anything. This is probably a time to wear stretchy pants.
Nacho Libre is that rarest of things for me, a film which I thought was utter balls on first watch but which gets better and better every time I return to it. After Napoleon Dynamite, the world was the oyster of director Jared Hess and with the lightning in a bottle of that film, he used it on a Nickelodeon backed Mexican wrestling film starring Jack Black. Unsurprisingly, it was a bit of a flop, and at first I thought it was obvious why, a paper thin plot stitched together with moments of randomness which recalled Dynamite but didn’t seem to work. On subsequent watches though, it became obvious that you have to let go of your preconceptions and just go with the surreal, sweaty air of the piece as Jack Black basically becomes a cartoon character complete with quotable catchphrases (I will be quoting “GET THAT CORN OUTTA MY FACE” till the day I die) and off the wall characters which all speak to a film which has no real care for what you think of it and instead just embraces it’s silliness, having a boat load of fun along the way. It may take a certain mood but its one I can get myself into, and you may do too.
That’s it for the first VoDFather. In future weeks I will be taking a look at fresher, just hitting content when I can along with a few hidden gems along the way. I hope you join me next time.