Your Netflix Instant Weekend: BMX BANDITS, THE HOUSE OF YES, and more
It's a sad fact of life that some people just don't treat movies properly. June 1st saw the first of the releases made available on the Instant Netflix service through a deal with Miramax. Not long after they appeared, people discovered the horror- most of the titles intended to be presented in the 2.35 aspect ratio are cropped to 1.78, losing much of the valuable visual information presented by the director. This includes classics like PULP FICTION, THE CRYING GAME, and RESERVOIR DOGS. That's not it, though, one of my favorite underseen horror films, Tobe Hooper's EATEN ALIVE, cuts off after 31 minutes. Quality control seems to be lacking at Netflix HQ. As such, I urge you to use caution when streaming movies (especially recently added Miramax titles) and do not hesitate to use Netflix' "Report problem" link (found under "Your Account & Help" > "INSTANT WATCHING ACTIVITY") for any streaming film not up to standard.
Anyways, now that that's out of the way, let's look at Nichole Kidman's first film and a crackling indie dark comedy.
After coming across a box full of walkie talkies, a trio of BMX riding teens think their money woes (they need new bikes) are over. Turns out their troubles have just begun as a gang of thugs want their technology back and pursue the biking buddies through the city. Genre film demigod Brian Trenchard-Smith infuses some screwball comedy sensibilities with truly inspired BMX action sequences to create a delightfully funny and exciting kiddie-caper flick that is fully awash in '80s-ness. The film is also notable as being the film debut of Nicole Kidman. Even as a frizzy-haired 16-year-old BMXer, Kidman has a undeniable screen presence. For more information about BMX BANDITS check out our recent interview with Brian Trenchard-Smith! (Available in HD)
'90s indie it-girl Parker Posey stars in this screen adaptation of Wendy MacLeod's play of the same name. In it, Posey plays the mentally imbalanced Jackie-O whose obsession with the former First Lady is rivaled only by her obsession with her brother, Marty (Josh Hamilton). When he comes home for Thanksgiving with his new fiancée, things begin to unravel in the family. Featuring uncharacteristically watchable performances by Freddie Prinze Jr. and Tori Spelling, THE HOUSE OF YES sparkles thanks to Posey's nuanced performance as well MacLeod's incredible dialogue, which tucks real, sad depth to the dysfunctional characters in between each fast-fire joke. (Available in HD)
The Wildcard - SANGRE DE MI SANGRE
I love a good thriller and this one, a Sundance winner, looks solid. SANGRE DE MI SANGRE is about a Mexican boy who has his identity stolen while he is in Brooklyn searching for his estranged father. Sometimes international thrillers seem to do better than most modern American entries into the genre in terms of slowly building mystery to an actual payoff (rather than a cop out). I'm hoping this film is one of those. (Available in HD)
If you're looking for more...
Australia's wonderful crime family drama ANIMAL KINGDOM should be near the top of your queue. The 2001 horror/thriller THE HOLE stars an underage Keira Knightley. Taking it back to the '80s, VISITING HOURS is an above-average hospital horror. SHARK ATTACK 3: MEGALODON is cheese of the highest (and most entertaining) order and has the most out-of-left-field line in the history of movie pickup lines. BASQUIAT is a wonderful biopic about the famous artist. EDGES OF THE LORD is a drama about a young Jewish boy (Haley Joel Osment) and his fight for survival during WWII. Images and a Phillip Glass score come together in the docu-montage NAQOYQATSI (in HD). MICROCOSMOS is French, nearly narration-free nature documentary utilizing breathtaking macrophotography and slow-motion to show the jungle that is a normal backyard. EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN is Ang Lee's poignant and funny story of a chef, his daughters, and their extravagant Sunday dinners. HANNAH AND HER SISTERS is one of my favorite Woody Allen films and is ready for you to enjoy. Finally, LES BONNES FEMMES is an early, excellent thriller from Claude Chabrol.