Your Netflix Instant Weekend: DOWN TERRACE, JASON X, and more

Brian Kelley

by: Brian Kelley
February 17th, 2011

Welcome back, everyone! After a giant flood of great titles last week, we have had a quieter week with much fewer titles added to the lineup. Instead it looks like Netflix focused more on television series (dozens of new ones are available now). I'm not concerned with TV, though, so in my looking through the new titles I managed to pick out a few gems for you to add to your list.

This week we look at a British crime family dramedy and what happens when a horror franchise (that isn't CRITTERS or LEPRECHAUN) ends up in space.

DOWN TERRACE

This handheld-shot family crime drama relies on strong performances and a (mostly) clever script to keep things sharp and engaging. Father and son convicts Karl and Bill return home after a stint in jail and are immediately faced with problems. Bill is concerned with finding out who was responsible for their incarceration and works on gathering information from family associates. Karl has a pregnant girlfriend. Presiding over affairs is matriarch Maggie who is no more keen on the prospect of being a grandmother than she is in allowing the family business to be taken down by a snitch.

It all meshes together naturally and it's only a jarring transition into act three that breaks the smooth progression of things. Still, there is great stuff in the finale and in the grand scheme of DOWN TERRACE's wonderful microcosm of drama, comedy (it's frequently laugh at loud funny), and sporadic violence it's ultimately a moot complaint. Bonus points: Appearances by two Spacedalumni, Julia Deakin (who played Marsha in Spaced) is Maggie and Michael Smiley (Tyres) plays family friend Pringle. (Available in HD)

 

JASON X

After causing general havoc at Crystal Lake across several sequels, Jason's story arc had already become quite polluted with inane plot twists and silly sidebars. He had gone from being a superhuman killer to a superzombie killer, battled a perky young lass with telekinetic and father-resurrecting powers, taken Manhattan (eh, sort of), and become a body hopping demon snake. Series fans lamenting JASON X (which finds Jason in the year 2455... in space) as a radical drop in logic for the series are nothing short of delusional.

Those willing to give JASON X a shot will find that it is completely aware of its ludicrous nature and, therefore, a violent, sometimes hilarious space romp. Casual fans of horror films should find plenty to enjoy here (Jason's backstory is explained, don't worry) as the film has an obvious drive to entertain. 'Jason in space' is all the plot synopsis you should need before deciding whether or not to turn your brain off and enjoy this one. Bonus points: A David Cronenberg cameo and a Harry Manfredini score!

The Wildcard - A TIME FOR DRUNKEN HORSES

When their father dies, a family must struggle to survive in a Kurdish village on the Iran-Iraq border. The new head of the family, a 12-year-old boy named Ayoub, learns that his handicapped, mentally retarded brother Madi will die soon without an operation and the quest begins to raise the money to save his life. Winning several film festival awards in 2000, this Iranian film looks to be quite a tear-jerker but hopefully one with a life affirming soul at its core. I love these personal type stories told from a different cultural perspective. Hopefully A TIME FOR DRUNKEN HORSES is as engaging as it looks.

If you're looking for more...

Amongst the approximately 1.3 million TV series added this past week, you'll find Bruce Lee's ass-kicking classic THE CHINESE CONNECTION which is the English dubbed version of FIST OF FURY. Charlie Chaplin's THE GOLD RUSH finds Chaplin as The Lone Prospector searching for riches in Alaska. SEX & DRUGS & ROCK & ROLL is an incredible punk rock biopic about Blockheads frontman Ian Dury. WHICH WAY HOME is a fascinating and heartbreaking documentary about migrant Mexican children. Leni Reifenstahl's Nazi propaganda piece TRIUMPH OF THE WILL is historically significant and a must watch for any serious film or history buff. A MONKEY'S TALE is a French animated film that I haven't seen but is something to queue for the kids. THAT OLD FEELING isn't up to usual Carl Reiner standards but does have a flavorful "Old Hollywood" feel and Bette Midler. Finally, if all else fails, grab some popcorn and sit back for the Charlie Sheen/Kristy Swanson cheesefest, THE CHASE.

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