After a whirlwind week at SXSW it's back to business as usual. There are some exciting new editions to Instant Netflix ready for you this weekend. Let's take a look at a Western that was meant to close the books on the genre and a German love story about a late-age affair.
Get your Netflix fix after the jump.
There's a lot of room for a history lesson when talking about this film. The brainchild of Sergio Leone, MY NAME IS NOBODY exists both as part of the Trinity series and a direct response to it. Leone was notoriously infuriated with this new breed of Western that sought to actively poke fun at the Spaghetti tropes (and just so happened to wipe its ass with the puny-in-comparison box office receipts of his own classics). That Terence Hill (the Trinity series leading man) begins to grate on even the audience some time during the second act, that the Ennio Morricone score is completely insane (but, for the record, one of my favorites of his), that the film moves through so many references to widely-known Spaghetti Westerns (not making fun of them but of previous jokes made about them) all seems intentional. It comes off as somthing like a parody of Western parodies.
Nevermind that, though, it's a flat out fantastic film. Hill is the titular Nobody, a young gunslinger who idolizes Jack Beauregard (Henry Fonda), an aging relic of the Old West who still happens to be the fastest shot around. Tired of being challenged by and having to kill young whippersnappers, Beauregard is looking to retire to Europe. However, Nobody has bigger plans for Beauregard - he wants him to die in a blaze of glory while taking on the Wild Bunch gang. Leone (who has an 'idea' and co-directing credit on the film) is basically shutting the door on the Western with MY NAME IS NOBODY (though he shot himself in the foot by cooking up an ill-advised and terrible sequel). The way things resolve themselves in the film is not only a kick to the balls of the Trinity series, it's a firm (but loving) middle-finger "see ya later" gesture towards the audience. Yet it remains a ceaselessly entertaining Western in its own right, a film bred of and about the existential crisis inherent in passing on the reigns. It's full of laughs, fists, and tremendous performances.
Those who read the headline of this column and thought CLOUD 9 was referring to the Burt Reynolds stripper volleyball team movie are going to find themselves sorely disappointed. The image above should have given it away- CLOUD 9 is really about old people making out. Really, though, CLOUD 9 is the story of a woman who at 67 finds herself having an affair with a 76-year-old man after 30 years of marriage. Delicate performances sell the idea that a happy woman (her husband is not a bad guy at all) can, at any age, find herself completely surprised by the pangs of love. The question of whether or not it's morally correct to breach her existing relationship is not directly addressed, however. Director Andreas Dresen keeps her focus objective letting the love and sex and thoughts of her characters play out organically. The result is a tender film, both alive with the hope of long-lasting and newfound love, but clouded by the profoundly sad reality of an expiration date for all relationships.
The Wildcard - MODIFY (2005)
Here we have a documentary about extreme body modification. This somehow passed me by in 2005 but now that it's available to stream it's at the top of my queue. I'm thinking a strong stomach may be required for this one.
If you're looking for more...
Reviews were mostly positive for recent family Nazi secrets drama SARAH'S KEY and you can now check it out for yourself. Whit Stillman's young, affluent Manhattanite comedy METROPOLITAN has been added. J.K. Simmons shines in the father-son drama THE MUSIC NEVER STOPPED. Wes Craven is only an occasionally good filmmaker and SWAMP THING is certainly one of his better efforts. Werner Herzog's ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD joins some of his other beautiful and haunting docs already streaming. Speaking of haunting documentaries, LAST TRAIN HOME is about a family of Chinese factory workers. Finally, OSS 117: LOST IN RIO is another in the French spy adventure-comedy series.
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