Your Netflix Instant Weekend: THE SWIMSUIT ISSUE, GREGORY’S GIRL, and more

Brian Kelley

by: Brian Kelley
April 1st, 2011

How is Spring treating everyone? As the weather improves all across the country, your thoughts may be less and less on what you should be watching over the weekend. However, you need to have this stuff queued for rainy days and romantic evenings. As such, I continue to go through the previous week's releases and pull a couple of recommendations for you.

This week was a bit slow, it's the calm before the storm, though, as just today a veritable avalanche of new titles were added. I'll sift through those and have some great choices for you next weekend for sure. For now, let's take a look at middle-aged dudes getting into the synchronized swimming business and a refreshingly down-to-Earth Scottish romance.

THE SWIMSUIT ISSUE

A group of middle-aged men find themselves without a hobby when they lose their time slot at the rec center where they played floor hockey. For a bachelor party they (naturally) create a video of themselves doing a synchronized swimming routine. As it so happens, the video is hilarious and lands them legit work as a team. Results are mixed until post-training montage. Sure, it's a familiar story but there's just something about aging men (and women) willing to embarrass themselves to pursue unlikely endeavors that simultaneously makes us laugh and gives our heartstrings the faintest of tugs. THE SWIMSUIT ISSUE follows the formula precisely with a few weighty issues (fatherhood, self-esteem) tackled gingerly. That the film is Swedish should have no bearing at all on your ability to enjoy it. (Available in HD)

GREGORY'S GIRL

This is a romantic coming-of-age comedy that isn't about the handsome jock and the homecoming queen - a trapping in these kinds of movies that usually keeps us from asking "if" and, instead, forces us to dwell on the much more boring "when". In fact, our lead, Gregory, is a rather goofy-looking fellow whose ineptitude on the soccer films leads to a female replacement named Dorothy. Gregory immediately falls in love with her and ignores fellow schoolmates pleas for him to pursue Susan. If the "q word" wasn't banned in the column, I'd considering using it here. GREGORY'S GIRL is a film full of pleasures found in the idiosyncratic side plots that define the characters so wonderfully in the central narrative. Culturally alien at times- it's a Scottish movie and set in a suburb of Glasgow- the raw emotions are never unrecognizable and are never forced. It is a standout example of a genre that is mostly and frustratingly homogenized.

The Wildcard - THE ALIEN GIRL

A gritty Russian crime thriller set in 1993. Even familiar stories filtered through Russian filmmaking sensibilities usually turn out interesting enough and I have hope that THE ALIEN GIRL energizes the weekend. I wasn't able to find a subtitled trailer, but the one below should give you a good feeling of the tone of the film.

If you're looking for more...

As promised a few weeks ago, MESRINE PART 2: PUBLIC ENEMY #1(the second half of the Vincent Cassel starring biopic about the French gangster) is ready for your consumption. MICMACSplays like Jean-Pierre Jeunet was trying to out-Jeunet himself- it's completely forgettable but a fun watch. ONE WEEK is a road movie starring Joshua Jackson and is the most Canadian movie added this week. Despite my personal quibbles with its third act, I can safely say everyone should take the time to watch Scorsese's GANGS OF NEW YORK. Even lesser Bergman is still better than most of the stuff you'll come across sifting through the Instant offerings on any given day, so go ahead and queue THE PASSION OF ANNA. John Ford's apologetic Western CHEYENNE AUTUMNis an uneven effort but an important part of the master director's filmography. HOT SUMMER DAYS is an exceedingly sweet Japanese film about interwoven romantic encounters. Mike Leigh's film about a '50 era abortionist in London, VERA DRAKE, is available now. THE MIRROR CRACK'Dis a faithful Agatha Christie adaptation with Angela Lansbury as Ms. Marple. Early Hitchcock is always interesting when studying the evolution of the director's craft, so give MURDER! a watch. FORBIDDEN GAMES is the story of two children and their developing understanding of death during WWII. Finally, MAFIOSO is a wonderful Italian comedy about deep family ties to organized crime.

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