I’m proud to say that this post marks the 3 year anniversary of the Netflix Film Festival series. Over the last 3 years I’ve brought you, dear reader, nearly 200 great, funky, moving, and hilariously bad movies for your viewing pleasure. I’d like to thank you for reading this and Paracinema for being the home of this article for so long. 3 years is like 30 in internet years. It’s a big deal for me and I thank you from the bottom of my heart which like the Grinch was two sizes too small and is now far too large, swollen with pride. Or possibly cholesterol. While I visit my cardiologist, please check out this month’s selections!
Blue Ruin (2014)
Directed by the team that brought us Murder Party, which I covered here, Blue Ruin is a revenge story that blew me away. It will easily make my top 10 best of the year, and so far I’ve watched nearly 400 films, so that is saying a lot. Well acted, written with soul and passion, directed with skill, this film represents everything that is great about independent film. If you don’t watch this one, I don’t want to be friends anymore. Seriously.
This documentary about young Danish soldiers going off to war is moving, chilling, and memorable. Think Restrepo but with kids that look like they should still be hanging on their mother’s apron strings. Get a first hand look at the war in Afghanistan, if you can stand the view.
Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation (2004)
Recently I revisited Starship Troopers and decided to take the plunge with it’s sequel. When it came out I remember laughing it off, saying there was no way it could be as good as the original, and disregarded it completely. I shouldn’t have. Indeed, it isn’t anything like the original and that is what really undermines the film. It’s about a group of troopers stranded on an outpost, surrounded by bugs. Tensions rise and a new bug is discovered inside that turns humans into automatons. It’s a great flick with good gore, solid acting, and a good plot. Plus it’s got Ed Lauter in it which is always a good thing. Had the film not been called Starship Troopers 2 and had an original title, I believe it would be a cult hit by now. It only had 5% budget of the original film so there’s no way it could ever compete. It shouldn’t have had to. There’s no way this script started life as a Starship Troopers movie, it must have been re-purposed as a cheap cash in, but one that’s actually worth your time. Hell, it was directed by an Oscar winning special effects guru, so you know you’re gonna get some good grue. It’s more horror than sci-fi and is all the better for it.
The Motel Life (2013)
Starring Emile Hirsch, Stephen Dorff, Dakota Fanning(!), and Kris Kristofferson, this small drama is a solid indie flick that showcases how great these actors really are. Stephen Dorff has done a lot of bad flicks, but this isn’t one of them. It’s about two inseparable brothers that have dealt with more than their fair share of trouble, just trying to survive. When one of them accidentally kills a pedestrian, things get worse.
Big Bad Wolves (2013)
Quentin Tarantino said this was the best film of the year. I wouldn’t go that far, but this Israeli horror/suspense flick is indeed very well done. The subject matter is tough but the handling of the material is oddly funny throughout the whole film. A father kidnaps the man who he suspects killed his daughter and decides to torture him into telling the truth. Nasty stuff, but somehow they manage to squeeze in funny situational and familial humor amidst such awful subject matter. Not nearly as brutal as the synopsis suggests, it’s still a tough watch with an even tougher ending. If you like your cinema mean, check this one out.