Streaming Feature: Best of New to Netflix November 2013

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Average: 4.5 (4 votes)

CHICAGO – We’re kicking off a great November of content with another “New to Netflix” feature, in which we help you fill your Netflix queue for the next 30 days. There are some undeniable greats that recently hit the service (like “Say Anything…”) along with some well-known recent hits (like “Olympus Has Fallen”), but we use this feature to track down the films you may miss in the labyrinth of Netflix. With more and more film and TV lovers using broadband providers more often than video stores, Netflix may be the future of entertainment but it’s still annoying to navigate. Let us guide the way. Complete with links so you can add all ten of these directly to your queue.

A Band Called Death
A Band Called Death

A Band Called Death

Netflix Description: Blending a larger-than-life family story and a rock documentary, this film follows David, Bobby and Dannis Hackney, three teenage brothers from Detroit who founded the band Death, commonly regarded as the first black punk group, in the early 1970s.

Why: Because it rocks. This great, inspirational music documentary proves the theory that everything worthwhile will eventually find an audience. The men who made up Death refused to give in to label pressure, choosing to answer a creative drive instead of a commercial one. It didn’t pay off for a generation and it took their children to bring them the fame they deserved. For those who liked “Searching For Sugar Man” (this one’s better).

Blancanieves
Blancanieves

Blancanieves

Netflix Description: Shot in black and white and without dialogue, this unusual take on “Snow White” follows the young daughter of a matador who finds fame after escaping the clutches of her evil stepmother to join a band of bullfighting dwarves.

Why: Because it’s beautiful. One of the last films that Roger Ebert programmed at his EbertFest, this silent gem reimagines the Snow White legend with some of the most striking imagery in years. It’s a mesmerizing, beautiful piece of work that will be on more than a few top tens at the end of the year. See it before then. For those who liked “The Artist” (this one’s better).

Evocateur
Evocateur

Evocateur

Netflix Description: Rude, crude and polarizing, Morton Downey Jr. was the profane right-wing prince of talk show hosts during his brief heyday in the late 1980s. This colorful documentary includes archival footage of Downey’s riotous show with revealing interviews.

Why: Because it’s fascinating. One of the main things you’ll learn about the rise and fall of legendary talk show host Morton Downey Jr. was that his time in the angry spotlight was so amazingly brief. His show was only on a few years, made its waves, and disappeared. It burned bright and burned out. How? Why? For those who want to know how this cycle of fifteen minutes of fame started.

Gallipoli
Gallipoli

Gallipoli

Netflix Description: Australian Director Peter Weir takes on one of his country’s most tragic moments in history: the World War I confrontation with the German allied Turks. As the film leads up to the battle in act three, we get to know the young men destined to be casualties of war. A young Mel Gibson (on the heels of his successful turn in Mad Max) plays one of the innocent doomed. This poignant war drama swept the Australian Film Institute Awards with eight wins.

Why: Because Mel Gibson used to matter. The great Peter Weir, director of “Fearless” and “Dead Poets Society,” helped introduce Gibson to the world with this intense war movie, one that focuses on the people caught up in combat more than the politics of it. For those looking for an ’80s movie that’s not a John Hughes comedy.

The Girl
The Girl

The Girl

Netflix Description: While transporting illegal immigrants across the Texas border, a cash-strapped single mother finds herself caring for a young Mexican girl. Along the way, she’s forced to reexamine her life with a critical eye.

Why: Because Abbie Cornish should be a star. The leading lady of “Bright Star” gives her best performance since that Jane Campion drama in this admittedly melodramatic tale of immigration and motherhood. I have some serious issues with the script but you should see it for Cornish, an actress who delivers every time. Someone get her a movie deserving of her talent. For those interested in modern drama that doesn’t play the multiplex.

The Killing: Season Three
The Killing: Season Three

The Killing: Season Three

Netflix Description: A year after closing the Rosie Larsen case, Sarah Linden is no longer a detective. But when her former partner uncovers a string of gruesome murders connected to her past, Sarah is drawn back into a career she thought she’d left behind.

Why: Because it’s the best season of the twice-canceled AMC show. Maybe you gave up on “The Killing” after the games Veena Sud played at the end of season one? Come back and watch this incredible season of television, one of the best of 2013. Even if you haven’t seen the first two, you can start here as it stands alone. And it’s not on DVD or Blu-ray yet, coming to Netflix first. For those looking for great TV drama now that “Breaking Bad” is over.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Netflix Description: Hapless Clark, exasperated Ellen and their ever-changing kids take on Christmas in this holiday classic. As usual, all their good intentions can’t save them from disaster … or Cousin Eddie, whose surprise visit throws them into disarray.

Why: Because…duh. It’s the holiday season, I wanted to include a holiday movie, and it was this or “The Polar Express.” No contest. If you haven’t seen it in the nearly quarter-century since it was released (yes, I feel old too), then you owe it to yourself to return to the Griswolds very funny Christmas adventure. I still swear allegiance to the original “Vacation” as the best in the series but this is a close second. For those who need a holiday laugh.

The Painting
The Painting

The Painting

Netflix Description: In a world contained in a painting, three races exist: the beautifully colored Alldunns, the incomplete Halfies and the only-outlined Sketchies. Yearning for completion, three friends go on a quest to find the artist so he can finish the painting.

Why: Because not all animation is 3D/CGI American. There’s a wonderful array of international animation, some of it hand-drawn (gasp!), that is creatively leaps and bounds above the awful year we’ve had in US animation, and this is just the latest example. The script is a bit flat but the visuals here are striking, feeling more like moving art than cinema. For those who miss subtlety in animated film.

VHS 2
VHS 2

VHS 2

Netflix Description: Two private eyes investigating the disappearance of a student discover horrific content on a collection of VHS tapes in his home. But these videos don’t just document evil … they actually contain a very dark presence.

Why: Because the middle two segments are arguably the two best horror films of the year. There’s a bit of filler in this superior sequel to the mediocre “V/H/S” but the two center segments, including a bit about a Go Camera on the day of the undead apocalypse and one about a cult that actually connects with the other side, are genius. For those sad that Halloween is over.

Wake in Fright
Wake in Fright

Wake in Fright

Netflix Description: A teacher arrives in a rough outback mining town, planning to stay overnight. But, as his one night stretches to five, he plunges toward his own destruction. The educated man is no more. What is left is a self-loathing man in a desolate wasteland.

Why: Because it rules and was lost for decades. Drafthouse Films uncovered this atmospheric gem that has been called a horror movie by some but it’s such a slow burn, based on human frailty more than slasher killers. I don’t think the people in charge of it understood it in 1971. It’s a film about a man slowly going crazy from boredom and addiction in an area of the world where there’s nothing to do but drink and gamble. It’s mesmerizing. For those looking for something so different that it was buried for most of their lives.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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