King of the Hill (1993)(FYI, no relation to the Mike Judge cartoon series)
Following the success of sex, lies and videotape and the mess that was Kafka, Steven Soderbergh's third film received glowing reviews (it was nominated for the Palm d'Or at Cannes) but almost no audience. Based on a memoir by A.E. Hotchner, this coming of age tale set in the Great Depression follows a 12-year-old boy (played by a young Jesse Bradford) who has to fend for himself in a seedy St. Louis hotel after his mother ends up in the hospital and his salesman father has to hit the road to make ends meet.
|Jesse (Taylor) Bradford|
|And the magic number is...|
Another Day in Paradise (1998)One thing you can say about Larry Clark, director of Kids and photographic chronicler of the young and unstrung: he doesn't pull his punches. Call him honest or just exploitative, but going in to one of his films you know you're going to encounter examples of youthful behavior that don't exactly paint our species in the most flattering (or buttoned-up) light. No sugarcoating here, boys and girls. And yet, uncomfortable as they make us, we often end up caring for Clark's little devils. What's refreshing about Another Day in Paradise is that it's equally generous in its depiction of adults-gone-wrong, in this case the two criminal junkies played by James Woods (who else?) and Melanie Griffith. Along for the ride—in this case literally, since this is a road movie—are two young lovers played by former indie darling Natasha Gregson Wagner and Mad Men's own Pete Campbell—that is, Vincent Kartheiser, like you've never seen him before (young, skinny, frequently unclothed).
|Pete, we hardly knew ye|
Sex and Lucia (2002)
- See full review -
Bond, James Bond
|License to smoke—and look suave doing it|
And last but not least, a bucketload of James Bond movies returned to Netflix Instant after being removed in January.* Among those are a couple of Sean Connery classics, Roger Moore's two best contributions, and one from the underrated Timothy Dalton, who lent Bond a gravitas that wouldn't return until Daniel Craig donned the familiar tux.
(*4/9 UPDATE: It seems these films, along with much of the MGM/UA catalog, are due to expire at the end of April. That puts them in both the What's New and About to Expire categories, which is pretty crazy. In other words, stream 'em while you can!)
Dr. No (1962)
What is there to say? Sean Connery defines James Bond for generations to come in this, the first installment of the legendary franchise.
This is the third Bond flick, and it would jumpstart the bigger-is-better philosophy the series came to live—and at times, almost die—by. (Turns out some things do live more than twice.)
Following Man with the Golden Gun and Live and Let Die, all the elements finally come together for Roger Moore as 007, with the perfect mix of action, humor, gadgets, car chases, and babes (was there ever a Russian spy more alluring than Barbara Bach?). This one has something for everyone, including a guy with metal teeth and the series' best theme song, Carly Simon's "Nobody Does It Better."
For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Bond in a minor key following the bloated sci-fi fiasco of Moonraker. It seems every decade or so the series tries to atone for the sins of a particularly misguided installment and recapture its roots as a spy thriller. For Your Eyes Only is actually a personal favorite, as it eschews the usual arsenal of Bond conventions in favor of a more grounded approach (much like another fave, From Russia With Love). Roger Moore actually seems human here, implicitly acknowledging his age by not bedding the adoring young cutie, while the stunts and villain are back to a human scale not seen since Live and Let Die. This is a Bond where relationships—and subtlety—count far more than quips and special effects. Plus, you don't mess around with Carole Bouquet toting a crossbow.
Licence to Kill (1989)
|Some call him...Tim|