Saturday, June 28, 2014

June Expiration Watch: Art of the Tease

Turns out some of the more impressive additions to Instant these last few months were little more than loaners. I'm not really sure the point of acquiring streaming rights to a film for only two or three months (why not six? or a year?), but if you were excited by such recent additions as The Terminator, Chinatown, Angel Heart, and classic Kubrick and Scorsesenot to mention the perennially peripatetic James Bond filmsthen you better get your licks in while you can.

And since no one else seems to be tracking this, here are the most notable films that debuted on the service in recent months that are now expiring:

Arrived in May

Bang the Drum Slowly (1973)
James Bond Films (list below)

Arrived in April

Angel Heart (1987)
Bad Company (1972)
Chinatown (1974) - review
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) - review
Dragonslayer (1981)
Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
The Odd Couple (1968)
Roger Dodger (2002)
Spanglish (2004)
Rocky (1976) + sequels
The Running Man (1987)
The Terminator (1984)

Arrived in March

As Good As It Gets (1997)
Dr. Strangelove (1964) - review
Gattaca (1997)
Taxi Driver (1976)

A bit less egregiousif only because they had a good six-month runare several upcoming departures that debuted back in January, including the masterful Raging Bull (1980), the irreverent Spaceballs (1987), and Mike Figgis' noteworthy real-time experiment, Hotel (2003).

A few older films are also taking a hit. Not all are top-tier classics, but each has its merits. Of course anytime a title from before 1970 leaves Netflix, it's cause for mourning. So if you have any interest in such classic-era stars as James Stewart, Tony Curtis, Debbie Reynolds, Rex Harrison, and James Mason, give any or all of these a look:

Call Northside 777 (1948)
The Desert Fox (1951)

It's clear the 1970s also won't be faring too well in this month's purge. Joining the above lists are Stanley Donen's musical adaptation of the beloved childrens book, The Little Prince (1974)featuring Bob Fosse and a Willy Wonka-era Gene Wilderand Jonathan Demme's Citizen's Band (1977), one of the director's lesser-known efforts, with the underrated Paul LeMat and Candy Clark leading a refreshingly unglamorous ensemble. Both of these films will be saying sayonara at midnight on June 30.

Granted, a number of equally worthy titles will be making their way to the service in July—including a handful of welcome classics and a couple of Star Trek movies to replace the departing Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)but that's little consolation when Netflix keeps dangling such high-caliber titles as those above only to yank them just as we're getting used to seeing them in our queues ("Look! It's Taxi Driver! Psych!"). Frankly it feels like a bit of a shell game to me, and even though I knowand as Netflix insistsmany of these titles will reappear at a future date, it's frustrating not knowing when, or if, that might happen. So I'll continue to do my best to stay on top of such monthly shenanigans, both for myself and everyone else who cares about such things. In the meantime, we've got some serious streaming to do

June 29

Into the Woods (1990)
Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011)
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)
The Vicious Kind (2009)

June 30

Aeon Flux (2005)
The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965)
Angel Heart (1987)
As Good As It Gets (1997)
Assassination Tango (2002)
Bad Company (1972)
Bang the Drum Slowly (1973)
Call Northside 777 (1948)
Chinatown (1974) - Review
Citizen's Band (1977)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) - Review
The Desert Fox (1951)
Dragonslayer (1981)
Dr. Strangelove (1964) - Review
Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)
Gattaca (1997)
Girl, Interrupted (1999)
Hotel (2003)
Johnny Carson: King of Late Night (2012)
Killing Zoe (1993)
Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
Less Than Zero (1987)
The Little Prince (1974)
Masterpiece episodes (check your queue)
Mother (1996)
Nip/Tuck (2003-2009)
The Odd Couple (1968) 
Private Parts (1997)
The Rat Race (1960)
Resident Evil (2002)
Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964)
Rocky (1976) + sequels
Roger Dodger (2002)
Rubber (2010)
Same Time, Next Year (1978)
Spaceballs (1987)
Spanglish (2004)
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
Swimming Pool (2003)
The Running Man (1987)
Taxi Driver (1976)
The Terminator (1984)
Tokyo Godfathers (2003)

JAMES BOND - Reviews of select titles
From Russia with Love (1963)
Goldfinger (1964)
You Only Live Twice (1967)
Live and Let Die (1973)
For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Never Say Never Again (1983)
A View to a Kill (1985)
The Living Daylights (1987)

July 1

Butter (2011)
Raging Bull (1980)

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