Agora (2009)—and what continues to transpire even in our own, apparently enlightened, age.
Downfall (2004)The Oscar-nominated account of the Nazis' final days, told for the first time through German eyes. As Adolf Hitler, Bruno Ganz brings astonishing passion to the beleaguered tyrant hunkering down in his bunker while the Russians pound Berlin into submission. His performance, as well as those of the rest of the sprawling cast, are almost enough to make you feel bad for one of the most evil regimes in recorded history. At the very least you can glimpse the humanity coexisting beside all that evil. But humans, as we know, can be persuaded (especially by a charismatic whackjob) to do some pretty horrible things—and justify themselves every step of the way. If you haven't been too tainted by the countless YouTube parodies of a key scene in the film, then Downfall makes a compelling watch, a rubbernecking at history that offers a new perspective for aficionados of WWII, while providing an unsettling example of sinking-ship cinema for everyone else.
Also expiring: The Boondock Saints (1999), which I haven't seen but which definitely has its fans. I did see the documentary, Overnight, which showed the film's writer/director, Troy Duffy, alienating everyone and their mother (and grandmother) in the course of making and releasing his film. He even managed to make Harvey Weinstein look warm and fuzzy—no mean feat. As for Saints, if you're into Willem Dafoe and the world of small-time Boston gangsters, then check it out.
Getting SneakyRegarding the sudden disappearance of a number of indie and foreign titles that occurred on August 1, there is yet to be a proper explanation from Netflix. For the record, those titles were not listed here, or anywhere else for that matter, because Netflix failed to provide any kind of warning (including the standard one-week notice that's supposed to appear in online queues). This is extremely unusual, and something I hope won't become a precedent for future expirations. I'll continue to look into this and pass along any info that comes my way. In the meantime, below are the titles this site would have listed had I known they were getting the axe. (Special thanks to regular commenter Linklisa for drawing this to my attention.)
EXPIRED JULY 31
2 Days in Paris (2007)
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2008)
Blame It on Fidel (2006)
I'm Reed Fish (2007)
John Waters: This Filthy World (2008)
Maxed Out (2006)
Puccini for Beginners (2006)
The Puffy Chair (2005)
The Red Balloon (1956)
This Is England (2006)