Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May 2015: What's New / What's Leaving

Before I get into what's expiring this month, I want to take a moment to acknowledge all the great titles that showed up on Netflix in May. For various reasons I wasn't able to comment on them earlier, so I want to at least call out the most notable.

The Newly Welcome

The marquee titles you probably already know (and/or have an opinion) about: The Blues Brothers (1980), David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986), The Exorcist (1973), Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds (2009), John Woo's The Killer (1989), Legally Blonde (2001), Leon: The Professional (1994), and The Sixth Sense (1999). Oh, and the zombie-beaver movie the world's been waiting for: 2014's Zombeavers. These represent an excellent mix of new and old, violent and funny, and—in the cases of Lynch and Tarantino—a mix of all four.

But there's also the underrated Assassins (1995), a surprisingly entertaining Sylvester Stallone/Antonio Banderas action flick (based on a script by the Wachowskis); Bus Stop (1956), showcasing one of Marilyn Monroe's best performances (and the first new MM title since the March purge); Tom DiCillo's playful, satirical look at the movie business, The Real Blonde (1998); an obscure 1970s western called Santee (1973), starring Glenn Ford; the uniformly excellent indie drama, In the Bedroom (2001), which received a boatload of Oscar nominations; and a couple of acclaimed documentaries, Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man (2005) and Martin Scorsese's The Last Waltz (1978). The latter disappeared for a few days due to technical difficulties, but seems to be back up now and makes a surprising but welcome addition to the Instant catalog.

Equally welcome are the returning titles, which include such stalwarts as Big Trouble in Little China (1986), Internal Affairs (1990), and Saturday Night Fever (1977), but also less well-known pics like Peter Bogdanovich's amusing tale of 1920s Hollywood, The Cat's Meow (2001), and Jay and Mark Duplass's first feature, The Puffy Chair (2005). And then there are a couple of scruffy 1970s films: Hal Ashby's Harold and Maude (1971) and the brutal Nick Nolte football comedy, North Dallas Forty (1979), both of which were reviewed the last time they showed up. It's nice to see these join The Exorcist, Bus Stop, and The Last Waltz as proof that Netflix hasn't entirely given up on pre-1982 films.

The Dearly Departed

That was this month's good news. The bad news is that for all the excellent new streaming titles, a boatload of topnotch films are also taking the fall before month's end.

Bram Stoker's Dracula gets cut
Do you like big-name studio movies, especially from the '90s, featuring lots of big stars? Then take some last lingering looks at American Beauty (1999), Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), Frankie and Johnny (1991), Groundhog Day (1993), the better-than-it-looks Picture Perfect (1997)—directed by Moonlighting's Glenn Gordon Caron—and Jonathan Demme's chilling-but-overpraised Silence of the Lambs (1991). Representing earlier decades are Fred Zinnemann's final film, Julia (1977), and Barry Levinson's Rain Man (1988), while pulling post-millennial duty is 2005's Syriana.

For anyone counting, all of the above earned a ridiculous number of Academy Awards, including three Best Pictures. But if that doesn't impress you, and you'd prefer a campy rebuttal to so much showbiz glory, check out 1967's Valley of the Dolls, also expiring. Who needs Hollywood glamour, anyway?

Distinctly less glamorous are the indies about to expire, which doesn't make them any less worthy. In fact, The Madness of King George (1994), a low-budget British import, was nominated for a few Oscars of its own, as was the brilliant French animated film, The Triplets of Belleville (2003). There are also two U.S. indies: James Toback's 1998 Two Girls and a Guy—featuring Robert Downey Jr., at his most wackily self-indulgent, opposite Heather Graham and Natasha Gregson Wagner; and Richard Linklater's animated dreamscape, Waking Life (2001), which marks the second animated film for grownups that will soon be MIA.

For kids, there's family favorite The Man from Snowy River (1982), which hails from Australia and stars Kirk Douglas and Tom Burlinson (and was directed by the Australian George Miller who did not direct the Mad Max movies, in case you're wondering). Also being put out to pasture are Born Free (1966), the classic lion flick that isn't a Disney cartoon; and 2005's remake of Lassie, starring Peter O'Toole and Samantha Morton. I wish I could offer some consolation in the new releases, but the only incoming title that's not decidedly adult is the recent animated entry, The Boxtrolls (2014). [5/27 Update: The 2009 season of Bill Nye, the Science Guy just showed up, so there's also that.]

These showed up in May of 2014, so you've had a year to work your way through the many moods, shapes, allies, and enemies of Toho's favorite city-stomper. If you still haven't experienced Rodan, Monster Zero, or the adorable Minya, now's the time to do so. Below is your handy scorecard—print, clip, and circle your faves!

| -------------------------------------------------------------|
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (1954)               |
Godzilla Raids Again (1955)                              |
Rodan (1956)                                                    |
Ghidora: The Three-Headed Monster (1964)    |
Godzilla vs. Mothra (1964)                                |
Godzilla vs. Monster Zero (1965)                      |
Godzilla's Revenge (1969)                                |
Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)                         |
| -------------------------------------------------------------|

It's never too late to watch a good butt-kicking—unless you have in mind the specific butt-kickings in expiring movies like Robert Rodriguez's no-budget El Mariachi (1992), cult faves Tank Girl (1995) and Snatch (2000), or the gritty badness of 1987's Billy Dee Williams vehicle, Number One With a Bullet. Inhabiting the higher end of the budget scale are a trio of commercial bombs that have formed cult followings since their release: the flawed-but-interesting Arnold Schwarzenegger flop, Last Action Hero (1993), the superhero-without-a-franchise adventure, The Rocketeer (1991), and Paul Verhoeven's unjustly maligned fascist war satire, Starship Troopers (1997). Also in the mix is Matt Dillon's feature writing-directing debut, City of Ghosts (2003), which I confess to knowing nothing about but am intrigued by its cast, which includes James Caan, Natasha McElhone, and Gerard Depardieu.

Starship Troopers: Like, eww


Anna Karenina (1948)
Assassins (1995)
Author! Author! (1982)
Bill Nye, The Science Guy (2009)
Blue Velvet (1986)
The Blues Brothers (1980)
The Boxtrolls (2014)
Bus Stop (1956)
La Chambre Bleu (2014)
Cypher (2002)
Double Whammy (2001)
The Epic of Everest (1924)
The Exorcist (1973)
Fruitvale Station (2013)
Grace and Frankie: Season 1 (2014)
Grizzly Man (2005)
The Homesman (2014)
The House on Telegraph Hill (1951)
In Dreams (1999)
In the Bedroom (2001)
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Iris (2001)
Jimi: All is by My Side (2013)
The Killer (1989)
Kiss of Death (1995)
The Last Waltz (1978)
Leap of Faith (1992)
Legally Blonde (2001)
Leon: The Professional (1994)
Liberty Stands Still (2002)
The Longest Week (2014)
Longmire: Season 3 (2014)
Mad Hot Ballroom (2005)
A Man Called Peter (1955)
National Treasure (2004)
Nobody's Fool (1994)
No No: A Dockumentary (2014)
Payback (1999)
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (2005)
Rabbit Hole (2010)
Ravenous (1999)
The Real Blonde (1998)
Rush (1991)
Santee (1973)
Say Ahh... (2014)
Shameless: Series 10 (2013)
The Sixth Sense (1999)
Stripped (2014)
Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990)
A Trip to the Moon: Color Restoration (1902)
Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)
Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
Witnesses: Season 1 (2014)
Zombeaver (2014)

1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992)
The Animatrix (2003)
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Blown Away (1992)
The Cat's Meow (2001)
Dirty Girl (2010)
From the Terrace (1960)
Harold and Maude (1971) - Review
Internal Affairs (1990) - Review
Intersection (1994)
Men in Black II (2002)
North Dallas Forty (1979) - Review
Novocaine (2001)
The People vs. George Lucas (2010) - Review
The Puffy Chair (2005)
Saturday Night Fever (1977) - Review
Super Troopers (2001)


May 30

Groundhog Day (1993)
Starship Troopers (1997)

May 31

American Beauty (1999) - Review
And God Created Woman (1988) - Review
Best Seller (1987)
Born Free (1966)
Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
The Bride (1985)
City of Ghosts (2003)
Cousin Bette (1998)
Dance with Me (1998)
Dream Lover (1994) - Review
El Mariachi (1992)
Event Horizon (1997)
Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998)
Frankie and Johnny (1991) - Review
G.I. Jane (1997)
The Great Queen Seondeok (2009)
Julia (1977)
Lassie (2005)
Last Action Hero (1993)
Madison (2005)
The Madness of King George (1994)
The Man from Snowy River (1982)
Number One With a Bullet (1987)
The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
Picture Perfect (1997)
Rain Man (1988) - Review
The Reef (2006)
Reign Over Me (2007)
The Rocketeer (1991)
Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Smilla's Sense of Snow (1997)
Snatch (2000)
Swept Away (2002)
Syriana (2005)
Tank Girl (1995) - Review
Triplets of Belleville (2003) - Review
Two Girls and a Guy (1998)
Valley of the Dolls (1967)
Waking Life (2001)

GODZILLA & CO. - Review
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (1956)
Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
Rodan (1956)
Ghidora: The Three-Headed Monster (1964)
Godzilla vs. Mothra (1964)
Godzilla vs. Monster Zero (1965)
Godzilla's Revenge (1969)
Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)


SewTypical said...

Hey! I just want to say thanks a lot for these great posts about what's on Netflix this month. Netflix should pay to write them!

David Speranza said...

Thanks, glad you find them helpful. And, yeah, I wish they would!

Achernar said...

Also new, the recently restored "Epic of Everest" 1924, documentary film of the third Everest expedition, the one where Mallory, "Because it's there." and Irvine died.

Mallory was finally found in 1999 (obviously not covered in the 1924 film). Irvine is still missing.

David Speranza said...

Cool, I wasn't aware of that one. Thanks for the heads up, will check it out.

boopboop said...

Wow, I am so glad to have run into this site. Thanks for updating!!! :)

Achernar said...

Le voyage dans la lune (Color), 1902, Georges Méliès. I believe that this showed up yesterday.

Restoration of an original hand-colored print discovered in 1993 and restored in 2011.

I am not absolutely sure, but I believe that this may be the oldest color film still in existance.