Thursday, June 25, 2015

June Expiration Watch: Too Many to Tally

Impossible mission, indeed
Well, Netflix has gone and done it: there are officially more titles expiring this month than I have the capacity to process. A good number of these arrived within the last six months, many as recently as April, which makes them even more disheartening to tabulate. Plus, with a large batch of very familiar titles scheduled to return next month, I'm feeling beyond burnt-out in trying to track every coming and going (and coming...and going...). Add to that Netflix's steady stream of original content, mid-month announcements, and the ubiquity of news stories on the company's every move, and this blog has now outgrown one (unpaid) person's ability to manage it.

On a personal level, I'm also finding it increasingly difficult to balance the needs of this site with my own creative work, especially given the number of hours now required to simply update these lists and moderate the comments from all the many helpful contributors out there. Since I don't like the idea of shutting the blog down completely—something I'd been considering—I'm going to instead attempt some streamlining.

A change in approach

My plan, as of now, is to continue to post updates on what's new and what's expiring, but with a few key changes:
  1. Updates such as this will consist mainly of lists, with a minimum of editorial comment.
  2. Lists will narrow their focus to titles I can personally recommend, in keeping with the blog's original intent.
  3. These semi-monthly posts will replace the standalone Expiring and What's New pages.
  4. The current Expiring page will be converted into a discussion area, since the increasingly general nature of the comments there seems to dictate such a space is necessary (plus I'm not quite ready to start an actual forum).

Thursday, June 11, 2015

June's New Arrivals (and Early Departures)

A small but interesting mix of new and returning titles hit Netflix Instant this month. But before we get to those I should point out a handful of mid-month departures that will definitely be missed...

Leaving Soon

Tin Man
At 12:01 AM on the 15th, Netflix will no longer be streaming Alejandro González Iñárritu's Amores Perros (2000). Like the director's later efforts, such as Babel (2006) and 21 Grams (2003), his feature debut is supposed to be quite good if also a bit intense (especially if you're squeamish about violence toward animals). Iñárritu's more recent Biutiful (2010) also expires this month (on the 27th), which means the director of last year's Oscar-winning Birdman will soon be entirely absent from Netflix—a situation we hope is only temporary.

Departing on the same day as Amores Perros is the Wizard of Oz reboot, Tin Man, a 2007 miniseries starring Zooey Deschanel that's more enjoyable than it has any right to be, especially given the many past attempts at recreating the magic of the 1939 original. This one manages to be both sequel and update, and uses its extended running time to tell a rich tale that allows for many charming—and frightening—moments. Suitable for adults and children alike, the show's impressive cast also includes Alan Cumming and Richard Dreyfuss.

June 19 will see the departure of three movies that arrived in March, marking only a brief, three-month stay for multi-Oscar-winner Amadeus (1984), Arnold Schwarzenegger's 2002 revenge flick, Collateral Damage, and the Sandra Bullock/Nicole Kidman romantic witch comedy, Practical Magic (1998). Granted, the latter two are light entertainment at best, but the fact that they lasted just three months seemed worth noting. (Why, Netflix?)