Navigating Netflix: April 2017

A familiar refrain amongst Netflix subscribers is that there just simply isn’t anything to watch. That simply isn’t true, you’ve just been looking in all the wrong places. So instead of boring yourself silly watching Parks and Recreation for the ninth time, mix things up with one of my ten Netflix picks for April 2017.

The Absolute Must See: No Country For Old Men

country

Listen up. If you haven’t seen No Country For Old Men by this point you are doing yourself a disservice. This masterpiece by the Coen Brothers is an absolute wonder of suspense and palpable thrills that can only be found in a creation by some really brilliant directors. You will watch in awe as this captivating game of cat and mouse unfolds as an unlucky Josh Brolin finds himself pursued by the terrifying incarnation of the antichrist that is Javier Bardem. Bardem has never been better as he delivers a bone-chillingly haunting performance that helps make this film a serious contender for the best of the 21st century.

The Indie Comedy For Beginners: Adventureland

adventureland

There is an entire treasure trove of independent comedy out there for those who aren’t familiar with the genre. Most casual moviegoers probably aren’t very literate in films of this category, and really, they’re missing out. It’s a style of film characterized by quirky characters, casually bleak humor and oftentimes hipster-esque existential teenagers who are attempting to make their way through the world. If you’re looking to begin your journey into this world, there’s not many better places to start than Adventureland. Despite its name, this is not a direct to DVD sequel to Tomorrowland, but rather a 2009 comedic drama about the lives of two disgruntled teenagers working a crummy summer job at a worn-down Amusement Park. Check this one out for a hilarious duo of Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig in small parts as well as just for the novelty of seeing a movie that manages to make both Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart likable.

The Independent Comedy For Veterans: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

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Once you’ve got a couple indie comedies under your belt, make sure you check out this brilliant comedy from the king of the indie movie, Mr. Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom). If you’re used to comedies like Daddy’s Home or The Hangover sequels, then it’s advised you get more versed in the indie genre first or else you will probably be disarmed by the film’s unabashed quirkiness. This is one of the most Andersonesque movies you’ll see and brings his whimsical charm to the story of Bill Murray as the washed-up aquatic explorer Steve Zissou. Definitely give this oft-overlooked comedy a shot if that interests you.

The Delicious Documentary: Jiro Dreams of Sushi

jiro

You would not believe how entertaining this documentary about Sushi-making is. Jiro Dreams of Sushi chronicles the tale of the most expensive restaurant in the world; a tiny little sushi joint in Japan of mythic reputation. This documentary has become somewhat of a legend in the film community, garnering huge accolades and even a parody on IFC’s Documentary Now! This is a pleasant afternoon watch that will sweep you off your feet with shots of delicious sushi and compelling interviews with the craftsmen that make it.

The Dark Thriller: Nightcrawler

nightcrawler

There are few films more viscerally gripping than 2014’s Nightcrawler. The story of a man who gets a little too obsessed with chasing news stories, the tension builds as the stories get more and more graphic until he begins making the news himself. This film is a masterwork of suspense that keeps the audience glued to the screen from start to finish. It’s biggest strength is who it has at the helm: the most overlooked actor of our generation: The incomparable Jake Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhaal’s transformative performance will reach into your chest, take hold of your soul and shake it to its very core.

The Movie For Everyone: Kubo and the Two Strings

kubo X

If you must blink do it now. Man, how many more praises can I sing for this film? I already named it the best film of the summer in my full review of it last year so I won’t take up too much space here as I think I’ve already cheered it to death. I only included it on this list because I think it’s a film that everyone deserves to see, and now that it’s included with your Netflix subscription you’ve run out of excuses! Just watch it, you will not be disappointed.

The Overlooked Masterpiece: The Prestige

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The Prestige has never gotten the attention that it deserves. A 2006 film from director Christopher Nolan, this production follows the story of two competing magicians who are engaged in a dangerous game of one-upmanship that will keep you engaged for the duration of its runtime. This film is riveting, brilliantly directed and terrifically portrayed with a master class of actors. The Prestige has found its way into my favorite movies list and will likely forever be regarded by myself as Nolan’s best work, save for The Dark Knight. I highly, highly recommend it.

The Simple Experience: Begin Again

begin again

What is Begin Again? I’m not really sure how to describe it. It doesn’t really feel like a movie so much as it does an intimate look into the lives of a down on his luck music producer and an aspiring recording artist. These roles are of course filled by Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley with a supporting cast of James Corden, Hailee Steinfeld, and a surprisingly honest Adam Levine. This is a charming little movie that will simply just endear itself to you with its characters. It is a quasi-musical with a great soundtrack that I still listen to on Spotify. Plus, it’s directed by the guy who directed Sing Street! So watch it for no other reason than that.

The Foreign Thrillride: Train to Busan

busan

This is a Korean Zombie Movie. Still with me? Great. Train to Busan was an unbelievable foreign film that came out last year and just barged its way into the consciousness of all who saw it. It brings life to a genre that is occupied by far too many cheese fests and well-meaning satires that ultimately help the concept to be watered down beyond belief. Train To Busan, on the other hand, is all business. And that business is an hour and forty-five minutes of radical zombie-killing action that makes up some of the most intriguing choreography you will see in your life. Plus, it’s already been greenlit to have an American Remake which will undoubtedly be absolute crap so you should probably see this one before that vomits its way into Western screens.

The Weird One: Super

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Long before he was captivating millions with the revolutionary Guardians of the Galaxy, director James Gunn was experimenting with the superhero genre all the way back in 2010. This is the “realistic” superhero film that Kick-Ass promised to be and finds Rainn Wilson (Dwight from the Office) tackling justice in a homemade costume with the help of his plucky sidekick played by Ellen Page (Juno from Juno). This movie is delightfully bizarre and has some of the most ridiculous humor you will ever be graced with. It’s worth a viewing late at night when you’re tired of watching The Office.

 

 

Need more recommendations? Here are ten more picks from last month.

 

 

-Ethan Brundeen

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2 thoughts on “Navigating Netflix: April 2017

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