To reiterate a suggestion I previously made, if you’re a filmmaker/producer/distributor reading this, and your film is streaming on Netflix, please let me know. Netflix unfortunately doesn’t have what I feel should be a more efficient search/sort method, and it can be quite a chore trying to find something worth watching. So, help me out if you can.
The same goes for non-filmmakers. If you stumble across any titles that you think should be featured in this weekly series, let me know!
But as usual… These aren’t necessarily recommendations. Consider the list more of an FYI – films and TV shows we’ve talked about on this site, at one time or another, that are now streaming on Netflix, that you might want to check out for yourselves.
Without further ado, here’s this week’s list of 5:
1 – The rockumentary A Band Called Death is already streaming on Netflix, not long after its limited theatrical run over the summer.
Directed by Jeff Howlett and Mark Covino, the film tells the not-widely-known story of Death – formed in the early ’70s by three teenage brothers from Detroit (the Hackney brothers, David, Bobby, and Dannis), and credited as being the first black punk band, now considered pioneers in their field decades later.
It’s equal parts electrifying rockumentary and epic family chronicle, and should be seen.
It’s recommended viewing – especially for those unfamiliar with the band (as I was before I first learned about the film a couple of yeas ago).
The film’s rocking trailer is embedded for you to watch below:
2 – The Nine Muses, from award-winning Ghanaian-born Brit director, John Akomfrah, is now more accessible than ever before!
The experimental film, a past S&A highlight, is an allegorical fable divided into overlapping musical chapters, and retells the history of mass migration to post-war Britain through the suggestive lens of Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey.
A little background on Akomfrah for those unaware (although his name has come up many times on this blog, most recently for his latest work, The Stuart Hall Project) – originally from Accra, Ghana, Akomfrah moved to the UK as a child. He studied art and sociology in college. At 28, he made his seminal film, Handsworth (1986), about racial and civil strife of 1980s Britain, and has since made 16+ other films, including Seven Songs for Malcolm X (1993), Martin Luther King: Days of Hope (1997) and The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong (1999).
In 1982, he co-founded the Black Audio Film Collective, with the objectives of addressing issues of Black British identity.
If you’ve never seen a John Akomfrah film, consider this your introduction:
3- Ava DuVernay’s critically-acclaimed I Will Follow (pre-Middle Of Nowhere) is a film that I doubt needs an intro on this blog.
Starring Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Omari Hardwick, Michole White and others, the film follows a day in the life of a woman coming to terms with the recent death of a beloved aunt, at a crossroads, as she struggles to maintain balance.
It’s a film we covered quite extensively – interviews with cast and crew, reviews of the film, and more.
If you still haven’t seen it, and you have a Netflix streaming account, here’s your opportunity to do so.
Watch the trailer below:
4 – Said to be the first original documentary from Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network, Serving Life aired on the channel in 2011.
Produced by Forest Whitaker, who also narrates the film, Serving Life gives the viewer a look inside the maximum-security Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, LA, where the prisoners – most in jail for violent crimes like murderer and rape – volunteer to work in the prison’s hospice, as part of their sentence and rehab, helping other prisoners who are suffering from life-ending sicknesses.
Specifically, the documentary follows four inmates as they train for their new roles in a vigorous two-week orientation, teaching them how to feed, bathe and care for their peers while they’re on their deathbeds.
The OWN doc is now streaming on Netflix.
5 – A show that maybe should’ve received more press than it did, given that, when it was on the air (pre-Scandal on ABC), it was one of very few shows (if not the only TV show) at the time that featured a black woman as its central character.
This was 3 long years before Olivia Pope’s name entered into public consciousness. But I don’t recall there being as much of a splash for it, as there was for the latter. Although I should note that while Scandal airs on broadcast network TV, HawthoRNe was a cable TV series, on TNT, meaning its audience wasn’t quite as large (this season’s premiere episode of Scandal drew over 10 million viewers. At its peak, HawthoRNe attracted 3.8 million.
And I’m sure some would argue that it just wasn’t a very good show. I wouldn’t know though, because I never kept up with the series. I did tune in during the first season, for a few episodes, but it didn’t hold my attention, and wasn’t engaging enough for me to continue to return. In the history of TV, medical dramas are plentiful, and so, there has to be something that makes any new one really standout.
The medical drama, which wasn’t all-that well received by critics, would eventually be canceled 2 years later, in 2011. Scandal would premiere in the spring of 2012.
But if you missed the TNT series, which starred Jada Pinkett Smith as a single mom, and the director of nursing at a southern hospital, all of its 3 seasons are currently streaming on Netflix. I actually think I’ll revisit it myself, and watch all 3 seasons in the future.