Reiterating 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 is this week’s list of 5:
1 – The first film in Austrian filmmaker Ulrich Seidl’s Paradise franchise of films, Paradise: Love – the controversial drama set in Kenya that centers on a 50 year old white woman, sister of a missionary and a mother, who gets involved with a Kenyan “beach boy” as the director describes the character, until she realizes that, in short, this relationship of theirs is really just business; aka *sex tourism*.
Ulrich describes the woman as a “sugar mama” who’s desperate to find love and acceptance, and at the behest of a friend, she goes on vacation to Kenya, where she hopes to find what she’s missing, and hooks up with some young Kenyan stud who may or may not be really interested in her, and who may or may not be a hustler/male prostitute.
In a 2-for-1 deal, another film that tackles a similar subject, although set in Haiti not Kenya, is also streaming on Netflix – Laurent Cantet’s 2005 film Heading South (or Vers le sud). So you can watch both, one, or neither. Your choice.
It’s actually an idea/theme that’s ripe for exploration on film, even though this won’t be the first time, and presents lots of opportunities to dissect matters of race, class, globalization, and subjects that seem to have been rendered taboo.
Trailer (with English subtitles) for Paradise: Love below:
2 – One of several slave-themed dramas released this year (or will be released in the next year), Savannah, starring Jim Caviezel and Chiwetel Ejiofor, who starred in another slavery drama you may have heard of, titled 12 Years A Slave, and has drawn lots of praise for his performance in that film.
In Savannah, he plays a free slave.
It’s a work of historical fiction, based on real events, set during post-Civil War days, in which Caviezel stars as the real-life, “well-educated, eccentric, larger-than-life hunter” named Ward Allen, who develops a unique friendship with a freed slave named Christmas Moultrie, played by Ejiofor.
The film is loosely based on a book by John Eugene Cay, Jr., titled, Ducks, Dogs and Friends, which tells the story of Christmas Moultrie (the last slave born on the historical Mulberry Grove Plantation, where the Cotton Gin was invented), who hunted on the Savannah River, together with Ward Allen, and his Chesapeake Bay Retrievers.
Annette Haywood-Carter directed from a screenplay she co-wrote with Kenneth F. Carter Jr.
Jaimie Alexander, Hal Holbrook, Sam Shepard, Bradley Whitford and Jack McBrayer round out the cast.
Here’s the trailer:
3 – The Canadian sci-fi drama Continuum, which was picked up by the Syfy channel and aired in the USA earlier this year. If you missed the series, or don’t have cable, the first 2 seasons, which aired during the winter and the summer of 2013 respectively, are both now streaming on Netflix.
Roger Cross and Omari Newton (above) both play supporting characters in the series.
What’s Continuum about? The series centers on the conflict between a police officer and a group of rebels from the year 2077 who time-travel to Vancouver, BC in the year 2012.
Roger Cross stars as Travis Verta. Here’s his character’s bio:
Travis is a warrior specifically trained and enhanced through futuristic science to be a lethal killing machine. He began as a conventional soldier: tough, agile and just smart enough to be resourceful. He was handpicked to be part of a special military experiment to create an elite group of super soldiers — genetically enhanced specimens whose sole function was to follow orders without question and to destroy the enemy without remorse.Travis is also driven by a need for revenge. He is enraged by the way the corporate military that trained him was so willing and able to cast his life aside and realizes that he wasn’t the only one. He saw how the corporations took the freedom of choice away from all individuals, treating them as possessions, not humans. It will become clear as time goes on that there is an intellect buried within this beast of a man. He is very swayed by Kagame and his calm philosophical drive. He needs to believe in something and Kagame is as much a machine of agenda as Travis is a machine of war. Kagame knows how to influence Travis and somehow Travis likes this. There’s something calming, even to a pit-bull, about the feeling of the collar and leash and a handler who knows when to rein them in and when to set them loose.
Omari Newton stars as Lucas Ingram. Here’s his character’s bio:
Smart, scientific and resourceful, Lucas is a conventional looking man, fit but not a warrior. But he’s also not a stereotypical techie either. He uses his intelligence and skill to make himself too indispensable to kill. It’s a tenuous balance… one mistake and Travis could easily dispense with him.Lucas worked in the early 2070’s for Alec Sadler’s SadTech. He was head of the temporal disruption division, chiefly responsible for aiding in the development of weapons that could bend time for military purposes. However, when he realized that his work was being used for evil, he confronted Alec. Soon after, he was falsely accused of being a rebel and a traitor, a charge he could not refute. He was never told who had made the accusation and what evidence there was against him.In fear for his life, Lucas fled to the other side and joined the rebels. After siding with the rebels he developed a kinship with their ambitions and realized he had a greater chance to stop his work from being used misused with their help. Having been a loner most of his life, the rebels gave Lucas a chance to feel like he belonged. He is loyal to Kagame, but has developed a bit of a man-crush on Kellog.
Cross is no stranger to USA TV, appearing in series that have aired on Stateside television like The X-Files, Stargate SG-1, Highlander: The Series, Star Trek: Enterprise and others.
Omari Newton is no stranger to Stateside TV either, appearing in episodes of Fringe and V, as well as co-starring in Blue Mountain State, and more.
Watch season 1 and 2 of Continuum streaming on Netflix right now. With 23 episodes in total, it should keep you busy for a few days. It’s called “binge-watching” which is the thing to do nowadays apparently.
Here’s a 3-minute trailer:
4 – Another SyFy channel TV show for you to binge-watch, if you didn’t catch any of it when it aired for 2 seasons, from 2011 to 2012, before it was canceled – Alphas, which Malik Yoba co-starred in, with a guest-starring roster that included Kandyse McClure and Mahershala Ali.
Alphas starred David Strathairn as Dr. Lee Rosen, Malik Yoba as Bill Harken, Warren Christie as Cameron Hicks, Azita Ghanizada as Rachel Pirzad, Ryan Cartwright as Gary Bell and Laura Mennell as Nina Theroux, in a series that followed a clandestine group of ordinary people with superhuman mental and physical abilities, taking on cases the CIA, FBI and Pentagon are unwilling or unable to solve, going head-to-head with many of the criminal “Alphas” hiding among the normal population.
As I recall, Yoba’s character’s abilities included increased durability, endurance, speed and strength. He was kind of the brawn of the operation. Not that he wasn’t smart as well.
24 total episodes await you, so happy binge-watching!