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.
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 – Given how poorly the film performed at the box office, while it was in theaters last fall (it earned a dismal $2.2 million on a $30 million budget), I can only assume that a lot of you skipped it – some in favor of waiting for it to be available on home video platforms, like streaming on Netflix.
If you’re one of those people, you’re in luck because it’s not available.
Spike Lee’s “Oldboy” adaptation (which many felt was doomed from the moment it was announced that it would be made, given the cult nature of the first film) stars Josh Brolin, along with Sharlto Copley, Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel L. Jackson. Spike Lee directed from a script penned by Mark Protosevich, who also co-produced.
Now more of you can see for yourselves what Spike did with the source material, how he incorporated the usual Spike-isms, and put his own stamp on the beloved classic.
Those who’ve seen Park Chan-wook’s original adaptation of the manga, will certainly recognize scenes in Spike’s version, that were in Park’s first film. To say anymore about plot would be to ruin the film for those unfamiliar with the original.
Watch for a glimpse at what to expect via the trailer below:
2 – Ahead of the theatrical release of Andre Benjamin’s biopic “All Is By My Side,” check out this new 2-hour documentary on the life of Jimi Hendrix, titled “Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin,” which was broadcast on PBS last November, as part of its American Masters series.
The documentary is directed by Bob Smeaton whose credits include several other music-themed films like “The Beatles Anthology,” “Festival Express,” as well as several Hendrix projects: “Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child” (2010) and “Hendrix 70: Live at Woodstock” (2012).
Regarding this new film, director Smeaton told the New York Times in an interview that:
“The biggest challenge was that having done a number of Hendrix projects in the past, I had to find a way of getting everything I wanted into the film without having it run six hours, and without having it turn into the same film I did in the past. You’ve got to hit certain points: when he came to London, when he played Monterey, certain albums, Woodstock, building his recording studio. But you also want to get a different take. And that’s the hardest thing – trying to stay fresh.”
Included in the doc are interviews with those close to Hendrix, whether personally or professionally, who knew him well and worked with him.
“In the past, I’ve interviewed mainly guys. And with guys, it always comes down to, ‘He was a great guitar player, he looked good on stage, he died too young.’ And that’s all true. But the women offer a different take. They say ‘He was shy,’ or ‘He was gentle.’ The women bring an interesting insight, and maybe for once we know more about him.”
By the way, “Hear My Train A Comin’ (aka, Getting My Heart Back Together Again)” is a blues song written by Hendrix, recorded between 1967 and 1970, but was not released until after his death.
The release of this film was all part of a multi-year celebration of Hendrix’s 70th birthday (which would’ve been in 2012), which saw previous releases of unseen Hendrix material, amongst other things.
A trailer is embedded below:
3 – Any New Yorker familiar with the hard-nosed West 4th street pick-up b-ball games that attract many onlookers (natives and tourists) should definitely be interested in seeing this new documentary feature titled “Doin’ It In The Park.”
Co-directed by Bobbito Garcia and Kevin Couliau (their debut) “Doin’ It In The Park” explores the definition, history, culture and social impact of New York’s summer b-ball scene, widely recognized as the worldwide “Mecca” of the sport. There are 700+ outdoor courts, and an estimated 500,000 players, the most loyal of which approach the game as a religion, and the playground as their church. The film lovingly uncovers this movement through the voices of playground legends, NBA athletes, and most importantly the everyday non-pro ballplayers who just love the game.
The co-directors visited 180 courts throughout NYC’s five boroughs to compile footage for the film, traveling to a majority of the locations by bicycle, carrying camera equipment and a ball in their backpacks, providing an unprecedented perspective on one of America’s most popular, and accessible forms of recreation.
By any means necessary, right?
A few of the folks you can expect to see in the film include: Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Kenny Smith, “Pee Wee” Kirkland, “Fly” Williams, God Shammgod, Tim “Headache” Gittens, Corey “Homicide” Williams, Kenny Anderson, Jack Ryan, Richard “Crazy Legs” Colon, Niki Avery, Milani Malik, and the Park Pick-Up Players of NYC.
Watch the trailer below:
4 – While we wait for the big screen adaptation, if you missed its run last fall, when it aired in the USA for American audiences (on BBC America), catch up with the 3rd and final season of everyone’s favorite detective, “Luther” in an even darker, more intense season 3 of the acclaimed series.
Watch all 4 episodes in a single 4-hour sitting, or over 4 nights in a row, or however you choose to do so.
Starring Idris Elba in the title role that won him a Golden Globe Best Actor award, this third (and final) installment finds the near-genius detective back under intense pressure with two conflicting crimes to investigate and a ruthless ex-cop determined to bring him down. But love also crosses the detective’s path in this new chapter when he meets Mary Day (Sienna Guillory). But it looks like Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson) will have a little something to say about that..
Check out the trailer from BBC America:
5- “The Suspect,” the feature debut by Stuart Connelly, stars Mekhi Phifer and Sterling K. Brown, and tells the story of 2 African American social scientists who pose as bank robbers in an effort to understand the racial dynamics of small-town law enforcement. However, their experiment takes an unplanned, deadly turn.
A small town bank robbery leads to a brutal showdown between a sheriff and a mysterious stranger in this high stakes game of shifting identities and hidden motives, starring Mekhi Phifer (ER), William Sadler (The Shawshank Redemption) and Sterling K. Brown (Person of Interest). When the obvious suspect is apprehended not far from the crime scene, the police think that the case is solved, but they couldn’t be more wrong. The real crime hasn’t even happened yet. Before it’s over, two desperate men will be pushed over the line where innocent lives – and a lot of money – hang in the balance.
The thriller, produced by Connelly, Mary Jo Bartmaier, Robyn K. Bennett and Scott Aronson, also stars William Sadler, Derek Roche, James McCaffrey, Rebecca Creskoff, Lizzy DeClement and Bernadette Quigley.
Director Connelly said that he had “long been interested in America’s relationship with her people of color.” The writer/director aimed to “turn on the instincts and emotions of people in the grip of deep-seated prejudice,” with this film.
Does he succeed? I’ll let you decide for yourselves, when you watch it.