As usual…. 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 is this week’s list of 5:
1 – Last night, Thursday, July 24, BET Networks re-aired the original movie, "Gun Hill," staring Larenz Tate, and directed by Reggie "Rock" Bythewood ("Biker Boyz").
In the film, Tate portrays twin brothers, Trane and Bird, on opposite sides of the law: Trane, a cop, and Bird, a con. On one fateful night in New York City, Trane is killed. Bird assumes his identity and begins his own search for redemption.
The film also features Emayatzy Corinealdi, Michael Aronov, Phyllis Yvonne Stickney, Tawny Cypress and Aisha Hinds.
Consider it a potential backdoor pilot, as "Being Mary Jane" was for the network; Essentially, an audience "test’ to determine whether to order it to series. So one can assume that if overall ratings are strong – including the premiere and the re-broadcast – (we haven’t seen the numbers yet), and BET brass is convinced there’s sufficiently enough interest in it as a series, then, like "Being Mary Jane," it’ll become a series. This would explain the film’s abrupt ending, leaving many wondering whether there would be a part 2. It was likely meant to be a cliffhanger, leaving you anticipating what might be to come, in the form of a series.
The film is now streaming on Netflix, so if you missed either broadcast, and you have a Netflix account, you can check it out over the weekend.
2. Currently, there are a total of 3 Ousmane Sembène films streaming on Netlfix, but I’ll include them all here as 1 selection: his seminal 1966 drama, "Black Girl" ("La Noire de," or as I like to call it, "The Help," before "The Help"), and 2 comedies that skewer post-colonial Senegalese bureaucracy: "Mandabi" (1968), and "Xala" (1975).
I was actually pleasantly surprised to find all 3 streaming on Netflix. You won’t find much there in terms of African cinema from the time period these were made. So I strongly encourage you to see them before they disappear. Netflix streaming titles usually come with an expiration date.
Here’s a look at "Black Girl":
3. "Our Song" (2000) – With "Scandal" season 4 scheduled to kick off this fall, why not check out Kerry Washington’s very first feature film – "Our Song."
She was just 23 years old, but she gives a really good performance. So check it out, if only to see early Kerry Washington at work.
The film was directed by Jim McKay. You’ll watch it and, like some, you likely wouldn’t believe that this was a film directed by a white filmmaker. It focuses on the bond between 3 high school girls (a black American, a black Latino, and a Latino American), and the choices the girls face once their school closes down, because of the need for asbestos removal.
The naturalistic performances make the film.
Here’s a trailer:
4 – Magnolia Pictures’ genre arm Magnet Releasing released Noel Clarke’s horror sci-fi film "Storage 24," in the USA,last year – the first Noel Clarke-branded film to get a theatrical release in North America.
It got lots of coverage on S&A.
A quick recap; its synopsis reads:
London is in chaos. A military cargo plane has crashed leaving its highly classified contents strewn across the city. Completely unaware London is in lockdown, Charlie and Shelley accompanied by best friends Mark and Nikki are at Storage 24 dividing up their possessions after a recent break up. Suddenly, the power goes off. Trapped in a dark maze of endless corridors, a mystery predator is hunting them one by one. In a place designed to keep things in, how do you get out?
Clarke, who co-wrote the screenplay, stars in the film; he plays Charlie.
Rounding out the starring cast are Antonia Campbell-Hughes as Shelley, Colin O’Donoghue as Mark, and Laura Haddock as Nikki.
Magnolia/Magnet released "Storage 24" in a limited theatrical release early last year. If it didn’t play at a theater near you, or you just missed it, now you can check out on Netflix.
Here’s the US release red-band trailer from Magnet:
5 – It premiered as part of PBS’ 2013 fall primetime line-up, and, if you didn’t watch it, now you can do so, thanks to Netflix.
From Henry Louis Gates Jr., it’s a multi-part docu-series titled "The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross."
In 2012, Gates launched a weekly black history series on TheRoot.com, highlighting the varied experiences of African Americans, going back the Transatlantic slave trade. That online print column was part of a run-up to this 6-part PBS series, which filmed in 2012.
Written and presented by Gates, the 6-hour series is the first documentary film to air, since 1968, to chronicle what the network called "the full sweep of African American history" – from the origins of slavery on the African continent, through more than 4 centuries of remarkable historic events, up to the present day – as America has a black president, yet remains a nation divided by race.
Check out a preview trailer below.