New on Netflix this week includes one (or two, depending on how you define them) of the year’s most debated films, a beloved science series, and an interesting experiment. Those who haven’t already caught up with Lars von Trier’s fascinating, frustrating and essential double-film "Nymphomaniac" can now watch both parts in all of their glory.
The jury is arguably still out until the extended versions of the films hit, but they’re still worth reckoning with in their shortened form for von Trier’s self-analysis, his daring, his surprising sense of humor in the often-hilarious first part, and for the strong performances across the board. Uma Thurman in particular has one of the great one-scene wonders in recent memory in a sequence that brilliantly walks the line of black comedy and deep discomfort and pain.
For something slightly less sex-centric, Neil deGrasse Tyson’s popular science documentary series "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" is also now available. A sequel of sorts to Carl Sagan’s 1980 series "Cosmos: A Personal Voyage" (which inspired the young Tyson), the show’s subjects include the relatedness of all living things, the discovery of the scientific method, and climate change.
Finally, there’s "Stage Fright," a slasher musical that received mostly negative reviews but might be worth a look just to see the germ of a good idea and imagine how it might have worked. The film stars Allie MacDonald as a teenager at a performing arts camp where a killer’s on the loose. Minnie Driver and Meat Loaf also star.
Thoughts from the Criticwire Network:
Jason Bailey, Flavorwire
Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac is less a disciplined, focused motion picture than an all-you-can-eat buffet where the director overloads his plate, and encourages his audience to do the same. Read more.
Michael Phillips, The Chicago Tribune
The full four-hour load is a paradoxically methodical picaresque of an ever-darker hue. "Vol. I" works. "Vol. II" works you over, and von Trier likes it like that. Read more.
Kristy Puchko, Cinema Blend
"Stage Fright" clearly suffers from a low-budget that hurt Sable’s ability to bring his vision into better focus. Nonetheless, the film is sick, silly and entertaining. Read more.