The great thing about Netflix is that it gives you a lot of TV and movie watching options. The bad thing about Netflix is that it gives you…a lot of TV and movie watching options. So many that it can be overwhelming. I’d guess around ninety percent of our time spent on Netflix is scrolling through thousands of movies and TV shows, before finally deciding on something three hours after you’ve first logged on. The aim of this column is to provide easily accessible Netflix suggestions based on a different focal point each week.
BLACK HAWK DOWN (Ridley Scott, 2001)
To this day, Ridley Scott’s modern war epic has some of the best shot and choreographed combat sequences of the 21st century; combat sequences that convey a looming sense of chaos and stress, drawing the viewer into the hazy midst of the conflict. Headed by a fantastic ensemble cast–including the likes of Josh Harnett, Eric Bana and Ewan McGregor–the movie tells the true story of U.S Special Forces sent into Somalia to destabilize the government and provide food to its starving citizens. The politics are a little iffy but when it’s focusing on the intense actions of the individual soldiers as they navigate their way through the busy frenzied streets of Mogadishu, Black Hawk Down is pretty damn effective—slamming the viewer on both a visceral and emotional level.
INGLORIOUS BASTERDS (Quentin Tarantino, 2009)
Quentin Tarantino’s big, bold, energetic take on the World War II movie is also amongst his very best. How many modern filmmakers have the gall to rewrite history by icing Hitler? As an additional eff-you to the Fuhrer and the Third Reich, Tarantino commits this glorious act of historical inaccuracy during the middle of the premiere of a Nazi propaganda film (in true Tarantino form). Props also to a scenery-chewing Brad Pitt, as Lieutenant Aldo Raine—the leader of a Dirty Dozen-esque team of warriors who spend their wartime scalping Nazi soldiers. You know you want to watch it. I can sense your finger getting ready to press play.
THE INTERVIEW (Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, 2014)
The Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy The Interview will always be remembered for the controversy that surrounded it. Thanks to threats from a terrorist organization and major theater chains refusing to show it, Sony pulled the film from its theatrical release and the film became a verifiable hot topic issue. It did eventually land in limited release and On Demand but was swiftly forgotten. What happened? Well, all the terrorist hubbub caused expectations to skyrocket and when the movie turned out to be nothing more than a standard Seth Rogen-style comedy—only this time about the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un by two dimwitted TV reporters—I think there was some disappointment. Still, fans of Rogen and Franco should be pleased. Plus, by watching The Interview you’re supporting freedom of speech. So…get on that.
ROCKY 4 (Sylvester Stallone, 1985)
Yes, the original Rocky is classic and will always be the best of the franchise but for Fourth of July weekend you have to go with the glorious pro American Rocky 4. A prime piece of Reagan-era action cinema, this installment follows our boxing underdog as he takes on fighting machine Ivan “I must break you” Drago (Dolph Lundgren) to avenge the death of his friend Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) and most importantly for America’s sake. It’s the ultimate face-off between The United States and Russia for world boxing dominance in all its cheesy, entertaining glory. Drago’s team of trainers, scientists and high tech training equipment are no match for Rocky’s good old fashioned pull ups in a barn and long jogs to the tops of mountains.
SHANE (George Stevens, 1952)
A quintessential American Western, George Steven’s picture tells the tale of Shane, a lone, rugged frontiersman who joins a community of farmers to help solve a dispute with a gang of menacing ranchers. All efforts of peaceful negotiation fail and Shane is forced to put on his boots and strap on his six-shooter to deal justice the old fashioned way, all of which leads to a tense and exciting final confrontation. Complete with gorgeous cinematography and a cool understated performance by Alan Ladd as the titular gunslinger, Shane is a forgotten action must.
THE TERMINATOR (James Cameron, 1985)
The fifth installment of the Terminator franchise (Terminator: Genisys – review here) hit theaters this week and…well…it’s a pure and simple disaster. One of the many reasons why it blows so much is because it constantly references the first film, sometimes even recreating entire scenes down to the shot. Instead of wasting your hard earned dollars on crappy homages and recreations, just watch the James Cameron original instead. Relive all of the great moments—a young, muscular Arnold as the titular Terminator asking a random street punk for his clothes—from the comfort of your living room.
WORLD WAR Z (Marc Forester, 2013)
It’s Brad Pitt vs. the zombies. Despite being plagued by production woes, Marc Forester’s World War Z ended up being supremely entertaining. Forester breathes new life into the zombie film by tackling the issue of a zombie apocalypse on a grander scale; a global scale to be precise. In that capacity, World War Z might be the most proactive zombie flick ever made. Instead of the protagonists simply trying to survive and seek out safe quarters, they are actively trying to seek out a solution to the zombie outbreak, putting themselves in one dangerous zombie infested area after another.