Tag Archives: Netflix

Weekend Film Recommendation: I Love You Phillip Morris

19 Aug
I know I’ve talked about this film from time to time on this blog, but it is a new arrival to Netflix and if you haven’t seen it yet, now is the time.  I Love You Phillip Morris is the story of Steven Russell, a happily married man and a member of his local police.  When an accident forces him to reevaluate his life, Steven becomes openly homosexual and decides to live his life without regard for other peoples’ opinion and, more importantly, the law.  Once his extravagant lifestyle of conning and fraud catches up with him, he lands in prison where he meets Phillip Morris.  After falling in love with Phillip, he devotes himself to freeing Phillip from jail and pulling off a series of ridiculous and impossible cons so they can live the perfect life together.

I Love You Phillip Morris marked the return of Jim Carrey to the style of R rated humor that hadn’t been seen since Me, Myself, and Irene (though not as hammy), a refreshing change of pace from the comedies he chose for the nine years in between. 

This is exactly how we felt too Mr. Carrey

The story is excellently written and well paced, and really keeps the watcher engaged in the two characters and their relationship throughout the movie.  The subject matter is a little grotesque at times, but the aforementioned delivery of Jim Carrey throughout really softens the shock.  There is a lot of social commentary within the movie (did I mention it takes place in Texas), but it is not so in your face that it feels like sermon rather than an entertaining comedy.  The performance of Ewan McGregor as the titular Phillip Morris is worth noting as well.  While he plays more of the straight man in this comedy (no pun intended), it really works to humanize the two individual’s relationship and solidify the chemistry of the two leads.

Click here to add I Love You Phillip Morris to your Netflix queue.

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Weekend Film Recommendation: About a Boy

22 Jul

When I was digging through the Netflix Instant catalogue, there were multiple categories that this film came up in. Several people in the reviews labeled this as a “chick flick”, but I don’t necessarily agree with that description. While About a Boy certainly has some romantic comedy elements it is really a coming of age tale for a man in his late thirties. Plus, it is really easy to tag anything that stars Hugh Grant as a romantic comedy.

Will (Hugh Grant) is a rich playboy who lives in shallow extravagance due to the royalties of a popular Christmas song that his deceased father wrote. He goes to single parent support groups and claims to have a child just to hit on vulnerable women. When he meets a twelve year old boy (Nicholas Hoult) who is the outsider son of a depressed mother (Toni Colette) his life begins to change drastically as he is forced to let other people into his life and grow into full adulthood.

The film received a solid 93% on RottenTomatoes and garnered a lot of praise when it was released in 2002. Hugh Grant usually plays a bumbling good guy who stammers a lot, but actually switches to a smooth-talking player for this role. The script is snappy and insightful, providing an intriguing look at someone in denial about having to grow up. There is a love story, which primarily provides the idea that this is a “chick flick”, but it is really more of a backdrop to Will’s evolution into a man. The trailer really doesn’t do this movie justice in that regard, making it definitely have the appearance and sound of a romantic comedy, dropping popular names like Notting Hill and Bridget Jones’ Diary, and playing that annoying Five for Fighting song. However, the actual film is thoughtful and a poignant character study, and probably the only role that I really like Hugh Grant in.

Here is the trailer anyway, even though I don’t think it provides and accurate picture:

To add About a Boy to your Netflix Instant queue, click here.

If this doesn’t catch your fancy, try Poolhall Junkies, which I just couldn’t feel justified about giving a full blown recommendation, but is a rather entertaining film.

Weekend Film Recommendation: Cop Land (1997)

15 Jul

When James Mangold was announced as the official director to take on The Wolverine, the next installment in the X-Men franchise, his work on Walk the Line, Girl Interrupted, and 3:10 to Yuma were often mentioned in the same breath.  While the often unmentioned Cop Land may not be his best or most recognized work, it deserves to be mentioned as one of Mangold’s many great movies.  Cop Land is the nickname for Garrison, NJ a small suburb of New York city that is the home to a number of NYPD officers.  The sheriff of the town Freddy Heflin, idolizes most of his constituents and their profession, but is limited to his role as Sheriff because he is deaf in one ear due to an accident.  His opinion of the officers and his abilities soon come into question as he starts to uncover corruption and conspiracy amongst them.  Aided by NYPD Internal Affairs officer Mo Tilden (Robert DeNiro), Freddy has to restore order to Cop Land.

The only way Stallone knows how.

Mangold put together a phenomenal cast for this film that works really well as an ensemble, supporting Stallone in the leading role.  Throughout the film these characters felt really close to one another, and as an audience member it is easy to connect with their group and believe they are all neighbors and coworkers.  In addition to Stallone and DeNiro, who are outsiders to the ensemble due to their characters’ role; Harvey Keitel,  Ray Liotta, Peter Berg, Michael Rapaport, Frank Vincent , Robert Patrick , Noah Emmerich, John Spencer, and Janeane Garofalo round out the cast.

This is a surprising turn for Stallone, who plays a much more subdued and humble character than he’s typically known for.  He does well in the role but his physical stature at times did not feel it suited the role, ironic because he actually gained forty pounds for the part.  Still, it may be Stallone’s best performance to date; it’s a shame he hasn’t done more roles with this much depth over the course of his career

Then again, who needs depth...

Cop Land is a movie that can be enjoyed through repeat viewings, because it is technically sound but also very entertaining.  While still at the beginning of his directorial and writing career, it is clear that Mangold took notes from his predecessors (Martin Scorcese in particular) and adapted those notes well into his own work.  While not a masterpiece, Cop Land is a great film that is definitely worth a viewing on Netflix.

Click here to add Cop Land to your instant queue.

**Trailer Time**: Indie Edition (“Cold Weather” and “Documenting the Grey Man”)

1 Feb

While some of you may not get to see these films in the theater, I wanted to give you a heads up about them so that you can either look for them On Demand, or look for them on Netflix in the near future. Here’s what we got for you in this special edition of Trailer Time:

Cold Weather

Cold Weather should have been included during the “Opening This Week” we did on Monday, but the film has been around for a little while, premiering at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival and then the Los Angeles Film Festival and was received well at both. It is finally getting a release in limited theaters and is currently at 60% on RottenTomatoes. It is classified as a comedic mystery involving a modern self-proclaimed Sherlock Holmes who tries to unravel the mystery of his missing ex-girlfriend.

Documenting the Grey Man

This looks like a more indie version of Paranormal Activity (if that’s possible), but instead of presenting an unknown demon, this film brings to life a local legend from Charleston, SC, the Grey Man. If you are unfamiliar with the Grey Man, you can read up on the lore here. The film premiered last night at the Homegrown Film Festival and hopes to get some further distribution, due to its success there.