Netflix. It's on the 360, it's on PS3, it's on the Wii, it's $8 a month, it doesn't require a disc, and it's now even in Canada (with a severely reduced selection). So. Unless you're really poor, a picky Canadian, a hater of the 7th art, or European, there's no excuse for not having it!
What movies has the streaming service allowed you to discover?
Because of the limited selection here in Canada, which denies us access to some of the more recent and popular movies on the service, I've been using Netflix to watch 2 different kinds of movies: terrible crap that I'd never make any effort or pay anything to see (The Happening, Teen Wolf Too), and highly respected and acclaimed foreign movies that for some reason I always put back on the shelf without renting when I'm at the video store.
So here's a recommendation for you:
Amores Perros - This movie received much acclaim, won many prizes, and I'm probably one of the last chumps to see it. But hey, maybe you haven't seen it either, so at least I'm better than you. From looking at the title, you may recognize the word "amores" (love) and get totally the wrong idea about the movie. You may also recognize "perros" (dog) and be completely befuddled. Basically, the movie contains three vignettes in which cruelty and, yes, love, are central themes.
For one third of the movie, you follow the story of a kid using his dog to participate in dog fights and win money so he can elope with his brother's wife. For the second part, you follow a couple's crumbling relationship and oh god you're getting totally the wrong idea again. Don't worry, it's totally interesting and plays out a bit like a thriller. Actually, watching it I felt like I was reading an Edgar Allan Poe short story, but maybe it's just because it features... sounds... coming out of the floorboard. The third story is about this vagrant who abandoned his family to become a guerillero, went to prison, and now takes on hitman jobs from the corrupt cop who arrested him.
The characters cross each others' paths a couple of time, so you could say it's a bit like Pulp Fiction in that way, except I found the stories and characters in this film infinitely more interesting. Heh.
I don't know what your experience with foreign movies is or what you think of them, all I can say is that this movie is absolutely not boring. From the first scene to the last, I was hooked.
I gotta give it up for MONK, Pandareus. MONK IS THE MAN. He solves mysteries and is all obsessive-compulsive. If you like Phoenix Wright, definitely give Monk a shot--it's got the same sort of appeal, quirky mysteries and a mixture of comedy, tragedy and suspense.
The Office (full series available) - We've had a thread devoted to this show already, so most of you have probably heard of it. S1-3 are my favorites.
King of the Hill (full series available) - Well, okay, everyone knows this show. Your dad probably watches it. KotH's actually my second-favorite show of all due to its amazing consistency and character-driven humor. The first 5 or 6 seasons are pure gold, especially S3 and 4.
My Name is Earl (full series available) - A solid newer show that has a lot of laughs. Surprisingly clever for including so many ribs on "trailer trash" types.
I concur. Me and You and Everyone We Know is worth seeing. The segment with the kids at the computer is worth the watch all on its own. "...with the same poop..." Haha... eww.
I haven't had much luck in finding streaming things to stream after my initial sifting through of the lineup since I signed up a little over a month ago. I have, however, been quite happy with the mail in service. With the one-movie-out-at-a-time plan, I can usually squeeze out two movies a week, and at $11.99/month that works for me! Though, after but a month I am already running out of movie options to add to my queue and those I have queued up these days almost need to be force-fed to me. Perhaps I should suspend my service for a bit, or check back into the streaming lineup for simpler, handier options.
Keep in mind that there's a lot of streaming stuff that doesn't necessarily come up when you are just browsing. Check the website or do a search for a specific title. I feel like I can always find something worthwhile streaming.
You are certainly correct. They seemed to have updated their streaming offerings quite a bit since I last checked (both via Wii and online). I did scan through all of the movies I have watched via the mail in service, and only two were available via the streaming method, and one that I think would be suitable to recommend.
That being: The Secret of Kells - one of the most incredible movies I have seen in ages.
The only problem with this one is that really needs to be seen in HD, so Wii is out as a platform to stream it upon.
Rate as many movies as you can, even if you haven't watched them through the streaming service. The integrated recommendation system works wonderfully. It's because it was suggested in my "Top Picks" that I watched Amores Perros, after all...
Thanks for the tip. I have been doing that some, but perhaps not enough. One of the movies just recommend to me that I selected that I probably wouldn't have otherwise was, A Prophet. It was very entertaining, though not as good as I expected based on the user and critic reviews. Then again, I'm not a fan of prison movies - far too formulaic for my taste. Of course, the one I selected last week was amazing - and I believe was suggested due to my high praise for The Secret of Kells and The Princess and the Frog (don't laugh, it was really good - or at least nice to see a hand drawn Disney movie again). That movie being, Persepolis. A beautiful movie, though depressing in tone given all of the obvious reasons. Of course, I'm blabbering on again about a movie that is not yet available for streaming. Hopefully, soon, it will be.
Persepolis is available on streaming, actually. In Canada, anyway. I second the recommendation, great movie!
And yeah, Un Prophète fell a bit short of greatness. I blame the fact that the blurb on the DVD cover pretty much tells you exactly how it's gonna play out (though it wouldn't make the movie any less formulaic if the blurb weren't there).
@FINlos Shirley and I just watched Pan's Labyrinth, it was a lot more violent than I expected. Funny thing is she won't watch Oldboy with me because she heard it has excessive violence and torture scenes, which she can't handle. And it does, but so does Pan's Labyrinth and it grossed me out more...
We also watched Brazil, which is a weird ass sci-fi dystopia future ruled by bureaucrats comedy / tragedy thing. I think I liked it. I think.
And we watched American Movie, which was sort of funny.
And we watched Amelie, which was pretty charming, if cheesy.
Yes, Pan's Labyrinth has an R rating for a reason. But it is very true to the history of the Spanish Civil War. If you liked the style and the setting, though, The Devil's Backbone is much less intense in the gore/violence, and more focused on the horror/drama. But it's not really scary.
Amelie is in my top 10 favorite movies list. I love the director, Jean Pierre Jeunet, who has done some other great films. I would recommend City of Lost Children, which is also available on instant streaming I believe, and Alien Resurrection, which is just good fun, both by Jeunet.
These are not so much discoveries as they are recommendations. Well, Pushing Daisies and Avatar were new although I knew of them previously, but the Big Lebowski is a classic.
Seasons 1 and 2 of Pushing Daisies. It ended abruptly, as far too many great tv shows which require a smart audience do. But I recommend it wholeheartedly.
Avatar: The Last Airbender (all seasons). Great, great, great series, with a follow-up in production.
Seconded and seconded. Both are amazing shows, and Pushing Daisies is one of my all-time favorites. (I enjoyed The Big Lebowski too, which I just watched recently, but apart from the relatively awesome characters, the story wasn't all that great, IMO.)
Other recommendations that I've watched on Netflix Instant recently: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Memento, Following, and The Machinist (good, but not one of my favorites; worth watching if it's within your genre of interest though)
I was hoping you guys would give more in-depth impressions for your recommendations! Hard to feel like some title in a mere list is "must-see", or is that just me?
So you've all had time to watch and appreciate Amores Perros at this point, right? Right!?
So my next recommendation has a caveat: is Oldboy on the American streaming service? 'Cause if it is, then watch that. It's part of the same trilogy from the same director as my recommendation, but my following recommendation is the only title on the Canadian streaming service, so...
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance: This is another rather popular foreign movie, this time from Korea, and it's part of director Park Chan-wook's "Vengeance Trilogy". The story is told in a non-linear manner: it starts with a woman getting out of prison after service her sentence. Her case was a huge deal in the media: an 18 year old (at the time) with the face of an angel, convicted of strangling a small boy.
Her behavior in prison was exemplary, and she was incredibly kind and giving to others (going as far as donating a kidney to a fellow inmate!), but as soon as she steps out of prison, she becomes cold and manipulative. She asks for the aid of the people she has helped and touched, but she has changed, they say. They still help her, while being unable to reconcile this new Lee Geum-ja with the one they knew.
As you can guess from the title, she is working at some kind of revenge, but why and against who? Throughout the movie, the circumstances surrounding her arrest, her stay in prison, and her whole motivation are revealed.
Once again, I don't know what your experience with subtitled movies is. Personally, I find some of the slower-paced ones hard to watch, not because they're boring, but because keeping up with the picture and the subtitles at the same time is a little bit more demanding, and tires me out. If I'm not 100% alert, I tend to fall asleep...
But it's impossible to fall asleep during this, at least during the first half, with its snappy pacing and the build-up of the intrigue. The second half slows down a bit, but is still very interesting.
I guess if you abhor violence, I can't totally recommend this movie to you. There is some torture going on, but they don't show it as much as they could. There is also female-on-female prison rape, which isn't fun to watch. But nothing that made my stomach churn. In fact, it's more tame than many big-budget action flicks.