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films to stream: US week of Dec 10

streamUSdec10

What’s new, what’s hot, and what you may have missed, now available to stream on Netflix and Amazon Instant Video.

Amazon Instant Video

streaming now, before it’s on dvd

green light
Prisoners: a superb film that shifts from unvarnished depictions of terrible, tragic, mundane reality to almost unbearable suspense; an intense, uncomfortable, unforgettable cinematic experience [my review] [at Amazon Instant Video]
yellow for maybe
Insidious: Chapter 2: the clean, simple elegance of the first film has been lost in a jumbled mess that sometimes hits on fresh angles on ghost stories but most often is shoddy, sloppy, and lazy [my review] [at Amazon Instant Video]
yellow for maybe
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters: spectacularly mediocre fantasy junk food, perfectly inoffensive for youngsters but too featherweight for adult genre fans [my review] [at Amazon Instant Video]

new to Prime

green light
Dances with Wolves: a beautiful, moving film about the closing of the American frontier and all that disappeared with it [my review] [at Amazon Instant Video]
green light
Flight: Denzel Washington’s bravura performance just about pulls this old-fashioned melodrama out of its dive [my review] [at Amazon Instant Video]
green light
Skyfall: smartly and stylishly smashes the outmoded Bond mystique and creates a new one for the 21st century [my review] [at Amazon Instant Video]

Netflix

new to stream

green light
Dances with Wolves: a beautiful, moving film about the closing of the American frontier and all that disappeared with it [my review] [at Netflix]
green light
Gods and Monsters: quiet, touching, and often funny look at the last days in the life of early filmmaker James Whale, played by a marvelous Ian McKellen [my review] [at Netflix]
green light
Holes: biting and ironic kids’ adventure tale, starring a very young Shia LaBeouf [my review] [at Netflix]
green light
Sidewalks of New York: Edward Burns’ take on the angst-ridden New York dating scene as a game of romantic musical chairs [my review] [at Netflix]
green light
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home: still the best Trek flick: it has whales and time travel, after all [at Netflix]
yellow for maybe
The Iceman: underbaked mobster drama is redeemed — just barely — by excellent performances from Michael Shannon, James Franco, and Chris Evans [my review] [at Netflix]

  • Jess Haskins

    Hey, I just watched The Voyage Home last night. It’s still good, although my opinion of it has waned somewhat since those first few viewings. The jokes are still funny (probably the most quotable Trek film by far), and the lightheartedness is a nice nod back to the feel of the original series. But something about the production just feels flat, especially compared to the dramatic mise-en-scene and visual flair of ST II or even III. The music made me miss James Horner’s amazing scores from the previous two films. I’d completely forgotten about the weird experimental CGI time-travel sequence, and stuff like beaming in the title and running clips of the film over the end credits made it feel like a cheesy tv show. (Wouldn’t extended shots of the ocean and whales frolicking over the credits have been cooler?)

    Still, time travel, and whales. And colorful metaphors!