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Have I mentioned my obsession with Netflix lately? Like a lot of people, I jumped on the Netflix bandwagon back when it first came onto the scene, and signed up to get however many DVDs I could get for $15 a month or whatever. The details are fuzzy.
But with all the DVD and blu-ray releases publicists send me, it just wasn’t worth it to keep paying $15 a month to get DVDs in the mail that I didn’t have time to watch. So I canceled the subscription.
Until now. I rediscovered the new and improved instant-streaming Netflix while trying to figure out how I could watch Breaking Bad past season one, since that’s the only season I had on DVD (and good grief, that’s a brilliant show – glad I finally started watching it). Lo and behold, I found it on Netflix. I’m into season four of watching Walter White and Jesse Pinkman get badder and badder, and on track to get caught up and watch the end of season five in the summer of 2013.
Anyway, I know this seems like a sponsored post for Netflix, but it’s not. It’s just my pure, unadulterated love for this cool new-old thing in my life that costs only $8/mo. and let’s me see practically anything I want (though no Fringe – sad face – when will you have Fringe, Netflix?).
Anyway, now that Netflix is sending me their new and upcoming titles, I’ll be passing them along to you. Here we go with the first batch. Those marked with an asterisk are the ones I recommend.
Action & Adventure
*Act of Valor (2012, Roselyn Sanchez, Jason Cottle, Nestor Serrano). The mission of rescuing a kidnapped CIA agent from a lethal terrorist cell falls to an elite squad of Navy SEALs in this covert-action thriller. Active duty SEALs play the lead fighting roles in a saga based on actual events from their service.
*Out of Sight (1998, George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Don Cheadle, Catherine Keener, Steve Zahn). Florida bank robber Jack Foley (George Clooney) plays a genteel game of cat and mouse with Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez), the stunning federal marshal he meets in the trunk of a getaway car, in this Steven Soderbergh-directed film that shows off his trademark nonlinear storytelling. Out of Sight received Oscar nominations for both its crack editing (Anne V. Coates) and its brilliant adaptation (Scott Frank) of Elmore Leonard’s novel.
Children & Family
*Yours, Mine and Ours (2005, Dennis Quaid, Rene Russo, Sean Faris, Katija Pevec, Dean Collins,Tyler Patrick Jones). Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo take on the roles made famous by Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball in this remake of the 1968 comedy about two single parents who plan to marry and merge their broods into one “happy” family.
A Night at the Roxbury (1998, Will Ferrell, Chris Kattan, Molly Shannon). Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell extend their Saturday Night Live skit about dimwit club-goers Doug and Steve Butabi, who gain entry to the swanky Roxbury nightclub after a run-in with Richard Grieco.
Failure to Launch (2006, Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper). In a desperate attempt to push their thirtysomething son Tripp out of the nest, a frustrated mother and father hire a beautiful “relationship consultant” with a patented plan to move him out of the house.
Earth Girls Are Easy (1989, Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum, Damon Wayans, Jim Carrey). After crash-landing in Los Angeles’ mundane San Fernando Valley, three colorful aliens (Jeff Goldblum, Jim Carrey and Damon Wayans) befriend manicurist Valerie (Geena Davis) and her wacky boss (Julie Brown), who give the threesome makeovers and show them the town in this zany comedy from director Julien Temple. When one of the aliens sweeps Valerie off her feet, she must choose between her unusual extraterrestrial lover and her unfaithful fiancé.
Bruno (2009, Sacha Baron Cohen, Josh Meyers, Bono, Chris Martin, Elton John, Slash). Flamboyantly gay Austrian television reporter Bruno (Sacha Baron Cohen) stirs up trouble with unsuspecting guests and large crowds through brutally frank interviews and painfully hilarious public displays of homosexuality. An incredible chameleon who completely disappears behind his flaming alter ego, the bold Baron Cohen serves up nonstop laughs in this comedy by successfully rubbing people the wrong way.
Bean: The Movie (1997, Rowan Atkinson, Peter MacNicol, Burt Reynolds, Johnny Galecki, Sandra Oh). Rowan Atkinson brings his TV-based nincompoop Mr. Bean to the big screen. He arrives in Los Angeles to guard a famous painting, but as Mr. Bean is unfit for any physical task, everything goes hilariously wrong. A master of physical comedy, Atkinson pits the Brit Bean against his suspicious American hosts in a culture clash that makes for sidesplitting comedy.
*Bottle Rocket (1996, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Andrew Wilson, James Caan). In this offbeat comedy, a trio of Texas friends tries to embark on a life of crime. After knocking over a bookstore and going on the lam, they bungle their way into a huge heist engineered by a silver-tongued con artist.
*Bernie (2011, Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey). In this black comedy inspired by real-life events, affable Texas mortician Bernie befriends the small town’s wealthiest widow and then kills her. But despite the suspicious nature of her death, no one wants to think anything but the best of Bernie.
*Mansome (2012, Morgan Spurlock, Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, Paul Rudd, Zach Galifianakis, Adam Carolla, John Waters, Judd Apatow, Scott Ian, Isaiah Mustafa). From director Morgan Spurlock and producers Will Arnett and Jason Bateman comes a raucous but thoughtful documentary examining what defines masculinity in our modern culture of male grooming products, suave celebrities and avant-garde facial hair.
*Undefeated (2011, Montrail ‘Money’ Brown, O.C. Brown, Bill Courtney, Chavis Daniels). Cinéma vérité tackles football in this inspirational profile of an inner-city Memphis high school football team, whose downtrodden players combine with a dedicated volunteer coach in a valiant effort to reach the school’s first-ever playoff game.
Varsity Blues (1999, James Van Der Beek, Jon Voight, Paul Walker, Amy Smart, Scott Caan). When the Coyotes’ star quarterback suffers a knee injury, second-stringer Jonathan Moxon gets thrust into the spotlight. Moxon, however, is more interested in academic pursuits than in becoming a football hero, which doesn’t sit well with his coach.
*Coriolanus (2011, Ralph Fiennes, Gerard Butler, Brian Cox, Vanessa Redgrave, Jessica Chastain). Actor Ralph Fiennes makes his directorial debut with this modern update of Shakespeare’s tale about the arrogant general who is banished by the republic he has protected at all costs, provoking him to ally with former foes and wreck a bloody revenge.
Jarhead (2005, Jake Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper). Jake Gyllenhaal stars as a fictionalized version of Marine Anthony Swofford, whose biting memoir about his real-life stint as a sniper in Operation Desert Storm serves as the inspiration for Sam Mendes’s drama. But instead of combat, the film focuses on the long, lonely days spent at war, and the cynicism and caustic humor soldiers employ to deal with unbearable conditions and ever-present danger. Peter Sarsgaard and Jamie Foxx co-star.
*Hotel Rwanda (2004, Don Cheadle, Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, David O’Hara). Amid the holocaust of internecine tribal fighting in Rwanda that sees the savage butchering of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children, one ordinary hotel manager musters the courage to save more than 1,000 helpless refugees.
*The Artist (2011, Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman). This modern-day silent film artfully recounts the poignant end of the silent-movie era in the late 1920s. The story contrasts the declining fortunes of a silent-screen superstar with his lover’s rise to popularity as a darling of the “talkies.” Last year’s Best Picture winner at the Oscars.
Horror & Thriller
*Mulholland Dr. (2001, Justin Theroux, Naomi Watts, Ann Miller, Billy Ray Cyrus). Writer-director David Lynch weaves another mysteriously complex tale in this story about an amnesiac woman (Laura Harring) who’s left stranded on Mulholland Drive and gets taken in by a young newcomer (Naomi Watts) who’s moved to Hollywood to pursue her dreams. The two women gradually start to put the pieces of a troubling puzzle together, but the puzzle unravels a dark, sinister plot — as well as unexpected passions.
ATM (2012, Alice Eve, Josh Peck, Brian Geraghty, Aaron Hughes). When three co-workers make a midnight stop at a glass-enclosed ATM after their Christmas party, they find themselves trapped by a menacing man outside. Soon they’re fighting for their survival as the temperature plunges and the man toys with them.
*Paranormal Activity 3 (2011, Christopher Nicholas Smith, Katie Featherston, Sprague Grayden, Lauren Bittner). A malign and murderous spirit continues to dwell within a San Diego home in this second creepy sequel to 2007′s chilling Paranormal Activity. Hoping to catch photo evidence of the spirit, the residents soon become victims in their own horror film.
Bug (2006, Lynn Collins, Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Brian F. O’Byrne, Michael Shannon). Based on a play by Tracy Letts, this claustrophobic thriller from Exorcist director William Friedkin focuses on the love story between a man (Michael Shannon) and a woman (Ashley Judd) convinced that the government is implanting insects in its citizens. Harry Connick Jr. plays the woman’s abusive ex-husband in this nightmare tale of paranoia that takes place in an America where no one — least of all the authorities — can be trusted.
Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Explorers (1985, Ethan Hawke, River Phoenix, James Cromwell). Dreaming of space travel, teenage science whiz Ben Crandall and his best friend Wolfgang create an interplanetary spacecraft in a homemade laboratory. It isn’t long before the two pals are zooming off to another galaxy.
Children & Family
*Curious George: Season 5. Little ones can learn a lot from George — one of the most curious monkeys in all of children’s literature — in this Emmy Award-winning animated series that recounts his adventures with narration from William H. Macy.
*Freaks and Geeks: The Complete Series. A group of high school students in 1980 faces various social struggles. Lindsay Weir rebels and begins hanging out with a crowd of burnouts, courtesy of an invitation from Daniel Desario.
Undeclared: The Complete Series. College life as seen through the eyes of Steven Karp, a freshman determined to reinvent himself at a new school. Confronted with many dilemmas, Steven and his new friends face the challenges of higher education.
The Cleveland Show: Season 3. Spinning off from Seth MacFarlane’s popular animated series “Family Guy,” Cleveland Brown moves to his hometown of Stoolbend, Virginia, where he marries high school sweetheart, Donna, and the two raise her rowdy kids and his teenager, Cleveland Jr. In addition to stepkids Roberta and Rallo, Cleveland now finds himself interacting with a bunch of offbeat neighbors, including a family of talking bears.
*Raising Hope: Season 2. Slacker Jimmy suddenly finds himself a father after a one-night stand with a murderer, but his eccentric family — including his dim-bulb father, sarcastic mother and addled great grandmother–reluctantly pitches in to help with the new arrival.
*The League: Season 3. Fantasy football tackles reality in this semi-scripted look at a group of longtime friends whose annual hobby gives them an excuse to get together and escape their everyday lives in a blitz of trash-talking, deceit and ruthless extortion.
*Glee: Season 3. Amid relationship woes and personal attacks from wonderfully wicked cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester, idealistic teacher Will Schuester fights to turn the underdog members of McKinley High’s Glee Club into confident winners.
*Psych: Season 6. Having honed his powers of deduction by observing his police officer dad, Shawn Spencer (James Roday) appears to possess a nearly supernatural gift for crime-solving — so much so that the police begin employing his services as a psychic. After opening up a detective agency with his best friend (Dulé Hill), Spencer finds that his sleuthing skills, though advanced, don’t exactly keep him out of trouble in this comedic mystery series.
*Private Practice: Season 5. Kate Walsh reprises her “Grey’s Anatomy” role as Dr. Addison Montgomery, now practicing at an alternative medicine clinic. Dealing with the clinic’s many competing personalities becomes a full-time job as she navigates the world of holistic medicine.
Rules of Engagement: Season 6. Three diverse perspectives on love and relationships are examined in this ensemble sitcom about longtime married couple Jeff and Audrey, the newly engaged Adam and Jennifer, and cynical bachelor Russell.
Switched at Birth: Season 1. In this ABC Family drama series, a pair of unsuspecting teens discover they were accidentally switched at birth, setting off a chain reaction of life-altering changes to the families they’ve always known.
*Sons of Anarchy: Season 4. Gun-running motorcycle club the Sons of Anarchy seizes control of its town but soon butts heads with rival biker gangs, racist groups and the law. VP Jax Teller finds his conscience torn between protecting his young son and his loyalty to his gang.
*Teen Wolf: Season 2. When an animal bite turns socially awkward high schooler Scott McCall into a werewolf, he suddenly becomes the lacrosse team’s star athlete and a chick magnet. But his new abilities and popularity also create a whole new set of problems for him.
Horror & Thriller
Death Valley: Season 1. Ride along with the LAPD’s Undead Task Force as they hit the mean streets of Southern California’s San Fernando Valley, taking on vampires who jack bloodmobiles, werewolves with a bloodlust for porn and other marauding undead monsters.
*The Walking Dead: Season 2. Sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes awakens from a coma to discover the world plagued by zombies and small bands of human survivors forced into small, fiercely protective groups. Falling back on his old job, Rick sets out to lead mankind out of darkness.
Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Comic Book Men: Season 1. Set in Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash comic book emporium, this unscripted series unveils the fanboy culture thriving in a neighborhood comics store. As employees vend various collectibles, customers reveal what makes fans of comic books tick.
*Touch: Season 1. Kiefer Sutherland stars as the father of an autistic boy who appears to be able to predict future events — despite not being able to speak. Danny Glover also stars, as an academic who works with gifted children, in this dramatic series.
Kevin Hart: I’m a Grown Little Man. Stand-up comedy star Kevin Hart delivers his unique perspective on work, race, family and friends with this laugh-riot comedy show, using his personal life as a departure point to shine a light on universal experiences.Tags: glee, instant streaming, netflix, new on netflix, once upon a time, revenge, scandal, sons of anarchy