It’s that time again! Here’s what’s new and upcoming on Netflix. Of these, I’m most excited about Damages season 4, because I was addicted to the show up to season 3, but don’t have DirecTV so wasn’t able to watch it live (thanks, FX – NOT).
Also love seeing The Pink Panther on here. Even though the later movies didn’t quite measure up to the earlier movies, you can’t go wrong with Peter Sellers.
Casino Royale is out just in time for the release of Skyfall, which promises to be one of the best James Bond films to date (at least, that’s how the early reviews are coming in, and I do love Daniel Craig).
I’ve also heard great things about Malcolm in the Middle, and admit I’ve never watched a single episode of that show. I’ll be checking that out. What’s cool on the list for you?
Action & Adventure
Battle of Britain (1969). Harry Andrews, Trevor Howard, Michael Caine. This star-studded epic re-creates the 1940 air battle that took place in the skies over England. Surprised and outgunned, Britain’s R.A.F. used determination and guile to fend off a ferocious Nazi Luftwaffe attack in the early days of World War II. If England had lost control of its airspace, the Germans may well have invaded the British Isles and won the war. The cast also includes Ian McShane, Laurence Olivier, Kenneth More and Christopher Plummer.
Machine Gun Preacher (2011). Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan, Kathy Baker, Michael Shannon. Gerard Butler stars in this true-life story of Sam Childers, a drug dealer who turns his life around to become a spiritual warrior. His mission? Rescuing child soldiers in the Sudan from lives ruined by their forced participation in bloody conflict.
Casino Royale (2006). Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Eva Green, Jeffrey Wright. The 007 franchise revisits its roots with Daniel Craig making his debut as newly minted secret agent James Bond, who’s pitted against an infamous financier of international terrorism in a shootout — at the poker table. But of course.
Children & Family
Harriet the Spy (1996). Michelle Trachtenberg, Rosie O’Donnell, Gregory Smith, Vanessa Lee Chester. A sixth-grade outcast at school spends her time spying on neighbors, taking notes on her discoveries. But when an enemy steals her secret notebook, her world starts to unravel — and she has to find a way to get even!
Let it Shine (2012). Tyler James Williams, Coco Jones, Trevor Jackson. In this sparkling take on “Cyrano de Bergerac,” an underconfident teen rapper woos the girl of his dreams through his music. Unfortunately for the talented young songwriter, his ladylove thinks his best friend is the one behind the fresh rhymes.
Mirror Mirror (2012). Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane. This remake of the classic Grimm tale, starring Julia Roberts as the evil Queen, is much darker than the well-known animated Disney version. Snow White’s team of dwarves are a shady bunch, but dedicated to helping her regain her royal throne. And frankly, I thought the dwarves were the best part about this film. Read my review over at Connecticut Kids & Family.
Fluke (1995). Samuel L. Jackson, Matthew Modine, Nancy Travis. A father headed for a reunion with his family is killed in a car crash and reincarnated as a dog named Fluke in this offbeat adaptation of the seriocomic novel by James Herbert. Samuel L. Jackson is the voice of “Rumbo,” and sitcom fans will recognize Comet, the dog from “Full House,” as Fluke. This was the first American film for Italian director Carlo Carlei (Flight of the Innocent).
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000). Jason Alexander, Rene Russo, Monica Potter, Randy Quaid, Robert De Niro, Janeane Garofalo, Piper Perabo. When Boris (Jason Alexander), Natasha (Rene Russo) and Fearless Leader (Robert De Niro) take over numerous television networks with the goal of hypnotizing American viewers, young FBI investigator Karen Sympathy (Piper Perabo) tries to stop them with the help of sharp-tongued Rocky and dim-witted Bullwinkle. John Goodman, Carl Reiner, Randy Quaid, David Alan Grier, Janeane Garofalo and Billy Crystal co-star in this mixed live action-animated comedy.
Hugo (2011). Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield, Chloe Moretz, Emily Mortimer, Jude Law. When his father dies, 12-year-old orphan Hugo takes up residence behind the walls of a Parisian train station. There, he meets Isabelle, the daughter of filmmaker Georges Méliès, who holds the key to Hugo’s destiny. This Martin Scorsese 3D kids fantasy won 5 Oscars, and tops my list of last year’s family films. It also made me want to travel to Paris. Check out my missive over at A Traveler’s Library.
Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978). Peter Sellers, Herbert Lom, Burt Kwouk, Dyan Cannon, Robert Webber. While letting the world believe that he’s been murdered, ham-fisted but unflappable Inspector Clouseau disguises himself and travels the globe to break up a heroin ring with help from a drug lord’s ex-mistress.
Son of the Pink Panther (1993). Roberto Benigni, Herbert Lom, Claudia Cardinale, Shabana Azmi. When a terrorist abducts a young princess, Jacques Gambrelli — the illegitimate son of the bumbling Inspector Clouseau — takes on the case in the final entry of Blake Edwards’s classic comedy series
Trail of the Pink Panther (1982). Peter Sellers, David Niven, Harold Berens, Ronald Fraser, Rich Little. Although Peter Sellers died of a heart attack in 1980, it didn’t stop director Blake Edwards from concocting one final film about everyone’s favorite bumbling inspector, using archive footage of Sellers as Inspector Clouseau. The footage complements a new story that centers (of course) around the theft of the famous Pink Panther diamond, but also serves as a tribute to Sellers. David Niven, Herbert Lom, Joanna Lumley and Harvey Korman star.
Indie Game: The Movie (2012). A 2012 Sundance Winner, this captivating documentary follows several independent game designers as they painstakingly develop their games and hope for breakthrough success. It also explores the quirky sensibility these personalities bring to their art form.
Pink Ribbons, Inc. (2011). Who really benefits from the pink ribbon campaigns: the cause or the company? In showing the real story of breast cancer and the lives of those who fight it, this film reveals the co-opting of what marketing experts have labeled a “dream cause.”
Mommie Dearest (1981). Faye Dunaway, Diana Scarwid, Steve Forrest, Howard Da Silva. Based on Christina Crawford’s scandalous tell-all memoir, Mommie Dearest paints a portrait of a Joan Crawford the public never knew. The film portrays Crawford as a wicked, abusive mother who lives as though she’s perpetually onscreen.
Rain Man (1988). Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise. Fast-talking yuppie Charlie Babbitt is forced to slow down when he meets a brother he never knew he had, an autistic savant named Raymond (Dustin Hoffman, in an Oscar-winning role) who’s spent most of his life in an institution. When their wealthy father dies, leaving everything to Raymond, Charlie takes his unusually gifted older brother on a life-changing cross-country odyssey that neither is likely to forget.
The Whistleblower (2010). Rachel Weisz, Benedict Cumberbatch, Monica Bellucci, Liam Cunningham, David Strathairn, Vanessa Redgrave. Sent to Bosnia in the aftermath of civil war, an American policewoman uncovers evidence that U.N. peacekeepers are complicit in sex-trafficking. But when she brings her findings to light, she learns that her foes are more powerful than the law.
Like Crazy (2011). Felicity Jones, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence. An American man and a British woman fall madly in love while attending college in Los Angeles. But when she returns to London, their trust is tested, forcing them to confront the idea that their love may be impermanent.
Horror & Thriller
Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000). Kim Director, Jeffrey Donovan, Erica Leerhsen. In this eerie sequel to The Blair Witch Project, tourists flock to Burkittsville, Md., to see evidence of the original film and its mythology, with four visitors joining town troublemaker Jeff Patterson for his inaugural Blair Witch Hunt tour.
Silent House (2011). Elizabeth Olsen, Adam Trese, Eric Sheffer Stevens. Based on the Uruguayan film La Casa Muda, this taut thriller from the makers of Open Water follows Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) as she helps her father and uncle repair their damaged summer home. When she hears a mysterious noise, Sarah’s descent into madness begins.
Footloose (2011). Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Dennis Quaid. This musical remake of the infectious 1984 hit finds dance-lovin’, big-city kid Ren MacCormack stuck in a small town where dancing is illegal. As he rebels against the town and its influential Rev. Moore, Ren falls for the pastor’s lovely daughter. Read my review at MommaSaid.net.
Children & Family
Dreamworks Spooky Stories: Volume 2: “Monsters vs. Aliens: B.O.B.’s Big Break.” The thrills don’t end for B.O.B as he plans his big break from General W.R. Monger’s government top-secret holding cell.
Family Guy: Season 9. In Season 9, Rush Limbaugh comes to Quahog for a book signing, Peter and Joe prank Quagmire, Lois takes up boxing, Peter needs a kidney transplant, and the Griffins appear in a retelling of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
Malcolm in the Middle: Seasons 1-7. Kid genius Malcolm Wilkerson grapples with a suburban family that gives new meaning to the word “dysfunctional.” Between the nonstop squabbling of his parents and merciless persecution by his siblings, it’s all he can do to maintain his sanity.
Full House: The Complete Series. This classic ABC sitcom ran eight seasons, with the nontraditional Tanner clan — including sisters D.J. (Candace Cameron Bure), Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) and Michelle (Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen), and their twin cousins, Nicky (Blake Tuomy-Wilhoit) and Alex (Dylan Tuomy-Wilhoit) — growing up before America’s eyes. Bob Saget, Dave Coulier and John Stamos round out the show’s cast as the girls’ devoted father figures.
Brothers & Sisters: Season 5. Sally Field stars as Nora, matriarch of the Walker clan, in this earnest family saga that dramatizes the many obstacles that modern society can throw into the lives of ordinary Americans — beginning with the death of Nora’s beloved husband. Alternately embracing and at each other’s throats, the family has made its way through a minefield of crises, including infidelity, addiction and even death. Through it all, family has always come first.
Damages: Season 4. Three years after their last uneasy alliance, lawyers Patty Hewes and Ellen Parsons become reluctant allies when Patty files a class action suit against a pharmaceutical giant and Ellen investigates a U.S. military contractor working in Afghanistan. And John Goodman shows up in this season!
L.A. Ink: Seasons 4-5. This fascinating Learning Channel reality series follows noted tattoo artist Kat Von D as she fulfills her dream of opening a tattoo parlor in Los Angeles, where she inks celebrities and ordinary citizens alike. But it’s not all fun and games. As she turns her clients’ artistic visions into stunning skin art, Kat contends with the challenges facing every small-business owner, including fickle employees and fierce competition.
Man vs. Wild: Collection 6. Season 6 brings seasoned adventurer Bear Grylls face-to-face with the grueling task of navigating remote locations, sharing invaluable survival strategies along the way. Grylls fashions a wetsuit of seal hide, captures a wild boar are more.
MythBusters: Collections 8-9. Fearless hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman take viewers on an eye-opening — and often explosive — journey as they examine some of the most commonly held beliefs in popular science and culture.
RuPaul’s Drag Race: Season 4. Celebrity drag queen and recording star RuPaul hosts this elimination-style reality contest — the search for “America’s Next Drag Superstar” — that’s one part “America’s Next Top Model” and two parts fabulous.
How It’s Made: Season 9. Have you ever wondered how things are made? From adhesive bandages to contact lenses, find out how many of the objects we use become the things they are. Watch as “How It’s Made” reveals the methods and materials of everyday items.