August’s Netflix Streaming Titles, Part One

Here’s a catalog dump from Netflix to help keep you cool in this ridiculously hot month. I’m having to break this into parts as we had a bit of a family emergency last week that we are still recovering from.

Enemy at the Gates

Action & Adventure: Batman & Robin, Conspiracy Theory, Daylight, Enemy at the Gates, Gunfight at La Mesa, The Hurt Locker

Anime: Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works

Classic: The Daughter of Dawn

Fletch

Comedy: The Skeleton Twins, Benny and Joon, Can’t Buy Me Love, Elizabethtown, Fletch, Happy Endings

Antarctic Edge

Documentary: The New Black, Antarctic Edge: 70 South, Beneath the Helmet, Bigfoot’s Reflection, Carl Panzram: The Spirit of Hatred and Vengeance, Casting By, A Day Without Cancer, Dogs on the Inside, Fair Chase, Flex is Kings, How to Sell a Banksy, Josef Fritzl: Story of a Monster, Katy Perry: Part of Me

Drama: Asylum (2005), August, Blue Crush, Dear Frankie, The Doors, Eat With Me, Electric Slide, Good Morning Killer

Family: All Dogs Go to Heaven 2, Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein, A Gift Horse

Fantasy & Science Fiction: Flight World War II

Foreign: Bride and Prejudice

Television: Scaredy Squirrel, Dancing on the Edge, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, De que te Quiero te Quiero, The Delivery Man, El Chavo, El Payaso Plim Plim: Un Heroe del Corazon, Hasta Que el Dinero nos Separe, and new episodes of Turbo FAST and Fetch!

A Slew of New Netflix Streaming Movies for 2015

As usual, Netflix brings us a slew of catalog titles for the new year to replace the expired ones

Action/Adventure: Bad Boys II, Batman & Robin, Chinese Zodiac, Jarhead 2: Field of Fire, The Mod Squad (1999), Ninja Apocalypse, Patriot Games, The Running Man, Welcome to the Jungle

Anime: New episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh

Marathon Man

Classic: The Agony and the Ecstasy, The Apartment, Chinatown, Dirty Dancing, The French Connection, In Harm’s Way, Kiss Them For Me, Marathon Man, Marty, The Odd Couple, The Quiet Man, Sunset Boulevard, Young Mr. Lincoln

Comedy: Beauty Shop, Better Living Through Chemistry, The Brothers, Bruce Almighty, The Butcher’s Wife, Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie, Election, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Get Shorty, I.Q., It’s a Lot, The Ladies Man, Mean Girls, Mental, Mr. Deeds (2002), Mr. Mom, Notting Hill, The Ref, Sabrina (1995), Shall We Dance? (2004), Snatch, Soul Plane, Swingers, Uptown Girls, Wayne’s World 2, The Whole Nine Yards

Documentary: Bowling for Columbine, Brasslands, Fat Sick & Nearly Dead 2, Life of Ryan: Caretaker Manager, Living on One Dollar, To Be Takei, Women Aren’t Funny, The Yes Men

Drama: Blue Car, Bright Lights Big City, Cast Away, Dirty Dancing Havana Nights, The Evening Star, Footloose (1984), Fort Bliss, Fried Green Tomatoes, From the Rough, Get Low, Ghost, The Kite Runner, The Making of a Lady, Moonstruck, Mystic Pizza, Only the Lonely, Regarding Henry

Faith: New Hope, Son of God

Family: 101 Dalmatians (live), Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London, An American Tail: Manhattan Island, D.A.R.Y.L., The Hero of Color City, Kangaroo Jack, Knight Rusty, Larva, Lassie (2005), Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, The Reef, The Road to El Dorado, Rooster Doodle-Do, Spy Kids

War of the Worlds

Fantasy & Science Fiction: Big Fish, Deep Impact, Robocop (1987), Robocop 2, The War of the Worlds (1953)

Foreign: Dance for Me, Return to Homs, To Kill a Man, Water, The Young Girls of Rochefort

Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell

Horror: The Amityville Horror. Amityville Horror II: The Possession, Amityville 3, April Fool’s Day, Bless the Child, Blood Valley: Seed’s Revenge, Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh, Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell, Jeepers Creepers, Jeepers Creepers 2, Stephen King’s Thinner, Tooth and Nail, Venom (2005)

Television: Friends, Law & Order: SVU, Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., Octonauts, five Monster High specials, and a slew of Frontline specials as well as new episodes of Inside Man and Dallas (2012)

Thriller: Basic, Blink, Enough, Identity, Insomnia, The Machinist, Murder by Numbers, Mystic River, Shining Through, Taking Lives, Undertow, Valkyrie

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger aka The Governator was the king of 80’s action movies (also one of my mother-in-law’s favorite stars). He started off in movies with Hercules in New York (aka Hercules Goes Bananas – 1970) but made his first big impression with Pumping Iron (1977), a documentary on bodybuilding. His physique was ideal for portraying Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian (1982) and again in Conan the Destroyer (1984). Arnold has four movies available on Instant Netflix (one of which I covered under my Batman post).

The Terminator

1. The Terminator (1984) – “In the post-apocalyptic future, reigning tyrannical supercomputers teleport a cyborg assassin known as the “Terminator” (Arnold Schwarzenegger) back to 1984 to snuff Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), whose unborn son is destined to lead insurgents against 21st century mechanical hegemony. Meanwhile, the human-resistance movement dispatches a lone warrior (Michael Biehn) to safeguard Sarah. Can he stop the virtually indestructible killing machine?”

This is an absolute masterpiece from director James Cameron. The character of the Terminator is ideal for Arnold’s build, accent and somewhat wooden delivery. Look for Cameron regulars Lance Henriksen and Bill Paxton (“What is wrong with this picture?”) in small roles.

Last Action Hero

2. Last Action Hero (1993) – “A magic movie ticket gains a young fan (Austin O’Brien) unprecedented access to his favorite action hero (Arnold Schwarzenegger) when he’s sucked out of his seat and onto the big screen. But things really blow up when a notorious movie villain uses the ticket to break into the real world. The all-star supporting cast includes Anthony Quinn, Art Carney, F. Murray Abraham, Mercedes Ruehl, Ian McKellen, Joan Plowright and Tina Turner”

I’m not sure what went wrong here. This should have been a slam-dunk – John McTiernan of Die Hard, Predator, and The Hunt for Red October fame directs from a good story concept. Arnold has good backup from F. Murray Abraham, Anthony Quinn, and Charles Dance though I enjoy Tom Noonan’s performance the most. Much of the movie is fun, there are some hilarious gags but it never quite gels for me – good but flawed. This was my eldest daughter’s favorite movie growing up.

Eraser

3. Eraser (1996) – “U.S. Marshall John Kruger (Arnold Schwarzenegger) erases the identities of people enrolled in the Witness Protection Program. His current assignment is to protect Lee Cullen (Vanessa L. Williams), who’s uncovered evidence that the weapons manufacturer she works for has been selling to terrorist groups. When Kruger discovers that there’s a corrupt agent (James Caan) within the program, he must guard his own life while trying to protect Lee’s”

Arnold is in fine heroic form here and in James Cameron’s hands, the action set-pieces (a fight in and out of an airplane, a shootout at the New York Zoo) would have made for a classic movie but Chuck Russell doesn’t quite have the right touch. James Cromwell and James Coburn have brief roles but it’s nice to see both of them in anything really and there is a great bulletproof glass gag. The railguns used throughout the movie are quite silly – second only to Runaway’s slow-moving bullets as the most useless movie uberweapon in history.

Batman & Robin

4. Batman & Robin (1997) – “Along with crime-fighting partner Robin (Chris O’Donnell) and new recruit Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone), Batman (George Clooney) battles the dual threat of frosty genius Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and homicidal horticulturalist Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman). Freeze plans to put Gotham City on ice, while Ivy tries to drive a wedge between the dynamic duo. With winking jokes and powerhouse action, Batman & Robin makes a great franchise finale “

Where The Dark Knight represents the zenith of Batman movies, Batman & Robin marks its nadir. Arnold and Uma overact worse than the villains on the old Batman TV series (and that series had Vincent Price, Frank Gorshin and Cesar Romero), they gave Batman a nipple suit, noted thespian Alicia Silverstone gets a B&D outfit, and so on. It seems clear that what Joel Schumacher wanted was a big budget Adam West Batman. It’s a shocking waste of money but it is pretty with lots of explosions and shiny things.

Batman

My best friend Pat died on September 11th so every year at this time I celebrate his life by taking the day off and watching a marathon of superhero movies (his favorite genre). I also eat pizza as my father-in-law’s pizza (Best. Pizza. Ever.) was the last real food Pat could eat and he always looked forward to it. I wash it down with his favorite beverage (WARNING: Product Placement ahead), a cool IBC Root Beer – if you haven’t had IBC, you haven’t tried real root beer. I’ve already had one IBC and watched Batman Begins. Up next is The Dark Knight followed by The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and Watchmen. Since I’m on Batman at the moment, Netflix has several Batman films available for instant play.

Batman & Robin

1. Batman & Robin (1997) – “Along with crime-fighting partner Robin (Chris O’Donnell) and new recruit Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone), Batman (George Clooney) battles the dual threat of frosty genius Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and homicidal horticulturalist Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman). Freeze plans to put Gotham City on ice, while Ivy tries to drive a wedge between the dynamic duo. With winking jokes and powerhouse action, Batman & Robin makes a great franchise finale”

Where The Dark Knight represents the zenith of Batman movies, Batman & Robin marks its nadir. Arnold and Uma overact worse than the villains on the old Batman TV series (and that series had Vincent Price, Frank Gorshin and Cesar Romero), they gave Batman a nipple suit, noted thespian Alicia Silverstone gets a B&D outfit, and so on. It seems clear that what Joel Schumacher wanted was a big budget Adam West Batman. It’s a shocking waste of money but it is pretty with lots of explosions and shiny things.

Batman - Mask of the Phantasm

2. Batman – Mask of the Phantasm (1993) – “This animated adventure of the well-known crime-fighter is better than any of the big-screen live-action adaptations. Philanthropist Bruce Wayne is torn when a former flame returns to Gotham City. At the same time, the Phantasm, a “hero” who’s killing Gotham’s gangsters, confronts Wayne’s alter ego, Batman. Taut writing and incredible animation make this superhero flick one to rent”

I took my girls to see this at the theater when it came out and was surprised at the quality. This represents the best of the Kevin Conroy animated series – the story is quite good, Kevin Conroy is great as the voice of Batman and Mark Hamill is a fabulous Joker. If you watch one of the instant Batmans, this is definitely the one.

Batman & Mr. Freeze - Subzero

3. Batman & Mr. Freeze – Subzero (1998) – “This breathtaking animated adventure explodes into action when surprisingly sympathetic super-criminal Mr. Freeze concocts a plot to save his cryogenically preserved and terminally ill wife — by kidnapping Batgirl, who’s the only match for his wife’s blood type. Racing against the clock, Batman and Robin must face off against the frigid fiend and rescue Batgirl in the iciest showdown of the century”

This is an enjoyable animated tale though not as good as Mask of the Phantasm. The script is good, Kevin Conroy does his usual great job, and the portrayal of Mr. Freeze is thankfully light-years from Arnold’s in Batman & Robin.

Batman Beyond - Return of the Joker

4. Batman Beyond – Return of the Joker (2000) – “New Batman Terry McGinnis fights a gang called the Jokerz and confronts Bruce Wayne’s archnemesis, the Joker, long thought dead after a battle with the original Batman. To defeat the clown prince of crime, the new caped crusader must reopen a chapter in the original Batman’s career — the story of the night he fought the Joker for the final time”

Much as I like Batman, I never really got into Batman Beyond. This one wasn’t bad so much as meh although it does have the excellent Kevin Conroy and the equally excellent Mark Hamill as the Joker. Not my cup of tea but I’m sure if you like Batman Beyond, you’ll like this.

Batman vs. Dracula

5. Batman vs. Dracula (2005) – “It’s good bat vs. bad bat in this thrilling feature starring that mysterious superhero Batman. Dracula is stalking the citizens of Gotham City, and it’s up to Batman to stop him from turning everyone in town into a bloodthirsty creature of the night. As if that’s not enough for the Caped Crusader, those evil villains Joker and Penguin are also on the loose. Extras include a featurette about the legend of Dracula and more”

This cheapie appears to have been dumped to market to cash in on Batman Begins. Kevin Michael Richardson is no Mark Hamill, Rino Romano is no Kevin Conroy, really just don’t bother unless you are a die-hard Batman fan. The best thing I can say about it is that isn’t awful on an operatic scale the way Batman & Robin is.