New April Netflix Offerings

Another month, another slew of catalog titles on streaming Netflix

Death Wish

Action & Adventure: Ambush at Dark Canyon, Bad Company, Braveheart, Cotton Comes to Harlem, Death Wish, Death Wish 2, Death Wish 3, Death Wish 4: The Crackdown, No Holds Barred, Point Blank (1998), The River’s Edge

Classic: The Bells of St. Mary’s, Cheaper by the Dozen, For a Few Dollars More, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Graduate, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Heaven Knows Mr. Allison, Jane Eyre (1944), Les Miserables (1935), Man Hunt, The Odd Couple, The Robe, There’s No Business Like Show Business

Comedy: Act Like You Love Me, Amanda, Ass Backwards, Barton Fink, Bending the Rules, Click, Comic Book Villains, Coneheads, Going Ape!, Lars and the Real Girl, A League of Their Own, The Man with One Red Shoe, Mean Girls, The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear, Pumpkin, The Queens of Comedy, Scary Movie 3, Sommore: Chandelier Status, Spanglish, Steel Magnolias (2012), Stuart Saves His Family, Women Who Kill

Documentary: After Porn Ends, Berkeley in the Sixties, Commune, Craigslist Joe, Decoding Deepak, A Fierce Green Fire, The Goebbels Experiment, The Heart of the Game, Jake Blauvelt: Naturally, The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life, Mortified Nation, Moto 5, NotBad, Orgasm Inc., Shenandoah, This Ain’t California

Drama: Ali, Amistad, The Brooke Ellison Story, The English Patient, E.T.X.R., In the Hive, Inside Out, Inventing the Abbotts, A Man Called Peter, My Bodyguard, No Way Home, Now is Good, Rabbit-Proof Fence, Rocky 1-5, Roger Dodger, Secret Things, Sense and Sensibility, Strangers in Good Company, The Thomas Crown Affair, Titanic, The Turning Point, The Yards

Faith: The UnderShepherd

Family: Jumanji, The Little Prince (1974), The Muppets Take Manhattan, The Princess Twins of Legendale, Baby Genius: Mozart and Friends, Baby Genius: Animal Adventures, Baby Genius: Favorite Children’s Songs, Baby Genius: Favorite Nursery Rhymes, Baby Genius: A Trip to the San Francisco Zoo

The Terminator

Fantasy & Science Fiction: Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Dragonslayer, The Fifth Element, Robinson Crusoe on Mars, Running Man, The Terminator

Foreign: Alice, Amores Perros, The Black Tulip, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Midnight F.M., That Splendid November

Frankenstein's Army

Horror: Axed, Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter, Frankenstein’s Army, Germ Z, The Legend of Hell House, My Bloody Valentine (1981), Stephen King’s Thinner, Survival of the Dead, Tentacles

Television: The Great Train Robbery, Care Bears: Welcome to Care-A-Lot, The Hive, House M.D., The Inexplicable Universe with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Last Tango in Halifax, League of Super Evil, Mumfie, The Paradise, The Player: Secrets of a Vegas Whale, Royal Pains, The Wotwots,The Writers’ Room, and a new season of Bob’s Burgers

Thriller: Angel Heart, Chinatown, Murder at the Presidio

The Expendables week – Rest of the Cast

Well time to wrap up the week. I’ve covered Stallone, Statham, Li, Lundgren, Van Damme and Willis. The Expendables 2 also has Chuck Norris, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Randy Couture, and Scott Adkins but Netflix only has a few streaming titles for each of them.

The Cutter (2005) – Rated R

“When a kidnapping rescue mission goes horribly wrong, Detective John Shepherd (Chuck Norris) escapes his guilty conscience by trying to save an aging diamond cutter, Issac Teller (Bernie Kopell), who’s been abducted by an unknown madman. With the help of the Issac’s niece, Elizabeth (Joanna Pacula), Shep unravels his mysterious past … only to find that the cutter perfected his craft years earlier as an Auschwitz inmate.”

The only Chuck Norris streaming on Netflix is not one of his better ones. It is a rather generic shoot ’em up, beat ’em up. For Chuck Norris fans only.

The Terminator (1984) – Rated R

“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?”

The Terminator is a classic for a reason. James Cameron is actually able to turn Arnold’s limited acting range into a positive. Arnold is fantastic as the unstoppable killing machine and is still a good thrill ride. Look for future Aliens stars Lance Henriksen, Michael Biehn, and Bill Paxton (sporting a Mohawk).

Conan the Destroyer (1984) – Rated PG-13

“While on a quest to retrieve a magical gem, muscleman Conan vanquishes mortal and supernatural adversaries with help from his ham-fisted sidekick, a wacky wizard, a fierce woman warrior and a gigantic bodyguard. But there’s a traitor among the ranks.”

While not as good as the first Conan, Conan the Destroyer is a more family friendly version. It suffers from too much Dungeons & Dragons influence and some rather bizarre casting (Wilt Chamberlain? Grace Jones?).

The Scorpion King 2 (2008) – Rated PG-13

“Employing an all-new cast, this action-driven prequel to The Scorpion King tells the heroic tale of young Mathayus (Michael Copon) and his relentless quest for justice against an evil and powerful villain, King Sargon (Ultimate Fighting champ Randy Couture). Mathayus faces heart-stopping tribulations during his adventurous, odds-defying trajectory toward his ultimate destiny: becoming the formidable warrior king of an ancient desert empire.”

Wow Universal’s reboot of The Mummy with Brendan Fraser was a lot of fun. It made buckets of money so they made two sequels which were nowhere near as good. Here comes the bizarre part. Universal then went and made a prequel to the second film, The Scorpion King starring Duane ‘The Rock’ Johnson. The Scorpion King 2 features Randy Couture instead of The Rock. There is even a Scorpion King 3 with Dave Bautista.

Ninja (2009) – Rated R

“An American studying the ancient martial art of ninjutsu in Japan finds his training put to the test when he’s summoned by his sensei to return to New York for a dangerous mission: protect a chest containing the weapons of a legendary ninja.”

Yet another one of those competing movie idea, Ninja came out the same time as Ninja Assassin. Ninja Assassin was originally titled Ninja and starred Korean pop sensation Rain. If you like Ninjas or Scott Adkins then you’ll enjoy this.

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.