Entertainment Inquiry #3: A Q&A Guide to the Movies on Netflix

Since there is only so much time in the day to read 750+ word reviews and there are many things that have been seen and not yet written about, it seemed right to boil down all of the sentiments expressed on Eclectic Pop into a simple question and answer format; getting to the point in a concise and clear manner that transforms those broader analyses into various bite-size reads.

This special Netflix edition addresses the movie content available on the streaming giant…

Question: What’s a good option on Netflix Instant that I might not have heard of?
The dramedy “Mountain Men”, which stars Tyler Labine (“The Boss”) and Chase Crawford (“Blood & Oil”) as two opposite brothers who come together to kick a squatter out of their family’s mountain house. When disastrous circumstances arise, they end up learning what it means to finally grow up.

This is a feel good movie that deals with heavy topics in a way that makes them accessible without bogging you down. Tyler Labine is excellent and Chase Crawford gives the best performance of his career, so far.

Question: What are the top 3 foreign thrillers currently streaming?
There are so many, it is hard to narrow them down. If you are looking for straightforward suspense, South Korea's "A Hard Day" and France's "Tell No One" and "The Prey" should more than quench your thriller thirst.

Question: How about English-language?
The Nicole Kidman starrer “Before I Go to Sleep” and indie thriller “Preservation”. Do not believe the abysmal user rating for the latter. It is way better than the cult fave “Eden Lake”. As for "Before I Go to Sleep", look out for a bravura performance from Colin Firth, whose crushing turn clinches the film.

Question: What is the verdict on "Hush" – to see or not to see?

There’s no reason not to. While it falls short of realizing its maximum potential, that issue plagues a lot of films. If you watch it and decide you want something in a similar vein, stream “Kristy”. Pairing the movies back-to-back will make for a strong double feature. To read Eclectic Pop’s full review of “Hush” click here

Question: What’s the verdict on “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny” – is the 6.2/10 rating it currently has on IMDB a fair assessment?
It deserves to be rated a lot higher. The movie mounts a valiant effort in compensating for the loss of Chow Yun Fat, adding Donnie Yen to the cast alongside a returning Michelle Yeoh. “Glee” alum Harry Shum Jr. gives a terrific turn, that demonstrates his martial arts abilities are as impressive as his dance moves.

The overall feel of the sequel is a tad different than its Ang Lee-directed predecessor. It is more colorfully opulent in terms of its cinematography, though not necessarily more powerful on a storytelling level. "Sword of Destiny" opens the door to future installments in the "Crouching Tiger..." franchise and hopefully Netflix will walk through it.

Question: Which movies should be avoided at all costs?
“Adult Beginners” and “The Lifeguard” – both feature despicable central characters who return home after a long absence, to tirelessly lament their vacuous existence with a woe-is-me narrative that grows old quick. To read Eclectic Pop's full review of "The Lifeguard" click here

Question: What is a low-rated movie that is really not that bad?
As of now “Beneath” has received a 1 ½ star rating from Netflix users and it deserves much greater credit than that. It stars Jeff Fahey as a coal miner who brings his daughter (Kelly Noonan) to visit the caverns with him on his last day before retiring. When the tunnel they are in collapses, they and Fahey’s crew become trapped inside with a menacing entity.

The plotline is strongly reminiscent to the John Carpenter classic “The Thing” and in a lot of ways “Beneath” is superior. It makes you care about the fate of its central characters more and the pacing is much brisker. Add to that a string of engaging performances, especially one from Joey Kern and you have a terrific Saturday night selection.

Question: What is the best action movie?
One of the best movies available on Netflix period is the 2013 South Korean actioner “The Suspect”. It features shades of the epic storytelling found in Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator” and superior action sequences to all of the “Bourne” movies, combined.

Incredible car chases, adrenaline pumping fight scenes and a magnificent central turn from Gong Yoo as the movie’s hero makes “The Suspect”, worthy of prime interest. It will keep you guessing and wholly enthralled from beginning to end. Hopefully a sequel is on the horizon.

Question: Are there any good romantic dramas from back in the day?
If you need a modern romantic drama from the 90’s, check out “Bed of Roses” starring Christian Slater as a secret admirer who woos Mary Stuart Masterson’s ambitious career woman with a tragic past. 

Question: What the heck is “A Dangerous Woman” about?

Do not be deceived. There is nothing “dangerous” about this drama. Falsely branded as a semi-thriller, it is actually a simple drama about a sheltered woman (Debra Winger) coming-of-age later in life.

Question: Are there any good dramatic mysteries?

Yes, “The Best Offer” which is also one of the best movies of the last decade. It is a nifty and sneakily emotional drama from “Malena” director Giuseppe Tornatore. How it flew below the critical radar when it came out back in 2013 will remain one of the big movie mysteries of our time.

Geoffrey Rush gives another awards-caliber performance as an eccentric art auctioneer who is hired by a reclusive heiress (Sylvia Hoeks) to handle the sale of the art collection she inherited from her parent’s estate. It is better not to say any more, than this movie is as spectacularly beautiful as it is haunting. 

Question: Are there any titles flying below the radar that deserve a watch?

“Night Train to Lisbon” is a highly engrossing drama that stars Jeremy Irons as a determined literary professor who travels to Lisbon on a whim to unravel the mystery surrounding a revolutionary poet’s (Jack Huston) life and death.

Question: What are two unique, character-driven crime dramas streaming on Netflix?
Dan Gilroy’s magnificent Oscar-nominated “Nightcrawler” starring Jake Gyllenhaal and the Michael Shannon-led feature “The Iceman”. While Shannon has 11 movies set to be released in 2016, it is hard to imagine any of them will provide a better outlet for his talents than the 2012 crime drama. To read Eclectic Pop's full review of "Nightcrawler", click here

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