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What to watch on Netflix Instant? That is the Question. By Xtra Butter

 

How many of you Rollers out there are Netflix members?

 When Netflix first opened for business I thought, “Wow, these people are geniuses”. You get DVD’s in the mail with no late fees, unlimited rentals and I only pay one simple fee per month…sign me up!

 However, months after I started my membership I began seeing the new releases in my queue having short to long wait times. Although I found this mildly annoying, it really wasn’t that bad because it only extended my wait for new releases about a week or so. But then those same long wait times started to keep new releases in my queue for up to a month and sometimes even longer. It was now getting ridiculous and by the time I finally got the new release in my mailbox it was already being played on TNT. WTF!

 I was about to cancel my membership but low and behold Netflix changed up their game plan once again. And since I was already getting three unlimited DVD’s per month, I was automatically enrolled to receive their new instant play or streaming feature on my computer or XBOX.  However, after flipping through the Netflix Instant library I soon found this new addition to my plan was not all that it was cracked up to be.

 A run through the instant library and you’ll find nothing but B-movies, campy comedies and horrors, low-budget student films and Chuck Norris’ greatest hits. Where were all the new releases? Hell, even the hottest rentals from the last two years! Nope. Basically, it is the summation of all the movies you don’t want to see. Therefore, I give you Xtra Butter’s Guide to the Netflix Instant Queue for the month of March 2012.

 What NOT to watch

Bunraku (2010) Directed By: Guy Moshe 

If you read the line-up of cast members on this DVD cover you may think to yourself, “How did I miss this movie in the theaters”? Josh Harnett, Woody Harrleson, Ron Pearlman and Demi Moore in an action packed movie with samurai swords! Well don’t get too excited about this one Rollers because this movie looks better on paper than it does on television. This mess of silly characters and over-the-top artsy imagery is just that…a hot mess. It’s hard to take this movie serious in the least bit and yeah, there is some nice use of lighting and colors, but that could not save this film from its uninteresting premise. After about thirty minutes, I decided to go do some chores around the house. It’s no wonder why it went straight to DVD.

 

Setup (2011) Directed By: Mike Gunther

 Here’s another movie with a decent cast that falls flat on its face. It reminds me of a quote by Syd Field, “You can make a good movie from a good script; you can make a good movie from a mediocre script; but you can’t make a good movie from a bad script”. But then again maybe it wasn’t the script that killed this movie as much as the bad casting. Bruce Willis gets the nomination for the worst played mob boss and Curtis “50 cent” Jackson gets a vote for the worst actor in a lead role. For as much as I love Mr. Jackson’s raps and rhymes, he really killed this film with the same monotone delivery and dumfounded look he had throughout the whole movie. I just can’t take him seriously as a dramatic actor, period. Instead of watching this movie you’re better off throwing in one of his CD’s and working out.   

11/11/11 (2011)  Directed By: Keith Allan 

I will start off by saying movies like this give me hope as an aspiring screenwriter that someday my ideas and screenplays will make the big screen, or at least Netflix. I honestly think Netflix should have standards on their instant selection and take this movie down ASAP! It contains horrible acting, terrible directing, an awful story, and overall is just a horrible movie. If you’ve ever watched Mystery Science Theater 3000, this movie is a perfect candidate for one of those episodes. The film’s tagline is “This day will be our last”, because if you watch this crap you just might blow your own brains out. 

Nine Dead (2010) Directed By: Chris Shadley

 I had the misfortune of sitting through this entire film with a friend one day and talk about wasting an hour and thirty eight minutes of your life. The acting was bad, but not atrocious. The directing was way below any standards and the premise was as clever as a Saturday morning cartoon. But what really kills this doomed B-movie is the uneventful and unexplained ending. Did the writer die before finishing the script? Did they run out of film for the camera? What the hell kind of ending was that? If you’re curious about how bad the ending is, just watch the last ten minutes. It should go down as the worst ending in Hollywood history and be a lesson to all wannabe filmmakers out there, on how NOT to end your film.

 

 Alligator X (2010) Directed By: Amir Valinia

 Before I go any further with this one, note that I did not watch this whole movie, nor did I think it was ever going to be a good film. The title of the movie alone is a warning of the cheesiness you are about to endure and anytime you have some prehistoric alligator or super shark chasing and eating people be prepared for laughable acting. They label these movies under the horror genre but they should be categorized under comedy. After thirty minutes of dreadful acting, I decided to go watch paint dry. Oh, and I love how they play the same loop of the sci-fi alligator like twenty times. If you insist on watching some animal or creature eat people save yourself the torture and just watch JAWS (1975) one more time.

  What to WATCH

But you know Xtra Butter! I can still find Hidden Gems and after sifting through the trash I was able to find some movies worth your time.

 

Gangster’s Paradise: Jerusalema Directed By: Ralph Ziman       If you loved City of God (2002) then there is a good chance you will find this movie appealing. Although it does not pack the same intensity and powerful filmmaking as Fernando Meirelles’s epic Rio de Janeiro tale of the gritty underworld in Brazil, it still packs the same punch. BTW: If you have not seen City of God, you are truly missing out on a top five film of all time! In Gangster’s Paradise: Jerusalema, you get a story of crime that involves murder and money in the ghettos of South Africa. With a very satisfying ending and powerful storyline, it should not be missed for free. Call me a sucker for gangster movies but this definitely comes in the top twenty gangster movies ever made.  

Bill Burr: Let it Go (2010)
Directed By: Shannon Hartman

 With the limited selection of great comedies available on instant I sometimes decided to check out the stand-ups, and believe it or not, the selection here is not too shabby. The one stand-up film that sets itself apart from the rest is Let it Go starring Bill Burr. I’ve watched this movie five or six times because I wanted to show friends the flick and it is still gut-busting every time I watch it. In the mood to laugh till it hurts? Look no further. Xtra Butter believes in Bill Burr and so should you! 

 

Battle for Haditha (2007) Directed By: Nick Broomfield

 From time to time you do find some hidden gems mixed amongst the trash of what is the Netflix instant library.

Battle for Haditha is a film based on a true story that covers a tragic event that occurred in 2005 during the Iraq war. Reminiscent of Brain De Palma’s Causalities of War in 1989 this film plays on your emotions and puts the very ugly realities of war in your face. The movie is directed in a documentary style format that feels real and works beautifully. Elliot Ruiz is the lead actor in this film and the performance he gives is truly something to remember. There is a scene at the end of the movie that is probably one of the most heartfelt sequences I have seen in awhile. It is an Oscar worthy performance and makes me question, “How didn’t Ruiz get a SAG nomination for his performance?” A true must see for all war film buffs. 

 

 

I Saw the Devil (2010)

Directed By: Jee-woon Kim

 The South Korean film industry is in my opinion, one of the best producers of foreign films. You can count on their movies having solid writing, great directing and excellent acting. And in this case, they can even make one hell of a disturbing horror picture. I Saw the Devil is a great revenge story in its purest form but moreover, it is a thrilling horror movie. Brutal beatings, graphic dismemberment, cannibalism and rape make this a dark film to watch. I admit this movie is not for the faint of heart, but for true horror genre fans out there…it is the pinnacle of horror filmmaking. Watch with caution!

The Kennedys (2011) Stars: Greg Kinnear, Barry Pepper and Katie Holmes

 If you’re in the mood to see some Americana but don’t feel like watching a History Channel documentary, then take the time to watch The Kennedys. Even if you are not into these types of films you should check it out for the great performances of all the actors involved. Hands down this is Barry Pepper’s best performance and it even nabbed him an Emmy last year. Katie Holmes is awesome as Jackie Kennedy and Greg Kinnear really brings home the lead role as JFK. Overall it’s just a beautifully acted, directed and written television series. I know this was a onetime thing but damn I wish there were more seasons to look forward to because this show was that good.

 

I still have Netflix, but that’s only because I am a huge movie watcher that doesn’t mind the added movie collection to my database for an extra eight bucks a month. Although with repeated costs hikes, poor instant selection and ludicrous wait times for new releases, Netflix has all but exiled its most dedicated customers. Get it together over there and give the people what they want! New releases in the mail or streaming when we want them! Or we could always go back to Blockbuster and Hollywood Video.

 

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