Did you just google, “What are the best movies on Netflix right now?” Well, I hope so! This month’s list is brought to you courtesy of Marcus Pinn, the indie-film connoisseur at the helm of Pinnland Empire, and frequent contributor to Cut Print Film. If you’re looking for something good to watch tonight, then you’re in good hands with Marcus!
With references to everything from Elem Kilmov’s Come And See to Michael Mann’s Thief, Claire Denis’ Bastards is kind of like a cinephile’s wet dream (the film also channels unlikely sources like Lost Highway & 8mm).
Unfortunately no one (except for myself and a small handful of dedicated Claire Denis fans) seemed to catch this. Instead, most folks were so thrown off by the film’s subtle aggression & discomfort that they wrote it off as a failure. Let’s be honest – it hasn’t even been two years and Bastards is already being treated like the embarrassing deformed offspring from Denis’ litter of otherwise masterful films. While it is somewhat different from the rest of her work (this is her first full immersion in to the noir genre), it still fits in with the rest of her filmography quite nicely (I’m convinced Claire Denis is trying to meld all of her films together to form one giant ongoing dreamy narrative).
Now that most folks have forgotten about Bastards, perhaps it’s time to revisit this little gem…
2. To the Wonder
I understand that Terrence Malick uses well known recognizable actors like Brad Pitt, George Clooney & Ben Affleck and that can potentially attract the wrong audience for his brand of cinema. But at this point everyone should know that Malick’s post-Days Of Heaven movies are an acquired taste (at this point you should know what you’re getting in to when it comes to a modern day Malick movie). No one just stumbles across something like To The Wonder (I don’t care what kind of “A-List” cast of actors the movie showcases). It’s the follow-up to The Tree Of Life. That bit of info alone should weed out a nice sized crop of viewers that would expect To The Wonder to be something it was never intended to be; a conventional relationship drama (in my opinion, Tree Of Life & To The Wonder exist in the same cinematic world of twirling moody women & “jazzy” cinematography).
This is definitely not for everyone but diehard fans of post-Thin Red Line Malick should at least appreciate his (semi-autobiographical) exploration into the depressing & drudging side of romantic relationships.
3. Post Tenebras Lux
Editor’s Note: This title is no longer available to stream on Netflix USA.
Not only do I stand by the opinion that Post Tenebras Lux is the best movie of the decade so far, but it also features one of the greatest opening sequences known to woman or man. Now…like To The Wonder, this isn’t the kind of movie you go in to blindly. The non linear style of PTL not only bounces back & forth between what might be the present and what might be the future, but there are numerous moments that’ll have you scratching your head long after it’s over. As pretentious as this may sound, it’s best to feel this film rather than try to figure it out or even fully understand it.
It’s almost as if Carlos Reygadas discovered a way to capture daydreams & deep perverse subconscious thoughts and turn them in to personal home movies for us to watch.
For those of you who want to venture outside of Woody Allen & Noah Baumbach’s microscopic view of New York City, perhaps you should check out Shaka King’s directorial debut.
While Newlyweeds isn’t your typical NYC film with recognizable monuments placed in the background of every other shot, the spirit of the Big Apple flows through every frame.
This also isn’t your typical film as it dips in & out of so many different genres (Romcom, Dark Comedy, serious relationship drama, “stoner comedy”, existential dramedy, etc). Newlyweeds is also one of the very few millennial-specific films that I embrace with no reservation. Definitely check this out.
5. Double Feature: After The Wedding // Valhalla Rising
Now that Mads Mikkelsen is somewhat of a household name, perhaps some folks should explore his slightly lesser known filmography (Mads was chopping off body parts without blinking an eye long before he took on the role of Dr. Lecter). From total savage (Valhalla) to complicated sensitive father figure (After The Wedding), Mads has the ability to do it all and these two films definitely display his range.