In an attempt to dispel the myth that there is nothing to watch on Netflix’s Watch Instantly service, I scour the new releases and pore through the existing catalogue to find titles that are both off the beaten path and well worth viewing. On a bi-weekly basis I bring to you the treasure uncovered during the course of that hunt. From the new and noteworthy to the unsung sort-of-classics, there’s movie gold to be found in the wide open spaces and hidden crevices alike. Care to dig around Netflix’s crevices with me? Here are 15 movies you should be streaming this week.
The New and Noteworthy
Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles (2011)
In the 1980s, tiles began appearing embedded into the streets of major Northeast American cities bearing variations of a cryptic message that read, “TOYNBEE IDEA/IN KUBRICK’S 2001/RESURRECT DEAD/ON PLANET JUPITER.”
Over the years following their discovery, hundreds surfaced with some being found as far away as South America. Tile enthusiast Justin Duerr leads the search for the answers behind the tiles in the brain-bending documentary Resurrect Dead. With more startling revelations than most thrillers, the film weaves it way through several popular theories and chronicles the attempts to track down the person or persons responsible.
I won’t ruin the fun by saying whether or not the attempts to uncover the truth about the tiles are successful but I will promise that some of the milestones along the way are even stranger than the tiles themselves.
It turns out the best way to get away with murder is to do it in public with as many eyewitnesses as possible. At least that’s what the assassins-for-hire in Accident have found. Under the watchful eye and following the careful calculations of The Brain (Louis Koo), the skilled killers stage elaborate traps for their victims, making sure their deaths are seen as accidents, the facts being corroborated by innocent bystanders.
When one of his plans goes awry by what appears to be an unrelated mishap, The Brain kicks into paranoia mode as he slowly convinces himself of a conspiracy. Produced by Hong Kong master filmmaker Johnnie To (Exiled, A Hero Never Dies) and directed by Dog Bite Dog’s Pou-Soi Cheang, Accident is an unusually nuanced thriller, avoiding the exploitative nature of its conceit (which his hinted at in the gleefully violent opening sequence) in favor of carefully built tension framed by art house sensibilities.
Other additions of note: Charade, Children of a Lesser God, Phillip the Fossil, Self-Medicated, Surrogate Valentine, Rocky III, Rocky IV, The Front Page, Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers, Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland
From the Vault
Combining all the best parts of the revenge sub-category of exploitation and the synth-pop-fueled fever dreams of Italian cinema, director William Lustig (who had already firmly established his ability to elevate trash to marvelously high new standards with 1980’s Maniac) casts two of the manliest actors to have ever existed to lead a tale vengeance.
Fred “The Hammer” Williamson opens Vigilante, his commanding presence as Nick unifying a band of pushed-too-far citizens ready to assign the law-enforcing duties of their neighborhood to the thick end of a bat. Meanwhile, family man and Nick’s co-worker Eddie Marino (Robert Forster) comes home to find his wife and son murdered. His decision to let the system take care of the men arrested for the crime is overruled by a corrupt judge who lets the murderers go free.
Eddie joins Nick’s vigilante group in an effort to deliver the justice at which the police and courts failed but his actions may have consequences that are farther reaching than he thought. Vigilante is violent fun, a fist pump-inducing show of manly justice and an unusually well filmed piece of exploitation cinema of the highest quality.
What are you streaming this week?