Netflix Canada top picks

Fri Oct 7, 2011

Netflix Canada has been busy releasing tons of new stuff, so I’ve given up detailing every single new release. Instead, here are my top picks based on movies I’ve either seen and recommend (especially flicks I consider to be “classic”), or movies I want to see because I’ve heard or read that they are good. These are based on the last few months of new releases.

The Fog

Seen it: classic

Selma Blair, Tom Welling and Maggie Grace star in this creepy thriller about an island town off the coast of Oregon that’s forced to contend with some unwelcome visitors from its past: the spirits of lepers and sailors aboard a ship that the hamlet’s forefathers had steered astray on purpose. Those aboard the doomed vessel all wound up lost in the fog forever. Now, they’re back from the mist, eager to exact revenge on the descendants of their murderers. More details / Watch now

Another Year

Over the course of a tumultuous year, contented medical counselor Gerri (Ruth Sheen) and her geologist husband, Tom (Jim Broadbent), see their friends and relations through a series of happy events and heartbreaks – including a birth and a death. Imelda Staunton and Oliver Maltman co-star in this character-driven ensemble dramedy from writer-director Mike Leigh (Happy-Go-Lucky, Vera Drake, Secrets & Lies). More details / Watch now

Across the Universe

An American girl (Evan Rachel Wood) and a British lad (Jim Sturgess) fall in love amid the social and political upheaval of the 1960s in this movie musical from director Julie Taymor that features classic Beatles songs and a mix of live action and animation. On an excursion to America, Liverpool dock worker Jude (Sturgess) falls for Lucy (Wood). But when Lucy’s brother (Joe Anderson) is drafted, Jude and Lucy take a stand as anti-war activists. More details / Watch now

Summer School

Seen it: classic

When school lets out for the summer, gym teacher Freddy Shoop (Mark Harmon) can’t wait to hightail it to Hawaii with his girlfriend for a vacation. But when the teacher who’s supposed to teach remedial English (director Carl Reiner) wins the lottery, Shoop gets roped into the job. The misfit students aren’t too happy to be there, either, so Shoop resorts to bribery to get them to come to class and crack the books. More details / Watch now

Pride & Prejudice

In this retelling of Jane Austen’s novel set in 19th-century England, Mrs. Bennet (Brenda Blethyn) is all atwitter in hopes of marrying her daughters to prosperous gentlemen callers, especially when a wealthy bachelor moves nearby. Headstrong daughter Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) meets her match in Mr. Darcy, but misinterprets Darcy’s honorable intentions and jeopardizes her chance at love. Donald Sutherland, Judi Dench and Jena Malone co-star. More details / Watch now

Inside Man

Seen it: good movie

Dispatched to the scene of a bank robbery, detective Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington) must match wits with a cunning thief (Clive Owen) who’s always one step ahead of the cops. When a loose-cannon negotiator (Jodie Foster) is called on for help, the unstable situation spins out of control. Keith soon finds himself questioning the motives of everyone around him. Spike Lee directs this taut heist thriller about the perfect crime gone wrong. More details / Watch now

United 93

Re-creating the harrowing events aboard United Airlines Flight 93 in real time, documentary filmmaker Paul Greengrass presents the unforgettable drama of Sept. 11, 2001, as experienced by those on board and by those watching in horror on the ground. This compact yet powerful story earned Greengrass an Oscar nod and follows a disparate group of strangers that bands together for a common purpose, risking their lives so that others might live. More details / Watch now

Paranormal Activity

Seen it: good movie for halloween

When Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat) fear their San Diego, Calif., home may be haunted by a demonic presence, Micah sets up a video camera to document all the jaw-dropping, hair-raising action over a series of several nights in fall 2006. The paranormal occurrences increase in frequency and significance, leaving Katie more and more distraught – and determined to put an end to the terror. More details / Watch now


Seen it: great action flick

It’s a nail-biting race against time as an unmanned train carrying a load of lethal chemicals speeds out of control, and a conductor and engineer do everything in their power to keep it from derailing and killing tens of thousands of people. Denzel Washington leads the cast in Tony Scott’s tough-minded action thriller, in which a terrible circumstance forces a couple of ordinary men to become extraordinary heroes. More details / Watch now

127 Hours

From director Danny Boyle comes this harrowing tale of real-life mountain climber Aron Ralston (James Franco), who literally cuts himself loose from danger – and lives to tell about it when sliding rock pins his forearm under a boulder during a climb in Utah. To stay alive, Ralston resorts to his basest survival instincts. The film scored Academy Award nominations in the Best Picture and Best Actor (Franco) categories. More details / Watch now


Seen it: classic

Frances McDormand won an Oscar for her turn as pregnant police chief Marge Gunderson – a serious sleuth who’s sharper than her folksy accent suggests – in this Coen brothers black comedy that also earned the siblings a nod for Best Screenplay. William H. Macy co-stars as a car dealer who conspires with hotheaded kidnappers (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) to kidnap his wife (Kristin Rudrüd) so he can pocket part of the hefty ransom. More details / Watch now


Seen it: classic!

In Paul Verhoeven’s landmark sci-fi thriller, the monolithic corporation controlling a futuristic, crime-riddled Detroit transforms a dead cop (Peter Weller) into a cybernetic law-enforcement unit called RoboCop – and soon the streets are safe. But as Robo cleans up the city, he seeks to avenge his death, and uncovers a conspiracy stretching from the back alleys to the boardroom of the company that reengineered him. More details / Watch now

The Party

Seen it: classic

An Indian would-be actor named Hrundi (Peter Sellers) ruins an entire shooting day on an epic period film in which he’s cast as an extra. But instead of being fired from the movie, Hrundi is accidentally invited to a major Hollywood party thrown by the studio chief. Sight gags, misunderstandings and accidental destruction soon follow. Sellers’s frequent collaborator Blake Edwards writes and directs this film. More details / Watch now

Black Hawk Down

When U.S. Rangers and an elite Delta Force team attempt to kidnap two underlings of a Somali warlord, their Black Hawk helicopters are shot down, and the Americans suffer heavy casualties, facing intense fighting from the militia on the ground. Director Ridley Scott (Gladiator) captures the brutal, incessant battle scenes with powerful and intimidating framework and pace in this military drama based on a true story. More details / Watch now

Punch-Drunk Love

Seen it: good movie

Barry Egan (Adam Sandler) – a bathroom supply salesman prone to paroxysms of destructive rage – finds his life refreshed when he meets Lena Leonard (Emily Watson), who falls in unconditional love with him. Meanwhile, Egan tries to escape constant harassment from his seven sisters as well as three thugs who have implicated him in a phone sex extortion scam. Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood) writes and directs. More details / Watch now

Black Swan

Seen it: Great movie!

In director Darren Aronofsky’s psychological thriller, ambitious New York City ballet dancer Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) lands the lead in “Swan Lake” but soon thinks her dreams of stardom are threatened by a rival ballerina (Mila Kunis). As opening night nears and the pressure to be perfect builds, Nina’s obsession descends into paranoia and delusion. Portman won an Academy Award for the film, which also nabbed an Oscar nod for Best Picture. More details / Watch now

True Grit

Seen it: Great performance from Jeff Bridges

After drifter Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin) murders her father, 14-year-old Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) hires alcoholic U.S. Marshal Reuben “Rooster” Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) to help her exact revenge. The disreputable lawman still has grit, though, and mounts an epic search. Joining the duo on their quest is a Texas Ranger (Matt Damon) who’s also hunting for Chaney in this updated Western that received multiple Oscar nods, including Best Picture. More details / Watch now

Somewhere in Time

Seen it: classic

In this unabashedly romantic film, an elderly woman approaches playwright Richard Collier (Christopher Reeve) and presses a pocket watch into his hand whispering, “Come back to me.” Years later, Collier becomes obsessed with a picture of an early 1900s actress (Jane Seymour) and discovers that she’s the woman who gave him the watch. Collier wills himself back in time to find the woman, and the two begin a love affair. More details / Watch now

Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life: Special Edition

Seen it: classic

The no-holds-barred Pythons explore the various facets of life – from procreation to the clang of a death knell – in their typical irreverent fashion, proclaiming “Every sperm is sacred.” (Or didn’t you know?) Darker and more disturbing than other Monty Python fare, the film follows a sketch comedy format and includes highlights such as the heave-inducing “world’s biggest glutton” skit featuring John Cleese and Terry Jones. More details / Watch now

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