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5 Netflix Streaming Discoveries For You To Watch This Week (12/17/12)

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by Tambay A. Obenson
December 18, 2012 1:11 PM
7 Comments
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Still From "Brooklyn Boheme"

A feature I started about 3 months ago, but I've been slacking on (give me some slack!), and haven't posted any entries on since October. 

Recapping... Netflix now has about twice as many streaming subscribers than DVD subscribers, according to a company financial statement during the first half of this year, it means more of you continue to sign up for Netflix streaming accounts, specifically.

And a common complaint I hear is that, available streaming titles aren't as robust of DVD titles - especially when it comes to recent releases. 

But what I can do is alert you to films (old and new) that are streaming on Netflix, that you may not already realize are available in that format, and may be interested in checking out. 

And without further ado, here are this week's 5, which are mostly recently titles:

1. Brooklyn Boheme, co-directed by Nelson George and Diane Paragas. The lauded documentary "gives a first hand account of this vibrant African American artistic community that includes the great Spike Lee, Chris Rock, Branford Marsalis, Rosie Perez, Saul Williams, Lorna Simpson just to name a few... and follows the rise of a new kind of African American artist, the Brooklyn Boheme."

Nelson George, a resident of the New York City borough himself, narrates the film, which traveled the film festival circuit much of this year, and is now streaming on Netflix.

Here's its trailer:

2. The Story Of Film: An Odyssey, directed and hosted by film historian Mark Cousins, released for the first time in the USA less than a month ago on DVD/Blu-ray/VOD.

The film made its broadcast premiere in September, 2011 on the UK's Channel 4, after its North American premiere at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, where it was featured in its entirety. Its USA debut was in January of this year at the Museum of Modern Art here in NYC.

And now it's available as a Netflix streaming title (and other formats), accessible to almost everyone.

The 15 hour-long work, broken up into 15 episodes includes the following:

Part 1 - 1895-1918: The World Discovers - A New Artform; Part 2 - 1918-1928: The Triumph of American Film - and the First of Its Rebels; Part 3 - 1918-1932: The Great Rebel Filmmakers - Around the World; Part 4 - The 1930s: The Great American Movie Genres - and the Brilliance of European Films; Part 5 - 1939-1952: The Devastation of War - and a New Movie Language; Part 6 - 1953-1957: The Swollen Story - World Cinema Bursting at the Seams; Part 7 - 1957-1964: The Shock of the New - Modern Filmmaking In Western Europe; Part 8 - 1965-1969: New Waves - Sweep Around the World; Part 9 - 1967-1979: New American Cinema; Part 10 - 1969-1979: Radical Directors in the 70s - Make State of the Nation Movies; Part 11 - 1970s and Onwards: Innovation in Popular Culture - Around the World; Part 12 - The 1980s: Moviemaking and Protest - Around the World; Part 13 - 1990-1998: The Last Days of Celluloid - Before the Coming of Digital; Part 14 - The 1990s: The First Days of Digital - Reality Losing Its Realness in America and Australia; Part 15 - 2000 Onwards: Film Moves Full Circle - and the Future of Movies.

15 hours might seem like a really long time for one film, BUT we ARE talking about the history of cinema here folks! To comprehensively cover the history of cinema, you'd need more than 15 hours.

I'd rather watch something as ambitious as this (even though it still manages to leave out some crucial history, especially where the African Diaspora is concerned), than some 90-minute documentary on the subject that condenses the history, or only focuses on popular periods and/or movements. It's not definitive, but it's worth a look.

Here's its trailer:

3. A Man's Story, the Ozwald Boateng documentary, which was finally released in the USA last month, in a limited theatrical release.

The feature doc centers on charismatic London-born (of Ghanaian decent) Savile Row designer, Ozwald Boateng, who has outfitted men like Will SmithJamie FoxxSpike LeeBrad Pitt,Chris RockDaniel Day LewisDon CheadleForest WhitakerRussell CroweWesley Snipes, and countless others.

The film, 10 years in the making (by director Varon Bonicos who started filming Boateng in 1998 – he opened his first Savile Row shop in 1994, at age 34), is both a professional and personal profile of Boateng, focusing on his business, his design process, and his private life.

And on-top of suiting up the elite, Boateng has done quite a bit of wardrobe design for films you have all seen, like The MatrixTomorrow Never DiesOceans 13, and a few others.

Here's the release trailer:

4. Why We Laugh: Black Comedians on Black Comedy - the Robert Townsend-directed 2010 Showtime documentary, which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

Why We Laugh traces the evolution of what we know as "black comedy" from the days of Stepin Fetchit to the present, and features interviews with comedians including Bill Cosby, Chris Rock, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Steve Harvey and Katt Williams.

Jeff Clanagan of Codeblack Entertainment and Richard Foos executive produced the project, with Darryl J. Littleton, who wrote the source material, Black Comedians on Black Comedy: How African-Americans Taught Us to Laugh.

It's another very useful history lesson.

Here's its trailer:

5. 2 Days In New York (a sequel to Julie Delpy's 2 Days In Paris) brings the dramedy comes to Manhattan, as Delpy reprises her role as Marion, a fiercely left-winged French woman living in the city, with her child (fathered by her now ex-lover, Adam Goldberg), and a new guy in her life, a radio jockey named Mingus played by Chris Rock, who made me think of Malcolm X almost everytime I saw him on screen, thanks to his goatee and thick-framed spectacles.

I first saw the film at the Sundance Film Festival in January this year. In short, if you loved the first film, you'll definitely dig this one as well.

And I should say that Chris Rock definitely holds his own; I think he excels in this kind of seemingly unscripted (although it was mostly scripted) organically-created kind of setting, where he can almost essentially just be as close to a version of his real self as possible.

The official synopsis reads:

Marion and Mingus live cozily--perhaps too cozily--with their cat and two young children from previous relationships. However, when Marion's jolly father (played by director Delpy's real-life dad), her oversexed sister, and her sister's outrageous boyfriend unceremoniously descend upon them for a visit, it initiates two unforgettable days that will test Marion and Mingus's relationship. With their unwitting racism and sexual frankness, the French triumvirate hilariously has no boundaries or filters... and no person is left unscathed in its wake.

Malinda Williams and Talen Riley co-star.

Here's its trailer:

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7 Comments

  • Geek Soul Brother | December 20, 2012 2:01 AMReply

    Good list. I added three of them to my queue. Thanks so much. Two Days In New York was an enjoyable film. Rock was great as the 'straight man'. You might want to check out the sort-of prequel - 2 Days in Paris. Julie Delpy directed them both. Her 'real' father in the film is a charm too.

  • Blackman | December 18, 2012 11:23 PMReply

    Brooklyn Boheme should be nice. Hopefully, I can see some of that old dirty cruddy NY. The one with the best parties, real people and love of life.

    Ozwarld is Fake as Shidd. Only skinny little men can wear his stuff like saaka playas. The ballers in America are too big. Besides, who want to run around in a pair of skinny slacks with a big old Butt and muscular thighs?

    not right.

  • Ava | December 22, 2012 3:30 PM

    I don't know whether I am refuting or confirming your statement about the type of man who wears Boateng but Jamie Foxx and Lawrence Fishburne are some of his loyal clients. Actually Will Smith has also been known to wear suits done by Boateng.

  • Ava | December 18, 2012 8:13 PMReply

    Just yesterday I was reading about Brooklyn Boheme but had no idea it was on Netflix. I will definitely be putting this on my list!
    I saw A Man's Story just over the Thanksgiving weekend, Ozwald Boateng is an interesting character to say the least.
    Perhaps I could really use a bit of laughter these days because of all the tragedy in our midst, I may give Why We Laugh a viewing sometime this week. I'd settle for anything that will make me smile.
    I will watch all of these eventually. Thanks for letting me know that they're actually on Netflix!

  • Man-Over-Bored | December 18, 2012 2:17 PMReply

    Thanks -- great list! Would've slept on "Two Days In New York" -- but the trailer looks great, and Rock appears to be in surprisingly great form -- so I added that one, too!

  • Wanett | December 18, 2012 1:43 PMReply

    THANKS!!! I have new stuff to watch!
    Brooklyn Boheme and A Man's Story are of particular interest. The first because I am a child of that Brooklyn era having grown up in Ft. Greene projects while this all was taking place. Hell, I might see myself running down Dekalb ave in the old footage. And the second as the granddaughter of an accomplished seamstress and a as a seamstress myself.

    So, thanks!

  • BURP | December 18, 2012 2:04 PM

    A Man's Story was really good piece particularly because I am very curious to see the success of blacks outside of the US. You always hear the stories of how blacks from all over came here and made it big but how about places like london for instance ..a place rooted in tradition and class where a black man can obtain such success and wealth. Very inspiring.

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