By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act May 2, 2013 at 6:00PM
These aren't necessarily recommendations; consider it more of an FYI - films we've talked about recently that are streaming on Netflix, that you might want to check out for yourselves.
The films on today's list were all released in the last year, and only recently became available on Netflix to stream. So you're getting newer titles here.
But without further ado, here's this week's list of 5:
1 - Lee Daniels' much anticipated return to the screen (since Precious), the southern thriller The Paperboy, adapted from a novel of the same name, by Pete Dexter. It tells the story of a reporter and his younger brother as they investigate the events surrounding a murder to exonerate a man on death row.
The Paperboy stars Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron, John Cusack, and David Oyelowo.
Daniels had this to say about the film:
"I think that you’ll find it very provocative. It’s definitely an unexpected choice after Precious. The reviews have been mixed. They’re the same as Precious, but I’m not here to please you as I did with Precious. With Paperboy, there’s some big stars in it [including Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey and Nicole Kidman] and they were surprised that I got them to do what I got Mo'Nique and Gabby [Gabourey Sidibe] to do. But I think die hard Lee Daniels fans will love the film and those who can’t stomach the truth will be appalled and call it disgusting."
So there you have it; you can decide whether you are among those die hard Daniels fans he speaks of, when you check out the film for yourselves. I've seen it; and, at the very least, Daniels' movies are never boring, regardless of everything else.
2 - Matthew Cherry's The Last Fall, which stars Lance Gross and Nicole Beharie, the family/sports drama that's also Cherry's feature film directorial debut.
Once again, its synopsis reads:
After several years in the playing professional football, Kyle Bishop is released from his fourth team in three years and returns to his home town, broke and at a complete loss about what he will do for a living. After an initially cold reception, Kyle reconnects with Faith Davis, his old high school sweetheart. Ready to leave football far in the past, Kyle gets a job at a local gym and starts planning a new life with Faith and her young son, Von. However, when Kyle unexpectedly gets a lucrative offer from another professional team, and the father of Faith's son, Rell, tries to win his way back in her life, he is torn about what path to take.
Vanessa Bell Calloway, Harry Lennix, Darrin Henson and Keith David round out the cast of the film, which made its World Premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in 2012, en route to a very limited theatrical run in the fall.
We covered it extensively on this blog, from Matthew's filmmaker diary series, through its DVD release, so most of you are probably intimately familiar with it by now. Here's your chance to see it for yourselves.
3 - The feature documentary Detropia from directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady. It's the dramatic story of a city (Detroit) in economic decay and its people, who refuse to *leave the building*, even as the flames are rising. Natives of Detroit, the co-directors are more interested in those who remain in the diminishing city - once a vibrant metropolis with almost 2 million inhabitants not-so-long ago, as workers (including many African Americans escaping the Jim Crow south) migrated north in search of jobs within all those then flourishing auto manufacturing plants, leading to a rise in the middle class; but now a city with around 700,000 people, a ghost of its former self, littered with abandoned buildings (skyscrapers and homes), empty lots and streets, that make it look as if a war broke out, or, as one person noted in the film, as if a bomb was dropped in the middle of the city.
The film is a result of 2 years of on the ground work in Detroit by the filmmakers, looking at a city (and really a country; or even world) in crisis.
The filmmakers released the film in theaters independently, traveling with it throughout the fall.
It debuted at Sundance Film Festival in 2012, where it won the US Documentary Editing Award.
4 - Magnolia Pictures' genre arm Magnet Releasing released Noel Clarke's horror sci-fi film Storage 24, in the USA, the first Noel Clarke-branded film to get a theatrical release in the USA.
It got lots of coverage on S&A.
A quick recap; its synopsis reads:
London is in chaos. A military cargo plane has crashed leaving its highly classified contents strewn across the city. Completely unaware London is in lockdown, Charlie and Shelley accompanied by best friends Mark and Nikki are at Storage 24 dividing up their possessions after a recent break up. Suddenly, the power goes off. Trapped in a dark maze of endless corridors, a mystery predator is hunting them one by one. In a place designed to keep things in, how do you get out?
Clarke, who co-wrote the screenplay, stars in the film; he plays Charlie.
Rounding out the starring cast are Antonia Campbell-Hughes as Shelley, Colin O'Donoghue as Mark, and Laura Haddock as Nikki.
Magnolia/Magnet released Storage 24 in a limited theatrical release earlier this year. If it didn't play at a theater near you, or you just missed it, now you can check out on Netflix.
5 - Ving Rhames crime drama Mafia, co-stars alongside Pam Grier and Robert Patrick, in a film that sees Rhames playing a ruthless underworld crime boss, with Grier and Patrick as determined cops with their own agendas, on his tail.
The film's official synopsis reads:
Ruthless crime boss Renzo Wes (Ving Rhames) rules the underworld. But when he crosses a cynical, jaded cop bent on revenge (Pam Grier) she becomes obsessed with bringing him down and is willing to break the law to do it. Her partner (Robert Patrick) is a clean cop who wants to do the right thing, but when his personal life intersects with Renzo's, loyalties are tested. The three of them are on a collision course with destiny - and no one will emerge unscathed.
The film is directed by Ryan Combs, who has worked with Rhames on a number of occasions in the past.
Unlike the previous 4 titles on this list, Mafia wasn't released in theaters. It's a straight to home video release.
But if you're seduced by the pairing of old-schoolers Rhames and Grier in a mafia pic, you might want to give this one a look.