Don’t feel like spending an insane amount of money at the movies this weekend? Already seen The Hobbit, Les Miserables and Gangster Squad? Well then, like me, you may want to turn to your handy dandy Instant Netflix. If you are having a hard time finding something to watch, take a look at my list of favorites. These are movies and shows that I came across simply by searching (for a long ass time) the menus of Netflix. A hint: look to the customer ratings for recommendations. 9 times out of 10, they are spot on. Well here it goes……….by genres.
Young Goethe in Love
(Synopsis: The love life of aspiring young poet Johann Goethe is the subject of this period biopic. As Goethe strains against his family’s expectation that he study law, he falls in love with Lotte, who is to be wed to another.)
This film is in German, so you will have to read, but don’t let that stop you. This is one of the greatest discoveries I’ve made on Netflix. I mean this movie made it to my top favorite foreign and romance movies of all time. Sure, it has some cliches and is a typical romance story, but who doesn’t love a good cliche? (Example: The Notebook. Bam!) The ending is bittersweet, but satisfying. The actors are fabulous. The cinematography, music, costumes, art direction, everything are gorgeous! Better than most American movies. Just give it a shot.
North & South
(Synopsis: When her father moves his family to an industrial mill town, the parson’s daughter, Margaret Hale, struggles to adapt to her harsh new surroundings. This BBC series is based on the popular novel by Elizabeth Gaskell.)
If you like Pride & Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Cold Mountain, or any sappy movies like that…………you will die over this one. North & South has officially shot to the top of my favorite period piece romances. Yes, I mean it. This 4 episode BBC miniseries is the most romantic thing I’ve ever seen. The very last scene tops everything. Mostly because you are waiting so damn long. Just watch it and trust me. Richard Armitage is worth it alone. The music is beautiful, the acting is perfect, it is just brilliant.
A Moment to Remember
The synopsis on Netflix does NOT describe this movie well. It is totally misleading. This is one of those movies where you have to trust the ratings. Don’t read the reviews because some of them give away the plot. Anyway, the thing with this movie is you have to stick with it. I started watching it having no idea what was up. At a certain point, I was wondering when exactly it was going to get interesting, then all of a sudden, it punches you in the face and hurts so much you won’t stop crying for weeks. This is definitely one of the most emotional movies I’ve seen. Once again, it has subtitles, so just try to deal with it. The actors are better than most in America (I do love my country, I promise, but I just appreciate other talent as well). Just watch it. Good movie for couples too.
(Synopsis: As political turmoil rumbles through Russia, Doctor Zhivago is trapped in a love triangle between his wife and his mistress. Meanwhile, the Bolshevik Revolution will change all their lives forever in this miniseries remake of the classic 1965 film.)
Honestly, why does Keira Knightley have to be in so many good things. She tries so hard to make me like her. I still don’t, but her movies are just so damn good. Ugh. Anyway, this miniseries version of Dr. Zhivago is so damn heart wrenching, you will want to watch twenty Disney movies afterward. But don’t let that stop you! This version is really great. The music is beautiful and Hans Matheson is just amazing. It is bizarre to me that he never became a huge name. If you like the original, I bet you’ll enjoy this one too.
Being Human (UK)
(Synopsis: Trying to fit into modern society is a vexing — and often impossible — challenge for a werewolf, a ghost and a vampire who share a household in this engaging supernatural drama).
A werewolf, ghost, and a vampire? Sounds stupid right? Well it isn’t! This has become my favorite show of all time. (Or at least top five) It is genius. First of all, it is hilarious. The banter and humor is so awesome, I found myself laughing out loud, by myself. But this isn’t just a comedy. No, no. It gets intense too. Like heavy stuff. I’ve recommended this show to three other friends and ALL of them became addicted to it. My only warning: stop watching after Season Three. I still can’t bring myself to watch the rest. One day maybe, but for now I have no desire. You’ll see what I mean. It also has an awesome soundtrack (check out Detroit Social Club’s cover of God’s Gonna Cut You Down) And if you need another reason to convince you…………….Aidan Turner. Done. (I’ve given up my Hollywood whoreish ways for this man. Sorry Jeremy Renner. It was fun.) P.S. I love that chair Annie is sitting in.
(Synopsis: In this updated take on Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved mystery tales, the eccentric sleuth prowls the streets of modern-day London in search of clues. At his side — though hobbling — is flatmate Dr. John Watson, fresh from the Afghan War.)
I’ve only watched a few episodes (mostly because each one is almost the length of a movie). So far, it is great. Each episode is pretty self contained, meaning you don’t have to have watched the previous one to understand what is happening. Plus, it has Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch. Two amazing British actors. (Yes, Bilbo and the creepy rapist guy from Atonement) The style of the show is pretty similar to the Robert Downey Jr. movies………..but those were good too! It is a fun series, so just enjoy it.
(Synopsis: Exposing the snobbery, backbiting and machinations of a disappearing class system, this series chronicles the comings and goings of the upper-crust Crawley family and their assorted servants.)
If you haven’t at least heard of this show………….you have been living under a rock. It is one of the most popular BBC shows to date. And for good reason. It has everything! Drama, romance, war, controversial topics, etc. Each episode is like a damn movie. Mostly because the production is so perfect. The costumes, art direction, acting, cinematography, everything. But once more I will warn you. You will get attached. You will get hooked. You will become emotionally involved. It will lift your spirits……………..then rip your heart out. I mean they really screw with you. I’m still recovering.
World Without End
(Synopsis: With 14th-century England as the backdrop, this epic sequel to “The Pillars of the Earth” picks up events 200 years later as the king leads the country into the Hundred Years War, and the plague begins to spread throughout Europe.
First thing is…………this is not a sequel really. You do not have to have seen Pillars of the Earth to watch this one. It is totally new. Although Pillars of the Earth is good and I recommend that one too. World Without End is not the greatest show I’ve ever seen in my life, but it was entertaining. It has some strong content, but doesn’t go into it too bad. Basically, there are a bunch of different characters with their own problems and they all kill a bunch of people, fall in love, go to war, rape and pillage, have children, seek revenge, blah blah. Creepy bad guys, hot bad guys, annoying women, bad ass women, bad ass guys, evil kings and queens, etc. Like I said……….entertaining. If you liked Pillars of the Earth, The Tudors, or Robin Hood, you’ll enjoy this one.
(Synopsis: In a dystopian future, a totalitarian regime maintains peace by subduing the populace with an emotion-suppressing drug, and “sense offenses” are punishable by death. When an enforcer skips a dose of the medication, it stirs in him a desire to revolt.)
This movie is badass. Christian Bale is badass. The fight scenes are badass. Not sure why it didn’t do well in theaters. It isn’t a perfect movie. But neither was The Matrix, which is what it compares closest to. It is a great science fiction story and has a good cast. Pretty much can’t go wrong with Christian Bale………….most of the time. For a fun, loud, action packed night, choose this one.
The Man From Nowhere
(Synopsis: Tae-Sik is a widower with a mysterious past. When a young girl he befriends is kidnapped by a vicious drug gang, Tae-Sik rushes to save her. Hell-bent on justice after being framed by the nasty criminals, he takes the law into his own hands)
I have already done a post about this movie. You should have seen it by now. The end.
(Synopsis: In 2nd-century Britain, Roman fighter Quintas Dias (Michael Fassbender) is the lone survivor of a Pictish attack on a Roman frontier post. Eager for revenge, he joins the Ninth Legion — under General Virilus (Dominic West) — and journeys north on a mission to destroy the Picts.)
This movie is freaking awesome. Michael Fassbender is the man. That bond chick is also the man. If you like Gladiator or Braveheart…………odds are you will dig this one. Warning: Insanely violent. But so worth it.
(Synopsis: In a 1920s Los Angeles infirmary, paralyzed stunt man Roy forms a troubled bond with an imaginative young patient. To coax the girl into procuring morphine from the hospital pharmacy, the suicidal Roy regales her with an elaborate fantasy tale.)
This is one of my favorite movies ever. Lee Pace is incredible in it (he actually pretended to be paralyzed during the entire shoot of the film and surprised the little girl afterward by standing up and walking. She had no idea). The costume design is spectacular (same costume designer nominated for Mirror Mirror this year). The cinematography is breathtaking. It is just a gorgeous film. Strange at times, scary at times, adorable at times. Give it a chance.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
(Synopsis: When his family moves to Poland, young Bruno befriends Shmuel, a boy who lives on the other side of the fence, where everyone seems to be wearing striped pajamas. Unaware of Shmuel’s fate as a Jewish prisoner, Bruno embarks on a dangerous journey.)
Ok………….if you don’t want to cry or be depressed for weeks afterward, then don’t watch this. It is about WWII and involves children. You have been warned. But despite the content, I still recommend sticking it out and sucking it up. This really is an incredible movie. It is the most emotional and heart wrenching film I have ever seen. My mother and I were dead silent afterward for hours. It had that big of an impact. The two little boys are amazing actors and Rupert Friend gives a chilling performance as a Nazi soldier. Tough content, but excellent movie.
The Flowers of War
(Synopsis: In 1937, as the Japanese army brutally invades the Chinese city of Nanking, an American mortician is trapped inside a western cathedral and vows to protect a group of young schoolgirls and 13 courtesans who are seeking refuge from the soldiers.)
This is a hard core film. Very harsh content, including rape and violence. If you can handle it, I recommend this film. It was expected to receive Oscar nominations last year, but for some reason did not. In my opinion it should have. At least for cinematography, costume design, and art direction. Christian Bale is awesome as usual. Very emotional and beautiful film.
King of Devil’s Island
(Synopsis: This gripping drama tells the true story of the uprising at the notorious Bastoy Boys Home correctional facility on a Norwegian island. When a new boy arrives, he inspires the inmates to rise up against the daily brutal treatment they experience.)
Had absolutely no idea what this movie was when my family started watching it one day. We just looked at the high Netflix rating and thought, “sure.” It is one of those slow films that is intense at the same time. Extremely talented young actors. Tough content. True story. Good film.
Well that is all for now! More to come soon! Enjoy!