Archives for posts with tag: Netflix movie reviews

It’s not even winter, yet, and I’m already in the mood for snow.  Even if I can’t be in the Swiss Alps on a snowboard, I can get my snow fix from the warmth of my blanket with these snow scenes.  Here are five snowy movies I recommend for fall and winter.

Snow Falling on Cedars: The whole town is engulfed in layers of powder as they submerse themselves in a local trial, and a reporter recalls his former romance and still aching heartbreak as the story unfolds.  Available on Netflix instant streaming.

Hugo: This beautiful film by Martin Scorsese follows an orphaned boy as he unravels a mystery left behind by his father, through clocks, a train station and a snowy Paris setting.  See it on Netflix instant streaming now.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Dr. Seuss’ Whoville is one of the most magical snowy settings (it is in a snowflake, after all).  Gusts of powdery snow roll over the Grinch’s mountain as he destroys and mends the holiday season.  Check it out on Amazon Instant Video.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: This creatively told movie tells a love story, backwards (as if in a dream), as Jim Carrey’s character tries to erase his girlfriend from his memory.  It’s not entirely set in snow, but the scenes where they lie on the icy lake and play in the snow by the ocean are dreamy and perfect.  See it at Netflix instantly.

Serendipity: This classic wintery romance not only features the white stuff, but also classic New York City ice skating and the now iconic frozen hot chocolate.  Of course, the movie ends with snow falling on the ice rink in Central Park as the destined lovers reunite.  Find out where to see it on Watch It.

These are just five of some of my favorite snow movies, but there are tons of others, like The Saint and The Polar Express, and I’m really looking forward to Anna Karenina.  What did I leave out?  Let me know in the comments what you recommend!


waste-landEarth Day‘s coming up soon, and while you can plant a tree or clean up your town, you can also just open up your mind to new points of view on the environment with award-winning documentaries.  My list of environmental-themed movies are multidimensional movies layered with social issues.  Plus, if you’ve got a Netflix account, these are all instant-streaming movies you can easily find.

  1. Dive!: This documentary is first and foremost about feeding everyone, more than it is about saving the environment.  They look at the issue of hunger around the world from the perspective that we already have so many resources that we waste.  So, instead of figuring out how to produce more food (and thus, draining our environment), they look at facts and figures about the food wasted daily at top grocery stores in our country.  The numbers are astonishing, and the first-person look at dumpster diving is amazing, as well (who knew you could feed your family healthy food from trash, that otherwise would be filling up landfills).  From an environmental perspective, it’s a smart move to evaluate what we already have and make simple changes to utilize it better.
  2. Encounters at the End of the World: This movie is primarily about the beauty and wonder of the icy, foreign continent of Antarctica, but any movie that reminds us of the wildlife and complicated ecosystems that we share the world with is an environmental film, too.  The narrator and director, Werner Herzog, so poetically progresses the story, complementing the wondrous setting.  You also get to know the surprisingly bohemian band of scientists and workers that make this isolated, harsh environment there home, seeing through their eyes, as well, what makes it so precious and worth protecting.
  3. Waste Land: If you only see one movie on this list, please make it this one.  This is very much a multi-layered movie, about waste and landfills, poverty, culture, second chances, art, and so much more.  The heart of the story is the Brazilians skimming the world’s largest dump for recyclables, people described as at the end of the line.  Literally tossed away to the landfill like trash, they get a second chance at motivation and inspiration when Artist Vik Muniz holds his hand out to the garbage and asks them to assist him in a new art project.  Just as they helped recycle things once disposed, they get a new outlook on life as they help Muniz create their own portraits out of trash.

Image courtesy of Flickr.

rango-movieYou can now see “Rango” on Netflix’s instant streaming.  This 2011 animated flick stars Johnny Depp and Isla Fisher as desert animals in search of water for their Old West town.

Here are just three reasons why you’ll want to watch this fun flick:

  1. Animated Depth: The CGI animation colorfully portrays the sandy, gritty, dirty town and critters, making it fun to spot the different weathered, whiskered, scaly animals peering from underneath torn hats and pacing through the town.
  2. Critic-Approved: Critics generally gave this movie the thumbs up for the interesting change of scenery, oddball characters, mature humor, and well-done animation.  Even my favorite critic, Roger Ebert, gave it four stars for the developed character profiles, as well as the authentic homage to and creative take on classic Western films.
  3. LOLs: It’s got humor for everyone, one of those great animated movies that obviously caters to children but also sneaks in witty, sarcastic lines geared towards adults, too.

I also love the southwestern Tex-Mex flavor, too, from the mariachi band of owls narrating the film to the soundtrack featuring bands like Los Lobos.  This is the perfect movie to watch right now on Netflix as we anxiously await the sunny summer ahead.

Image courtesy of Flickr.

The Signal” is a weird ride.  It’s a gory horror movie lacking plentiful scares and, in its stead, substituting a quirky playfulness about the dire situation.

The story seems like a straightforward scary flick – an end-of-the-world disaster scenario, where the lovers escape amidst slaughter and sprinkling blood.  This is not really what you get, though.  With a dark humor, the story detours deeper into the psychotic world of the crazed killers.

The Plot Goes Haywire

This is how the story goes – a signal comes over televisions, radios and other transmitting devices.  It’s a psychedelic, colorful, moving static across the screen with a technological, unpredictable sound.  Everyone who experiences the signal has a hidden switch turned on in their brain, a primal urge to kill and conquer.

One of the main characters, a controlling husband suspecting his wife of cheating, is afflicted by the static and sounds and hunts down his runaway wife, to possibly kill her.  As he is exposed even more to this signal, he enters an alternate state of mind, talking to himself and seeing his wife’s face everywhere.

The movie turns very odd when he walks into a long scene with a strange pair: a perky perfectionist who killed her crazed husband during the events but continues to obsessively plan her New Year’s party as if the day is like any other, and her helpful, jolly landlord who copes with throwing out everyday politeness and personal virtues in the name of survival.  As the woman blows up balloons, serves cocktails and imagines dancing with her dead husband, it seems we’ve officially entered a crazy world and may have accidentally started watching another movie (this is where the out-of-place dark humor arrives, almost like an intermission).

The plot becomes even harder to follow as we realize that the characters increasingly hallucinate, making it difficult to determine what’s real.  One moment, we see a man’s skull bashed in and cracked open, then we see him get up without injury.

Enjoy The Crazy Ride

It may not be seamless, but I have to admit, the oddball humor and hallucinations kept me watching so I could figure out where it was all going.  And I’m still not sure, though.

We don’t know what the signal is, who sent it or why, and we don’t know what happens after the lovers reunite, both fully exposed to the signal and losing their minds.

But then again, we never really get to know a lot about the characters.  Like a casual date, it’s all thrills and chills, not intimate and open.  So, without this investment in our relationship with the characters, it’s okay not knowing what happens to them afterwards.

“The Signal” is like an unusual theme park ride where you drift through dirty water into a plastic cave and watch animatronic creatures move around – you ride, you have fun, you get off, and you move on to the next ride.  It’s a good watch if you’re looking for something new on Netflix, nothing more.

The Signal Trailer (U.S. trailer: The Signal)