Netflix Renaissance


There is a case to be made for tradition, such as movie theaters and dvd's and I get the physical connection, as I own my own little collection but to me it has become one more unnecessary step towards my goal to see as many movies, when I want and when I can.
To that end, you can't beat streaming.
I did my research and have found the best streaming sites that allow me instant access directly to my 65"Samsung and Sharp Aquos , often stuff that's still in theaters.
Would not trade it for the world.

Speaking of Netflix, it's interesting to note that their streaming is not the same as their DVD's , in terms of selection.
They are two separately run departments.
I used to belong to both of them but got tired of being by passed for new releases in my queue, which was basically all I was interested to begin with.
Amazon Prime probably has the best DVD selection out there, but you got to buy them.
I'm not totally against streaming, because it's a great way to provide access to films that are difficult to get a hard copy of. I just started diving into the Italian Poliziotteschi genre, and that wouldn't be possible without Amazon streaming. My problem is that both Netflix and Hulu have a such limited selection (especially of older films) and honestly, I want to watch the movies I want to watch, not the movies that Netflix happens to have available for streaming that month. I keep Netflix streaming around for its original content, but I rarely watch movies on it.

"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."

I'm ashamed that it took three weeks for me to get to my next Netflix movie. For the future, I'm going to try to enforce a rule that if I don't watch a movie in three days, I'll send it back for another. Since I only watched one Criterion movie in November, I'll extend my criterion themed queue into December and finish out the year in style.

When it comes to European film noir, I think Carol Reed's The Third Man (1949) gets too much praise (Night and the City (1950) is probably my favorite). I'm not saying Reed's Odd Man Out (1947) is a better film, but it at least deserves as much recognition as The Third Man gets. James Mason playing a wounded IRA leader navigating the streets of a 40s Belfast is a great setting for a film noir. At best, usually noir endings are bleak, but the end to Odd Man Out is just straight up depressing.

Odd Man Out was based off a novel off the same name, and was remade in 1969 as The Lost Man with Sidney Poitier playing a revolutionary leader in the Black Power movement being wounded during a bank robbery. Looks good enough for me to check out in the future.

Next on the list I have Francesco Rosi's Salvatore Guliano, but it's on "short wait", so if I'm unable to get that I'll have the oddly named noir Ride the Pink Horse next.

1.) Salvatore Guliano (1961) (Short Wait)
2.) Ride the Pink Horse (1947)
3.) The Breaking Point (1950)
4.) Repo Men (1984)
5.) Brute Force (1947)
6.) Army of Shadows (1969)
7.) Thieves' Highway (1949)
8.) They Live by Night (1948)
9.) The Player (1992)
10.) Z (1969)

If I had to notice a theme in my movie watching over 2017, it was Italian cinema. I finally gave up on the hopes of a Region 1 DVD release of Francesco Rosi's Lucky Luciano (1974) and ordered a VHS copy. I watched Dario Argento's horror masterpiece Suspria (1977), and its sequels Inferno (1980) and The Mother of Tears (2007). I revisited Lucio Fulci's Zombi 2 (1979) just in time for Halloween, and I'm in the middle of diving into the gangster/police action Poliziotteschi film genre with Gang War in Milan (1973) and The Boss (1973).

So it's fitting that I'm closing out 2017 with the before mentioned Rosi's Salvatore Giuliano (1962). The titular character appearing as a dead body for most of the film; Salvatore Giuliano transports the viewer to the corrupt, post-WWII political landscape of Sicily, where separatist organizations and the Mafia intersect. Shot in an almost documentary style, with and some of the bandits that worked with Guliano and authentic locations in Sicily, Salvatore Giuliano is a time capsule of the period. Numerous points in Giuliano's career is mentioned, especially the Portella della Ginestra massacre, which he was blamed for, but his death is the frame for the movie. And while in reality conspiracy theories are abound in Giuliano's death, Rosi blames his partner Gaspare Pisciotta (Frank Wolff), and the Mafia, as the true killers of Giuliano.

The docu-drama style in which Salvatore Giuliano was shot makes it feel very modern, and its influence on cinema since can be seen. I would recommend Salvatore Giuliano to really anyone, it's an easy and exciting watch.

I'm closing out the year with Noir in the desert with Ride the Pink Horse (1947).

1.) Ride the Pink Horse (1947)
2.) The Breaking Point (1950)
3.) Repo Men (1984)
4.) Brute Force (1947)
5.) Army of Shadows (1969)
6.) Thieves' Highway (1949)
7.) They Live by Night (1948)
8.) The Player (1992)
9.) Z (1969)
10.) Youth of the Beast (1963)

The theme months aren't working. I thought I would be hoity toity and a criterion top 10 would kick my movie watching into high gear; I've had Ride the Pink Horse (1947) sitting on my bedside table for two months, and I haven't watched it. So, I'm no longer denying my cinematic lusting, and filling my queue full of B horror movies and forgotten noirs.

1.) I Drink Your Blood (1970)
2.) Hell of the Living Dead (1981)
3.) Murder by Contract (1958)
4.) Maniac! (1980)
5.) He Walked By Night (1948)
6.) The Dark Corner (1946)
7.) The Brothers Rico (1957)
8.) Zombie Holocaust (1980)
9.) Q: The Winged Serpent (1982)
10.) Jason Goes to Hell (1993)

In hindsight, I should have waited to watch I Drink Your Blood (1970) until I could get my hands on a copy of I Eat Your Skin (1964) and have a double feature

But I loved I Drink Your Blood in all its 70's B-movie, drive-in gross out, glory. The acting is expectedly terrible, but the gore, the soundtrack, and the expressions on George Patterson's face are amazing. I Drink Your Blood will satisfy the pallet of B horror movie connoisseur. Next I'm revisiting Italian flesh eaters with Hell of the Living Dead (1981).

1.) Hell of the Living Dead (1981)
2.) Murder by Contract (1958)
3.) Maniac! (1980)
4.) He Walked By Night (1948)
5.) The Dark Corner (1946)
6.) The Brothers Rico (1957)
7.) Zombie Holocaust (1980)
8.) Q: The Winged Serpent (1982)
9.) Jason Goes to Hell (1993)
10.) City of the Living Dead (1980)

While most Italian zombie movies of the late 70s/80s are a cash grab on the success of Dawn of the Dead (1978), Hell of the Living Dead (1980) is such a rip off, it can almost be mistaken for a remake. First off, almost the entire Goblin score from Dawn of the Dead is present in this film. The beginning S.W.A.T. sequence of the film is mirrored here and the uniforms are almost exactly the same. While this doesn't make Hell of the Living Dead any less entertaining, I would definitely recommend that those who haven't seen Lucio Fulci's superior rip off Zombi 2 (1979) give that a watch before moving on to this. When Fulci would get sick while making Zombi 3 (1988), it would be Bruno Mattei (director of Hell of the Living Dead) that would take over production.

Next, I'll be switching back over to noir with Murder by Contract (1958).

1.) Murder by Contract (1958)
2.) Maniac! (1980)
3.) He Walked By Night (1948)
4.) The Dark Corner (1946)
5.) The Brothers Rico (1957)
6.) Zombie Holocaust (1980)
7.) Q: The Winged Serpent (1982)
8.) Jason Goes to Hell (1993)
9.) City of the Living Dead (1980)
10.) Brute Force (1947)