Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Stoudman's Top 20 Independent Films on Netflix Instant Watch: Top 10

  1. Paper Clips
Is it possible? A documentary without political slant? Yup. This documentary follows the story of a school in a small southern town that has its history steeped in racism, as they attempt to pay their respects to the victims of the Holocaust. Through the project the school gathers over 11 million paper clips (one to represent each person killed) and creates a memorial in their town, simultaneously showing the rest of the country and the world how change takes place.

  1. Entre Nos
Regardless of your political beliefs regarding illegal aliens, this is a film which makes it clear that there is nothing alien about the human spirit. After her husband leaves her alone with her kids in New York with very little money and no job, Mariana is forced to find any way she can to make things work. When she and her kids end up sleeping on the streets, even the most hardened of political opponents will find it hard to deny the tragedy of their story.

  1. Amreeka
While there are characters in this film that are so shallow they make me cringe, the story overall is incredibly well told. This film shows you what it's really like to be a Palestinian in Israel, as the mother Muna must decide between a life of checkpoints or the possibility of freedom in America. Unfortunately, after moving to the US she discovers that she isn't as free as she hoped she would be. Pretty good movie.

  1. Chop Shop
Yet another great film about a poor family living on the streets. In this case, their parents are gone and Alejandro is forced to look after his sister. He gets a job at a chop shop to help pay for a food cart, and hopefully, a better life for him and his sister. This movie is very memorable and full of wonderful depth and character. If you're looking for a good drama that you'll remember for a long time, this is a pretty damn good choice.

  1. Amexicano
Ever wondered what it's like to be an illegal immigrant? Well, this is the story of an Italian guy who actually lived the cliché life of a beaner. While you might expect it to be another almost racist take on the subject, this film attempts to show how all the stereotypes we place on illegal immigrants are unfair and unjust. By the end of the film, you will understand the real issues with illegal immigration much better.

  1. Ballast
Set in a post Hurricane Katrina world, Ballast follows the life of a young black kid who recently lost his father. Without a father, James is left to fend for himself. His mother tries her best to keep him in check, but he quickly starts to make all the wrong decisions. When his Uncle, struggling with the death of his brother, is forced to step in as the father figure for James, a whole new family structure begins to formulate. This is by far one of the better movies of the decade, and you absolutely need to check it out.

  1. The Devil's Backbone
While there's plenty of fakers, this is the one that really started it all for director Guillermo del Toro. You might think that a horror movie about a ghostly boy in an orphanage sounds like a cliché topic for a movie, but the level of depth in the plot for this movie is actually quite amazing. Everything you see in the film has a purpose, and everything is tied up in a nice knot by the end of the film. Regardless of cheese here and there, this movie is absolutely spellbinding and if you haven't seen it, you really need to check it out.

  1. The Secret of Kells

I've already discussed the excellency of this film at great length. If you need to know more, you should check out my review, or my blog post about the film. The Secret of Kells is a fantastic, uniquely animated film based on Celtic legend. There aren't enough original independent animated features anymore, and this is one of the few truly brilliant ones. With an extremely wide depth of color and a pretty deep story to boot, you're sure to find yourself absolutely enchanted by this one.

  1. Moon
If you don't know about Moon yet, you should check out my video review. This is one of the most original sci-fi flicks of the past couple of decades, so if you're a fan of the genre you should probably check it out. Sam Rockwell performs amazingly well as the main character, delivering a quite astonishing and unexpectedly incredible performance. Relying more on story than special effects and paying tribute to sci-fi epics of the past, Moon delivers on multiple levels and leaves the viewer pleasantly surprised and entertained.

  1. Brick
Brick is the only movie I have yet given a perfect score of 10/10 out of all of my reviews, and for good reason. This is a film noir in the style of American Beauty, but it actually manages to surpass that film in terms of successfully recreating the style of noir. On top of that, it is set in a high school setting, which serves as a great mockery of the teen drama we've all come to know and revile. Both of these things end up making the film work very well, but it is the unbelievably good script, acting, and cinematography that makes Brick so damn good. You need to see this movie, and yes, it's free to watch on Netflix Instant Watch.

If for whatever reason you haven't seen 11-20, click here. Otherwise, click here to go back to the original blog post and leave a comment if you wish. Thanks for checking out my list of the Top 20 Independent Films that you need to see on Netflix Instant Watch!

Stoudman's Top 20 Independent Films on Netflix Instant Watch: Bottom 10

  1. $9.99
This isn't your father's claymation. $9.99 is a stop-motion animated film about a group of tenants living in an apartment building. Watch as their private lives slowly manage to intertwine in the strangest of manners, and ponder the meaning of life as it's sold for the low, low price of $9.99!

  1. Let The Right One In
While some of you may be more familiar with the new American remake of the film, “Let Me In”, this is where it all began. If you think the two are as similar as everyone makes them out to be, don't be fooled. Make the right choice and let the right one in.

  1. Bart Got a Room
Starring the well established talent of William H. Macy and the young talent of such actors as Steven Kaplan and Brandon Hardesty, this is one of the more interesting teen comedies I've ever seen. It isn't exactly novel, but much of the plot is not exactly typical for a teen comedy. Macy and Hardesty somehow make the film work despite all the clichés, and for that it makes the list.

  1. Entry Level
If you've ever looked for a job in a market that just doesn't want you, this flick will be right up your alley. Much of it is cheesy, but it still manages to elicit a laugh here and there, and there is a certain charm to it. Taylor Negron has some particularly hilarious lines in this one, and if for no other reason you need to check this one out.

  1. Outsourced
You know how they've been outsourcing jobs from the US to other countries? Well, they made a dramedy about it! As much as I expected to hate it, this movie was actually very good. The film follows the story of a schmuck who gets sent over to India with all those jobs, at first expecting to despise his position. However, after a while he falls in love with one of his co-workers and things get interesting. Give it a shot, it's pretty good.

  1. Broken Flowers
This is the only Jarmusch film that most people have seen, and while that's a shame, it's nice to see it on this list. Broken Flowers stars Bill Murray, and follows him as he tries to find the son he never knew he had. This isn't a typical role for Murray, but he pulls it off like the professional he is. Hands down best drama performance I've ever seen out of Murray. Check it out.

  1. The Road to Guantanamo
No, this isn't a politically slanted documentary. It is, however, a politically slanted drama based on the true story of a few men who found themselves falsely imprisoned under the guise that they were terrorists. I didn't think I would like this one, but it's actually very well acted and directed. Agree with the politics of the film or not, it's pretty damn good.

  1. Following
You know that guy who directed The Dark Knight? Yeah, did you know he's directed other movies, too? I know, I was shocked too! Following was the first big film that Christopher Nolan directed, and it aint half bad. If you want to check out what he did before he became “the guy who directed TDK,” you should check out this movie.

  1. Big Fan
Patton Oswalt is typically cast as the “funny fat guy,” which is why it was so surprising to see him get this role. In Big Fan he plays a hardcore football fan who routinely calls in to the local sports radio program to share his thoughts about his favorite team. However, after a bad run in with one of his team's superstars, he's afraid to say or do anything that might hurt his team. This results in one of the most creepy endings I have seen for any movie in the past few years. Gotta check it out.

  1. Hounddog
Yep, it's a movie starring Dakota Fanning. I don't care what you think, this movie will prove to any moviegoer the true talent that resides in this young woman. She really shines forth in this powerful film about a little girl who loves her deadbeat daddy even though he can't take care of her. This is the antithesis of every family film she's ever done. This is seriously good, and you owe it to yourself to see it.

Click Here to see the Top 10!

Stoudman's Top 20 Independent Films You Need to See on Netflix Instant Watch

I can't tell you how many times I've heard people tell me that there's nothing good to watch on Netflix Instant Watch. Needless to say I've always disagreed with that opinion. Even when Instant Watch was a new product that Netflix was simply testing out, I was always able to find something worth watching on the service. If you can't find anything to watch, either you are too damn picky or you aren't looking in the right places.

Since there are so many people who like to complain about the lack of decent offerings on the service, I figured I'd make a list of some movies on Instant Watch that you need to see. Obviously, with the differing contracts that Netflix has for each film, this list will not be accurate forever. With that in mind, you should make every attempt to check these movies out before they are taken off of Instant Watch.

With this project I have attempted to compile a list of 20 independent films that you should watch. I chose to do this because I figured that if people weren't finding these flicks, they might just be passing them up because they haven't heard of them. Just because you haven't heard of something doesn't mean it isn't good; that is why I chose primarily independent films for the list, in hopes of introducing you all to some titles you might not have considered before. Without further adieu, here it is:

...boy, that's a mouthful! Just call it Stoudman's Top 20 IFYNTSONIW for short. (Pronounced “If'n it's on Netflix Instant Watch.”)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Just a quick update

I don't have a lot of time tonight, but I still wanted to put something out there for friends and fans that want to know what I've been up to. I've got a few new reviews up, as well as some interesting movie news. Check it out below.

Jeepers Creepers Review

I felt like doing a review of a horror movie or two for Halloween, so I started with Jeepers Creepers. In my review I explain my reasons for enjoying the film, and even go so far as to call out the haters! I'm sorry, but there's just way too much to enjoy about the movie to ignore it. Jeepers Creepers is awesome, and if you haven't checked it out yet, you really should. Check out my review if you want to know more.

The Haunting in Connecticut Review

This review came after Halloween, and it wasn't necessarily intended to be connected to the holiday. To be honest, I was torn between a few possibilities to review today, and I felt like tearing into something, so I chose to review The Haunting in Connecticut. What sucks is that the movie had potential with a pretty good and original ghost story behind it, but they just royally screwed this one up. Suffice it to say the movie was bad, but if you want to know why, you should check out my review.

John Carpenter to Direct 'Darkchylde' Comic Book Adaptation

The interesting thing about this is that Carpenter really hasn't directed much in the last ten years. No, I don't mean he hasn't directed much of anything noteworthy, I mean he hasn't directed much of ANYTHING AT ALL. Now he attaches his name to a comic book adaptation like this? Darkchylde is far from the most recognizeable or worthy comic book for adaptation, but it features a hot chick with big tits, so Hollywood no doubt sees big bucks in it. What's amazing is that the guys behind the Lord of the Rings special effects are going to be working on this project, too. Check out the article if you want to see their test reel and get more info.

Ryan Kwanten to play Charles Manson in 'The Family'

Ryan who now? Yeah, that was my reaction, too. But look at the guy, take away his pretty boy image, and he actually looks a lot like Manson. Hell, one of the reasons that Manson was so effective was because he was a pretty boy. I think that's why I find this bit of info so interesting, because 'The Family,' which will be written by the writer of 'The Machinist,' is intended to be focused on the Manson Family moreso than just on Charles Manson. This could end up being an interesting movie, and an interesting choice for the role. Either way, it's worth checking out the info in the article if you're interested.

Oh, and if you want to check out what my DVD collection looks like, I made a DVDAF page. I'll accept any and all friend requests on there, so feel free to hit me up. I'm afraid I won't be able to offer much more this week until at least Thursday, as I've got school all day on Wednesday. I hope you all understand, and thanks for helping me out and checking out my reviews and articles. Much love!
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