Despite popular belief as of late, Netflix has more than just T.V shows for you to binge watch during holiday breaks. There is still a decent amount of movies on there to watch once you skim through all the B-grade films. So why don’t you take a break from your marathoning of House of Cards or Fuller House (no judgment), and check out these five films that can be watched on Netflix right now.
Creep (2014). This mystery/horror film is about a young man who answers a Craigslist ad to film a stranger for a day, and as the day goes on the stranger’s requests become more and more disturbing. This movie does fall under the found footage genre which I can understand to be a turnoff to most. However, it makes sense in the context of the plot and creates an interesting dynamic between the filmmaker and the stranger. For me, Creep's greatest strength is the black humor. It's a seriously funny movie but never loses the tension that simmers under its surface. Mark Duplass' (The League, Safety Not Guaranteed) performance as the type of person we've all met at one time or another; someone a little bit too keen on being your friend which inspires an uneasy feeling inside of you. Parts of this movie are predictable and has a few jump scares, but that comes in most any film in the horror genre. What separates this movie from the rest, is how the story develops its take on the predictable which produces a well done low-budget film.
Soaked in Bleach (2015). This 2015 docudrama, reveals the events of the apparent suicide of Nirvana frontman, Kurt Cobain, through the recorded tapes of a private investigator, Tom Grant. As this documentary progresses, it makes a good argument that this apparent suicide was a consequence of foul play. This is a documentary that contains a lot of passion behind it in wanting to bring justice to the death of Cobain. Benjamin Statler, the director, has done an incredible job while taking a significant risk in making something this controversial. Statler's movie is directed like a crime thriller and combines official case files, tape recordings with current interviews and reenactments. All the inconsistencies about the official suicide theory are analyzed in the most miniscule details due to the help of Grant’s investigation through April 1st to the 8th. Interviews with Tom Grant, Norm Stamper (ex-chief of the Seattle Police Department), Cyril Wecht (president of the American Academy of Forensic Science) and others friends of the lead singer help give the audience an entire picture about the impossibility that Kurt could have killed himself.
Dope (2015). Dope, a coming of age dramedy, is a story about a 90’s hip-hop obsessed high school senior named Malcolm, in Inglewood, California, with the dreams of attending Harvard. One night, Malcolm and his friends find themselves caught up in a drug deal went wrong leading to an adventure filled with poor choices and off-beat characters. Dope reminds me of the inner-city-set films of the 90s, but with less violence and more humor. The humor is used to approach some crucial issues, including the ongoing problem of the use of labels and their significant impact on our society. Writer/director Rick Famuyiwa attempts to strip the film of stereotypes for African-American characters and manages to infuse details that question the issues of racism and class discrimination. This movie is not perfect with a few unrealistic plot elements, but between the characters, the writing, and the shenanigans that ensue, you get an incredibly unique film.
Short Term 12 (2013). This film takes a look at the highs and lows of a residential treatment facility through the eyes of a young female worker and her long-time boyfriend. This is a well-grounded story that takes you from deep laughs to genuinely heart-wrenching moments. To just call this a film about damaged people is an understatement. It is really about how the human condition can sustain after such darkness. There is an intense realism going on here that one could almost view the movie as a documentary. The entire cast gave a brilliant performance, but it is Brie Larson (Room, 21 Jump Street) who impresses the most as Grace. The film manages to portray her as a tough, but fragile human being. Short Term 12 was stripped of anything flashy just to show the audience character relationships. Characters are introduced to a new environment, hearts are broken, and tears are shed. This is a genuine movie driven by its characters. I wouldn’t call this a “heart-warming” movie with a feel good ending however. An accurate summation for me would be, at the end of this film, you are left with real emotion and a deep love for all the characters portrayed.
The One I Love (2014). Without trying to give too much away, a troubled couple goes to a retreat with a bizarre set of circumstances and a delightful couple who lives right next door. This indie gem is a modern day Twilight Zone episode, a perfect combination of romance, drama, and sci-fi. This is not a typical romantic comedy or even drama. What I will say is that this is one of the most original movies that has come out in a while, and I loved it. This is a film that must be seen and recommended, but not described. The tonal balance between drama and comedy is admirably achieved by first-time feature director Charlie McDowell. The One I Love is a study of relationships and how they change from first date to several years into a marriage. It shows how a seemingly perfect relationship, might not be exactly the happiest relationship. The less you know about The One I Love, the better. If you plan on following up on my recommendation, don't scope out any spoilers whatsoever. Rarely do films benefit this much from going in blind, but The One I Love almost demands it.