“I Streamed a Stream” is a monthly column exploring the world of Netflix from our good friend Mick McGovern (@amawaster, amawaster.com). Read his previous entries here and check out his top ten from 2013 in our post here.
This month I want to wish everyone A Merry Chris-mas! That’s right Chris-mas, my tenuous link for the December Netflix recommendations are films that have an actor with Chris in their name or sounds like Chris in their name. I know, listen, I’m partied out folks!
Adaptation – (★★★★★) – Directed by Spike Jonze and written by Charlie Kaufman you expect a heady mix of the unexpected and they don’t disappoint. Nicolas Cage plays a character called Charlie Kaufman (I know!) and his twin brother, Donald.
Both screenwriters, Charlie is struggling with love and adapting a book called the Orchid Thief and the mania from the writer’s block forms the basis of the film and forces him to get too close to his subjects. CHRIS Cooper steals the show as the haggard grizzly Orchid Thief, with able support from Meryl Streep as the writer of the book and also Brian Cox (the Scot, not the space guy) has a fun cameo as screen-writing guru, Robert McKee.
Jackie Brown – (★★★★½) – Quentin Tarantino’s love letter to Blaxploitation movies is one of his best, where his levels of fanboy love doesn’t lead to empty pastiche as can be the case in some of his later movies, and it’s also got (if you ask me) his best soundtrack.
Pam Grier, herself a Blaxploitation star in the 70s, plays the titular lead as an air stewardess with a sideline in drug smuggling. You can’t go wrong with a supporting cast of Robert de Niro, Samuel L Jackson, Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton, Robert Forster and CHRIS Tucker (he has a small but memorable part, which is what he should probably stick to – e.g. Silver Linings Playbook)
3:10 to Yuma – (★★★★) – James Mangold, director of diverse films like Girl Interrupted, Identity, Walk The Line and The Wolverine, directs this slick remake of the 1957 western classic.
CHRIStian Bale plays Dan Evans a down on his luck rancher who takes on the task of bringing the captive criminal Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) to that 3:10 train to Yuma. What seems like a bog standard plot is fleshed out brilliantly by great interplay between the two leads and a brilliant performance by Ben Foster as one of Wade’s henchmen.
Adventureland – (★★★★) – A coming of age tale from Greg Mottola and starring Jesse Eisienberg as a recent graduate whose dreams of backpacking around Europe fall through and he’s left working in a local amusement park. What follows is a nicely played laid back comedy where KRISten Stewart plays the object of his affections in one of her less annoying performances. Apatow favourites Martin Starr, Bill Hader, KRISten Wiig help round out the cast which also boasts Ryan Reynolds, before he got stuck in bad comic adaptation land.