Joaquin Phoenix with a beard, Danny Glover with a badge, Geena Davis with a gun, Kevin Costner with a hostage and Melanie Griffith without any clothes make up this week’s hot new releases on Netflix Streaming. Enjoy them at your leisure.
Yeah, the whole thing was a stunt, and Joaquin Phoenix and Casey Affleck are kind of jackasses for it, but that doesn’t make I’m Still Here any less fascinating. Watching Phoenix (pretend to) lose his mind, grow a beard and renounce acting to reinvent himself as a hip hop artist in this rough and tumble mockumentary is actually kind of… well, fun, and you have to give credit to both the star and director Affleck for more or less pulling off this large-scale and elaborate hoax. One thing’s for sure: Phoenix wasn’t afraid to go all the way with this nonsense, displaying an admirable fearlessness as he embarrasses and humiliates himself in all sorts of situations. Ultimately, I’m Still Here is a waste of time, but that’s kind of the point
It’s one of the stupidest movies ever made, and yet if you haven’t seen The Long Kiss Goodnight, you can’t call yourself a true action movie fan. Wretchedly written by Shane Black, ineptly directed by Renny Harlin and atrociously acted by Geena Davis (and Samuel L. Jackson, at that), this thing still manages to somehow end up being terrific entertainment… and actually kind of brilliant, in its own special way. Suburban mom Davis has had amnesia for the past eight years, but after she dispatches with some thugs using kick-ass skills she didn’t know she had, she hires a private investigator (Jackson) to uncover her shadowy past. Who is she? A former CIA assassin, of course, and she’s gotten some of her memories back just in time to stop an evil plot involving detonating a chemical bomb at Niagara Falls. Yeah, you need to see this, if only to see the husband-wife team of Harlin-Davis bounce back from their Cutthroat Island debacle with such seething enthusiasm.
We like The SIlence of the Lambs and all, but we think director Jonathan Demme’s true masterpiece might be this bit of wondrousness featuring Jeff Daniels as an uptight fella taken for the ride of his life by a sexy free spirit played by Melanie Griffith. Bizarre, hot and unpredictable, Something Wild is a charming, dangerous romp with terrific performances by the two leads (Griffith, in particular, has probably never been better). However, it’s Ray Liotta who steals the show as Griffith’s very, very psychotic ex — his performance is so scary that it manages to single-handedly change the tone of the film, transforming it from a dark comedy into a full-blown thriller. Sure, Something Wild might be two movies, but it’s two great movies.
Offensively violent and unbelievably (and unnecessarily) vulgar , Predator 2 was yet another 1990 sequel (along with Die Hard 2 and RoboCop 2) that showcased Hollywood inexplicably amping up the blood and guts (not to mention the overall sense of cruelty) a hundred fold as it shot, stabbed and gutted its way into the nihilistic ’90s. Predator 2 is so over the top in every department that it’s almost laughable as seemingly most of the population of Los Angeles is wiped out as drug dealers and cops do battle whilst another alien hunter comes to Earth looking to tear out some more spinal cords. Everyone — especially Danny Glover — screams and shouts a lot as the Predator wrecks havoc in the subway (yeah, L.A. has a subway), meat lockers and even an old lady’s apartment. Dumb stuff, but most definitely entertaining if you’re in the mood.
One of Clint Eastwood‘s most underrated films, A Perfect World is a quietly intense and moving drama about a sheltered young boy taken hostage by an escaped convict who ends up becoming something of a surrogate father as they’re pursed by a Texas Ranger. Eastwood is in fine form here as both actor and director, though much of the film’s success comes from Kevin Costner‘s subtle and powerful performance as the ex-con and his chemistry with his young co-star (T.J. Lowther). A sinister, patient and deceptively simple film, A Perfect World will haunt you for days after you watch it — really, it’s only weakness is that it had the unfortunate distinction of being Eastwood’s first directing gig after Unforgiven, a tough act to follow if there ever was one.