New on Netflix Instant: Kids, Movies, Monsters, and 'Super 8'
Plus the Irish drama 'Omagh,' creative language in 'Glengarry Glen Ross,' TV's 'Wilfred,' and more
"Super 8" (2011) is a J.J. Abrams film with the DNA of a Steven Spielberg tale. Set in 1979, before the home video revolution put video cameras in the hands of movie-mad kids, this is a monster movie adventure powered by creative kids, a love of movies, and an authentic foundation of mystery and wonder as seen from the perspective of schoolkids old enough to make their own zombie movie on super 8 film and young enough to get so excited by it. He tends to lose the kids in the pyrotechnics, but he sure gets some good performances from them. More at Videodrone here.
"Omagh" (2004), a compelling dramatization of the vicious 1998 bombing of the Northern Ireland town of Omagh, was co-written and produced by Paul Greengrass and is directed by Peter Travis in the restless, intimate docu-realist style of Greengrass' earlier British films. Gerald McSorley, so often a hard authority figure, is tender as a mourning father seeking justice and finding instead a conspiracy of silence and deception from the police and the government. The outrage, emotional wounds, and conviction of the survivors is the real drama.
"Glengarry Glen Ross" (1992), or as I like to call it David Mamet’s "Death of a @#%&* Salesman," is a savagely satirical portrait of cutthroat business in America. Al Pacino rules the film as the current king of his little jungle, Jack Lemmon is the veteran salesman in a career crippling slump, Alec Baldwin as the frosty company hatchet man, with Alan Arkin, Ed Harris, and Kevin Spacey rounding out the office pool. They sink their teeth into Mamet’s dialogue: short, sharp shocks of shark-like conversations, strangled exasperation, and salesman jungle cries.
Bela Tarr says that "The Turin Horse" (Cinema Guild) will be his last film. Inspired an incident that reportedly sent Friedrich Nietzsche into a fatal depression, it is a somber, austere drama shot in black and white in long, slow takes.
It couldn't be more different than "Piranha" (2010): part remake, part sequel, part excuse for a shameless exhibition of gore and nudity, all exploitation spectacle. Director Alexandre Aja has offered some interesting exercises in horror. This isn't one of them.