New on Netflix Instant: Glenn Close and Janet McTeer in 'Albert Nobbs'
Plus Gus Van Sant's 'Drugstore Cowboy,' 'Downfall' from Germany, 'Ip Man' from Hong Kong, and more
"Albert Nobbs" (2011) earned Oscar nominations for Glenn Close and Janet McTeer as women living their lives under the guise of as men to get better jobs in Victorian-era Ireland. Where Close's tightly-wound butler hides behind the costume, McTeer's handyman lets the public persona celebrate her personality. More here.
"Downfall" (2004), Oliver Hirschbiegel’s ambitious and complex dramatization of the final days of Adolph Hitler, is a compelling history lesson and a riveting drama from Germany. Bruno Ganz plays Hitler with creepy charm and paternal affection and Hirschbiegel effectively charts the complexity of events both in the beehive of impotent power in the bunker and in the collapse and chaos above. For the curious, it’s also the source film for all those comic YouTube videos with Hitler ranting on utterly inconsequential modern events.
"Ip Man" (2008) from Hong Kong stars Donnie Yen as the legendary teacher and grandmaster of Wing Chun in a mix of biography, historical drama, and martial arts showcase. Set during the Japanese occupation of China, it's all quite conventional and nonetheless rousing, and Yen (who learned Wing Chun for the role) is a model of martial grace and physical control: the calm in the midst of the storm. The film won Best Film and Best Action Choreography at the Hong Kong film awards.
"Drugstore Cowboy" (1989) - Gus Van Sant’s down beat tale of gypsy drug addicts, shot on the streets of Portland, Oregon and surrounding areas, mixes low key style and hallucinatory imagery with the grungy details of the sleepy day-to-day life of dead end druggies. Matt Dillon turned around his teen rebel image as the heist mastermind and group leader and William S. Burroughs makes a memorable appearance as the aging junkie Tom the Priest.
For your comedy fix, there's Frank Capra's classic "Arsenic and Old Lace" (1944) with Cary Grant as the dutiful nephew who discovers that his dotty aunts are actually sweet serial killers. Raymond Massey plays Grant's homicidal maniac brother, a part created on stage by Boris Karloff. Capra's earlier "Lady for a Day" (1933), adapted from a Damon Runyon story, is also available.