Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Some Netflix streaming recommendations

If you have Netflix's streaming service, you might wonder sometimes about those random-looking movies from those countries that aren't 'Merica.  You might even think to yourself, "Who watches those?"  Well, I watch those, at least sometimes.  Here are a few of the better ones I've seen lately.

Time Crimes (2007) - This is also known as  Los Cronocrímenes, whatever THAT means.  I gotta warn you, this one takes place in Spain, where they speak Mexican.  If you don't like readin' your movies, or you're illiterate, then just avoid it and rent Paul Blart: Pet Detective 3:  Electric Ooze.  That one should be pretty good for a rube like you.

Otherwise, what I really appreciated about this was that it was able to do a time travel film on what was obviously a fairly low budget.  They probably spent the bulk of it on creating the time machine itself, which probably was just a bunch of leftover parts from a dairy or something like that.

Still, I didn't focus on the budget, because the plot kept things interesting.  Everything moves at a brisk pace, and just when you think one thing has happened, you start to realize that no, it was something else that happened.  But guess what?  You're wrong again.  Yet with all the plot twists and time conundrums, it's pretty easy to follow.

If you hate gratuitous nudity, then avoid it.  If you enjoy it and/or are indifferent to it, then either consider it incentive to see it or forget I mentioned it.  As for the plot, I don't want to see too much, as I think it works best if you go in to it with as few expectations as possible.

Even the Rain (2010) - This one's also known as También la lluvia, and it's also made by Spaniards, only they are all in Bolivia, so they have to speak Ecuadoran throughout it.  If you hate the idea of reading subtitles, but you think that you can handle it for at least 98% of the movie, then you'll be set to go as a little bit of American is also spoken.

The story involves a crew making a film about Columbus's "discovery" of America.  (The director is played by Gael Garcia Bernal, who was in one of my favorite movies, Y Tu Mama Tambien, which takes place in Mexico, where they speak Spanish.)  The plan is to tell the truth about what happened, as Columbus was a greedy, genocidal monster who had no problem exploiting the people who had actually discovered the place.  (And if you're wondering why they'd film this in Bolivia, don't worry, somebody points out that strange  geographical choice.)

Meanwhile, there are problems brewing between indigenous population and the government over the water supply.  Since many of these people are employed by the filmmakers (at absurdly cheap rates), it threatens to disrupt the production.  Of course, some things are more important than movies.

What I really liked about this one is how it makes you think that the protagonist is going to be one guy, but then you realize by the end that it's really a different guy - the one you probably would expect to be an antagonist.  At least, that's what it did for me.

Kumare (2011) - This one's a documentary made right here in the good old U.S. of A., and it really surprised me.  I had read about the concept, where Vikram Gandhi (yes, he's American) poses as a spiritual guru to see if he can get people to become his followers.  I expected it to be something along the lines of Penn & Teller:  Bullshit! where it would poke fun at the unskeptical folks who fall for his mumbo jumbo (including a fake accent which is basically just him imitating his Indian grandmother).

There is a bit of that, but the movie really humanizes his followers, and it has a conscience.  That's probably due to the fact that Gandhi happens to have one, and he starts to feel bad about duping these people.  He tries his best to tell them, however indirectly, that they don't NEED him, and that what he's offering is all just "an act" (actually using those words).

When he finally reveals what he's been doing, the reactions might not be what you expect, but I don't want to say anymore.  Overall, it gives you a real sense of what people are looking for in life and how they have the amazing ability to give it to themselves.

Note:  I'm deliberately not including the Time Crimes trailer because I think it tells you stuff that's more fun to discover while you're watching it.

1 comment:

Tony from Pandora said...

I don't have netflix, but have been thinking about signing up for my 'free month' to watch 'Arrested Development'... maybe these will go in my queue... that 'Kumare' sounds the most interesting...

You said you appreciated 'Time Crimes' because of the low budget use of time travel. Have you seen or heard of 'Primer'? If you've seen it, what are your thoughts? If not... I'd recommend it. It's low budget, and of all time travel movies, this one gives what I would say is the most plausible explanation and ramifications of time travel... if that can be said...