Welcome to part 3 in our series, as The Snooty Ushers trawl through the vast expanse of Netflix. Braving the unknown…discovering the hidden gems…risking the dire and dreadful…all so you don’t have to 🙂
1. Joe (Dir. David Gordon Green, 2013)
I know what you are thinking, there goes McKee harping on about Nicolas Cage again, but this time I really would beg your indulgence and give this a go. You wont regret it.
Nicolas Cage has become somewhat of a joke figure in Hollywood of late and his choice of roles have been highly questionable.
In Joe, however, we get to see the Nicolas Cage on the form that won him an Oscar for his role in Leaving Las Vegas (Dir. Mike Figgis, 1995).
Based on Larry Brown’s 1991 novel of the same name, Cage plays the titular character, a foreman and owner of a tree cutting company. He is a good boss and is well like by those in the small town where he lives. He has a past, and is known for violent outbursts that have led to many confrontations with the law.
When 15 year old Gary (the brilliant Tye Sheridan) asks him for a job, he finds himself acting as a surrogate father to the boy.
Both Gary’s alcoholic father and Joe’s confrontational relationship with the another resident threaten both of their lives as the film draws towards an inevitable violent conclusion.
This is a very powerful performance from Cage, and reminds us of just how good he can be, when given the proper role. Young Tye Sheridan is also great and is a definite star of the future (watch out for him appearing as Cyclops in Bryan Singer’s upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse)
2. Draft Day (Dir, Ivan Reitman, 2014)
I am a big fan of US Sports Films, I am a huge fan of Kevin Costner, it is directed by the wonderful Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters, Evolution), so I went into this with high hopes. I wasn’t disappointed.
Given a blink and you’ll miss it release at UK cinemas, this tells the story of Cleveland Browns General Manager Sonny Weaver Jnr (Costner) as he tries to negotiate the NFL Draft, as well as the legacy of a famous father, a difficult mother, a coach he didn’t want, big player egos and the news that his girlfriend is pregnant.
For the uninitiated, The NFL Draft is when the all the American Football teams pick the best of the players who have graduated College. They pick in turn, with the weakest team picking first and the Superbowl champions picking last, then it all starts again.
I really enjoyed this, Costner is at his likable best, with everything he goes through, even the most hard hearted amongst you will struggle not to root for him.
The supporting cast is great too and features Jennifer Garner, Denis Leary, Chadwick Boseman and Smallville’s Tom Welling.
3. Safety Not Guaranteed (Dir, Colin Trevorrow, 2012)
Inspired by a joke ad placed in a magazine in 1997, the film follows Darius (Parks and Rec’s Aubrey Plaza), a disillusioned college graduate who is interning at a popular magazine. When one of the writers Jeff (New Girl’s Jake Johnson) discovers an article seeking someone to travel back in time, he recruits Darius and another intern to travel and investigate the story. When they meet Kenneth (The League’s Mark Duplass) the author of the advert, Darius gets close to him to get the story……but she finds herself drawn to him and discovering the fact that he might actually be telling the truth.
This is an utterly delightful film, the cast, mostly made up of sitcom actors are great, in particular Mark Duplass, who makes Kenneth a totally sympathetic character who you will find yourself praying that he is actually for real.
The film is well directed on a small budget by Colin Trevorrow, never heard of him? You will soon, he is the man directing the up and coming Jurassic World.
4. A.C.O.D. (Dir, Stu Zicherman, 2013)
The title is an abbreviation of the term Adult Children of Divorce, it follows a man, whose parents divorced when he was a child, he returns to his childhood therapist after discovering his younger brother is engaged.
Having recently watched through the brilliant sitcom Parks and Recreation, the fact that Adam Scott and Amy Poehler were in this made it a must watch.
I was a little disappointed, ok, I wasn’t in the best frame of mind at the time of viewing and didn’t make it all the way to the end,
The problem is that there characters are all totally unlikable, even Adam Scott, who I am a huge fan of, just comes across whiny and to be honest, a bit of a dick. Only Clark Duke as Scott’s brother is in anyway nice, but he rarely features.
I maybe being a little harsh on this, as my mood at the time didn’t really give it much of a chance, but I think the fact that I have no real desire to return to it speaks volumes.
5. 22 Jump Street (Dir, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, 2014)
Yes, Ok, I realise this is a crazy big film, that was in every multiplex in the country, but I don’t get to the cinema much these days, and if you missed it or just want to watch it again…..good news. It’s on Netflix!
After their success in the Jump Street programme, our heroes Schmidt and Jenko (Hill and Tatum) are back on the streets, but after a disastrous pursuit of some Mexican drug dealers, they find themselves back in the programme, back under cover and back at college.
This is great fun, full of self referential comedy and Hill and Tatum have great chemistry. Great support from Ice Cube, this, while not quite hitting the heights of the first film is funny and action packed enough to make it worth a watch or a re-watch, the credit sequence is a highlight.