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Netflix Pix: Picking the best new streaming releases

BY DAILY ARTS WRITERS

Published November 6, 2013

Ip Man: The Final Fight
As the remnant of a proud tradition and master of Bruce Lee, Ip Man still looms large in the imaginarium of Chinese cinema. Yet another movie based on his storied life releases this month on Netflix called, “Ip Man: The Final Fight.”
In all honesty, “The Final Fight” is scattered storytelling, connected by characters whose names you will soon forget, backgrounded by sets seemingly borrowed from Playhouse, and blotted with melodrama and bad kung fu sequences. Where previous imaginings focus almost entirely on his stalwart position against Western influence, this Ip Man takes a comfortable, humanistic step forward — creative interpretations notwithstanding. This movie should be watched by Ip Man fans, if only for Anthony Wong’s (“Infernal Affairs”) collected and quiet portrait.

Wild Bill
Chances are you haven’t seen my favorite film of 2012. Chances are you don’t even know it exists. And that’s not just because I’m a dirty basement-dwelling cinephile. It’s because “Wild Bill,” (not the 1996 one) was released and promptly forgotten due to lack of funding for a full-fledged marketing campaign. But worry no more! Netflix recently acquired streaming rights to Dexter Fletcher’s (the guy who plays Gollum in “LotR”) directorial debut, and if there’s one thing you should do this weekend, it’s check it out. The film is in equal parts a heart-warming tale of fatherhood and a hilarious satire of British criminalism. And with the last shot, it’ll moisten your eyes.

Flight
Denzel Washington can act. All the signs are there: he has two Oscars, seeing his face plastered on a poster immediately draws a crowd and, of course, when he laughs, you laugh. So do yourself a favor and watch “Flight,” recently acquired by Netflix and now available for streaming online. You probably won’t laugh much throughout the course of the film’s 139-minute runtime, but if one thing becomes clear, it’s that Denzel can act. He plays an airline pilot struggling with alcoholism, and this film becomes a testament to his inability to let go. There’s a bit of overacting, but all-in-all a good film if you’re looking for something gripping and dramatic.

The Conjuring
Not a lot of scary movies come out nowadays. It’s all just smears of synthetic gore and pasty ink-blood, but “The Conjuring” provides a sorely-needed exception. The classic scares, framed by tense, slow buildup take front and center, and around it, there’s an interesting story to keep us hooked. From the outside, we’re just looking at a haunted house story, but where the film excels is bringing its inhabitants to life. None of the actors are off their game, allowing for the otherwise overly melodramatic bits of interaction flow effectively.

Pacific Rim
“Pacific Rim” is one of those movies that you have to watch with a group of people. It’s a popcorn film in the most classic sense of the word — fiery explosions, massive monsters and even bigger robots are only some of the reasons it becomes fun, fifteen minutes into the movie, to turn your head and watch the moviegoers sitting next to you with their mouths agape, letting out varied expletives as larger-than-life fight sequences unfold before them. The story is simple: aliens invade the earth, humans respond with making massive fight machines called Jaegers. It’s fun, it’s simple and above all, it’s watching shit blow up.


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