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NETFLIX: What's new, what's worth it?

For the recurring column Netflix: What's new, what's worth it?
Netflix: What's new, what's worth it?

The Departed

Ah, the film that finally won Martin Scorsese the coveted directing Oscar.

Though considered by some to be a lesser film than the auteur’s previous films Goodfellas and Casino, this one ranks as one of my top of all time.

In order to infiltrate an Irish gang in Boston, an undercover cop becomes a hardened criminal. At the same time, an upstanding policeman doubles as a mole for the same gang.

The two play a dangerous cat-and-mouse game as they attempt to smoke each other out.

With Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson aboard, this is one of the very best casts ever assembled.

Watch for Mark Wahlberg as an unhinged, foul-mouthed sergeant, in the best role of his career.

It’s a nearly perfect remake of Japanese film Infernal Affairs, and needs to be seen.

4.5/5 Stars

The Town

Here we are again. This second film about crime in South Boston comes from long-time actor, largely lauded director Ben Affleck.

He tells the story of a group of bank robbers in the area who try to elude the F.B.I. This gritty tale about one of the robbers who falls for a bank manager of one of the spots he knocked off is one of the best heist flicks since Heat.

Affleck, who also stars and writes, is the heart and soul of the film. Jon Hamm sheds is Mad Men skin to play an over-zealous FBI agent determined to get his mark, and Rebecca Hall is the manager, clueless she’s in love with a criminal.

But it’s Jeremy Renner, who was nominated for an Oscar here, who shines as Affleck’s ruthless childhood ride-or-die.

It’s a beautiful, intricate piece of film you won’t soon forget.

4.5/5 Stars

Eighth Grade

You won’t find a more awkward film this year than this lovable comedy about an introverted teen named Kayla.

She spends her time in a social media world, making YouTube videos about her life and attempting to connect with others.

But as eighth grade comes to the cusp of the end, she reaches a crisis point before high school.

Elsie Fisher, Golden Globe-nominated this year, is brilliantly awkward. Bo Burnham, director and writer, takes an uncomfortable, thorny look as exactly what those growing pains years are like.

It’s a lovely, if difficult, film to watch. Check it out today.

3.5/5 Stars

La La Land

This dazzling musical about a pianist and actress trying to find their place in Los Angeles is one of the best films to come out in the past five years.

The chemistry and love Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling share here is palpable, and the music is impossible not to be leave you toe-tapping.

Damien Chazelle, the man behind Whiplash, creates a spectacle here as writer-director, and this is one of the most beautiful films ever.

With six Oscars and an original score from Justin Hurwitz that surely sings, this one is a can’t-miss.

4/5 Stars

Life

This film, though a bit of an Alien knockoff, is one of the better sci-fi showcases in recent years.

It’s about a scientist team on an International Space Station who soon fall victim to the very life forms they let onto their ship to study.

Action director Daniel Espinosa goes from Safe House to Life, and makes a fantastic film.

With Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Hiroyuki Sanada, this is a great sci-fi alien horror flick.

From the writers of Deadpool and Zombieland, it has a flair most genre flicks don’t.

4/5 Stars

It is with a heavy heart I announce the bittersweet news that this will be my last Netflix column for the Chronicle Herald. It’s been a pleasure to grace the provincial paper with this column for exactly two years, but change can always lead to new opportunities.

I hope I’ve managed to help tons of you avoid the “what to watch” conundrum over the years, and it’s I’ve loved being allowed to bring you the best the platform has to offer. For up-to-date reviews, check me out and ‘like’ me on Facebook at Parker & the Picture Shows

It’s been a slice.

 

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