CLTure Netflix Recommendations

By CLTure

October 5, 2017

We here at CLTure are dedicated to guiding you toward the very best entertainment in Charlotte and beyond, especially if you can watch it while realizing the “Oktoberfest” you bought is really just bad pumpkin beer in disguise. Our staff writers and creatives will help you sift through the myriad of options on Netflix to help you find very the best movies, documentaries, and TV series. Here is what we’ll be watching:

The Manchurian Candidate (movie) – This post-9/11 update of the iconic 1950s classic has all the paranoia and performances needed to justify its existence. Denzel Washington gives an expertly unsteady performance as a troubled Gulf War vet desperate to uncover dark secrets within the government and within himself, and Meryl Streep subverts her usual appeal with charming but chilling calculation. The 2004 version of The Manchurian Candidate smartly replaces the bipolar Cold War concerns of the original with the schizophrenic worries of the War on Terror, and Director Jonathan Demme’s Silence of the Lamb skills blanket the film in cold-sweat details and hypnotic dread. The result is an eery and polarizing political thriller perfect for our uncertain times. – Dan Cava, Film Editor

Ozark (series) – Jason Bateman is a revelation in this dark drama from Netflix. His ability to turn the dry, caustic wit that has served his comedic roles so well into a sharp and dangerous bite makes him fully believable as a money launderer for the mob and a family man on the brink of personal disaster. Bateman directs about half the episodes in the first season and is more than serviceable. The cinematography captures the grandiose beauty of the Ozarks while hinting at the secrets contained within their nooks and crannies. Netflix continues to be one of the bravest content creators in the current landscape, and Ozark may be their best effort yet. . – Michelle Wheeler, Film Writer

Grease 2 (movie) – Please, hear me out on this one: Grease 2 gets way more flack than it deserves because, in reality, it’s a wonderfully campy and enjoyable musical. By all objective standards, this movie is one big mess, but it’s that very sort of messy camp that makes Grease 2 so damn fun to watch. The music is surprisingly catchy (you’ll have “Back to School” stuck in your head), the plot is exponentially more ridiculous than the original, and it kickstarted the illustrious career of the fabulous Michelle Pfeiffer. What’s not to love? – Hunter Heilman, Film Writer

Dead Poets Society (movie) – “Oh Captain, my Captain..” – four words by Walt Whitman whose meaning shifts from that originally intended to forever signify respectful defiance in the face of a disapproving authority. This is but one of many significant moments in the 1989 classic Dead Poets Society, directed by Peter Weir (The Witness) and featuring Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, Josh Charles, Kurtwood Smith, and many others. The movie focuses on the lives of several boys attending the Walton Academy for Boys in 1950s New England. Their lives are chained to the memorization of cold facts until Mr. Keating (Williams) encourages them to look beyond their lessons to discover the hidden potential in all things: especially themselves. A frequently joyful yet sorrow-filled period drama, Dead Poets Society is a recent addition to Netflix that shouldn’t be missed. – Douglas Davidson, Senior Film Critic

City of God (movie)City of God is a glorious Brazilian film. It’s a crime story, a social critique, and a coming-of-age saga but for me it’s an essential addition to the canon of films that meditate on friendship and fate. Tightly plotted, lovingly crafted and gorgeously shot against a backdrop of the beaches and favelas of Rio, there really isn’t anything to complain about here. It might be a perfect film. – Matt Cosper, Arts Writer

Spartacus (series) – A series that combines the story power of Gladiator, the character depth of Game of Thrones, and the fight sequences of 300 was afflicted with one tragic flaw that prevented it from becoming the greatest show of all time: its exceptional lead actor, the next action superstar in the making Andy Whitfield, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma following the spectacular first season. As Whitfield underwent treatment, exec producer Sam Raimi and showrunner Steven S. DeKnight (the first [aka “good”] season of Daredevil) managed to craft an equally phenomenal prequel season, but after their leading man tragically succumbed to his illness, they were forced to recast with Liam McIntyre. Despite a slight drop-off from the initial peak perfection, the final two seasons and the series as a whole still serve as a bloody and brilliantly epic combo of pathos, ethos, and ass kicking. – Jonathan Shuping, Film Writer

Narcos (series) – Based on true events, but embellished for entertainment purposes, Narcos is a gripping series that tells the story of the DEA and the Colombian government’s efforts to take down big drug cartels. Where the first two seasons focused on the Medellin Cartel, led by the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar, season three introduces us to the little known but equally efficient Cali Cartel. Where the Medellin Cartel ran their operation like a gang and/or terrorist organization, the Cali Cartel runs theirs like a Fortune 500 company, bordering on a level of sophistication that earned it the name, “Cali KGB.” Will the tactics used to dismantle the Medellin Cartel work this time, or will the rules have to be rewritten to take down this new kind of conglomerate? – Oyebola Ande, Writer

Okja (movie) – In Netflix’s growing effort to fill the feature film space in their ever-expanding catalog, they funded the latest from South Korean director and screenwriter, Bong Joon-ho (Snowpiercer, The Host). The movie follows the story of a genetically modified pig, “Okja” and her caretaker, a young Korean farm girl named, Mija. The broader scope and underlying theme of the film details a corporate food conglomerate, Mirando (like Monsanto) and their revenue building agenda through blatant propaganda. The film, shot mainly in Seoul, Korea has a lot more soul and human emotions than most of the CGI-heavy studio blockbusters we’re accustomed to seeing on the big screen. Cinematically, it’s reminiscent of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory with it’s whimsical real-life-meets-fantasy world gloomy aesthetics. It might be a while before Netflix dominates the feature film market, but with films like Okja, a $50 million production (mid-level in Hollywood standards) and marquee actors like Jake Gyllenhaal and Tilda Swinton, they can definitely help break the mold of over-budgeted, soulless and repetitive studio films. –  Cameron Lee, Founder, Editor-in-Chief

Read next:

In this article