What to watch on Netflix this month

By CLTure (Cover photo: Jon Lopez)

January 31, 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 deciding who on Facebook you should hide, and who you should just straight up unfriend. 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 this month:

The Assassin (movie) – Not all art is easy. Entertainment is easy. Stranger Things, Friends, Captain America: Civil War — anyone can watch that stuff. But real movie lovers know that some of the richest cinematic experiences, the ones that people call “films” instead of “movies,” they make you work for it. The Assassin is a study in imagery and sound, motion and stillness, patience and payoff. This Taiwanese award-winner is part martial arts movie, part historical drama, and all dreamy poetic delight. Not for the faint of attention span, the deceptively simple story — a female assassin put to the test when she is ordered to killer her former lover — plays out in languorous long shots that drift over gorgeous tableaus of Asian landscape and impeccable production design. If you let it, the effect quickly becomes entirely transfixing as the gentle sound design and observational camerawork transport you back to a time thoroughly unsoiled by modern rhythms. This might infuriate or, more likely, sedate Generation Marvel; but for those willing to rise to the challenge, The Assassin is a beautiful and elusive masterpiece. – Dan Cava, Film Editor

Boss (series) – If House of Cards and The West Wing had an evil cousin, it would be named Boss. Kelsey Grammer (Cheers) is, surprisingly, absolutely terrifying as malicious Chicago mayor Tom Kane and he’s backed by a cutthroat supporting cast including wife Connie Nielsen (Gladiator), senior advisor Martin Donovan (Insomnia), aide Kathleen Robertson (Beverly Hills 90210), and reporter Troy Garity (Sunshine). Criminally canceled by Starz after only two seasons, this gripping and gritty series masterfully weaves a complex web of corruption and duplicity that culminates in an ingenious climatic convergence, during which Tom Kane makes Frank Underwood look like Jed Bartlett. – Jonathan Shuping, Film Writer

The Eighties (documentary series) – Celebrity in the White House. Iffy relationship with Russia. Human rights marches on the Washington Mall. New cell phones on the market. No, I’m not talking about 2017, I’m talking about The Eighties! This eight episode documentary series from CNN chronicles everything from political to economic developments of the decade, with plenty of pop culture sprinkled in for flavor. In a year that feels important for many big and small reasons, The Eighties reminds us that every era has its highs and lows, and that the human spirit endures in both extremes. – Michelle Wheeler, Film Writer

There Will Be Blood (movie) Have you ever walked out of a theater and felt shell-shocked? Then, ten minutes later you realize that you’re grinding your teeth and your left hand has remained firmly in a fist since you got up out of your seat? Your legs are jelly, your equilibrium is off and it’s hard to get your bearings? You need a cigarette to calm your nerves, even if you’ve never smoked a day in your life? That’s how I felt after seeing Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2007 masterpiece and two-time Oscar winner, There Will Be Blood. It’s one of the most intensely powerful films I’ve ever seen, thanks in part to Anderson’s directing and vision, performances by Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano that are full of both loud, rumbling hellfire and a quiet simmering storm, and a score by Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead) that is a cross between an oncoming migraine and a swarm of angry bees. I realize none of this sounds like a pleasant experience, but I promise it’s worth it! Epic in scope, yet intimate in its focus on the main characters’ relationship, There Will Be Blood is a film whose themes of greed, family, religion, and power in the world of turn-of-the-century California oil country are both timeless and timely in the aftermath of our recent election. Oil is money, and money is power, and unchecked power can be a very scary thing. Sean Titone, Music Writer

The Untold History of the United States (documentary series) – If you’re a fan of modern American history, but believe there’s more to the story than the one that’s told over and over again in school, then check out Oliver Stone’s multi-part documentary, The Untold History of the United States. It’s a deeper, and sometimes darker, reexamination and reassembling of often unreported details. The result is a powerful example of what can happen when we look behind the official narrative. – Ryen Thomas, Film Writer

The West Wing (series) No matter which side of the political aisle you stand on, morale’s currently at an all-time low. To renew your sense of optimism, I recommend Aaron Sorkin’s (The Newsroom, Steve Jobs) political drama The West Wing. Offering 154 episodes (plus one special episode – “Isaac and Ishmael” – that’s not to be missed) across seven seasons, The West Wing dramatizes the work of ranking Democratic staffers at the White House within the fictional Bartlett Administration. But don’t mistake this for liberal propaganda, as The West Wing provides a nuanced perspective of the inner workings of government and the people who drive it.Douglas Davidson, Film Writer

The Wraith (movie) – This underrated 1980s sci-fi gem stars Charlie Sheen as a resurrected teenager intent on exacting revenge on the gang of car thieves who murdered him. Cool stunts, nice photography of car chases, and…Sherilyn Fenn. As in Twin Peaks Sherilyn Fenn. Oh, and Clint Howard is in it too, one of Hollywood’s most recognizable “don’t know his name but he’s everywhere” faces. – Matt Gilligan, History Writer

Stretch and Bobbito (Documentary)At the dawn of the golden era of hip-hop culture in New York City, two unlikely characters created a radio platform in a cramped studio at Columbia University that would change the course of rap music. Underground New York DJ Stretch Armstrong and radio personality Bobbito Garcia helped propel the careers of several legendary artists like Nas, Biggie, Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, Wu-Tang Clan, and many more. Hosting freestyle rap sessions and breaking new records, the radio show was ahead of its time. This compelling documentary is a who’s who in hip-hop culture capturing the essence of New York City in the ’90s. Appearances and interviews with Common, Rosario Dawson, Redman, El-P (Run The Jewels), Nas, and Hov himself makes this a can’t-miss watch for any hip-hop music enthusiast. – Cameron Lee, Founder

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