In Bed With Netflix and Armond White

Illustration by Hilton Dresden

Foreplay: Hannibal (2001)

This shameless sequel to Silence of the Lambs (even Jodie Foster refused to participate) gained a new and hysterical audience when clips of Julianne Moore gunning down crazed urban predator Hazelle Goodman was used in a popular gun-control satire. It showed politically correct pacifist Moore pleading “Enough!” But too much is never enough for director Ridley Scott who out-creeps Jonathan Demme’s original film. Ridley even features an outrageous cannibalism scene in which Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecture makes a gourmet feast of unfortunate detective Ray Liotta’s gray matter. It’sBrain Salad Surgery—an inside reference to the classic Emerson Lake & Palmer prog-rock album with cover art by H.R. Giger whose ghoulish designs in Alien made Ridley’s career.

Press Play: Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)

This box office embarrassment about a magical Negro (Will Smith) who spreads fairy dust on segregated pre-Civil Rights era golf courses was both ahead of its time (pre-Obama) and behind the times. Tiger Woods had already won a Masters Tournament and a U.S. Open when the movie was released and flopped, but Hollywood prefers p.c. sentimentality to actual social progress. Matt Damon, portraying the condescending white golf pro, didn’t seem to know better and director Robert Redford was simply in pandering mode. Will Smith was in search of a klieg-light halo. His next role would be Muhammad Ali.

Playtime: Compulsion (1958)

This bio-pic of Loeb & Leopold, thrill killers of the 1920s, follows Alfred Hitchcock’s 1949 stage-based dramatization Rope. But this quasi-exploitation version of the story is even better. Genre expert Richard Fleischer dares to show Loeb & Leopold (Bradford Dillman and Dean Stockwell) as rich, narcissistic murderers, gay fellow-travelers of Chicago’s Al Capone era—and Stockwell goes all the way with sensitive, sympathetic gay inference. He’s Sub to Dillman’s Dom and Orson Welles (imitating real-life defense attorney Clarence Darrow) argues for them memorably. Stockwell, Dillman and Welles split a well-deserved Best Actor prize at that year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Attachments area

In Bed With Netflix and Armond White

Foreplay: The Crucible (1996) Arthur Miller’s 1950s play about the Salem witch trials is always talked about as a political allegory but this modern adaptation works best depending on what mood you’re in and which cast member you favor. Daniel Day Lewis fans can see a horror story about a handsome man stalked by a psycho. Winona Ryder fans can see a love story about a tragically misunderstood hysterically romantic teenager. Joan Allen fans (I know you’re out there) can see a comedy about actors pretending that they’re in an American version of Macbeth. Best of all, this desperate attempt at a classic is easy-watching for high school students dreading that book report.

Press Play: Black Snake Moan (2007) Samuel L. Jackson fans, this is the SamJack movie of your dreams. He plays a retired black Southern blues performer whose dull life is awakened by an out-of-control white teenager (Christina Ricci). SamJack tries to rehabilitate the hot-to-trot redneck by keeping her chained-up in his shotgun shack. Is this a race comedy, a sexual nightmare? Or is it a sexual comedy, a racial nightmare? Director Craig Brewer, who made the Southern hip-hop movie Hustle & Flow, plays with the possibilities—risking it all in a scene where SamJack steps out of his comfort zone and attempts to sing the blues. Turns out, SamJack’s comfort zone is, as usual, amping-up race and sex stereotypes. As the title suggests, this movie is something new: It is stereotype porn.

Playtime: House of Wax (2006) Fans of the classic 1950s Vincent Price horror film, rejoice! This is not a sequel but an entirely new re-imagining of haunted house terror. Elisha Cuthbert and Chad Michael Murphy add post-puberty sexiness to the familiar genre of teens in trouble. It’s a Scream, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre mash-up set in aBeverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, Dawson’s Creek world. That’s right, it’s a new classic. Director Jaume Collet-Serra has action movie panache plus a visionary sense of humor (see how he envisions the title) that Millennials correctly call “wicked.” And, yes, Paris Hilton’s Most Valuable Player performance turns out to be a scream.

Here’s What’s Coming to Netflix This Month

December is a big time for Netflix users – heading home for the holidays often means hiding in the basement binging new shows for many of us. The good news is there’s plenty of new things to watch this month.

Highlights include the first season of Colony and season 5 of Comedy Bang! Bang!, and in the movie world, Blue Jay, Barry, and Captain America: Civil War are all at the top of our lists.

Check out the full collection of new titles below:

TELEVISION
December 1
Chill With Bob Ross (1990)
Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce
(season 2)
Merli (season 1)

December 2
Fauda (season 1)
Hip Hop Evolution (season 1)
Pacific Heat (season 1)

December 3
Lost & Found Music Studios (season 2)

December 8
The Cuba Libre Story (season 1)

December 9
Captive (season 1)
Cirque du Soleil Junior: Luna Petunia (season 1)
Club de Cuervos (season 1)
Fuller House (season 2)
Four Seasons in Havana (season 1)
Medici: Masters of Florence (season 1)
White Rabbit Project (season 1)

December 13
Colony (season 1)
Nobel (season 1)

December 14
Versailles (season 1)

December 16
Call Me Francis (season 1)
Crazyhead (season 1)
No Second Chance (season 1)
The Adventures of Puss in Boots (season 4)

December 20
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (season 6)
Ten Percent (season 1)
The Break (season 1)

December 23
Travelers (season 1)
Trollhunters (season 1)

December 25
Ajin (season 2)
Chasing Cameron (season 1)

December 28
Comedy Bang! Bang! (season 5)

December 30
The Eighties (season 1)

MOVIES
December 1
Always (1989)
Angels in the Snow (2015)
Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
Beyond Bollywood (2014)
Black Snake Moan (2007)
Compulsion (1959)
D2: The Mighty Ducks (1994)
David Blaine: Street Magic (1997)
Dreamland (2010)
For the Love of Spock (2016)
Glory Daze: The Life and Time of Michael Alig (2016)
Harry and the Hendersons (1987)
Hitler: A Career (1977)
Holiday Engagement (2011)
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)
House of Wax (2006)
Hannibal (2001)
Merry Kissmas (2015)
National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)
Picture Perfect (1997)
Rainbow Time (2016)
Rodeo & Juliet (2015)
Swept Under (2016)
Switchback (1997)
The Angry Birds Movie (2016)
The Crucible (1996)
The Little Rascals (1994)
The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)
The Rock (1996)
The Spirit of Christmas (2015)
Toys (1992)
Uncle Nick (2015)
Waking Life (2001)
Way of the Dragon (1972)
We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story (1993)
White Girl (2016)
Wildflower (2016)
Zero Point (2014)

December 5
Mad (2016)
The Good Neighbor (2016)

December 6
Blue Jay (2016)
Homeland: Iraq Year Zero (2015)
Reggie Watts: Spatial (2016)
The Devil Dolls (2016)
The Model (2016)

December 9
Spectral (2016)

December 10
Lucky Number Slevin (2006)
Phantom of the Theater (2016)

December 11
Breaking a Monster (2016)

December 12
Ricardo O’Farrill: Christmas Special (2016)

December 13
Killswitch (2016)
I Am Not a Serial Killer (2016)

December 16
Barry (2016)
Rats (2016)

December 19
Miss Stevens (2016)

December 20
Disorder (2015)
Gabriel Iglesias: Sorry For What I Said When I Was Hungry (2016)

December 25
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
When Hari Got Married (2013)

December 29
The Hollywood Shorties (2016)

December 31
Big in Bollywood (2011)

In Bed With Netflix and Armond White

Illustration by Hilton Dresden

Foreplay: Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995) This is a double-dare: A sequel to Candyman, one of the primal horror films of the 90s decade, that does not disappoint. How could it? The Candyman premise—look into the mirror, say his name five times and the monster will appear—is basic to the fun factor of urban myth, childhood games and movie pleasure. Tony Todd, who plays the title haint, triggers all those thrills. Second-time out in the role, he shows a surprising tenderness inside his looming swagger. And Kelly Rowan as the woman unafraid to confront the myth shows the kind of feminine nerve and courage that no scary movie can do without. The Candyman series is both trick and treat.

Press Play: Cujo (1983) This adaptation of one of Stephen King’s potboilers gained a new life during the early days of cable TV as a perennial—always playing 24/7. And it never fails to delight. The very idea of turning a friendly Saint Bernard, a cuddly-looking house pet and symbol of safety, into the embodiment of domestic terror (before those words took on global political dread) is so perfect it is no wonder that Cujo works better at home than at the movies—preferably in bed, peeked-at from under the covers. Dee Wallace, fresh from E.T., The Extraterrestrial, plays the perfectly terrified mom who must protect her child (Danny Pintauro) from the rabid dog threatening their small town. Director Lewis Teague makes the trapped mother-and-child scene a classic scene. It’s so ingenious you’ll want a sequel—so watch it again.

Playtime: The Heartbreak Kid (2007) This sequel to classic 1970s anti-romantic comedy is even funnier and it took Bob and Peter Farrelly to do it. Reunited with Ben Stiller from There’s Something About Mary, the bad-boy but good-hearted brothers take the sting out of the original satire. They give the smart-ass marriage-from-hell premise a wedgie. Stiller’s slapstick honeymoon with Malin Akerman, forces him to grow up and realize what true love means. He finds it, inconveniently, in Michelle Monaghan. Instead of questioning marriage and fidelity like the original film, the Farrellys clash casual sex with yuppie privilege; Stiller searches for happiness on an obstacle course. Stiller proves he is a generation’s clown and Akerman, bouncing around in assorted Farrelly gross-outs, proves to be a game comedienne. Their honeymoon hook-up is one of the most outrageous visual gags this side of the 1970s adult film Chatterbox. Think about it.

In Bed With Netflix and Armond White

Illustration by Hilton Dresden

Foreplay: Burn After Reading (2008)

Just in time for the Presidential election, here’s the Coen Brothers’ prophetic political satire. When a CD containing the memoir of a CIA agent (John Malkovich) falls into the hands of birdbrain opportunists (Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand), the possibility of a Wikileaks-type scandal rocks the Beltway. Intrigue, sex, murder and slapstick are this film’s campaign issues. The Coens take a poke at egomaniacs in Washington, D.C., from high-level joggers around the Potomac basin to muscleheads on the treadmill of a local gym—a full range of lawmaking and law-breaking Americana. The cast of slapstick clowns include George Clooney and Tilda Swinton and J.K. Simmons–all funnier than ever.

Press Play: Ravenous (1999) You like edgy? How about dangerous? This period adventure set just after the Mexican-American War in the 1840s thrusts Army Captain (Guy Pearce) and a mysterious Scottish stranger (Robert Carlyle) into the Wild West where they encounter the territory’s dangers—and their own psychological terrors. The men’s ego competition intensifies as they face rumors of cannibalism at the fort and the surrounding wilderness. One of the most original movies of the Nineties, Ravenous is takes off from the genre-defying success of two indie hits, Pearce’sMemento and Carlyle’s Trainspotting. This is a straight-faced satire of American frontier history that unexpectedly turns into a horror movie on the level ofNight of the Living Dead.

Playtime: The African Queen (1951) Hollywood icons Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn parody themselves as a grouchy loner Captain Allnut and a religious spinster Rosie Sayer who fall in love on a rickety boat in German East German at the beginning of World War I. Their rapport is both rough and romantic. Bogey and Kate challenge the more famous pairing in Hepburn’s many films with Spencer Tracy. Depending on your level of nostalgia, this film wins the competition, due to its quirky character study combined with an adventurous survival story. John Huston directs his stars in a clever script by film critic James Agee that shows equal skill with plotting and characterization. As Hepburn’s Rosie says “Whoever thought a mere physical experience could be so stimulating!”

‘Stranger Things’ Releases Archival News Footage for Halloween

In honor of Halloween, Netflix’s creepiest show, Stranger Things, has released faux archival news footage from the local news station of Hawkins, Indiana. In the new online clip, anchorwoman Brenda Wood finally addresses some of our lingering questions from the show’s first season: namely, why did no one wonder where Barb went?

Wood explained, “Barbara Holland, a student at Hawkins High, known as ‘Barb’ to her friends, was last seen at Steve Harrington’s home a few days ago,” finally putting to rest the lingering issue of why no adult characters seem to have noticed or taken interest in Barb’s disappearance.

Our new favorite news anchor also shed some light on civilian reactions to Eleven raiding the local grocery store for Eggos, stating, “Bradley’s Big Buy reported a shoplifting incident with a vagrant juvenile, who escaped with an unprecedented number of Eggo waffles.”

Check out the clip below.

In Bed With Netflix and Armond White

Foreplay: Grizzly Man (2005) Werner Herzog’s scariest movie is not his vampire remake Nosferatubut this one all-too-scary documentary—a real Halloween horror story. The fact-based history of animal activist Timothy Treadwell, who got too close to the Alaska grizzlies he was studying, combines a wild life cautionary tale with an existential nightmare: The smiling Treadwell was mauled by a grizzly bear. This is what can happen when fate is against you and courage turns into madness. Herzog takes a forensic scientist’s approach to the details of Treadwell’s demise. This step-by-step process of scientist, naturalist and daredevil activity includes footage shot by Treadwell himself—more bloodcurdling than any of the found-footage fakery Hollywood turns out. Herzog’s focus on the universe’s chaos and Treadwell’s victimhood is both heartbreaking and truly chilling. It’s Jaws with claws.

Press Play: Snake Eyes (1998) A Brian DePalma thriller close to his blockbusters Carrie, Scarfaceand The Untouchables and Halloween ready. Nicolas Cage plays Rick Santoro, a corrupt Atlantic City cop who uncovers a bigger criminal conspiracy than he imagined possible. DePalma analyzes a crooked prize fight, a murder plot and a mob-related tale of political dirty-dealing all while playing with the audience’s point-of-view. Cage’s performance—big eyes, big choppers and lunatic intensity–matches DePalma’s bravura filmmaking. High pressure voyeurism and suspense dazzle the senses. A powerful opening sequence switches perspectives like throwing dice and an epic storm finale, crashing in from the Atlantic Ocean, reveal all political and moral secrets. This is a cult-classic waiting to be discovered.

Playtime: Queen of the Damned (2002) A Halloween memorial. Aaliyah’s only movie before her untimely death. It was a box-office smash and confirmed her iconic status. As Queen Akasha, a vampire empress, she is awakened by the stadium rock of pop musician and vampire Lestat (Stuart Townsend). Aaliyah entertains audiences with the same sexy, girlish charisma that made her a legendary hip-hop star. Queen of the Damnedbegins as a ghoulish adaptation of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles stories but Aaliyah turns it into a Halloween event. She’s a pop star playing dress-up and those bewitching eyes, sharp teeth and sinuous strut make her vampire queen the sexiest horror movie diva since The Bride of Frankenstein. Music fans can tell you: To be bitten by Aaliyah is to be smitten.

Watch the Intrigue-Filled New Trailer for ‘The Crown’

If it’s hushed conversations in dark corners of ancient English estates you’re after in your next binge-worthy obsession, look no further: The Crown will satisfy your British whisper needs and then some.

In the new trailer for Netflix’s next original series, a young Queen Elizabeth II, played by Claire Foy (Wolf Hall) attempts to navigate her position, surrounded by oft dishonest politicians that make her question who, among even her closest relatives, can be trusted.

The Crown is created and written by Peter Morgan, twice nominated for the Academy Award for Best Screenplay for his work on The Queen and Frost/ Nixon (Original and Adapted, respectively.)

Check out the new trailer below.

The Crown streams on Netflix November 4.

Here’s What’s Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix in November

November is a big month for entertainment, and not just because you’ll get to watch your suburban family articulate their thoughts on the election over turkey. Netflix is bringing in several exciting new titles this month, including the new Gilmore Girls reboot! Check out the trailer below.

Alexis Bledel and Lauren Graham are back for a four-part continuation of the famous show, almost ten years after the original series ended.

Also of note next month is the addition of the new, live-action Jungle Book, Mercy, and Boyhood. 

Among the notable titles leaving the ‘flix are all 10 seasons of Shameless, Legally Blonde, and The Holiday.

Check out the full list below.

COMING IN NOVEMBER:

NOV. 1

  • The African Queen
  • Alfie
  • Bob the Builder: White Christmas
  • Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh
  • The Confessions of Thomas Quick
  • Cujo
  • The Doors
  • The Heartbreak Kid
  • Jetsons: The Movie
  • King’s Faith
  • Love, Now
  • Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You
  • Pervert Park
  • Ravenous
  • Stephen King’s Thinner
  • Tales from the Darkside: The Movie
  • Thomas & Friends: A Very Thomas Christmas
  • Thomas & Friends: Holiday Express
  • Thomas & Friends: Merry Winter Wish
  • Thomas & Friends: The Christmas Engines
  • Thomas & Friends: Ultimate Christmas

NOV. 2

  • Dough
  • Food Choices
  • Meet the Blacks

NOV. 4

  • The Crown, season 1
  • Dana Carvey: Straight White Male, 60
  • The Ivory Game
  • Just Friends
  • World of Winx, season 1

NOV. 9

  • Danger Mouse, season 2

NOV. 11

  • All Hail King Julien, season 4
  • Case, season 1
  • Estocolmo, season 1
  • Roman Empire: Reign of Blood, season 1
  • Tales by Light, season 1
  • True Memoirs of An International Assassin
  • Under the Sun

NOV. 12

  • Take Me to the River

NOV. 13

  • Chalk It Up

NOV. 14

  • Carter High

NOV. 15

  • Dieter Nuhr: Nuhr in Berlin
  • K-POP Extreme Survival, season 1
  • Men Go to Battle
  • The Missing Ingredient: What is the Recipe for Success?

NOV. 16

  • The 100, season 3
  • Burn After Reading
  • Jackass 3.5: The Unrated Movie
  • Paddington

NOV. 17

  • Lovesick, season 2
  • Paranoid, season 1

NOV. 18

  • The Battle of Midway
  • Beat Bugs, season 2
  • Colin Quinn: The New York Story
  • Divines (2016)
  • Prelude to War
  • San Pietro
  • Sour Grapes
  • Thunderbolt
  • Tunisian Victory
  • Undercover: How to Operate Behind Enemy Lines
  • Why We Fight: The Battle of Russia
  • WWII: Report from the Aleutians

NOV. 22

  • Mercy

NOV. 23

  • Penguins: Spy in the Huddle, season 1

NOV. 25

  • 3%, season 1
  • Boyhood
  • Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
  • Michael Che Matters

NOV. 29

  • Silver Skies

NOV. 30

  • Ghost Team
  • I Dream Too Much
  • The Jungle Book
  • Level Up

LEAVING IN NOVEMBER

NOV. 1

  • The Addams Family
  • Almost Famous
  • Angel Heart
  • Barnyard
  • Bratz: The Movie
  • The ‘Burbs
  • Can’t Hardly Wait
  • Chuck, seasons 1-5
  • The Core
  • Deliverance
  • E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
  • Echelon Conspiracy
  • Eight Crazy Nights
  • Empire State
  • Equilibrium
  • Escape to Witch Mountain
  • The Family Man
  • Fatal Attraction
  • Fresh
  • Get Rich or Die Tryin’
  • The Holiday
  • Into the Wild
  • Kangaroo Jack
  • Legally Blonde
  • Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde
  • Major League
  • Mansfield Park
  • Meet Joe Black
  • Mel Brooks: Make a Noise
  • Open Season
  • Open Season 2
  • Open Season 3
  • Patton Oswalt: My Weakness Is Strong
  • Powerpuff Girls, seasons 1-6
  • Rounders
  • Scream 2
  • Sex: My British Job
  • Shameless, seasons 1-10
  • Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
  • Something’s Gotta Give
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie
  • Spy Game
  • The Sum of All Fears
  • Total Drama World Tour
  • Underground: The Julian Assange Story
  • Urban Cowboy
  • Varsity Blues
  • What Women Want

NOV. 2

  • The English Teacher

NOV. 4

  • Gigli

NOV. 5

  • The Homesman

NOV. 11

  • Quartet

NOV. 14

  • Seal Team 8: Behind Enemy Lines

NOV. 15

  • Naked Among Wolves

NOV. 16

  • The American
  • Let’s Go to Prison

NOV. 22

  • Tracers

NOV. 23

  • The Boxtrolls
  • Scenic Route
  • Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors

NOV. 24

  • The Boondocks, seasons 1-4
  • Chowder, seasons 1-3
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog, seasons 1-4
  • Uncle Grandpa, season 1

NOV. 25

  • Robin Hood
  • Stuck in Love