True North Streaming: The Best New Titles on Netflix Canada, March 4/16
True North Streaming is a semi-regular column highlighting some of the best new additions to Netflix’s Canadian service. Like many of you, every so often I get a pleasant surprise when I discover a cool movie or TV show that’s just popped up on Netflix’s often-maligned sister platform. These posts will help you filter through the often quirky mix of Netflix Canada’s offerings and find the most valuable ways to waste some time.
And with that, in no particular order…
House of Cards - Season 4
For anyone who’s followed House of Cards since its launch, this entry needs little explanation. The series was one of the first to encourage streaming binges, due to how Netflix uploads the entire block of episodes at once. And even if the concept of a Washington political drama makes your eyes glaze over, there’s a lot going on in this show, including what may be the best adaptation of Shakespeare ever. It’s possible this might gobble up a shameful amount of my weekend.
With Ryan Reynolds soaking up the critical and box office success the past several weeks for Deadpool, you may find this indie film to be a fun companion piece. Released early last year to little fanfare (other than praise from the few critics who saw it at festivals), the film follows a mild-mannered guy (Reynolds) who realizes he’s going completely crazy - so crazy that his cat and dog start telling him to “do bad things” (hint: murder people). It’s billed as a wickedly dark comedy, and as Reynolds showed in Deadpool, he’s an expert in the genre. Oh, and the film also features Anna Kendrick, as if you needed one last push to see it.
If you’re a Marvel fan, odds are you already saw this in a theatre this past summer. For the few who managed to miss it or just want to re-experience its unique blend of quirky, vaguely British humour (thanks, Edgar Wright!) and noteworthy visuals, Ant-Man is now available on Netflix Canada. It’s part of a rare special bonus on the Canadian service, which guarantees new Disney-owned releases a spot on the platform eight months after they leave the multiplex. As far as I’m concerned, this particular film was a major bright spot in Marvel’s otherwise fairly samey universe (up there with Guardians of the Galaxy) so, get to it!
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
I’ll admit, I’ve probably been kind of annoying with my boosting of this movie ever since I saw it last year, and maybe I’ve oversold it. Nevertheless, Me and Earl is still absolutely worth seeing - a confident early work by a new filmmaker and a young cast brimming with natural talent.
In case the synopsis passed you by, it’s the story of a teenager named Greg who’s trying to survive his secondary school career by avoiding conflict at all costs, and only being a passing acquaintance with everyone in his school. This is thrown for a loop, though, when he’s persuaded into befriending a girl with a terminal cancer diagnosis, causing him to re-think what it means to have a true personal connection. It may sound cheesy or overdone, but its execution and heart make the effort so, so worth it.
A list of Netflix recommendations written by me wouldn’t be complete without at least one appearance by a British production. Pride is a period comedy (can we call the 80s “period” now?) about a real-life labour dispute by the National Union of Mineworkers and the unexpected support they received from a group of gay and lesbian fundraisers from London. The film uses the divisions between urban and rural communities and between traditional values and progressive ideas as fuel for a heartwarming story and more than a few “clash of cultures” jokes. Extra points for a strong cast that includes Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West and Andrew Scott.
Queen of Earth
I’m saving this one for last because it’s possibly the most acquired taste of the selections here. Everything I’ve heard about it suggests it caters more to hardcore indie-film lovers who look for subtle themes and powerful acting in their Netflix choices. Elisabeth Moss (Peggy Olson on Mad Men) stars as a deeply disturbed woman named Catherine who heads to her friend Ginny’s lake house, trying to put herself back together following a series of emotional traumas. As Ginny (Katherine Waterston, Inherent Vice) attempts to help her, Catherine becomes increasingly suspicious of everyone around her, which sends her spiralling even further into delusion.
Not the most uplifting story, is it? The draw here is the craftmanship of the film, which apparently rewards committed viewers who want to be challenged by their movie-watching. Even though I haven’t seen Queen of Earth yet, the director Alex Ross Perry comes up a lot in the film writing I read, so I feel like I’ll be seeing it eventually. Though I might want to pair it with a comedy to lighten the experience a bit?
What did you think of this list of Netflix recommendations? Are there any notable recent uploads on the Canadian service that I missed? Join the discussion in the comments section, and if you liked this post, share it with your friends and followers!