Instant Gratification: “Natural Selection” and four other good movies to watch on Netflix right now


It’s the first week of the month, which means that Netflix Instant has added a whole bunch of new titles to its streaming service. It also means it took away a bunch, including “The Intouchables,” which just went up on Netflix and led this column a couple of weeks ago. C’mon, Netflix, check with me first!

Pick of the week: “Natural Selection”: My full review is here. I saw this indie comedy at the 2011 Milwaukee Film Festival, and though it never made it to Madison, is definitely worth catching up on. Rachael Harris of “The Daily Show” and the “Wimpy Kid” movies gets a rare chance to shine as the lead, a repressed Texas housewife who goes looking for the biological son of her critically-ill husband, who had been donating sperm on the side. What she finds is a skeevy, thieving man (Matt O’Leary) who she nonetheless tries to love like a son. It’s one of those comedies where nobody is above making fun of, but nobody is beyond empathy either.

Documentary of the week: “Chasing Ice”: My full review is here. Global warming can be beautiful. “Chasing Ice” features some truly majestic shots of glaciers cracking and falling into the ocean, or climbers descending into iridescent blue chasms caused by melting ice. It’s visually stunning, but chilling when we realize how irrevocable this beautiful destruction is.

Classic of the week: “Apocalypse Now Redux”: Netflix has both the original theatrical cut of Francis Ford Coppola’s epic 1979 Vietnam War film and this new director’s cut, which features additional scenes, including a controversial visit to a French plantation. It’s not definitive, but definitely worth seeing.

Comedy of the week: “Bedazzled”: As a comedy duo, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore were in their prime in this swinging 1967 farce about a hapless man (Moore) who makes deals with the Devil (Cook) that somehow don’t turn out quite right. Very funny stuff.

Thriller of the week: “The Deep End”: Tilda Swinton is terrific in this well-plotted 2001 noir about an ordinary mother who tries to extricate her son out of a blackmail scheme.

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