Every Tuesday, the Instant Gratification column gives you five recommendations for movies that have recently started streaming on Netflix Instant. Sometimes we go way off the beaten path — sometimes we stay right on it.
Pick of the week: “Any Day Now” — Alan Cumming and Garret Dillahunt star in this well-acted drama about a gay couple in 1970s Los Angeles who try to adopt a homeless teen with Down’s syndrome, only to encounter a wave of official prejudice. Aside from being a moving film, it’s a testament to how far gay rights have come in America in the last 30 years, and how far we still have to go.
Children’s movie of the week: “Mulan” — Netflix just added several Disney films to the lineup, and the best of them is this rousing adventure from 1997, in which a Chinese girl (Ming-Na Wen) has to save her father’s kingdom. I thought Eddie Murphy as the wisecracking dragon was funnier than Eddie Murphy as the wisecracking donkey in all the Shrek movies.
Documentary of the week: “Happy People: A Year in the Taiga” — Werner Herzog recut and narrated this Russian documentary about people living in remote, brutal Siberia, using survival techniques not much different from their ancestors a century before. We’ll take your word for it that they’re happy, Werner.
Blockbuster of the week: “The Avengers” — Joss Whedon delivered an incredibly fun superhero that was greater than the sum of its parts, mixing eye-popping action with humor and a genuine amount of emotion. The actors work as smoothly together as the heroes must, and Tom Hiddleston is a blast as the sinister Loki.
Comedy of the week: “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” — Not really a kids’ movie, but they’ll probably like this 1988 spin on classic noir, in which humans and Toons live side by side, and a private eye (Bob Hoskins) gets drawn into both worlds in late ’40s Hollywood.