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


Every Tuesday, I pick out five movies that have just become available for streaming on Netflix and recommend them for the Instant Gratification column. The start of a month usually means a whole lot of new movies on Netflix, and the start of August has brought a bevy of strong titles, both relatively recent and classic films.

Pick of the week: “Zodiac” — David Fincher’s exploration of the long, twisty, tortured investigation into the notorious San Francisco killer is a study in obsession, both in the killer’s mania and the dogged determination of detectives and reporters (including a tragic Robert Downey. Jr.) to find him.

Documentary of the week: “Tabloid” — UW grad Errol Morris’ account of a sleazy British tabloid sex scandal involves sadomasochism, kidnapping and cloned puppies. In other words, this isn’t serious “Fog of War” Morris, but a daffy and enjoyable look at some very offbeat characters.

Comedy of the week: “Running Scared” — This 1985 action-comedy gets both half of the hyphen just right, mixing some very funny camaraderie between cops Billy Crystal and the late Gregory Hines with some terrific action scenes, especially a car chase that ends up on the Chicago “L” lines.

Drama of the week: “Flesh and Bone” — This 1993 Texas noir features a fine performance by Dennis Quaid as a man haunted by his serial killer father (a chilling James Caan). The movie also features a breakout performance by a young Gwyneth Paltrow.

007 of the week: “The Living Daylights” — Netflix posted a bunch of Bond movies last week, so after certified classics like “Goldfinger” and “From Russia With Love,” may I suggest Timothy Dalton’s first outing as 007. The 1987 film features great action and a mostly believable plot, and Dalton’s simmering 007 points the way to to wear Daniel Craig would go decades later.

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