Instant Gratification: “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and four other good movies to watch on Netflix Instant

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It’s all classic movies this week (well, movies that are a decade old at least), in this week’s edition of Instant Gratification.

Pick of the week: “Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Steven Spielberg’s 1977 UFO thriller stands the test of time because it’s so grounded, with Richard Dreyfuss and the other folks obsessed with Devil’s Tower seemingly like real middle-class people. Looking back, the film plays like a bridge between the personal filmmaking of 1970s auteurs and the blockbusters still to come.

Amores Perros” — Literally, “life’s a bitch,” as three bloody, funny and tragic narratives all involving dogs literally collide in Mexico City. Filmmaker Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu would go on to make time-hopping multi-narrative films like “Babel,” but none quite had the edge of this one.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” — Ang Lee’s foray into wuxia martial arts filmmaking is pure cinematic exhilaration, with beautiful images, heart-stopping action and a tragic love story to bind it all together.

Mean Girls” — In retrospect, Lindsay Lohan looks a little less convincing as the good-girl transfer student she starts out the movie as, and more convincing as the popular-girl barracuda she morphs into. You can feel writer Tina Fey sanding off the rough edges here and there to make a crowd-pleaser, but it’s still several cuts above the usual teen comedy.

The Thomas Crown Affair” — This remake of the Steve McQueen caper flick is surprisingly strong and fun, with Pierce Brosnan as the bored billionaire who takes to art thievery as a hobby, and Rene Russo as the investigator on his tail (and in his bed).

 

 

 

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