Instant Gratification: “Stories We Tell” and four other good movies to watch on Netflix Instant


Pick of the week: “Stories We Tell”:  My full review is here. Actress turned filmmaker Sarah Polley, after making a couple of strong narrative features in “Take This Waltz” and “Away With Her,” turns the camera on her own family, and a family secret that everybody sort of knew but nobody ever confirmed. The result is a family drama, a mystery and a fascinating exploration into the shifting nature of memory, and how we construct the stories about our lives that make sense to us. One of the best movies of 2013.

“Awful Nice””: My full review is here.  This movie made me bust out laughing a lot. In this indie comedy, two feuding brothers try to reconcile to renovate the family vacation home in Branson, with spectacularly disastrous results. The slapstick comedy is truly inspired, as is the comedy that comes from  the tension of two brothers constantly trying to one-up each other, even in their 30s.

“The Muppet Movie” — Some of the later movies have been great, but you’ll never beat the original, starting from Kermit sitting on that log plucking the banjo.

Between Us” — My full review is here.  Two pairs of friends clash over two dinner parties in this wrenching and sometimes funny indie film, which features Taye Diggs and Julia Stiles. The film does feel a little stagey, and is definitely an actors’ showcase, but all four actors throw themselves body and soul into their parts.

“Clear and Present Danger” — With “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” out on DVD this week, it’s a good time to check out Harrison Ford’s second outing as Jack Ryan, in a fine thriller that mixes political intrigue with beautifully-staged action, including a motorcade ambush that is a modern classic of its type.

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