Instant Gratification: “Afternoon of a Faun” and four other good movies to watch on Netflix Instant

American Masters - "Tanaquil Le Clercq: Afternoon of a FaunÓ

Afternoon of a Faun” — Get out the hankies for this poetic and poignant documentary about the dancer Tanaquil Le Clercq, who served as a muse to legendary choreographers George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. In addition to creating dances for her bold, long-limbed style, both fell in love with her (Balanchine married her), but her career was cut short when she contracted polio at the age of 27.

Sophie’s Choice” — And you think you had a hard time deciding what to watch on Netflix? Meryl Streep delivers one of her best performances as a Jewish woman haunted by a decision she made as a captive of the Nazis, now living with an abusive boyfriend (Kevin Kline) and doting young suitor (Peter MacNichol).

Journey to the West” — After “Shaolin Soccer,” I’d watch anything Stephen Chow made, such as this typically zany adaptation of a work of classic Chinese literature, which Chow naturally gives a slapstick spin with some amazing action-comic set pieces.

12 Angry Men” — Sidney Lumet’s first film is a classic pressure-cooker drama, as jurors in a sweltering conference room debate the fate of a teenage boy accused of murder.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” — I’d put this up as one of the most underrated of the series. The last go-round of the original cast is a Cold War parable with some dynamite space battles, a random Christian Slater cameo, and a dandy of a villain in Shakespeare-quoting Klingon Christopher Plummer.

 

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