Pick of the week: “Lawrence of Arabia” (Netflix) — This must be a huge honor for “Lawrence of Arabia” to be the Instant Gratification Pick of the Week, right? I mean, I could have gone with “Byzantium,” but I thought I’d throw a little love the way of literally one of the greatest movies ever made. Anyway, David Lean’s epic starring Peter O’Toole as T.E. Lawrence, the British adventure entranced and seduced by the desert sands, is a wonderful movie, and is presented here in its diamond-sharp HD restored edition.
“Byzantium” (Netflix) — My full review is here. Neil Jordan’s feminist vampire film got completely overlooked a couple of years ago. Which is unfortunately, because it’s smart and sumptuous, with Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton as a mother-daughter pair of vampires holed up in a British seaside resort town, as the patriarchal vampire leadership hunts for them.
“Ride” (Netflix) — My full review is here. I really liked Helen Hunt’s second film as a writer-director-star (after “Then She Found Me”), about a flinty New Yorker editor who takes up surfing to figure out why her son dropped out of college to hit the waves. It’s funny and poignant in just the right spots.
“Up in the Air” (Netflix) — George Clooney plays a crack corporate downsizer who shows Anna Kendrick the ropes in this comedy-drama by Jason Reitman that touches uncomfortably close to the mark in detailing the insecurities of today’s workforce. And yet somehow we end up sympathizing with the downsizer.
“Hannah and Her Sisters” (Amazon Prime) — One of Woody Allen’s all-time best films is his 1986 tale of three sisters (Mia Farrow, Barbara Hershey, and Dianne Wiest) and their travails in and out of love.