Netflix giveth, and Netflix taketh away. The start of a new month means more movies arriving on the streaming service, and more leaving for reasons that defy logic. (Seriously, “The Station Agent” just went up May 1 and now it’s going away June 1. What’s up with that?)
Anyway, the “Gone in an Instant” column aims to help you navigate Netflix’s byzantine ways and give you one last chance to catch some great movies before they vanish. Here’s five you should try and cram in while you still can:
The subtitle for Jean-Luc Godard’s “A Married Woman” is “Fragments of a Film Shot in 1964, in Black and White,” which is true in more ways than one. In the early scenes, and repeatedly throughout the film, all we see on the screen is pieces of two lovers’ bodies – hands reaching for each other, lips whispering into an ear, a naked torso.
The effect is erotic — Godard skirts the edge of censor-worrying nudity without slipping over — but unsettling, as we never get a clear full-length shot of these two people together. After the free-wheeling camerawork of “Breathless” and “Band of Outsiders,” the rigorous formality of these shots feels constrained. The people seem pinned inside the frame like specimens, with Godard (and us) watching their lovemaking from an almost clinic distance.
The musician’s violin is broken, and will likely stay that way. He lives in Lahore, once the cultural center of Pakistan, and decades ago was a vibrant place where a classical musician could make a living performing concerts and recording movie soundtracks.
But when fundamentalist Muslims swept into power in a coup and installed Shariah law, music was considered to be a sin. Musicians were harassed, concerts were banned, instruments were smashed. While life is better now in Pakistan, the generational link was smashed, and those old musicians have trouble getting audiences or younger musicians interested in their traditional classical sounds. They can’t even get those old instruments repaired.
“Song of Lahore” is a documentary that meanders around for a little while and then will suddenly connect with a powerful moment, musical or emotional. Then it frustratingly wanders off point again. Maybe there wasn’t quite enough here for a feature-length documentary, but sprinkled in here and there are some memorable moments of tragedy and triumph, and the music is terrific.
Some may find it a little silly to ascribe deeper meanings to a movie like “Captain America: Civil War,” which after is meant primarily to be a source of entertainment and profit, a summer blockbuster to maintain ongoing Marvel franchises and jumpstart new ones.
On the other hand, his name is Captain America . . .
Pick of the week: “Goosebumps” (Netflix) — I was pretty skeptical of a big-budget version of R.L. Stine’s quickie kiddie horror novels, but this adaptation starring Jack Black is fast-moving, funny and just the right amount of scary. It’s the best Joe Dante movie Joe Dante didn’t make.
“A.C.O.D.” — My full review is here. UW-Madison grad Ben Karlin wrote the screenplay for this sharp comedy, in which Adam Scott plays an Adult Child of Divorce still dealing with feuding parents Richard Jenkins and Catherine O’Hara. Some might describe the movie as a little sitcommy, although that’s probably a testament to how good sitcoms are these days.
Rams has its Madison premiere at 6 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Union South Marquee Theatre, 1208 W. Dayton St. FREE! R, 1:30, three stars out of four.
Grimur Hakonarson’s Rams was a movie I wanted to pet while I was watching it. Everything in the movie looks soft — the wool of the sheep that fill the remote Icelandic valley where the movie takes place, the long unkempt beards of the sheep farmers, even the sweaters. I wanted to gentle stroke all of it.
But all that padding is a bit misleading. Because once it gets taken away, Rams is a film about hard, intractable forces butting heads with each other, over and over.