Instant Gratification: “Lawrence of Arabia” and four other good movies to watch on Netflix and Amazon Prime

Headshot of Irish actor Peter O'Toole (L) and Egyptian-born actor Omar Sharif in a still from the film, 'Lawrence of Arabia,' directed by David Lean, 1962. (Photo by Columbia Pictures/Courtesy of Getty Images)

Headshot of Irish actor Peter O’Toole (L) and Egyptian-born actor Omar Sharif in a still from the film, ‘Lawrence of Arabia,’ directed by David Lean, 1962. (Photo by Columbia Pictures/Courtesy of Getty Images)

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.

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Instant Gratification: “Timbuktu” and four other good films on Amazon Prime and Netflix

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Pick of the week: “Timbuktu (Amazon Prime) — My full review is here. A small town in Mali chafes under the ironclad rule of fundamentalist Muslims in this Oscar-nominated drama which makes both oppressors and oppressed into three-dimensional human beings.

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Instant Gratification: “Wild Canaries” and four other good movies new to Netflix and Amazon Prime

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Wild Canaries” (Netflix) — My full review is here. It’s like Woody Allen’s “Manhattan Murder Mystery” set among the artisanal cupcake set, as a Brooklyn couple try to figure out who killed the elderly lady in their building. It’s lightweight, fizzy fun, an homage to screwball comedies of the days of yore.

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Instant Gratification: “The Deep Blue Sea” and four other good movies to watch on Amazon Prime and Netflix

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Pick of the week: “The Deep Blue Sea (Amazon Prime)My full review is here. Not a super-intelligent shark to be found in Terence Rattigan’s beautiful film about a woman in post-World War II London (a wonderful Rachel Weisz) leaving the security of her older husband for a handsome but shallow pilot (Tom Hiddleston).

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Instant Gratification: “Listen Up Philip” and four other good movies to watch on Amazon Prime and Netflix

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Pick of the week: “Listen Up Philip” (Amazon Prime)My full review is here. Jason Schwartzman is hilariously awful as an arrogant young writer who finds that success only feeds and confirms his misanthropy in this acerbic comedy from Alex Ross Perry.

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Sundance Film Festival: “What Happened, Miss Simone?” dives into the eye of Hurricane Nina

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There’s a double meaning inherent in the title of the documentary “What Happened, Miss Simone?” which opened the 2015 Sundance Film Festival on Thursday night.
At face value, the question seems innocuous: “What things occurred?” But the undercurrent of the question, which was posed by Maya Angelou in a poem, is “What went so wrong?”

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“The Battered Bastards of Baseball”: How the Portland Mavericks kept baseball weird

 

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The Battered Bastards of Baseball” is now streaming on Netflix. R, 79 minutes, three stars out of four.

Bing Russell was never the guy at the center of the frame. A “plumber actor,” as his more famous son Kurt called him (not unkindly), Russell worked hard in the ’50s and ’60s in small parts in countless Hollywood Westerns, perhaps best known for playing Deputy Clem on 13 seasons of “Bonanza.” I didn’t know “Bonanza” had a “Deputy Clem” either.

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