7 items from 2015
John Travolta as a charismatic gangster in an impeccably tailored suit. Casual references to Marcel Proust and quantum physics. An outrageously byzantine plot orchestrated around a big twist ending. The ’90s are back again in “Criminal Activities,” a profane thriller that so closely resembles the B-movies that followed “The Usual Suspects,” “Pulp Fiction” and “Get Shorty,” it could be mistaken for an archeological discovery. Making his directorial debut, veteran thesp Jackie Earle Haley uncannily re-creates the feeling of watching an Elmore Leonard clone circa 1996, when hunger for philosophizing hoodlums was at an all-time high. There’s nothing remotely fresh about this revival, but tight pacing and an overqualified cast keep things zipping along nicely, which may not be enough to draw people to theaters on Nov. 20, but should clear the lower bar of its simultaneous VOD release.
Were the four buddies at the center of “Criminal Activities” not texting so furiously, »
- Scott Tobias
“Criminal Activities” is yet another one of those “Clueless regular folks who get into deep criminal shit struggle to come out of the situation alive” dark comedies that were very popular during the post-Tarantino late '90s. Examples like “Suicide Kings” and “Very Bad Things” are just two titles that come to mind after a maximum of five seconds of brainstorming. Right down to its generic title, “Criminal Activities” doesn’t add anything new to the formula, and you can probably predict every single one of its story beats, including the wholly unnecessary twist ending, but I had fun with it nevertheless. This gruesome dark comedy is the feature directorial debut of Jackie Earl Haley, veteran portrayer of some of the creepiest characters from Hollywood’s last decade. Robert Lowell, the American poet who died in 1977, wrote the screenplay decades ago, and Haley updated it and changed the location from Detroit to Cleveland, »
- Oktay Ege Kozak
Subliminal Criminal: Haley’s Debut Feloniously Familiar
There’s a certain amount of smarmy appeal to justify Jackie Earle Haley’s attraction to taking on Criminal Activities, the actor’s first stint as director. Updating a script written by Robert Lowell (a man who has been deceased since 1977), Haley updates the action to modern day Cleveland, but this mob affiliated kidnap caper feels exactly like direct-to-video fodder from the mid to late 90’s modeling snappy, impressionistic dialogue around loopy bits of violence and pronounced plot twists, a common template following the success of Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (1994). An intriguing ensemble cast heightens a certain interest in the film’s rudimentary wiles, but exaggerated characterizations distract from an inevitable plot twist only unexpected because it’s not particularly notable.
- Nicholas Bell
Contrary to a previous report, the next installment in The Ring series will not be a prequel, but a sequel set 13 years after the events from the first movie, and Deadline is reporting that Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory, Suicide Kings) has been cast as one of the leads in Rings. Galecki will play Gabriel, "a handsome, pleasure-seeking professor who mentors and helps boyfriend and girlfriend duo, Holt (Alex Roe) and Julia (Matilda Lutz)." Sources tell the site that »
- Jesse Giroux
What’s joining Netflix in the month of April? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with a full list of original programming -- finally, Daredevil is premiering! -- movies, and your favorite TV shows streaming starting April 1.
All Hail King Julien, Season 1 (4/3/15)
Derek, Special (4/3/15)
Marvel’s Daredevil, Season 1 (4/10/15)
Chris De’Elia: Incorrigible (4/17/15)
And Now ... Ladies and Gentlemen...
What's new on Netflix in April 2015? The eagerly anticipated original "Marvel's Daredevil," with Charlie Cox as the blind superhero, which debuts April 10, for one. Also new: Acclaimed horror films, including the Iranian vampire movie "A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night" and the Aussie chiller "The Babadook;" a quartet of Nigerian films; and new seasons of "Wilfred," "Halt and Catch Fire," and "Sons of Anarchy."
Here's a much larger rundown of what's new on Netflix in April 2015, provided by Netflix. As always, all titles and dates are subject to change. We've also go you covered in terms of what's leaving Netflix in April 2015, in case you were wondering.
Available April 1
"And Now ... Ladies and Gentlemen..." (2002)
"The Beautician and the Beast" (1997)
"Buffalo Soldiers" (2001)
"Down to Earth" (2001)
"Leprechaun 3 "(1995)
"Leprechaun 4: In Space" (1997)
"Leprechaun 6: Back 2 tha Hood" (2003)
"Suicide Kings" (1997)
"Sunset Strip" (2000)
- Sharon Knolle
At the beginning of (and throughout) every month, Netflix Streaming adds new movies and TV shows to its library. Here is a quick list of several that you might be interested in. Some of these may have previously been on Netflix, only to have been removed and then added back. We will update this list as more titles are added closer to the end of the month.Movies April 1And Now ... Ladies and Gentlemen... (2002)Bandolero (2000)Barnyard (2006)The Beautician and the Beast (1997)Bound (1996)Buffalo Soldiers (2001)The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course (2002)Down to Earth (2001)Leprechaun 3 (1995)Leprechaun 4: In Space (1997)Leprechaun 6: Back 2 tha Hood (2003)Suicide Kings (1997)Sunset Strip (2000)Underworld (2003)Whiteboyz (1999)Wrong Turn at Tahoe (2009) April 2Life Partners (2014)Sinbad: The Fifth Voyage (2014) April 3Starry Eyes (2014)The Quiet Ones (2014) April 7Preservation (2014) April 9Pioneer (2013) April 10The Awakening (2013)Broken (2013)Burning Bridges (2014)Confusion Na Wa (2013)Finding Mercy (2012)Finding Mercy 2 »
- Vulture Editors
7 items from 2015
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