You Should Be Watching: August 2-8

Welcome to You Should Be Watching, my weekly opportunity to introduce you to a variety of great films, gems of the past and present, available for you to stream from Netflix, Amazon Prime, FilmStruck, and anywhere else streams are found.

Before I get to the highlights, a bit of news. Arthur Gordon, a fellow member of the Feelin’ Film Discussion Group on Facebook brought it to my awareness that an increasingly large number of films from indie darling studio A24 have shown up on Netflix. A bit of research has revealed that in fact, 29 of them, a full third, are now streaming on the service. Apparently, Netflix has been nabbing them as they leave Amazon Prime, which is good news for those who either don’t have Amazon Prime or hadn’t gotten a chance to see those titles yet.

This week I’m recommending a first visit or revisit to an 80s time-travel comedy cult classic, a fictional drama from the aforementioned A24 studio that offers a surprisingly emotional and heartfelt peek into the life of real-life author David Foster Wallace, and a simple yet brilliant and timeless film from a master Japanese filmmaker that drives to the heart of the father-daughter relationship.

Among the films leaving this week and in the near future from FilmStruck are a collection of titles from Luis Buñuel as well as classics such as Lumet’s Network, Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria and PTA’s Magnolia. Also, Warrior is exiting Amazon Prime August 4.

It’s a new month, so there are a host of great titles that have just been added to all streaming services, everything from old classics like Beau Geste and Touch of Evil to modern hits like the first 2/3 of The Dark Knight trilogy and Children of Men.



Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure


Year: 1989

Director: Stephen Herek

Genre: Science Fiction, Adventure, Comedy, Music

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, George Carlin, Dan Shor, Hal Landon Jr., Amy Stock-Poynton, Terry Camilleri, Tony Steedman, Rod Loomis, Bernie Casey, Al Leong, Jane Wiedlin, Robert V. Barron, Clifford David, J. Patrick McNamara, Frazier Bain, Diane Franklin, Kimberley Kates, William Robbins, Steve Shepherd, Anne Machette, Traci Dawn Davis


With the recent news that the duo of Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter are planning to once again joining forces to bring a third Bill and Ted movie to the big screen and with the sequel being added to FilmStruck to create one of the wildest double features the service has yet produced, now’s a great time to take a trip back to 1989 and Bill and Ted’s first, most excellent adventure. Back to when they were just two unmotivated high schoolers from San Dimas, California who are about to find out that the fate of the world rests on them passing their history class and Ted not getting shipped off to military school.

Despite the film being purely a product of its time, it remains endlessly entertaining and has earned its place as a cult favorite. Bill and Ted have the kind of charismatic chemistry with one another that you can’t help but feel good about, and the fact that they aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed only adds to their charm and hilarity, especially once it comes to interacting with historical characters such as Napoleon, Joan of Arc, and Socrates. The jokes never feel mean spirited, though. George Carlin’s presence as the level-headed straight man who needs them to succeed at their mission further elevates the comedy as well as the drama.


The End of the Tour

Year: 2015

Director: James Ponsoldt

Genre: Biography, Drama

Cast: Jason Segel, Jesse Eisenberg, Anna Chlumsky, Mamie Gummer, Joan Cusack, Ron Livingston, Mickey Sumner, Becky Ann Baker, Dan John Miller, Stephanie Cotton, Noel Fletcher, Ben Phelps, Punnavith Koy


A film that draws an incredible depth of emotion, even for those with no familiarity with David Foster Wallace or his bestselling 1,000+ page novel, Infinite Jest. Donald Margulies’ script along with James Ponsoldt’s direction provides a unique peek into Wallace’s life through the experience of former Rolling Stone writer David Lipsky. We open on Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) discovering that Wallace has committed suicide. We are then brought back to those final days of Wallace’s book tour when Lipsky had the opportunity to interview him for Rolling Stone.

Jason Segel’s performance as Wallace is career-defining. His appearance, mannerisms, soft-spokenness, and abundance of thought-provoking observations and self-awareness make clear that we along with Lipsky are experiencing an encounter with a specific and unique individual. Eisenberg himself is also workmanlike in his performance, subtly revealing the young Lipsky’s fragility and determination. Through their interactions together, Wallace comes across much like Solomon of old, incredibly aware of all the ways we make life meaningless, but still unable to resist its seemingly harmless pleasures and addictions.


Late Spring


Year: 1949

Director: Yasujirō Ozu

Genre: Drama

Cast: Chishū Ryū, Setsuko Hara, Yumeji Tsukioka, Haruko Sugimura, Hohi Aoki, Jun Usami, Kuniko Miyake, Masao Mishima, Yoshiko Tsubouchi, Yôko Katsuragi, Toyo Takahashi, Jun Tanizaki, Ichirô Shimizu, Youko Benisawa, Manzaburo Umewaka


Simple, quiet, intimate, human, brilliant. Yasujirō Ozu’s no-frills approach tells a story that drives at the heart of the relationship between fathers and their daughters through the seasons of life, the sacrifices made and the need to move on. Here we have a young woman, Noriko, played by the captivating Setsuko Hara, who is happy and content to stay home and live with her widower father Shukichi (Chishū Ryū) while he and everyone else are trying to convince her to get married. Being in a post-WWII society where arranged marriages are still common and with Noriko having a friend who married for love and still ended up getting divorced, it’s hard to fault Noriko for just wanting things to stay the same. But we all know life doesn’t work that way.

Ozu deploys a consistency and stability in his camera angles and perspectives. While his style is unique, it does not offer many surprises. His focus is on the characters and the framing which help to relay the emotion of the story he’s telling. And that story packs a wallop of a punch by the time it reaches its conclusion.



LAST CHANCE (last date to watch)


August 4
13 Assassins (2010)

August 15
The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005)
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)



August 4
Warrior (2011)



August 3
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927)
Man with a Movie Camera (1929)
Marty (1955)
The Mission (1986)
Network (1976)

August 4
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)
That Obscure Object of Desire (1977)
The Phantom of Liberty (1974)

August 10
Altered States (1980)
The Decline of Western Civilization (1981)
Dogtooth (2009)
Falling Down (1993)
Magnolia (1999)
Nights of Cabiria (1957)
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Them! (1954)

August 12
The Last House on the Left (1972)

August 17
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989)
The Draughtsman’s Contract (1982)
Escape from New York (1981)
The Falls (1980)
Hairspray (1988)
A Zed & Two Noughts (1985)

August 20
Frances Ha (2012)



August 31
Across the Universe (2007)
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
The ’Burbs (1989)
Clue (1985)
Dead Man Walking (1995)
Escape from Alcatraz (1979)
Event Horizon (1997)
Hellboy (2004)
My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown (1989)
Primal Fear (1996)
Rain Man (1988)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Trainspotting (1996)




The Aviator (2004)
Batman Begins (2005)
Cinderella Man (2005)
The Constant Gardener (2005)
Clerks (1994)
Constantine (2005)
The Dark Knight (2008)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
The Game (1997)
Gran Torino (2008)
Haider (2014)
Hardcore Henry (2015)
Her (2013)
The Informant! (2009)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Out of Sight (1998)
PK (2014)
Serenity (2005)
Song of the Sea (2014)
Steel Magnolias (1989)
Touch of Evil (1958)



Beau Geste (1939)
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Children of Men (2006)
Cold War (2018)
The Elephant Man (1980)
Freedom Writers (2007)
Frequency (2000)
High Noon (1952)
Hoosiers (1986)
The Hurt Locker (2008)
Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
Joe (2013)
The Soloist (2009)
Training Day (2001)
United 93 (2006)
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Watchmen (2009)



Deathtrap (1982)
Le Cercle Rouge (1970)
The Lusty Men (1952)
Out of the Past (1947)
Tootsie (1982)
The Wind Journeys (2009)



Before We Vanish (2017)
Black Hawk Down (2001)
Cold War (2018)
The Elephant Man (1980)
High Noon (1952)
Hoosiers (1986)
The Hunt for Red October (1990)
The Hurricane (1999)
The Hurt Locker (2008)
Jackie Brown (1997)
Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
Joe (2013)
Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
Lost in Translation (2003)
The Nasty Girl (1990)
Point Break (1991)
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
The Usual Suspects (1995)




August 3
Like Father – NETFLIX FILM (2018)

August 5
Paid In Full (2002)


Jacob Neff is a film enthusiast living east of Sacramento. In addition to his contributions as an admin of the Feelin’ Film Facebook group and website, he is an active participant in the Letterboxd community, where his film reviews can be found. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with his latest thoughts and shared content.

You Should Be Watching: May 17-23

Welcome to You Should Be Watching, my weekly opportunity to introduce you to a variety of great films, gems of the past and present, available for you to stream from Netflix, Amazon Prime, FilmStruck, and anywhere else streams are found. I highlight films that come with my personal recommendation as well as provide a list of notable titles that are coming and going so you’re sure not to miss out on the good stuff.




Year: 2013

Director: Mike Flanagan

Genre: Horror

Cast: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff, James Lafferty, Rory Cochrane, Kate Siegel, Garrett Ryan, Katie Parker, Miguel Sandoval, Annalise Basso


I’ll be honest with you. I have relatively limited experience with horror. But I still believe that Oculus, a nightmarish puzzle box of a film directed, co-written, and edited by Mike Flanagan, is one of the most wickedly intelligent films in the genre. The genius is evident in the setup. By having Tim Russell (Brenton Thwaites), brother to Kaylie (Karen Gillan) be a just-released patient of a mental institution because of a violent act he carried out as a child, sanity is already in question. Kaylie is convinced the whole affair began because of a haunted mirror and is committed to destroying it before it destroys them. But what’s easier to believe, that someone is crazy or that they’re under the influence of the supernatural?

Through Flanagan’s careful editing of the past and the present, and through keeping it unclear whether what the camera is presenting is real or imagined, the audience is continually kept off balance along with the siblings. Flanagan makes wonderful use of darkness and light throughout to maintain the ideal, haunting atmosphere, and the character motivations and actions are right on target, not easily second guessed. The terror is subtle yet just brutal enough to convey the true horror of the situation, and I can’t say enough good things about Karen Gillan. Her performance here reminded me why I loved her so much in Doctor Who.




Year: 1962

Director: Masaki Kobayashi

Genre: History, Action, Drama

Cast: Tatsuya Nakadai, Rentarô Mikuni, Shima Iwashita, Akira Ishihama, Yoshio Inaba, Masao Mishima, Kei Satō, Ichirô Nakatani, Hisashi Igawa, Tôru Takeuchi, Tatsuo Matsumura, Akiji Kobayashi, Kôichi Hayashi, Ryûtarô Gomi, Nakajirô Tomita, Kenzô Tanaka, Shôtarô Hayashi, Tetsurō Tamba


Masaki Kobayashi’s Harakiri is a true masterpiece of Japanese samurai storytelling, deserving every bit as much praise as more popular fare such as Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. Everything from the artistry to the intricately woven plot to the carefully developed emotion to the presentation of a time and a people long past is pure excellence. To begin the film, Hanshiro Tsugumo (Tatsuya Nakadai) is introduced, stoic and seeming in full control at all times, which makes his stated intentions all the more confusing and shocking. He is an older samurai who comes to the house of a feudal lord with the claim that he is willing to commit the ritual suicide known as hara-kiri. But first he must be allowed to tell a story.

The bulk of this film is the presentation of that story and its aftermath, and let me tell you, it’s possibly the most exquisitely crafted story I’ve ever experienced through film, and it will keep you hanging on every frame. Through non-linear flashbacks, Kobayashi introduces the audience to each relevant character, their experiences, and the implications of those experiences at the precise moments needed to maximize intellectual engagement and emotional impact, leading to a progressive series of light-bulb moments as the full truth of the situation is gradually revealed.


The Flowers of War


Year: 2011

Director: Zhang Yimou

Genre: Drama, History, War

Cast: Christian Bale, Ni Ni, Tong Dawei, Zhang Xinyi, Shigeo Kobayashi, Atsuro Watabe, Shawn Dou, Paul Schneider


Many people recognize Zhang Yimou’s 2002 film Hero to be a classic of Chinese cinema, with its eye-popping visuals nothing less than poetry in film form. Cut to 2011, and we have The Flowers of War, Yimou’s highly underrated, culturally diverse war film starring Christian Bale and set during Japan’s rape of Nanking in 1937 that seems to have fallen through the cracks of cultural awareness.    Through a contrast of visuals and characters, Yimou demonstrates the horrors of war and the beauty of sacrifice, especially when learned by the disreputable and self-centered.

Bale shines as the American John Miller, a self-indulgent mortician, who cares for nothing but his own comfort and pleasure as he seeks a quick payday on his way out of Nanking before it’s completely overrun by brutal Japanese soldiers. His unlikely counterpart is Yu Mo (Ni Ni), the leader of a group of prostitutes who are also trying to escape the city. Together with a group of schoolgirls, they all end up together, seeking sanctuary and survival at the girls’ convent. Zhang Yimou and his DP Zhao Xiaoding created a beautiful film about a horrifying event. The plotting is creative, and a wholly human face, with all of its cracks and blemishes is put on our unlikely hero, the innocent schoolgirls, and the prostitutes, many of whom were forced unwillingly into that life at a frighteningly early age.



LAST CHANCE (last date to watch)


May 21
Inglourious Basterds (2009)

May 27
Middle of Nowhere (2012)

May 29
The Jungle Book (2016)



May 18
Creed (2015)

May 30
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
1984 (1984)
Breakdown (1997)
Regarding Henry (1991)



May 18
Luchino Visconti:

La Terra Trema (1948)
The Leopard (1963)
Rocco and His Brothers (1960)

May 25
Carol Reed:

The Fallen Idol (1948)
The Third Man (1949)

May 31
High Noon (1952)

June 1
House of Flying Daggers (2004)
A Night At The Opera (1935)

June 8
Christopher Guest:

Best in Show (2000)
Waiting for Guffman (1996)

Elia Kazan:

On the Waterfront (1954)
A Face in the Crowd (1957)




Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)
The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005)
Phantom of the Opera (2004)



Winter’s Bone (2010)



Billy Wilder:

Ace in the Hole (1951)
Some Like It Hot (1959)
Stalag 17 (1953)
Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

All the President’s Men (1976)
Dark Passage (1947)
Key Largo (1948)
The Killing Fields (1984)
Mildred Pierce (1945)
Stella Dallas (1937)
To Have and Have Not (1944)



In the Fade (2017)
Still Mine (2010)




May 18
Cargo — NETFLIX FILM (2017)
Catching Feelings — NETFLIX FILM (2017)

May 19
Bridge to Terabithia (2007)
Small Town Crime (2017)

May 24
The Survivor’s Guide to Prison (2018)



May 19
Beatriz at Dinner (2017)



May 19
Beatriz at Dinner (2017)


Jacob Neff is a film enthusiast living east of Sacramento. In addition to his contributions as an admin of the Feelin’ Film Facebook group and website, he is an active participant in the Letterboxd community, where his film reviews can be found. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with his latest thoughts and shared content.