Check out Jordan Parker's 'The week's best and biggest on Netflix' every Friday on HalifaxToday.ca.
The true story of Billy Hayes – an American college student caught smuggling drugs out of Turkey – is one of the most difficult films I’ve ever watched.
His time in inhumane conditions within prison walls is documented in this film adapted from a script by auteur Oliver Stone.
It’s gritty and brutal, with a fantastic performance from the little-known actor Brad Davis. Joined by a nearly-unrecognizable Randy Quaid and an Oscar-worthy turn from John Hurt, the cast is impeccable.
It’s a tense drama that just happens to be a film you’ll love, but be traumatized enough by never to want to watch again.
This offbeat drama is one of my favourite Netflix finds in recent memory.
The incredible Bel Powley is luminous as the eccentric Carrie, a highly intelligent woman who struggles to maintain positive, healthy relationships with others.
Her ideas of sex, morals and life come from books most barely comprehend, and she prefers the quiet of her apartment to meeting others.
She leads a privileged lifestyle that’s supplemented by an ever-absent father, who gives her money instead of real contact.
This is just a wonderful, quirky film not quite like anything I’ve seen in a while, and supporting turns from Nathan Lane and Gabriel Byrne make it all the more enjoyable.
This Is The End
In these difficult times, escapism is so important.
While not everyone will like the optics of watching an apocalypse movie during COVID, this proved, for me, to be a relief.
This self-aware flick from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg depicts six celebrities’ difficulties coping during a strange apocalypse as they hide out at actor James Franco’s home.
In a film that highlights the high-level, raucous hilarity of Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Seth Rogen, Danny McBride and Chris Robinson, what makes it so entertaining is the level to which they’re all willing to self-parody.
It’s so self-referential and pop-culture relevant, and what it lacks in script, it makes up for in true, unadulterated fun.
If you liked any of the following: Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, This Is 40, I Love You, Man, or Superbad, you will love this flick.
This sports drama set a new standard for the level of intensity that can be brought with boxing films – in fact, it’s the best fighting flick since the original Rocky.
Warrior is centred on a young man who returns home to train in mixed martial arts with his alcoholic former boxer father. This leads to a showdown with his older brother.
This flick is also a fierce family drama with magnetic performances from Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte – nominated for an Oscar as the father here.
The level to which Warrior succeeds – and the sheer skills everyone involved shows – will leave you astounded.
If you’re a fan of Ricky Gervais, you’re going to love this show. If you’re not, I promise you with all I have, you’re still going to find something to love here.
Gervais somewhat tones down his mean-spirited persona to bring us Tony – a man who used to be entirely content, until his wife died of cancer.
Now, he works his newspaper job in a small English town, hating everything from his home to his co-workers and anyone else around him.
He finds joy only in his dog, the nurse who helps his ailing father with dementia, and re-watching videos of he and his wife when they were happy.
We follow Tony’s difficulties and watch as he tries to find a way to smile again, and it adds up to one of the best, most fulfilling shows on Netflix.
It’s two seasons in, and you’ll relish in every moment.
Jordan Parker's weekly film reviews can be found on his blog, Parker & The Picture Shows.