With so many titles to choose from, Netflix Instant's library can be overwhelming. And so we offer this bi-weekly column as a tool to cut through the clutter by highlighting some now streaming titles that pair nicely with the latest theatrical releases.
This week we looked to Cloud Atlas, Wreck-It Ralph and The Man With the Iron Fist for inspiration, offering a selection of big idea sci-fi/fantasy, family-friendly adventures, and some very violent action flicks.
The Wachowski Siblings—or Wachowski Starship if you prefer—team up with Tom Tykwer to tackle David Mitchell's Russian nesting doll of a novel that was said to be unfilmable. Weaving together six stories throughout time and space, the filmmakers explore the forces and experiences that connect all mankind. Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Doona Bae, Hugh Grant, and many, many more co-star.
Even if you haven't seen Cloud Atlas, you've probably garnered it is a movie full of big ideas. Themes of human connection, feminism, and love being indestructible are delved into within the astounding landscapes common to science fiction and fantasy. For more remarkable films that aim to not only entertain but also broaden your mind, try out the trio below.
The Dark Crystal (1982) Jim Henson explores the concept that all things—good and evil, Mystic and Skeksi—are connected in this trippy and imaginative adventure. The story centers on an orphan named Jen, who is among the last of the Gelfling race. In a world out of balance, ruled by the decadent whims of carnivorous and decadent Skeskis, only Jen and his newfound friends can save the world from eternal Skeskis reign. Henson and Frank Oz direct and co-star.
Born in Flames (1983) Filmmaker Lizzie Borden attacks racism, classicism, sexism, and homophobia in her landmark feminist opus. Set in a dystopian future where America has become socialist and misogyny and bigotry are on the rise, this sci-fi feature focuses on the revolution sparked by Adelaide Norris, a blue-collar, educated African-American who speaks out against society's double-standards. She inspires women—gay and straight, white and black—to unite as the Women's Army, a vigilante paramilitary force that aims to protect women and challenge that powers that be. But the fight for equality goes to the next level when Norris is arrested and mysteriously dies in police custody. Adele Bertei and Honey co-star; Kathryn Bigelow and Eric Bogosian make their screen debut.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) Through their recurring casting Cloud Atlas, establishes the idea that love transcends death as characters again and again find themselves drawn back to their loved ones from a time they don't remember. Similarly, Charlie Kaufman's mind-bending romance focuses on two lovers who can't bear but make the same mistakes of the heart over and over. Jim Carrey stars as a heartbroken man who discovers his ex-girlfriend (Kate Winslet) has altered her brain to forget him, and so decides to do the same. But as the process begins to snatch away memories of her, he decides he can't bear to let her go and so races down the pathways of his mind looking for a way to preserve her. Michel Gondry directs; Tom Wilkinson, Mark Ruffalo, Kirsten Dunst and Elijah Wood co-star.