Sifting through Netflix Instant's massive selection of titles can be overwhelming. So with this bi-weekly column, we're helping you cut through the clutter by highlighting some of the choice features now streaming that pair nicely with the latest theatrical releases.
This week, in vein of Resident Evil: Retribution, House at the End of the Street, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, we've picked out some female-fronted action flicks, spooky suburban horror stories, and compelling coming-of-age tales for your home-viewing pleasure.
Resident Evil: Retribution
The Husband and wife team of director Paul W.S. Anderson and action heroine Milla Jovovich are back with a fifth installment of the ongoing adventure of leather-loving zombie-killer Alice. This time around Alice awakes deep in the bowels of the evil Umbrella Corporation, which continues to spew forth legions of the ravenous undead. Not only must Alice fight her way out, but also she uncovers some shocking truths about her mysterious past. Kevin Durand and Michelle Rodriguez co-star.
With a string of pulse-pounding action features to her name, cover girl Jovovich proves she's so much more than a pretty face. If you want more thrilling adventures that feature powerful women at their center, we've got a little genre spread below, ranging from sci-fi, to swashbuckling fantasy to espionage thriller.
The Fifth Element (1997) Fun fact: before she got hitched to her Resident Evil director, Jovovich wed Luc Besson, her helmer for this visually dazzling sci-fi adventure. The pair married just months after the film's premiere, which is sort of fitting since this Earth-in-peril pic is ultimately about the power of love. Jovovich stars as "the perfect being" sent to Earth to save us all from a world-ending evil that's arrival is imminent. Bruce Willis plays her gruff guide to all things Earth, including serious sexual chemistry. If you've never seen this: treat yourself. And if you have: revisit immediately; it's better than you remember. Gary Oldman and Chris Tucker lend stellar support as a manic villain and hyperactive radio personality respectively.
Cutthroat Island (1995) Before there was Jovovich and Anderson, or even Jovovich and Besson, there was Renny Harlin and Geena Davis. The former directed the latter in this big budget action-adventure that became one of the biggest box office bombs of all-time. Still, I rewatched this recently, and it offers some pretty extravagant action sequences, along with a so-strange you can't look away romance between Davis—who plays fearless lady pirate Morgan Adams—and Matthew Modine, who hams it up as a social-climbing con man. I won't say it's a good film, but I will promise it's the kind of big dumb fun unique to the late '90s. Frank Langella co-stars as Morgan's evil uncle Dog, who'll kill her to get the treasure he sees as his by right.
Haywire (2012) Unconventional auteur Steven Soderbergh was so inspired after seeing MMA fighter Gina Carano kick some serious ass in a cage match that he decided to arrange a meeting, and offer her the chance to be his muse. From that fateful meeting came this hard-hitting spy thriller that takes stage combat to a ferocious new level. Offering punishing blows and a stern performance-style, Carano stars as Mallory Kane, a savvy spy who must take down a string of deceitful men after being framed for an assassination. If you missed this kick-ass feature earlier this year, take the opportunity to watch Carano beat the holy hell out of such stars as Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor and Michael Fassbender.