All of these movies are expiring at 11:59 PM on June 30th.
Director: Roman Polanski
Cast: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston
Private investigator J.J. “Jake” Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is hired by a woman who claims to be Evelyn Mulwray to investigate her husband who is the chief engineer of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Through this investigation, Gittes soon realizes that there is a scandal happening within the department, and that the woman who hired him wasn’t the real Evelyn Mulwray. He eventually meets the real Evelyn (Faye Dunaway), and with her help he tries to crack down on what is really going on with the water supply. This movie was nominated for 11 Oscars including Best Picture, and won one for Best Original Screenplay. The script really is a gem, and something you rarely will find anymore in movies. The characters are written so well and the actors all do a great job of portraying their given roles. This movie is a classic that shouldn’t be missed, especially by movie lovers.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Melinda Dillon
Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) has a life-changing moment when he first encounters a UFO. He begins to see images of a landmark he can’t recognize, and his family starts to think he is going crazy. He soon finds out he isn’t the only one experiencing this, and he goes with Jillian (Melinda Dillon), a woman who also encountered a UFO and whose son was abducted, to the landmark in the desert to find out what it all means. This is honestly one of my favorite sci-fi movies of all time. It’s not about aliens crash landing on Earth and then starting war or killing people. Yeah, they are kind of jerks for abducting people but they don’t fly around, alien guns blazing. Towards the end we get to see the giant spaceship, which is really amazing. The effects are very impressive for a movie made in 1977. This is one of Spielberg’s best sci-fi films and proves how talented he is when it comes to directing the genre.
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Cast: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden
U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Jack Ripper (Sterling Hayden) orders an unwarranted nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. The President, along with his staff, advisors and a former Nazi named Dr. Strangelove (Peter Sellers) try to recall the attack before they start a nuclear war, which proves hard to do since they can’t get a hold of Gen. Ripper or the men he sent out to bomb them. This is a black comedy that basically takes the Cold War and the fear of nuclear attacks and makes you laugh at it. Kubrick was able to take a very serious and relevant topic at the time and turn it into satire, and people loved it. It’s brilliantly scripted and directed, and it’s still funny even now. Dr. Strangelove is a hilarious character and Peter Sellers does a great job playing not one, but three roles in this film. The ending is epic and funny, too. This is a must see for people who have enjoyed other Kubrick movies, but really, everyone should watch it.
Event Horizon (1997)
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Cast: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Niell, Kathleen Quinlan, Jason Isaacs
A rescue crew of astronauts find a ship that has disappeared into a black hole and has now returned…and then some really messed up stuff happens. This isn’t the best movie ever, but I am recommending it because horror films that take place in space are simply awesome, and it’s actually pretty scary and disturbing. With the abundance of horror films out there about ghosts, devils, and things similarly related to ghosts and devils, this is a breath of fresh air. It’s also not your typical “aliens invading Earth” or “go to another planet, find hostile aliens” plots that you usually will find in space movies. It’s worth a watch, especially for those who like horror movies.
Director: Andrew Niccol
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law
Taking place some time in the future, a genetically inferior man named Vincent (Ethan Hawke) befriends a genetically superior man named Jerome (Jude Law) and assumes his identity in order to pursue his dream of traveling into space. I love the story in this movie. You really feel for both Vincent and Jerome’s characters because Vincent has to go through so much just to achieve his dreams, and all because he was a normal human instead of a genetically engineered one. Jerome, despite the fact that he is genetically engineered, isn’t happy with his life. He is paralyzed from the waist down and that is only after he tried to commit suicide and he even failed at that. It’s a sad story and happy story at the same time. I love Ethan Hawke and Jude Law, and even Uma Thurman does a great job. This is definitely one of the better sci-fi’s I’ve seen in my day.
Girl, Interrupted (1999)
Director: James Mangold
Cast: Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Clea DuVall, Brittany Murphy, Whoopi Goldberg
Susanna (Winona Ryder) ends up in a mental institution after a suicide attempt. While she’s there, she meets a lot of interesting people, including Lisa (Angelina Jolie), a woman who seems sane at first compared to the rest, but eventually reveals herself as a sociopath who is very controlling. She ends up influencing Susanna in all the wrong ways. The story here is not so much depressing as it is simply moving. Angelina Jolie pulls off an amazing performance in the movie and Winona Ryder is impressive as well, although I think Jolie steals the scenes from her often. She even won an Oscar for a Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Even if you’re not a Jolie fan, which a lot of people aren’t for some reason, you can’t deny that she has talent after seeing her role in this movie. There’s actually a lot of great performances in this movie, including Brittany Murphy and Clea DuVall as mental patients and Whoopi Goldberg as a nurse who tries to guide Susanna.
Director: John G. Avildsen
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers
Genre: Sports Drama
The boxer Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) gets his big break when he is given the opportunity to fight Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). Actually, all of the Rocky movies are going to be expiring from Netflix–I, II, III, IV, and V. But those who have never yet seen the Rocky franchise should obviously at least see the first before they expire. Rocky is an inspiring tale and Stallone is in his prime here. It is a true underdog story that makes you feel like you can accomplish anything if you really try. It was nominated for 10 Oscars and won 3–Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Film Editing. If for no other reason, you should watch it just to say you’ve seen it. It really is an enjoyable movie, though, and an enjoyable franchise in general.
Taxi Driver (1976)
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd
Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) is a discharged marine who applied for a job as a taxi driver in New York City. It soon becomes obvious that Travis isn’t exactly mentally stable, becoming obsessed with a woman who is a campaign volunteer for the Senator of New York. He has a few interesting encounters with people he picks up in his cab, including a young girl (Jodie Foster) who tries to run away from her pimp but ultimately fails. Disgusted by the pimp and the obvious moral decay around him, he starts to have violent thoughts about what he will do about it. Anyone who continuously reads this blog will soon realize that I am a huge Scorsese fan. That’s not the only reason I’m recommending this movie, though. The amazing script really paints a disturbing picture of a lonely man living in a big city. He’s very complex, he’s not just some obvious, emotionless psycho. He has a rather endearing personality at times, and the ability to feel empathy for a young prostitute who can’t help herself. This was the time when De Niro was making amazing movies and really showing off his superb talent. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who hasn’t seen it, at least you’ll be able to see the real, “You talkin’ to me?” scene instead of the countless impersonations of it.
The Terminator (1994)
Director: James Cameron
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn
The Terminator is a cyborg assassin in the form of Arnold Schwarzenegger who is sent from the future back to 1984. His mission is to attempt to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) who is pregnant with the child, John Connor, who will grow up to lead a revolution against the machines. Aside from this movie being totally entertaining and cool, it also acts as sort of a message saying, “our technology will ultimately kill us all some day.” Kind of frightening, I must say. As cool as robots are, I wouldn’t really want one that looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger to blow me away with a shotgun. Actually, scratch that, if I had to be killed by a robot, he might as well look like Arnold Schwarzenegger because that would be a unique and awesome way to die. Getting off track here. I think this is basically a must see for anyone who hasn’t. Plus, they’ll be coming out with a new Terminator in 2015 or something like that, and it seems like some kind of a weird remake. My motto: originals are always better.
There’s also a bunch of James Bond movies on Netflix that are expiring. So if you’re a fan of James Bond and haven’t seen these yet, you might want to check them out.
Sean Connery’s Bond:
From Russia With Love (1963)
You Only Live Twice (1967)
Never Say Never Again (1983)
Roger Moore’s Bond:
Live and Let Die (1973)
For Your Eyes Only (1981)
A View to Kill (1985)
Timothy Dalton’s Bond:
The Living Daylights (1987)