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New to Netflix: New movie arrivals, reviewed and rated

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As we move towards a world of instant video content on demand, it's necessary to seperate the gold from the rubbish. Here we take a look at a selection of films that have just hit Netflix, the UK's most popular streaming service.

From Pirates to lost dogs, animated dinosaurs to werestling in Churches, this week's selection is certainly varied. What's also good news is that, given the confusion and badly explained info on Blu-ray discs, a number of old favourites and catalogue titles have never been available in HD in the UK. Now, new HD versions of films are being upload to Netflix all the time and some of them feature here today! Take a look below.  

 

Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco (1996)  ★★☆☆☆

A bunch of dogs getting mixed up and lost at an airport, separation from owners, dangerous people out to get them... that’s what you’re in for here. This 1996 Disney sequel has been gloriously remastered in High Definition and the print available to stream on Netflix looks wonderful when Chromecasted to a big TV. Sadly, the simplistic plot isn’t up to much, neither is the comedy. Put it this way; if you find the idea of a dog getting a boy’s underpants stuck on his head after getting laundry tipped on him absolutely hilarious, this is for you.

 

 Is it Just Me? (2010) ★☆☆☆☆

A young man is tired of casual sex and wants to find true love. While his housemate is getting blowjobs in the lounge, he is dreaming of his perfect man. Maybe online dating is the way to go? The conceit is hardly original and writer and director J.C. Calciano never manages to make either the humour or the romance rise to the surface. Leading actor Nicholas Downs tries to insert some vulnerable likability into his central role but ultimately fails. In the end there is little here to recommend wasting 93 minutes on. Watch the trailer below:

 

The Land Before Time (1988) ★★★★★

The age of the dinosaurs is turned into a spirited, wondrous and beautifully animated adventure in this children’s classic from Don Bluth. Many people of a certain age will remember owning this film on VHS, so it’s nice to have it available in widescreen and in HD on Netflix. The high definition image, when viewed on a big television, isn’t as good as some may hope, but it’s a big step up from what has been offered from all previous releases. For many, this will be a joyful nostalgia trip. Remind yourself of its magic with the video below:

 

 Picture This (2008) ★☆☆☆☆

If one were to rummage through Ashley Tisdale’s back catalogue they might find this amateurish comedy drama from 2008, shot between High School Musical ventures. It’s a shallow high school-set look at teen life (clichés all the way). There is also an atrocious piece of advertising for an LG phone woven into the plot. I was hoping for a last-minute twist where it turns out this vacuous, painful world was actually a dystopian vision of the future where commercial business control people’s brains in order to drive consumerism. It isn’t. There’s nothing that interesting about it. Not only does this film sound stupid, it thinks you’re stupid too. Trailer below:

 

Bambi (1942) ★★★★☆

This Disney classic is so upsetting that there have been documentaries made about that heartbreaking moment. Even so, this is a beautiful, lively and overall life-affirming piece of magic and one that has become one of the studio’s most popular creations. A the little rabbit is the most cute, adorable thing you will ever see in a film. Even cuter in HD. Watch the trailer below:

 

 Fight Church (2014) ★★★☆☆

Academy Award Winning Director Daniel Junge and director Bryan Storkel have made this feature documentary about the rise of Christianity and mixed martial arts, including ministries which train young men to fight safely as part of their religious upbringing. The film gets slightly repetitive though does shine a light on an interesting phenomena in suburban America. Watch the trailer below:

 

 Death Clique (2014) ★☆☆☆☆

It’s a shame that the true-life 2012 case of schoolgirl murder hasn’t been handled with more sensitivity. With this treatment, director Doug Campbell goes for a cheap thriller vibe and in the rare moments where the drama does try to get under the skin of the characters, the leading actors prove themselves to be blatantly ill-equipped to handle such intense roles. The whole thing also feels very tacky. Watch the trailer below:

 

 

 I Am Number Four (2011) ★★☆☆☆

Alex Pettyfer fails to muster up any charisma as the hotter-than-hot boy surrounded with hotter-than-hot girls who gets thrown into a weird magical fantasy world. This feels like a Twilight knock-off. As well as helping perpetuate disproportionate ideas about both male and female normal body shapes, the more supernatural scenes quickly become unintentionally hilarious. Watch the trailer below:

 

 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011) ★☆☆☆☆

The fourth instalment in this oh-please-why-won’t-it-die franchise is an atrocious and offensive piece of work. Depp comes on and does his weird Captain Jack thing, but where it felt original and enigmatic before it now feels tired and silly. The nastier elements – such as a man being burned alive while loads of people stand and watch – are quite sickening when you think this is meant to be family entertainment. Cynical, hateful rubbish. Watch the trailer below:

 All films available at time of writing. Titles may taken off Netflix in the future. 

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