Netflix Rentals of the Week

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 7:02 am

These Netflix rentals of the week constitute my suggestions for the latest DVD and Blu-ray releases. Whether you’re a fan of martial arts, animated adventures for kids, or offbeat comedies, this week’s crop is filled with a wide array of viewing options. And even if you’re not a member of Netflix, you can join up in no time at all. In fact, the world’s leading online rental service offers a two-week free trial to get you started.

Defendor (2009) – Featuring the directorial debut of Peter Stebbings, Defendor stars Woody Harrelson as Arthur Poppington, a confused fellow who believes himself to be a superhero. By night, he stalks the streets of the city, waging a one-man war to find and defeat his arch-nemesis, Captain Industry. Along the way, he befriends a prostitute (Kat Dennings), matches wits with a police detective (Elias Koteas), and tries to explain himself to his shrink (Sandra Oh). Mixing comedy and drama, this indie film is an excellent companion piece to Special (starring Michael Rapaport).

Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon (2008) – The story of Zhao Zilong (Andy Lau), one of the many heroes from China’s Three Kingdoms period. Filled with immense battles, personal duels, and acts of bravery, Three Kingdoms should be in the Netflix queue of any martial arts or foreign film fan. Co-starring Maggie Q and Sammo Hung, Three Kingdoms would go perfectly with John Woo’s epic Red Cliff movies.

Pirate Radio (2009) – Released in the UK as The Boat That Rocked, the film is set in 1966 aboard a ship anchored in the North Sea. From there, the colorful crew operates a pirate radio station, broadcasting pop music to the masses. The robust comedic cast includes Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost, Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson and Gemma Arterton.

The Missing Person (2008) – Michael Shannon stars as alcoholic private detective John Rosow in this genre-bending mystery movie. Hired to trail a passenger on a train, Rosow soon comes to the realization that his target is someone who was supposed to have died in the 9/11 attack on New York. Amy Ryan co-stars.

Tenderness (2009) – Eric Komenko (Jon Foster) is an 18-year-old just released from the juvenile penitentiary for killing his parents. As he moves in with his aunt (Laura Dern), Eric is trailed by Lt. Cristofuoro (Russell Crowe), the police detective who first locked him up. It seems that Cristofuoro believes Eric to be a psychopath, and he wants to catch him again before anyone else is killed. To complicate matters, a lonely teenager named Lori (Sophie Traub) seeks out Eric, and the pair form an unusual friendship.

Tenure (2009) – Luke Wilson plays another moping everyman in an offbeat indie comedy. This time he’s Charlie Thurber, a college English professor who’s possible tenure is threatened by the arrival of Elaine Grasso (Gretchen Mol), a transfer from Yale. David Koechner is a scream as Jay Hadley, the college’s anthropology professor, Charlie’s pal, and a hardcore Bigfoot enthusiast.

The Slammin’ Salmon (2009) – Another comedy from the members of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe (Beerfest, Super Troopers, Club Dread). Cleon Salmon (Michael Clarke Duncan) is a former heavyweight boxer who now owns a restaurant. To give his waiters an incentive, he offers $10,000 to whoever manages to make the most money in a single night. The loser, however, will suffer a beating at the hands of the former pugilist. Hilarity ensues.

Ninja Assassin (2009) – South Korean pop sensation Rain stars in this American martial arts film about a modern-day ninja who rebels against his clan of professional assassins and teams up with an Europol agent (Naomie Harris) to bring them down. It’s co-produced by the Wachowski brothers, so you can count on plenty of martial arts action and blood. Rick Yune and Sho Kosugi co-star.

Faces of America (2010) – A fascinating PBS documentary that traces the family history of 12 noted Americans using a combination of genetics and genealogy. Participants include Meryl Streep, Stephen Colbert, Eva Longoria, Yo-Yo Ma, Queen Noor, Mike Nichols, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Kristi Yamaguchi, Mario Batali, Elizabeth Alexander, Malcolm Gladwell and Louise Erdrich.

Dora the Explorer: Explore the Earth! (2010) – Dora and her monkey, Boots, travel across the planet and get into a series of fun and educational adventures that should delight smaller children.

All these Netflix rentals of the week can also be purchased on a more permanent basis over at Amazon. We do get a commission for sending you there, but your final price isn’t affected.

For more Netflix, be sure to read the following:


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