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Press Play? Netflix Instant Reviews: Price Check, Safety Not Guaranteed, Keep the Lights On, and The Awakening

August 2, 2013
awakening dollhouse

Who doesn’t love a creepy dollhouse?!

Press Play?” posts are mini-reviews of movies currently (as of the date posted) playing on Netflix Instant that may help you determine whether it’s worth a slot in your queue.

The Awakening: Not remotely related to the Kate Chopin story. This stars Rebecca Hall (aka Oh Yeah, THAT Lady) as ghost-debunker in the late 1940s who is drawn out to investigate a creepy boys boarding school by a skeptic who needs her to explain what is causing the strange goings-on. A very classic ghost-story with jump scares you see coming but STILL make you shout, it’s beautifully shot and aside from a plot falter near the end, managed to surprise me and even warrant the desire to re-watch it someday to see how it holds up knowing the answers to the puzzle…..but not for awhile, it was too chilling. If you liked The Orphanage (2007), you’ll most likely enjoy this. Bonus points for Dominic West and Imelda Staunton. [4 1/2 stars]

Price Check: Parker Posey plays a new VP brought into a company to rejuvenate the business who seduces Daniel from Ugly Betty (aka Eric Mabius) into being her new right-hand man at work (as well as seduces him in the literal way) and while it was mesmerizing to watch Posey do her thing, particularly spouting off statistics and marketing lingo, this movie ultimately fell kind flat. I guess maybe if you work in this field, or in a similar type office environment, you might enjoy seeing your life on screen, but mostly it just reminded me of all the things that made me get the hell out of that style of making a living, plus it lacked the moments of joy in the original quirky office indie films, like Clockwatchers or even Office Space. [2 1/2 stars]

Safety Not Guaranteed: I was expecting a textbook quirky indie romantic comedy, and in some ways, that is what it is, but it also offered a few surprises along the way. Recommended for fans of Aubrey Plaza (aka April from Parks & Rec). The ending was a bit of a surprise, and at first I wasn’t sure if I hated or loved it, but after it sank in, I came down on the side of liking it. [3 1/2 stars]

Keep The Lights On: I had a week where I decided I needed more gay movies in my life and I was wondering if gay cinema has vastly improved since the 90s and early 00s (the last time I really kept up with it). Um, I’m not sure it has. I watched the first 10 minutes of a lot of baaaad gay movies, but this one about a years-long back and forth relationships between two men kept my attention, I found it quite effective and moving, it also touches on things like addiction and bad behavior without moralizing or putting the characters in overwrought danger. Halfway through I realized that I was watching Patty Hewes’s son (Zachary Booth) and that kinda made it hotter too. Much like Starlet, it’s more of an ambient short story, not a big sprawling story, and it’s probably one of those movies where not a lot happens, but I kinda love those, so I don’t always notice. Sorry if it’s boring and there’s not enough gay sex for you! At least the dialogue is way better than most in the ‘genre’. [4 stars]

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