The new movie on Netflix:
“Da 5 Bloods” (Netflix Film)
Premise: In this drama directed and co-written by Spike Lee, Black Vietnam War veterans return to the country to find the remains of their former leader and the gold treasure he and they once buried together.
The veterans still feel immense guilt for their role in the war, but also anger for being used in that way during their youth. These characters face this internal battle while also struggling to extract the gold from the country. The crew must relive their days of violence to see things through to the end and come away with something in hand.
Netflix has added this movie to its newly created “Black Lives Matter” collection, which features dozens of shows and movies including other Lee films such as “School Daze” and “Malcolm X.”
Setting: Contemporary and 1970s Vietnam
Netflix descriptors: “Gritty”
How it starts: In footage from a 1978 interview in Chicago, Muhammad Ali speaks about his refusal to fight in the Vietnam War.
Ali explains that the Vietnamese people haven’t wronged him, unlike Americans who have a long history of racism toward Black people. After referencing the use of the n-word, Ali talks about the distinctions between the Vietnamese and white Americans.
“They never lynched me,” Ali says. “They didn’t put no dogs on me. They didn’t rob me of my nationality.”
The movie then cuts to archival footage of Black soldiers in the Vietnam War, while Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)” plays.
Notable cast: Chadwick Boseman, Norm Lewis, Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters and Isiah Whitlock Jr.
Runtime: 2 hours, 34 minutes
Bonus: Spike Lee spoke about the movie with a YouTube channel called BlackTree TV. Watch below.
Netflix highlights from earlier in the month:
Premise: In this mystery thriller directed by David Fincher, reporters at the San Francisco Chronicle investigate the serial killer who called himself “Zodiac” in cryptic letters to the paper.
A cartoonist at the paper becomes obsessed with the case and trades information with a local law enforcement officer.
The movie didn’t earn any Academy Award nominations, but has since been ranked high in many best-of-the-21st-century lists.
Setting: San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1960s and early 1970s
Netflix descriptors: “Slow burn,” “dark” and “suspenseful”
How it starts: The song “Easy to Be Hard” by Three Dog Night plays over the production logo still photos.
The words “What follows is based on actual case files” appear on a black screen. After this, the movie pivots to its first shot, an overhead of Vallejo, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Fireworks explode over the city.
The first line of “Easy to Be Hard” is heard over the fireworks: “How can people be so heartless?”
Notable cast: Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal and Mark Ruffalo
Runtime: 2 hours, 37 minutes
Bonus: Indie Film Hustle made a breakdown of Fincher’s directorial flourishes in the movie.
“Lady Bird” (2017)
Premise: In this coming-of-age dramatic comedy, a high school senior longs to leave the sleepy city of Sacramento, California, and live in a “city with culture.” She wishes to attend New York University across the country.
While repeatedly expressing her desire to leave, she still dates and has a part-time job. She comes to realize how much she loves hanging with her best friend and that leaving Sacramento would also mean a loss of something.
The movie earned five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.
Setting: Sacramento in the early 2000s
Netflix descriptors: “Offbeat,” “understated” and “dramedy”
How it starts: The sound of birds chirping plays over an epigraph from Joan Didion: “Anybody who talks about California hedonism has never spent a Christmas in Sacramento.”
The first shot shows Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson and her mother sleeping face-to-face in bed.
Notable cast: Timothée Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein, Lucas Hedges, Tracy Letts, Laurie Metcalf and Saoirse Ronan
Runtime: 1 hour, 34 minutes
Bonus: A24 created this “official featurette” of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews.
Other Netflix highlights:
“The Disaster Artist” (2017)
All the movies that have joined Netflix this month so far:
- “Act of Valor”
- “All Dogs Go to Heaven”
- “Bad News Bears”
- “The Boy”
- “Cape Fear”
- “The Car” (1977)
- “Cardcaptor Sakura: Clow Card”
- “Cardcaptor Sakura: Sakura Card”
- “The Disaster Artist”
- “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”
- “The Healer”
- “The Help”
- “Inside Man”
- “The Lake House”
- “Lust, Caution”
- “Observe and Report”
- “The Queen”
- “The Silence of the Lambs”
- “Starship Troopers”
- “V for Vendetta”
- “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story”
- “West Side Story”
- “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan”
- “Killing Gunther”
- “Lady Bird”
- “Spelling the Dream” (Netflix Documentary)
- “Choked: Paisa Bolta Hai” (Netflix Film)
- “The Last Days of American Crime” (Netflix Film)
- “Before I Fall”
- “Middle Men”
- “Da 5 Bloods” (Netflix Film)