Matthew Ellmore/Staff Writer
Netflix offers a wide array of content for its viewers to watch, and it can be daunting to skim through its large collection to try and find something that interests you. However, there are some documentaries, series, and movies that are available on Netflix and that stand out from the rest. Some of them may be well-known, others may not. Hopefully, you can find something that interests you.
“Time Share (Tiempo Compartido)” (2018)
Sebastian Hoffman’s “Time Share” is a mix of absurdity and horror. The film follows a family’s trip to a timeshare resort that goes horribly wrong when their rental becomes double-booked. While this may seem like a mundane plot, it evolves into something so much more. As the movie progresses, the plot becomes increasingly complex, falling deeper and deeper into disbelief. Paranoia and distrust are main themes of the film like many others in the horror genre, but “Time Share” uses those conventional themes and brings them out in unique ways. The film also comments on issues of capitalism and consumerism, tying its horror into that instead of something supernatural or otherworldly. Although it has a much slower pace, “Time Share” is still a notable entry into the horror genre.
“Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories” (2016)
Based on the manga series of the same name, “Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories” focuses on a chef, known as “The Master,” and his small restaurant that opens from midnight till dawn. A range of customers visit the diner, ranging from yakuza to prostitutes to businessmen, and each character brings forward their own story. Each episode focuses on a particular customer that’s dealing with a certain problem. Occasionally, the stories will drift into magical overtones, but they usually stay grounded. Some of the stories are comedic while others are more emotional and dramatic. Not only do these stories give an audience insight into characters, but their meal does as well. Each episode focuses on a particular dish that’s unique to the character that the episode is about, and it oftentimes relates to the story being told. So much of this show is unique and lifelike. Although the characters and scenarios may change from episode to episode, you still are able to learn and become attached to the characters. Each episode of “Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories” is a prime example of character study, and the show itself is a great reminder of the joys and pains of human connection.
“Paris is Burning” (1996)
“You’re going to have to be stronger than you ever imagined.”
Few documentaries are as brash and honest as “Paris is Burning.” The documentary follows the ball culture of New York City in the mid to late 1980s and the African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender communities that participated in this culture. The film comprises of footage of these events as well as interviews with participants, alternating between the events that go on within the ball culture and the political and social climate of New York City during the 1980s. Many of the interviews shed light on gender roles, gay subcultures, racial subcultures and other issues such as AIDS, poverty, and homophobia. None of these interviews feel staged or acted; each of the people involved and the footage of the ball culture feels real and vibrant. The way that the film deals with the idea of drag is particularly interesting, presenting it as a way to express identity and desire. The film does more than just define it, it analyzes it and addresses the multi-faceted aspects that many people have probably never considered. It’s been 22 years since “Paris is Burning” was released, but it still distinguishes itself as an important and relevant look at life and culture.
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