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Netflix: What's Streaming? (May 2014)

Do you have Netflix? If not, why not? I must admit that I, too, questioned the need to have the service. I was perfectly happy walking to my local video store and renting the latest films there and didn’t quite understand the necessity of the Netflix service. That is until they released the first season of Orange is the New Black, and, in one fell swoop, groundbreakingly changed the way people viewed television programs. By releasing the entire season of the television show at one time, Netflix displayed their understanding of the sociological urge to have everything (including quality programming) immediately and easily at one’s fingertips. Netflix masterfully accomplished this feat using top-notch television shows, such as the aforementioned OINTB and House of Cards (the highly addictive political potboiler). As an avid television viewer I could no longer ignore Netflix, as I desperately wanted to be part of the water cooler conversations revolving around Netflix programming. Thus I was beyond ecstatic when I was approached to unveil a regular column highlighting the varied content on Netflix Canada.

There’s always something for everyone’s tastes on Netflix, and here are some of my favourites from the newly released content for May.

The 40-Year-Old Virgin
Steve Carrell is currently at Cannes earning early Oscar buzz for his haunting turn in ‘Foxcatcher’, but comedy favourite ’40 year-old virgin’ is what made him a household name. Starring as the titular character, Carrell brought a surprisingly gentle and sweet naiveté to the role. Also starring the always excellent Catherine Keener and Paul Rudd, this is a timeless comedy classic.

The Lucky One
If you, like me, are counting down the days until the second season premiere of Orange is the New Black, you should catch OITNB star Taylor Schilling in this romantic Nicholas Sparks book adaptation. Starring opposite current ‘Neighbors’ heartthrob Zac Efron, the pair sizzles in this starry-eyed drama.

Portlandia
My co-workers are zealous fans of this show (they refer to it as “that show that skewers hipsters hilariously”) and often tell me that I NEED to watch it immediately. Thus I was very pleased to see that Netflix had recently added the third season of the show to its rotation, alongside its first and second seasons. Starring former SNL star Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, the show mocks the habitants of Portland.

Blue Jasmine, Babel
Cate Blanchett earned her second Academy Award this year for brilliantly playing a Blanche Dubois-like socialite in Woody Allen’s biting satire ‘Blue Jasmine’. In Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s sprawling ‘Babel’, Blanchett stars opposite an all star cast including Brad Pitt and Academy Award nominee Rinko Kikuchi in a mesmerizing story that explores the sociological, emotional and verbal barriers that hinder us all.

Dear Mr. Watterson, Vanishing of the Bees
If the recent Hot Docs festival made you yearn for more documentaries, I highly recommend these two enthralling docs. A Netflix exclusive, ‘Dear Mr. Watterson’ is a captivating documentary that explores Calvin and Hobbes’ everlasting legacy. In ‘Vanishing of the Bees’, filmmakers Maryam Henein and George Langworthy explore the economic, ecological, and political implications of the worldwide disappearance of the honeybee.

For more information about Netflix, please visit netflix.com

Leora Heilbronn

Leora Heilbronn is a Toronto based film aficionado who has a weakness for musicals and violent action flicks. She can often be spotted reading a wide range of literature or listening to show tunes.