netflix streaming alternatives

Another month, another roster of movies that most people would struggle to leave the house for. Or, at least, should struggle to the leave the house for. But, hey, maybe I’m underestimating the appeal of yet another Transporter movie or another found-footage horror film (for M. Night Shyamalan, no less!). Either way, here are some at-home options for anybody whose desire to leave the house is about on par with their desire of having acid thrown on their face.

The Transporter Refueled (September 4)

I was genuinely surprised to see a new version of this franchise on the schedule. Hardly surprising since Jason Statham finally got wise and ditched it for finer pastures (that would be Spy, in which Statham spoofs his image quite hilariously and which should be on DVD soon). You will almost certainly know not a single name in the cast of Camille Delamarre’s film (he was the editor of Taken 2, so you kinda know what you’re getting). You could revisit old times and watch this video of every Jason Statham punch ever, which is surely four-and-a-half minutes of bliss for someone, or you could watch Collateral (2004), which is the sort of film Statham would make if he were a bigger star/better actor. Or, at least would have a bigger part in because, yes, that is him early on not saying a word and credited as “Airport Man”.

Collateral is available to be rented on iTunes, Vudu and Sony.

The Visit (September 11)

This return to horror for writer-director M. Night Shyamalan isn’t as bad as you might expect. And I’m not just saying that because I’ve never truly hated any of his films – except After Earth, but that’s what happens when you cast Will and Jaden Smith as saviors of the world. Really, it’s just the thought of yet another found-footage flick kind of makes the eye glaze over with boredom. It’s an effective ‘lil nugget though, even with all the terrible pre-pubescent white boy rap music. Nevertheless, $18 a ticket worth? Nah. So, stay in and stream Mr. Jones (2013) about a couple staying at a remote cabin who think an infamous reclusive artist has unleashed a sinister force upon them. It’s remarkably effective and has a twist that Shyamalan would be proud of.

Mr. Jones is available to stream on Netflix and to rent on Vudu.

About Ray (September 18)

This film stars Elle Fanning as a teenage boy going through their gender transition. It is getting a limited release, so it’s doubtful you’ll be able to see it anyway, but it has stoked further controversy from the trans and queer communities for casting a straight actor in a role that could have gone to an aspiring trans actor (see also the reaction to Stonewall, released on September 25). Tricky ground to navigate, sure, but if you want to see it done perfectly then watch the groundbreaking Australian drama 52 Tuesdays (2014). Filmed similarly to Boyhood, director Sophie Hyde brought together her cast on every Tuesday for 52 weeks to film the story of a young girl who is not only dealing with her own blossoming interest in sex, but her mother’s transition into James. It’s a fascinating experiment and ultimately proves a extraordinary exploration of teenagers and sex and in the modern age.

52 Tuesdays is available to stream on Netflix and Hulu Plus, and available to rent on iTunes and Vudu.

Everest (September 18)

You’ve probably read a lot lately about “whitewashing” and you may just think it’s a bunch of precious people being politically correct. However, watch the trailer for Everest and you’ll be startled at how they managed to find not a single frame to put on a  Nepalese person. Not a local, and not even a Sherpa. Apparently white dudes climb Mount Everest with no help from the mountain-climbing locals at all! Isn’t that remarkable? Sigh. There is a fantastic documentary screening at festivals around the globe right now called Sherpa that you should see if it ever comes your way, but until then catch Touching the Void (2003) and experience terror that feels real because, well, it was real. This documentary from the director of Oscar-winning One Day in September is visceral and terrifying.

Touching the Void is available to stream on Netflix and Hulu Plus, and to rent on Amazon.

Black Mass (September 18)

Johnny Depp is back, and he’s plastered in make-up and wigs. You should be used to this by now, but that doesn’t stop each and every layer of latex on his face from being its own rubbery stab of disappointment that one of the very best and interesting actors has now become a walking cartoon. Early reports suggest Black Mass may not be entirely terrible – he has Alice in Wonderland and Pirates of the Caribbean sequels up next so don’t get used to it – but why bother when the intricate and involving Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger is there, just waiting to be watched? They tell the same story, but in one you don’t need to look at Johnny Depp’s mug.

Whitey is available to stream on Netflix, and to rent on iTunes, Vudu and Sony.

The Intern and The Green Inferno (September 25)

Horror of completely different varieties – one is a sickly comedy with Anne Hathaway and Robert DeNiro, the other a gory splatterfest from director Eli Roth in the tradition of Cannibal Holocaust (1980). Can you guess which is which?!? Skip both of them just, oh I dunno, go outside and eat an apple in the last bit of sun you’ll get before winter. Read a book? Anything, really.

Apples are available to purchase for about $0.30 each.