Many would say the top stand-up comedian right now is Louis C.K., and Netflix has made it easy to familiarize yourself with his deeply personal, honest act. There's the first season of his critically acclaimed FX series "Louie," as well as two stand-up specials: "Hilarious" and "Chewed Up." (You don't need Netflix to stream C.K., though: He recently released a new stand-up special himself, for $5 on his website.)
Turning to more serious fare, the most treasured film noir classics aren't here, but there are many good ones: the New York portrait "Naked City," the crime noir "Kansas City Confidential," Fritz Lang's "Scarlet Street," the John Alton-photographed "The Big Combo" and the famously frantically made "Detour." Also worth mentioning is Samuel Fuller's recently rereleased "House of Bamboo" with Robert Ryan as an undercover investigator in Tokyo.
Though most filmmakers have only one or two films available to stream on Netflix, one notable exception is the great British director Michael Powell, who formed a famed partnership with Emeric Pressburger. Nearly all of their work together can be streamed, including the masterworks "The Red Shoes," ''Black Narcissus" and "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp." But don't miss the terribly overlooked 1945 romance "I Know Where I'm Going!" which astounded Martin Scorsese and renewed his hope that there are masterpieces still left for him to discover.
There are, of course, many other gems, too: Old Buster Keaton silents, Whit Stillman's "Metropolitan," the stop-motion animated kids show "Shaun the Sheep" from the makers of "Wallace and Gromit," Steve Buscemi's fine directorial debut "Tree's Lounge," the Brooklyn drama "Smoke," the excellent "Carlos" miniseries, etc., etc.
Netflix's success will ultimately hinge on the appeal of its catalog. For now, it remains an intriguing hodgepodge. There's something fun about a hodgepodge, so long as you don't mind rummaging.
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