Watch these 12 titles before they leave Netflix in May

“Devil’s Advocate” (May 31) This mix of Grisham-esque legal thriller and Taylor Hackford’s “Rosemary’s Baby”-style occult horror was met...


This mix of Grisham-esque legal thriller and Taylor Hackford’s “Rosemary’s Baby”-style occult horror was met with mostly snickers when it was released in 1997, as critics complained it was too ornate, too exaggerated, too a lot. But in these dim times, it feels like a welcome balm, a reminder of a time when mainstream studio movies were ready to go, good taste be damned (pardon the pun). Keanu Reeves, sporting a less-than-compelling Southern accent, plays a high-profile young lawyer recruited (rather aggressively) by a major New York law firm run by Al Pacino under the name “John Milton,” and yes, the rest of the revelations concerns as subtle. Pacino chews up the scenery with the voracious appetite of a starving man, but the standout performance here is from then-still-rising Charlize Theron with a surprisingly subtle twist as the young lawyer’s increasingly troubled wife. .

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Bad movies have drawn ironic (and non-ironic) cults for decades, but few have drawn the fascination exerted on “The Room,” the bizarre psychosexual drama from enigmatic writer-director-star Tommy Wiseau that plays less like a low-budget film than like a dispatch from another planet, filled with creatures that talk and act almost like real humans. The film’s co-star Greg Sestero turned this strange experience into a memoir, which was later adapted into this hilarious chronicle of cinematic incompetence. James Franco directs and stars as Wiseau, his work focusing on – and blurring the line between – villainy and brilliance; Dave Franco is charismatic and likable as Sestero, while an all-star supporting cast (including Alison Brie, Zac Efron, Ari Graynor, Seth Rogen and Jacki Weaver) lights up the edges.

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Sometimes Netflix is ​​there for you when you need it, and sometimes they cut out entertainment exactly when it’s needed most. Such is the case with the end of the complete series of “Downton Abbey” just two weeks after the release of “Downton Abbey: A New Era”, the last feature-length follow-up, in theaters. That means it’s time to start that catching up spree and reconnect with the Crawley family and their various minions, intruders, and guests. The series’ origins can be traced to creator Julian Fellowes’ Oscar-winning screenplay for Robert Altman’s “Gosford Park,” which found drama in the contrast between Britain’s aristocracy and those who serve it. He followed these contrasts and connections for six seasons with a sharp wit and penetrating commentary.

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Everything was bigger in the 90s, when family entertainment of yore told us countless stories of boys and their dogs, this 1993 hit by Simon Wincer told the story of a boy and his killer whale. Jason James Richter stars as an orphan boy on the wrong life path, whose probationary period cleaning up graffiti at an amusement park leads him to form an unconventional friendship with the main character, a whale captive, whom he soon decides to release into the wild. Lori Petty and Michael Madsen are likable as tough (but impressionable) adults.

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Cult filmmaker John Waters made an unexpected (and surprisingly successful) play for mainstream respectability with his 1988 film “Hairspray,” a PG-rated nostalgic comedy that was so family-friendly it was adapted into a Broadway musical. . And then he made his way back in theaters for the 2007 adaptation of the Broadway show, directed with a theatrical twist by choreographer-turned-director Adam Shankman. The musical numbers are inventively staged, the conventions of the form are deviously sabotaged, and the performances are top notch – especially John Travolta as the main character’s mother, Tracy Turnblad (the formidable Nikki Blonsky), and Christopher Walken in fine, tender shape like his father.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Watch these 12 titles before they leave Netflix in May
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