The Oscar-winning documentary Searching for Sugarman (2012) has recently been added to Amazon's Instant Video collection—make this one a priority. The film follows a search for the recording artist Rodriguez, a Dylan-esque folk artist of the 70s. Rodriguez's songs did not catch on in the United States, but they became the anthem of a revolution in South Africa, with a national popularity comparable to Elvis or the Beatles. Somehow Rodriguez never knew of his overseas success, and rumor had it he'd committed suicide on stage. No one knew what really happened to the musician until two fans made it their mission to find out. This film is the incredible story of what they find. Winner of Best Documentary at the 85th Academy Awards, Searching for Sugarman artfully reminds us of the value of the documentary to film and story telling.
Netflix just added season one of Fox's New Girl to their repertoire of TV shows. The sitcom stars Zooey Deschanel as Jess, a cute but offbeat young woman with a myriad of quirks (a standard Zooey character). The season opens with Jess moving into an apartment with three guys just after going through a traumatic break up. The ensuing episodes follow the roommates through their individual work and relationship problems as they fumble through the awkward hilarity of living with each other and growing into real adulthood. The show has been renewed for a third season, which is scheduled to air in September.
Quentin Tarantino's bloody, critically-acclaimed spaghetti Western/revenge film Django Unchained (2012) is now streaming on Amazon. The film follows Django, a freed slave who seeks his wife and her freedom from a violent plantation owner with the help of a German bounty hunter. True to Tarantino's style, the film is violent and the story compelling. Starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, and Samuel L. Jackson, the film received much critical acclaim and was nominated for several Academy awards.
The Truman Show (1998) is now on Netflix. The comedy-drama starring Jim Carrey is about a man who was adopted by a television studio as a baby. He has lived his whole life unaware that his entire world is a fiction and that he is the star of 24/7 reality TV show. Some run-ins with a few characters from his past make him start asking questions, and he finds himself faced with the choice of remaining in his small world where he is the star and all things are comfortable, or facing the unknown world beyond the walls of the studio set. The film is charmingly funny yet thoughtful and will provoke great discussions.