Slim, slim picking this week folks! I had to dig a little deeper for titles. But let me take this moment to say, if you’re a filmmaker reading this, and your film is streaming on Netflix, please let me know. Netflix unfortunately doesn’t have what I feel should be a more efficient search/sort method, and it can be quite a chore trying to find something worth watching. So, help me out if you can.

The same goes for non-filmmakers. If you stumble across any titles that you think should be featured in this weekly series, let me know!

But as usual… These aren’t necessarily recommendations. Consider the list more of an FYI – films and TV shows we’ve talked about on this site, at one time or another, that are now streaming on Netflix, that you might want to check out for yourselves.

Without further ado, here’s this week’s list of 5:

1- Family Affair, written and produced by Chico David Colvard, tells the story of how the filmmaker – at the age of 10 – shot his older sister in the leg, and how that random, accidental occurrence shattered his family, because, believing she would die from her injuries, his 9-year old sister revealed that their father had sexually molested her and her sisters for years.

Thirty years after the shooting, Colvard visited with family members to document their pain, their resilience and “the nature of forgiveness.”

The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010, and was eventually released in theaters (limited).

Oprah Winfrey saw it and liked it enough to acquire TV rights to it for her OWN Documentary Club.

Check out the trailer below:


2 – Simon Killer – a mystery/suspense/drama directed by Antonio Campos that centers on a recent American college graduate who travels to France, where he becomes involved with a prostitute.

A recent college graduate goes to Paris after breaking up with his girlfriend of five years. His life should be open-ended and full of promise, but he can’t shake his feelings of loss. Being a stranger in a strange land only aggravates his situation. When he falls in love with a young mysterious prostitute, a fateful journey begins. Though we soon learn that Simon is the one with deeper secrets.

My main attracting to the film is co-writer as well as co-star Mati Diop, the niece of the late great Senegalese filmmaker Djibril Diop Mambéty (a name that’s come up a few times on S&A; he directed African cinema classics like Touki Bouki and Hyènes).

And on top of her abilities as an actress and writer, Mati Diop also a director. At 30 years old, she’s been making films since she was 22, when she directed her first film, a short titled, Last Night; another short film she helmed, Atlantiques, was screened at the IFFR in 2010 in the Tiger Awards Competition Short Films section.

Her films most recently screened in the Experimenta strand of the 56th BFI London Film Festival, last fall.

But she’s rooted in a tremendously gifted family background. I’d guess that frequent questions and comparisons to her late great uncle’s work are common.

In Simon Killer, Brady Corbet stars as Simon, the college graduate who travels to France; and Mati Diop plays the Parisian prostitute whose life he gets involved with, and where this journey, an entrancing, bold and provocative cinematic character study, begins.

The consensus seems to be that this is a film that will introduce her to American audiences, which could mean Hollywood may come calling, which could further mean that we’ll see more of her work, whether as actress, writer or director.

IFC Films picked it up last fall, released it in the spring.



3 – The film, titled A Beautiful Soul, comes from producer/writer/director Jeff Byrd, and is described as an urban contemporary re-telling of It’s a Wonderful Life.

Here’s a synopsis for the film:

R&B superstar Andre Stephens (Deitrick Haddon) is on top of the world. He has success, fame, and fortune but spiritually he has lost his way. However, his “perfect” world is shattered when his entourage is brutally attacked, leaving Andre and his best friend Chris Johnson (Robert Ri’chard) clinging to life. As his very existence hangs in the balance, Andre goes on a spiritual journey in a place that is neither on Earth nor in Heaven where he is given an opportunity to reevaluate his life, his faith and discover a beautiful soul.

The drama boasts a cast that includes veterans like Harry Lennix and Vanessa Bell Calloway, and stars Deitrick Haddon. Rounding out the cast are Golden Brooks, LesLey-ann Brandt, Robert Ri’chardBarry FloydTrevor Jackson, John Salley and Bishop Noel Jones.

The film had a very limited theatrical run last year, grossing just over $54,000 (according to Box Office Mojo).

Here the trailer:


4 – This one’s a TV series. It’s the hour-long drama that Jennifer Lopez produced for ABC Family that centers on a lesbian couple who suddenly have their already child-heavy household, turned upside down when a wayward teenage girl moves in.

Sherri Saum (above, Rescue Me) and Teri Polo (The West Wing) play the lesbian couple.

Titled The Fosters, after airing 10 episodes successfully this summer, ABC Family ordered another 10 episodes which will run in January 2014.

Here’s the official description:

“The Fosters” tells the story of Stef and Lena Foster, a mixed race couple who are raising a biological son, along with several adopted children. When Lena decides to take in Callie, a troubled teen with an abusive past, Callie’s disruptive ways threaten to turn the Fosters lives upside down.

Polo portrays Stef Foster, described as a tough but kind police officer who is not eager to add to their already large brood, but soon realizes her family may be Callie’s best hope for a better life. Saum plays Lena Foster, described as an altruistic school principal, who is determined to save as many kids as she can and agrees to take in Callie without Stef’s knowledge.

Season 1 is already streaming on Netflix right now!

null5 – A film from New Zealander, Taiki Waititi, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010, is now finally available Stateside, on DVD and Blu-ray, and now streaming on Netflix.

The longer story goes… it’s 1984, and Michael Jackson is king – even in Waihau Bay, New Zealand. Here we meet Boy (yes, that’s what he’s called) an 11-year-old who lives on a farm with his gran, a goat, and his younger brother, Rocky (who thinks he has magic powers). Shortly after gran leaves for a week, Boy’s father, Alamein, appears out of the blue. Having imagined a heroic version of his father during his absence, Boy comes face to face with the real version – an incompetent hoodlum who has returned to find a bag of money he buried years before. This is where the goat enters… oh, and did I mention there’s a Michael Jackson sub-plot…
It’s a whimsical coming of age story that’s recommended.

In addition to the Sundance Film Festival, the film won the Audience Award at the Sydney Film Festival, won the Audience Award at AFI Fest, and won the Grand Prix-Best Feature Film, Generation K Plus at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Check out the trailer below: