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The most-wanted movies on Netflix and other streaming services this week

Jeffrey M. Anderson | June 29, 2015
This week's offerings include rare "adult" movies--no, not that kind; I'm talking about movies that were made with grown-ups in mind that don't require viewers to check their brains at the door or lower their expectations. By the same token, we have two G-rated movies streaming for kids of all ages. Studios don't like to make many G-rated movies because there's a perception that they're for "babies" and don't appeal to older kids. But when they do show up--the best ones are gentle and likable--parents and kids alike very much appreciate them.

The movie has a surreal, frantic feel, recalling cartoons of the past (the Fleischer Brothers' surreal Betty Boop as well as the Looney Tunes' defiance of the laws of physics). The simple-looking animation is deceptively complex. The fast pace and the frantic delivery of the (subtitled) dialog can make this 77-minute movie sometimes overwhelming; but though it's not always laugh-out-loud funny, it's consistently imaginative and amusing.

Ghosts of Mars (Crackle)

John Carpenter directed this check-your-brain-at-the-door popcorn-muncher, which came out in the summer of 2001. While he was a long way from his Halloween peak, Carpenter still delivered an undiluted "B" movie, complete with a terrific "B" movie cast. Ghosts of Mars (2001) takes place on a new human colony on Mars, which has quickly transformed into a red-light district of drugs, prostitution, and lost souls.

A team of space cops (Natasha Henstridge, Pam Grier, Jason Statham, and Clea Duvall) travel there to pick up a prisoner (Ice Cube), but find that the place has been taken over by evil spores that turn their human hosts into pierced, goth-style soldiers with painted faces and long hair. Killing any soldier sets loose the spores, which are then free to take over another host. So the cops must team up with their prisoner to survive; it's a theme that Carpenter used before, in his classic Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), and borrowed from his favorite director, Howard Hawks. This movie may not be very bright, but you can't say that Carpenter made an impersonal or lazy film. And, if viewers relax and let go, it's a lot of fun. Joanna Cassidy, Robert Carradine, and Wanda De Jesus also appear.

 

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