Netflix is doing some serious Spring cleaning during the month of March. Although the streaming giant will be adding tons of new original movies and shows, it will be discontinuing a lot of great content including Marvel’s Black Panther, Men in Black, and Lord of the Rings. So now is a good time to check out a few titles before their time runs out. Here are three standouts.

BLUE JASMINE

There are many who prefer Woody Allen’s early work—the zany, madcap, bawdy adventures of films like Sleeper, Bananas, Take the Money and Run, and Annie Hall. And then there are others who find Woody in mid-career genius form with gems such as Crimes and Misdemeanors, Mighty Aphrodite, and Sweet and Lowdown. But there are still others who find the level of craft and sophistication in his later works just can’t be beat—films like Match Point, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and the Oscar winner Blue Jasmine

Written and directed by Allen, Blue Jasmine tells the story of the ultimate femme fatale, the bewitching, hard-nosed, endearing, and ultimately fey Jasmine. Cate Blanchett plays the well-heeled but down-on-her-luck ex-socialite with slabs of courage, grit, and intensity; she all but embodies an alcohol-fueled, neurotic has-been quickly losing touch with reality. And where Cate goes in this movie mentally, psychologically, emotionally, and physically is really beyond comprehension. Her performance is truly one for the ages. It’s no wonder she won the Oscar for Best Actress.

Blue Jasmine is worth the price of admission for Blanchett’s brilliant, compelling, Oscar-winning performance itself, but the film is also a very accomplished ensemble piece. There are some profound and bold casting choices; Andrew Dice Clay plays a simple yet insightful schlep rock who can’t get beyond the slights and the confusion of his meager life. And Bobby Cannavale is so convincing as the volatile mechanic and weirdly romantic Chili, it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing the role. But Alec Baldwin as the ultimate hedge-fund sleaze is so delicious you have to just sit back with a well-deserved slow clap. It’s almost as if he is channeling Bernie Madoff himself. 

There are other great performances in this riveting film, but Cate Blanchett undoubtedly steals the show. See it before it exits stage left on March 7th.

CORALINE

Yes, Coraline is technically a children’s film, but this thing will scare the hell out of you! It is the very definition of creepy! A dark fairytale with undertones of parental neglect and a hellish parallel universe, Coraline is one intriguing and mysterious nightmare-fun-house-joy-ride. 

Based on Neil Gaiman’s award-winning novella, Coraline examines the curious and fascinating life of Coraline Jones, an 11-year-old girl splitting time between two very distinct, yet similar worlds. When Caroline moves to a new home, she discovers a magic door, which leads to a parallel world where her parents are loving, supportive, and kind, if not a bit strange. Being her own parents are too busy to attend to her daily needs, Coraline is inextricably drawn to this coexistent universe; but, evil lurks in a home-cooked meal and the on-tap strawberry milkshake, as well as the orange Welcome-Home cake!

The story and characters of Coraline are engaging and indeed spellbinding, but the stop-motion stereoscopic digital animation is the true star of this flicker. It is unique and artfully crafted, and the end result is a truly stark and singular film, a masterwork of art and design. Be sure to check out the surreal caves and tunnels, and the garish Pink Palace, and don’t forget the eyes of plastic buttons!

And if you’re lucky enough to see this Alice In Wonderland-esque modern classic in 3-D, definitely viddy! It’s mind-blowing! Coraline moves on from Netflix on March 30th.

DRUGS INC., SEASON 5

You wanna know why 70,000 people die a year in this country of drug overdoses? Watch Drugs, Inc., Season 5. The drug dealers, cartels, suppliers, and middlemen could care less about the human misery and slow death visited upon hordes of desperate souls living in this country and others, and they’ll stop at nothing to get their product out to the junkies, casual users, and privileged jet setters of the drug world. 

Largely told from the perspective of the drug dealers themselves, normally covered in ski masks and bandanas, Drugs Inc. offers an unflinching look upon the kill-or-be-killed environs of global narcotics traffickers and the virtual genocide the whole mess leaves in its wake. The documentary series, which originally aired on the National Geographic Channel, travels the globe and covers the abuse of just about every drug imaginable, from the “Super Meth” coming out of Mexico to the “Hardcore Heroin” ravaging Columbus, Ohio, on to the ‘Bath Salts Molly” of Mardi Gras, and it just keeps going. 

Drugs, Inc. is definitely a dark and even gruesome adventure series, but it is also very astute and compassionate in its approach to a problem that is destroying our cities, suburbs, and farmlands, and ravaging our most vulnerable citizens. 

Drugs, Inc., Season 5 airs the month of March and exits the arena on March 30th, 2020.

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