9 Movies Like The House by the Cemetery (1981) On Netflix Canada

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Many comedians use humor as a way to ease into more serious subject matter, though there always exists a risk that a comedy special can skew too far down the silly or the self-reflective route. Mike Birbiglia has come about as close to the perfect balance as possible, in this recording of his one-man Broadway show at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. Key to this is the fact that Birbiglia tells one very cohesive story throughout these 77 minutes, frequently branching off to other humorous anecdotes but always returning with a pensive self-consciousness to the real possibility of him dying sooner than he'd want.

This filmed version of Birbiglia's show doesn't give a full idea of its multimedia qualities (Birbiglia occasionally has words and images projected onto the curved screen behind him, which he also physically interacts with), but the comedian's sincere style of storytelling more than makes up for the lack of audiovisual tricks we're permitted to see. And don't get it confused: this is a very funny stand-up special, whose jokes always come from the most unexpected places—it also just happens to contain some truly moving moments that come out of nowhere, but make total sense alongside all the laughter.

Genre: Comedy

Actor: Mike Birbiglia

Director: Seth Barrish

Rating: PG-13

Gangster films have an issue of glorifying organized crime, and in some ways The Pig, The Snake, and The Pigeon does the same. There are excellent, action-packed fight scenes that makes Ethan Juan as Chen Kui-lin look so damn cool, and the journey Chen takes as a stern criminal out for his legacy definitely romanticizes the character, but it’s so compelling to see him contemplate the purpose of his life through confronting those like him, who tend to move for the ideas of love and spiritual detachment. There are some moments when the pacing falters, but The Pig, The Snake, and the Pigeon delivers on its ending and reimagines the gangster as something to remember.

Genre: Action, Crime

Actor: Ben Yuen Foo-Wah, Chen Yi-wen, Cherry Hsieh, Ethan Juan, Gingle Wang, Huang Di Yang, Lee-zen Lee, Ming Che Lee, Nelson Shen, Peggy Tseng, Troy Liu, Yi-Jung Wu, Yu An-Shun

Director: Wong Ching-Po

While most are familiar with Hollywood depictions of the transatlantic slave trade, there were also other countries that depicted this terrible time period, including countries from the African continent. Ethiopian filmmaker Haile Gerima self-funded and self-distributed Sankofa in its initial release, but despite the lack of screens, it still managed to become a landmark classic thankfully restored. Like plenty of films on the topic, Gerima creates a harrowing depiction of the slave owners’ evil, but unlike others, it’s more interested in the difficult dynamics between the enslaved, the ways they sought refuge and freedom in each other, and the inner lives of the community they shared despite the terror, all through Gerima’s striking images and the masterfully mixed soundscape, both in the soundtrack and various accents. It’s not perfect, and it’s definitely not easy to watch, but Sankofa has a distinct vision that needs to be seen.

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, History, Science Fiction

Actor: Afemo Omilami, Alexandra Duah, Kofi Ghanaba, Mutabaruka, Mzuri, Nick Medley, Oyafunmike Ogunlano, Reggie Carter, Reginald Carter

Director: Haile Gerima

Going to sleep is something we do every day, though, when we were kids, it certainly wasn’t easy. With family-friendly source material and a new (and adorable!) sleepytime ensemble, Orion and the Dark plays with this fact of childhood, but screenwriter Charlie Kaufman transforms it into something more as the title characters journey into literal midnight dreams, tell stories-within-stories, and return back home with a poetic repetition. It still has some of his existential despair– after all, the overly imaginative Orion literally contemplates the possibility of death through his many, many anxieties– but it doesn’t just play with the classic childhood fear. Kaufman transforms the bedtime story, and the act of storytelling itself, as co-creation and connection between generations of filmmakers and viewers, with this film’s surprisingly layered writing.

Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy

Actor: Aliki Theofilopoulos, Amy Hill, Angela Bassett, Aparna Nancherla, Carla Gugino, Colin Hanks, Golda Rosheuvel, Hira Ambrosino, Ike Barinholtz, Jack Fisher, Jacob Tremblay, Matt Dellapina, Nat Faxon, Natasia Demetriou, Nick Kishiyama, Paul Walter Hauser, Ren Hanami, Sean Charmatz, Shannon Chan-Kent, Sky Alexis, Toru Uchikado, Walt Dohrn, Werner Herzog

Director: Sean Charmatz

As the first Zambian film on Netflix, Can You See Us? is an interesting portrayal of albinism. Inspired by the real-life story of musician John Chiti, the film’s plot feels grounded, even if it’s similar to other stories depicting discrimination. With newcomer Thabo Kaamba at the forefront, her performance of the albino boy Joseph shines brighter than even the older actors of the film’s cast. That being said, it is held back by repetitive dialogue and sped-up character development from certain characters. Despite this, Can You See Us? is still a remarkable film that stands out from the other tearjerkers available on the streaming platform.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Chilu Lemba, Fransisca Muchangwe, Kangwa Chileshe, Ruth Jule, Thabo Kaamba

Director: Kenny Mumba

The latest installment in Netflix'S “Unknown” docuseries, Unknown: Killer Robots puts the evolution of artificial intelligence under an ethical microscope. Although the title could be misleading, it does cover the possible dangerous applications of AI as it forces us to question the growing divide between human morality and machine efficiency. With advances in war and medicinal applications, the capabilities of AI to heal, save and destroy are terrifying and awe-inspiring in equal measure. Like the previous films in the series, it is hyper-concentrated to an almost-stifling degree, but it’s also powered by the passionate subjects on either side of these advancements. Forgoing sensationalism, this digestible documentary questions intention over the technology itself. 

Genre: Documentary, Drama

Director: Jesse Sweet

Family is one of the bonds we don’t really get to choose, and for better or for worse, they’re the bonds that form the foundation of our lives. Familia depicts this bond faithfully, as Leo’s remaining family, his three adult daughters, all travel back to the family’s olive orchard to decide on its fate. The way the bond is depicted feels realistic, as each of the family members can confront each other with their choices in the one time of the year they can do so. The film is able to make it work with its excellent cast, and carefully written dialogue that makes the conversation flow naturally. While Familia isn’t a holiday film, it’s a fairly realistic depiction of a family gathering and a timely film to watch before heading home to your family for the holidays.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Ángeles Cruz, Brian Shortall, Cassandra Ciangherotti, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Ilse Salas, Maribel Verdú, Natalia Solián, Vicky Araico

Director: Rodrigo García

Rating: R

, 2023

For a film with virtually no plot, there’s a lot of fuss going on in Oregon. The characters are constantly yelling and complaining, but the noise—like the plot, the set, and everything else about the film—is empty. The beauty of a Turkish summer is reduced to indoor sets, where much of the film takes place, and there here’s barely any movement, leaving us stuck with dialogue and half-baked backstories that don’t seem to serve any real purpose other than to fill in the film’s overlong runtime. The problems are superficial and solved almost immediately, purely by talking it seems, and there’s no attempt to connect the many disparate stories it shows. A farce like this could’ve worked if it got sillier and more ridiculous by the minute, but Oregon just goes in repetitive, unfunny circles. 

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Actor: Ali İpin, Alper Saldıran, Aslı İnandık, Burcu Biricik, Ferit Aktuğ, Nazlı Bulum, Nejat İşler, Nevra Serezli, Özgür Emre Yıldırım, Serkan Çayoğlu, Zihni Göktay

Director: Kerem Ayan

Plenty of missing people stories don’t get resolved, so understandably, all their loved ones can do is contemplate the potential horrors that could have happened to them, like being lost and needing to survive, or being kidnapped, or, of course, being dead. Primbon is a story where a missing girl returns home, though her return seems suspicious, at least, according to Javanese superstition. So much could have been made with this premise. They could have delved into Rana’s possible trauma from the reason she was lost, or the way these superstitions hinder these victims from receiving help from others. The film at least shines during the moments between Dini, her mom, and Rana, as they try to get back to normal. But in prioritizing the family, Primbon is torn between being a family drama versus being a supernatural horror film, and ultimately fails at being both.

Genre: Horror

Actor: Azela Putri, Chicco Kurniawan, Flavio Zaviera, Happy Salma, Jajang C. Noer, Nugie, Whani Darmawan

Director: Rudy Soedjarwo