Best movies to watch on Netflix right now
Some of the best movies on Netflix right now include The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die, Luther: The Fallen Sun and Glass Onion. Updated weekly.
Ever since it launched as a streaming service over a decade ago, Netflix has been one of the go-to platforms for planning your movie nights – but until recently one of the biggest film series of recent times had always been missing from the library.
However in the last few weeks, all eight Harry Potter films – plus the first two Fantastic Beasts movies – have dropped on the streamer, with the franchise having dominated the Top 10 ever since as fans devour the movies.
Meanwhile, other new additions include Ben Wheatley's 2021 horror film In the Earth and M Night Shyamalan's Old, which now sit alongside recent Netflix hits such as Luther: The Fallen Sun and The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die.
This follows a highly successful first half of the year for Netflix, at least when it comes to awards - the company picked up some major gongs at this year's Oscars and BAFTAs, for films including All Quiet on the Western Front and Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio.
This all means that if you're looking for something new to watch, you can do far worse than heading to Netflix and scouring through its mammoth film library.
Other recent additions to the platform for film fans to enjoy include music documentaries such as Lewis Capaldi's How I'm Feeling Now and David Bowie's Moonage Daydream, viral films including Bank of Dave, Fall and The Strays, and acquisitions such as Pan's Labyrinth, Ad Astra, Kung Fu Panda 3 and Zombieland.
However, if you're looking for something else from the streamer's film catalogue to watch right now, RadioTimes.com has compiled a list of Netflix recommendations to suit all.
Read on for our latest picks of the best films on the streaming service below – updated weekly – or head over to our guides to the best series on Netflix and best comedies on Netflix.
Alternatively, check out our helpful list of Netflix secret codes which help you unlock hidden movies and TV shows.
Updated 2nd June 2023.
What are the best movies on Netflix to watch right now?
Writer/director M Night Shyamalan has long carried a reputation for blending wacky premises and crazy twists – often with mixed results – and this 2021 effort was a worthy addition to his filmography.
Adapted from a Swiss graphic novel titled Sandcastle, the film follows a group of holidaymakers who find themself trapped on a beach which mysteriously makes them age at an alarmingly rapid rate, leading to all sorts of drastic consequences.
Featuring some expertly executed virtuoso camerawork and impressive sound design, it's a film that slowly notches up the tension as the various characters attempt to avoid their fate – with some grisly set pieces interspersed throughout the runtime. Meanwhile, the ensemble cast all give enjoyable performances, with Alex Wolff and Thomasin McKenzie especially impressive.
The Harry Potter series
All seven films from the Harry Potter series are now available on Netflix, alongside the first two Fantastic Beasts films. With news that the books are to be adapted again as a Max original, seven-season series, it seems fans still are nowhere near done with the original film franchise.
The series not only proved to be the ultimate jumpstart for stars such as Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, it also featured stunning performances from acclaimed actors such as Robbie Coltrane, Michael Gambon and Alan Rickman.
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The Fantastic Beasts films may not have caught fire the way the original series did, but when it comes to those seven films, they truly did manage to captivate a generation as they were released between 2001 and 2011.
In the Earth (2021)
This 2021 sci-fi horror film was shot during the pandemic, using almost entirely outside sets and capitalising on the eerie nature of the moment we were all living through. It comes from director Ben Wheatley, and stars Joel Fry, Reece Shearsmith, Hayley Squires and Ellora Torchia.
With its plot seeing a scientist looking to explore a mysterious forest area, the film leans into classic tropes of the genre but in the best way, building tension until it reaches breaking point. Mileage will vary on the final, psychedelic act, but it's a truly unique, haunting film which feels truly of its moment.
Moonage Daydream (2022)
Filmmaker Brett Morgen charts some of the highs and lows of David Bowie's extraordinary career in this wide-ranging documentary film that includes many of the legendary musician's greatest hits.
Designed as a two-and-a-half-hour immersive experience and including a raft of never-before-seen footage and interviews, Moonage Daydream mainly focuses on the mythology of Bowie as a performer and an artist, with less time given to his personal life. But it's an insightful and consistently enjoyable look at one of the 20th century's most important cultural figures.
The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die (2023)
Alexander Dreymon returns to the role of Uhtred of Bebbanburg for one final adventure, in this follow-up/swansong to the BBC and Netflix's The Last Kingdom. In the new film, Uhtred rides to support his former ward and protégé Athelstan in his bid for the throne, but finds he has fallen under a dark influence, and must decide where his loyalties lie.
The shorter run-time might mean that certain relationships and plot-lines are glossed over or seem as though put through a speed-run, but the increased budget and the chance to say a final farewell to Uhtred will surely make it a ride worth going on for fans.
Ad Astra (2019)
Brad Pitt and Tommy Lee Jones star in this 2019 sci-fi film about an astronaut who ventures into space in search of his lost father, who went missing on a mission to find intelligent alien life. It's directed by James Gray and also stars Ruth Negga, Liv Tyler and Donald Sutherland.
It is, at times, a bit of a hodge-podge of a film, veering wildly between a more existential, quiet reflection on the nature of existence and an all-out space action thriller. It's in the former where the film is more assured, but some impressive performances make sure it is still an entertaining, thoughtful watch throughout.
Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)
Jack Black returns as Po in this third and most recent Kung Fu Panda film. In the movie, Po is reunited with his father and discovers a secret Panda Village, but soon finds he must master his chi in order to defend it, as a spirit warrior called Kai is on the way.
As with the previous two films, Kung Fu Panda 3 remains a fun time throughout, with Black bringing the laughs and the rest of the all-star cast – including Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, Jackie Chan and Bryan Cranston – putting in engaging work. It might not be the best of the trilogy, but when it counts you'll find it has heart to spare.
Lewis Capaldi: How I'm Feeling Now (2023)
For fans of singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi, this new all-access documentary is surely going to be near the top of the watchlist. The film sees Capaldi returning to his roots after achieving unbelievable global success, and follows him as he attempts to reconnect with his old life and the family and friends he left behind.
While the film features the humour Capaldi's fans know him for, it also shows a far more vulnerable side to the star, as he deals with a Tourette's syndrome diagnosis and opens up about his mental health struggles. The documentary may play out the usual beats of the all-access music-doc format, but Capaldi's presence and his openness make the film more than worth your time.
This survival thriller from director Scott Mann follows best friends Becky and Hunter as they embark on a daring climbing expedition – designed to distract the former from her grief-stricken state brought about by the tragic death of her husband a year before.
Naturally, things go horribly awry when they get stranded at the top of a 2,000ft-high radio tower with little hope of getting down. Cue a nerve-shredding 100 minutes full of genuinely heart-in-your-mouth moments that will be just about the worst nightmare for anyone with a fear of heights.
Luther: The Fallen Sun (2023)
Idris Elba reprises his role as DCI John Luther in this feature-length spin-off from the hit TV series. The film finds the title character breaking out of prison to confront maniacal cyber-criminal and serial killer David Robey (Andy Serkis) who has been taunting him for some time and continues to pose a major threat.
Trading the detective procedural genre for something more akin to an action thriller in the vein of old-school James Bond, this is a high-octane affair – with plenty of grisly set pieces along the way as the sheer evil of Robey becomes increasingly clear. Elba is magnetic as ever in the lead role, while Serkis relishes his part as a sort of pantomime villain.
The Strays (2023)
Ashley Madekwe stars in this new British Netflix original film about a Black woman who lives an idyllic upper-class lifestyle, with her white husband and their children. However, her troubled past soon comes back to haunt her, and could bring the life she's built for herself crashing down.
Madekwe gives a sensational central performance, while the film keeps tension ratcheting up higher and higher until its dramatic climax. Not all viewers will find the finale entirely satisfying and the social commentary perhaps doesn't cut as well as it could, but the film is worth your time for the strong performances and well-crafted dialogue.
My Octopus Teacher (2020)
For fans of nature documentaries who have found themselves enrapt by the brilliant Netflix original series Chimp Empire, there's never been a better time to revisit the Oscar winning 2020 film by the series's co-director, My Octopus Teacher.
The film is a fascinating look at one of the world's most distinct and unknowable creatures, as it follows a man who, when finding himself burned out and depressed, started to explore underwater world of the kelp forest off the coast of his hometown in South Africa. The film documents a truly unique friendship between Craig and the common octopus he meets, which is spectacular and unbelievable to behold.
This 2009 zombie comedy remains a true highlight of the era, teaming up stars Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin for a well-paced, quick bite of zombie action which works from both a comedy stand-point and a horror/action stand-point perfectly.
The story follows four individuals living in a zombie-invested world who are on a cross-country road-trip to reach a zombie-free safe haven. It may not be the most original premise, but its tone and the play between the lead actors is where it really works, slimming down the plot so its gives the characters space to breathe and have fun.
With a direct sequel currently in the works, and director Matt Reeves going from strength to strength with The Batman, there has never been a better time to revisit the original Cloverfield film. A found-footage monster movie, the original Cloverfield surprised audiences with its stylish design, old-school thrills and emotional heft when it first arrived in 2008.
Since then the original film may have been slightly forgotten, in the shadow of its excellent (10 Cloverfield Lane) and terrible (The Cloverfield Paradox) shared universe films, but with fantastic performances from the likes of Lizzy Caplan, Michael Stahl-David and Jessica Lucas, it is still very much worth a watch.
Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
If you've enjoyed Guillermo Del Toro's recent projects such as Cabinet of Curiosities, Pinocchio or The Shape of Water, now's your chance to go back to one of his most acclaimed films: Pan's Labyrinth. The film takes places in Spain in 1944, and follows the main character Ofelia as she meets strange and magical creatures.
The film perfectly blends the gothic, the fantastical and serious drama to create a truly original and unique film experience. It is poetic without being inaccessible and brings the fairytale to an adult audience, while the stunning production design and costuming will have you enrapt until the credits roll.
If you're used to seeing Bob Odenkirk in comedic roles, or know him only as Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman in Better Call Saul, then prepare to see him in a whole new light in this John Wick-style action-er which sees him as a family man pushed to the limits who returns to his violent past.
Odenkirk excels in the central role, both believably bringing the action thrills while also grounding the character in real pathos and humanity. The stunt choreography may not be as electric as the John Wick movies, but the film still feels as though it has real stakes, with viewers feeling every punch during the visceral brawls.
Creed II (2018)
For fans who have been enjoying Creed III in cinemas, Netflix has now added Creed II to it's library, meaning you can now go back and see just where things left off with Michael B Jordan's boxer.
Creed II also gives fans a chance to see Sylvester Stallone in what is currently his last performance as Rocky Balboa, with the old-hand once again training the young Creed to take on the son of his father's killer Ivan Drago, Viktor. It's perhaps the weakest of the Creed trilogy, but is still a solid entry in the overall Rocky franchise, with Jordan bringing a huge amount of pathos to his central hero, while the fights and training sequences are effectively staged.
Pulp Fiction (2021)
Still one of Quentin Tarantino's most acclaimed directorial efforts, Pulp Fiction remains an absolute classic of the crime genre, with style to spare and too many iconic scenes to count.
The film stars John Travolta, Samuel L Jackson, Bruce Willis, Tim Roth, Ving Rhames, and Uma Thurman, and tells its plot of crime and mayhem across Los Angeles outside of chronological order, and is therefore often considered a touchstone in post-modern filmmaking. The dialogue is smart and engaging, the characters compelling and the visual style of the film something you'll struggle to look away from.
A Quiet Place Part II (2021)
After a serious delay due to the pandemic, A Quiet Place Part II was finally released in 2021, and proved itself to be both worth the wait for the big-screen experience and also a worthy follow-up to director John Krasinki's original horror-thriller.
While Emily Blunt continues to make her presence felt with a hugely impressive performance, this outing in the franchise about a world where making even the slightest noise could see you killed, really belongs to Millicent Simmonds, whose character Regan takes centre stage alongside newcomers including Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou. Just like the first, this film is tense, well-paced and terrifically well-shot and acted, making for a thrilling time all round.
If you're feeling bereft at the end of this year's awards season and are looking to enjoy watching or re-watching winners past, then why not check out Spotlight, the Best Picture winner from 2016's ceremony which is now available on Netflix? The film stars Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams, and tells the story of investigative journalists looking into a shocking history of abuse by Catholic priests in Boston.
It's not an easy or light watch and the film is steadily but not innovatively staged, but by the time you reach the end you will find yourself shocked by the harrowing true story and in awe of the work of the real-life journalists at the centre of it.
The Hunger Games (2012)
The full Hunger Games series is now available on Netflix, with all four films available to watch ahead of the release of prequel/spin-off The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes later this year.
Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss Everdeen, a young woman in a dystopian future world who volunteers as tribute for a brutal tournament called The Hunger Games, in order to save her younger sister. The series may be a somewhat bumpy ride with some chapters working better than others, but the performances of Lawrence and her co-stars such as Woody Harrelson and Josh Hutcherson are strong, and the heartfelt storyline and strongly staged action sequences are compelling.
The Courier (2021)
Benedict Cumberbatch stars in this drama based on the true story surrounding Greville Wynne, a British businessman who was recruited by the Secret Intelligence Service to carry messages to and from the Soviet Union during the Cold War. As Wynne works with a Russian spy to get information out, it puts his life and freedom in danger.
Cumberbatch is phenomenal in the central role, while particular plaudits also have to go to Jessie Buckley for her small but impactful role as Wynne's wife Sheila. It may not be up there with the very best spy thrillers, but it remains tense throughout, and you'll find yourself shocked by the real history surrounding Wynne's life.
The House (2022)
This offbeat British stop-motion animated film flew somewhat under the radar when it first emerged on Netflix in 2022. It's an anthology of stories, all told around one location (unsurprisingly, a house) across many years, with characters varying from mice to cats to humans.
It's a seriously quirky endeavour and the different parts vary in quality. The strongest is the first, a truly unsettling sequence which will stay with you long after you've finished watching. However, there are still things to like about each of the other two segments, with strong vocal performances from well-known actors and a fascinating clash of tones, from the macabre and creepy to the hilarious and hopeful.
This Oscar contender from 2016 remains of the finest sci-fi films of the past decade, featuring a stellar turn from Amy Adams and further marking out director Denis Villeneuve as a serious talent. It follows Adam's Louise Banks, a linguistics professor who is called in by the US army to translate an alien language when spaceships appear across the globe.
It's one of the most seemingly-realistic and detailed takes on what an alien encounter might look like, with a stunningly emotional centre which will doubtless leave many viewers in tears come the film's deeply satisfying end.
Puss in Boots (2011)
With Puss in Boots: The Last Wish taking the world by storm, collecting huge amounts at the box office, getting critical acclaim and being nominated for Best Animated Picture at the Oscars, it's no wonder that Netflix has now added the original film to its library.
In truth this one isn't the storming success of the sequel, but is more a mid-tier entry in the Shrek franchise - it neither reaches the highs of Shrek 1 and 2, nor the lows of Shrek the Third or Shrek Forever After. It follows Antonio Banderas's Puss on his own adventure with new additions Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) and Humpty Alexander Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis) as they go in search of golden eggs. It may not blow you away, but it is still certainly an entertaining and diverting couple of hours.
Pamela, A Love Story (2023)
In this searing new documentary, Pamela Anderson is given the chance to tell her own story with the help of personal videos and diaries.
The film is "an intimate and humanising portrait of one of the world’s most famous blonde bombshells", chronicling her rise to fame, love life and the 1995 sex tape with then-husband Tommy Lee, which was stolen from her home.
It's an emotional look into one of the world's most famous blonde bombshells, but most importantly will leave you thinking about the media's portrayal of women and how they are dehumanised in the public eye.
Step Brothers (2008)
In the mid-2000s, there was a very specific type of comedy that no one did better than Will Ferrell. Step Brothers is one of the most clear embodiments of that, and if you're not a fan of silly pratfalls, crude jokes and grown men acting like children, then this won't be for you.
However, for anyone else this is a hugely fun time, as it follows Ferrell and John C Reilly's fully grown step brothers as they find a way to live together and even become friends. It ends in one of the most ridiculous culminations of any comedy film, and features a hugely memorable scene with Adam Scott and Kathryn Hahn singing Sweet Child of Mine. What more could you ask for?
Seven Pounds (2009)
While this Will Smith film was released more than a decade ago, it has now been added to the streamer and is currently sitting at the number 3 spot in Netflix's UK Top 10. It's safe to say that you'll want to keep the tissues to hand when watching this emotional tale of one man trying his hardest to improve the lives of seven different people.
We follow IRS agent Ben Thomas (Smith) who is harbouring a life-shattering secret and because of it tries to find redemption by setting out to change the lives of others who are in need of a second chance. Not only does Smith star in the leading role, but the star-studded cast also includes Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson and Michael Ealy.
It may have only been added to the streaming platform at the end of January, but Narvik has quickly usurped many other popular films and risen to the top of Netflix's charts since its release.
The tense Norwegian drama is set in the spring of 1940 as Hitler’s forces advanced across Europe. The events of the film are very much based on true events, but the family at the centre of it is fictional.
We follow the young Tofte family through a conflict over Narvik, a port that served as an important strategic hub at the start of the war. It was the site of Nazi Germany’s first military defeat and was a battle that lasted 62 days.
All Quiet on the Western Front (2022)
If you need any assurances as to why you should watch this new adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's classic novel, then look no further than the 14 BAFTA nominations and nine Oscar nominations it was just awarded with. The German language Netflix original film comes from director Edward Berger and is set in the closing days of the First World War.
It's a searing anti-war epic which is visceral and disturbing, so not one to watch for a gentle time in front of the TV or a pick-me-up. However, if you go along with it, the film is hugely powerful, with some stunning performances and an unflinching script.
Once Upon a Time in... Hollywood (2019)
If the awards season has got you in the mood to watch some past nominees and winners then Netflix has a treasure trove of options, including Quentin Tarantino's Hollywood epic Once Upon a Time in... Hollywood. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie, and follows a fading star and his stunt double around LA in 1969, as they have encounters in the movie industry and come across the Manson Family.
If you're looking for plot-centric movies, then this isn't it - this is very much a hangout movie, right down to its core, where you get to explore and live in the world, spend time with the characters and soak up the atmosphere. With characters and sets this enjoyable, that's no bad thing. In fact, it makes for one of Tarantino's most complete and best ever efforts.
Bank of Dave (2023)
Bond star Rory Kinnear takes on the role of self-made millionaire Dave Fishwick in this charming underdog tale, which is based on the true story of Burnley Savings and Loans Limited – a lending company he set up in his hometown in the wake of the financial crash.
The film follows Dave as he bravely stands up to the banking establishment, and although it takes one or two liberties with the truth – including an entertaining cameo from rock band Def Leppard – it's a hugely enjoyable recounting of an inspirational story. Kinnear is excellent value in the lead role, while there are also fun supporting turns from the likes of Joel Fry, Phoebe Dynevor and Hugh Bonneville – the latter as a nefarious member of the financial elite.
The Age of Innocence (1993)
Legendary director Martin Scorsese is perhaps best known for his epic crime films, but his long career has been exceptionally varied and this wonderful period drama ranks up there with the very best of his work. Adapted from an Edith Wharton novel of the same name and boasting an exceptional cast that includes Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder in the lead roles, it recounts a tragic love triangle that develops in a wealthy New York estate in the 1870s.
It's an exquisitely made film with a brilliantly-judged melancholic tone, and the impressive cast members are all at the top of their game. Scorsese's direction is stunning, if less bombastic than in his gangster pictures, and there are several standout romantic moments – including an especially memorable scene that involves the removal of a glove.
The Pale Blue Eye (2022)
This gothic murder mystery sees Christian Bale take on the starring role of detective Augustus Landor – who is drafted in to help solve an extremely baffling case at West Point military academy in 1830. During the course of his investigations, he strikes up an alliance with a certain Edgar Allan Poe, who was a young cadet at the time and who is brilliantly played in the film by The Queen's Gambit and Harry Potter star Harry Melling.
Based on a novel of the same name by Louis Bayard, it's an atmospheric and intriguing film that should make for perfect viewing on a cold wintry night – with red herrings aplenty and a terrific supporting cast that includes the likes of Timothy Spall, Gillian Anderson, Lucy Boynton, Toby Jones and Industry's Harry Lawtey.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022)
Viewers who enjoyed the quirkiness of the first Knives Out will delight at seeing it turned up to 11 in follow-up Glass Onion, which introduces another colourful cast of characters, who become suspects in a mysterious murder. Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is back to unravel the mind-bending events that take place on the private island of eccentric billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton).
This all-star cast is firing on all cylinders, with Janelle Monáe, Kate Hudson and Craig being highlights, the latter clearly still relishing a less action-centric role than the extremely demanding James Bond. Writer-director Rian Johnson, who delights in subverting expectations, does so again here – delivering a story packed with intriguing twists that keeps surprising until the very end. Also, keep an eye out for a few delightful cameo appearances.
Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio (2022)
If you're put off by the idea of another adaptation of this classic story, after Disney's live action version was released only earlier this year, never fear - Guillermo Del Toro will not disappoint. The acclaimed director has filled this latest version with his own passion, incredible stop-motion filmmaking and a devastating emotional core which won't leave a dry eye in the house come the movie's end.
You all know the story. Geppetto makes a puppet which comes to life and becomes his son, with the pair then getting tangled up in adventures alongside a talking cricket. However, this new version of the film certainly doesn't follow the Disney blueprint, and instead laces its narrative with profound meditations on grief, death, religion and authoritarianism. It's a truly beautiful and visually sumptuous piece of work.
While many of us are switching into full-on Christmas mode when it comes to our streaming habits, one unlikely movie has climbed to the top of Netflix's rankings.
Troll is the new Norwegian folklore horror that explores the mysterious gigantic creature that has been trapped deep inside the mountain of Dovre for a thousand years.
Destroying everything in its path, the creature is fast approaching the capital of Norway. But how do you stop something you thought only existed in Norwegian folklore?
It's the kind of movie that will divide opinion but is fast-paced, intriguing and is another stellar effort by the streamer to bring more non English-language films to a wider audience.
Knives Out (2019)
The original film in Rian Johnson's Knives Out franchise has arrived on the streamer – giving fans the chance to catch up with Daniel Craig's original outing as enigmatic Southern detective Benoit Blanc. In the film, he's hired to get to the bottom of the murder of prolific crime novelist Harlan Thrombey on the night of his 85th birthday – with several members of the extended family falling under his suspicions.
With an ensemble cast to rival that of just about any film of the last decade – including Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, and Toni Collette – the mystery plays out at a perfect pace, with as many laugh-out-loud gags as there are gasp-worthy twists. It's a film so purely entertaining that it's no surprise Netflix was happy to shell out huge sums of money to bag exclusive rights to the follow-ups.
One of the standout emotional film hits of this week has to be Sr., an intimate exploration into the life and career of maverick filmmaker Robert Downey Sr.
While many of us are more than familiar with the work of Robert Downey Jr, this explores the somewhat turbulent relationship between him and his father. The result is a film that is confronting and endearing in many different ways and veers into territory that hones in on art, mortality and healing generational dysfunction.
Film maker Downey Sr passed away during the making of this documentary, which leaves the film feeling even more emotionally-charged, but it's an affectionate tribute and an interrogation into complicated father-son relationships and family ties.
Lady Chatterley's Lover (2022)
This brand new adaptation of the steamy novel by DH Lawrence is getting rave reviews from critics, retelling the forbidden love affair between an upper class woman and her working class gamekeeper. This time, it's The Crown breakout star Emma Corrin and The North Water's Jack O'Connell playing the lead roles, with much being said of their electric chemistry in the film.
But of course, there's far more to this story than mere romance – although that's a crucial component – as director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre also deftly examines its themes of feminism and the class divide. A must-watch and major awards contender.
Another Round (2020)
As awards season looms once more, Netflix is offering the opportunity to catch up on Another Round, a celebrated film you may have missed when it first came out. Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal) gives a powerhouse performance as a teacher conducting an eyebrow-raising social experiment. He and a select group of peers set out to test what the impact would be on their life if they sustained a manageable level of drunkenness over an extended period of time.
The story goes in unexpected directions as this wild scenario plays out, with the tragicomic plotting, stellar cast and direction combining to bag this flick an Oscar for Best International Feature.
Falling for Christmas (2022)
If you: a) Don't think it's too early for festive films and b) Are thrilled for Lindsay Lohan's long-awaited blockbuster comeback, then Falling for Christmas is exactly what you need to be watching this weekend. This Hallmark-style jingle bell romp stars the former teen idol as Sierra Belmont, a spoiled hotel heiress who suffers a skiing accident whilst being proposed to by her unbearable influencer boyfriend (George Young) and winds up losing her memory.
Luckily, rugged passer-by Jake (Chord Overstreet) comes to her rescue and offers her a place at his bed and breakfast hotel, where she begins to learn what it's like to live a normal life. While cheesy and at times cloying, Falling for Christmas is a snowy romcom that's bound to get you in the festive spirit.
Enola Holmes 2 (2022)
Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown returns as Sherlock's sleuthing sister for a second mystery in this sequel – this time revolving around the case of a missing girl named Sarah Chapman. Set against the backdrop of the real-life matchgirls' strike of 1888, the film sees several characters from the original reprise their roles alongside some new additions – including a twist on an iconic Sherlock villain.
Slightly sharper than the first film in the series – with just as many cheeky nods to Arthur Conan Doyle's work and plenty more fourth-wall-breaking – the film is another charming adventure that passes the time breezily, complete with some amusing gags and well-directed carriage chases. It also sets the scenes for a possible third entry in the franchise, and given that there are eight novels in Nancy Springer's book series, there's certainly no risk of running out of source material any time soon.
The Wonder (2022)
Florence Pugh stars in this adaptation of The Wonder, the 2016 novel by Room writer Emma Donoghue. Pugh plays Nightingale Nurse Lib Wright who is sent from England to the Irish Midlands in 1862 in order to conduct an examination. The devout community there believe an 11-year-old girl has not eaten for four months, but need Lib to determine whether it is truly a trick or a miracle.
Director Sebastián Lelio keeps the audience in suspense, as the film takes on weighty topics such as how faith and scientific reason clash. It's a slow burn thriller, driven along by a phenomenal performance from Pugh, mesmerising visuals and a haunting musical score.
Wendell & Wild (2022)
When it comes to stop-motion, Henry Selick has certainly carved out a name for himself, not least because he is the director behind smash-hit Halloween/Christmas musical The Nightmare Before Christmas. Selick hasn't directed a film since 2009's Coraline, but here he is back behind the camera, with a screenplay he wrote alongside Jordan Peele.
Peele also stars in the film with his old comedy partner Keegan-Michael Key, in a story which sees a young orphaned girl discover she's a hell-maiden, able to raise demons from the underworld. Meanwhile, Key and Peele's titular demon duo hatch a cunning plan to exploit her for their own gain. It's a funny, moving, visually impressive work, which will keep the whole family entertained at any time of the year, but also seems destined to become a Halloween cult classic.
I, Tonya (2017)
Margot Robbie has plenty of impressive performances to her name by now, yet perhaps none more-so than in her role as Tonya Harding in this quirky biopic. Directed by Craig Gillespie as a mockumentary comedy, the film charts the true story of Harding's life and connection with the 1994 attack Nancy Kerrigan, but utilises unreliable narrators to do so.
The film is fast-paced and gripping, proving just as funny as it is often tragic, while Sebastian Stan and Allison Janney provide superb supporting performances.
The Good Nurse (2022)
Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne star in this chilling true crime drama – which is by no means your stereotypical serial killer thriller. It follows Charles Cullen, a nurse who moves from hospital to hospital in New Jersey and Pennsylvania harbouring a dark secret, only for his friend and colleague Amy Loughren to slowly come to the realisation that he's up to something deeply sinister.
Eschewing sensationalism in favour of a more realistic, fact-based approach, screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns and director Tobias Lindholm ensure that the film is never anything short of gripping – while Redmayne's often understated performance is haunting and mesmeric. A compelling case study that isn't afraid to criticise the authorities that let Cullen get away with it for so long.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)
One of the very best films to have been released in the last few years, French filmmaker Celine Sciamma's period romantic drama was a prize winner at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, where it opened to glowing reviews. Set in France in the late 18th century, the film follows the romance that develops between a reluctant bride-to-be and the artist hired to paint her portrait.
Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel are luminous in the lead roles, and the whole film is superbly put together by Sciamma, who directs the piece with subtlety and intelligence. Certain scenes will linger long in the memory, none more so than the heartbreaking final shot.
To say that Andrew Dominik's new Marilyn Monroe movie Blonde has had a divisive reaction would be a major understatement – but the film has certainly caused quite a splash since it was added to the streamer in October 2022. Based on Joyce Carol Oates's 2000 biographical fiction novel of the same name, the film is not so much a truthful biopic as a brutal exploration of Hollywood exploitation and the nature of celebrity.
Ana de Armas is simply superb in the lead role, and although some sections of the near-three-hour film undoubtedly work better than others, there is plenty to admire – not least the stunning cinematography, some uncanny recreations of iconic images, and a terrific Nick Cave and Warren Ellis score. It certainly won't be for everyone – and is about the furthest from a feel-good film you could possibly get – but as a horror fever dream, it is undeniably effective.
Do Revenge (2022)
When it comes to comedies, Netflix loves to churn out fluffy teen titles to the extent that it's a hard task highlighting the few that are worth any streaming time. Do Revenge – the platform's brand new black comedy – is one of the exceptions within the dense genre thanks to its sharp script, surprising twists and satirical tone reminiscent of classic 90s films like Clueless.
Featuring the stars of nearly every hit teen drama – from Riverdale's Camila Mendes and Euphoria's Austin Abrams to 13 Reasons Why's Alisha Boe and a short but sweet cameo from Game of Thrones's Sophie Turner – Do Revenge is a loose adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers of a Train, following unlikely friends Drea (Mendes) and Eleanor (Maya Hawke). When the pair meet after being betrayed by their ex's, they decide to team up and, as the title suggests, do revenge.
While the stylish flick takes a somewhat left climactic turn that may put off viewers, it manages to find its way back to being the fun, rompy comedy that ultimately teaches you that you don't want to get on the bad side of a teenage girl.
The Devil All the Time (2020)
Tom Holland may be wrapped up with swinging webs for the most part, but in 2020 he took time out from Spidey to appear in The Devil All the Time, an adaptation of the book of the same name by Donald Ray Pollock. It follows several characters as their stories intersect between the end of World War II and the 1960s, with Robert Pattinson, Sebastian Stan, Eliza Scanlen and more co-starring.
It's an ultra dark film with very few glimmers of hope or humour throughout, which can make it a bit of a slog. However, Holland and Pattinson's performances in particular elevate the piece, and sometimes through the sheer grimness emotion does shine through. Make sure you're in the right mood to tackle it though - it can be harrowing.
Earlier this year, Alex Garland's latest film Men provoked some strong and highly divided reactions. It perhaps shouldn't have been a surprise - he's never been one to go for the safe and easy route. Annihilation was Garland's second directorial effort following Ex Machina, and follows Natalie Portman's Lena, a biology professor and army veteran. When her husband returns from a mysterious zone called the Shimmer and goes into a coma, Lena leads a group on an expedition to uncover the truth.
This film could have played out as a traditional sci-fi action film, but instead treads into far more thematically rich and interesting territory. With elements of horror sprinkled throughout it consistently defies categorisation, and at times becomes more of a mind-bending trip than anything else. A final big sequence may have audiences divided, but whatever your stance, it's undeniable that Annihilation is a hugely ambitious film which is well worth experiencing.
Before there was Dune, Blade Runner 2049 or Arrival there was Prisoners, the thriller that marked director Denis Villeneuve's first foray into English language filmmaking. It stars a killer cast including Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis and Paul Dano, and is a hugely tense and disturbing film that gets under your skin from the word go.
Jackman is Keller Dover, a man whose daughter, along with his neighbour's daughter, is abducted, while Gyllenhaal plays the detective trying to find the girls. He arrests intellectually disabled man Alex Jones (Dano), but when he is released due to lack of evidence, Dover takes matters into his own hands. It's a thriller that's not for the faint of heart and includes some truly shocking acts of violence, but it's utterly gripping, affecting and creates an atmosphere which will stay with you in a way all the best thrillers do.
Bong Joon-ho may now be known primarily for his Oscar-winning drama Parasite, but only a few years back he made an equally powerful film for Netflix - Okja. A co-production between South Korea and the United States starring an ensemble cast including Jake Gyllenhaal and Tilda Swinton, the film tells the story of Mija, a young girl who raised a genetically modified 'super pig', the titular Okja.
Tragedy strikes when Okja is taken to the US, and it's fair to say that from then on the film isn't an easy watch. A heartbreaking and brutal assessment of the meat industry, while also touching on capitalism and other prescient themes, make sure you're in the right frame of mind to watch this one - if you are, it's a stunningly thoughtful and powerful film.
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie (2022)
For decades, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise has been depicted in various incarnations in comic, animated series, movies, video games and even toys. Now, the pop culture phenomenon is back in an animated action feature from Netflix and Nickelodeon.
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie, which made its debut on Netflix earlier in August, follows Casey Jones as he's sent back in time by Leonardo following an apocalyptic Krang invasion. The plan is simple: find the Turtles in the past so that the apocalyptic future will never unfold.
While the plot is pretty basic, there’s action galore and all the fights and jokes we expect from a Turtles movie.
This Siegfried Sassoon biopic from legendary British filmmaker Terence Davies, which premiered at last year's Toronto International Film Festival, is one of the very best films to have been released in UK cinemas this year. A beautiful but melancholy portrait of the wartime poet, the film explores some of the obstacles he faced as a gay man in the first half of the twentieth century, charting his marriage to Hester Gatty and eventual conversion to Catholicism.
Despite often being a deeply sad piece of work, Davies also injects some real wit into proceedings, and the film is anchored by two absolutely superb performances from Jack Lowden and Peter Capaldi, who play the poet at different stages of his life. There are some stunning scenes that feature extracts from Sassoon's celebrated poetry, and the final shot is one for the ages.
The Father (2020)
Anthony Hopkins won the Best Actor Oscar for his work in this film last year, and for anyone who's seen it that really won't come as much of a surprise. Hopkins shines in his role as Anthony, a man living with dementia through whose eyes we see the world shift and change, making for a frightening, occasionally funny but oftentimes heartbreaking portrayal of the disorder which touches so many lives.
Olivia Colman, Mark Gatiss, Imogen Poots, Rufus Sewell, and Olivia Williams are all strong in their supporting roles, often playing the same character as one another as faces blend for Anthony in a confusing haze. The film repeats segments of time, gives its audience false information and changes the narrative frequently - this could have been gimmicky in lesser hands, but director Florian Zeller pulls it off magnificently.
One of the ultimate teen comedies of the 2000s, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's film feels utterly authentic, likely because they actually wrote an original draft of the script while in high school. We follow three friends about to go off to college - Jonah Hill's Seth, Michael Cera's Evan and Christopher Mintz-Plasse's Fogell, AKA McLovin.
What follows may stick largely to the teen comedy format (they want to get drunk and party with the girls they have crushes on) but the dialogue is so sharp, the characters so charming and the situations a brilliant mix of ridiculous and relatable, that Superbad will have you laughing and quoting its lines for days.
Enola Holmes (2020)
With an Enola Holmes sequel afoot, what better time than to catch up on the original?
Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown plays Sherlock Holmes's sleuth younger sister in this Netflix Original, alongside the likes of Henry Cavill and Sam Claflin. It's a role she'll reprise in Enola Holmes 2, which wrapped filming back in January 2022 and will likely release later this year.
Based on American author Nancy Springer's novels of the same name, Enola Holmes stars Brown as the titular character, a smart and perceptive young woman who sets out to find her eccentric mother (Bonham Carter), who disappears on the morning of her 16th birthday.
While avoiding her strict older brothers, who try to place Enola in a finishing school for "proper" young ladies, the amateur detective finds herself becoming involved in a much bigger mystery surrounding fellow runaway Viscount Tewkesbury.
Featuring a star-studded cast, including Killing Eve's Fiona Shaw and Chewing Gum's Susie Wokoma, this Netflix film isn't one to miss, especially considering Henry Cavill's "softer" take on the iconic Sherlock. And it has proved a real hit with Netflix viewers.
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019)
If you're waiting on tenterhooks for the final episodes of Better Call Saul but dreading the series ending like the rest of us, then why not dive back into the Breaking Bad universe with this feature-length spin-off El Camino? Picking up after the end of the Breaking Bad finale, El Camino focuses on Jesse Pinkman as he attempts to make his way to freedom and a new life.
The lack of a clear-cut ending for Jesse was one of the very few gripes fans had about the Breaking Bad finale, with this film picking up the pieces and tying up loose ends in satisfying fashion. It may not be the most thrilling chapter in the Breaking Bad story, and it can be distracting how much some cast members have visibly aged in flashbacks, but overall it's a solid story and, as always, Aaron Paul is absolutely mesmerising in his role as Jesse.
In The Loop (2009)
If you're a fan of Armando Iannucci's The Thick of It then you'll love this big screen spin-off from 2009. It stars Tom Hollander as Simon Foster, the Secretary of State for International Development who finds himself embroiled in political games on both sides of the Atlantic, as the UK and the US navigate a potential upcoming war in the Middle East.
The film features an array of The Thick of It cast members (although not all of them in their original roles) but, as always, the stand-out is Peter Capaldi as Malcolm Tucker – the scariest and sweariest comic creation from recent years. Whenever Tucker's on screen, you just know the laughs won't be letting up, and at just over an hour-and-a-half, the film hits that perfect comedy sweet-spot of not outstaying its welcome.
Adam Sandler returns to Netflix in Hustle – a basketball drama produced by LeBron James. In this brand new film, the Happy Gilmore star plays Stanley Sugerman, a scout for the Philadelphia 76ers who is becoming disenfranchised with his career and the frequent time spent away from his family when he discovers Bo Cruz, a man playing on the streets of Spain with extraordinary talent.
With a stellar cast featuring Hairspray's Queen Latifah, X-Men's Ben Foster, The Twilight Zone's Robert Duvall, Saturday Night Live's Heidi Gardner and countless cameos from basketball stars, Hustle is a charming sports drama with a lot of heart and a slam-dunk of a performance from Sandler.
Senior Year (2022)
Senior Year is the latest comedy to come from Netflix and, while it's by no means perfect, it's a fun, nostalgia-filled watch. Starring Rebel Wilson, the film follows 17-year-old Stephanie Conway, an Australian living in 2002 America, whose life as a popular cheerleader is upended when she falls into a coma and wakes up 20 years later in the year 2022.
Virtually a teenager in a 37-year-old's body, Stephanie decides to head back to high school to finish her Senior Year and attempt to climb back up the social ladder in a very different era whilst trying to win her now-married ex-boyfriend back.
While the story and character development could certainly be stronger, Senior Year is the romcom for you if you're looking for a light, fluffy film with an excellent cast, including This Is Us' Justin Hartley, Rick and Morty's Chris Parnell, Veep's Sam Richardson and The Afterparty's Zoë Chao.
Don't Look Up (2021)
Netflix film Don’t Look Up by director Adam McKay (Anchorman) is a biting satire about the world's response when it faces an imminent apocalypse.
When Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence leading the Don’t Look Up cast) discovers a comet is on its way to Earth, her professor Dr Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) discovers it will wipe out most of life on Earth unless action is taken. However, US President Janie Orlean (Meryl Streep) is apathetic about tackling the crisis.
As our own Don’t Look Up review notes, the film "has all the sledgehammer subtlety you’d expect from an apocalyptic satire about a world-ending comet, but it does manage to deliver some good laughs – and enjoyable performances – along the way.”
Boiling Point (2021)
If you don't want to be kept on the edge of your seat, this one might not be for you. But if you're up for a breathless thrill-ride through the stressful world of a restaurant, you really could do no better. Stephen Graham shines as Andy, the head chef of an up-market London restaurant, and is surrounded by a stellar supporting cast including Vinette Robinson and Jason Flemyng. The film was shot in just one take, with four attempts taken to get the finished article that you see on screen. It's a phenomenal technical achievement, and well worth checking out even just to marvel at how they accomplished it.
The Power of the Dog (2021)
It's been over a decade since Jane Campion last released a feature film – although she did create acclaimed TV series Top of the Lake in that time – and The Power of the Dog is a brilliant return to moviemaking for the former Oscar winner. Equal parts Western and psychological thriller, the film is based on Thomas Savage's 1967 novel of the same name, and deftly delves into issues including toxic masculinity and repressed homosexuality.
This is an impeccably crafted film, complete with a superb Jonny Greenwood score and a terrific cast – including a career-best turn from Benedict Cumberbatch as brutish rancher Phil Burbank and equally accomplished performances from Kodi Smit-McPhee, Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons. The film bagged a hatful of Oscar nominations, and don't be too surprised to see some involved walking away with a golden statuette.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)
Barry Keoghan is on his way to Hollywood superstardom, with his rise fuelled by recent roles in both the Marvel and DC cinematic universes, playing Eternals member Druig and a certain Batman role respectively. If you're curious to see more from the acclaimed Irish actor, consider watching this gripping psychological thriller from Yorgos Lanthimos, the filmmaker who also brought Olivia Colman to international attention with his pitch black comedy The Favourite.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer chronicles the unusual relationship between an accomplished heart surgeon and a teenage boy, who he invites to stay with his family for reasons that aren't initially clear. Keoghan gives a chilling performance as unwanted house guest Martin, playing brilliantly off the seemingly perfect married couple Steven and Anna, played by Colin Farrell (The Batman) and Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos) respectively.
The Lost Daughter (2021)
Maggie Gyllenhaal makes an accomplished directorial debut with this brilliant adaptation of Elene Ferrante's novella of the same name – which finds a college professor reflecting on her past when she encounters a young mother struggling with her child while on holiday in Greece.
The performances across the board are sublime – with Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley particularly shining as older and younger versions of the lead character as she confronts the difficult choices she faced when raising her children Bianca and Martha. The Lost Daughter has provoked plenty of interesting discussions since release, recently picking up three nominations at this year's Academy Awards (for Colman, Buckley and Gyllenhaal).
The Tinder Swindler (2022)
Netflix subscribers around the world were appropriately hooked by this catfish saga, which chronicles the shocking true story of how several trusting women were conned out of vast amounts of money by the same cunning fraudster. As the title suggests, Simon Leviev would make contact with his victims through a popular dating app and quickly woo them with an illusion of massive wealth – but the truth was something else entirely.
While The Tinder Swindler does suffer from some rather unambitious presentation – primarily told via talking head interviews and bland faceless reconstructions – the shocking nature of the true crime story makes it very easy to get wrapped up in regardless. You'll gasp at the lengths of this staggering deception and come away with a valuable lesson not to believe everything a stranger on the internet tells you.
The Gentlemen (2020)
After a decade spent crafting Hollywood blockbusters, director Guy Ritchie went back to his roots for this star-studded gangster flick. The Gentlemen follows marijuana kingpin Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey), who has decided he wants out of his dangerous line of work for a quiet retirement with wife Rosalind (Downton Abbey's Michelle Dockery). Of course, it's not as simple as handing in your notice, especially with so many rival organisations eyeing his market share.
The Gentlemen stands out as one of the more overtly comedic crime flicks Ritchie has produced, with each character more eccentric than the last and a script overflowing with risqué quips. Fortunately, this results in a riotous and unpredictable ride that absolutely flies by, featuring standout performances from Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim), Henry Golding (Snake Eyes), and Hugh Grant (The Undoing) as sleazy private investigator Fletcher.
Tick, Tick...BOOM! (2021)
Lin-Manuel Miranda has already achieved monumental success as a writer, performer, composer and musician, but new film Tick, Tick...BOOM! marks new territory for the Hamilton creator – his first film as a director. Based on Rent composer Jonathan Larsen's semi-autobiographical musical of the same name, the film essentially serves as a biopic of Larson's life while he was writing his high concept sci-fi musical Superbia in between waiting tables at the Moondance Diner, and includes several catchy songs including acapella number Boho Days.
Andrew Garfield steals the show with an all-singing, all-dancing performance in the lead role, perfectly capturing the nervous energy of a man determined to write a masterwork before it's too late, and is helped by some great supporting turns from the likes of Robin De Jesus as his best friend Michael and Alexandra Shipp as girlfriend Susan. And there are lots of special treats in store for Broadway fans – with a glut of stage legends making cameo appearances in the film, especially during the Stephen Sondheim-inspired number Sunday.
The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021)
The directorial debut of Mike Rianda, this animated family film boasts The Lego Movie's Phil Lord and Christopher Miller among its producers and has already been singled out as one of the best feature animations of recent years. Telling the story of a dysfunctional family who suddenly find themselves tasked with staving off a robot uprising during a road trip, the film packs plenty of visual gags, stellar voice performances, and playful comments on the nature of technology into its runtime. Above all, The Mitchells vs. the Machines is supremely entertaining and should pretty much guarantee some big laughs for the whole family.
Munich: The Edge of War (2022)
Munich – The Edge of War is among the best movies that have been added to Netflix in recent weeks. Blending fact and fiction, the film is adapted from a historical fiction novel by Robert Harris.
It stars Jeremy Irons as British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, as he tries to bring about a peaceful solution and negotiate with Adolf Hitler to avoid the outbreak of War in 1938. The movie also follows a fictional political aide named Hugh Legat, who becomes involved in a plot to secure Hitler’s demise at a conference in Munich.
The film succeeds as a slightly familiar but nevertheless entertaining spy thriller, and features a delightful performance from Jeremy Irons.
The Nest (2020)
This excellent drama from Martha Marcie May Marlene director Sean Durkin is one of the best new films released in the last few years – and has recently made its way onto Netflix.
Finding Jude Law and Carrie Coon at the top of their game, the film explores the fallout after an English man relocates his family from their American home to a grand country manor in his homeland, with it quickly coming apparent that his financial situation isn't nearly as rosy as he's made it appear.
At times, the film takes on the appearance of a ghost story as the family adjusts to life in their strange new home, and there are some truly haunting images in the final act which will live with you long after watching. Superbly directed and impeccably acted, this is a truly terrific film.
The Unforgivable (2021)
The Unforgivable has already gripped the nation’s imagination, storming its way to the number one position on Netflix’s top 10 list over the weekend following its release on 10th December.
We might be counting down to Christmas, but don’t expect a festive movie with this December debut. The plot follows the plight of Ruth Slater (Sandra Bullock), a woman released from prison after serving a sentence for murdering a police officer. Ruth sets out on a mission to reunite with her younger sister, but her plan risks being derailed when she’s hunted down by the son of the man she shot all those years ago. Vincent D'Onofrio stars as Ruth's lawyer, while Viola Davis plays the role of his wife.
Though Bullock’s character lacks nuance, the score, which comes courtesy of Hans Zimmer and David Fleming, does a good job at evoking a broader range of emotions. With few lighter moments, the film is certainly unrelenting, but if you're up for an emotional ride, then The Unforgivable is certainly worth a watch.
The Hand of God (2021)
The latest film from esteemed Italian director Paolo Sorrentino is his most autobiographical work to date – telling the story of Fabietto, a teenager growing up in Naples during the 1980s.
In the first half, the film sketches a very realistic and hugely enjoyable portrait of adolescence, as we get to know Fabietto, his extended family, and their various eccentricities – but in the second half, the tone changes somewhat when a tragic event casts a dark cloud over Fabietto's life. Many aspects of the film are taken directly from Sorrentino's own life and as a result it is a film that feels intimate and personal, while there are several standout scenes throughout the runtime – including overt nods to master Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini.
As the title would suggest, Argentine footballing legend Diego Maradona also has a key role to play in the narrative – although for the most part the Napoli superstar only appears in the background, as a focal point for Fabietto's conversations with those around him.
BAFTA-winning actress Rebecca Hall makes her directorial debut with this thoughtful period drama, which is based on a 1929 novel by Nella Larsen. The story follows childhood friends who meet again later in life and discover they have taken radically different paths in life. Irene Redfield (Tessa Thompson) has stayed true to her African-American roots, while Clare Bellew (Ruth Negga) has taken steps to "pass" as a white woman, making their experiences in a deeply prejudiced society very different.
Passing has received acclaim from critics, some of whom pitch it as a major awards contender, with Hall praised for her delicate handling of a sensitive topic as both writer and director. Negga could be on track for her second Oscar nod following 2016's Loving, while Tessa Thompson continues to balance bold independent work with her blockbuster appearances. The supporting cast includes Moonlight alum André Holland and True Blood's Alexander Skårsgard. Netflix acquired the film after it generated serious buzz at the Sundance Film Festival – now you can find out why.
The Harder They Fall (2021)
The Harder They Fall was always bound to be a hit with one of the strongest casts of any movie this year. The star-studded line-up includes Jonathan Majors (Loki), Idris Elba (Luther), Zazie Beetz (Atlanta), Regina King (Watchmen), Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods), and Lakeith Stanfield (Judas and the Black Messiah) among others, teaming up for a Western revenge story with a distinctly modern feel to it.
The story kicks off as Nat Love (Majors) discovers his mortal enemy Rufus Buck (Elba) is being released from prison, bringing his gang together to track him down and seek vengeance for the murders of his parents many years earlier. However, Buck catches on to the plot and has allies of his own to fall back on, setting the two groups on a collision course that can only end in an epic confrontation.
Singer-songwriter and music producer Jeymes Samuel makes his directorial debut with The Harder They Fall, which features real historical figures as its main characters (albeit within the confines of a fictional story). The filmmaker wished to draw attention to the fact that Black cowboys did exist in the Old West, a fact that has been widely ignored by many earlier entries in the genre. The film's glowing reviews suggest he has done to great success.
Army of Thieves (2021)
Army of the Dead got a lot of attention for its horror-heist mash-up - and now this spin-off is adding even more genres, mostly ditching the zombies but zeroing in on the safecracking for a rom-com heist caper that's quite unlike anything out there. Army of Thieves is a prequel focusing on breakout fan-favourite Ludwig Dieter (Matthias Schweighöfer), telling the story of how he went from an amateur safecracking enthusiast to the veteran heist legend we meet in Army of the Dead. This happens when the mysterious Gwendoline (Nathalie Emmanuel) recruits Ludwig to her criminal team who are aiming to break into three uncrackable safes - with Ludwig quite possibly unlocking the key to Gwendoline's heart as well.
Horror fans may bemoan the lack of zombies, but Army of Thieves does manage to find the heart that its predecessor was lacking somewhat, with Schweighöfer's enthusiasm spilling onto the screen as both the film's star and director. The overseriousness of Army of the Dead is gone here, for a light, comical romp across Europe stuffed with gorgeous visuals, a surprisingly sweet love story and some well-used supporting characters. Especially as a prequel, you can likely already guess how the film ends from way off - but that doesn't stop the film being a fun, engaging thrill ride.
The Trip (2021)
Not to be confused with the lighthearted sitcom of the same name starring Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan, this Norwegian Netflix original is also a comedy - but in a darker and far, far more violent way. The Trip stars The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's Noomi Rapace and The Cloverfield Paradox's Aksel Hennie as Lisa and Lars, a married couple who have hit a rough patch and head to a remote cabin to reconnect. However little do they know that each is planning to kill the other - until some surprise guests change the plan somewhat...
The Trip starts off somewhat like a black comedy version of Mr. and Mrs. Smith - but ends much more like a Quentin Tarantino movie. So there's a warning there that this film is not for those averse to gore, with the film moving from absurd laugh-out-loud comedy to some truly gruesome violence to a macabre mix of both. But for those who can stomach it, The Trip is a wildly unpredictable rollercoaster ride with twists and turns that just keep on coming - with inventiveness flowing through the script (as well as the choice of weapons...).
The Forgotten Battle (2020)
The title may be a tad generic, but it nicely sums up the film's premise - the lesser-known Battle of the Scheldt gets the big-screen treatment here, a campaign which proved key to supplying Allied forces and liberating Holland. However, rather than a straightforward military history lesson, The Forgotten Battle instead follows three different perspectives - a Zeeland resistance member, a British Allied pilot and a Dutch Axis soldier - and shows how their stories interweave until they fatefully collide at the titular battle.
One of the most expensive Dutch films of all time, The Forgotten Battle adds a fresh perspective to the established pantheon of American war films, humanising the war by keeping the focus at a micro level and highlighting the civilian cost. Harry Potter star Tom Felton will be the big-name star in The Forgotten Battle cast for UK audiences, but he's only in a supporting role - it's the Dutch cast who steal the show, with Susan Radder and Gijs Blom superb as two people on opposite sides of the war who have to make similarly difficult decisions. One of the most interesting war movies in a long time.
The Guilty (2021)
Helmed by Training Day director Antoine Fuqua from a script written by True Detective scribe Nick Pizzolatto, The Guilty has an awful lot going for it even before you get to the lead performance from Jake Gyllenhaal. A remake of the award-winning 2018 Danish film of the same name, The Guilty follows Joe Baylor, a troubled police officer who has been demoted to operator duty at an emergency call centre. One day he gets a call from a woman claiming to be kidnapped - and his efforts to save her will reveal that nothing is as it seems.
Films that mostly take place in one location following a single character require some seriously impressive acting to keep interest engaged - and Gyllenhaal is more than up to the job. Often relying on nothing but other actors' voices to bounce off, Gyllenhaal takes the audience on a tense, taut and agonising thrill-ride, ramping up the suspense as Joe has nothing but a phone with which to save a woman's life. Indeed a film focused on phone calls thankfully uses sound to chilling and creative effect, with the lack of visual aids only worsening our mental images of events - and playing a crucial role in the twists.
With the horrific 9/11 attacks now reaching their 20th anniversary, there have been quite a wealth of new releases focusing on the tragedy, but few are quite as hard-hitting as this dramatisation of real events. Worth follows lawyer Kenneth Feinberg as he is named lead of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, and soon faces the indescribable task of determining the financial worth of a life in order to help bereaved families. However, it's only when he butts heads with a widowed community organiser that he begins to understand the human cost of the tragedy, and is soon battling bureaucracy and politics to get victims the compensation they deserve.
The subject matter immediately saddles the film with dramatic weight and most importantly responsibility, but Worth thankfully manages to forgo most biopic pitfalls for a nuanced and complex take on a side of the disaster that is all too often forgotten. The film's focus on people talking in rooms for extended scenes may rob the film of some of its power, but it also gives actors such as Amy Ryan, Stanley Tucci and, most notably, Michael Keaton to shine. It also allows for plenty of philosophical debate: what is the value of a human life?
The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf (2021)
Netflix has gone all-in on The Witcher franchise, commissioning not one, but two spin-offs ahead of the long-awaited and long-delayed The Witcher season two. Live-action spin-off series The Witcher: Blood Origin is still a while away, but this anime feature film has arrived relatively speedily - and will do more than sate fan's appetites for more Witcher content. Nightmare of the Wolf tells the origin story of Geralt's mentor Vesemir, rewinding to when he was a cocky young witcher enjoying the money and glory of his monster-hunting work. However when a strange new monster starts terrorising the kingdom, Vesemir must confront his dark past - and question what it really means to be a witcher.
Vesemir will appear as a wisened witcher-trainer in season two of the main show, but this spin-off provides a rare opportunity to see the Continent from a fresh perspective and delve deep into Vesemir's character and indeed witchers themselves. Fans of the lore, in particular, will get a kick out of this film, which shows us in detail how witchers are created and explores mages and their complex relationships with witchers. Viewers who never embraced the original Henry Cavill-led series to begin with will find little extra to entice their interest in this spin-off, but those with at least a passing knowledge of Strigas and Kikimoras will find a swashbuckling adventure well worth their time - along with wonderful animation and inventive action.
Castlevania fans in particular will enjoy this fellow Netflix anime, with the two projects sharing voice actors Theo James and Graham McTavish.
It's been a big year for Hamilton star Lin-Manuel Miranda, who has been working non-stop with his first musical In the Heights receiving a big-screen adaptation, as well as his first-ever animated film Vivo also seeing a Netflix release. Also the first musical from Sony Pictures Animation, the film tells the story of Vivo, a music-loving kinkajou voiced by Miranda who must deliver a long-lost love song to a famous singer on behalf of his owner.
Despite being the colourful and comical adventure one would expect from a family animation, Vivo is not afraid to sensitively touch upon difficult topics such as death and loss early on. It's far from a gloomy affair however - much like Coco, Vivo uses music to explore themes such as family, fatality and local cultural traditions, with Miranda's always consistent originals songs and a dazzlingly bright depiction of Cuba making this a charming and delightful adventure for all ages.
It's yet another critical hit for Sony Pictures Animation - after years of struggling to compete with the likes of Pixar and Dreamworks, the studio has received consistent acclaim since scoring an Oscar win for the excellent Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Vivo will be their third film for Netflix, following the similarly well-received Wish Dragon and The Mitchells vs. the Machines (also on our list).
Fear Street trilogy (2021)
Ever wondered what Stranger Things would look like if it were a full-on slasher horror? The answer is probably very similar to Fear Street: Part 1: 1994, the first of a trilogy based on the classic teen horror novels by Goosebumps scribe R.L. Stine. Always one to shake up how we watch movies, Netflix has marked a streaming first by releasing the entire trilogy over a three week period, eliminating the usual years-long wait for sequels and serving a triple treat of scares all within one murderous month.
Part 1: 1994 acts as an homage to the slasher movies from the film's '90s setting, with echoes of Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer complete with plenty of era-appropriate songs. While not a direct adaptation of any of Stine's novels, the film instead draws inspiration from the whole series, including the Shadyside location where a group of teenagers discover the cause of a curse that has been plaguing the area for 300 years – further explored in the following entries.
Appropriately enough, several Stranger Things stars appear in this nostalgic horror also – Robin actress Maya Hawke appears in a brief but key scene in Part 1, while Sadie Sink can be seen in Part 2: 1978. The final entry takes us all the way back to the year 1666, where the terror began.
Blood Red Sky (2021)
After similar claustrophobic creature features such as Snakes on a Plane and Train to Busan, Netflix Original Blood Red Sky has settled on vampires on a plane as their terrifying threat and transportation of choice. A phenomenal concept, this German film follows Nadja, a woman with a mysterious illness who boards a transatlantic flight with her son in hopes of finding treatment in New York. However, when a group of terrorists hijack their overnight flight, it's revealed that Nadja has no ordinary illness - and she must use her monstrous secret to save her son and the other passengers before the sun comes up.
Netflix has had a string of unique horror hits recently with the likes of Army of the Dead, Awake and the Fear Street Trilogy, and Blood Red Sky has cemented the streaming service as a fertile breeding ground for experimental and high concept horror. Surprisingly human for a film with a vampiric protagonist, amongst all the gory slasher action is a story of the lengths a mother will go to to protect her son while simultaneously doing everything she can to hide her true form from him. The Last Kingdom's Peri Baumeister stuns in the lead role as Nadja, while Graham McTavish adds another vampire outing to his filmography after voicing Dracula in Castlevania.
With the continued improvement of CGI and special effects, it's perhaps unsurprising that a beloved IP such as Paddington got a big-screen adaptation - what is surprising, however, is just how good the finished product ended up being. Paddington, of course, follows the polite Peruvian bear as he travels to London, and is adopted by the Brown family after getting lost at Paddington station. However, the bear's misadventures in the city are soon under threat - with Nicole Kidman's taxidermist villain determined to add him to her collection.
Paddington could easily have been a soulless cash-grab relying solely on the public's affection for the classic character, but instead director Paul King has crafted a film that is an absolute delight. Retaining the humour and charm of the books but also giving the bear's story a slight 21st Century update, Paddington sneaks in a gentle message about xenophobia and fitting in for an endlessly wholesome experience that's as sweet as a bottle of marmalade.
A talented cast helps also, with James Bond star Ben Whishaw lending his voice to the famous Bear and Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins as his adopted parents Mr. and Mrs. Brown. A who's who of British acting legends rounds out the cast, including the likes of Julie Walters, Peter Capaldi, Jim Broadbent and Imelda Staunton. A sequel starring Hugh Grant in a rare villain role is just as good and perhaps even better - and briefly held the honour of being the top film on Rotten Tomatoes - with Paddington 3 also in the works.
Army of the Dead (2021)
It's been a busy year for Zack Snyder – first, he finally got to release his long-awaited cut of the Justice League movie, and now he's made his first film for Netflix in the shape of zombie thriller Army of the Dead. It was in this genre that the director first made his name with his 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake, and this is largely a successful return for Synder – an imperfect film perhaps, but one with enough gore and new ideas to keep horror fans happy. The film is set in the aftermath of a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, following a group of surviving mercenaries as they prepare for a daring heist, and it overcomes its slight tonal imbalance to deliver a compelling piece of cinema with a likeable ensemble cast and some excellently executed horror moments.
Love and Monsters (2021)
This enjoyable adventure film was an unlikely Oscar nominee – in the best visual effects category – and has proved to be a big success since arriving on the streamer in April. The film concerns Joel Dawson (Dylan O’Brien) and his dangerous attempts to reach his high school sweetheart seven years after they were separated at the outset of the 'Monsterpocalypse'. As is to be expected by the title, his journey is not without danger – and Joel must fight off all manner of monsters if he is to truly reconnect with his love interest. This is an unpretentious family-friendly romp that provides two hours of excellent escapist fun.
Elisabeth Moss turns in a fine performance in this fictionalised biopic of legendary horror fiction writer Shirley Jackson – one of the best new films of 2020. Taking inspiration from the work of Jackson herself, this is a dark, sometimes unnerving film that works as much as a psychological thriller as a traditional biopic . It tells the story of Fred and Rose Nemser, a newlywed couple who are taken in by Jackson and her husband – eventually providing inspiration for the writer's latest book.
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Everyone has a different favourite Quentin Tarantino film, but this gloriously violent World War Two tale will feature near the top of a lot of people's lists. Starring Brad Pitt as a lieutenant leadining a troop of righteously vengeful Jewish-American soliders, and an Oscar-winning Christoph Waltz as the chilling Nazi villain Hans Landa, the film is electric throughout – from the unberably tense opening scene to the immensely cathartic conclusion. Complete with plenty of Tarantino's trademark dialogue and a handful of perfectly constructed set pieces – including one of the most suspenseful card games ever seen on film – this two and a half hour epic is the writer/director at the very top of his game.
Netflix has turned a lot of heads with its latest documentary, which explores the terrible damage that humans have inflicted on the ocean and its inhabitants. You'll learn new and alarming information about the environmental impact of plastic, fishing equipment and techniques such as bottom-trawling, as well as the consequences this poses for the entire planet. Seaspiracy has been hailed for providing vital information on an often overlooked topic, with many viewers deciding to give up seafood altogether after learning the ugly truth about its source.
The most-watched film on Netflix when it was released, this psychological thriller from Searching director Aneesh Chaganty stars Kiera Allen as Chloe, a Chicago-based teenager who's been confined to a wheelchair as long as she remembers and home schooled by her protective mother Diane (Sarah Paulson). However, when Chloe picks up on her mother's strange behaviour and starts prying into private letters she's kept hidden away, she starts to suspect Diane has been keeping a very dark secret all this time. A suspenseful drama featuring a terrific performance from Paulson, Run is a gripping watch with a constantly changing pace.
Concrete Cowboy (2021)
Idris Elba and Stranger Things star Caleb McLaughlin lead the cast in this modern Western drama, which explores the urban African-American horse-riding culture. The film centres on Cole a rebellious 15-year-old who is sent to live with his estranged father in Philadelphia, and quickly finds himself drawn to the city's "urban cowboy" subculture, which offers him an alternative to a life of crime. The film has attracted praise from critics, especially for the performances from the two leads.
Bad Trip (2021)
Starring comedians Eric André (The Lion King) and Lil Rel Howery (Get Out), this hidden-camera comedy follows best friends Chris and Bud as they take a road trip from their small town in Florida to New York City so that Chris can declare his love for his high school sweetheart Maria (Michaela Conlin). However, with Bud's criminal sister Trina (Tiffany Haddish) on their tail after escaping prison, the two find themselves in a number of sticky situations as actual members of the public look on in shock. With Bad Trip currently one of the most-watched flicks on Netflix, this 80-minute film is worth the watch for André and Howery's stellar chemistry and a stand-out performance from Haddish.
Directed by Parks and Recreation's Amy Poehler, Moxie stars Hadley Robinson as Vivian, a 16-year-old student who draws inspiration from her mother's rebellious past and launches an anonymous zine, challenging the sexist behaviour at her high school. What starts off as a passion project soon sparks a school-wide revolution, with students and teachers alike banding together to support the magazine. Featuring the likes of Josie Totah, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Ike Barinholtz and Lauren Tsai, this star-studded coming-of-age flick is a timely comedy with lots of heart.
To All the Boys I've Loved Before trilogy (2018-21)
Based on Jenny Han’s bestselling novels, this is a set of sweet romcoms, which also serve as an homage to the best films of the genre from the 1980s and 90s. Lana Condor stars as Laura Jean Covey, a Korean-American high-schooler whose world is turned upside-down when a box of private love letters that she penned to her crushes is distributed to its intended recipients. The first film was a massive hit, catapulting Condor and co-star Noah Centineo to superstardom, while it was followed by two sequels: PS I Still Love You and Always and Forever, also streaming on Netflix.
News of the World (2021)
Tom Hanks reunites with director Paul Greengrass for the first time since the Oscar-nominated Captain Phillips in 2013 in this brand new feature – but it's a rather different affair from the pair's last collaboration. The western drama sees Hanks star as a traveling non-fiction storyteller in the post-Civil War USA, who finds an unlikely traveling companion in 10-year-old child Johanna – who had been raised by the Kiowa people as one of their own.
Feature-length documentary film Pele follows the rise of the Brazilian footballing legend as he goes from teenage prodigy to global superstar, set against the backdrop of a turbulent period in Brazilian political history. Including archive footage, brand new interviews and access to Pele himself, the film sheds new light on a player often regarded to be the best to have ever played the game.
The Dig (2021)
Based on the John Preston 2007 novel, The Dig focuses on the events of the famous 1939 excavation of the Sutton Hoo burial site, and features an all-star cast with the likes of stars Carey Mulligan, Ralph Fiennes, Lily James, EMMA.'s Johnny Flynn. Mulligan plays British landowner Edith Pretty, on whose property the excavation takes place.
The White Tiger (2021)
Netflix's latest original film is an adaptation of Aravind Adiga's novel of the same name, which follows the story of Balram Halwai (Adarsh Gourav) as he attempts to escape poverty and rise to the highest levels of society. Produced by Priyanka Chopra, who also appears in a supporting role, The White Tiger has been widely praised by critics, who have been particularly impressed by its stylish direction by 99 Homes helmer Ramin Bahrani as well as the compelling performances across the board.
Pieces of a Woman (2020)
Netflix original film Pieces of a Woman stars The Crown's Vanessa Kirby as Martha, a pregnant young woman who suffers a traumatic home birth, leading to the death of her newborn daughter. Together with her husband (Shia LaBeouf), Martha learns to live with her unbearable grief whilst taking her midwife to court.
With a star-studded cast featuring the likes of Ellen Burstyn (Requiem for a Dream), Molly Parker (Lost in Space) and Sarah Snook (Succession), this harrowing exploration of bereavement is undoubtedly a career high for Kirby, who delivers one of her best performances to date.
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020)
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom stars Viola Davis as the real-life “Mother of the Blues,” Ma Rainey, opposite the late Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman in his final on-screen performance as the mercurial trumpeter Levee.
Based on August Wilson’s play of the same name, the action takes place during a claustrophobic recording session, in which tempers flare, truths are revealed, and jealousies named. Inspired by real-life themes from the time, you can find out more about Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom true story here.
David Fincher's first film in six years, Mank is a stylish black and white drama that reevaluates Golden Age Hollywood through the eyes of screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz – known to his friends as Mank. The film specifically deals with the issue of the authorship of seminal Orson Welles film Citizen Kane, which Mank claimed he should have had the sole screenwriting credit for.
The stellar cast includes Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Tuppence Middleton, Tom Burke, and many more, and the film is already winning rave reviews from critics. It is also something of a passion project for Fincher – the script was written by his late father, Jack, and he has reportedly been trying to get the film made for more than twenty years.
Maybe not one to watch to unwind - or if you're claustrophobic - most of Oxygen takes place in a box no bigger than a coffin. The film follows a woman who wakes up in a medical cryogenic chamber with no memory of who she is or how she got there. With oxygen starting to deplete, time is running out to rebuild her shattered memories to discover who she is, and find a way out of this nightmare.
Netflix has long helped bring acclaimed foreign films to mainstream attention, and this American-French co-production is one of the latest international showcases following the likes of The Platform and Under the Shadow. Thrillers don't get more tense than this with Elizabeth's panic at being trapped in a small space terrifyingly relatable, with the very limited cast outside of flashbacks adding to the isolation. There may also be a few twists along the way...
The film features a terrific French cast - Mélanie Laurent (6 Underground) deserves the highest praise as she spends the bulk of the screentime alone, with only Mathieu Amalric's (Quantum of Solace) robotic M.I.L.O. for company.
Florence Pugh may now be a certified member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe thanks to her role as Yelena Belova in Black Widow, but it was this 2019 horror hit that helped put the young star on the radar. Forget the brightly coloured flowers and pleasant imagery seen in many of the promotional materials - Midsommar's choice of a summer festival setting rather than a traditional haunted house only serves to make events even creepier. One of the few cult films actually about a cult, the film follows a couple on the verge of breaking up who visit a fabled mid-summer festival in Sweden, only for the celebration to spiral into a violent and bizarre affair thanks to a pagan cult.
Director Ari Aster followed up his well-received Hereditary with this equally acclaimed horror, promising bright things ahead for both the genre and Aster himself. Aster knows how to pick a great cast too - following Toni Colette's critically acclaimed turn in Hereditary, Pugh too was praised for her unsettling performance in Midsommar, supported by great co-stars including Jack Reynor (Sing Street), William Jackson Harper (The Good Place) and Will Poulter (Black Mirror).
Gerald’s Game (2017)
Already binge-watched both The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor in the run-up to Halloween? Have no fear (or rather, do), as it turns out there's a spooky film offering by director Mike Flanagan, and it's available on Netflix right now: Gerald's Game.
Based on Stephen King's book of the same name, this psychological horror flick stars Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood as a married couple who attempt to spice things up while holidaying in a remote house - only for husband Gerald to have a heart attack and die while his wife, Jessie, is still handcuffed to the bed and unable to free herself.
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)
This factual drama comes from acclaimed screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, whose past work includes television series The West Wing and Mark Zuckerberg biopic The Social Network. Here, he turns his attention to a 1969 trial that dominated the US news cycle as it unfolded, charging seven anti-Vietnam War protestors with conspiracy and crossing state lines with the intention of inciting riots.
Originally planned for a cinema release before the coronavirus pandemic quashed those plans, The Trial of the Chicago 7 boasts a truly magnificent cast. Recent Emmy winner Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Watchmen), Sacha Baron Cohen (The Spy), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception), Michael Keaton (Spider-Man: Homecoming) and Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) are among the names assembled, all of whom are on top form.
Packing some powerful messages that remain highly relevant to this day, The Trial of the Chicago 7 is another smart drama from Sorkin that is likely to be a major awards contender this year.
The Forty-Year-Old Version (2020)
An African-American woman approaching middle age rediscovers her talent for rapping in the knockout debut of writer/director Radha Blank, who also stars. Beautifully shot in monochrome, the film follows Blank's struggling playwright, who channels her frustrations into some sublime rhymes, , speaking her truth with lyrical aplomb and backed by the beats of collaborator D (Oswin Benjamin). Dodging cliché at every turn, Blank's elegant, edgy The Forty-Year-Old Version expertly challenges sexist and ageist assumptions while shining a light on patronising notions of cultural authenticity. The result is funny and formidably wise, and shows you really can be fresh at 40.
I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020)
Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adapation) has established a track record as one of the most innovative writer/directors in Hollywood, and his latest - adapted from Iain Reid's novel of the same name - is a nightmare journey into the psyche of a young woman who is taken by her boyfriend to meet her family in a secluded farm.
With a terrific cast that includes Jesse Plemons, Jessie Buckley, Toni Collette and David Thewlis, I'm Thinking of Ending Things this is about as unconventional as it gets - but will be sure to leave you both haunted and scratching your head...
The Old Guard (2020)
Charlize Theron stars in this fantasy flick about a group of immortal warriors who have been fighting covert wars in humanity's best interest for hundreds of years. But with a sharp rise in surveillance over the past few decades, their activities are becoming harder to cover up and they soon become the target of a ruthless businessman wishing to harness the secret behind their eternal life.
While not revolutionary, The Old Guard is a highly entertaining and stylishly executed film, with some excellent action sequences that showcase Theron at her very best. The cast also includes KiKi Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Doctor Strange) and Marwan Kenzari (Aladdin).
Chicken Run (2000)
Aardman Animation has built up a reputation for consistently churning out high-quality stop-motion showcases, and outside of the phenomenally popular Wallace and Gromit series Chicken Run may well be their most successful. The highest-grossing stop-motion film of all time, Chicken Run follows the inhabitants of a chicken farm who see a chance to escape when rooster Rocky seemingly flies into their pen. They implore Rocky to teach them how to fly - before Mrs. Tweedy's pie machine is ready...
Aardman Animation's trademark sharp humour and attention to detail are on full display here, with several visual gags hidden within some of the painstakingly crafted frames. The film's critical acclaim also led to the introduction of Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards, as well as leading to future feature films from Aardman such as Flushed Away, the Shaun the Sheep movies and The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. The stop-motion hit has arrived on Netflix ahead of the belated Chicken Run sequel, which is being made in collaboration with the streaming service.
Da 5 Bloods (2020)
The latest Spike Lee joint seems to have flown under the radar somewhat, but that's a crying shame as it truly is a superb and timely watch.
Da 5 Bloods follows a group of Vietnam war veterans as they return to the country in the present day, searching for the remains of their fallen commander and the treasure he left behind. It's an emotional journey that will see them confront their traumatic memories of the brutal conflict and the men it turned them into, while also exploring broader themes about the experiences of black people in the United States.
Delroy Lindo (The Good Fight), Clarke Peters (The Wire), Norm Lewis (Scandal), Isiah Whitlock Jr (BlacKkKlansman) and the late and much-missed Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther) play the original Bloods, with Jonathan Majors representing the next generation. It's a fantastic ensemble cast that provide strong performances across the board, some of which should have been recognised during the 2021 awards season - so get ahead of the curve and watch Da 5 Bloods now.
Marriage Story (2019)
On the face of it, Marriage Story shouldn’t be as an enjoyable watch as it is, given that it’s about a relationship falling apart and all the emotions that come with that. Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver play the couple who decide to get divorced in this award-winning masterpiece from writer/director Noah Baumbach and put in some of the best performances of their career, which really deserved more award attention than they got.
It will make you laugh. It will make you smile. And if you are married, it will make you pray that you never get divorced…
The Irishman (2019)
A passion project long in the making, Netflix’s The Irishman sees director Martin Scorsese reunited with Robert De Niro for their ninth collaboration. The gangster biopic centres on Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran (De Niro), who recalls his involvement in the disappearance of his longtime friend Jimmy Hoffa (played by Al Pacino). The film was constantly in the news up to its release; from its CGI de-aging used on De Niro, Pacino and Joe Pesci, to the sheer unwieldy length of this epic (it's a whopping 3 hours 30 minutes, so you'll need plenty of popcorn).
Following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and subsequent Black Lives Matter protests across the world, Netflix recently made racial inequality documentary 13th free to watch to non-Netflix subscribers, which has seen a 4,000% increase in streams.
The title of this potent film refers to the 13th Amendment: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” "Punishment for crime" is the key qualifier here, as Ava DuVernay's (When They See Us) documentary explores the injustices at the heart of America’s penal system.
13th secured Netflix its first BAFTA.
Uncut Gems (2020)
We should probably start by warning you you’re in for a tense and stressful two hours if you choose to watch Uncut Gems in one sitting. The Safdie brothers’ (Good Time) film takes funnyman Adam Sandler and turns him into a New York City jeweller risking everything to banish his debts and escape the collectors after him. Sandler is unrecognisable, but that’s no bad thing. We’d go as far as to say he was robbed in the 2020 awards season.
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