•  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Netflix is a blessing and a curse – there’s so much to watch, but what to choose? Jennifer Bisset put together a list of some of the best movies on Netflix at the moment, published on cnet

The streaming site brings in the big guns a few times a year to direct original movies that have even landed up at the Oscars. There are, however, great smaller stories being told that sit well on your home TV set. 

Check out the list and see what tickles your fancy. 

Marriage Story

Divorce doesn’t seem like an enthralling subject for a movie, but Marriage Story, directed by Noah Baumbach, will draw you in. Starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, the pair give possibly career-best performances as Nicole and Charlie who start the emotional and logistical nightmare that will rip apart their relationship. There’s a complexity to the story, along with unexpected humour between the painful moments. It’s a happy-sad movie done very well.

Okja

Bong Joon-ho, maker of Parasite, directed Okja in 2017, which should tell you that it deserves a watch. It’s a mix of dark comedy and surrealist environmental thriller, following a farm girl from South Korea who’s best buddy is a genetically enhanced super-pig. Said pig is meant to be delicious and so a large corporation wants to take it away. Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhall act in support, whilst you get sucked in by the sweet story of Okja and horrified by the distress of the meat industry.

I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore

Not had a great day? Teeing this movie up should sort you out. Ruth and her weird neighbor Tony set out to investigate a robbery when the police decide to do nothing about their report. I Don’t Feel At Home in This World Anymore takes a look at some of the stranger elements of everyday life, then takes a turn into some dark places with very dark humor to boot. Reminiscent of the Coen Brothers in style, this perfectly packaged96 minutes will get at your emotions for sure. 

Uncut Gems

Although Adam Sandley eventually missed out on an Oscar nod for his performance in Uncut Gems, it’s still a remarkable movie. You’ll swirl around the life of a diamond jeweler who’s got a gambling addiction. Inspired by Scorsese’s 70s gritty crime dramas, the Safdie Brothers dash you through an anxious, frenetic story around New York with Sandler’s How Ratner trying to hunt down a precious opal that should clear his debts.

The Platform

There’s an impressive stable of international movies on Netflix, and The Platform is one such film. The story is high-concept sci-fi horror, centered on a tower food delivery system, giving food to people across all of its levels. People on the higher levels get the best sustenance and the quality drops as the floor count does. It’s a dystopian thriller with a keen eye for social commentary, with some gruesome and shocking turns as we get to the bottom level. 

Beasts of No Nation

A child gets dragged into a West African army as his country is embroiled in civil war in this movie from director Cary Joji Fukunaga. Idris Elba plays a ruthless commandant alongside Abraham Attah who stars as Agu. The movie will make you confront some truths about the world, yet also has themes of hope and gives a human perspective on war. You need to watch Beasts of No Nation if you’ve not got it on your list yet.

The Irishman

Following the story of gangsters over decades, The Irishman is a crime saga told over three-and-a-half hours; it’s on Netflix though, so you can always break it into manageable chunks. Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino take the starring roles, this movie will creep through a haunting look at how mobsters age and what havoc they cause.

Annihilation

Ex Machina was Alex Garland’s first foray into trippy, sci-fi drama, and he followed it up with Annihilation. The movie has its roots in the Jeff VanderMeer book of the same name, and follows a biology teacher called Lena, played by Natalie Portman. She’s working her way through the grief of losing her husband, and takes up a role at an army facility next to the edge of a meteor crater. You’ll be plunged into darkness with the group of female scientists working in the danger zone. It’ll be stuck in your thoughts for days after.

Always Be My Maybe

Keanu Reeves has a cameo in the rom-com that professes a deep love of food. Always Be My Maybe has everything you’re probably looking for in a movie. Sasha, a chef, and Marcus, a musician, are drawn back together years after a teenaged fling. You’ll be wrapped up in the warmth of this comedy that takes you to wonderfully unexpected places. 

Roma

Director Alfonso Cuaron tells this semi-autobiographical story set in Colonia Roma – a suburb of Mexico City. It’s a small tale, but told wonderfully. Cuaron takes you through the rollercoaster of the life of a live-in maid of a middle-class family. Scenes are shot with beauty and you’ll feel the wonder and grace of his images as you move through the story. 

The Meyerowitz Stories

Another Noah Baumbach on our list, The Meyerowitz Stories is a well-grounded, bittersweet comedy. The title refers to adult siblings struggling to adult, with Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller in the lead roles, working to stay in the shadow of their father. The cast also includes Duston Hoffman, making up a trio of intelligent yet unhappy characters that weave through their poignant stories.

Mudbound

Take a close look at historical class struggle through the prism of two World War II veterans, one black and one white. With PTSD and racism in the Mississippi Delta to cope with, the cast  including Garrett Hedlund and Jason Mitchell, tell you a story that will have you stuck to the spot the whole way through.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Noah Centineo was thrust into the limelight as a teen heartthrob in this adaptation of the young adult book. Lara Jean Covey, played by Lana Condor, is a Korean-American girl growing up in Virginia who decides to pen letters to every boy she has a crush on. Enter her little sister, who pops all the letters in the post, with hilarity ensuing. You get everything you’d expect out of a rom-com plus a layer of racial representation that’s refreshing for a teen movie.

Dumplin’

Daughter of a former beauty queen, Willowdean “Dumplin’” Dickson isn’t much like her parent. Dumplin’ chooses to spite her month and enter into a pageant where she gets schooled in self-confidence and confronts her maternal relationship issues, with mom played by Jennifer Aniston. Dumplin’ will give you the warm and fuzzies as it plays to formula. 

The Two Popes

This biography of Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, is set mainly in Vatican City and looks at the results of the Vatican leaks scandal. It’s gripping and interesting, carving out real-life drama through two lead stars; Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

This anthology movie from the Coen Brothers features six mini-stories from the American Frontier. Buster Scruggs is the protagonist in one, he’s a happy-go-lucky singer who merrily heads off to a shoot-up in a cantina. It’s not all light and fun, there’s the twists you’d expect that will keep you engrossed. The stories are wrapped up in standard dark humor; The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is classic Coen Brothers.

Dolemite Is My Name

After a break from acting, Eddie Murphy comes back with a glorious turn as Rudy Ray Moore – a comedian whose stand up routine was a character called Dolemite and who acted in blaxploitation movies in the 70s. The movie traces the story of Moore from a record store job, up on to the silver screen. His rise through the industry is at once enthralling yet bizarre, Dolemite Is My Name harnesses the talents of both Moore and Murphy.

Klaus

This Easter extravagan… Nah, it’s definitely about Christmas, although it’s not your conventional seasonal fayre. Here, we get an alternative Santa origins story, taking inspiration from the tale of Saint Nicholas of  Myra. In the 19th century, on a northern island, we see a postman and a reclusive toy crafter called Klaus become friends. It’s an animated tale that’s drawn beautifully, matching the unique and complex tale within.

I Lost My Body

This French animated horror opens with a severed hand getting free from a refrigerator in alab and heading all over Paris to hunt down its owner. It’s a thrilling opening for sure. It’s elegantly made, strange, but oddly satisfying, delving into ideas about physical and emotional loss, with chords of poetry throughout.

Da 5 Bloods

Aging Vietnam War veterans head back to the country where they face battle in this Spike Lee war drama. The men are in search of not only the remains of their squad leader, but also buried treasure. Packed with energy at every turn, you get to understand the Vietnam war through the black experience, offering a timely and fitting critique of race in times of war.

Paddleton

Michael and Andy, played by Mark Duplass and Ray Romano, are tennis pals who receive heartbreaking news – Michael has terminal cancer of the stomach. The pair go on a road trip to hunt down the medication that could help Michael end his life before he suffers too much. Comedy mixes well with melancholy as director Paddleton explores friendship and it’s depths.

Knock Down the House

Politics doesn’t have to be your thing for you to enjoy this behind-the-scenes movie about a woman striving to represent her community and make changes to her world. We follow Alexandri Ocasio-Cortez plus three other female candidates who make a run for congress in 2018. You can see the obstacles they endure and how each woman copes in theis fly-on-the-wall style documentary. 

Athlete A

Be ready to be launched into one of the biggest sporting scandals in history. Larry Nassar was abusing young female gymnasts in the USA and was finally uncovered after a newspaper investigation at The Indianapolis Star. See the brave artists speak out about the decades of abuse that went on in their sport and how it came to an end.

13th

The US justice system and its relationship with race is dissected by Ava DuVernay’s documentary charting how current judicual structures wind back to slavery and its abolition. Want to learn about the mass criminalization of a whole race in America? This is a powerful synthesis of the issues to start your education.

I Am Mother

Fans of sci-fi from James Cameron and Ridley Scott will enjoy this familiar trope in the genre. Daughter, a young girl, lives in a post-apocalyptic bunker with a robot called Mother, who is tasked to help the girl repopulate the planet. The premise is gripping, with dark twists waiting for you, delivered with style and panache.

The Half of It

Fitting into the young adult genre, the movie recounts the story of Ellie Chu, a girl discovering her sexuality in a remote US town called Squahamish. She’s an Asian-American, straight-A student who has no friends yet makes a decent hustle writing homework for her classmates. Ellie helps footballer Paul Munsky write a love letter to his beau, but in true romantic style, it seems the object of Paul’s affections is perfect for Ellie. The Half of It is a joyful and delicate telling of a journey to self acceptance.

Set It Up

Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell add a little something extra to this rom-com, and are joined by the brilliant Lucy Lui and Taye Diggs. Watch the story or Harper Moore, a twentysomething assistant to a sport and media editor. Meanwhile, Charlie is an assistant to a venture capitalist. The pair bond over workplace disasters and come up with a plan to set up their respective bosses to get them to relax and make their lives easier. This double-layer romance does what you expect it to do and it’s entertaining in the process.

Gerald’s Game

Are you a fan of The House on Haunting Hill? This one’s for you. Mike Flanagan adapts Stephen King’s novel in which Jessie, played perfectly by Carla Gugino, heads on vacation with her husband at a remote Alabama lakehouse. Most of the time is spent in the bedroom, where troubles descend – Jessie ends up cuffed to the bed with no way of escape. The narrative of Gerald’s Game is satisfying in its conclusion, with the director’s melancholic horror a triumph for his haunted characters.

Icarus

Explore the dark side of doping in sports in this influential documentary from Bryan Fogel. He plans to take banned substances in a way that won’t get spotted by authorities and then enter a cycling race, with the aim to shine a light on the poor anti-doping practices in the sport. The film twists when a Russian scientist exposes the Olympic doping program he was in charge of for the Olympic team. Icarus is truly gripping, even if cycling isn’t your sport.

The Incredible Jessica James

Jessica Williams takes a delightful turn as self-possess Jessica James. She’s confident, independent and going on a blind date – a date where all she ends up talking about is her ex. A different form of break up movie is entertaining with its refreshingly powerful lead.

0
0