Netflix boasts an extensive collection of films, ranging from hidden cinematic treasures to buzzworthy blockbusters. With such a vast selection, making a choice can be overwhelming. Fear not, as this guide is here to assist you in discovering precisely what you’re in the mood for. Whether you’re seeking a side-splitting comedy that leaves you in fits of laughter or a poignant drama that tugs at your heartstrings, we’ve curated a list of the finest movies currently available on Netflix. What’s more, we refresh this list on a weekly basis to ensure you always have access to the latest recommendations.
And if you’re hungry for even more viewing options, don’t forget to explore our compilations of the top shows, comedies, and dramas on Netflix.
Please note that the titles mentioned here are accessible on US Netflix.
*Editor’s Pick for the Best Movie on Netflix:
Set It Up -2018
Run Time: 1 hr 45 min | Genre: Romantic Comedy | Director: Claire Scanlon
Cast: Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, Pete Davidson
“Everybody who knows me is aware of my deep affection for romantic comedies, to the extent that I even host a podcast dedicated to the genre. Given this, it’s hardly surprising that Set It Up, the 2018 Netflix original starring Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell, remains my all-time favorite film on the streaming platform, even half a decade after its initial release. Despite the numerous rom-coms that Netflix has produced since, the story of two overworked executive assistants attempting to arrange a romantic connection between their demanding bosses for some well-deserved downtime remains unparalleled in its charm and appeal.
While Set It Up was not the first collaboration between Powell and Deutch (that distinction belongs to Richard Linklater‘s Everybody Wants Some!!), both actors have since ventured into larger and more prominent projects. Nonetheless, Set It Up still stands as a heartwarming and delightful film that’s easy to immerse oneself in, even if the humor occasionally veers into cringe-worthy territory. It’s a rare gem among post-2005 rom-coms, where the leads exhibit immediate, engaging, and believable chemistry, a true rarity. What’s even more exceptional is the ensemble cast, which includes heavyweights such as Lucy Liu, Taye Diggs, and Pete Davidson. Moreover, it offers a brief yet thoroughly enjoyable runtime of one hour and forty-five minutes, making it ideal for those seeking a dose of fun and entertainment anytime they desire a cinematic pick-me-up.” —Maggie Boccella, News Editor
Pain Hustlers – 2023
Run Time: 2 hrs 2 min | Director: David Yates
Cast: Emily Blunt, Chris Evans, Catherine O’Hara, Andy Garcia, Brian d’Arcy James
In the realm of films delving into the pressing issue of the opioid epidemic, director David Yates assembles an exceptional ensemble of acclaimed actors in “Pain Hustlers.” This gripping production features Chris Evans (known for his role in “Knives Out”), Catherine O’Hara (of “Elemental” fame), Andy Garcia (renowned for “Book Club: The Next Chapter”), and Brian d’Arcy James (known for his part in “West Side Story”). In the wake of “Dopesick” and “Painkiller,” “Pain Hustlers” delves into the lives of individuals who bear some responsibility for the nationwide crisis.
At the heart of the story is Emily Blunt (acclaimed for her performance in “Oppenheimer”), portraying a mother determined to secure a brighter future for herself and her daughter. Her journey leads her to accept a job with a pharmaceutical company, unwittingly drawing herself into a perilous criminal conspiracy involving racketeering. – Yael Tygiel
Old Dads – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 42 min | Director: Bill Burr
Cast: Bill Burr, Bokeem Woodbine, Bobby Cannavale, Rachael Harris
“Old Dads,” a collaborative effort between Ben Tishler and the well-known comedian Bill Burr, who not only co-wrote the script but also takes the lead role and directs the film, offers a nostalgic take on the comedy genre. This film delves into the themes of growing up, confronting societal changes, and adjusting to the evolving world. In “Old Dads,” Burr portrays a man who, in the company of his two closest friends and business associates, played by Bokeem Woodbine and Bobby Cannavale, embarks on the journey of fatherhood later in life. As they navigate the challenges of modern parenting and adapt to contemporary business practices, hilarity ensues.
While “Old Dads” may convey a somewhat ambiguous message, which some might consider outdated, the film’s true strength lies in its ability to sustain a balance between humor and heartfelt moments. This equilibrium is further amplified by the exceptional comedic talents of the cast.
Dune – 2021
Run Time: 2 hrs 35 min | Director: Denis Villeneuve
Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac
In a truly mesmerizing cinematic achievement, Dune captivates as the first part of an expansive science-fiction epic crafted by director Denis Villeneuve. Drawing inspiration from Frank Herbert’s iconic novel, this cinematic masterpiece features the talents of Timothée Chalamet (known for “Bones and All”) and Rebecca Ferguson (from “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One”) in a story deeply entrenched in political allegory.
Dune stands out with its grandiose and visually striking landscapes, meticulously detailed costumes, and awe-inspiring stunt sequences, making it a true feast for the eyes. It weaves a deliberate and immersive narrative, gradually building tension and intrigue. As the first chapter concludes without providing a definitive resolution, Dune manages to leave both its audience and fervent Herbert enthusiasts eagerly anticipating what comes next. — Yael Tygiel
Fair Play – 2023-present
Run Time: 1 hr 53 min | Director: Chloe Domont
Cast: Phoebe Dynevor, Alden Ehrenreich, Eddie Marsan
In her inaugural foray into feature film direction, writer-director Chloe Domont astounds with ‘Fair Play,’ a sizzling and captivating drama. Domont manages to inject allure and intrigue into the world of hedge fund firms, weaving an enticing narrative around a pair of colleagues, portrayed by the talented duo of Phoebe Dynevor, known for her role in Bridgerton, and Alden Ehrenreich, star of ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story.’ Their passionate romantic entanglement becomes increasingly strained as one of them ascends the corporate ladder.
Adding depth and suspicion to the plot is Eddie Marsan, known for his appearances in ‘Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw,’ who steps into the role of their enigmatic boss. This stellar cast collectively elevates the already compelling storyline to new heights.
Our critic, Therese Lacson, extolled ‘Fair Play’ in her review, noting, “The film’s charismatic leads and scorching chemistry align perfectly with the genre, surpassing recent offerings. A well-crafted thriller intensifies tension with every twist and turn, hurtling toward its climactic conclusion. ‘Fair Play’ maintains this pulse-pounding momentum until the very last frame, delivering a harrowing narrative of a couple pushed to their limits by a seismic shift in power dynamics.” – Yael Tygiel
Love Is in the Air – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 28 min | Director: Adrian Powers
Cast: Delta Goodrem, Joshua Sasse, Roy Billing
Love Is in the Air” is a heartwarming film helmed by director Adrian Powers. The screenplay was a collaborative effort, co-written by Adrian Powers, Caera Bradshaw, and Katharine McPhee. The story revolves around the life of a determined seaplane pilot, portrayed by Delta Goodrem, who resides in a picturesque small town. However, her life takes an unexpected turn when a cosmopolitan man, played by Joshua Sasse, enters the scene, bringing disruption and excitement.
Set against the breathtaking backdrop of Queensland’s Whitsundays in Australia, “Love Is in the Air” was meticulously filmed entirely on location. The film is an absolute delight, brimming with the classic charm that fans of romantic comedies have come to love. It even features a lovable and quick-witted sidekick for added entertainment value.
“Love Is in the Air” may be a straightforward tale, both in its narrative and on paper, but it thrives in its simplicity. It beautifully captures the essence of a stunning location and the enchanting connections that form between its attractive characters. Love blossoms in the most exquisite way in this enchanting film. – Yael Tygiel
Spy Kids: Armageddon – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 48 min | Director: Robert Rodriguez
Cast: Connor Esterson, Everly Carganilla, Gina Rodriguez, Zachary Levi
“The Spy Kids franchise welcomes a fresh adventure with the release of ‘Spy Kids: Armageddon.’ This latest installment, directed by Robert Rodriguez and co-written by Racer Max, seamlessly marries family entertainment with thrilling action and espionage. The heart of ‘Spy Kids: Armageddon’ revolves around two young protagonists, Tony and Patty, portrayed by Connor Esterson and Everly Carganilla, who find themselves in a face-off against a video game brought to life. Their mission: to rescue their endearing parents, played by Gina Rodriguez and Zachary Levi. Filled to the brim with slapstick humor, exhilarating stunts, and a whole lot of heart, ‘Spy Kids: Armageddon’ marks a delightful addition to this cherished series.” – Yael Tygiel
Love at First Sight – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 30 min | Director: Vanessa Caswill
Cast: Haley Lu Richardson, Ben Hardy, Dexter Fletcher, Jameela Jamil, Rob Delaney
Haley Lu Richardson, known for her role in The White Lotus, and Ben Hardy, recognized from X-Men: Apocalypse, share delightful chemistry in Love at First Sight, a charming romantic comedy adapted from Jennifer E. Smith’s novel. Directed by Vanessa Caswill and featuring the engaging narration of Jameela Jamil, of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law fame, Love at First Sight skillfully plucks at the heartstrings as it delves into the idea of soulmates following an unexpected encounter between fellow passengers, Hadley (Richardson) and Oliver (Hardy). Love at First Sight embraces classic romantic themes without compromising the essence of the narrative or the exceptional performances of its cast. – Yael Tygiel
Arrival – 2016
Run Time: 1 hr 56 min | Director: Denis Villeneuve
Cast: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg
Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival stands as a compelling masterpiece, arguably his finest work to date. This thought-provoking film delves into several layers of complexity. Firstly, it provides a remarkably grounded portrayal of humanity’s initial encounter with extraterrestrial life. It also serves as a profound exploration of how language molds our perception of the world. Yet, at its core, Arrival is a poignant examination of forging meaningful connections with our loved ones, even when the specter of time’s relentless march looms large.
Through the ingenious manipulation of temporal boundaries, Arrival unveils a bittersweet love story, one tinged with the foreknowledge of impending tragedy. This film fearlessly challenges us to ponder whether reveling in a brief and joyous time with someone we cherish suffices, or if the ominous shadows of the future should deter us from cherishing the fleeting present. Arrival is a cerebral, emotionally resonant experience that masterfully straddles the line between drama and science fiction. — Marco Vito Oddo
The Pope’s Exorcist – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 43 min | Genre: Horror | Director: Julius Avery
Cast: Russell Crowe, Daniel Zovatto, Alex Essoe
he Pope’s Exorcist” is a chilling horror movie helmed by director Julius Avery, set against the backdrop of the late 1980s. Russell Crowe, known for his role in “Thor: Love and Thunder,” takes on the role of Father Gabriele Amorth. Alongside him, the film features Daniel Zovatto and Alex Essoe, with Franco Nero portraying The Pope.
Drawing inspiration from the real-life experiences and writings of Father Amorth, recounting his significant role within the Church, “The Pope’s Exorcist” delves into the world of the Pope’s personal exorcist. Father Amorth was widely recognized as the Vatican’s foremost authority on the matter, and the movie not only follows his investigation into a child believed to be possessed but also exposes a clandestine conspiracy lurking within the Vatican. – Yael Tygiel
You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 43 min | Director: Sammi Cohen
Cast: Idina Menzel, Adam Sandler, Sadie Sandler, Sunny Sandler, Samantha Lorraine
Adam Sandler opens the door to an all-inclusive family affair in “You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah,” where he shares the screen with his wife, Jackie Sandler, and their daughters, Sadie Sandler and Sunny Sandler. This heartwarming tale delves into the world of a Jewish coming-of-age ceremony, examining both its traditional significance and the contemporary cultural pressures often associated with modern bat mitzvah celebrations. Co-scripted by the talented duo of Alison Peck and Fiona Rosenbloom and skillfully directed by Sammi Cohen, “You Are So Not Attending My Bat Mitzvah” places a strong emphasis on authenticity. With a predominantly Jewish cast and a storyline that resonates with real-life experiences of friendship and heartbreak, this film offers a captivating and relatable narrative. – Yael Tygiel
Heart of Stone – 2023
Run Time: 2 hrs 3 min | Director: Tom Harper
Cast: Gal Gadot, Jamie Dornan, Alia Bhatt, Jing Lusi
“Heart of Stone” is an electrifying new action-adventure film directed by Tom Harper. The story revolves around a group of highly skilled agents belonging to a clandestine global peacekeeping organization. In “Heart of Stone,” these operatives are tasked with safeguarding a perilous piece of technology from the clutches of a malevolent hacker. With an aura reminiscent of “Mission Impossible” and the high-octane thrills akin to “Fast and the Furious,” “Heart of Stone” promises a thrilling cinematic experience. The screenplay, crafted by Greg Rucka, known for his work on “The Old Guard,” delivers a compelling blend of espionage, enigmatic elements, and jaw-dropping cinematic stunts. The movie stars the charismatic duo of Gal Gadot and Jamie Dornan, along with the talented Alia Bhatt and Jing Lusi, who collectively shine in this action-packed spectacle. – Yael Tygiel
The Fundamentals of Caring – 2016
Run Time: 1 hr 37 min | Genre: Drama Comedy | Director: Rob Burnett
Cast: Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts, Selena Gomez
The 2016 Netflix original film “The Fundamentals of Caring” is a hidden gem that I frequently recommend in any film conversation. Unfortunately, it remains relatively unknown to many, which is a real shame. Adapted from Jonathan Evison’s novel, “The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving,” and both written and directed by Rob Burnett, this heartwarming and charming dramedy takes viewers on a memorable road trip. The movie stars Paul Rudd as Ben Benjamin, an unemployed writer seeking purpose in life following an unimaginable tragedy. In an attempt to change his circumstances, Ben enrolls in a caregiving class and is assigned to care for Trevor, a cynical teenager with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, portrayed brilliantly by Craig Roberts.
What sets this film apart from the typical Paul Rudd comedy is its emphasis on vulnerability over humor. While Rudd does provide moments of humor, such as the memorable Slim Jim scene with Roberts in the car, much of the movie sees him embracing his more sensitive side. He gracefully navigates Trevor’s insults and takes on the role of a caregiver as they embark on a cross-country road trip.
During their journey, they encounter Dot, a kindred spirit with a sharp wit and an open mind, played beautifully by Selena Gomez. Just as these characters find solace in each other’s company, you’ll find solace in this movie. “The Fundamentals of Caring” truly epitomizes the concept of a hidden gem in the world of cinema. – Emilly Bernard, Features Editor
The Deepest Breath – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 46 min | Director: Laura McGann
Cast: Kristof Coenen, Sean Russel Herman, Stephen Keenan, Audrey Mestre
Experience the awe-inspiring power and expertise required for one of the most perilous and lethal aquatic extreme sports: freediving. “The Deepest Breath” offers insights into this sport and acquaints viewers with Alessia Zecchini, an Italian enthusiast whose ambition, passion, and skill are geared toward shattering records. The documentary leverages Zecchini’s familial and interpersonal connections to narrate her journey, complemented by archival footage and interviews with her confidant and safety diving expert, Stephen Keenan. – Yael Tygiel
They Cloned Tyrone – 2023
Run Time: 2 hr 2 min | Director: Juel Taylor
Cast: Jamie Foxx, John Boyega, Teyonah Parris
Taking inspiration from real government experiments conducted on the Black community in the United States, “They Cloned Tyrone” is a movie drenched in sharp satire amplified by its sheer absurdity. The film marks the feature directorial debut of Juel Taylor, known for his work on “Creed II,” and pays a delightful homage to the stylized charm of 1970s Blaxploitation cinema. Jamie Foxx (“Day Shift”), John Boyega (“Attack the Block”), and Teyonah Parris (“Candyman”) headline this exceptional cast, portraying a hustler, a pimp, and a sex worker. Their lives take an unexpected turn when they unwittingly stumble upon a vast and sinister government conspiracy unfolding just beneath the veneer of their neighborhood.
This retro-futuristic cinematic gem is a tapestry of existentialism and optimism, making it the ideal choice for a summer viewing. – Tauri Miller
WHAM! – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 32 min | Genre: Documentary, Music | Director: Chris Smith
Cast: George Michael, Andrew Ridgeley
“Filmmaker Chris Smith, known for his work on ‘Tiger King,’ takes us on a reflective journey through the enduring legacy of the iconic band WHAM! This documentary is a captivating blend of archival footage and insightful interviews that offer a comprehensive portrayal of the musical journeys of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley. The film delves into the early lives of these inseparable friends who would later join forces to create the beloved pop duo. It chronicles their remarkable ascent from aspiring teenagers to the pinnacle of their dreams, culminating in a historic performance at Wembley Stadium.
This documentary is a delightful voyage back to the vibrant pop scene of the 1980s, unearthing previously unrevealed perspectives on George Michael’s personal struggles as a gay man thrust into the limelight during the tumultuous era of the AIDS crisis.” – Tauri Miller
The Out-Laws – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 35 min | Genre: Comedy, Crime | Director: Tyler Spindel
Cast: Adam DeVine, Nina Dobrev, Pierce Brosnan, Ellen Barkin
“The Out-Laws” is an entertaining adventure that blends elements of “Meet the Parents” and “True Lies.” Adam DeVine, known for his role in “Workaholics,” and Nina Dobrev, famous for her performance in “Let’s Be Cops,” take the lead in this action-comedy. They portray the characters Owen and Parker, a couple whose wedding weekend takes an unexpected turn when Parker’s parents execute a heist on Owen’s bank. Unbeknownst to everyone, Parker’s parents, played by Pierce Brosnan of “Mamma Mia!” fame and Ellen Barkin from “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” are a notorious criminal duo known as the Ghost Bandits.
However, their latest robbery has consequences they didn’t foresee. It turns out they’ve stolen from the wrong person, and now, Parker finds herself in the clutches of a dangerous group of kidnappers. In a desperate bid to rescue Parker, the couple is forced to team up with Owen to pull off a series of bank heists, as it’s the only way to gather the ransom money needed to secure her release. “The Out-Laws” takes viewers on a thrilling and humorous journey as this unlikely trio embarks on a wild adventure to outsmart both the kidnappers and the law.
Nimona – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 41 min | Director: Nick Bruno, Troy Quane
Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Riz Ahmed, Eugene Lee Yang, Indya Moore
Adapted from the captivating graphic novel, Nimona emerges as a charming animated action-comedy film, brought to life under the co-direction of Nick Bruno and Troy Quane. Crafted with a screenplay by Robert L. Baird and Lloyd Taylor, Nimona enchants with a dynamic animation style, merging futuristic science-fiction elements with medieval aesthetics to create unexpectedly stunning landscapes.
Front and center, Chloë Grace Moretz lends her voice to the titular character, Nimona, a spirited and shape-shifting youth. Opposite her, Riz Ahmed voices Ballister Boldheart, a valiant knight wrongfully accused of a heinous crime. These two unlikely allies join forces, not only in pursuit of freedom but also in their growing bond, highlighting the themes of trust, love, and the essence of family.
Intriguingly, Nimona’s appeal extends beyond its fantastical universe. As our critic Marco Vito Oddo eloquently puts it, “While Nimona’s fantasy world is undeniably captivating, the true magic lies in its diverse array of characters. Regardless of their allegiances, none are pigeonholed into the roles of mere heroes or villains. As the credits roll, the audience gains insight into the motivations that drive each individual within Nimona’s enthralling narrative.” – Yael Tygiel
Extraction 2 – 2023
Run Time: 2 hrs 2 min | Genre: Action | Director: Sam Hargrave
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Golshifteh Farahani, Adam Bessa, Olga Kurylenko
Penned by Joe Russo, one of the masterminds behind Avengers: Endgame, and skillfully helmed by director Sam Hargrave, Extraction 2 marks an audacious assault on the senses. Overflowing with astonishing action sequences, an exceptional ensemble cast, and an exhilarating pace, this second installment in the captivating franchise showcases impeccable cinematography. Much of its two-hour runtime is dedicated to jaw-dropping, adrenaline-pumping stunts, executed with a finesse that sets it apart. Chris Hemsworth reprises his role as the fearless mercenary Tyler Rake, a character that made the first Extraction film an instant hit. Golshifteh Farahani also makes a triumphant return as Nik Khan, adding depth to the story. For those who relish the Jason Bourne series, Extraction 2 seamlessly immerses itself in the action thriller genre, refusing to hold back or compromise. – Yael Tygiel
A Man Called Otto – 2022
Run Time: 2 hr 6 min | Genre: Comedy, Drama | Director: Marc Forster
Cast: Tom Hanks, Mack Bayda, Mariana Treviño, Rachel Keller
Tom Hanks, known for his iconic role in “Cast Away,” takes the lead in this American adaptation of the Swedish film inspired by Fredrik Backman’s novel. The story revolves around a despondent elderly widower who embarks on a journey to rediscover the purpose of life, thanks to the persistent efforts of his neighbors. This film offers a fresh perspective on Hanks’ acting career, a departure from his typical nice-guy roles, as he delves into the depths of grief and hopelessness in a manner seldom explored by such a beloved actor. His transformation from a misanthropic individual resigned to reuniting with his late wife in the afterlife to a compassionate and reluctantly outgoing personality is truly heartwarming to witness.
The highlight of this emotional rollercoaster is undoubtedly Hanks’ interactions with Mariana Treviño, renowned for her role in “Club de Cuervos,” as Marisol. Their dynamic serves as the catalyst for the protagonist’s profound transformation, injecting a sense of authenticity and depth into the story. Hanks and Treviño’s on-screen chemistry is undeniably the driving force behind the film’s emotional resonance.
The Mother – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 57 min | Genre: Action Drama | Director: Niki Caro
Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Joseph Fiennes, Paul Raci, Gael García Bernal
“Jennifer Lopez delivers a powerhouse performance in The Mother, an adrenaline-fueled drama centered around a highly skilled military assassin on a mission to protect the daughter she had to part with. Directed by Niki Caro, known for her work on Mulan, The Mother features Gael García Bernal and Joseph Fiennes from The Handmaid’s Tale, who portray menacing antagonists, weaving a gripping narrative that evokes the best elements of both Taken and Hanna. What makes The Mother truly stand out is Jennifer Lopez, who seamlessly embodies a spectrum of emotions, from strength to vulnerability, love to passion, and grace amidst heart-pounding action sequences and daring stunts.” – Yael Tygiel
The Magician’s Elephant – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 39 min | Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family | Director: Wendy Rogers
Cast: Brian Tyree Henry, Natasia Demetriou, Mandy Patinkin, Benedict Wong
Adapted from Kate DiCamillo’s enchanting novel of the same title, “The Magician’s Elephant” unfolds as a tale of courage in the face of insurmountable odds. The story revolves around Peter, portrayed by Noah Jupe, a young orphan who finds himself under the spell of a fortune teller. This mysterious seer convinces Peter that his only path to reuniting with his sister lies in following a magical elephant.
Intrigued and hopeful, Peter embarks on a journey that demands extraordinary feats and unwavering determination to win the heart of this extraordinary pachyderm. Along the way, he forms bonds with a remarkable ensemble of characters, each brought to life by an exceptional cast of voice actors. Notable among these talents are Brian Tyree Henry, known for his role in “The Eternals,” Mandy Patinkin of “The Princess Bride” fame, and Benedict Wong, recognized for his portrayal of Wong in “Doctor Strange.”
“The Magician’s Elephant” weaves a whimsical and inspirational narrative that will undoubtedly captivate audiences with its heartwarming message of resilience in the face of the impossible.
Luther: The Fallen Sun – 2023
Run Time: 2 hr 9 min | Genre: Crime Drama, Mystery, Thriller | Director: Jamie Payne
Cast: Idris Elba, Cynthia Erivo, Andy Serkis
Idris Elba, known for his role in ‘The Suicide Squad,’ reprises his iconic character, John Luther, the unorthodox London detective who stops at nothing to catch his targets. Luther, at its core, has always drawn inspiration from the classic Sherlock Holmes archetype. In this upcoming film, set in the aftermath of the series, Luther encounters a formidable adversary in the form of the all-new character, David Robey, portrayed by the talented Andy Serkis, famous for his roles in ‘Lord of the Rings’ and other notable films.
‘Luther: The Fallen Sun’ takes full advantage of its substantial film budget, ensuring that fans can expect larger-than-life action sequences and an epic narrative that showcases the relentless determination of the London police force as they pursue Luther. Despite Luther’s escape from prison, he returns to the streets to capture a ruthless serial killer. For devoted followers of the Luther series, this movie marks the long-anticipated next chapter in the saga, promising to deliver the gripping thrills and suspense that we’ve all been eagerly awaiting. – Tauri Miller
Pamela: A Love Story – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 52 min | Genre: Documentary | Director: Ryan White
Cast: Pamela Anderson, Gregory Butler, Rob Bowman
Pamela Anderson is seizing the reins of her own narrative following the success of Hulu’s highly-praised limited series, “Pam & Tommy.” Collaborating with director Ryan White, she is set to unfold her life story through the documentary “Pamela: A Love Story.” This documentary, relayed in her own words, offers a nuanced exploration of Anderson’s transformation from an aspiring teenager into a global sex symbol, entangled in a notorious scandal. “Pamela: A Love Story” presents an unfiltered perspective, filled with a treasure trove of previously unreleased footage, personal home videos, diaries, and journals, providing an unvarnished glimpse into the trauma, aspirations, and the authentic human essence that lies beneath the facade of this iconic figure in popular culture. – Yael Tygiel
The Strays – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 40 min | Genre: Horror Thriller Mystery | Director: Nathaniel Martello-White
Cast: Ashley Madekwe, Jorden Myrie, Bukky Bakray, Michael Warburton, Caroline Martin
Nathaniel Martello-White both writes and directs “The Strays,” a captivating film that skillfully explores classism, privilege, and perception. Drawing comparisons to “Get Out,” this psychological drama unfolds in an idyllic suburban town. Ashley Madekwe stars as Neve, a woman with a carefully curated life built on lies, leading to a thrilling unraveling as she notices strangers disrupting her facade. – Yael Tygiel
Jung_E – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 39 min | Genre: Sci-Fi Action | Director: Yeon Sang-ho
Cast: Kang Soo-youn, Kim Hyun-joo, Ryu Kyung-soo
“Directed and penned by Yeon Sang-ho, Jung_E is an exquisitely crafted science-fiction/action masterpiece, unfolding in a harrowing depiction of the not-so-distant future. As Earth’s livability wanes, humanity finds refuge in space shelters, igniting a brutal conflict between the Allied Force and the Adrian Republic. Three and a half decades later, the pioneering tech giant, Kronoid, embarks on an audacious endeavor to clone the cerebral faculties of a revered Allied Forces mercenary, giving birth to an AI incarnation of the Captain with a mission to salvage the human race. Kang Soo-yeon delivers an unforgettable swan song performance in her final film role before her passing, sharing the screen with the talented Kim Hyun-joo and Ryu Kyung-soo, who complete the ensemble of this captivating cinematic creation.” – Yael Tygiel
You People – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 57 min | Genre: Comedy Romance | Director: Kenya Barris
Cast: Jonah Hill, Lauren London, Eddie Murphy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus
“Under the direction of Kenya Barris, known for his work on ‘Black-ish,’ Jonah Hill takes the lead in ‘You People,’ a riotous comedy that delves into themes of race, family, and cultural clashes. Barris and Hill teamed up to co-write the screenplay for this uproarious film. Joining Hill in the cast are none other than comedy legends Eddie Murphy, of ‘Coming 2 America’ fame, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, recognized for her role in ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.’ Together, they deliver stellar performances in ‘You People,’ a story that offers diverse perspectives on universal themes, with a focus on progress and the differences between generations.
The film boasts a star-studded ensemble, including Nia Long, Lauren London, and David Duchovny. In ‘You People,’ the narrative heavily relies on the on-screen talent to provide the humor, making it a romantic comedy centered around the dynamics of families. Directed by Kenya Barris and featuring this exceptional cast, ‘You People’ is a comedic take on the complexities of modern family life.” – Yael Tygiel
Dog Gone – 2023
Run Time: 1 hr 35 min | Genre: Biography Drama | Director: Stephen Herek
Cast: Rob Lowe, Johnny Berchtold, Kimberly Williams-Paisley
“Starring Rob Lowe, ‘Dog Gone’ unfolds as a heartwarming family drama that revolves around a cherished pet dog. When this furry friend unexpectedly disappears, it serves as the catalyst for a life-altering journey for a young man and his parents, who set out to find their beloved canine companion in a race against time due to the need for life-saving medication. Inspired by a true story documented in Pauls Toutonghi’s book, the film ‘Dog Gone’ delves into the heart of a strained father-son relationship.
Renowned director Stephen Herek, known for his work on ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,’ skillfully captures the gradual and deliberate process of rekindling the familial bond. This transformation is poignantly mirrored in their arduous trek along the Appalachian Trail.” – Yael Tygiel
The Pale Blue Eye – 2022
Run Time: 2 hrs 8 min | Genre: Thriller Horror Mystery | Director: Scott Cooper
Cast: Christian Bale, Harry Melling, Lucy Boynton, Gillian Anderson
Directed by Scott Cooper, known for ‘Crazy Heart,’ ‘The Pale Blue Eye’ is a chilling thriller adapted from Louis Bayard’s novel. It reunites Cooper with Christian Bale, star of ‘Thor: Love and Thunder.’ In this 1830s tale, Bale plays a retired detective investigating a perplexing murder at West Point Academy. What sets this film apart is its fusion of horror and mystery elements. Cooper’s clever use of color and shadows adds to the suspense. Critics, like Maggie Lovitt, praise the film, suggesting it’s one of Cooper’s best historical works, with a distinct melancholic undertone reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe’s Virginia.
White Noise – 2022
Run Time: 2 hrs 16 min | Genre: Absurdist Comedy Drama | Director: Noah Baumbach
Cast: Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig, Don Cheadle
Crafted for the silver screen and helmed by Noah Baumbach, White Noise derives its source material from Don DeLillo’s novel. Noah Baumbach deftly executes a remarkable balancing act with White Noise, a cinematic creation that has been characterized as both a dark comedy and a harrowing mystery. It can be seen as an exploration of profound philosophical queries, much like the themes addressed by the absurdist film genre, particularly the pursuit of joy in an increasingly uncertain society. The film features the talents of the highly adaptable Adam Driver (known for House of Gucci) and Greta Gerwig (famous for Barbie) as a captivatingly ordinary American couple grappling with existential unease born from universal truths. In White Noise, these versatile actors find a sturdy platform upon which to showcase their skills. – Yael Tygiel
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery – 2022
Run Time: 2 hrs 19 min | Genre: Mystery | Director: Rian Johnson
Cast: Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Kate Hudson, Kathryn Hahn, Janelle Monáe
Rian Johnson’s latest film, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” features Daniel Craig reprising his role as investigator Benoit Blanc. Set in Greece, the film boasts an all-star cast including Edward Norton, Kate Hudson, and Kathryn Hahn. With intricate plot twists and clever humor, it surpasses “Knives Out,” according to critic Ross Bonaime. Johnson’s mastery of the genre and the charismatic cast make it a must-see.
The Power of the Dog – 2021
Director: Jane Campion | Genre: Western Drama | Run Time: 2 hr 6 min
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee
“The Power of the Dog” is a deliberately paced and cunning film that gradually reveals its emotional depth through subtle, measured glimpses of tenderness concealed beneath a veneer of grit, cruelty, and crudity. The story unfolds in 1920s Montana and features Benedict Cumberbatch in one of his most outstanding performances as Phil Burbank, a gruff and embittered cowboy who harbors an immediate disdain for his brother’s (Jesse Plemons) new wife, Rose (Kirsten Dunst). Similarly, Rose’s son, Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee), develops a strong aversion to Phil, as he is determined to shield his mother, setting the stage for a captivating exploration of nuanced power dynamics and evolving relationships within this contentious new family.
Like all of Jane Campion’s films, “The Power of the Dog” offers viewers a visual feast with its exquisite cinematography, presenting poignant glimpses into the vulnerability of the human experience. However, it’s important to note that the film also challenges its audience with its often caustic examination of the enduring impact of toxicity. This is not your typical Neo-western, so those expecting dramatic standoffs or shootouts may be disappointed. Nonetheless, “The Power of the Dog” delivers a profound and lasting impact, striking the viewer with a final blow that resonates long after the credits roll. – Haleigh Foutch
Prisoners – 2013
Run Time: 2 hr 33 min | Genre: Thriller Crime | Director: Dennis Villeneuve
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Melissa Leo, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard
Dennis Villeneuve made his English language film debut with a cinematic masterpiece reminiscent of the likes of “Seven” or “Zodiac.” “Prisoners” stands as one of Villeneuve’s most underappreciated works. This film is an immersive experience, akin to donning a waterlogged coat, as it propels us forward through a web of dramatic reactions from characters caught in the enigmatic haze of a child abduction thriller.
Outstanding performances, a melancholic musical score, and a perpetually rainy atmosphere converge to solidify the film’s somber and heavy ambiance. Jake Gyllenhaal takes on the role of Detective Loki, a meticulous investigator striving to connect the dots between long-cold cases, missing children, and a lifeless body. Meanwhile, Hugh Jackman and Terrence Howard transform into two men teetering on the brink of desperation as they take matters into their own hands, believing that the enigmatic Alex Jones (played by Paul Dano) is responsible for the disappearance of their daughters.
“Prisoners” delves deep into the dark realms of faith, determination, and morality, painting a haunting portrait of a community pushed to its emotional limits. The film offers little solace from the shadows that shroud the world of its characters, with each scene intensifying the mystery and heartache surrounding the disappearance of the two young children.
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio – 2022
Run Time: 1 hr 57 min | Genre: Fantasy Musical | Director: Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson
Cast: Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Gregory Mann
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio stands out as a stunning interpretation of the timeless fairytale. This cinematic masterpiece, born out of the director’s profound affinity for fantastical creatures, showcases Guillermo del Toro’s remarkable artistry, alongside the co-direction of Mark Gustafson, renowned for his work on “The PJs.” The duo’s collaborative effort brings to life an enchanting stop-motion rendition of the beloved story.
In line with del Toro’s characteristic style, Pinocchio ventures into the darker corners of the narrative world, even when exploring its most whimsical aspects. This artistic expression, conveyed through the mesmerizing medium of claymation, unfolds the heartfelt journey of Geppetto, an Italian woodcarver grappling with grief. Voiced by the talented David Bradley, known for his role in Game of Thrones, Geppetto’s fervent wish magically animates his wooden marionette.
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is a captivating reinterpretation of a classic tale, fusing his penchant for the mysterious and eerie with the magic of stop-motion animation. This cinematic venture promises to be a must-see for those who appreciate the director’s unique creative vision.
Do Revenge – 2022
Director: Jennifer Kaytin Robinson | Genre: Teen Comedy | Run Time: 1 hr 58 min
Cast: Camila Mendes, Maya Hawke
This is the quintessential embodiment of teenage comedy fantasies. Featuring Camila Mendes from Riverdale and Maya Hawke, the breakout star from Stranger Things, Do Revenge presents an unlikely bond between the fallen popular girl, Drea (played by Mendes), and the new student, Eleanor (brought to life by Hawke). Betrayed by former friends and exes, the two concoct a masterful scheme: to assist each other in exacting revenge. With unexpected twists in the storyline, razor-sharp humor, a soundtrack that’ll leave you in awe, and not to forget, some epic cameo appearances by Sarah Michelle Gellar and Sophie Turner, this film solidifies its place as a defining work of its generation, reminiscent of classics like Heathers and Mean Girls.
“Critic Emily Bernard passionately exclaimed, ‘Prepare for major plot twists, unbridled outbursts, and witty banter that will keep you engaged from start to finish, all set against a backdrop of vibrant credits.’ – Taylor Gates
If Beale Street Could Talk – 2018
Director: Barry Jenkins | Genre: Romance Drama | Run Time: 1 hr 59 min
Cast: KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Regina King, Teyonah Parris
Barry Jenkins’ exceptional work, “If Beale Street Could Talk,” is a cinematic gem that undoubtedly deserves more recognition and appreciation. This film, an adaptation of James Baldwin‘s acclaimed novel of the same name, is a graceful homage to the literary giant’s legacy. Not only does it offer a visually stunning cinematic experience, but it also pulsates with compassion for its characters as they navigate the challenges of coexisting.
Set against the backdrop of 1970s Harlem, the story revolves around Tish, portrayed by the talented KiKi Layne, who is on the brink of welcoming a child with her fiancé, the artist Alonzo Hunt, played by Stephan James. As they weave dreams of a shared future, their aspirations are cruelly shattered when Alonzo is wrongfully arrested for a crime he did not commit. “If Beale Street Could Talk” is a poignant exploration of the tragedies that can befall ordinary lives, and both Layne and James deliver outstanding performances that resonate in every scene.
Moreover, the film boasts an exceptional supporting cast, including Regina King, who earned an Oscar for her role as Tish’s mother, and Coleman Domingo as Tish’s father. This ensemble of talented actors turns the film into a veritable acting masterclass, ensuring a remarkable and unforgettable cinematic journey from start to finish. – Chase Hutchinson
When Harry Met Sally… – 1989
Director: Rob Reiner I Genre: Romance Comedy I Run Time: 1 hr 35 mins
Cast: Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher, Bruno Kirby
Fall has arrived, and you know what that brings? The timeless tale of two individuals, as dissimilar as can be, embarking on a journey from disdain to affection, back to disdain, and ultimately, to love. “When Harry Met Sally…” features the iconic duo of Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, gracing the screen in one of the most beloved romantic comedies ever made. Harry and Sally’s paths serendipitously cross in their 20s and continue intertwining into their 30s, with each encounter marked by animosity, until the pangs of heartbreak lead them to an unexpected friendship.
Their bond flourishes as they commiserate over their tumultuous love lives, even playing matchmaker for their respective best friends. Throughout the film, they remain blissfully ignorant or intentionally dismissive of the fact that they might just be perfect for each other. And let’s not forget the unforgettable scene at Katz’s Delicatessen – an orgasmic moment that’s etched in cinematic history. Nora Ephron gifted us a love story that remains timeless and nuanced, still resonating with audiences three decades later.
The addition of the exceptional supporting cast, including the late Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby, elevates this film to the status of a true classic. Set against the backdrop of New York City’s vibrant fall foliage, “When Harry Met Sally…” is essential viewing for the autumn season. – Emma Kiely
The Nice Guys – 2016
Director: Shane Black | Genre: Action Comedy | Run Time: 1 hr 56 min
Cast: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer
In the realm of cinematic mining, writer/director Shane Black has undeniably established himself as the sovereign of electrifying neo-noir. Within ‘The Nice Guys,’ we embark on a journey with private investigator Holland March, portrayed by the charismatic Ryan Gosling, and the formidable enforcer Jackson Healy, brought to life by Russell Crowe, as they join forces to delve into the enigma surrounding the vanishing of a young woman, portrayed by Margaret Qualley. Yet, what truly distinguishes this film is Black’s ingenious manipulation of genre conventions and cinematic clichés, persistently subverting our expectations. Gosling’s comedic prowess in this film reaches unprecedented heights, leaving audiences in stitches. In an alternate reality, ‘The Nice Guys’ might have emerged as a colossal blockbuster, spawning a remarkable comic book franchise. However, in the world we inhabit, this cinematic gem remains our sole treasure, allowing us to savor the thrilling escapades of March and Healy. – Matt Goldberg
Tick, Tick… Boom! – 2012
Director: Lin-Manuel Miranda | Genre: Drama Musical Biography | Run Time: 1 hr 55 min
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesús
Lin-Manuel Miranda, the mastermind behind Hamilton and In the Heights, takes the director’s chair for the much-anticipated film adaptation of Johnathan Larson’s Tick, Tick… Boom! This cinematic rendition stands as an exceptional musical, paying homage not only to the world of theater but also to Larson and his poignant story of fleeting genius. Miranda’s connection to the material is profound, and his directorial debut is nothing short of remarkable. His own award-winning creation, Hamilton, shares the theme of capturing the beauty and tragedy of short-lived genius, making him a perfect match for this project.
Miranda’s personal connection to Tick, Tick… Boom! runs deep. He has openly expressed how the show influenced and inspired him as a creator, even having previously performed in a production of the musical. Andrew Garfield, who portrays Johnathan Larson, seamlessly slips into the role and delivers a performance that is both vocally impressive and emotionally compelling. His portrayal will carry you on a journey through the highs of artistic excellence, only to later break your heart in the most poignant way.
The film is a beautiful adaptation of Larson’s brilliant work, whether you’re a fan of Andrew Garfield, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Johnathan Larson, or simply a theater enthusiast. It serves as a touching tribute to those who wholeheartedly embrace ambition, ardently love the art of performance, and believe in its transformative power.
Film critic Matt Goldberg aptly captured the essence of Tick, Tick… Boom!, stating, “With Andrew Garfield giving a stunning performance at the film’s center, Tick, Tick… Boom! is a captivating tribute to an artist working to discover his voice.” Haleigh Foutch’s sentiment still holds true, and this cinematic masterpiece is a testament to the enduring quest for artistic self-discovery.
I’m Thinking of Ending Things – 2020
Director: Charlie Kaufman | Genre: Thriller Horror | Run Time: 2 hr 14 min
Cast: Jessie Buckley, Jesse Plemons, Toni Collette, David Thewlis
Charlie Kaufman is no stranger to crafting films that leave your mind feeling like it’s unraveling, much like his earlier work in his directorial debut “Synecdoche, New York,” or his unforgettable screenplays for “Being John Malkovich” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” In “I’m Thinking of Ending Things,” Kaufman takes on the challenge of adapting Iain Reid’s novel of the same name, where the story revolves around Jake (portrayed by Jesse Plemons) inviting his girlfriend (played by Jessie Buckley) to meet his parents, portrayed by Toni Collette and David Thewlis. However, in true Kaufman fashion, this narrative is anything but straightforward.
“I’m Thinking of Ending Things” unfolds as a perplexing, surreal, and unforgettable cinematic journey unlike any other. By the time the credits roll, this film solidifies itself as one of the most audacious and towering accomplishments in Kaufman’s illustrious career, and that’s no small feat. — Ross Bonaime
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – 2020
Director: George C. Wolfe | Genre: Drama Music | Run Time: 1 hr 34 min
Cast: Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo
The 2020 movie “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” serves as a remarkable showcase for the remarkable acting talents of its ensemble, notably Chadwick Boseman in his final live-action role. Adapted from the eponymous stage play, the film unfolds a single day in the life of the legendary recording artist Ma Rainey, as she gathers her team to record a fresh album on a scorching summer day in 1927. Emotions run high, and the exchanges sizzle with intensity among the diverse cast of characters. As Boseman’s trumpeter aspires to make it big on his own, he clashes with the mercurial Ma Rainey, who possesses a profound understanding of the challenges that lie ahead. This cinematic gem is a masterclass in performance-driven drama. – Adam Chitwood
The Good Nurse – 2022
Director: Tobias Lindholm | Genre: Drama | Run Time: 2 hr 1 min
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Eddie Redmayne, Noah Emmerich, Nnamdi Asomugha, Kim Dickens
Tobias Lindholm’s compelling film “The Good Nurse,” based on a true story, delves into the depths of human darkness while simultaneously emphasizing the power of compassion. In this gripping narrative, Jessica Chastain takes on the role of Amy Loughren, a nurse grappling with a life-threatening heart condition. Her life takes an intriguing turn when she crosses paths with the hospital’s newest nurse, Charlie Cullen, portrayed by Eddie Redmayne. A unique bond quickly forms between them.
As a series of enigmatic deaths sends shockwaves through the hospital, Amy becomes increasingly suspicious of Charlie’s involvement in these tragic incidents. Determined to uncover the truth, she embarks on a quest to unravel the unsettling mysteries that shroud the hospital’s corridors. Chastain’s portrayal of the compassionate nurse is nothing short of outstanding, while Redmayne’s performance is nothing short of chilling, as he embodies the potential for a concealed malevolence. When these two talented actors share the screen, they create a captivating dichotomy between humanity and indifference.
In “The Good Nurse,” Lindholm masterfully crafts a cinematic experience that will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression. The film has the power to crawl beneath your skin, making you ponder the thin line that separates good from evil. It serves as a poignant reminder of the remarkable individuals who choose to see the best in others, even in the face of darkness and despair.
The Lost Daughter – 2021
Director: Maggie Gyllenhaal | Genre: Psychological Drama | Run Time: 2 hr 1 min
Cast: Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson, Jessie Buckley
Maggie Gyllenhaal, in her directorial debut, adeptly navigates a delicate narrative balancing act in “The Lost Daughter,” a film that revolves around the life of Leda Caruso, portrayed by Olivia Colman. Leda embarks on a vacation to Greece, where she observes a young mother, Nina (played by Dakota Johnson), tending to her child. This seemingly simple moment triggers a profound reflection in Leda, bringing her own past struggles with motherhood to the forefront.
Drawing inspiration from Elena Ferrante’s eponymous novel, Gyllenhaal masterfully brings to life a lead character who possesses a complexity that could easily be misconstrued as selfishness. However, both Gyllenhaal and Colman unite to present Leda as an intricate and profoundly multifaceted personality. “The Lost Daughter” not only showcases another remarkable performance by Colman but also serves as an exceptional introduction to Maggie Gyllenhaal as a commanding and talented filmmaker. – Ross Bonaime
The Fear Street Trilogy – 2021
Director: Leigh Janiak | Genre: Horror | Run Time: 5 hr 30 min
Cast: Kiana Madeira, Olivia Scott Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr., Sadie Sink
Undoubtedly one of Netflix’s finest original series, the Fear Street trilogy is a must-watch. Based on R.L. Stine’s books, it weaves three interconnected horror movies. It kicks off with “Fear Street: 1994,” followed by “Fear Street: 1978,” and concludes with “Fear Street: 1666.” Each film brings a fresh twist to the slasher genre while maintaining a cohesive storyline. Perfect for a gripping Friday night date. – Adam Chitwood
The Mitchells vs. the Machines – 2021
Director: Mike Rianda | Genre: Comedy Adventure | Run Time: 1 hr 54 min
Cast: Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph
“The Mitchells vs. the Machines stands tall as an extraordinary animated family comedy. This cinematic gem, brought to life by the creative talents of Phil Lord and Chris Miller and skillfully crafted by Sony Pictures Animation, takes its audience on an unforgettable journey. The film revolves around the heartwarming story of a father and daughter bonding during a road trip, all while the world faces a relentless robot apocalypse.
What sets this film apart is its remarkable ability to strike a perfect balance between heartfelt, emotional moments that resonate deeply and a visual spectacle that pushes the boundaries of artistic expression, courtesy of director Mike Rianda. The result is a breathtaking, visually vibrant masterpiece that captivates the eyes and the heart.
Yet, it’s not just a visual treat; “The Mitchells vs. the Machines” is a comedic powerhouse. Its humor, reminiscent of the colorful wit found in Lord and Miller’s other hits like “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” guarantees a rollercoaster ride of laughter and a few poignant tears. In 2021, this film unquestionably stands as one of the year’s cinematic triumphs.” – Adam Chitwood
Oblivion – 2013
Director: Joseph Kosinski | Genre: Action | Run Time: 2 hr 4 min
Cast: Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Morgan Freeman
My admiration for the 2013 science fiction movie Oblivion has continued to grow with time. At the very least, it remains a visual delight, thanks to the keen eye for production design exhibited by director Joseph Kosinski, who had previously directed TRON: Legacy. When combined with the exceptional musical score provided by M83, it transforms into a truly captivating cinematic experience for a leisurely Sunday afternoon. The storyline of the film revolves around a technician portrayed by Tom Cruise, who finds himself on a planet devastated by alien forces and stumbles upon a profound revelation about his own existence and the beliefs he’s been led to hold. If you happened to miss this cinematic gem during its theatrical run, I strongly recommend giving it a watch, especially considering that Cruise and Kosinski have once again joined forces for the Oscar-nominated Top Gun: Maverick. — Matt Goldberg
Enola Holmes – 2020
Director: Harry Bradbeer | Genre: Mystery Crime | Run Time: 2 hr 3 min
Cast: Millie Bobby Brown, Louis Partridge, Henry Cavill
“Enola Holmes” stands out as one of the most delightful Netflix original films to grace the platform. Adapted from Nancy Springer’s book series of the same title, this period mystery revolves around the youngest Holmes sibling, Enola, portrayed by the talented Millie Bobby Brown. Raised in near isolation by her single mother, her life takes an unexpected turn when she awakens to discover her mother’s mysterious disappearance. Driven by determination, Enola embarks on a clandestine journey into the heart of London to unravel the enigma.
The movie is a captivating blend of thrilling detective work and a heartwarming exploration of the mother-daughter relationship, interwoven with powerful feminist undertones. “Enola Holmes” thoughtfully delves into the challenges of being a woman in a predominantly male world, seamlessly weaving these themes into the fabric of the narrative. Millie Bobby Brown delivers one of her standout performances, and Henry Cavill’s portrayal of Sherlock Holmes adds another layer of charm to the film.
As the credits roll, you’ll find yourself yearning for more Enola Holmes adventures, eagerly hoping for Netflix to produce a series of sequels. Notably, film critic Matt Goldberg lauds the movie, remarking, “In an age where PG adventure films are a rare breed, ‘Enola Holmes’ shines as one of the finest. Its plotting is masterful, its characters endearing, the adventure itself is exhilarating, and the direction is impeccable.”
In summary, “Enola Holmes” is a must-watch that combines the excitement of a mystery thriller with a heartwarming exploration of family and feminism, leaving you craving for more of Enola’s escapades.
Mank – 2020
Director: David Fincher | Genre: Drama | Run Time: 2 hr 11 min
Cast: Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins
“Let it be known, Mank may primarily resonate with cinephiles or individuals who possess a deep appreciation for the golden age of Hollywood. Nevertheless, if this cinematic realm aligns with your tastes, you’re in for a treat. Mank marks filmmaker David Fincher’s inaugural foray into the realm of Netflix originals, and he appears to revel in the artistic freedom that accompanies his portrayal of the historical events that fueled the creation of the screenplay for Citizen Kane. Gary Oldman takes on the role of Herman J. Mankiewicz, a Hollywood screenwriter known for his alcohol-fueled endeavors and script doctoring, who makes the audacious decision to craft his magnum opus with Citizen Kane.
Throughout the film, we are given a glimpse into the various sources of inspiration that weaved in and out of Mank’s life, revealing a deep admiration for a screenwriter who, for the most part, remained indifferent to receiving credit for his work—until the advent of Kane. The production quality is nothing short of exceptional, as Fincher meticulously sculpts a visually striking black-and-white masterpiece that effortlessly transports viewers to the cinematic aesthetics of 1941, complete with authentic soundscapes.” – Adam Chitwood
Hunt for the Wilderpeople – 2016
Director: Taika Waititi | Genre: Adventure Comedy | Run Time: 1 hr 41 min
Cast: Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rhys Darby
“If you’re a Taika Waititi fan craving more of his signature humor, then you mustn’t miss his film “Hunt for the Wilderpeople.” This movie hit theaters just before Waititi’s remarkable venture into the world of “Thor: Ragnarok,” and his unique brand of humor infuses every scene of this unconventional buddy comedy with a touch of fantasy.
The plot revolves around a cantankerous man portrayed by Sam Neill, who reluctantly joins forces with a foul-mouthed child, played by Julian Dennison. Together, they find themselves on the run, pursued through the untamed wilderness of New Zealand. It’s undeniably side-splitting, but what truly sets this film apart is its heartwarming element, as it beautifully portrays the unexpected bond that forms between these two outsiders.
For aficionados of Taika Waititi’s distinct humor and his knack for infusing heart into his work, “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” is a cinematic gem that shouldn’t be missed. —Adam Chitwood
13th – 2016
Director: Ava DuVernay | Genre: Documentary | Run Time: 1 hr 40 min
Ava DuVernay, following her acclaimed film Selma, presents a searing documentary that examines the mass incarceration of minorities post-13th Amendment. Beyond cultural racism, the film uncovers a financial incentive in the incarceration industry. 13th takes us through the decades, revealing how media, government, and businesses have targeted black communities, effectively creating a new form of slavery. This thought-provoking documentary aims to incite action against a harmful system. – Matt Goldberg
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga – 2020
Director: David Dobkin | Genre: Comedy Musical | Run Time: 2 hr 3 min
Cast: Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Pierce Brosnan, Dan Stevens, and Demi Lovato
“If you’re anticipating Eurovision to be a zany Will Ferrell comedy, well, you’re on the right track. Released in 2020, this film was born from an original concept by Ferrell. While it consistently delivers uproarious humor, it also navigates towards a surprisingly poignant conclusion that may well tug at your heartstrings. Ferrell and Rachel McAdams portray a pair of Icelandic musicians who daringly throw their hats into the Eurovision Song Contest ring. However, an uproarious twist of fate propels them into the final round. As decidedly average musicians, they find themselves grappling to maintain their friendship while striving to make their country proud on the global stage.
The film boasts genuinely infectious songs, spot-on comedic moments, and an innate charm that makes you genuinely root for these endearing misfits as they approach the grand finale. Eurovision: The Story of Fire Saga is a delightful surprise that keeps the laughter coming.” – Adam Chitwood
Da 5 Bloods – 2020
Director: Spike Lee | Genre: War Drama | Run Time: 2 hr 34 min
Cast: Delroy Lindo, Clarke Peters, Isiah Whitlock Jr.
Spike Lee’s 2020 film, “Da 5 Bloods,” takes a bold approach to the Vietnam War narrative. It follows four Vietnam War veterans who return to Vietnam in search of their squad leader’s remains and a hidden cache of gold. Lee’s storytelling primarily focuses on the enduring impact of the war on Black Americans and how they were abandoned by their country. The film’s standout element is Delroy Lindo’s powerful performance as a Trump-supporting father grappling with his trauma. “Da 5 Bloods” offers a fresh perspective on the Vietnam War and a poignant exploration of its lasting consequences, making it a must-see film that bridges history and contemporary relevance.
Crip Camp – 2020
Director: Nicole Newnham and Jim Lebrecht | Genre: Documentary | Run Time: 1 hr 42 min
The initial collaboration between renowned executive producers Michelle and Barack Obama with Netflix resulted in the Oscar-winning documentary “American Factory.” Their follow-up, “Crip Camp,” proves to be equally exceptional, if not surpassing its predecessor. This documentary sheds light on the remarkable individuals who dedicated the majority of their adult lives to championing fundamental human rights. Many of them once shared a transformative experience at Camp Jened, a camp designed for individuals with disabilities in the 1970s. The film commences with incredible archival footage from this transformative camp, but it then delves into the journeys of the people introduced in the documentary as they spend the ensuing decades deeply involved in activism. Their mission: to push for legislative changes that would make the world more accessible for individuals with disabilities.
This documentary captures a fight that should never have been necessary, making it both an inspiring and maddening exploration of how relentlessly these individuals had to strive for even the slightest modicum of change. The narrative is a testament to their unwavering dedication and tireless efforts to create a more inclusive world, proving that the struggle for basic human rights is a battle worth fighting. – Adam Chitwood
The Irishman – 2019
Director: Martin Scorsese | Genre: Crime Drama | Run Time: 3 hr 29 min
Cast: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci
Martin Scorsese’s monumental film, The Irishman, though spanning over three hours, effortlessly engages the viewer, and its extended duration serves a distinct purpose. This crime saga unravels the intricate life of Frank Sheeran, a prominent figure in the Teamsters and a prolific hitman, tracing his journey from his early mob affiliations to his ultimate moments on this mortal coil. Employing state-of-the-art digital de-aging technology, the film permits Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci to portray their characters across various epochs. What initially presents itself as a spirited gangster tale reminiscent of Scorsese’s Goodfellas soon evolves into a contemplation on the profound themes of existence and mortality.
The weight of Sheeran’s actions gradually descends upon him like an inexorable burden during the film’s climactic hour, prompting him to reflect on the true purpose of his life’s tumultuous journey. One important piece of advice, however, is to immerse yourself in this cinematic odyssey in a single sitting, if possible. The film’s measured pace contributes to an overwhelming emotional crescendo by the conclusion, leaving a lasting impression on the audience. — Adam Chitwood
Dolemite Is My Name – 2019
Director: Craig Brewer | Genre: Drama Comedy | Run Time: 1 hr 57 min
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Wesley Snipes, Da’Vine Joy Randolph
If you find yourself reminiscing about the golden era of Eddie Murphy, then his 2019 film Dolemite Is My Name is a must-watch. Inspired by the real-life experiences of Rudy Ray Moore, the movie chronicles the journey of a comedian who seizes control of his fate by single-handedly crafting, directing, and starring in a shoestring-budget production based on one of his original stand-up personas. Blending the essence of a captivating Hollywood insider narrative, a platform for Murphy’s prowess, and a poignant account of the trials and tribulations of creative pursuit, this film serves as a true wellspring of motivation. Nevertheless, it is Murphy’s performance that truly steals the spotlight, as he delivers a multi-dimensional portrayal of the titular character with sheer brilliance.” – Adam Chitwood.
Miss Americana – 2020
Director: Lana Wilson | Genre: Documentary | Run Time: 1 hr 25 min
The Taylor Swift Netflix documentary Miss Americana might not meet your initial expectations. While it does delve into Swift’s professional journey, the heart of the documentary revolves around an icon’s personal exploration within the public sphere. As viewers, we witness Swift’s feminist awakening unfold, showcasing a remarkable evolution. Surprisingly intimate, the film has the power to reshape your perception of Swift by its conclusion. – Adam Chitwood
Roma – 2018
Director: Alfonso Cuarón | Genre: Drama | Run Time: 2 hr 15 min
Cast: Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, Fernando Grediaga
Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma stands as a captivating masterpiece. Drawing from his own experiences, the acclaimed director of Gravity and Children of Men delves into the depths of his soul to craft this poignant period drama. Set against the backdrop of 1970s Mexico City, the narrative unfolds through the lens of Cleo, a devoted domestic worker. Through Cuarón’s masterful storytelling, the disintegration of a middle-class family takes center stage, with the audience positioned as impartial witnesses to the unfolding tragedy.
As the storyline progresses, the audience is inexorably drawn into the emotional intricacies of the characters’ lives, making the viewing experience increasingly poignant. Renowned critic Adam Chitwood lauds the film as one of Cuarón’s finest works, highlighting the meticulous craftsmanship evident in every frame. He describes the film’s progression as a gradual crescendo, building up to a climactic wave that engulfs the viewer in its emotional intensity. Roma embodies the pinnacle of exquisite filmmaking on a grand scale, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of its audience.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail – 1975
Director: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones | Genre: Comedy Fantasy | Run Time: 1 hr 29 min
Cast: John Cleese, Eric Idle, Graham Chapman
The classic 1975 film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, stands out as one of the most memorable and endlessly quotable movies of all time, appealing to audiences of all generations. The renowned comedy troupe Monty Python delivers a hilarious rendition of King Arthur’s pursuit of the Holy Grail, expertly orchestrated by directors Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones. Their playful approach to the production design strikes a balance between Hollywood’s grandeur and outright absurdity, resulting in a film that remains a timeless favorite. If you’re a fan of light-hearted, whimsical comedies, this one is definitely worth a watch. – Adam Chitwood
Knock Down the House – 2019
Director: Rachel Lears | Genre: Documentary | Run Time: 1 hr 26 min
Rachel Lears’ documentary Knock Down the House transcends the typical right-left political divide, even with the prominent presence of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. Rather, it serves as a compelling narrative highlighting the struggles of grassroots leaders as they challenge the established political powers. Alongside Ocasio-Cortez, the film dedicates attention to other determined female politicians, all in the pursuit of victory in their respective primary battles. Knock Down the House truly shines when it delves into the unglamorous yet relentless grind of campaigning, providing an authentic portrayal of the challenges and triumphs that come with building a political movement. It’s a must-see for those disheartened by the predictability of traditional politics. – Matt Goldberg
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – 2018
Director: Joel and Ethan Coen | Genre: Western Drama | Run Time: 2 hr 12 min
Cast: Tim Blake Nelson, Tyne Daly, James Franco, Brendan Gleeson
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs stands as a distinctive piece in the Coen Brothers’ repertoire, deviating from their usual cinematic style. This Western anthology follows in the thematic footsteps of their prior works such as No Country for Old Men and True Grit, yet ventures even further into the realm of exaggerated storytelling with its collection of six unique tales, each with its own tone. Despite their differences, every story grapples with the weighty concepts of mortality and demise, ultimately converging in a concluding chapter that truly underscores the underlying essence of the entire narrative. Throughout the film, viewers are treated to a parade of renowned actors, who effortlessly infuse the Coens’ trademark dry humor with an infectious energy. Additionally, the remarkable cinematography by Bruno Delbonnell commands attention with its bold and striking visuals. As you step into the theater, you might anticipate a lighthearted adventure, but as the credits roll, you’ll likely find yourself contemplating profound themes. In essence, it encapsulates the quintessential Coen Brothers movie experience. – Adam Chitwood
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – 2018
Director: Susan Johnson | Genre: Romance Drama | Run Time: 1 hr 39 min
Cast: Lana Condor, Janel Parrish, Anna Cathcart, Noah Centineo
For an uplifting dose of youthful romance, look no further than To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before on Netflix. Adapted from Jenny Han’s novel, the movie revolves around Lara Jean (played by Lana Condor), a teenager whose world turns upside down when five love letters she penned in secret are mysteriously dispatched. As her former crush Peter (Noah Centineo) resurfaces, Lara Jean worries about jeopardizing her current infatuation with Josh (Israel Broussard). Consequently, a pact is made between Lara Jean and Peter to feign a relationship, a ploy aimed at securing their desired partners. Predictably, the make-believe romance gradually blossoms into genuine affection. The film captivates from its opening moments, evoking the nostalgia of a time when the approval of a crush was paramount, all while sidestepping the typical high school drama. –Matt Goldberg”
Private Life – 2018
Director: Tamara Jenkins | Genre: Drama | Run Time: 2 hr 7 min
Cast: Kathryn Hahn, Paul Giamatti, Kayli Carter
In the compelling narrative of Private Life, directed by Tamara Jenkins, viewers are immersed in the tumultuous journey of a couple struggling to conceive, facing a tumult of frustration and anxiety. Despite the challenging subject matter, the film deftly retains a deep sense of humanity and even injects moments of unexpected comedy. Paul Giamatti and Kathryn Hahn deliver a poignant portrayal of Richard and Rachel Biegler, a couple in their late 40s, fervently yearning for a child. Despite enduring the exhaustive rigors of fertility treatments, their dreams remain elusive.
When the realization dawns that their only hope lies in finding an egg donor, the couple decides to turn to someone they know. Enter Sadie, their wayward niece, played by Kayli Carter, a well-intentioned yet slightly flighty young woman in her mid-20s. As she agrees to be their donor, unforeseen complexities begin to surface, subtly weaving through the narrative without straining the movie’s powerful credibility.
Private Life emerges as a remarkable piece of cinema for numerous reasons, with Kathryn Hahn’s exceptional performance being one of its prime highlights. Hahn’s portrayal demands recognition as she skillfully navigates through a range of emotions, carefully modulating her outrage and heartache according to the demands of each scene. At times, her character lashes out, while at others, she suppresses her pain to spare others discomfort. The film demands attention for its nuanced depiction of the intricate complexities of human emotion. – Adapted from Matt Goldberg’s review.
22 July – 2018
Director: Paul Greengrass | Genre: Drama Crime | Run Time: 2 hr 23 min
Cast: Anders Danielsen Lie, Jon Øigarden, Thorbjørn Harr
Back in 2011, Norway fell victim to a devastating act of terror, as a far-right extremist orchestrated a bombing at a government office, followed by a ruthless shooting spree at a youth summer camp on an island, claiming the lives of 77 individuals. Paul Greengrass, the renowned director behind Bourne and United 93, meticulously depicts this horrific event in the gripping initial half-hour of his film, “22 July.” However, the focus soon shifts to the aftermath, where Greengrass masterfully weaves the contrasting narratives of the perpetrator – who was apprehended, provided legal representation, and sought to propagate his extremist ideology – and that of one of the victims, a young boy who sustained a gunshot wound to the head and now faces an arduous journey to recovery. The film’s narrative revolves around the resilient spirit and fortitude displayed in the face of unfathomable malevolence, resonating profoundly in contemporary times with the resurgence of far-right movements. “22 July” stands as an emotionally wrenching yet indispensable portrayal of a deeply poignant story. – Adam Chitwood
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) – 2017
Director: Noah Baumbach | Genre: Drama Comedy | Run Time: 1 hr 52 min
Cast: Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, Dustin Hoffman, Elizabeth Marvel
Noah Baumbach’s ‘The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)’ unveils a gripping narrative of family turmoil, showcasing the strained bond between sons Danny (Adam Sandler) and Matthew (Ben Stiller) and their self-absorbed father Harold (Dustin Hoffman). As Harold’s favoritism takes its toll, the film oscillates between poignant humor and heartrending moments, with outstanding performances by the entire cast, notably Sandler and Stiller. Hoffman, at 80, delivers a tour de force, leaving audiences both laughing and seething. A poignant exploration of familial complexities, Baumbach’s masterpiece lingers long after the screen fades to black.
Mudbound – 2017
Director: Dee Rees | Genre: Historical Drama | Run Time: 2 hr 14 min
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Mary J. Blige, Garrett Hedlund
Matt Goldberg praised Dee Rees’ 2017 masterpiece, Mudbound, as one of the standout films of the year. Rees’ southern epic offers a sprawling and enrapturing narrative, delving into the intricate lives of two families, one black and one white, against the backdrop of the 1940s. What sets Mudbound apart is its refusal to limit its scope to just one family or one perspective, instead opting to skillfully explore the toilsome existence of a white family who owns the land and the black family who must toil on it.
Beyond the impeccable artistry and stellar performances, Mudbound emerges as a profound contemplation of race and power, surpassing the confines of its era and location. While the film’s setting in rural Mississippi lends it a distinct flavor, the poignant depiction of inequality and power dynamics strikes a chord that resonates deeply, never slipping into the territory of preachiness or overt messaging. It stands as an absolute masterpiece, not necessarily a leisurely Netflix choice, but one that promises a poignant and rewarding experience for those who embark on its journey.
Resident Evil – 2002
Director: Paul W. S. Anderson | Genre: Horror-Action | Run Time: 1 hr 40 min
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius, James Purefoy, Martin Crewes, Colin Salmon
Resident Evil, directed by Paul W.S. Anderson in 2002, takes inspiration from the popular video game series of the same name, although it deviates significantly from its source material. Despite this, the movie effectively captures the chilling essence of its gaming counterpart right from the outset. Following a catastrophic event at the underground research facility of the Umbrella Corporation, which leads to the demise of its staff, a specialized operations team is dispatched to unearth the truth behind the incident and prevent the corporation’s clandestine experiments from seeping into the outside world. Venturing deeper into the labyrinthine facility, the team stumbles upon unsettling revelations, discovering that the supposedly deceased employees might not be as lifeless as initially presumed. Moreover, the malevolent Artificial Intelligence of the facility emerges as a formidable adversary, determined to safeguard Umbrella’s classified projects at any cost. Resident Evil presents a riveting blend of action and horror, incorporating elements such as zombies, ferocious zombie dogs, a lethal AI, and the relentless pursuit of power by a biotech entity attempting to emulate the divine. In essence, it delivers everything one could desire from a top-tier horror film. — Brynna Arens.
Beasts of No Nation – 2015
Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga | Genre: War Drama | Run Time: 2 hr 17 min
Cast: Abraham Attah, Idris Elba, Kurt Egyiawan
Netflix made a bold move into the world of original films with the acquisition of writer/director Cary Joji Fukunaga’s passion project, Beasts of No Nation, marking a significant entry into the realm of prestigious awards. The film, which had already been completed, portrays the gripping tale of a young boy in an unspecified West African nation who is forced into the brutal life of a child soldier. Despite the somber subject matter, the film stands out as a remarkable and profoundly impactful piece of cinema.
The outstanding portrayal of the young Agu by the talented Abraham Attah is a standout feature, while Idris Elba’s portrayal of the compelling and intimidating leader, Commandant, leaves a lasting impression. Fukunaga’s dual role as both writer/director and cinematographer yields hauntingly beautiful visuals that contribute significantly to the film’s overall impact. The movie’s culmination delivers a poignant and contemplative finale, leaving a lasting impression on its viewers.
Despite its undeniable quality, Beasts of No Nation sadly didn’t receive the attention it truly deserved in 2015. Nevertheless, it remains a remarkable cinematic creation that deserves to be discovered and appreciated by a wider audience. – Adam Chitwood
Micajah McGregor, Editor in Chief of FanFest.com and renowned entertainment journalist, graduated from USC with a focus on Journalism and Film Studies. With an MBA from The Wharton School, he began his career at “PopCulture Pulse” and has been instrumental in shaping FanFest into a prime entertainment news source. Known for his financial analysis of celebrity net worths, Micajah received the ‘Digital Editor of the Year’ award in 2018. He’s also an active blogger, sharing his passion for superhero films and ’90s TV. Contact him at [email protected] for engaging entertainment insights.