With hundreds of titles available, browsing your Netflix menu can feel like a full-time job. If you’re feeling a touch overwhelmed, check our selections for the 10 exceptional movies on Netflix right now.
Who’s it for? Hardworking moms who aren’t afraid of suspense.
Horror movies have fallen on hard times. There, we said it. Spending the past decade relying on jump shocks and excessive gore to win over new audiences, it’s rare to find a film as well-made, thought-out and genuinely suspenseful as Bird Box. While the film draws some obvious comparison to 2018’s The Quiet Place, Bird Box pits survivors against post-apocalyptic horrors who cause people to commit suicide when they’re seen. Cue copious blindfolds to keep the monsters out of sight, but never are they out of mind for a mother tasked with ferrying two kids to safety.
Genre: Science fiction/heist movie
Who’s it for? Fans of Heat who also enjoy high-concept sci-fi.
This is arguably still the perfect Christopher Nolan movie. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio, the most acclaimed actor of his generation, it features an intense Hans Zimmer score and boasts a winning high-concept idea, where it’s possible to enter people’s dreams in order to manipulate them and steal their secrets. As the movie escalates that premise into dreams within dreams, it pulls in more and more bizarre, memorable imagery. And the ensemble cast here is outstanding, with Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy and Mario Cotillard rounding it out. Nolan’s next picture, Tenet, looks like it’s in a similar vein.
Genre: Character drama
Who’s it for? Awards buffs and the emotionally resilient.
Ensure you’re in the right mindset to watch Marriage Story – i.e. skip this if you’re in the middle of a break-up – because this sympathetic movie about a failing marriage and the resulting fallout can be tough viewing. It’s the latest picture from director Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha), and features actors Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson at the top of their game in what are surely emotionally draining roles. Watch it before it gets memed and gif-ed to death on social media, and you only see Marriage Story as that movie where Kylo Ren cries a lot.
TAXI DRIVER (1976)
Another De Niro and Scorsese collaboration hits the mark, as Taxi Driver is regularly cited as one of the greatest American films ever made. De Niro is a potently single-minded Travis Bickle, a cabbie in a seedy ’70s New York who wants to be an avenging angel for victims of crime. The mercurial Bickle, however, is just as unhinged as those he targets.
Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Vol. 2
Director/Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Lucy Liu, Vivca A. Fox, Michael Masen, Sonny Chiba, and Gordon Liu
Quentin Tarantino’s magnum opus Kill Bill is not just a love letter to kung fu movies, it’s a tribute to every single genre that ever influenced the iconic writer/director. While Volume 1 is certainly more focused on the individual fights and Volume 2 is a more melancholic revenge story, the two-part saga allows Tarantino to dabble in genres as disparate as Spaghetti Western, horror, slapstick comedy, family drama, and of course romance. And while the Kill Bill movies have turned out to be somewhat divisive in QT’s filmography as a whole, if you’re in the mood for a double dose of cinema from a filmmaker who loves movies with every fiber of his being, you really can’t go wrong with Kill Bill.
Director: David Fincher
Writer: James Vanderbilt
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Chloe Sevigny, Robert Downey Jr., Anthony Edwards, Brian Cox, and John Carroll Lynch
In the mood for an impeccably crafted drama from a master filmmaker? Look no further than Zodiac, David Fincher’s 2007 chronicle of the hunt for the Zodiac Killer in 1960s and 70s San Francisco. Jake Gyllenhaal anchors a phenomenal ensemble as a cartoonist at the San Francisco Chronicle who grows obsessed with figuring out the identity of the serial killer, to the detriment of pretty much everything else in his life. Buoyed by terrific performances from the likes of Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., and Anthony Edwards as well as Fincher’s knack for details, the film is an absorbing, darkly funny, and at times terrifying watch that stands as one of Fincher’s best. – Adam Chitwood
Avengers: Infinity War
Directors: Joe and Anthony Russo
Writers: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely
Cast: Chris Evans, Josh Brolin, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Zoe Saldana, Scarlett Johansson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Carrie Coon, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Sebastian Stan, Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, Mark Ruffalo, Benedict Wong, Letitia Wright, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Richard Marquand Avengers: Infinity War is so much movie, it shouldn’t exist at all. Just look at that cast list! Movies aren’t mean to have that many stars! But Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War filmmakers Joe and Anthony Russo pulled off the impossible by putting the focus on their big bad, Thanos, and swinging him across the galaxy like a wrecking ball that scatters the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and all of the MCU’s biggest heroes in an epic battle to save half of all life. Literally all life. Like, even your dog. Talk about stakes. Infinity War is as episodic as movies get, and it’s at its best when it leans into the character dynamics and crazy thrills of seeing all these heroes together on one screen. There’s a lot of joy in watching wizards fly through the streets of Manhattan and seeing Spider-Man zip through Doctor Strange’s portals on a far-off planet. Infinity War marks the culmination of a decade spent in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its just as insanely jam-packed with quips and action-packed superhero mayhem as that tall order demands. — Haleigh Foutch
The Dark Knight
Genre: Superhero-infused crime epic.
Who’s it for? Fans of refined action movies (and Batman).
The first two movies of director Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy are on Netflix US, and they’re always worth a rewatch. The Dark Knight is a twist-y crime thriller that’s more of an ensemble piece than Batman Begins or The Dark Knight Rises – indeed, at times it feels like good guy DA Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) is the protagonist as much as Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale). The highlight, of course, is Heath Ledger’s multi-layered performance as Gotham-terrorizing villain The Joker, for which he posthumously won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.
Genre: Crime drama
Who’s it for? Cinema buffs and Scorsese fans (which is the same group of people).
This threateningly long Scorsese pic attracted attention for the extensive effects work used to de-age its old stars, and it’s a creative decision that’s occasionally distracting. But there’s no denying the appeal of seeing De Niro, Pesci and Pacino in the same movie together for likely the last time, and this life-spanning, extremely rewarding crime epic is a suitable tribute to their collective talents. The Irishman is about the life of Frank Sheeran (De Niro), as he recounts his long association with the Bufalino crime family. It’s arguably the biggest awards play Netflix has ever made, and soon we’ll see if it pays off.
Fyre: The Festival That Never Happened
Who’s it for? Anyone who needs a heaping dose of schadenfreude
Billed as a luxury music experience on a private island, Fyre Festival was tirelessly promoted by social media influencers – but ended up being a complete and utter disaster, with multiple lawsuits being brought against the promoters. This illuminating documentary explores what went wrong, with some extremely personal accounts from the people who helped create it, and it’s a must-watch