There was a time when Netflix was basically the only game in town. If you wanted to stream a movie, Netflix was where you went to do it. As more streaming competitors have emerged, though, Netflix has found itself having to prove that it’s worth the money. Thankfully, the streamer still has a great lineup of original and legacy titles that are totally worth exploring. Like every streaming service, Netflix has long been hunting for its best picture trophy, and while it may not have one yet, it remains one of the best places to go to find something worth watching.
Netflix took a fairly big swing on this German-language remake of All Quiet on the Western Front, and it paid off in a major way. The movie tells the story of a group of young soldiers who enlist to fight on behalf of Germany and ultimately discover the real toll that war takes on those who have to live their lives in the trenches. It’s stunningly filmed, and one of the best entries in the long line of immersive war movies from recent years. All Quiet on the Western Front is one of the most enduring war novels ever made, and this 2022 version reminds us how horrific war is, no matter what side you’re on.
Maggie Gyllenhaal’s first directorial effort was one of the best films of 2021, and it didn’t hurt that she had Olivia Colman by her side. Telling the story of a 40-something Harvard professor (Colman) who goes on vacation and remembers her time raising two daughters, The Lost Daughter is about the difficulty of trying to be a person and a mother, and it’s remarkably prickly about how taxing motherhood can be. Colman is a standout in the central role, but she’s surrounded by excellent performances from the likes of Jessie Buckley and Dakota Johnson as well.
Adapting a musical of the same name, tick, tick…BOOM! tells the story of Jonathan Larson (Andrew Garfield) in the years before he wrote Rent. With sharp direction from Lin-Manuel Miranda and an incredible soundtrack of Larson originals, the movie has more than enough frenetic energy to tell its story of a struggling artist with winsome verve. Andrew Garfield’s incredible central performance is the icing on the cake of this vibrant musical.
One of many late-period Martin Scorsese masterpieces, The Irishman tells the story of a mid-level gangster (Robert De Niro) who befriends Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) and ultimately plays a role in his death. In Scorsese’s hands, though, this becomes an examination of the way one man alienates everyone around him, and ultimately finds himself old, friendless, and totally alone, stuck in a nursing home trying to convince everyone that his life as a gangster is worth remembering.
The kind of horror movie that only comes around every couple of years, It Follows has a remarkably simple premise that it executes on beautifully. The film follows a young girl (Maika Monroe) who discovers she is haunted by a spectral presence that is transferred through sex. As she recruits her friends to take on the force following her, we get to watch along as she tries to find a way to defeat the ghostly presence without simply giving it to someone else.
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