101 Netflix movies and 11 great streaming shows to watch over Christmas
101 movies to watch on Netflix
We issue the usual apology. The selection of properly old films on Netflix is still appalling. Go elsewhere for your Howard Hawks and your Jean Renoir. Bah! Still, there is plenty to enjoy from the current century.
13th (Ava Du Vernay,2016)
An urgent, scholarly dissection of the prison system in the United States. Multinationals and presidents – from Eisenhower to Clinton – do not emerge well.
About Time (Richard Curtis, 2013)
Stay with us. Yes, the film is twee in a way only Curtis can be. Yes, the time travels defy more logic than is usually the case. But Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams force it to work.
American Honey (Andrea Arnold, 2016)
Arnold’s magnum opus follows a bunch of kids as they travel about the States selling magazine subscriptions. Great breakout turn by Sasha Lane. Electric photography from Robbie Ryan.
American Psycho (Mary Harron, 2000)
Can you say transgressive? Interestingly, both Bret Easton Ellis’s novel and Harron’s adaption were coolly received on release. They now seem like classic satires on 1980s excess.
Annie (John Huston, 1982)
Watch out. The dire remake is also on Netflix. John Huston’s musical is indulgent, but it’s packed with irresistible numbers.
Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977)
What else do you need to know? This was the moment at which Allen became a serious force in US cinema. A delightful compendium of styles.
Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)
From the moment Garland’s take on Jeff Vander Meer’s cerebral science-fiction novel dropped its cult potential was undeniable.
Aquarius (Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2016)
Faultless, engaging Argentinean film following an aging intellectual as she resists developers in her seaside apartment building. Sônia Braga eats up the screen.
Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)
Thoughtful, visually elaborate meditation on human despair told through the vehicle of an alien visitation flick. Amy Adams somehow failed to get an Oscar nomination.
BASEKETBALL (David Zucker, 1998) That film starring the South Park creators as the idiots behind a mash-up of baseball and basketball is now 20 years old. Time to finally catch up with it.
Back to the Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985) We are pleased to tell Marty McFly that people in the actual future are still watching his adventures and quoting his best lines.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Joel and Ethan
Coen,2018) As with all episodic films, the Coens’ western anthology has its ups and its downs, but the invention never wavers.
Being John Malkovich (Spike Jonze, 1999) The millennial years were a turning point for US film. Jonze’s hip, angular oddity ushered in a new school of self-aware comedy.
The Big Lebowski (Joel Coen, 1998) Jeff Bridges is a middle-aged stoner in search of a carpet. Opened to middling reviews and more middling box office. It’s now among the most quoted of their films.
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Kechiche,2013) Of all the decade’s Palme d’Or winners, Kechiche’s furious, passionate lesbian romance had the greatest effect on audiences. The emotions are overwhelming.
Das Boot (Wolfgang Petersen, 1981) “Oh is it set in a submarine?” You can find Peep Show and that line elsewhere on Netflix. The definitive picture in its damp genre.
The Black Stallion (Carroll Ballard,1979) Some of the great talents of the New Hollywood – Francis Ford Coppola, Caleb Deschanel, Melissa Mathison – came together for an immortal family film.
The Boss (Ben Falcone, 2016) It’s not the best Melissa McCarthy vehicle, but she’s characteristically amusing as a disgraced millionaire bullying her way back to the top.
Boyz n the Hood (John Singleton,1991) This landmark bildungsroman lured viewers with the promise of urban warfare, only to plead with them to “increase the peace”.
Capote (Bennett Miller,2005) There’s a sharp script here. But the film is all about Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Oscar-winning performance as the waspish writer Truman Capote. That voice!
Cardboard Gangsters (Mark O’Connor, 2017) O’Connor brings his trademark rough sensibility to a yarn about spirited hoodlums in Dublin’s northside. Standout performance by John Connors.
Carrie (Brian De Palma, 1976) It’s hard to imagine a time with no Stephen King adaptations. But this was the first and it may still be the best. Sissy Spacek transcendent as the bullied teen.
Casting Jon Benet (Kitty Green, 2017) In 1996, the body of six-year-old Jon-Benet Ramsey was found strangled in the basement of her family’s home. Twenty years on, this riveting project investigates by holding auditions in the community.
Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006) The linking force in Cuarón’s diverse work may be his taste for long, complex shots. There’s plenty of that in his gripping study of a dying earth.
Cobain: Montage of Heck (Brett Morgen, 2015) There are a few docs floating around on Nirvana, but Morgen’s film, featuring contributions from the often-misrepresented Courtney Love, feels like the definitive item.
Daughters of the Dust (Julie Dash, 1991) Lavish, poetic movie – the first directed by a black woman to get a wide theatrical release – depicts the mocambo life of an enclave beyond slavery. Its reappearance is largely down to homage in Beyoncé’s Lemonade.
Days of Heaven (Terence Malick, 1978) Remember when Malick was an enigma known for two, beautifully odd masterpieces? Sam Shepard, Brooke Adams and Richard Gere star in a gorgeous tragedy set in rural Texas. The “magic hour” cinematography remains legendary.
Don’t Breathe (Fede Álvarez, 2014) Fantastically tense horror concerning three