Staying at home? Sure, you could try to convince yourself that you're going to spend that time getting around to those cleaning projects you've been putting off or learning a new skill, but let's be honest: The reality is you're going to sit on the couch, snack away and stream something hopefully good. I'm not judging; I'm doing the same thing as we speak.
So, to help make your nights in go as outstanding as possible, here's a list of 100 good movies – from awesome action flicks to cool choices for children to stellar sports stories and Will Ferrell singing to honor the great country of Iceland – you can currently find on Netflix. Go and stream away – you can get around to that to-do list tomorrow. Or the day after that. Or maybe next week.
"21 Bridges": One of Chadwick Boseman's final big screen performances is also one of his most underrated, playing a detective who shuts down the city to find out who killed two police officers. What results is a taut, old-school cop thriller that's definitely worth crossing.
"The Book of Eli": Denzel Washington rules, now and in the apocalyptic future in this gritty action saga about a man trying to deliver an important book to the right place through a warzone-like hellscape – including Gary Oldman as a town's sadistic head honcho. Along the way, Washington introduces his machete to jerks in unfortunate ways – well, unfortunate for them, awesome for us.
"Casino Royale": I don't know if this counts as a hot take, but Daniel Craig's first entry is the best of the Bond bunch. It's everything you want in a Bond movie plus everything you didn't know you wanted in a Bond movie. Character development! Actual romance! Parkour! Scrotal torture! (OK, actually, we didn't need that last one – but somehow it works!)
"The Dark Knight Rises": Sure, it falls far short of the trilogy's previous highs – but Christopher Nolan's Batman finale still has its merits, from its jaw-dropping action stuntwork to its intriguing character ideas and, of course, Tom Hardy's iconic Bane voice. If "The Dark Knight Rises" ranks as one of your worst movies as a director, you've got one heck of a resume.
"Dunkirk": A genuine competitor for the title of "best Christopher Nolan movie" in a resume filled with tremendous films, the director's intricately crafted war movie is a suspenseful stunner, cranking up the tension on Brit soldiers at Dunkirk in the sky, on the beach and on the ocean. Watch it on your loudest, best audio system.
"The Harder They Fall": Super stylish and slick, this all-Black Netflix Original Western is a good wild ride following outlaw leader Nat Love (Jonathan Majors) as he seeks out revenge against the sadistic gang leader Rufus Buck (Idris Elba) who murdered his family. It's lot of old classic genre fun mixed with new style and verve.
"Inception": Stop stressing out your brain and instead get your mind re-blown by Christopher Nolan's dream-bending action heist movie about fancy professional thieves tasked with sneaking an idea into a person's mind. BWAAAAM!
"Mission Impossible": Before the series became a thrilling stunt-a-palooza, the first "Mission Impossible" movie was an equally thrilling spy adventure, featuring Tom Cruise sneaking around high-security compounds to save the day. It may not be as blockbuster-y compared to where the series has gone, but it's still a terrifically tense and stylishly crafted (thanks Brian De Palma!) Hollywood creation.
"Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol": As I was saying. The "Mission Impossible" franchise is one of the best big-screen blockbusters we've got, with the most recent chapter – "Fallout" – delivering as one of the best movies of its year, period. But what movie brought Tom Cruise and his star vehicle back to life? That'd be Brad Bird's "Ghost Protocol," full of insane stunts, visually mesmerizing setpieces and a fun spy caper. It's the awesome launch pad with which the franchise truly blasted off.
"The Night Comes For Us": Do you like violent action movies? No, I mean VIOLENT action movies – violent enough that even the guy from the "Saw" films would be like, "Please, have you no decency?" Well, if you're a fan of stuff like "The Raid" movies, you'll love this viciously brutal actioner starring martial arts superstars Iwo Uwais and Joe Taslim – directed by Timo Tjahjanto, who'll helm the upcoming "Train to Busan" remake, so get pumped for that!
"Time to Hunt": Part heist movie, part futuristic dystopian sci-fi, part action thriller, part "Terminator" and all tensely entertaining, it's definitely time to check out this Korean Netflix original hidden gem, following a group of down-on-their-luck young adults who rob the wrong place.
"Bad Trip": Cheap hidden camera comedy makes a welcome return with this bite-sized blast tracing the misadventures of Eric Andre and Lil Rel Howery as they travel across the country and get into all sorts of inappropriate and awkward trouble. It's bawdy – but "Bad Trip" also packs a surprisingly big heart, showing people oddly at their best when confronted with the worst. It's easily the most strangely sweet film involving a prolonged sexual encounter with a gorilla.
"Dolemite Is My Name": You may not be able to see anything on the big screen right now, but you can at least watch this jubilant tribute to the movies – and this wild yet heartwarming tribute to an under-appreciated mad genius movie-making mind in Rudy Ray Moore (an awards-worthy Eddie Murphy), who brought the blaxploitation character Dolemite to overlooked audiences across the country.
"The Edge of Seventeen": Judging by the box office, you probably missed this excellent coming-of-age dramedy about Nadine, a high schooler (Hailee Steinfeld of "True Grit") coping with being unpopular and losing her only friend when she catches her dating Nadine's jock brother. You should amend that, as it's one of the best movies of 2016, hilarious and with a lot of heart.
"Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga": Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams star in this Netflix Original about a duo of goofy Swedes attempting to take the globe by storm with their charmingly kitschy pop music in this toe-tapping and charming comedy. And seriously, Hollywood, cast Rachel McAdams in every comedy from here on out.
"Hail, Caesar!": The Coen Brothers go goofy with this gleefully eclectic Hollywood romp about a studio fixer (Josh Brolin) trying to solve a bunch of problems – from a missing star (George Clooney) to a Western actor trying his hand at glamorous melodrama and keeping his celebs out of the tabloids. Seem easy? Would that it t'were so simple...
"Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle": Never has a casual trip to get some drive-thru mini-burgers ever been this ridiculous, this epic and this hilarious as a pair of stoners (John Cho and Kal Penn, in their star-making roles) just try to get sliders and instead get a night of car crashes, wild raccoons, a crazed Neil Patrick Harris and much more. A modern stoner movie classic still worth ordering up.
"Hunt for the Wilderpeople": A fan of Taika Waititi's "Thor Ragnarok" and "Jojo Rabbit"? Then don't miss this wildly charming wildlife tale about a young rebel who runs off into the New Zealand woods and befriends a gruff loner played by Dr. Grant himself, Sam Neill.
"Mean Girls": On Wednesdays, we wear pink – and on all the other days, we watch this iconic teen comedy, starring Lindsay Lohan as a new high school transfer who falls in with the class mean girls. The movie's inspired all sorts of memes over the years – but don't hold its popularity against it, because the 2004 hit's still a smart, silly and hilarious look into high school life. It's so funny, it could almost make fetch happen. Almost.
"Monty Python and the Holy Grail": You've almost certainly quoted this comedy classic in the last few days – but have you actually watched this medieval lark recently? Remedy that; you'll certainly have the time.
"National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation": It may not be close to Christmas time, but it's always the season for a good laugh – and "Christmas Vacation" has plenty of those under the tree. No matter the time of year, it's a laugh-out-loud reminder that the holidays are around the corner – and also a reminder about sledding safety.
"The Prom": This star-studded musical brings together Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, James Corden, Andrew Rannells and more as egotistical Broadway stars who invade a small Indiana town in the hopes of helping a gay teen go to prom (and giving themselves some much needed good publicity). It's relentlessly big, bright, colorful and sweet – aka much better than real prom.
"Sorry to Bother You": Perhaps the wildest movie on this list, "Sorry to Bother You" is a hilarious political/social satire about a telemarketer (LaKeith Stanfield) who climbs the ranks of his company much to the chagrin of his friends and significant other. That is, until he discovers that ... you know what, you'll want to find that out for yourself. Just be sure to watch this creative, kooky comedy.
"Bathtubs Over Broadway": Lavish musical numbers about bathroom fixtures? Heartfelt ballads about the power of silicone products? They're somehow all real – and all in Steve Young's wildly unpredictable record collection of original corporate stage productions that were Broadway-ready but at the time only for businessmen's eyes and ears. Now, however, they take the spotlight.
"The Battered Bastards of Baseball": It may have been minor league baseball, but the Portland Mavericks of the '70s – owned and created by Kurt Russell's dad – were major league fun in this sports documentary about these oddball outlaws who were juuuuuust a bit outside the norm.
"Coded Bias": "Black Mirror" not freaky enough for you? Watch this riveting documentary about the future of facial recognition software, its hidden biases and the tech heroes fighting against them. It's so effective, you might just chuck your laptop in the bin right after watching it.
"Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution": Learn about the history of the long hard fight for equal rights for Americans with disabilities – and the '70s New York State summer camp where several of its leaders met one another and grew in their strength and confidence in this powerful and educational Oscar-nominated 2020 documentary.
"Fantastic Fungi": How interesting can mushrooms be? Pretty darn interesting, as it turns out! At least that's the case with this documentary, which uses gorgeous and mesmerizing nature footage and Oscar winner Brie Larson's voiceover to tell the story of fungi's incredible abilities both in the wild and in the hands of science.
"I Am Not Your Negro": Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, Raoul Peck's powerful Oscar-nominated documentary essay brings Baldwin's life – as well as his hauntingly prescient, still incisive and essential perspective on the Black experience in America – into modern times, showing painfully how much work is left to be done in the quest for equality and inclusive access to the pursuit of happiness.
"Icarus": This Oscar-winning Netflix Original documentary starts as a look into the Olympics doping scandal – but ends up taking its director deep into the dangerous world of Russian politics that definitely isn't just a game.
"Misha and the Wolves": A wild twisty ride of a documentary, "Misha and the Wolves" tells the story of a Holocaust survivor who, as a child on the run from Nazis, befriended a pack of wolves in a forest to stay alive. It's a story so incredible it must be true – but as the story becomes a global sensation decades later, many start to wonder if that's exactly the case. A fascinating and compelling story about stories and what people – the tellers and the listetners – use them for.
"Procession": One of the best documentaries – and films, period – of 2021, this Netflix Original follows six men using art therapy to come to terms with the sexual abuse they survived from Catholic priests. Some of them are surreal, some are simple, but all are bracingly raw, incredibly cathartic and moving as the men find friends and potentially a way forward.
"Tread": The fascinating but frightening true story of an unassuming man in a small Rocky Mountain town who decides he's had enough of his neighbors and creates a bulletproof bulldozer to ran rampant through the city – no matter who or what he destroys in the process.
"Won't You Be My Neighbor": Looking for a nice movie to watch? How about a documentary about the world's nicest man! That's what you'll find with "Won't You Be My Neighbor," a gentle and thoughtful tour through the life of Fred Rogers, the mellow man who made childhood adventurous and taught essential life lessons for generations, as well as the legacy he left behind.
"A Walk Among the Tombstones": Liam Neeson's last decade or so of movies hasn't been great – but amongst all the B-level action movies and "Taken" rip-offs, there's this tense, grim detective story about a broken man (Neeson) trying to solve the murder of a drug dealer's wife. Written and directed by crime movie expert Scott Frank ("Logan," "Out of Sight"), it's a gritty and terse little gem among the Netflix maw.
"Argo": Ben Affleck: good at his job! That was certainly the takeaway from this tense, impeccably crafted real-life thriller about the crazy mission to save six abandoned Americans in Tehran during the Iran hostage crisis of 1979. It's the kind of entertaining, smartly made, adult blockbuster they just don't make any more – which they should because it DID make money and win Best Picture, after all.
"Atlantics": Part drama and part ghost story, this alluring should've-been-Oscar-nominated film from Senegal follows a young woman sent adrift when her lover leaves the country to find better work across the ocean. Meanwhile, back at home, young women keep getting possessed by angry spirits. So that's not good! (But the movie is.)
"Beasts of No Nation": One of Netflix's first big original films is also still one of its best, as Cary Joji Fukunaga's intense and mesmerizing drama follows a young child soldier as he atttempts to survive both physically and mentally getting dragged first-hand through a brutal civil war in his country. Not a fun watch but it is a memorably vivid one.
"Big Fish": There was a time when seeing Tim Burton's name in the credits wasn't a guaranteed eyeroll. Indeed, travel back to Burton's better days with this imaginative and emotional family tale about a father's tall tales and his distant son who's grown tired of them.
"Bonnie & Clyde": Netflix doesn't have many older films, but they've got some must-see classics in the fold – including this iconic game-changing Hollywood blockbuster, starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway as the infamous lovers and bank robbers, taking the country by storm and by gunpoint. It's shocking and swoon-worthy in equal measure.
"Catch Me If You Can": It's not very often you get to use the word "underrated" around the name "Steven Spielberg," but that's exactly the case with this oddly forgotten comedy-tinged throwback drama about famed imposter Frank Abagnale Jr. fraud-ing his way around the country while America's dad Tom Hanks tries to track him down. It's a fun, snappy and sometimes even heartbreaking saga that's worth watching for the opening credits sequence alone.
"Contagion": Need an escape from the horrors of living in a pandemic? Watch this Steven Soderbergh thriller about ... a pandemic that decimates the world and how society borders on crumbling as the outbreak sweeps the globe with no end in sight. Oh dear. Chilling and chillingly prescient.
"Croupier": Remember when Clive Owen was the frontrunner to play James Bond? That didn't quite work out – but Owen's still a great actor, and this late '90s British noir, about a writer who takes a job as a croupier and gets wrangled into some bad business, helped discover him and bring him into the spotlight.
"Da 5 Bloods": Spike Lee takes on Vietnam in his pained and passionate follow-up to the Oscar-winning "BlacKkKlansman," following four veterans (headlined by an award-worthy Delroy Lindo) as they return to the country they fought across to recover their fallen comrade – and recover a trunk of gold bars that they vowed to return for back in the day.
"The Departed": Let's be honest: This wasn't the movie Martin Scorsese should've won his Oscars for. But it's still a damn fine, energetically crafted crime thriller about men (Matt Damon and Leo DiCaprio) on the opposite sides of the law in Bawston. Scorsese's so good that even his lesser efforts are a thrill.
"Django Unchained": Quentin Tarantino goes back to the historical revisionist well with this wildly entertaining revenge story about a freed slave (Jamie Foxx) who teams up with a bounty hunter (an Oscar-winning Christoph Waltz) to save his wife from a sadistic slave owner (a should've-been Oscar-winning Leonardo DiCaprio).
"Goodfellas": One of the greatest gangster movies of all time – scratch that; one of the great movies of all time, period – from one of our greatest living filmmakers, "Goodfellas" is a classic by any measure. Plus, anytime I watch the prison cooking scene, I become enragingly hungry and good pasta and sausage.
"Hell or High Water": Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine and Ben Foster are all terrific in this tense modern western about two brothers desperately robbing banks to save their home and the old-time sheriff trying to track them down before they strike again. Written by Taylor Sheridan of "Sicario" and "Yellowstone" fame, this Oscar nominee's a sharp, suspenseful and outstandingly lived-in outlaw drama.
"I Lost My Body": Animated movies don't come much stranger – but also much better – than this Oscar-nominated hand-drawn bittersweet and bizarre beauty about a sentient severed hand crawling its way back across the city to its rightful owner.
"The Irishman": Listen, you've finally got a lot of time on your hands. So now there's no excuse for not checking out Martin Scorsese's excellent gangster epic. It's a gripping gut punch of a movie, immaculately performed, but it's also not without its entertainment value. (Give me EVERY Al Pacino line-reading, please.) It's a powerful (seemingly) final statement from Scorsese.
"Legend": What's better than one Tom Hardy? TWO Tom Hardys! That's the selling point of this gangster drama, a true-life caper about twin British mobsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray in the '60s.
"Loving": Quietly one of the best movies of 2016, "Loving" follows the groundbreaking Supreme Court case surrounding Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple arrested in 1960s Virginia – all presented less as a typical prestige legal drama and more as the intimate story of two normal people suddenly finding themeslves in history's path.
"Ma Rainey's Black Bottom": The late great Chadwick Boseman left us far too soon, but at least he left behind this final monumental, vibrant and volatile performance as hot-shot trumpet player Levee in Netflix's August Wilson play adaptation about a Black blues band and their testy singing star (an also terrific Viola Davis) battling through a heated – literally and emotionally – day of recording.
"Marriage Story": One of the best movies of last year is at your fingertips thanks to Netflix with this biting drama about a husband and wife (Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, never better) trying to survive a cross-country divorce.
"Michael Clayton": Possibly George Clooney's best performance in his best movie, this expertly crafted slow-burn Best Picture nominee follows a corporate "fixer" who discovers his latest assignment might carry a dark secret. Great performances (including Oscar winner Tilda Swinton's award-winning turn) in a great movie – plus there's Milwaukee references!
"Middle of Nowhere": Before she became one of Hollywood's most powerful producers, directors and groundbreakers, Ava DuVernay ("Selma," "13th") made this breakthrough drama about a woman attempting to navigate life after her husband is sent to prison. It's a thoughtful, complex and outstandingly crafted indie project – not only making DuVernay a name to watch, but also helping co-star David Oyelowo emerge as a leading man and putting cinematographer Bradford Young on the map.
"Nightcrawler": A gaunt Jake Gyllenhaal in desperate need of a sandwich stars in this darkly comedic, nocturnal news thriller, playing a creepy guy in desperate search of a job who finds his dream occupation: ambulance chasing to crime scenes and car accidents to film them for the evening news. And the higher he climbs up the ladder at the station, the lower his bar sinks for content.
"Passing": Much more personal and psychological, complex and complicated, than the Social Issue Film it may appear to be on the surface, Rebecca Hall's directorial debut is a gorgeous black-and-white film about the gray areas between two intertwined Black women in the 1920s: one (a stellar Ruth Negga) passing as a white woman, the other (an equally magnetic Tessa Thompson) finding her life rattled by this new arrival.
"Phantom Thread": If this Oscar-winning romantic drama is Daniel Day-Lewis' final bow, what a note to end on: a sumptuously crafted (those clothes! that score!) picture about a tempestuous fashion designer and his muse (Vicky Krieps, who should've become a star immediately after this) trickily finding how they fit into their relationship and their lives. Don't pass this unique portrait up (but maybe pass up eating any mushroom dishes on the night).
"The Power of the Dog": A front runner for the upcoming Academy Awards, Jane Campion's return to the big screen tells the story of a rough and tough rancher (an almost surely Oscar-nominated Benedict Cumberbatch) and the brutal impact he has on those around him, including his quiet brother (Jesse Plemons), his weighed-down wife (Kirsten Dunst) and her awkward son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) in this beautifully captured Western about masculinity and loneliness, blending equal parts tenderness and slow-burning tension.
"Road to Perdition": Tom Hanks takes on the rare bad guy role – oh, OK, just an antihero – in this dark but tense and beautifully shot crime tale about a mob hitman on the run after his son accidentally witnesses a job gone wrong. As a bonus, you get a pre-stardom Daniel Craig AND Hanks sharing the screen with fellow Hollywood great Paul Newman.
"Roma": Alfonso Cuaron's Oscar-winning character study is a gorgeous black-and-white slow burn, following a maid as her life changes along with the rich family she works for. It's mesmerizing work.
"Steve Jobs": Screenwriter extraordinaire Aaron Sorkin (see one movie above) sets his pen on another tech superstar in this wildly watchable drama, showcasing three massive moments in the Apple savior's life. Sharply written, sharply directed and sharply performed, it deserved better than to be a flop in theaters – so check it out now.
"Taxi Driver": Another Martin Scorsese classic, this legendary drama follows the infamous Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro, an iconic role) as he patrols a scuzzy '70s New York City in his cab and decides he will play savior for a young prostitute – played by Jodie Foster in a breakthrough performance – by any means necessary. It's like "Joker" but if it was good.
"Tick, Tick ... Boom!": Lin-Manuel Miranda sure had a busy 2021 ("In the Heights," "Vivo," "Encanto") with this biopic musical about "Rent" creator Jonathan Larson perhaps serving as the best of the bunch thanks to a marvelous lead performance from Andrew Garfield, a bunch of catchy tunes courtesy of the late great Larson and some charmingly enthusiastic theater kid energy.
"Titanic": We accept no "Titanic" slander in this house: James Cameron's all-timer disaster romance is still a remarkable and breathtaking epic. Take the four hours or so, rewatch this blockbuster masterpiece and remember how absolutely terrifying that one part is where Kate Winslet almost hacks off Leo DiCaprio's hand with an axe.
"Uncorked": Barbecue and wine make a perfect comfort food pairing on a plate – and on your screen with this heart-and-soulwarming family drama about a young man trying to decide between taking over his parents' (scene-stealers Courtney B. Vance and Niecy Nash) beloved neighborhood barbecue shop and pursuing his own dream of becoming a sommelier. Watch it with plenty of food, drink and Kleenex on standby.
"Zero Dark Thirty": Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow's follow-up to the Best Picture winner "The Hurt Locker" is somehow even better, intricately tracking the U.S.'s attempts to hunt down Osama Bin Laden in the aftermath of 9/11. Insanely tense – especially the film's final raid sequence – compellingly procedural and brawny yet thoughtful, "Zero Dark Thirty" is an impressive look into our dark national journey for revenge.
"Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2": This animated sequel about an island of food monsters and the scientists sent to save it is cleverly creative, packed with funny jokes and beautifully crafted ... but the most important thing to know is that there's an adorable sentient strawberry named Barry who giggles and wants hugs. Four stars. Also: THERE'S A LEEK IN THE BOAT! AHHH!
"The Mitchells vs. the Machines": Yet another outstandingly funny, energetic and smart project courtesy of producers Lord and Miller (the guys behind "21 Jump Street" and "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs"), this giddily animated adventure follows a family road trip that goes slightly off the rails when they accidentally find themselves in the middle of the robot apocalypse.
"Monster House": Before he went off to make "Community" on TV, writer Dan Harmon helped create this animated haunted house adventure about a trio of kids trying to defeat a creepy house that's also a monster.
"Paddington": A movie as warm and cuddly as the famed teddy bear it's based upon, "Paddington" follows a polite little bear as it tries to navigate the world of British society with his adopted family's help. The sequel is somehow even better, but the original charmer is still as sweet and comforting as some marmalade.
"Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon": I watched this animated kids charmer when it came out near the beginning of the pandemic, and for 80 lovely, witty and wonderful minutes, I forgot the world was imploding. So I guess what I'm saying is that I highly recommend "Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon," a movie about a nice but mischievous sheep trying to help a little lost alien get home. I want to hug this movie.
"The Willoughbys": The concept – four siblings concoct a scheme to kill their uncaring bougie parents – may not the most exciting one for parents, but this Netflix Original is both somehow charming and macabre, gorgeously animated with jokes delivered at blazing speed and a sour-yet-sweet story about sticking together as an unconventional family.
"A Nightmare on Elm Street": Just try to go to bed after watching Wes Craven's iconic '80s sleep-deprived slasher about teens hunted in their dreams by the sharp-tongued and even sharper-fingered Freddy Krueger. Just be sure you watch the original version, not the remake – which is also on Netflix but is a nightmare of a different, dispiriting variety.
"The Conjuring": This horror movie universe may have exploded in popularity and size, now including an evil nun, a werewolf, multiple evil doll movies and more – but let's go back to the beginning when it was just the doll and a creepy house in this terrifyingly throwback horror blockbuster, which showed how creaky floors and spooky ghoulish jumps could be scary again.
"The Gift": A couple's move to a new home gets an unwelcome housewarming gift: a visit from an old former school friend of the husband who seems to have some old gripes to bring into their new house. A creepy thriller of manners – with an A-grade casting pick in Jason Bateman as the husband.
"His House": Quietly one of the best movies of the past year, "His House" is both an incredibly powerful and twisty story about immigrant refugees trying to start a new life in England after the terrors of their journey as well as just a really, really impressively crafted and super scary horror movie about something that's living in their new apartment's walls. Get director Remi Weekes a new movie now please!
"Insidious": Before there was "The Conjuring," there was "Insidious," an equally freaky throwback-style horror flick with old-school style haunts given new (undead) life by director James Wan, telling a story about a family whose son falls into a menacing ghost-induced spectral coma.
"It Follows": Another modern horror gem, this terrifying thriller follows a teenager and her friends as they're haunted by a slowly walking, shape-shifting horror that isn't zombies. Moody and menacing, "It Follows" will get under your skin.
"The Nightingale": How do you follow up one of the biggest and best indie horror hits in recent years? Unrelentingly – at least that's the case with "The Babadook" writer-director Jennifer Kent and this tense and vicious thriller about an Irish woman in Tasmania hunting down the British officer who led unhumane acts against her and her family. It's NOT a light-hearted feel-good film – even by horror standards – but it is a compelling and thoughtful work about some unthinkable crimes.
"Ouija: Origin of Evil": There's no reason why the sequel to a very bad horror movie based on the silly party game should've been tolerable, much less good. But that's the power of director Mike Flanagan, the guy behind the "Midnight Mass" and "The Haunting of Hill House," who gives this premise a thoughtful story, some interesting characters and – of course – a bunch of nightmare-inducingly scares.
"The Platform": If you've been enjoying the cruel economic games of the Korean import "Squid Game," you'll want to dig into this bluntly brutal dark Spanish allegorical thriller about a man trapped in a strange vertical prison where a platform of food makes its way down level to level – with the lowest level stuck with the scraps.
"Raw": In Julia Ducournau's outstanding attention-grabbing debut, a young vet student discovers amidst her studies that she's got a hankering for human flesh. Just in case vet school wasn't tough enough fighting off pangs of cannibalism.
"Se7en": Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman chase down a serial killer punishing sins in elaborately grim and gruesome fashion in this still-thrilling slick '90s hit, courtesy of David Fincher. It's so good, we as a nation allowed the movie to replace the letter V with a seven in the title.
"The Strangers: Prey at Night": This long-awaited sequel doesn't quite live up to the cult horror predecessor (which is also on Netflix and very much worth losing sleep over), oddly blending the original's grounded tone with glossy '80s throwback style. But it's still a solid creep-out – and well worth watching even if just for the swimming pool sequence alone.
"Under the Shadow": If you're a fan of the latest wave of eerie indie horror films, you owe it to yourself to check out this grounded but ghoulish Iranian horror hidden gem about a mother, already having a stressful night taking care of her daughter alone during war, starting to believe there's an angry spirit in their apartment as well.
"Unfriended": I know you've had enough of looking at Zoom screens and virtual meet-ups, but make an exception for this viciously mean, darkly funny and cleverly executed horror flick about a group of teens menaced by an odd visitor to their group chat – all told via computer screens.
"Straight Up": An smartly snappy and unconventional modern rom-com, "Straight Up" follows Rory and Todd, two young Angelenos who start a relationship – despite the fact that she's straight and he's gay ... though, since he doesn't like any of the men he's met, he's wanting to try out being straight. A "Will & Grace" set-up combines with "Gilmore Girls"-esque whiplash-inducing dialogue and a thoughtful exploration of the fluid, undefinable nature of sexuality and relationships to make a lightly lovely indie gem.
"To All the Boys I've Loved Before": The rom-com isn't dead yet thanks to Netflix – and thanks to this charming teenage romance about a high schooler whose secret letters to her crushes get sent to them. The sequel, while not as fun, is worthwhile too. Hopefully the final chapter, "To All the Boys: Always and Forever, Lara Jean," keeps things cute.
"When Harry Met Sally": Rom-coms don't get much more iconic than this '80s classic, starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan as two friends trying to figure out if they're more than that. Featuring a sharp script from screenwriting icon Nora Ephron, warm direction from Rob Reiner and charm-rich performances from a deep cast, you'll want what this movie's having.
"Blade Runner 2049": It may not beat the '80s future noir classic, but director Denis Villeneuve's moody and brainy sci-fi sequel is very much worth your time – even just to look at with Roger Deakins' shadowy and evocative cinematography, which really steals the show (and scored him his first Oscar win after a dozen nominations).
"Fast Color": Tired of the usual bombastic superhero tropes? Here's a terrific alternative: a small-scale but still powerful story about a woman with superpowers hiding out at home with her family.
"Okja": Need another Bong hit after "Parasite" knocked your socks off? Luckily, Netflix has your back with his 2017 adventure "Okja," another undefinable feature about a young girl trying to protect an adorable giant pig from a factory wanting to turn it into meat.
"Starship Troopers": Paul Verhoeven's action-packed war satire about a bunch of young future fascists (including Neil Patrick Harris) battling space bugs. Would you like to know more?
"The Wandering Earth": As far as concepts go, this Chinese blockbuster (truly, it made more money overseas than "Toy Story 4" and "The Rise of Skywalker" in 2019) has one of the more delightfully strange ones: The sun is dying so the globe plugs rocket boosters across the planet and slowly shifts the Earth to a new solar system. With a plan that normal, who could expect that things might go wrong!?
"War of the Worlds": Thanks to Tom Cruise's couch-hopping ... peculiarities, audiences and critics weren't entirely kind to Steven Spielberg's apocalyptic adaptation – but time and distance has been far kinder. Watch it now, and find a immaculately crafted (that Spielberg, good at his job), spine-chilling look at a world in terrifying chaos. Just maybe shut it on mute whenever the son is on screen – that part, we were right about back in 2005.
"The Fighter": A one-two punch of a boxing movie – and not just because it features not one but two Oscar-winning performances, courtesy of Christian Bale and Melissa Leo. David O. Russell's true-story underdog boxing tale delivers on those feel-good inspirational sports movie thrills while also finding a new story to tell about navigating a dysfuntional family and staying true to oneself while staying true to your closest loved ones.
"Hustle": Adam Sandler keeps his late career renaissance going with this inspirational sports drama about a sports scout trying to make it to the Sixers coaching staff – and a stellar but raw Spanish center (real-life hooper Juancho Hernangomez) might get him there. Filled with an all-star game level of NBA cameos – including the Bucks' own Khris Middleton – and solid sports montages, "Hustle" is worth hustling to see. As long as you have a decent stomach for Philadelphia sports success.
"Rush": Speed your way over to this beautifully directed and impressively performed sports drama about two rival racecar drivers – pretty boy star James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and the uber-motivated Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl – battling to be the fastest. One of director Ron Howard's better and more visually adventurous projects, it's thrilling off the track and on.
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.