When Netflix was first launched as a mail-order DVD rental service, making movies was not part of the plan – and why should it be? At the start of the 21st century, switching to video was seen as the kiss of death in a movie, and few self-respecting Hollywood stars willingly stepped away from the big screen.
Times have changed, however, and these days, there is no shame in making movies for a streaming platform – in fact, it's something that the biggest Hollywood actors have embraced. basically. Regularly throwing blockbuster size budgets into its films, Netflix attracts some of the biggest names in cinema to work on its original films, with lists like Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, all making films under the Netflix banner.
Now that films like The Irishman, Roma, and Marriage Story have become major contenders in the awards season conversations, Netflix has taken its place on the Hollywood head table. Although it is quite successful, however, his films do not always do well …
So we've put together a list of 10 of the best Netflix Original movies you can watch right now – and, for balance, we've also picked out 5 of the worst you may want to avoid, which you'll find on the bottom. of this page.
Yes, the CG technology used to turn Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci into younger men is a game-changer, but if that's all you take from the Irishman, you miss the point. The return of Martin Scorsese in the gangster genre that made his name undoubtedly lacks the energy of Goodfellas and the Casino, and at half past three is dangerously close to the excessive length of his reception. Nevertheless, the carefree rhythm seems appropriate in a film which concerns aging as much as the competitors. Proof that some of the most important Hollywood movies are now made by Netflix.
The wedding story was dropped with The Irishman on this year's award circuit – indeed, with Laura Dern who won an Oscar as best supporting actress, she is arguably more successful. The Squid and the Whale / Frances Ha screenwriter-director Noah Baumbach creates the perfect story of a falling in love, an anti-romance that traces the painful divorce of a couple from New York. It’s sometimes excruciating to watch, but Baumbach clings to the humanity of his characters to find the tenderness of their story, the stars Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver both being in a spellbinding form.
With this decade that saw victories for Alejandro Iñárritu (Birdman, The Revenant), Guillermo del Toro (The shape of water) and Alfonso Cuarón himself (Gravity), Mexican filmmakers had already marked the best director Academy Award when Cuarón took over the brilliant Roma. Despite this, this semi-autobiographical story about growing up in the 1970s in Mexico City still managed to break new ground as one of the first Netflix films to be a resounding success at the Oscars. Shot in a magnificent black and white, it is a sincere and discreet masterpiece which would have been a recipient of the prize much more deserving than the winner Green Book.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Despite an eclectic career that saw them playing in the film noir, the opposite comedy and the Guy, the closest to the Coen brothers had previously come on the small screen was the super-spin-off Fargo TV (which ‘they didn't). Netflix persuaded them to break their TV duck, however, tempting Joel and Ethan to return to the western genre that served them so well in True Grit and (somewhat) No Country for Old Men. Featuring six typically idiosyncratic Old West tales, this anthology has a star cast including James Franco and Liam Neeson, while O Brother, Where Art Though? veteran Tim Blake Nelson returns to Coen as the eponymous singing cowboy.
Before making a burning satire on wealth, class and modern society with the superlative parasite, the director Bong Joon-Ho pointed his sights on animal rights and industrial agriculture. Co-written with The Men Who Stare at Goats author Jon Ronson, Bong's story begins as a surprisingly touching story of a girl and her genetically modified BFF “superpig” – the eponymous Okpon, an adorable triumph of CG. However, things take a darker turn in the final act, as the villains led by a wonderful OTT Tilda Swinton try to bring the pig back to its corporate roots. A unique collaboration between storytellers from East and West – and so much the better.
The two popes
As soon as Pope Francis was elected head of the Catholic Church in 2013, people began to wonder when Jonathan Pryce – who shares a remarkable resemblance to the Pontiff – could play him on screen. Netflix finally managed to do it, Fernando Meirelles, director of City of God / The Constant Gardener, took a look into the holes in the Vatican. We will never know how accurate the representation of François' meetings with Benedict XVI – his more conservative predecessor (played by Anthony Hopkins) – is, but it's a strange drama as a couple, especially when the duo lets their hair down watching their teams face to face in the 2014 World Cup final.
Flying bird high
Netflix is used to pushing big Hollywood directors to make movies for the platform, but few have come across much like Steven Soderbergh. In fact, while Netflix is generally synonymous with massive budgets, the director of Out of Sight and Erin Brockovich has chosen a slightly more frugal path, turning his latest films on smartphones. However, this sports drama is much more than your average home video, while André Holland (star of the new Netflix series The Eddy) plays an agent who takes charge of the establishment of basketball. It's a captivating story with a lot to say about racing issues in sports, and with the extremely talented Soderbergh behind the camera – or should it be a phone? – it is as impeccably said as you would expect.
Dolemite is my name
From time to time, a new film by Eddie Murphy is hailed as a return to form. Dolemite is my Name is the last to follow in the potentially resurrecting footsteps of Shrek and Dreamgirls, and there is no doubt that the star's performance warrants the hype. Murphy returns in the 1970s to play the actor, comedian and singer Rudy Ray Moore, most famous for the blaxploitation films he made on his character Dolemite. While Moore's rise from clubs to the big screen straight out of the biopic manual, it's a wonderfully atmospheric recreation of the era, with an intriguing character at its heart.
I lost my body
You didn't think Netflix was going to let Disney, Pixar and DreamWorks do everything their way, did you? A few weeks after the release of Christmassy Klaus, the first local feature of the streaming service, he was back in animation action with this stranger and more adult affair. For all the spirit of creative adventure of Pixar, they never dared to present a film with a disembodied member, but here a severed hand – making its way through France to find its owner – is the star of the series . Partly horror, partly love story, I Lost my Body is a beautifully animated tale and a refreshing antidote to a medium dominated by CG.
Just to prove that Netflix isn't just about big Hollywood directors, they also debuted French actor turned director Mati Diop – with Atlantics, she became the first woman of color to make a film vying for the Palme d'Or in Cannes. Located in the Senegalese city of Dakar, Atlantics focuses on a group of construction workers lost at sea when they go in search of a better life elsewhere – and most importantly, the people they leave behind. It's a striking and unconventional mix of romance, hard-hitting drama (the problems migrants face are inevitably real) and supernatural, all linked together with Diop's remarkable skill.
And here are five of the worst
As with its TV productions, not everything Netflix does is slam dunk.
Despite all the success that Netflix has had with genre series (from Altered Carbon to The Umbrella Academy via The Witcher), its science fiction films continue to catch up. Despite the talent of Anthony Mackie (Marvel’s Falcon) and Margaret Qualley (The Leftovers), this end-of-the-world drama is as lifeless as the futuristic Earth it depicts.
Sometimes Hollywood takes over classic Japanese manga and creates something as brilliant as Edge of Tomorrow. At other times, they make Death Note … It's the story of a teenager who discovers a notebook whose pages have the capacity to kill – there are supernatural powers at work, but the cuts of paper would be more frightening. A major waste of the talents of You’re Next director Adam Wingard.
The open day
We're pretty sure it wasn't Netflix's plan when this haunted house story was lit in green, but it has become a practical resource for students who want to learn how. do not to make a horror movie. Genuine fears are dangerously rare when a teenager and his mother enter a beautiful mountain lodge – in fact, the biggest shock of the film is that they thought they could get away with one of the worst ends of recent years .
Netflix subscribers based in the UK can take advantage of Adam Sandler's critically adored Uncut Gems vehicle (and U.S. subscribers can watch it from May 25, 2020). Unfortunately, Sandy Wexler reminds us that the entire production of the star of Happy Gilmore is not in gold. Going back in time has served Sandler well in The Wedding Singer, but sadly, this 90s tale of an exaggerated Hollywood talent manager is mired in too many missing gags.
How it ends
From Mad Max to Dawn of the Dead in A Quiet Place, there have been many classic films depicting the fall of civilization. However, despite its title on what is said on paper, How it Ends will not join this list. Widespread power-down is the catalyst for an apocalypse driven by a dubious plot and far from the effects of List A. will do nothing.