Netflix: 40 of the best movies to see this week – CNET

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Netflix

Happy as Lazzaro (2018)

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)

This award-winning French film begins with a severed hand escaping a refrigerator in a laboratory and embarking on a Paris-wide search for the rest of its body. What an opening! With a few flashbacks and elegant animation, this strange, satisfying story delves into loss, both physical and emotional, in the most poetic of ways.
This lauded independent film from several years back showcases the talents of Tatiana Maslany, aka one Marvel’s newest heroes, who’ll be starring in the Disney Plus She-Hulk series. Before that, see her in Two Lovers and a Bear, alongside the similarly talented Dane DeHaan. The dark love story follows Roman and Lucy, two lovers living in small-town Canada. Roman can speak to bears, while Lucy believes she has a stalker. Become swept up in this surreal and thrilling adult fairy tale elevated by the chemistry between Maslany and DeHaan.

Best Netflix Original movies

Drama

Two movies named The Call came out in 2020. Watch the South Korean one, a time travel thriller revolving around, yep, a phone call. Twenty-eight-year-old Seo-yeon finds a phone buried in a closet in her childhood home. It rings — and the caller, it turns out, is living in the same house 20 years earlier. Twists right up to the final moment, plus a wild cat-and-mouse chase that alters the past and present make this a must-watch.

Netflix

Spike Lee’s fierce war drama follows a group of ageing Vietnam War veterans who return to the country in search of the remains of their squad leader — as well as buried treasure. With a frenzied energy coursing through it, Da 5 Bloods gives you a look at the Vietnam War through black experiences, delivering an all-too-timely critique of racism and warfare.

Nikolai Loveikis/Netflix
Director Cary Joji Fukunaga gives you a sobering look at the life of a boy who becomes a child soldier in a West African country embroiled in civil war. Idris Elba stars as the ruthless Commandant along with the astonishing Abraham Attah as the young Agu. A confronting yet quietly hopeful snapshot of war from a human perspective, Beasts of No Nation needs to be on your radar if it isn’t already.

Last week’s arrivals include documentary Shiny_Flakes: The Teenage Drug Lord, drama The Swarm (2020) and animated family film Vivo (2021). As if that wasn’t enough, scroll down for the best Netflix originals, including films Netflix acquired the rights to distribute in the US.

Netflix

Netflix

Netflix

Two Lovers and a Bear (2016)

Alfonso Cuaron’s semi-autobiographical snapshot of the Colonia Roma neighborhood of Mexico City tells a small story with staggering prowess. Let Cuaron steer you through the ups and downs of a live-in housekeeper of a middle-class family. His lens captures intricately beautiful scenes in an album that quietly envelopes you with wonder and grace.

Netflix

Pieces of a Woman (2020)

Carlos Somonte
Beckett, starring John David Washington and Alicia Vikander, arrives this week.

I Lost My Body (2019)

Netflix
2017’s Okja comes from Parasite director Bong Joon-ho — which should be incentive enough to watch it. Part cheeky dark comedy, part surreal environmental thriller, Okja follows a young South Korean farmer girl whose pet pal is a genetically enhanced super-pig. But Okja is the target of a big corporation that wants her delicious flesh. With an English supporting cast including the likes of Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal, Okja sucks you in with its sweetness before showing you a distressing close-up of the meat industry.

His House is a horror flick that hits close to home. Revealing its supernatural evils through a harrowing human story, it follows Bol and Rial, a refugee couple from Sudan, who struggle to adapt to their new life in an English town. Don’t expect straightforward jump scares — His House plays into the psychological specters of the past, adding even more corridors of torment. A heartrending, powerful piece.

Zeta Cinema
This fine British drama excavates a whole lot of buried treasure with a distinguished cast in Carey Mulligan, Ralph Fiennes, Lily James and Johnny Flynn. It’s based on the true events around the 1939 excavation of Sutton Hoo, yielding a priceless trove of Anglo-Saxon artefacts hidden in a burial ship. Romantic, intellectual and moving, The Dig is a full sweep of elegance.

Paddleton (2019)

Netflix
Maggie Gyllenhaal gives a career best performance in The Kindergarten Teacher, a drama about, yep, a kindergarten teacher. Lisa is dissatisfied with her own life, which leads her to make some questionable decisions regarding one of her young students. When Jimmy exhibits child prodigy levels of poetry writing talent, Lisa may or may not take credit for it. The Kindergarten Teacher’s slightly disturbing character study might leave you feeling conflicted, but there’s no question about Gyllenhaal’s mesmerizing performance. Watch it.

Netflix
This Italian film has the seal of approval from Bong Joon-ho, so let’s listen to the Oscar-winning director of Parasite and add it to this list. Written and directed by Alice Rohrwacher, Happy as Lazzaro is set in the ’70s on a tobacco farm, where good-hearted young peasant Lazzaro dutifully works. When a nobleman convinces him to help him fake his own kidnapping, a story of friendship, innocence and social commentary unfolds. A gorgeously shot, cinematic fairytale.

Also on Wednesday comes Misha and the Wolves, a documentary about Misha Defonseca, who wrote a memoir about the holocaust that led to a fallout with her publisher and an investigation into hidden secrets.

Entertainment One

Okja (2017)

Thriller

I Care a Lot (2020)

Netflix

Gerald’s Game (2017)

The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021)

Netflix
The YA book adaptation that rocketed Noah Centineo to heartthrob status. Playing off a charming concept, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before sees Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor), a half-Korean, half-white girl growing up in Portland, Oregon, write letters to all the boys she has crushes on. Then her fun little sister sends them off without her knowing. While it hits all the comforting rom-com beats, there’s a layer of rare representation that gives this an edge over your average teen flick.

Spanning the lives of its mobsters over multiple decades, The Irishman pulls off a 3-and-a-half-hour crime saga. But don’t worry — you can break up this tour de force if you need to. Always clever and entertaining, with Martin Scorsese favorites Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci commanding the screen, The Irishman creeps up on you, offering a haunting look at ageing mobsters and the havoc they wreak.

Netflix
Vampires vs. the Bronx is a unique comedy-horror in more ways than one. Set in the New York borough of the Bronx, it follows young Miguel Martinez, a big-hearted kid helping to raise money for his struggling local bodega before it’s forced to sell. But it’s not just new designer clothing stores threatening to move in: Creepy pale neck-chompers are eating up people and their properties. A commentary on gentrification with goofy charm, twists and thrills, Vampires vs. the Bronx is a fresh, entertaining spin on the genre.

Beasts of No Nation (2015)

Netflix

The Two Popes (2019)

Sci-fi

Klaus (2019)

Netflix

The Irishman (2019)

Netflix

The Incredible Jessica James (2017)

Netflix

Always Be My Maybe (2019)

Netflix

The Kindergarten Teacher (2018)

Horror

If you’ve had a bad day, this might be the movie for you. When the police refuse to help with a robbery, nursing assistant Ruth and her weird neighbor Tony take matters into their own hands. I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore spots the idiosyncrasies of everyday life, before escalating its story into dark places with even darker humor. With a touch of Coen Brothers flair, its perfectly packed 96 minutes will leave you surprisingly emotional.

Netflix

Netflix

Mudbound (2017)

Netflix

Comedy

Netflix

The Call (2020)

One of the best new family movies has just hit Netflix. From some of the same people who made Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse comes this adventure to save the world involving Mom, Dad, the kids and their slobbery, bug-eyed dog. But amid the robot apocalypse, led by Olivia Colman’s sinister Siri, really The Mitchells vs. the Machines is about a strained relationship between movie-loving daughter Katie and her technophobe father. The technology-inept parent gags are rife, the colors frenetic and the character growth moving. A near-perfect package with the timeless message that embracing your weirdness is a superpower.

Netflix
Mudbound gives you a historical look at class struggle through the lens of a black veteran and a white veteran who both still have one foot stuck in World War II. Dealing with PTSD and racism in the Mississippi Delta, with a cast that includes Garrett Hedlund and Jason Mitchell, Mudbound’s tempest will rivet you to the spot.

The Dig (2021)

Netflix

I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020)

Romance

A psychological thriller that dives deep into the surreal. I’m Thinking of Ending Things definitely won’t be for everyone, but it connects you to the frustrations of the young woman (Jessie Buckley) at its heart, who grapples with breaking off her seven-week-relationship with her boyfriend Jake (Jesse Plemons). While it overstays its welcome a little, I’m Thinking of Ending Things always keeps you on your toes, with atmospheric cinematography and strong performances from Toni Collette and David Thewlis as Jake’s fairly odd parents. Fans of director-writer Charlie Kaufman will be pleased.

Netflix
This week on Netflix sees the arrival of The Kissing Booth 3. The third and final instalment of the teen rom-com series sees Elle plan the ultimate Bucket List for her final summer before college. Watch it on Wednesday.

Netflix

Dolemite Is My Name (2019)

From Netflix’s impressive stash of international films comes Spanish sci-fi horror The Platform. Its high-concept story centers on a tower that delivers food to people on each of its many levels via a platform. Those at the top get the best and most abundant spread, which is devoured as the platform lowers down the levels. Social commentary rings throughout this dystopian thriller, which takes shocking, occasionally gruesome turns all the way to the bottom.

StudioCanal

Da 5 Bloods (2020)

Netflix

The Meyerowitz Stories (2017)

Stowaway (2021)

Netflix
You’ll be spending a lot of time with Mélanie Laurent (Inglorious Basterds) in this contained sci-fi thriller. Inside a coffin-like medical cryo unit, Laurent’s Elizabeth Hansen wakes up to find that she’s trapped, running out of oxygen and can’t remember why she’s there. Claustrophobic and high on tension, Oxygen is a solid sci-fi entry, efficient and satisfying, without breaking any ground.

Animation

Netflix
If you liked The Haunting of Hill House, then check out Mike Flanagan’s adaptation of Stephen King novel Gerald’s Game. Carla Gugino is immense as Jessie, who goes on holiday with her husband at an isolated lake house in Alabama. Largely sticking to a bedroom setting, we see the couple’s troubles go from bad to worse, with Jessie ending up in the impossible situation of being handcuffed to the bed with no one to help her escape. Gerald’s Game leads to narratively and emotionally satisfying conclusions, with Flanagan’s melancholy-suffused horror that surges into quiet triumph for its haunted characters.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

Netflix

Netflix

Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020)

Western

Netflix

Mank (2020)

The Platform (2019)

Netflix
On Thursday, watch Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild. The one-hour animated movie follows Aiden, a hunter who protects his village from being destroyed by a dragon. The film is based on the video game franchise Monster Hunter. On Friday comes Beckett, a 2021 thriller starring John David Washington and Alicia Vikander. The film follows an American tourist vacationing in Greece, who becomes the target of a manhunt after a tragic car accident.

Action/Adventure

A black-and-white David Fincher tale about the unsung screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz who helped Orson Welles write Citizen Kane. Step back into Old Hollywood, with beautiful cinematography and take in the behind-the-scenes of how studio systems functioned in a different time. Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried are among the exceptional cast of this biographical drama filled with the lightness and darkness of its hero’s life.

Netflix

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018)

Crime/War

Netflix

An Aaron Sorkin drama based on a true story? The Trial of the Chicago 7 lives up to its pedigree, following the real-life trial of a group of anti-Vietnam War protestors charged with conspiracy to incite riots. With a stellar ensemble cast, including Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, The Trial of the Chicago 7 is both topical and full of compelling theatrical energy.

Netflix

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

Netflix
This original YA movie tells the story of Ellie Chu, a shy Asian-American in the remote town of Squahamish discovering her sexuality. A straight-A yet friendless student who has a side-hustle writing papers for her classmates, Ellie helps footballer Paul Munsky write a love letter to Aster Flores. But it turns out Aster’s perfect for Ellie instead. A story of self-acceptance told with a delicate touch, The Half of It is a joy.