As you're no doubt aware, Netflix is chockablock with pretty much every kind of genre and movie for you to enjoy.
But, as with anything, there's the good stuff and the bad stuff - and that's where we come in. Every month, we're going to pluck five gems from Netflix's library in a specific genre - action, horror, comedy and drama - for you to watch.
This week, it's drama. We kick things off with...
Directed by fashion designer-turned-filmmaker Tom Ford, 'Nocturnal Animals' is a twist-ridden melodrama that stars desperately good-looking people being ugly as sin. Told via flashbacks and through a novel written by Jake Gyllenhaal's character, Amy Adams' ice-queen art gallery curator reexamines her relationship with him in light of her currently-failing relationship with Armie Hammer. It's almost like a Douglas Sirk film in parts, and it looks just as good.
Sean Penn leads this biopic about Harvey Milk, the self-styled 'Mayor of Castro Street' who led one of the most groundbreaking political campaigns in US history and became the first openly-gay person to be elected to public office in California. Directed by Gus Van Sant, 'Milk' is an inspiring tale that still resonates to this day.
'Queen of Katwe'
Directed by multi-award winning director Mira Nair and starring Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o, 'Queen of Katwe' is another true-life biopic, this one focused on the incredible story of Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi, played by Madina Nalwanga. It's as uplifting as any sports story you'll see on Netflix, and one told from a truly unique perspective.
One of the most controversial news reports of the past twenty years was always going to be turned into a film, and 'Truth' is just that. Robert Redford, Cate Blanchett, Bruce Greenwood and Topher Grace line out for this all-star political drama about the infamous Killian documents which alleged that US President George W. Bush's military record in the Texas National Guard was falsified or cleaned up. As we talk about 'fake news' in today's climate, it's a fascinating look at the earliest rumblings of the word.
'Children Of Men'
What can be said about 'Children Of Men' that hasn't already been said? It's easily one of the best sci-fi films of the past two decades. It's far and away Clive Owen's best on-screen performance of his career. It's depressing and simultaneously uplifting. The cast is incredible - Julieanne Moore, Michael Caine, Chiwetel Ejiofor. The story itself is terrifying in not only its relevancy, but also how it feels so close to reality. If you haven't yet watched it, sort that out immediately.
Previous suggestions, which may no longer be on Netflix...
The third feature of Damien Chazelle’s, ‘First Man’, is gaining much awards buzz after his second feature ‘La La Land’, won six Oscars at last year’s ceremony (but NOT Best Picture). If you haven’t seen his first, make it your business as many believe he hasn’t topped it. Miles Teller plays a jazz student and J.K. Simmons (who won an Academy award for his fantastic performance) plays his ruthless instructor, who is determined to push his pupil to the best of his abilities.
‘Rain Man’ really provides an emotional roller coaster of a movie experience, as you first feel pissed at Tom Cruise’s obnoxious character, Charlie, followed by sympathy for his brother, Raymond (played by Dustin Hoffman), who suffers from savant syndrome, then joy and wonder as you see their relationship burgeon, and hope in the movie’s final moments. It’s perfect for date night, or a movie night-in with friends or family.
‘City of God’
A modern classic, 2002 crime film ‘City of God’ is set in 1960s Brazil in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. Three impoverished, amateur thieves known as the "Tender Trio" rob and loot business owners, inspiring the young boys of the community to follow their lead. Years later, the younger brother of one of the trio, Rocket, joins a community of hippies. However, he finds himself increasingly drawn into the world of crime. The film received worldwide critical acclaim and earned four Oscar nominations.
‘Good Will Hunting’
It’s hard to pick a stand-out performance from the legend that was Robin Williams, an actor we lost too soon. ‘Good Will Hunting’ definitely ranks up at the top though. Written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, who won an Oscar for their script and would go on to become the superstars we know them as now, the film stars Damon as a young janitor who has a gift for mathematics. It is only through seeing Dr. Sean Maguire (Williams) that he realises what he wants to do with it.
‘Thelma & Louise’
There are a number of levels on which to enjoy the 1991 classic that is ‘Thelma & Louise.’ It’s the movie that introduced Brad Pitt to the world (and he is gaw-geous in it) and demonstrates the incredible range of director Ridley Scott (the mind behind ‘Alien’, ’Blade Runner’ and ‘Gladiator’). It remains one of the best feminist films out there with Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis giving unforgettable performances in the titular roles. It’s also a movie that’s more fitting now than ever.
‘The Social Network’
With all the changes that have been happening to Facebook of late – and all the trouble Mark Zuckerberg was in last April – why not watch the movie that depicts how the whole social media platform started? The film’s great cast boasts Jesse Eisenberg as Zuckerberg, Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin, Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker, and Armie Hammer as Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. Aaron Sorkin’s incisive script earned the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
This period-set drama also boasts an impressive cast, including Emma Thompson (who earned her first Oscar for her lead performance in the film), Anthony Hopkins, Helena Bonham Carter and Vanessa Redgrave. Based on E.M. Forster’s (‘A Room With a View’, ‘A Passage to India’) classic novel, the film revolves around three families. A friendship between the eldest daughter of one family and the matriarch of another leads to the latter leaving her estate, Howards End, to the former. Her family refuses to carry out her dying wish, which has far-reaching consequences for all.
‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon’
Ang Lee’s ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ is nearly 20 years old and still a breath-taking wonder to behold. It is not only a drama but a romance and action movie (specifically a wuxia film) that centres around four characters in 18th century Qing Dynasty China – accomplished swordsman Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun-fat), his colleague Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh), the daughter of a governor and aspiring warrior Jen Yu (Zhang Ziyi), and a desert bandit named Lo (Chang Chen). The movie won Academy Awards for its cinematography, original score, art/set direction and for Best Foreign Language Film.
‘Kramer vs Kramer’
Starring two acting greats in Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman, ‘Kramer vs Kramer’ is written and directed by Robert Benton, the scribe behind ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ and the original ‘Superman’ movie. Hoffman plays Ted, whose wife Joanna, played by Streep, leaves him suddenly, after which he is forced to raise their son, Billy alone. The father and son struggle at first but eventually develop a powerful bond. A custody battle ensues over Billy that begs the question of what really is best for the child.
If you’ve never seen ‘Taxi Driver’, it begs to be seen for one of the all-time best performances. If you have seen it, it’s worth a re-watch. Martin Scorsese’s classic features Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle, one of cinema’s great anti-heroes. The mentally unstable veteran, now a night shift taxi driver in New York City, is disgusted by the perversions and injustice he sees around him, and decides to take it upon himself to rescue a 12 year-old prostitute played by Jodie Foster. De Niro's improvised "You talkin' to me?" monologue is now a pop culture mainstay.
There aren’t many memorable Netflix original films, but ‘Mudbound’ truly is a gem. The movie was nominated for four Oscars at this year’s ceremony, including Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Song (both for Mary J. Blige), Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Cinematography. Based on a novel by Hillary Jordan, the film relates how two World War II veterans, one white and one black, struggle with racism and PTSD when they return home to farm in rural Mississippi.
Likely the darkest entry on our list, ‘Prisoners’ focusses on the abduction of two young girls in Pennsylvania and the subsequent search for the abductor by the police. Dissatisfied with the police’s efforts, the father of one of the missing girls decides to take matters into his own hands. Starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, the film is directed by the extraordinary Denis Villeneuve, who has previously helmed ‘Sicario,’ ‘Arrival’, and ‘Blade Runner 2049’ (as well as the upcoming ‘Dune’ remake).
‘Testament of Youth’
Oscar-winning actress Alicia Vikander (‘Ex-Machina,’ ‘The Danish Girl’) and GOT’s Kit Harington star in this heart-breaking war drama based on Vera Brittain’s autobiography. The film tells the story of a woman who falls in love for the first time, and makes the courageous decision to leave her studies at Oxford to become a war nurse. As she loses friends and family on the battlefield, Vera fights on, determined to never lose hope.
Directed by Taylor Sheridan, who is best-known as the writer of ‘Sicario’ and its sequel 'Soldado', ‘Wind River’ may star MCU actors Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) and Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch), but it couldn’t be further from the superhero franchise. Set in Wyoming, the film follows a veteran hunter and FBI agent as they investigate the murder of a young woman on a Native American reservation. This dark, cold, unsettling film went unjustly under the radar when it was released last year.
‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’
This moving coming-of-age film – directed by Stephen Chbosky, the author of its source novel – is one of the best teen dramas to have come out in recent years. It features three exquisite performances in Logan Lerman of ‘Percy Jackson’ fame, ‘Harry Potter’ alum Emma Watson and ‘We Need to talk about Kevin’ star Ezra Miller. A shy freshman student named Charlie is taken under the wing of two seniors who take him to sites and through experiences he has never had before.