Spent too much time in restaurants recently? Need a break from the pub? You might be due a few evenings on the sofa, then. For those with Netflix, here are the best movies available to stream right now, including some of 2016’s best films, a handful of top-notch comedies and James Franco stuck in a hole...
Director Antoine Fuqua
Cast Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke
True, this remake by the ‘Training Day’ director adds very little to the damn-near-perfect original. But it’s a good story, solidly told: Washington plays the upstanding outlaw who agrees to defend a group of villagers from a rapacious businessman.
Watch it if you liked... ‘Django Unchained’
Director Michel Gondry
Cast Jack Black, Mos Def
One of the most underrated films of the past decade, this huge-hearted tribute to the power of cinema is ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ director Michel Gondry’s most inspired film. Jack Black and Mos Def play hapless employees at a local video store who discover they’ve inadvertently wiped all the tapes, so they remake all the movies themselves using a handicam and some cardboard special effects. If you haven’t seen it, you’re in for a treat.
Watch it if you liked... ‘Being John Malkovich’
Director David Cronenberg
Cast Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts
London’s Russian population is a breeding ground for crime in David Cronenberg’s hugely entertaining gangster thriller. Viggo Mortensen is the taciturn fixer who hooks up with Naomi Watts’s terribly British nurse to expose a mob plot. The stark-bollock-naked fight scene in a Turkish bath is unforgettable.
Watch it if you liked... ‘Legend’
Director Jonathan Demme
Cast Michelle Pfeiffer, Matthew Modine
Director Jonathan Demme passed away in April, so let’s pay tribute by watching this spiky, witty, enormously enjoyable mafia comedy. Michelle Pfeiffer plays the widow of a recently deceased mob underling who falls for the FBI agent investigating her husband’s sleazy old don.
Watch it if you liked... ‘Raising Arizona’
Director Sacha Gervasi
This is ‘Spinal Tap’ in real life. Documentarian Sacha Gervasi follows ‘the demi-Gods of Canadian metal’, forgotten thrash band Anvil, as they prepare to record their 13th album. A trio of loveable, goofy middle-aged dudes who refuse to let go of the rock ’n’ roll dream, Anvil are honest, everyday heroes, as this joyous, uplifting film proves.
Watch it if you liked... ‘This is Spinal Tap’
Director Tony Gilroy
Cast George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson
Gorgeous George is at his absolute smoothest in this slick, watchable corporate-crime thriller. He plays the titular character, a no-bullshit ‘fixer’ brought in to pick up the pieces when a high-flying lawyer suffers a nervous breakdown in the middle of a vital case.
Watch it if you liked... ‘Erin Brockovich’
Director Neil Marshall
Cast Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza
Widely regarded as one of the finest horror movies of the century so far, British director Neil Marshall’s throat-grabbing shocker follows a group of women who set off to explore a remote cave, only to fall prey to a race of underground-dwelling cannibals. Claustrophobics – approach with extreme caution.
Watch it if you liked... ‘[REC]’
Director Nick Park
Cast Mel Gibson, Julia Sawalha (voices)
Probably the only Mel Gibson movie it’s still possible to enjoy without feeling a bit guilty, ‘Wallace & Gromit’ creator Nick Park’s big-screen smash reimagines the classic stiff-upper-lipped prison camp movie from the point of view of a farmyard full of captive chickens. The result is predictably sweet and funny, with some cracking plasticine action scenes.
Watch it if you liked... ‘The Curse of the Were-Rabbit’
Director Robert Townsend
Cast Robert Townsend, Keenan Ivory Wayans
Sick of being cast as gangsters, ballers and pimps, African American actor Robert Townsend wrote and directed this scattergun satire on Hollywood’s race problem, playing a thinly veiled version of himself as he suffers through demeaning movie auditions and dreams of playing a black action hero called Rambro. It’s messy, but ‘Hollywood Shuffle’ is very funny and still relevant.
Watch it if you liked... ‘Chi-Raq’
Director Sofia Coppola
Cast Kirsten Dunst, Josh Hartnett, Kathleen Turner
Sofia Coppola wowed audiences with her debut film, adapted from Jeffrey Eugenides’s wistful, nostalgic novel about a family of beautiful, unattainable teenage sisters and the neighbourhood boys who love them. The soundtrack by Air lends the whole film a hazy, dreamlike quality.
Watch it if you liked... ‘Lost in Translation’
Director Phyllida Lloyd
Cast Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent
A film about the rise and rise of a hard-headed female Conservative prime minister might feel uncomfortably close to home for some viewers at the moment. But this biopic of Margaret Thatcher has a lot to recommend it – notably Meryl Streep’s Oscar-winning performance as the PM.
Watch it if you liked... the snap election
Director Saul Dibb
Cast Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes
Keira Knightley positively glows in this satirical period drama as the eighteenth-century Duchess of Devonshire whose lavish lifestyle and outspoken political views scandalised the aristocracy of the time. Spurned by her husband, she embarks on an affair with a dashing politician.
Watch it if you liked... ‘Love & Friendship’
Director Joe Dante
Cast Tom Hanks, Carrie Fisher
Bizarrely, ‘Gremlins’ director Dante’s affectionate satire on suburban life flopped on first release, despite a loveable leading turn from an in-his-comic-prime Tom Hanks. It’s since become a cult classic, and quite right too: this story of the suspicion that arises when a group of shifty foreign types move into an all-American street is sharp, fond and very funny.
Watch it if you liked... ‘Gremlins’
Director Robert De Niro
Cast Robert De Niro, Chazz Palminteri
Robert De Niro’s directorial debut was exactly the kind of film you’d expect him to make – a tough-but-tender tale of Italian-American life, about a smart kid recruited by a stylish local gangster against the wishes of his honest, bus-driving dad. The result is a bit cheesy in parts, but full of warmth and heart.
Watch it if you liked... ‘Goodfellas’
Director Drake Floyd
Cast George Hardy, Margo Prey
Famously one of the worst movies of all time (there’s even a documentary, ‘Best Worst Movie’, about how bad it is), this hilariously daft horror flick has to be seen to be believed. From the blunt dialogue to the dreadful performances to the spit-and-sawdust special effects, literally nothing about the film works, which makes it a huge pleasure to watch.
Watch it if you liked... ‘The Room’