If your current workload is heavy, chances are you won’t be able to head to the cinema but that isn’t to say that you can’t catch a film if you’re in the mood – Netflix has hundreds of films available at the push of a button and the list is forever expanding. From recent hits you might have missed, to old classics you’ve always been meaning to get around to or even under-the-radar gems, here are some of the best films recently added to the website taking over from the televised world.

Current Classics

Hector

Peter Mullan shines in writer/director Jake Gavin’s tale of a homeless man journeying from Edinburgh to London at Christmas. An understated piece, Hector doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of homelessness but also offers moments of tender, sincere humanism. Mullan anchors the piece with an affecting, soulful portrayal of grief and weariness.

Hector
Peter Mullan and Keith Allen share a moment of laughter in “Hector”. Photo: www.hollywoodreporter.com
Boyhood

You might have heard all about Boyhood but you have to see it to believe it. Filmed over 11 years, Richard Linklater’s masterpiece plays out a young man’s coming of age in front of your very eyes, to spellbinding effect. Both a perfect time-capsule of the first decade of the new millennium and a heartfelt character study, this is an extraordinary feat of filmmaking.

Boyhood
Ellar Coltrane with his whole life ahead of him at the start of Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood”. Photo: www.sky.com
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

The final instalment in the Hunger Games series eschewed the crowd-pleasing climax many were expecting in favour of a bleak, violent, and traumatic look at the cost of war and the folly of myth-making. Jennifer Lawrence is fantastic (obviously), sending out her star-making role on a high-note in this bold, uncompromising conclusion to a unique franchise.

Mockingjay Part 2 Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen faces bleak times in Mockingjay Part Two. Photo: www.militarypress.com
The Big Short

The deserving winner of this year’s Best Original Screenplay Oscar, this relentlessly smart and fiercely angry look at the 2008 financial crash is hilarious, informative and terrifying, with dynamic, audacious direction by Adam McKay and terrific performances from its four leads.

Ryan Gosling and Steve Carrell play the system in The Big Short. Photo: www.collider.com
Pan’s Labyrinth 

A decade on, Guillermo Del Toro’s dark fairy-tale remains a genuine masterpiece. A nightmarish, spell-binding and rich trip through history and fantasy, this is one to check out right away if you haven’t managed to yet.

The Faun (Doug Jones) guides Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) into a sinister new world in Pan's Labyrinth. From mentalfloss.com/article/14-fantastical-facts-about-pans-labyrinth
The Faun (Doug Jones) guides Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) into a sinister new world in Pan’s Labyrinth. Photo: mentalfloss.com

Classics

Netflix also offers the opportunity to check out some all-time iconic films. A few choice examples are below:

Double Indemnity 

Arguably the definitive film noir, Billy Wilder’s tale of lust, deceit, and murder left marks on the thriller genre, that are still felt to this day. Just as propulsive and disturbing as it was on its release 72 years ago.

"Double Indemnity"
Barbara Stanwyck and Fred McMurray contemplate foul deeds in seminal noir Double Indemnity. From filmforum.org
Touch of Evil

Another archetypal noir, this seedy look at corruption at the Texas-Mexico border marked Orson Welles’ return to Hollywood. The casting of Charlton Heston as a Mexican might be a bit questionable, but the dark thrills haven’t aged a day – and that opening long take still stuns.

The classic opening sequence of Orson Welles's "Touch of Evil". From thestorydepartment.com/touch-of-evil-some-kind-of-man
The classic opening sequence of Orson Welles’s Touch of Evil. From thestorydepartment.com
In the Heat of the Night

Boasting a career-defining performance from Sidney Poitier, Norman Jewison’s Best Picture-winning mystery drama about racism in the American South was a ground-breaker in on-screen portrayals of race and sadly remains searingly relevant today.

Sidney Poitier is inimitable as Virgil Tibbs in "In the Heat of the Night". Photo: Tumblr.com
Sidney Poitier is inimitable as Virgil Tibbs in In the Heat of the Night. Photo: Tumblr.com
Annie Hall/Manhattan

Another new Woody Allen, another round of reminiscing about the “early, funny ones”. With Cafe Society – Allen’s 47th film – currently in cinemas, now is as good a time as any to revisit the earliest and, yes, funniest entries in his canon.

Diane Keaton is cultured and stylish while Woody Allen is neurotic and uptight - no-one's playing against type in Annie Hall. Photo: liverpoolsmallcinema.org.uk/event/bfi-love-annie-hall-15
Diane Keaton is cultured and stylish while Woody Allen is neurotic and uptight – no-one’s playing against type in Annie Hall. Photo: liverpoolsmallcinema.org.uk
It Happened One Night

Claudette Colbert. Clark Gable. A whole series of misadventures and misunderstandings. And of course, just a bit of romance. This timeless rom-com is just the kind of frothy entertainment we all need sometimes.

Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable fall in love - not that they'll admit it - in "It Happened One Night". From www.roger-ebert.com/far-flung-correspondents/looking-back-at-it-happened-one-night
Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable fall in love – not that they’ll admit it – in It Happened One Night. Photo: www.roger-ebert.com

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