Despite the way that Netflix has increasingly pivoted towards more original content in recent years, they have by and large kept up with the acquisition of third-party movies and TV shows.Â This, combined with their must-see originals, continues to make the streaming service one of the best bangs for your buck on the market (at least outside of more niche streaming services like the Criterion Channel).Â This month gives us a healthy mix of both of these, and plenty of reasons to tune into the content provider in the coming month.
Blood Father (2016) — Mel Gibson has… let’s call it a contentious relationship with his art and public.Â He’s always existed in an uneasy middle-ground between forgivably problematic and inexcusably bigoted, and it has only been in recent years that he has been able to crawl his way back into being a part of the latter classification.Â While most people celebrated his return in Hacksaw Ridge (2016), it was this small, bloody-knuckled action flick that truly marked his return to the center stage (although it doubtless did nothing for his embattled public image).Â One step removed from the likes of Taken (2007) and infinitely darker, Blood Father is a high-water mark for the man’s storied career, and something that more people ought to discover over its time on Netflix.
Castlevania Season 3 (2020) — Netflix has a strong catalog of original series at this point, and it can be an impossible task to choose between such highlights as Stranger Things, Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards.Â But for my money, Castlevania — the video game adaptation that finally broke through the industry “curse” in transitioning between the video screen and the silver screen by simply stretching out the runtime to series-length and letting its expanded narrative play out across a much larger canvas — is easily the best game-to-“film” adaptation to date.Â After the second season wrapped up the series’ initial storyline, killing off Dracula and breaking up the uneasy fellowship we’d followed from its first episodes, the series is now set up to explode into a much larger, more sprawling narrative akin the Game-of-Thrones-alike it tried to be across its second season.Â I can’t wait to see where all of its carefully-laid pieces fall in its long-awaited return to streaming,
Goodfellas (1990) — Fresh off of The Irishman’s (2019) 10 and 0 run at the Oscars, Netflix brings back one of the classic Scorsese gangster movies whose reputations and conventions it was actively deconstructing.Â While I will confess that this is hardly my favorite of that accomplished company (my favorite is 2006’s The Departed), there’s no denying the sustained power of this early 90s film.Â Bold, brutish and pulsating with the kind of brazen, bombastic energy for which Scorsese is known for, this makes for the perfect counterpoint to its director’s darker, more subdued offering from this last year.
Outbreak (1995) — With the Caronavirus one of the major stories of recent weeks, it is eerily fitting that Netflix chose now to bring out this half-forgotten 1990s disease drama.Â Very much the precursor to movies like Contagion (2011), this star-studded extravaganza pulled out all of the stops to engagingly dramatize the job of isolating, studying and curing diseases that would otherwise tear clean through the heart of the country.Â Maybe it lacks Contagion‘s eagle-eye perspective and maybe its charms have faded a little with age, but you would be hard-pressed to find other films that encapsulate this virulent moment better on screen.
There Will Be Blood (2007) — I mentioned already when discussing the movies leaving Netflix what an incredible year for movies 2007 was (both at home and abroad).Â You have movies like Zodiac, No Country for Old Men and Juno alongside popular mainstays like Hairspray, Enchanted and 1408.Â You have the very height of the New French Extremity in Frontier(s) and Inside, contentious American horror with Grindhouse and I Am Legend, animated classics like The Simpsons Movie and 5 Centimeters Per Second as well as side-splitting comedies as with Hott Fuzz and Superbad.Â Arguably the best of the lot, however is this dark, compelling Paul Thomas Anderson-helmed western that pits Daniel Day Lewis’ Daniel Plainview against Paul Dano’s Eli Sunday in a twisted tale of uniquely American greed.