It’s fair to say that the film industry has changed a lot over the past decade. Now we’ve got the comfort and convenience of accessing movies via video on demand, and the joy of perusing streaming services of the likes of Netflix. And this has given rise to new, awesome, original content directly made for the platform.
Netflix has been at the forefront when it comes to playing patron to new feature films. Here are those we think are the best to have come out so far - take a look and see if you agree.
1. Beasts of No Nation
Beasts of No Nation was released in cinemas and on Netflix simultaneously, and was promptly nominated for a slew of awards. Idris Elba plays the Commandant, the leader of a rebel faction in Western Africa who uses child soldiers. The film is a tense, brilliant portrait of the life of a child trapped amidst conflict and Elba is absolutely superb in this role. It’s really one not to be missed.
2. The Fundamentals of Caring
In this film Paul Rudd plays a down-on-his luck writer who takes up a job as a carer for an ill and sullen teenager (Craig Roberts). Concerned by Trevor’s negative attitude to life, he offers to take him out on a road trip. The two have plenty of adventures, including meeting Dot (Selena Gomez), who is on the run from her family. It’s a quirky, heart-warming comedy that’ll leave you smiling long after the credits roll.
3. Sandy Wexler
Adam Sandler has kinda made himself a new home on Netflix. Sandy Wexler is the actor’s third feature film for the platform, and totally the best. The titular hero is an eccentric talent agent in LA, whose life changes after he takes on a singer (Jennifer Hudson) as a new client. His new hire turns out to be both actually successful, and the woman of his dreams. This cute spoof of the Hollywood life gets all the more endearing when you realise that Sandy is in fact based on Sandler’s actual agent, Sandy Wernick.
In these days of blockbuster franchises, brand-new science-fiction feels kind of rare. But you need wait no more: ARQ perfectly blends action and futuristic tech. In the film, the world is caught up in a war following a shortage of oil. But Renton has invented a source of infinite energy. However, the device has also created a time loop, which means that he is condemned to living the same day over and over again. If you think it sounds like an awesome dystopian Groundhog Day, you’re right on.
It’s pretty awful to get dumped - and even worse if your ex takes off without saying goodbye. Out of options, Tallulah (Ellen Page) asks her ex-boyfriend’s mother for help - after, ahem, pretending that a baby she’s kidnapped is their child. From then onwards it all escalates to situations both tragic and hilarious. One thing’s for sure: you’ll never think about motherhood quite in the same way again.
6. The True Memoirs of an International Assassin
Accountant Sam Larson has a dull life. He writes adventures for himself in his novel, in which he’s invented an assassin alter-ego. His editor, however, has the unfortunate idea of publishing the manuscript as non-fiction, which causes him major trouble. Not least of all, being kidnapped and given the job of murdering the president of Venezuela. As it turns out, being a real-life international assassin isn’t that easy - or, for that matter, that pleasant, but hey, it’s rather fun to watch.
Yup, Netflix also does original documentaries, and none is more thought-provoking than 13th, by Ava DuVernay. The film was nominated for an Oscar this year and breaks down the story of racial discrimination and mass incarceration in the United States. Don’t be daunted: 13th watches like a well paced thriller. It’s so well put together that by the end you’ll be wishing that Netflix had ordered it as a miniseries instead.
8. Deidra & Laney Rob a Train
It’s a known rule of movies: kids get up to no good when their parents are away. But Deidra & Laney take the home alone thing one step further. After their mother is thrown in prison, the siblings decide to rob trains in order to make ends meet - and pay for her bail. There starts a meticulously planned crime operation, which sets the rail company detective on their tracks. This hilarious, unusual comedy is a gem waiting to be discovered - and makes for a perfect family night in.
9. Special Correspondents
Why do your job when you can just pretend to do your job? Radio journalists Frank and Finch decide to report a coup in Ecuador from the comfort of New York. And it’s all going down a treat until their reports become so convincing that the government becomes worried for their safety. The pair then actually have to travel to the country to be rescued - or face getting found out. Ricky Gervais and Eric Bana make a brilliantly funny duo, and it’s a real wonder that those two hadn’t done a film together before.