The 25 greatest motion pictures to look at on Netflix: May 2020

The 25 best movies to watch on Netflix: May 2020

How many occasions have you ever sat all the way down to discover a film on Netflix, solely to spend the following 15 minutes scrolling by the streaming service’s oddly particular menus after which placed on The Office once more? Netflix’s big catalogue of flicks, mixed with its inscrutable algorithm, could make discovering one thing to look at really feel extra like a chore than a approach to unwind.

We’re right here to assist. If you’re affected by a case of selection paralysis, we’ve narrowed down your choices to 25 of our favourite motion pictures on the platform. These run the gamut from spaghetti Westerns (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) to indie thrillers (Moon) to a number of the greatest movies produced outdoors the United States (you noticed Parasite, however have you ever seen Bong Joon-ho’s Okja?). We’ll be updating this checklist as Netflix cycles motion pictures out and in of its library, so be sure you examine again subsequent time you’re caught in entrance of the Netflix house display.

The Artist

Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo in The Artist.

Photo: Warner Bros.

Half Singin’ within the Rain, half A Star is Born, and all swoony love letter to cinema’s silent period, Michel Hazanavicius’ Best Picture winner The Artist drops Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo into the traditional story of an enormous star on the wane, and a brand new star on the rise. The black-and-white movie — largely a silent characteristic, with a few sound interludes for particular impact — could be broad and corny, with the large gestures and greater expressions of outdated silent motion pictures, and equally massive character archetypes. But like so most of the outdated silent comedies, The Artist performs on simply acknowledged, common human feelings — longing, jealousy, embarrassment, and love — to inform a narrative that’s satisfying as a result of it’s as easy and recognizable as a Punch and Judy present. It’s about acknowledging the naked emotional necessities of what individuals get pleasure from in cinema, and stripping away completely all the pieces else. —Tasha Robinson

Baahubali: The Beginning

Baahubali: The Beginning - prabhas as baahubali carrying a giant fountain

Image: Dharma Productions

In Western phrases, this Tollywood manufacturing, the most costly Indian movie on the time of its launch, is sort of a biblical epic by means of Marvel Studios, with just a little Hamlet and Step Up thrown in for good measure. The Beginning chronicles the lifetime of Shivudu, a superhumanly sturdy adventurer who escapes his provincial life by scaling a skyscraper-sized waterfall, aiding and romancing a insurgent warrior named Avanthika, then teaming up along with her to rescue a kidnapped queen from an evil emperor. Exploding with hyper-choreographed combat sequences and CG spectacle (to not point out a handful of musical numbers with equal bravura), The Beginning is 159 minutes of legendary extra, going massive like solely Indian movie can, and resting on the muscular shoulders of its hero, the single-name actor Prabhas. If you fall onerous for it, get pumped — that is solely half one. The twist leads into Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, one other two-and-a-half-hour epic additionally streaming on Netflix. —Matt Patches

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Tim Blake Nelson is Buster Scruggs in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, a film by Joel and Ethan Coen.


The Coen brothers’ most up-to-date movie tells six tales of the American frontier, all with various levels of bittersweetness. Even essentially the most absurd of the tales — a mini-musical that includes Buster Scruggs, or Tom Waits holding a dialog with a pocket of gold — reveal deeper layers. The movie focuses on mortality and the capricious nature of life, and whereas a number of the outcomes could seem merciless, there’s at all times a contact of tenderness, even in essentially the most tragic tales. —Karen Han

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

brad pitt and cate blanchett in the curious case of benjamin button

Photo: Universal Pictures

Watching Brad Pitt age in reverse is simply one of many unusual pleasures of David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, an adaptation of a brief story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Another is watching a red-headed Cate Blanchett do ballet amidst an eerie fog. Yet one other is seeing Mad Men’s Jared Harris, taking part in a tugboat captain, coated in tattoos. The odd particulars in a narrative a few man born aged and rising youthful his complete life, till he turns into an toddler, solely pile up, made odder by the getting old and de-aging results used on Pitt. —KH

The Death of Stalin

The Death of Stalin - a bunch of people looking up

Image: IFC Films

Master of comedy Armando Iannucci (Veep) tackles historical past with The Death of Stalin, a black comedy based mostly on the French graphic novel La Mort de Staline. In the wake of Joseph Stalin’s demise, his former loyal advisors all jockey to switch him. Steve Buscemi and Simon Russell Beale lead an all-star forged (Jason Isaacs, Michael Palin, Rupert Friend, Andrea Riseborough) on a journey that suggestions between horror and humor because the physique depend rises. —KH

District 9

Sharlto Copley looking out over a sci-fi Johannesburg in District 9.

Photo: TriStar Pictures

After the comparative disappointments of Elysium and Chappie, it may be onerous to recollect how writer-director Neill Blomkamp began out: with the strikingly authentic, distinctive science-fiction movie District 9, which channels the stereotypes and prejudices round asylum-seekers right into a story about aliens taking over residence on Earth. Blomkamp’s pal Sharlto Copley performs a hapless company man working with a race of insectoid aliens stranded on Earth and compelled into South African slum districts, the place they’re reviled and abused. He begins to achieve some sympathy for them, although, when he’s uncovered to an alien chemical that begins mutating his human kind. District 9 is an open metaphor for apartheid, crafted with perception, sympathy for the victims, and open rage on the brutal results of racism. But it’s additionally weirdly humorous, and the fast-paced motion and dizzying handheld camerawork make it edge-of-the-seat viewing. —TR

Django Unchained

King (Christoph Waltz) and Django (Jamie Foxx) walk down a muddy street in Django Unchained

Photo: Andrew Cooper/Columbia Pictures

Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained nearly seems like a comic book ebook film in its stylization and the way earnestly all the pieces is introduced. There’s no query that viewers are supposed to discover Django (Jamie Foxx) the epitome of cool, even much less so when, following an explosion, he materializes out of the smoke to the dulcet tones of John Legend. As he works to safe the liberty of his beloved Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), Django groups up with the bounty hunter King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), and faces off in opposition to plantation homeowners resembling Big Daddy (Don Johnson) and Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). —KH

The Florida Project

willem dafoe and brooklynn prince

Image: A24 Films

The title of The Florida Project refers back to the authentic identify for Walt Disney World. The park is a faraway dream for 6-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) and her mom Halley (Bria Vinaite), though they dwell so near it. The two of them dwell in a motel run by Bobby (Willem Dafoe), and Moonee spends most of her time on her personal or with the opposite kids within the complicated. Though Halley does her greatest to make ends meet, their circumstances develop increasingly troublesome, making moments of pleasure all of the extra magical. —KH

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

clint eastwood in a hat and poncho

Image: United Artists

Clint Eastwood is “the Good,” Lee Van Cleef is “the Bad,” and Eli Wallach is “the Ugly” in Sergio Leone’s well-known spaghetti Western. The three gunslingers cross paths as they seek for a hidden stash of gold. Bullets fly as they encounter bounty hunters, Union and Confederate troopers, and different risks, culminating in maybe essentially the most well-known cinematic Mexican standoff. —KH

Good Time

robert pattinson in good time

Photo: A24

The title of Uncut Gems administrators Benny and John Safdie’s film Good Time is deceptive in that the expertise of watching the film is something however. Robert Pattinson stars as Connie, a small-time financial institution robber making an attempt to make bail for his brother. The film strikes at a breakneck tempo, and consists of all the pieces from a case of mistaken id to a compelled LSD journey as Connie grows increasingly determined for the cash. —KH

Hail, Caesar!

channing tatum and a group of sailors dancing

Image: Universal Pictures

Hail, Caesar! may simply really feel like an indulgence, because the Coen brothers mainly recreate varied varieties of Old Hollywood motion pictures based mostly on their private fandom. But they do it with a lot love and talent that it’s onerous to object. The story revolves round a fixer (Josh Brolin) making an attempt to determine what occurred to a lacking film star (George Clooney). As he appears for clues, he goes from film set to film set, dropping in on all totally different sorts of productions — together with a sailor musical that includes Channing Tatum — and bringing an idyllic imaginative and prescient of Hollywood’s previous to life. —KH

The Half of It

a young woman and a young man look at a phone

Photo: KC Bailey/Netflix

Director Alice Wu takes Cyrano de Bergerac and offers it a recent, fashionable replace in The Half of It, a romantic drama that doubles as a coming of age story. Leah Lewis stars as Ellie Chu, whose highschool existence to this point has largely concerned writing essays for her classmates, for a small charge. When Paul (Daniel Diemer), a candy jock, asks for her assist in writing a love letter, issues take a pointy flip, as a result of the meant recipient of Paul’s letter, Aster (Alexxis Lemire) is the thing of Ellie’s affection, too. Wu gracefully builds up the relationships between the characters in addition to the expertise of being queer and an individual of shade in a small, conservative city. —KH

The Irishman

Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa and De Niro as Frank Sheeran across from each other at a bar in The Irishman

Niko Tavernise/Netflix

Martin Scorsese’s portrait of Frank Sheeran, the truck-driver union official who doubled as a profession hitman for the mob, clocks in at almost three and a half hours. That’s not an indication of indulgence. With a script by Steven Zaillian (Schindler’s List) and the attention of longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker, The Irishman weaves collectively Frank’s stint in World War II, his early days below the wing of mafioso Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci), his ascension within the labor motion as a loyalist and pal of Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), his grisly milestones as a man who “paints houses,” and occasional glimpses of the household he’s sworn to guard. By the tip, when life comes into full view for the viewers and Frank himself, the movie rebukes each gangster idolizer with a Goodfellas poster on their wall. Robert De Niro’s Frank is dutiful to a fault, and his usually vacant gaze, spanning de-aged smoothness to craggy wrinkles, presents perspective on the toxic impact of ethical failure. Not each scene “speaks” to the plot, however every one Scorsese composes sticks like a reminiscence, taking up extra which means additional into the runtime. The similar impact will possible deepen The Irishman as all of us develop into it. —MP

The Matrix

the matrix reloaded - neo flying

Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

The Matrix is a stone-cold traditional, and now’s nearly as good a time as any to reacquaint your self with the film, or lastly get round to checking it off your to-watch checklist. The movie is ready in a future during which humanity is unknowingly trapped inside a simulation referred to as the Matrix, whereas in actuality, humankind battles in opposition to monstrous machines for his or her freedom. Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Laurence Fishburne star. —KH

Minority Report

tom cruise looks at a futuristic screen

Image: 20th Century Fox

Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Philip Ok. Dick’s brief story stars Tom Cruise as John Anderton, the chief of PreCrime, a police division that arrests criminals based mostly on foreknowledge, successfully stopping crime earlier than it occurs. When Anderton himself is accused of committing a homicide sooner or later, he goes on the run, and should wrestle with the system he’s devoted his life to. —KH


Moon - Sam (Sam Rockwell) on the moon base

Photo: Mark Tilles/Lunar Industries Ltd.

Duncan Jones’ Moon is without doubt one of the most gripping science-fiction movies of the previous couple of a long time, completely capturing the isolation of being in area in addition to the phobia of being so remoted. As Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) involves the tip of his three-year solitary mining contract on the Moon, his psychological well being begins to deteriorate. Things get even stranger when it turns into clear that he isn’t truly utterly alone. —KH


Juan (Ali) teaches Little (Hibbert) how to swim.

Photo: A24

Barry Jenkins’ tender three-part coming-of-age story Moonlight could finally be remembered for the Oscar-night kerfuffle surrounding it — Best Picture presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty have been handed the improper winner envelope, Beatty mistakenly introduced that La La Land had gained Best Picture, and the movie’s crew took the stage to start out their speeches earlier than they discovered that Moonlight had truly gained. At least all the encompassing drama and curiosity centered extra widespread consideration on Jenkins’ movie, an intensely private three-act story a few homosexual black boy coping with his orientation as a toddler, discovering past love as a young person, and settling into his id as an grownup. Mahershala Ali and Janelle Monáe supply notably tender performances because the drug sellers who help him in childhood, however the true star of the present right here is the vivid, pretty cinematography, as Jenkins makes use of intimate photos and sharp visuals to recommend an lively, aching thoughts behind the ever-evolving masks the central character presents to the world. —TR


Mija (Ahn Seo-hyun) and Okja, her giant super-pig.

Photo: Netflix

The final film Bong Joon-ho directed earlier than Parasite was Okja, a South Korean-American co-production a few lady and her super-pig. As with all of director Bong’s movies, Okja seesaws between tones, mixing poop jokes with commentary on the cruelty suffered by animals within the meat business, in addition to the significance of language and translation. The movie can be a technical achievement — though Okja the super-pig is a CG creation, it boasts a exceptional heat and tangibility. —KH

The Other Guys

Mark Wahlberg pulls Will Ferrell’s tie in a screengrab from The Other Guys

Photo: Columbia Pictures

Adam McKay’s buddy-cop comedy by no means fairly hit the comedy zeitgeist like his different Will Ferrell collaborations (Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers), which is a disgrace, as a result of it’s certainly one of their greatest. The Other Guys stars Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as “desk jockey” NYPD officers who get caught up in investigating a pyramid scheme that goes all the best way to the highest of Wall Street. In hindsight, The Other Guys could be seen because the fulcrum of McKay’s profession, as he’s pivoted away from absurdist comedy to exposing systemic corruption in The Big Short and Vice. —Emily Heller

Public Enemies

christian bale in public enemies

Photo: Universal Pictures

Michael Mann’s Public Enemies, an adaptation of Bryan Burrough’s non-fiction ebook of the identical identify, tackles the ultimate years of financial institution robber John Dillinger’s life. Dillinger, portrayed by Johnny Depp, is being pursued by FBI agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale), complicating not solely Dillinger’s relationship with singer Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard) however his ties to fellow criminals, together with Baby Face Nelson (Stephen Graham). Meticulously detailed and filled with charismatic performances, the movie is a becoming elegy for an period. —KH

Purple Rain

Few motion pictures gush with libido, sweat, and pure genius fairly just like the rock musical Purple Rain. Prince stars as “The Kid,” the frontman of a rock group that’s at present sweeping the Minneapolis. But romance {and professional} ambition conflict when The Kid’s girlfriend Apollonia joins a musical group competing for his slot on the native nightclub. From there, the film strings collectively now-iconic tracks with a melodramatic premise, however the logic behind the film is straightforward: Put Prince on stage and let him rip. The musician got down to make the final word star car for himself and, in true Prince trend, delivered one thing past legendary. —MP

Slow West

Jay (Smit-McPhee) and Silas (Fassbender) ride horses side by side.

Photo: Lionsgate

Coen brothers followers shouldn’t miss out on Slow West, which is … on no account a Coen brothers movie. But with its quirky characters, straight-faced humor, and deep sense of understated melancholy round injustice and the inevitability of demise, it positive seems like one. John Maclean’s anti-Western stars X-Men: Apocalypse’s Kodi Smit-McPhee as a younger Scottish traveler who involves America, following the lady he loves (Caren Pistorius), who fled the nation after a deadly accident. His journey to search out her leads him to varied harmful characters performed by Michael Fassbender, Ben Mendelsohn, and Rory McCann, amongst others. Neither a standard Western nor a neo-style replace, Slow West is cynical in regards to the style, in regards to the energy of cinematic love, and lots of different issues, and its ending will definitely frustrate some individuals. But Coen brothers motion pictures ought to have prepped sure sorts of film followers for this specific model of grim absurdity, and the bizarre pleasures of such an unpredictable narrative. —TR

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Peni (Kimiko Glen), Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld), Spider-Ham (John Mulaney), Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), Peter Parker (Jake Johnson), Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage) all turn in shock.

Sony Pictures Animation

Like its comic-book inspirations, each body of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse feels meticulously and lovingly drawn. But Into the Spider-Verse isn’t simply visually gorgeous — the story by Phil Lord is without doubt one of the most considerate superhero origin tales we’ve seen in years. Rather than rehashing Peter Parker’s origins but once more, Spider-Verse focuses on Miles Morales, a young person who took over the Spider-mantle in Marvel comics’ Ultimate Marvel alternate universe. When the villain Kingpin prompts a super-collider, opening a portal to the multiverse, Miles groups up with alternate variations of Spider-Man to destroy the machine and shut the portal. —EH

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Some of the cast of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy seated around a table.


I firmly consider that Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is without doubt one of the best motion pictures ever made. Adapted from the John le Carré novel by Tomas Alfredson, it actually reveals off each side of filmmaking, from an exquisite script, to digicam tips that heighten pressure (the usage of a 2000mm lens is especially nice), to musical cues that add to fairly than merely accompanying the motion (Elgar’s “Salut d’amour,” the National Anthem of the united states, and so forth.). Featuring a murderers’ row of a forged, it’s stable by and thru, and heartbreaking as Cold War issues give approach to a narrative that’s finally about love and human connection. —KH

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, sitting amongst giant candies.

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Gene Wilder’s efficiency as eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka is without doubt one of the all-time greats, and greater than value revisiting (or catching for the primary time). When younger Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum) finds himself the bearer of certainly one of 5 golden tickets permitting entry into Wonka’s chocolate manufacturing facility, he’s thrust right into a magical world that punishes dangerous habits — and has been constructed to do extra than simply create fantastic sweet. As it seems, Wonka is in search of an inheritor. —KH

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