The time has come once again for that most hallowed and accessible of online streaming services known as Netflix to cut a few titles from its voluminous selection of films and television shows while adding many more guaranteed to please its subscriber base.
Below you’ll find my picks for the best of Netflix’s new additions for the month of October. As usual, most of the titles are available for viewing right now, but there are a few more set to premiere later in the month that those of us unable to get out to the movie theater much will find to be of great interest.
The cast alone might make it a hopelessly dated relic of the late 1990’s, but the original American Pie‘s gross hilarity and often honest depictions of young love and that magical first time has not been dulled much by three inferior sequels, a slew of deservedly direct-to-video spin-offs, and countless imitators of fluctuating quality.
Proving that not even rubber nipples, neon sets, and cheeseball one-liners could kill one of comic book cinema’s mightiest franchises, Batman Begins gave director Christopher Nolan a golden opportunity to play on the most expansive (and expensive) canvas of his career as a filmmaker and reinvigorate a series that had been beaten into commercial submission. The reboot earned rave reviews and great box office, setting the stage for the superior The Dark Knight to come along three years later and show the studios once and for all that a superhero blockbuster could also be a visionary work of cinematic art.
Paul Thomas Anderson‘s epic ode to the joys of low-budget independent filmmaking and the pitfalls of instant superstardom set against the backdrop of a turning point in the history of the West Coast adult film industry remains of his finest features. Boogie Nights gave Burt Reynolds a career best as an actor, showcased Julianne Moore in a heartbreaking performance that should have earned her an Oscar, and opened the door for an emerging young actor named Mark Wahlberg. Two-and-a-half hours of pure celluloid gold, from the stacked K-Tel collection soundtrack to the eclectic supporting cast.
The Bourne Supremacy
Matt Damon‘s second go-around as amnesiac assassin and globe-trotting government fugitive brought Paul Greengrass on-board for the fun, and Greengrass’ gritty, handheld approach to the action became the new standard for the spy movie genre. The fights and chases will leave you bruised and disoriented, but the murky politics might get you thinking.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Delightfully off-kilter children’s film with dazzling production design, peppy musical numbers, and oddball humor, or the movie that compelled audiences to wonder for the first time if the pairing of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp was starting to get a little stale and predictable? You be the judge.
Curse of Chucky
The Chucky franchise took a left turn from horror to violent black comedy with the last two movies, so writer/director Don Mancini decided to take his creation back to spooky basics with the quasi-reboot Curse of Chucky. Brad Dourif is back as the voice of the doll given vicious life by the soul of a serial killer, and there are a few little nods to previous entries in the series to please the fans.
Up-and-comer Corey Stoll has been impressing lately on television (House of Cards, The Strain) and the big screen (Ant-Man), so it’s high time he gets a starring vehicle of his own and the modern day film noir Glass Chin gets that job done. Stoll is terrifically cast as a faded boxing great compelled to embrace a life of crime in order to make ends meet. The supporting cast include Billy Crudup, Kelly Lynch, and Katherine Waterson.
Million Dollar Baby
Clint Eastwood‘s somber drama, adapted from the stories of F.X. Toole by Paul Haggis, racked up an impressive four Oscar wins including one for Hilary Swank‘s performance as a gutsy boxing prodigy who is taken under the wing of Eastwood’s gruff trainer. The boxing scenes pack as much of a punch as the impeccably-handled dramatic scenes.
Titles such as The Big Lebowski, Annie Hall, and The Exorcist will be pulled from the Netflix library at the start of the month, but the coming weeks will bring the addition of American Horror Story: Freak Show, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, August: Osage County, and The Gunman. Cary Fukunaga‘s original series Beasts of No Nation, starring Idris Elba, is set to premiere on October 16.
That wraps up my choices for the best movies to watch this month on Netflix. Having a subscription is one of the best investments that someone who is rarely away from their laptop for long like myself can make. I highly recommend getting one. Come back next time for more recommendations.