Does this sound familiar: you’re looking for something on Netflix, but keep coming across films with titles like The Do-Over? Isn’t there a better way to find good movies that are streaming? Perhaps you tried to Google “What are the best movies on Netflix right now?” Allow us to help! Every month, Cut Print Film will be there to guide you towards the best of the best streaming titles on Netflix, with The Five Best Movies on Netflix!
1. Pioneers of African-American Cinema
This newly preserved collection features more than 20 films made by groundbreaking African American directors for black audiences from 1915 to 1946. | Consider this a bonus, since this isn’t one but twenty films! It’s Black History Month, and this exciting program Netflix has put together features films spanning 30 years. Check it out here.
2. Clouds of Sils Maria (arrives 2/12)
Twenty years after her breakthrough role as a young woman who beguiles and ultimately destroys her mentor, Maria Enders is invited — in an ironic twist — to play the part of the older woman in a stage production of the same drama. | The film that should’ve finally put to bed all the Twilight-infused Kristen Stewart acting jokes, Clouds of Sils Maria features Stewart as a personal assistant to a demanding actress, played to perfection by Juliette Binoche.
When Dr. Ellie Arroway (Jodie Foster) hears a signal being broadcast from outer space, the race is on to interpret humanity’s first contact with alien intelligence in this adaptation of Carl Sagan’s thoughtful novel about the divide between science and religion. Matthew McConaughey co-stars as Palmer Joss, a Christian philosopher who is Ellie’s friend as well as her lover. Robert Zemeckis directs. | One of Robert Zemeckis’ best films, Contact is a thoughtful, emotionally resonate sci-fi film adapted from the work of Carl Sagan. Zemeckis made this film following Forrest Gump, and it is infinitely better than that treacly piece of junk. Fans of recent thoughtful sci-fi films Interstellar and Arrival will love this.
4. The Third Man
Set in postwar Vienna, Austria, “The Third Man” stars Joseph Cotten as Holly Martins, a writer of pulp Westerns, who arrives penniless as a guest of his childhood chum Harry Lime (Orson Welles), only to find him dead. Martins develops a conspiracy theory after learning of a “third man” present at the time of Harry’s death, running into interference from British officer Maj. Calloway (Trevor Howard) and falling head-over-heels for Harry’s grief-stricken lover, Anna (Alida Valli). | If you’ve never seen this classic, here’s your chance. It’s twisty, mysterious and brilliantly acted. And has one of the best twists in cinema history.
5. American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson
This limited series brings viewers inside one of the most prolific American court cases of the 20th century — the O.J. Simpson murder trial — from the lawyers’ viewpoints. Based on the book “The Run of His Life,” the 10-episode series details behind-the-scenes dealings and maneuvering by both the prosecution and defense as they try to convince the jury to side with them in what was dubbed “the trial of the century.” Key elements of the trial that are explored involve overconfidence by the prosecution and the LAPD’s history with the black community in Los Angeles. | This is a bit of a cheat, since it’s not a movie, but I imagine you’ll get over that. When it was first announced that Ryan Murphy was going to set his sights on the O.J. Simpson case in a manner similar to his trashy American Horror Story series, many expected the worse. But American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson ended up being one of the best shows of 2016, featuring an incredible cast and a surprisingly deep meditation on race, fame and the legal system. If you sat on this series for some reason, here’s your chance to binge.