Best Netflix movies
Can't decide what to watch on Netflix? The huge selection of movies available with just a few clicks can be overwhelming. The good news: We've scanned the new arrivals so you don't have to. From "Legally Blonde" to "Fruitvale Station," here are our picks for the best films new to Netflix this month, plus a bunch that have been streaming for a while and are worth a watch.
"Fruitvale Station"(Credit: Ron Koeberer)
A highly topical film, "Fruitvale Station" (2013) follows the true story of Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan), a 22-year-old San Francisco Bay Area resident who was shot dead by a transit police officer in the Fruitvale train station on New Year's Day 2009. (Coming to Netflix on Tuesday, May 12.)
"Legally Blonde"(Credit: Tracy Bennett)
Just in time for the premiere of her new comedy, "Hot Pursuit," comes the Netflix release of Reese Witherspoon's 2001 hit, "Legally Blonde." Her turn as the purposeful but underestimated Elle Woods -- a Malibu Barbie-type who enrolls at Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend -- is a girl-power classic.
"The Babadook"(Credit: TNS / Matt Nettheim)
"The Babadook" takes horror to a new level when a widow's young son begins having nightmares about a monster in their home. The boy's mother, played by Essie Davis ("The Matrix Revolutions"), soon realizes that perhaps her son isn't lying about the monster who came from within the pages of a children's book.
"The Quiet Ones"(Credit: AP)
"The Quiet Ones" stars Jared Harris ("Lincoln") as a college professor who sets out to prove that poltergeists and the paranormal are all manifestations of the mind. After enlisting his best students, including "Hunger Games" star Sam Claflin, to push a young woman to the brink of sanity as a part of the experiment, he soon realizes that they have conjured up something far more sinister than they could have ever imagined.
"Noah"(Credit: Paramount Pictures / Niko Tavernise)
Russell Crowe plays the title role in "Noah," based on the biblical story of a man who is chosen by God to take on a mission before a monumental flood covers the world.
"Earth to Echo"(Credit: Relativity Media / Patrick Wymore)
"Earth to Echo" tells the story of four friends whose families must move from their Las Vegas suburb because of a highway construction project. The children receive encoded messages on their cell phones and soon discover an extraterrestrial stranded on Earth. The young cast includes Teo Halm, Brian "Astro" Bradley and Ella Wahlestedt.
"Son of God"(Credit: 20th Century Fox)
"Son of God" is a follow-up to the History Channel's hit series "The Bible," focusing on the life of Jesus from his birth to his resurrection, played by Diogo Morgado.
"Cesar Chavez"(Credit: MCT)
Michael Pena plays the title role in "Cesar Chavez," a biopic about the late inspirational leader who fought for the rights of migrant farm workers in the 1960s and 70s.
"Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit"(Credit: Paramount Pictures / Skydance Productions)
Chris Pine steps into the shoes of the CIA hero created by novelist Tom Clancy in "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit." Pine uncovers a plot for a group of Russians terrorists to crash the U.S. economy and must thwart it before it's too late.
"Finding Neverland"(Credit: AP / Miramax Films)
Johnny Depp is "Peter Pan" author J.M. Barrie in "Finding Neverland," an emotional and imaginative look at the writer's real-life inspiration for that fairytale world. With Kate Winslet and a young Freddie Highmore ("Bates Motel," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory").
"Patch Adams"(Credit: Los Angeles Times)
The late Robin Williams plays a well-intentioned doctor who uses humor to treat his ailing patients in this heartwarming yet bittersweet 1998 comedy.
"Fried Green Tomatoes"(Credit: Universal City Studios, Inc. )
Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy star in this story of friendship and family, told through the flashbacks of a woman remembering Southern life in the 1920s. "Fried Green Tomatoes" (based on the book of the same name) is a tearjerker on par with "Steel Magnolias" and "Beaches."
"The Interview"(Credit: Ed Araquel)
Take that, North Korea. Not only did James Franco and Seth Rogen's CIA comedy, "The Interview," make it to theaters on Christmas, it's already available for the streaming masses on Netflix.
"Almost Famous"(Credit: DreamWorks / Neal Preston)
Set in 1973, Cameron Crowe's semiautobiographical coming-of-age story follows a teenage music fan who somehow gets a Rolling Stone assignment covering the band Stillwater. The Oscar-winning screenplay manages both to capture the spirit of the '70s and remain forever quotable. One favorite from "band aid" Penny Lane (Kate Hudson): "I always tell the girls never take it seriously. If you never take it seriously, you never get hurt. If you never get hurt, you always have fun. And if you ever get lonely, you can just go to the record store and visit your friends."
"Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues"(Credit: Paramount)
Didn't want to take a chance on "Anchorman 2" when it was in theaters last year? Here's your chance to watch for free (kind of). Fan tip: It doesn't disappoint.
''The Wolf of Wall Street"(Credit: Paramount Pictures / Red Granite Pictures)
If you somehow managed to miss this movie when it hit theaters with a bang last Christmas, now's the time. ''The Wolf of Wall Street" may not have been the film to finally win Leonardo DiCaprio an Oscar (sigh), but it nabbed a slew of well-deserved nominations during award season, and several wins -- just not for Leo. It's long (three hours), but highly entertaining, and it's based on the true story of a Long Island con man. What more can you ask for?
"The Village"(Credit: Frank Masi)
Set in the 19th century, M. Night Shyamalan's 2004 thriller "The Village" is not only haunting, it packs a great cast: Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix and Adrien Brody, as members of a community racked by fear of strange forest-dwelling creatures.
"Labor Day"(Credit: TNS)
While it borders on camp and was certainly a departure for writer-director Jason Reitman ("Thank You for Smoking"), 2013's "Labor Day" is still an intriguing film, with well-acted performances by Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet. All the more reason to give it a stream if you've read the Joyce Maynard novel it's based on.
Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman star as detectives tracking down a serial killer obsessed with the seven deadly sins in 1995's "Seven."
"Good Will Hunting"(Credit: Miramax Films)
Robin Williams and Matt Damon both won Oscars for their emotionally affecting performances in 1997's "Good Will Hunting," one of those films everyone should watch at least once. Damon, who stars as a math genius working as a university janitor, was a little-known actor when he co-wrote the screenplay with buddy Ben Affleck, and the rest is history.
"Stand By Me"(Credit: Columbia Pictures)
Based on Stephen King's novella "The Body," "Stand By Me" is THE coming-of-age film for Generation X. It made stars of Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Jerry O'Connell and Corey Feldman, who play a group of best friends on a character-defining journey in search of a dead body.
"Django Unchained"(Credit: The Weinstein Co.)
A 2013 Oscar best picture nominee, Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" tells the story of a freed slave (Jamie Foxx) on a journey to rescue his wife. (Christoph Waltz won the Academy Award for his supporting role as a German bounty hunter.)
"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"(Credit: Lionsgate)
"Catching Fire," the second installment in the "Hunger Games" film series based on Suzanne Collins' best-selling book trilogy, has made it to Netflix just in time to watch (or re-watch) before "Mockingjay, Part 1" hits store shelves on March 6.
"Dumb and Dumber"(Credit: New Line Cinema)
Before Harry (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd (Jim Carrey) return for "Dumb and Dumber To" (in theaters Nov. 14), watch their original antics in this raunchy 1994 classic.
"Lizzie Borden Took An Ax"(Credit: Lifetime)
With Christina Ricci in the starring role as the 19th century spinster who may or may not have murdered her father and stepmother, the Lifetime Original Movie "Lizzie Borden Took An Ax" quite appropriately axes many assumptions -- including the one that Lifetime movies aren't worth watching.
"On My Way"(Credit: Cohen Media Group)
A handsome vehicle for Catherine Deneuve, who drives it with elegant sangfroid, "On My Way" is a French film (with English subtitles) that paints her as a former beauty queen, cast aside by her lover, who embarks on a journey of rediscovery.
"Annie Hall"(Credit: United Artists)
One of Woody Allen's best. Not only did this charming film win the 1978 Academy Award for best picture (rare for a romantic comedy), "Annie Hall" swept the Oscars that year, with Diane Keaton taking best actress and Allen winning best director and best screenplay.
"Kramer vs. Kramer"(Credit: AP)
Another big award-winner, Dustin Hoffman (left, with Justin Henry) and Meryl Streep both earned Oscars for their portrayal of a divorcing couple fighting over custody of their son in the emotionally intelligent drama, "Kramer vs. Kramer."
"Sleepless in Seattle"(Credit: AP / TriStar Pictures Inc.)
Point blank, it's the romantic comedy/drama by which to judge all romantic comedies and dramas. Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks have tangible chemistry, the child actors are undeniably adorable, and Rosie O'Donnell adds her own brand of charm as Ryan's best friend. "Sleepless in Seattle" is so magical, it'll have even the most hardened hearts believing in fate and happy endings.
"Annie"(Credit: Columbia Pictures)
Before the newest rendition (filmed on Long Island, with Quvenzhané Wallis in the starring role) comes out in December, watch the 1982 version of "Annie," with Albert Finney as billionaire businessman Daddy Warbucks and Aileen Quinn as the unflappable, mop-headed orphan who wins him over.
"My Father the Hero"(Credit: Buena Vista Pictures / Richard Foreman)
Nineties kids may remember this underrated comedy, one of Katherine Heigl's first films, a decade before "Grey's Anatomy." In "My Father the Hero," Gérard Depardieu stars as her father, who plays along as she pretends he's her much-older boyfriend to attract a young man's attention while they're on vacation. While the plot's incestuous undertones might be a turn-off to some, the jokes are actually pretty funny.
"Filth"(Credit: Magnolia Pictures)
James McAvoy stars as a detective looking for a promotion in "Filth," a crime dramedy based on the novel by Irvine Welsh.
"The Duchess"(Credit: AP / Paramount Vantage)
Keira Knightley is charming as ever as the title character of "The Duchess," a 2008 film about 18th-century It Girl Georgiana who's popular with everyone except her husband.
"A Single Man"(Credit: The Weinstein Company)
Colin Firth is a depressed professor living out a fateful, lonely day in circa 1962 California in "A Single Man," a drama directed by fashion designer Tom Ford.
"All is Lost"(Credit: Roadside Attractions / Daniel Daza)
Robert Redford stars (opposite no one else) in director J.C. Chandor's "All is Lost," a survivalist meditation about a man adrift at sea.
"Crocodile Dundee"(Credit: AP)
Paul Hogan stars in "Crocodile Dundee," a 1986 comedy about a crocodile hunter from the Australian Outback trying to adjust to life in New York City.
Robin Williams stars as Phillip Brainard, the quintessential absent-minded professor who is so wrapped up with his revolutionary new invention he's totally oblivious to the world around him in the 1997 comedy "Flubber."
"The Immigrant"(Credit: AP / Anne Joyce)
Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Renner star in the rich 1920s drama "The Immigrant," about a Polish woman forced into prostitution shortly after her arrival in New York City.