I haven’t written about what’s leaving and what’s coming to Netflix in a while, but let’s be honest: Netflix has so much content, it can be hard to realize that the catalog changes on any given month anyway. Particularly now that it’s so aggressively producing its own unique content, both movies and engrossing TV series. Still, let’s have a look at May, 2017’s big list.
There are some really good movies leaving Netflix on May first, films that are worth catching beforehand.
Also good and shortly to leave is the film Alfie. It’s the 2004 remake with Jude Law, unfortunately – the original with Michael Caine is fantastic and absolutely a significant inspiration for Austin Powers – but this remake is pretty good too. Law is charming as always as the irascible title character who finds his humanity whilst being a cad on the make with plenty of young ladies.
Any Hitchcock fan should also rewatch To Catch a Thief, a delightful lark of a crime thriller by the master, starring the always handsome Cary Grant and the lovely Grace Kelly. Grant plays the infamous cat burglar John Robie, and when jewels are being stolen in the French Riviera, he’s the first person everyone from the Gendarmes to the local resistance figure is the culprit. Is he? Or is he innocent, being framed by a lookalike thief? Such a fun romp, highly recommended.
Coming to Netflix
There are some splendid films joining the Netflix catalog in May, fortunately, so don’t despair if you miss my three recommendations of films leaving the service!
Top of my list are Doctor Strange (May 30), Inglorious Basterds (May 22) and The Place Beyond the Pines (May 16). Netflix is going all out with original content, however, so we’ll have to see which of the six Netflix Original Films will also be worth watching. In order of release, they’re In the Shadow of Iris, Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie, Mindhorn, Sahara, BLAME! and War Machine.
But let’s go back to my picks for the three best. I’ll start off with Doctor Strange, a fun Marvel Studios superhero adventure starring the always likable Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular hero. He’s a brilliant surgeon who goes on a spiritual journey to Tibet to recover use of his hands after a horrible accident. On the way, he learns that the universe is bigger and more, well, malleable than he thinks, and learns that he has some pretty impressive nascent powers to be a force for good. It’s a bit like a mashup of the hero’s journey of Batman Begins coupled with the visual mind-benders of Inception, with a dash of hallucinatory weirdness all its own.
Inglorious Basterds is a splendid example of historical revisionism, a typically uber-violent Quentin Tarantino film that takes place in Nazi-occupied France during World War II. In addition to imagining a group of vengeful Jewish GI’s, it features a break-thru role for splendid actor Christoph Waltz as the SS colonel Hans Landa. If the opening scene with Waltz doesn’t chill you to the bone, you’re probably dead and just haven’t noticed it. This is also a top 100 IMDb film, but not for the kiddies.
And, finally, don’t miss The Place Beyond the Pines either, though it’s not as good as the other two movies I’ve highlighted. The film is interesting nonetheless with its focus on ne’er do well Luke (played by Ryan Gosling), a motorcycle stunt rider who decides to rob banks as a way to bring money into the family. Problem is, he crosses paths with a rookie cop working for a corrupt police department. Lots of back and forth, it’s worth a watch for its focus on how decisions bubble down generations in families.
There’s more coming to Netflix in May, including lots of TV, but these are a few of the best films on the list. Now, watch them then come back and tell me what you thought!