Here are the best movies streaming right now on Netflix MENA
Time Out staff
March 29, 2020 10:05 AM
We've all been there, scrolling through Netflix endlessly trying to find a film to watch, never quite able to make up our minds. It’s like the sheer amount of film and TV on offer breaks our decision-making skills.
Fret not. We’ve compiled a list of the best movies streaming on Netflix MENA right now, including a heap of Netflix originals, as well as some other movie magic.
Genre: Science fiction Director: Alex Garland Cast: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Oscar Isaac In a rare example of Hollywood sci-fi-horror thoughtfulness, Annihilation has grand concepts in mind, ideas about self-destruction and rebirth. The film follows cellular biologist Lena (Portman) as she ventures to The Shimmer, an anomalous electromagnetic field, to discover the truth about what happened to her husband Kane (Isaac), who visited The Shimmer and returned in poor health and his memory missing.
Baby Driver (2017)
Genre: Action Director: Edgar Wright Cast: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Eiza González. Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx Music sounds better when you’re on the road. In Baby Driver, Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright takes the car-chase action film – loaded with tyre squeals – and weds it to a cracking jukebox playlist. The chances are you won’t mind the action sequences here, imbued with humour and break-on-a-dime timing, are the most beautifully sustained and jaw-dropping of Wright’s career. You’ll be rewinding them in your head for days.
Beasts of No Nation (2015)
Genre: War drama Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga Cast: Idris Elba, Abraham Attah, Emmanuel Affadzi An uncompromising portrait of one boy's experience as a child soldier in an unnamed African country, this one is tough to watch, but especially worthy. It's everything you'd imagine: civil war, family break-up, isolation, indoctrination, murder. They're all here, along with a thrilling sense of survival.
Genre: Comedy drama Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu Cast: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone Michael Keaton makes a mighty comeback as a washed-up actor attempting to reinvent himself as a proper artist. However, this isn't the super-cynical, snarky mockery of actors it might sound like. Life is disappointing, the film explains, but it's also beautiful and, at times, unexpected. That's the power of director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s daring, funny, strangely sweet, sad and utterly brilliant New York-set comedy.
Bird Box (2018)
Genre: Thriller Director: Susanne Bier Cast: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich A hyper-effective piece of genre fun or a social-media-fuelled slice of sub-A Quiet Place nonsense? Like Marmite or a badly-conceived referendum, this Sandra Bullock post-apocalypse thriller has divided Netflixers in two. Whatever your views, it's hard to find any fault in Bullock as its blindfolded-but-tough hero, leading two little ones through a world of pain.
Genre: Science fiction Director: Christopher Nolan Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page For his seventh feature film, Christopher Nolan took an instantly engaging premise and twisted it into a terrifically complex tale, finding a happy medium between arthouse and blockbuster. The notion is simple: teams of foraging scientists invade someone’s dreams and extract valuable information from their minds. But it’s a precarious business, and when something goes wrong, it has a profound butterfly effect.
Genre: Fantasy adventure Director: Joe Johnston Cast: Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, David Alan Grier
Young Alan Parrish lives in a postcard '60s American town. One day, he and his only friend Sarah find a Victorian jungle-based board-game, Jumanji. That night, as they play, the jungle comes to life. Her throw of the dice brings bats swooping through the lounge; his takes him into the game, whence he can return only if an opponent throws a seven. Unfortunately, a terrified Sarah runs off into the night, leaving Alan trapped in Jumanji.
Marriage Story (2019)
Genre: Drama Director: Noah Baumbach Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver Last year's finest film is already on the streaming service – a tribute to Netflix's excellent taste in original projects. Like ‘Kramer vs Kramer’ vs Kramer from Seinfeld, this marital-breakdown masterpiece has just enough lols to leaven the tears. And there are plenty of those, with Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson dazzling in Noah Baumbach’s semi-autobiographical tale.
Private Life (2018)
Genre: Comedy drama Director: Tamara Jenkins Cast: Kathryn Hahn, Paul Giamatti, Gabrielle Reid Bursting out of a relatively weak Sundance line-up, writer-director Tamara Jenkins's first movie in more than a decade shows the maker of The Savages in flinty form. Her new one is a comedy about the heart wrenching calculations of in vitro fertilisation. If that doesn't sound like a laugh riot, let us re-introduce you to the effortlessly wry Paul Giamatti and a revelatory Kathryn Hahn.
Rolling Thunder Revue (2019)
Genre: Documentary Director: Martin Scorsese Cast: Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg, Joan Baez Scorsese’s playful Netflix concert-docufilm brings 2019’s bells and whistles to Bob Dylan’s unique 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue tour. The film is full of stolen moments – Dylan and Allen Ginsberg visiting Jack Kerouac’s grave, impromptu jams at house parties, a young Sharon Stone in thrall of Dylan. It rarely strays from the man himself, but if you’re here for him, it’s more than enough. His retrospective musings are lyrical treasures.
Genre: Drama Director: Alfonso Cuarón Cast: Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira In his deeply personal black and white marvel Roma, director Alfonso Cuarón dives into his Mexican boyhood with this absorbingly rich tribute to the resilient women who raised him – before expanding to gradually reveal the social and political canvas of 1970s Mexico City.
Genre: Documentary Director: Sandi Tan Propelled by a decades-spanning mystery as unsettling as any in a David Lynch film, Sandi Tan’s gloriously personal documentary is a vivid scrapbook about growing up a cinephile and a misfit. It’s both a nostalgic throwback to ’80s and ’90s Singapore, where the filmmaker’s artistic appetite blossomed, and an emotional reconciliation with her past, which was interrupted by a shocking theft.
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Genre: Superhero Director: Jon Watts Cast: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Zendaya, Robert Downey Jr. Tom Holland's solo outing as Spider-Man might be the umpteenth reboot of the webbed superhero, but thankfully this outing avoids Spidey's clichéd origin story in favour for something far more wholesome and, well, teenage.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
Genre: Comedy drama Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen Cast: James Franco, Brendan Gleeson, Zoe Kazan, Liam Neeson Richly entertaining and blackly funny but told with sincerity and heart, the half-dozen western tales packed into The Ballad of Buster Scruggs show the Coen brothers loading up their six-shooter and firing barely a dud. Inevitably, some of the stories satisfy more than others. But at roughly 20 minutes each, they’re mini-masterclasses in economy and style.
The Beguiled (2017)
Genre: Drama Director: Sofia Coppola Cast: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning Taking place almost entirely within a remote rural boarding school, this slow-burn charmer tells how a small community of two teachers, Martha (Kidman) and Edwina (Dunst), and their five schoolgirls shelter an injured Union soldier, John (Farrell), an Irishman found lying by a tree. The Beguiled has its jolts and its laughs, but mostly this glides along like a mildly cheeky, poetically made parable, well dressed, well designed and well performed.
The Great Gatsby (2013)
Genre: Romantic drama Director: Baz Luhrmann Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge! showed us that Australian director Baz Luhrmann can throw quite the party. What Luhrmann makes intoxicating is a sense of place – the houses, the rooms, the city, the roads – and the sense that all this is unfolding in a bubble like some mad fable. Where he falters is in persuading us that these are real, breathing folk whose experiences and destinies can move us.
The Irishman (2019)
Genre: Crime drama Director: Martin Scorsese Cast: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci Martin Scorsese delivers one of the best, if bloated, films of his career. Along with all the gangster gab, it touches on broken trust, self-doubt and regret. Also, unlike the cinema, with Netflix you can break its three-hour runtime into chunks.
The King's Speech (2010)
Genre: Historical drama Director: Tom Hooper Cast: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush The King’s Speech picked up four Oscars for its moving depiction of the unlikely friendship between the future King George VI and his speech therapist Lionel Logue, hired to cure the royal stutter. As his brother abdicates the throne, George tries to overcome his speech impediment before his first live radio broadcast.
The Revenant (2015)
Genre: Drama Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy Director Alejandro González Iñárritu and actor Leonardo DiCaprio both picked up Oscars for their work on this icy survival thriller about frontiersman Hugh Glass. Be warned: it’s not one to watch if you’re feeling squeamish.
The Two Popes (2019)
Genre: Biographical drama Director: Fernando Meirelles Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Pryce This entertaining odd-couple bromance about two men in the running for Pope hits the heights when it’s just its leads, Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce, whacking great swathes of dialogue back and forth like two old tennis greats. It’s thrilling stuff, with director Fernando Meirelles’ camera close at hand to register every subtle detail.
Genre: Mystery thriller Director: David Fincher Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo David Fincher’s masterpiece hides its true subject, obsession, under a maze of gruesome data. The city is terrorised by a ghost, and good men lose their way. It’s a movie about a serial killer that feels like it was written by one.