Watch these 11 titles before they leave Netflix in July
Oscar winners and family favorites this month lead the parade of titles leaving Netflix in the United States, as well as a disturbing indie thriller, immortal Australian franchise starter, beloved romantic comedy from the ’90s and a controversial Stanley Kubrick classic. (The dates reflect the last day a title is available.)
“The Iron Lady” (July 5)
Meryl Streep landed her third Oscar for this 2011 portrait of former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and it’s an amazing transformation. (The film’s makeup team also won Oscars for their work). But Streep’s performance is not a simple impersonation; she digs deep into the complicated personality of the conservative stateswoman and the inconsistencies (some might say the hypocrisies) she personified. Abi Morgan’s inventively structured script abandons the expected cradle-to-grave construction, instead dramatizing his life in a series of flashbacks inspired by both his grief and Alzheimer’s disease. Jim Broadbent is warm and successful like her husband.
“The Invitation” (July 7)
What would you do if your good friends – people you have known for years, whom you trust and love – joined a cult? How would you react if they welcomed you into their home, sat you in their living room, and began to forcefully explain why you should join in as well? This is the question at the heart of this gripping thriller from director Karyn Kusama (“Girlfight”), in which a young man (Logan Marshall-Green) is invited to his ex-wife’s (Tammy Blanchard) for a reunion and dinner that takes a decidedly dark twist. The elements of the thriller are sharp, but its central puzzling conundrum – How to communicate with friends who have apparently lost touch with reality? – has only become sharper over the years since its release in early 2016.
“The Princess and the Frog” (July 15)
Disney’s 49th animated feature was also the first with an African-American “Disney Princess” – a long-awaited but welcome move nonetheless. It wasn’t just a surface alteration; directors Ron Clements and John Musker adapted the classic children’s fairy tale “The Frog Prince” to 1920s New Orleans, taking full advantage of Bayou culture with memorable ragtime-style songs (by Randy Newman) and delicious updates to the original story. Anika Noni Rose voices Tiana, a waitress and chef whose dream of owning her own restaurant is interrupted by the plight of a wizard who turns her – and her prospect suitor, a fun-loving prince – into frogs. Oprah Winfrey, John Goodman, Keith David and Terrence Howard are the highlights of the impressive voice cast.
“The Croods” (July 28)
One of the last remaining prehistoric families sees its methods of survival – and therefore its entire way of life – called into question in this dashing and fun animated comedy. Nicolas Cage, an actor so expressive in terms of opera that it’s shocking he didn’t do a more lively job, is both fun and empathetic as the patriarch of the Crood family, who will make everything possible to protect his family; Emma Stone is a delightful counterpoint as her teenage daughter, who like most rebellious teenagers is just looking to break boredom. Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener and Clark Duke charm in the supporting roles, but the stage thief is Cloris Leachman, hilariously as the family’s fierce grandmother.
“Spotlight” (July 30)
The Oscar winner for Best Picture of 2015 is an “All the President’s Men” style column of investigative journalism in its most pressing form. Telling the true story of how the Boston Globe team uncovered widespread sexual abuse by Catholic priests, director Tom McCarthy focuses on the inner workings of journalism – how every trick and victim isolated in leads to another, and another, and another. A flawless ensemble cast (including Michael Keaton, John Slattery, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, and Oscar nominees Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams) spans the emotional spectrum, from skeptical and cautious to fiery and passionate; the results are startling, intelligent and powerful.
“A Clockwork Orange” (July 31)
Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ novel would become his most controversial film, a grim and disturbing examination of violence (and its glorification) that refuses to let viewers off the hook. Kubrick’s dynamic direction brings us uncomfortably close to the thrill-seeking crimes of his protagonists, a group of young hooligans in a vaguely futuristic Britain ruled by the charismatic Alex (Malcolm McDowell, at the top of his game). The image’s ultraviolence and dark humor proved so overwhelming to viewers that the director pulled it from circulation in England for decades; the passage of more than half a century has not dulled its strength.
‘Hook’ (July 31)
The pitch of this 1991 adventure – Steven Spielberg doing a follow-up to “Peter Pan” with Robin Williams as adult Peter and Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook – seemed so compelling, such a perfect confluence of elements, that when the results were somewhat patchy, critics (and some audiences) dismissed it outright. But talk to anyone who was a kid when “Hook” first released, and you’ll hear a different story, about an endlessly revived favorite. And kids, let’s not forget, were the target audience, as evidenced by the film’s vibrant colors, supporting young actors, and the firm embrace of the magic of the imagination.
‘Jupiter Ascendant’ (July 31)
Every Wachowski movie is a big hit, even when they create seemingly safe bets like a TV adaptation (“Speed Racer”), an adaptation of a blockbuster novel (“Cloud Atlas”) or a sequel. until a previous hit (the continuations of “Matrix”). They can’t help but take risks, even when public silliness or alienation is at stake. And if this fantastic adventure on the big canvas isn’t quite a home run – the narrative pieces aren’t. It doesn’t quite fit together and the performances are tonally disparate – the sheer ambition of its creators is still so overwhelming, and it’s refreshing to see big-budget movies that so stubbornly refuse to play by the rules.
“Mad Max” (July 31)
Before the massive production of “Fury Road” or even the brutal “The Road Warrior”, Australian director George Miller featured “Mad” action legend Max Rockatansky in this lean and wicked slab of “Oz-ploitation” achievement. . And it featured a little-known Australian actor named Mel Gibson in the title role, a cop in a crumbling society who becomes a bloodthirsty vigilante after a criminal gang attacks his wife and child. A novice director, Miller worked on a small budget and limited resources. But his talent for genre cinema was already evident; the crisp car chases are staged with nervous ingenuity, while the emotional rhythms are brutally effective.
“My best friend’s wedding” (July 31)
When Julia Roberts headlined this 1997 romantic comedy, she was billed as a return vehicle, which involved straying too far from her bread and butter with appearances in darker dishes like ” Mary Reilly “and” Michael Collins “. But it was not a light romantic comedy; Director PJ Hogan (“Muriel’s Marriage”) and screenwriter Ronald Bass (“Rain Man”) allow Roberts to tinker with his audience’s expectations, complicating their supposed empathy for the actor with questionable motivations and actions ( and even cruel) of his character. And Cameron Diaz is brilliantly used as the target of her anger – such a warm and sunny character, you can’t help but wonder which side we’re on. really at.
‘Zombieland’ (July 31)
In the aftermath of a raging zombie apocalypse, it’s kill or be killed. And the main thrill of this double-barreled action comedy is the extent to which writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick worked on the logistics of this hellish landscape, as articulated by the hero (Jesse Eisenberg) and his rules of survival. An introverted student, he teams up with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), a gunslinger-type cowboy, and sisters Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) on a journey through chaos. Director Ruben Fleischer keeps the laughs and gore at a steady pace, embracing the hipster approach to “Ghostbusters” so completely that Bill Murray even shows up to play the game.