With so many titles to choose from, Netflix Instant's library can be overwhelming. So we bring you this biweekly column as a tool to cut through the clutter by highlighting some now streaming titles that pair well with the latest theatrical releases.
Looking to Edge of Tomorrow, Maleficent, and Fault In Our Stars for inspiration, we've pulled together a selection of alien invasion adventures, twisted fairy tales, and teen dramas.
Edge of TomorrowTom Cruise stars as a frontline soldier caught in a time loop of the day he dies battling an alien invasion. Can he exploit this strange time quirk to save the day? Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, and Brendan Gleeson co-star; and Doug Liman directs. Read our review here.
Outer space is a big place full of potential threats to humanity, at least in the worlds of sci-fi-fueled action movies. Blast off for adventure and thrills with a selection of tales that feature invading extraterrestrials, intrepid astronauts, and a short-tempered cab driver who just might save the world.
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto reprise their roles as Captain Kirk and Spock in this sequel to J.J. Abrams 2009 reboot. This time around, the crew of the Enterprise is tracking down a mass-murdering terrorist in a dangerous corner of space. Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Benedict Cumberbatch, Anton Yelchin, and Alice Eve co-star; J.J. Abrams directs.
Torchwood (2006) Spun-off from Doctor Who, this sci-fi series centers on Captain Jack Harkness, an anomaly who has traveled through time and now cannot die. He heads up the titular secret organization tasked with keeping a wide universe of aliens in check. Think of it as Men in Black, but with way more violence, death, destruction, and sex. Seasons 1-4 are streaming. John Barrowman and Eve Myles star.
The Fifth Element (1997) Set in the 23rd century, this adventure has Bruce Willis playing a former soldier turned cabbie who unwittingly joins a mission to save the world from a terrible alien force. Milla Jovovich, Gary Oldman and Ian Holm co-star; Luc Besson directs.
MaleficentAngelina Jolie stars as the titular villainess in a re-imagining of Sleeping Beauty told from Maleficent's perspective. Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, and Imelda Staunton co-star; Robert Stromberg directs. Read our review here.
For more twists on classic children's tales, we suggest this trio. Whether it's a gonzo re-invention of a Grimm tale, the mid-life crisis of Peter Pan, or a modern take on the story of Dorothy Gale, these titles are sure to enchant.
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013) The writer-director of the Nazi-zombie horror-comedy Dead Snow offers his take on the classic tale of kids lost in a wood and trapped in a witch-infested candy cottage. The results are a hard-R action movie with plenty of gore and totally bonkers sensibility. Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton star; Tommy Wirkola directs.
Hook (1991) Robin Williams stars in this family-comedy that imagines what would happen if Peter Pan grew up and became a pudgy, work-obsessed lawyer. When Captain Hook kidnaps his children, Peter is forced to return to Neverland and rediscover his inner child, sense of wonder, and ability to truly fly! Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins and Dante Basco co-star; Steven Spielberg directs.
Tin Man (2007) Zooey Deschanel plays a modern Dorothy Gale in this mini-series that gives The Wizard of Oz an edgy new adaptation. D.G. is a Midwestern waitress thrown into the magical and treacherous land of O.Z. where she meets a half-brained engineer, a gruff sherrif, a sly shapeshifter and nervous telepath. Alan Cumming, Neal McDonough, and Richard Dreyfus co-star.
The Fault In Our StarsShailene Woodley stars as Hazel, a 16-year-old with terminal cancer who finds a new lease on life and love thanks to a charming young man called Gus. Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff and Laura Dern co-star; Josh Boone directs. Read our review here.
Before it was a tearjerking movie, The Fault In Our Stars was a heartbreaking book. For more summer reading minus the reading, check out these teen-centered dramas, each based on a beloved novel. Whether she's dealing with grief, cancer or an alien invasion, each of these titles offers a heroine with serious strength and heart.
Now Is Good (2012) Based on the Jenny Downham novel, this romantic drama stars Dakota Fanning as a teen suffering from leukemia. But rather than let her own mortality get her down, this girl is inspired to embrace life by tackling her bucket list. At the top of it, is losing her virginity. Jeremy Irvine co-stars; Ol Parker directs.
Tiger Eyes (2012) Novelist Judy Blume has touched countless adolescents with her books, but this marks her first movie adaptation. Willa Holland stars as Davey Wexler, a 17-year-old with a lot to handle. Her dad's been killed, and while her mother struggles to cope, Davey's been sent to live with relatives in New Mexico. Grief and being the new kid are made a bit easier after a fateful meeting leads to an important new friendship. Amy Jo Johnson, Tatanka Means, and Elise Eberle co-star; Lawrence Blume directs.
The Host (2013) Based on Stephanie Meyer's YA novel, this coming-of-age tale deals with identity, love and friendship in the setting of an insidious alien invasion. Saoirse Ronan stars as Melanie Stryder, one of the few humans left on Earth after a parasitic creature from outer space took over the bodies of much of mankind. When Wanderer is introduced into Melanie's body, she struggles to take her over, and unexpectedly in her quest to conquer finds she empathizes with Melanie and the human race. Diane Kruger, Max Irons, and Jake Abel co-star; Andrew Niccol directs.