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 The Grand Budapest Hotel, Veronica Mars and Grand Piano for inspiration, we've pulled together a selection of crime-centered cinema, from madcap murder mysteries to female-fronted detective tales, and chilling psychological thrillers.
The Grand Budapest HotelWes Anderson's latest centers on the affable and antagonizing Gustave H, the consummate concierge of the titular hotel. When one of his former lovers dies under mysterious circumstances, Gustave calls on the help of his loyal lobby boy Zero to spirit away the inheritance she left him, and then clear his name. Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Saorsie Ronan, Willem Dafoe and Jeff Goldblum star; Wes Anderson directs. Read our review here.
Who says murder mysteries need to be dramas? If you want a dash of suspense with a healthy helping of laughs, you'll love these three crime comedies.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988) Inspired by the comedy noirs of Hollywood's Golden Age, this animated (in part) adventure pairs a cantankerous private eye with a cartoon rabbit named Roger, when the latter is suspected of murder and the former is hired to clear him. Combining live-action actors with colorful cartoon characters, this film is an astonishing feast for the eyes and imagination. Plus, it's still a hell of a lot of fun. Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd and Joanna Cassidy star. Charles Fleischer, Lou Hirsch, and Kathleen Turner lend their voices. Robert Zemeckis directs.
Charade (1963) For something more classically old school Hollywood, give this charming and unconventional romance a whirl. Audrey Hepburn stars as a widow whose husband's murder makes her a target for three treasure hunting scoundrels. When a dashing Cary Grant appears and offers to play hero, she's soon swooning. But should she trust him? Walter Matthau, James Coburn, and George Kennedy co-star; Stanley Donan directs.
Clue (1985) This is the movie all movies inspired by board games should aspire to be. You know the characters, Professor Plum, Mrs. Peacock, Mrs. White, Miss Scarlet, Colonel Mustard and Mr. Green. But can you figure out who killed Mr. Body? Played for laughs, this whodunit is stuffed with gags and boasts an incredibly funny cast. Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Martin Mull and Michael McKean star; Jonathan Lyn directs.
Grand PianoElijiah Wood stars as a concert pianist who is returning to the spotlight five years after a flubbed performance derailed his career. As if nerves weren't enough to deal with, he takes to the stage only to discover a deranged audience member will kill him if he plays a single wrong note. John Cusack and Kerry Bishé co-star; Eugenio Mira directs. Read our review here.
There's a twisted kind of glee that comes from watching a frightening film that will mess with your mind. Embrace this mind-bending with a self-made marathon that features a DIY dentist, a tormented moviemaker, and one of the most terrifying serial killers to ever grace the silver screen.
Marathon Man (1976) Thomas "Babe" Levy was a mild-mannered New Yorker with an exotic girlfriend, a great education, and a jogging hobby. But when his spy brother rolls into town, Babe is violently thrust into a world of espionage, intrigue, torture and Nazi war criminals. Dustin Hoffman stars. Roy Schneider and Laurence Olivier co-star; John Schlesinger directs.
Berberian Sound Studio (2012) Critically heralded in its illustrious film festival run, this chilling film blurs the line between reality and art by telling the story of a sound designer working on a horror movie in 1970s Italy. While designing a creepy soundscape, his mind wanders to the skeletons in his own closet. Toby Jones, Fatima Mohamed and Cosimo Fusco star; Peter Strickland directs.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991) Few horror movies win the notice of the Academy Awards, but this one won five Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Director and Best Picture. Academy Award-winner Jodie Foster stars as FBI trainee Clarice Starling, who is tasked with interviewing notorious cannibal and master psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter in hopes he might help the authorities track down a deranged killer who skins his victims. Academy Award-winner Anthony Hopkins co-stars; Jonathan Demme directs.
Veronica MarsInspired by the beloved TV series, financed by the headline-grabbing Kickstarter campaign, this detective story centers on the eponymous Veronica Mars. Picking up years after the show left off, she's left behind her twisted hometown and her amateur sleuthing. But when an old friend is accused of murder, Veronica is on the case before you can say "We used to be friends." Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, and Enrico Colantoni star; Rob Thomas directs. Read our review here.
Who needs a dick to be one? A private dick that is! Dive into some delectably dark mysteries with a trio of fearless female sleuths. Whether she's a hacker with an iconic bit of body art, a cop wading through her small town's secrets, or an investigator with a unique insight into the mind of a serial killer, these women are sure to thrill with their tales of murder, mayhem, and madness. And just like the Veronica Mars TV show, each of these offers many hours of entertainment.
Dragon Tattoo Trilogy: Extended Edition (2010) Based on the best-selling Stieg Larsson novels that set the world on fire, this crime trilogy out of Sweden centers on the tattooed hacker Lisbeth Salander and her exploits with journalist Mikael Blomkvist. Netflix offers a special expansion of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest, fleshing out storylines and scenes that were cut for the theatrical releases. Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist star; Niels Arden Oplev and Daniel Alfredson direct.
Top of the Lake (2013) This celebrated mini-series made its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013, before awing audiences and winning Elisabeth Moss the Golden Globe for Best Actress. Over seven riveting episodes, directors Jane Campion and Gerard Lee weave a rich mystery revolving around a pregnant 12-year-old girl who has gone missing. Moss stars as the detective dedicated to finding her. Thomas M. Wright, Peter Mullan and Holly Hunter co-star.
The Fall (2013) Gillian Anderson fronts this crime-drama mini-series as Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson, a whip smart cop brought in to solve the case of a Belfast serial killer who targets professional young women. This series is deeply chilling and addictive. Don't be surprised if you rip through all five episodes of the first season in one sitting. Jamie Dornan co-stars.