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 I, Frankenstein, That Awkward Moment and Labor Day for inspiration, we've pulled together a selection of reimagined horror, R-rated comedies, and tear-jerking romantic dramas.
I, FrankensteinFrom the creators of Underworld comes a modern-day Frankenstein's monster tale that sets the legendary creature in the midst of an epic battle between good and evil. Aaron Eckhart and Yvonne Strahovski star; Stuart Beattie directs. Read our review here.
With I, Frankenstein, its filmmakers aimed to bring a new life to a monster story known and loved. Sometimes an unexpected twist on a classic story structure is fresh and fascinating. Other times it’s a total mess. In these cases, whether it's one or the other, it's still pretty damn entertaining.
The Cabin in the Woods (2011) One of the most talked about movies of 2011 was this twisted horror tale about five college friends who travel to a remote cabin (in the woods) for a carefree weekend. Of course, once they settle in things get weird fast. But the razor-sharp script from Joss Whedon and Drew Godard subverts audience expectation to challenge horror conventions in a way that is shrewd and wildly thrilling. Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, and Fran Kranz star; Drew Goddard directs.
Sharknado (2013) Another much talked about title is this twist on the animal terror that began with Jaws. What makes sharks even scarier? Well, duh, it's when they are being hurled onto land with the force of an actual tornado. This made-for-TV movie made such a stir it earned an eventual theatrical release, and now you can watch it and see what all the buzz was about. And for a perfect pairing, listen to How Did This Get Made's podcast right after viewing this groundbreaking bit of cinema. Ian Ziering and Tara Reid co-star; Anthony C. Ferrante directs.
Twixt (2011) Five-time Academy Award-winner Francis Ford Coppola brought his own bizarre brand of horror to theaters with this mixed up murder mystery. Val Kilmer stars as a has-been novelist who is desperate for material for his next book when he comes upon a small town with a deeply strange sheriff and a confounding homicide case. While the movie itself is distinctive, Coppola earned attention by announcing plans of touring with it, performing on the fly edits as it rolled, based on crowd reactions. Bruce Dern and Elle Fanning co-star.
That Awkward MomentZac Efron stars as a Manhattan playboy who rebuffs romantic relationships to better bond with his two best buds…that is until he meets a young woman who might be the one. Michael B. Jordan, Miles Teller and Imogen Poots co-star; Tom Gormican directs. Read our review here.
That Awkward Moment relishes in its R-rating with crass conversations and no shortage of nudity. For more comedies that hold nothing back, check out this selection about parties, sex, and friendships that define us for better or worse.
21 & Over (2013) That Awkward Moment's Miles Teller co-stars in this boys-gone-wild comedy. Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) is turning 21, so his two best friends (Teller and Skylar Astin) take him out for a night he'll never forget. Or possibly be too drunk to remember. Jon Lucas and Scott Moore direct.
Drinking Buddies (2013) Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson star as the titular friends who work together at a Chicago brewing company, and gamely go out for brews afterwards. But their platonic connection gets complicated after they double date on a weekend getaway with their significant others. Ron Livingston and Anna Kendrick co-star; Joe Swanberg directs.
Love and Other Disasters (2006) This little-seen British sex comedy is deeply delightful thanks to the Audrey Hepburn-style turn of Brittany Murphy as an American in London who wants nothing more than to help her gay best friend find love. But when she presumes a handsome young man who she thinks the world of is gay, its just the beginning of a string of silly (but endearing) misunderstandings. Matthew Rhys and Catherine Tate co-star; Alex Keshian directs.
Labor DayBased on the novel by Joyce Maynard, this drama focuses on the unlikely romance that blossoms between a depressed single mom and the fugitive who forces his way into her and her son's life and home. Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin and Gattlin Griffith star; Jason Reitman directs. Read our review here.
There's something startling satisfying about watching a spectacularly sad romantic drama. For love stories that will have you in tears, check out this trio of titles about love gained, love lost, and love deferred.
Blue Valentine (2010) This indie drama was so steamy it earned the rare NC-17 rating from the MPAA, despite protest from the Weinstein Company. But none of that controversy prevented leading lady Michelle Williams from earning an Oscar nod for her brave performance. She and Ryan Gosling play a couple whose romance sees dizzying highs and sickening lows over their years together. Derek Cianfrance directs.
Brokeback Mountain (2005) Ang Lee won his first Academy Award for directing with this tender adaptation of Annie Proulx's short story. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal star as two cowboys who find unexpected love in the mountains while working a brutal sheepherding gig. But 1963 Wyoming isn't a place where two men can love each other openly, so societal pressures push both into marriages that spread heartbreak around. Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway and Randy Quaid co-star.
Terms of Endearment (1983) Perhaps one of the most beloved tearjerkers, this five-time Academy Award-winning drama stars Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger as a mother and daughter who support each other through bad dates, big moments, and the many complications of love. Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Jeff Daniels and John Lithgow co-star; James L. Brooks directs.