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 Iron Man 3, The Great Gatsby, and Peeples for inspiration, we've pulled together a selection of Marvel Universe movies, romances from literature, and crowd-pleasing comedies with underrated stars.
Iron Man 3
Robert Downey Jr returns to the role that revived his career for what could be Iron Man's final act. (So says Sean!) When a nightmarish terrorist called the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) emerges, Tony Stark dives into the fray, and he's taking his friends with him. Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle co-star. Shane Black directs.
If you're anything like me, you can't just stop with one Marvel movie. Since seeing Iron Man 3, I've gone back to re-watch the adventures below as well as The Avengers (twice!) Unfortunately, that title is not streaming, but you can look ahead to possible Avengers 2 plotlines with an animated double-feature.
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) In The Avengers he was Tony Stark's biggest foil, but he beat Iron Man to the hero game by a lifetime. Chris Evans stars as Steve Rogers, a scrawny wannabe soldier with a noble heart and natural fearlessness. When the US Army seeks a test subject for a superhero serum that might given them the edge on menacing Nazi forces, this brave kid from Brooklyn is the perfect choice. Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, and Stanley Tucci co-star.
Thor (2011) Before Iron Man was calling him "Shakespeare in the Park," Thor was having his breakout moment in this high drama adventure. Chris Hemsworth stars as the impetuous God of Thunder who is thrown to Earth and forced to learn humility. While there he not only needs to mount a defense to save his kingdom, but also one to save his new human friends. Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, and Anthony Hopkins co-star; Kenneth Branagh directs.
Ultimate Avengers: The Movie (2006) Like the live-action epic, this Avengers movie follows a recently defrosted Captain America battling with Earth's mightiest heroes to take down a heinous alien threat. However, this Avengers ensemble not only offers Black Widow, The Incredible, Hulk, Thor, and Iron Man, but also Giant Man, and Wasp. Also streaming is Ultimate Avengers 2 with Black Panther.
The Great Gatsby
Baz Luhrmann, the audacious auteur behind Moulin Rouge and 1996's Romeo + Juliet, offers his outrageous take on F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel of romance and wealth. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby, a man who pursues his first love Daisy (Carey Mulligan), no matter the cost. Tobey Maguire and Joel Edgerton co-star.
Entranced and inspired by the pages of Fitzgerald's most popular work, Luhrmann looked to add some lavish visual language (and a kinetic but anachronistic soundtrack) to make Gatsby's tragic tale come to vivid life. For more literature turned into luscious movie romance, try these three scintillating titles.
The Great Gatsby (1974) In this pastel-colored adaption with a screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Redford stars as Gatsby, while Mia Farrow plays the golden girl Daisy. Though it feels a bit wan and dated today, it's worth noting this memorable version won two Academy Awards, one for Best Costume Design, the other for Best Score, both categories Luhrmann's version will surely be eying come Oscar season. Sam Waterson, Bruce Dern, and Karen Black co-star; Jack Clayton directs.
A Royal Affair (2012) This Danish drama also earned Oscar notice, being nominated for Best Foreign Language film. Alicia Vikander stars as Caroline Mathilde, a young queen paired with a mad king. But she finds solace and love with her a German physician, sparking revolution. Based on the novel by Bodil Steensen-Leth, this celebrated romance co-stars Mads Mikkelsen and Mikkel Boe Følsgaard. Nikolaj Arcel directs.
Dangerous Liaisons (2012) In this Chinese interpretation of Choderlos de Laclos's oft-adapted novel, Cecilia Cheung and Jang Dong-gun star as two masterful manipulators who entertain themselves with a sexy wager about the future of virginal young beauty (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon's Zhang Ziyi). But this cruel game of hearts eventually begins to turn on its players. Hur Jin-ho directs.
Funnyman Craig Robinson stars in this meet-the-parents comedy as a child psychologist whose forced to use his skillset in unexpected ways when he travels to the Hamptons to ask his girlfriend's father for her hand in marriage. Kerry Washington and David Alan Grier co-star. Tina Gordon Chism directs. Tyler Perry produces.
It's about time Craig Robinson, who has long lent hilarious support in comedies like Pineapple Express and Hot Tub Time Machine got the spotlight! For more comedies starring painfully overlooked performers, give the movies below a spin!
Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family (2011) When her niece is facing some troubling health issues, super-grandma Madea gathers her whole family together to lend support, whether they like it or not. Lorretta Devine, Bow Wow, Cassi Davis, Shannon Kane, Lauren London, Rodney Perry, David Mann, Tamela Mann, and Isaiah Mustafa (of those hysterical Old Spice ads) co-star. Tyler Perry stars and directs.
35 and Ticking (2011) Stand-up comedian Kevin Hart has been stealing scenes since The Forty Year Old Virgin. Here he scores a starring role as one of four friends who go into panic mode realizing 35 is just around the corner. Together they plan to get the love, home, and families they thought they'd have by now. Tamala Jones, Nicole Ari Parker, and Keith Robinson star. Russ Parr directs.
Dysfunctional Friends (2011) This bittersweet ensemble dramedy centers on nine college friends who've lost touch over the years, but who are reunited at a mutual pal's funeral. His last wish is that all of them spend a week together to reconnect. This late friend sweetens the pot by offering his mansion as the renuinion venue, as well as a stake in his will if they do as he asks. Issues and old resentments soon arise, but can they make it through the week? Tatyana Ali, Stacy Keibler, Terrell Owens, Hosea Chanchez, and Stacey Dash co-star; Corey Grant directs.