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 Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Ride Along and The Nut Job for inspiration, we've pulled together a selection of espionage thrillers, buddy comedies, and animated adventures!
Jack Ryan: Shadow RecruitChris Pine fronts this thriller as the titular CIA analyst who is forced out from his desk job and into the field when he discovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy. Kevin Costner and Keira Knightley co-star; Kennth Branagh directs. Read our review here.
It might not surprise you to hear Pine is the fourth actor to take on the role of Jack Ryan, a character from Tom Clancy's popular novels. But it might delight you to know that two of his four previously released adventures are now streaming!
The Hunt for Red October (1990) Alec Baldwin was the first A-lister to step into the shoes of reluctant spy Jack Ryan. Set in 1984, this thriller is embedded in the height of the Cold War and its resulting paranoia. When a USSR submarine captain navigates his vessel toward the US, some clamor it's an act of war. But Ryan suspects the Captain's motives are more curious than that. Sean Connery co-stars; John McTiernan directs.
The Sum of All Fears (2002) In this Ben Affleck-fronted feature, Jack Ryan is once more trying to prevent a full-on nuclear war! When three missing Russian nuclear scientists turn up in the Ukraine conversing with neo-Nazis, it's up to the CIA's sharpest agent to uncover why. Morgan Freeman and James Cromwell co-star; Phil Alden Robinson.
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011) Neither of Harrison Ford's outings as Ryan (Patriot Games and Clear And Present Danger) are Netflix Instant at present. But if you can't get enough of spy thrillers, then you'll drool over Tom Cruise's latest mission as Ethan Hunt. When his team is framed for a horrendous act of terrorism, Hunt and company must go into hiding while continuing their quest to topple a malevolent madman. Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg and Paula Patton co-star; Brad Bird directs.
Ride AlongComedian Kevin Hart stars as a man so desperate to impress his fiancée's tough-as-nails cop brother that he agrees to go on a 24-hour patrol with him to prove himself. Ice Cube co-stars; Tim story directs. Read our review here.
If you prefer your action sequences bombastic and served with heaping helpings of witty one-liners, you'll want to dig into to this triple-helping buddy comedies. Whether it’s a steely sheriff and his gun nut best bud, a rookie agent and his hard to impress mentor, or two trouble-finding nightclub owners, this trio of titles offers pairings that will leave you in stitches.
The Last Stand (2013) In the English-language debut of I Saw the Devil director Ji-woon Kim, Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as the sheriff of a sleepy border town whose biggest trouble are the public disturbances caused by a jackass gun collector (Johnny Knoxville). That is until a dangerous drug kingpin begins gunning toward his town in a break from prison, barreling toward the border. It's basically High Noon made for Schwarzenegger's larger than life screen presence. Forest Whitaker, Eduardo Noriega, and Luis Guzmán.
Men in Black (1997) Will Smith stars as an NYPD cop whose tenacity and unflappable attitude makes him a top recruit for a secret government police force that deals strictly with extraterrestrials. They are the Men in Black, stopping aliens from world domination and keeping the public totally unaware. Tommy Lee Jones co-stars; Barry Sonnenfeld directs.
Harlem Nights (1989) Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor star as a Quick and Ray, two slick operators running an illegal casino in Prohibition-era Harlem. Club Sugar Ray was the place to be, but when corrupt cops and trigger-happy thugs put their business at risk, they will have to depend on each other and a cast of quirky characters to keep on the lights. Redd Foxx, Della Reese and Jasmine Guy co-star; Eddie Murphy directs.
The Nut JobWill Arnett lends his growly voice to Surly, a squirrel whose selfish attitude gets him kicked out of Oakton Park. Left on his own, he comes across a nut shop and a heist that's success will assure he'll survive the winter. Katherine Heigl, Brendan Fraser and Liam Neeson co-star; Peter Lepeniotis directs. Read our review here.
Sometimes there's nothing more satisfying than a nutty comedy featuring furry friends. For more movies about adorable animals on outlandish adventures, try this trio that boasts a crime-solving mouse, a silly ol' bear, and a flying elephant!
The Great Mouse Detective (1986) Basil of Baker Street is essentially the rodent equivalent of Sherlock Holmes. There's no case this pint-sized investigator can't crack! When a toymaker is kidnapped by a mangy-looking bat, Basil and his associate Dr. Dawson are committed with reuniting him with his plucky little daughter--even if it means going up against the villainous Professor Ratigan! Vincent Price, Val Bettin, and Barrie Ingham lend their voices.
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977) Based on the short stories of A.A. Milne, this collection of vignettes follows lovable Pooh Bear and his friends Piglet, Kanga, Roo, Owl, Rabbit, Tigger and Christopher Robin on a string of adventures. Whether it be masquerading as a little black rain cloud to snatch some honey away from greedy bees, rescuing Piglet from a raging flood, or singing songs about any ol' thing, these stories are sure to delight kids and warm the cockles of even the most jaded adult. Sterling Holloway, John Fiedler, and Ralph Wright lend their voices.
Dumbo (1941) This animated classic tells the inspiring story of Dumbo, a baby elephant who learns to love himself, "flaws" and all. Born with massive ears, Dumbo is initially mocked by his circus peers. But with the help of a friendly mouse named Timothy, Dumbo will discovers this difference destines him for incredible things! Edward Brophy, Verna Felton and Sterling Holloway lend their voices.