With so many titles to choose from, Netflix Instant's library can be overwhelming. And so we offer this biweekly column as a tool to cut through the clutter by highlighting some now streaming titles that pair nicely with the latest theatrical releases.
This week, we looked to Killing Them Softly, Playing For Keeps and Lay the Favorite for inspiration, with a lineup of crime thrillers, romantic comedies, and crime comedies for your home viewing entertainment.
Killing Them Softly
In this allegorical adaptation of George V. Higgins' novel Cogan's Trade, Brad Pitt stars as a hitman called in to restore order to the criminal underground of Detroit after a hold-up of a local gambling den throws the crooks economy into peril. James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins co-star; Andrew Dominik directs.
Despite offering a gangster plotline and a quipping Pitt, Killing Them Softly got slaughtered at theaters last weekend, bringing in a meager box office and an F from Cinemascore. Maybe this has swayed your interest away from this crime thriller, but there are plenty more reputable ones now streaming. Whether you want something edgy, classic or sidesplitting, we've got you covered with a silent getaway driver, an unforgettable femme fatale and a batch of comically inept crooks.
Drive (2011) One of the most controversial films of last year had to offer stars Ryan Gosling as a challenging romantic figure. By day he's a Hollywood stuntman, by night a getaway driver for whomever can meet his fee and play by his rules. He's not a man who many know, but once he meets a beautiful and broken young woman, he'll do whatever it takes to be sure she's safe from some very dangerous men. Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, and Carey Mulligan co-star; Nicolas Winding Refn directs.
Chinatown (1974) This iconic noir stars Jack Nicholson as a private eye and Faye Dunaway as the lovely, lying lady who hires him for a simple snoop job. But things turn deeply dangerous when this dick uncovers some clues he was never meant to find. John Huston and John Hillerman co-star; Roman Polanski directs.
Snatch (2000) As follow-up to his breakout hit Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Guy Ritchie brought forth this fast-paced and funny ensemble caper. Jason Stratham stars as a boxing promoter whose forced to hire an untrustworthy gypsy for a major fight held by a very deadly and demented crime boss. Brad Pitt, Benicio Del Toro, Vinnie Jones and Dennis Farina co-star.
Playing For Keeps
Gerard Butler stars as a peewee soccer coach and former pro player trying to get his life back together, and maybe get back with his ex, but finds the flirtatious soccer moms a recurring distraction. Jessica Biel, Uma Thurman, and Dennis Quaid co-star; Gabriele Muccino directs.
With the weather outside getting frightful, a romantic-comedy can be the perfect pic for a night cozied up on the couch. Whether you want something with some old-school romance, a contemporary classic or something a bit more salacious, Netflix Instant has a rom-com worth watching.
Sabrina (1954) Audrey Hepburn is all plucky charm and grace as Sabrina Fairchild, a chauffeur's daughter who dreams of becoming an educated and sophisticated lady. Upon returning from studies abroad, she catches the eye of David Larrabee (William Holden), the charming and wealthy playboy she's crushed on since her girlhood. But when their blossoming romance threatens the family business, David's ever-responsible and stern brother Linus works to split them up…and ends up falling for Sabrina himself! Whimsical and warm, this rom-com still sparkles. Billy Wilder directs.
Sleepless in Seattle (1993) Written for a generation of women pining for the romance they've seen in countless Hollywood movies, Nora Ephron's Oscar-nominated rom-com stars Meg Ryan as a journalist who must decide between marrying her dull fiancé or taking a chance at the kind of love she dreams of after hearing the heartfelt plea of a recent widow on the radio. Tom Hanks co-stars; Ephron directs.
What Women Want (2000) Pre-meltdown Mel Gibson stars as an arrogant and misogynistic ad exec who has a major wake-up call after a freak accident gives him the power to hear women's most private thoughts. Initially horrified to find his flirtatious/condescending shtick isn't as beloved with the women he works with as he thought, this man's man must listen to discover what women want so that he can save his job, salvage the tattered relationship with his daughter, and find true love. Helen Hunt, Marisa Tomei, Ashley Johnson, and Judy Greer co-star; Nancy Meyers directs.
Lay the Favorite
Based on Beth Raymer's memoir, this comedy follows a chipper Florida stripper to Las Vegas, where she has aims to be a cocktail waitress, but soon becomes the lucky charm of a big time bookie. Money comes rolling in and things are looking up, until the gambler's wife gets jealous. Rebecca Hall, Bruce Willis and Catherine Zeta-Jones co-star; Stephen Frears directs.
Crime doesn't pay, but it's often the source of seriously funny payoffs. For more crooks and capers, we suggest this trio that offers some madcap murders, cutup kidnappers, and a malevolent mother who could drive anyone to kill!
Clue (1985) This is the only board game-inspired movie worth its running time. Featuring a cast of colorful characters and master comedians, this murder mystery is frantically paced and full of laughs. When Mr. Boddy brings all his blackmailing victims under one roof for nefarious aims, people start dropping like flies. But whodunit? Was it Mrs. Peacock with the rope in the conservatory? Professor Plum with the revolver in the ballroom? Or Miss Scarlet with the candlestick in the billiard room? Stay tuned for all three possible endings to know for sure! Tim Curry, Michael McKean, Christopher Lloyd, Madeline Kahn, Eileen Brennan, and Martin Mull co-star; Jonathan Lynn.
Raising Arizona (1987) This Coen Brothers classic stars Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter as H.I. and Ed, a childless couple made up of an ex-con and a ex-cop who want nothing more than a baby. But when their reproductive efforts prove fruitless, H.I. turns back to his life of crime to steal them a baby from a local furniture magnate whose recently had quintuplets. Surely taking just one of the five wouldn't hurt, right? Wrong. Their kidnapping sparks a manhunt (well, babyhunt) unlike Arizona has never seen, with clueless cops, brutal bounty hunters and scheming escaped cons all on the newly formed family's tail. John Goodman, Frances McDormand, and William Forsythe co-star; Joel & Ethan Coen direct.
Throw Momma from the Train (1987) Inspired by Hitchcock's classic thriller Strangers on a Train, this comedy centers on a pair of unlikely could-be killers who conspire to murder the women ruining their lives. Larry's ex-wife stole his last book, and now steals his acclaim as he struggles to write anything new. Owen gets nothing but abuse from his cantankerous mother, and often fantasizes about murdering her. Still, both men are stuck and flustered until Larry accidentally urges Owen to criss-cross their killings. Once he's pitched Larry's ex into the ocean, he expects his mentor to carry out his end of this double-murder bargain, and the results are downright hysterical. Billy Crystal, Danny DeVito, and Anne Ramsey star; DeVito also directs.