Time to clear your schedule - here's what's new to Netflix in July
Another month, another round of movies, series, and documentaries to keep you ticking over from outstanding horror It Follows to Irish film Handsome Devil, controversial new Netflix film On the Bone to new series Ojka starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney.
This month we've included reviews from our film critics where relevant and here's a video of the highlights to whet your appetite. Scroll down for the full list.
One of the most unnerving and downright nerve-shredding horrors of recent years, It Follows stars Maika Monroe as a young woman who becomes the target of a demon which is passed from person to person by sex. It follows the individual until it catches and kills them. The film opened on a limited release but widespread critical acclaim led to a wide release. Not one to watch by yourself!
THE BREAKFAST CLUB
John Hughe's classic 1985 coming of age drama stars Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Paul Gleason, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, and Ally Sheedy as five teens from different high school cliques who bond during a day in detention.
Here's our Sunday Independent review by Hilary A White:
The 2010 Deepwater Horizon collapse remains one of the most destructive industrial calamities in history and the largest oil spill of its kind to boot. After the rig went up in flames (claiming 11 lives), the well continued to pump billions of litres of oil into the Gulf of Mexico until finally capped almost three months later.
A New York Times investigative article detailing the events forms the bedrock for this disaster drama from Peter Berg (Hancock, Battleship), and the results are, for the most part, refreshingly sophisticated for a kaboom-heavy actioner starring Mark Wahlberg.
Wahlberg tones down the blue-collar muscularity he usually ploughs to play electrical technician Mike Williams, enjoying one last morning of domestic bliss with his wife (Kate Hudson) and daughter before a three-week stint on the doomed platform. He, Kurt Russell's rig chief and Gina Rodriguez's bridge officer helicopter out to this petroleum Skull Island to discover a concrete test has been called off and John Malkovich's slithering BP supervisor making light of it.
The feeling of pressure building both within the characters as well as 10km below on the seabed is sharpened gradually to an excruciating crescendo. The dialogue is excellent, immersing you in the reality rather than spoon-feeding you a dummy's guide. When everything comes to the boil and the devastation is wrought loudly on the screen, it is quite terrifying to see violent energy, human instinct, and Big Oil greed collide.
Berg, with sensitivity to the real lives lost, plays it cool up to that point, like Paul Greengrass without the shakes. None of the cast puts a foot wrong either side of the central pyrotechnics. 4 Stars
Paul Whitington's 4* review from the Independent:
Writer/director John Butler learnt his trade doing TV shows like Your Bad Self before making a creditable feature debut a few years back with The Stag. But that film was a genre picture, a buddy farce with modest ambitions, and Handsome Devil constitutes a big step forward from that.
It's a skilfully pitched drama that combines serious themes like sexuality and emerging teenage identity with a lively comic tone. And what's most impressive is how well made and glossy it looks on a budget of just ¤1m.
Produced by the ever-resourceful Treasure Entertainment, Handsome Devil is a funny and touching coming-of-age story set at a rugby-mad Irish boarding school. A withdrawn 16-year-old called Ned (Fionn O'Shea) does his best to persuade his widowed father (Ardal O'Hanlon) and frosty stepmother (Amy Huberman) that boarding school is not the place for him, but his pleas fall on deaf ears and he's sent back for another term of misery.
Actually, Ned's a bit of a drama queen: his supposed enemies aren't that unpleasant and even the most unenlightened teachers are buffoons rather than monsters. But Ned is an outcast alright, with musical tastes that win him few friends and a flair for sarcasm that tends to inflame pugilistic adversaries.
Things get worse when he's roomed with a new boy called Conor (Nicholas Galitzine), a winsome rugby star Ned immediately assumes is an enemy. But he and Conor have more in common than either might have thought.
Because although Conor's sporting prowess has the school's bluff rugby coach Pascal (Moe Dunford) foaming at the mouth with excitement, he left his last school under a cloud and seems inexplicably tetchy and defensive. Why this is will become evident as the two reluctant roommates declare a truce and become tentative friends.
Butler's film is set neither in the present nor the past, for while the fashion and vernacular seem contemporary, the musical references mainly hark back to the 1980s (the title is inspired by a Smiths song).
There's a strong autobiographical element: Butler attended Blackrock College and clearly understands the east Leinster school's rugby culture inside out. But his film feels less like an earnest 'Portrait of the Artist' endeavour and more like one of those American college dramas that mix sport, sex and the teenage state to telling effect.
A strong supporting cast includes Michael McElhatton as the school's well-meaning but clueless headmaster, Walter Curly, and Andrew Scott as Dan Sherry - the kind of wildly inspiring English teacher we all wish we'd had. He notices Ned's flair for writing but instead of making him a pet, berates him for his laziness and lack of ambition, and challenges him to prove he's more than just a pretentious opt-out.
Dan is less idealised and perfect than Robin Williams' Dead Poets Society character Mr Keating, and has his own Achilles' heel he'll have to publicly confront, while Ned will be forced to realise he is an outcast by choice.
Nicely photographed and cleverly paced, Handsome Devil mixes comedy and emotion deftly, and reaches a memorable climax during a floodlit rugby match. The school has a rare chance to win the cup, but when star player Conor goes missing after an altercation with the coach, it's up to Ned to persuade him to play.
Because of its dynamic and uncompromising physicality, rugby has always been a very hard sport to fake, as anyone who endured the awful World Cup Final in Clint Eastwood's Invictus will appreciate. With an nth of the budget, Butler does far better: one Brian O'Driscoll helped with the playing sequences and the results are impressive.
Equally impressive is the way the film sensitively explores the minefield of sexual identity, and seems to reject the entire notion of labelling. But Handsome Devil is also very funny, a wise and witty tonic.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - ROGUE NATION
Paul Whitington's review:
Is it feasible to watch a Mission Impossible film and think at the same time? Probably not, but it did occur to me while watching this one that the fitful action series has been a life raft for Tom Cruise through some pretty stormy times.
In career terms at any rate, Scientology has not been Tom's friend, and his adherence to the cult that insists we're descended from colonising aliens has fuelled a relentless mood of negativity towards him in the press.
When Cruise became deeply involved in the religion in the late 1990s, critics predicted the end of his A-list career, and the naysayers again decided he was finished six or seven years back after a string of box-office flops. Yet here he still is, fronting up a summer action film at the grand old age of 53, looking in fine shape and at least 10 years younger.
Based on a ropey 1970s TV series I dimly recall watching, the films themselves are essentially reconstituted Bond movies with the gloomy Cold War elements taken out: they're lighter and funnier than the Connery ones, not so camp and daft as the Roger Moore ones. This is the fifth, and though Cruise has got older and virtually the entire supporting cast has changed a number of times, the basic formula remains the same.
Ethan Hunt is a daring and reckless agent working with the secret international troubleshooting agency IMF (Impossible Mission Force). In each film either he, America or the world is doomed and he's the one man in a position to do something about it. But this time he's really up against it, as the IMF itself faces the chop.
In a rather terrific opening sequence, Ethan and his associates Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) and William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) are trying to stop Chechen terrorists from stealing a cache of bombs when Hunt clings to the side of a departing aircraft, manages to get inside and rescues the armaments with the help of a parachute.
Just another day at the office for Ethan, but when he heads back to an IMF London office to report, he's captured by a sinister organisation called the Syndicate, and only escapes when one of the gang, a mysterious young woman called Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson), inexplicably sets him free.
Meanwhile the CIA's boss Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) has shut IMF down and declared Hunt a fugitive from justice. Pursued on all sides, Ethan is determined to find the Syndicate's leader and take him out before he does real damage, and he's forced to join forces with Ilsa, a beautiful but unpredictable woman he's not entirely sure he can trust.
Does any of that matter, or even make sense? Most certainly not, but Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is great fun for the most part, and exceedingly easy to watch. Simon Pegg joined the franchise back in 2006, in Mission Impossible III, and his neurotic tech expert Benji Dunn provides much of this film's comic relief. Tom Cruise has always been a good straight man, and he and Pegg make a surprisingly winning double act.
Alec Baldwin and Jeremy Renner stand about saying their lines without adding too much value to the proceedings, but English actor Sean Harris is a most effective villain: demented he may be but he looks a bit deprived, which makes you feel almost sorry for him.
The action sequences have to be outstanding in these types of films, and in Rogue Nation they certainly are, particularly that opening scene, a wonderful motorbike chase, and a very cleverly handled underwater escapade. Cruise does a lot of his own stunts, remains a compelling action hero, and should be well able to front up at least one more of these films if they decide to make another.
But Rogue Nation's secret weapon is Anglo/Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson, who has more star quality than any Bond girl I've ever seen and reminded me at times of a young Romy Schneider.
Released last year it's another found footage horror flick. This time a teenager finds a video showing what he believes to be his vanished sister Heater [from the original Blair Witch Project (1993)] and assembles a group of teenagers to head in to the haunted forest to find her.
SCARY MOVIE 2
Churned out in the hopes of cashing in on the success of the first film, Scary Movie 2 is more of the same from the Wayans. This time they're spoofing The Exorcist and The Haunting among others. With a 15% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes but a 50% audience score, it's probably one to skip unless you're a fan of Shawn and Marlon, and Anna Faris.
SCARY MOVIE 3
David Zucker and Leslie Nielson replace the Wayans and it's marginally better than 2, but not much.
A solid thriller set in early 20th century Vienna in which a stage magician tries to win back his love from her fiance, the crowned prince of Austria. It's an intriguing tale boosted by some great performances by Edward Norton, Rufus Sewell, Paul Giamatti and Jessica Biel.
This was Angelina Jolie's first passion project after she was named a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador and travelled to areas in crisis including Syria and Darfu. In Beyond Borders, directed by Martin Campbell, she plays an American living with her wealthy Brit husband in London during the 80s. She meets relief worker Nick (Clive Owen) at a benefit and she's compelled to join his humanitarian cause to fight the family in Ethiopia.
Emily Mortimer plays the mum of Frankie, a nine year old who is deaf. They've been on the run for years from his psychotic father and in an effort to shield him from the truth of who his dad is his mother writes him a series of letters supposedly from his dad. A moving and heartwarming flick.
Fans of the musical will enjoy stars including Rosario Dawson, Idina Menzel, and Anthony Rapp in their favourite roles.
RICKI AND THE FLASH
Meryl Streep makes this a whole lot more enjoyable than it would otherwise be. Also features her daughter Mamie Gummer.
The first season follows Chema Venegas (Mauricio Ochmann) as he rises from being a small time marijuana smuggler to become the head of the cartel in El Señor de los Cielos. He has been one of the biggest enemies of both the US and Mexican governments.
Season 2 of the thriller series picks up where it left off, with Jamie (Kristen Connolly) missing and the team in search of a leopard cub that may hold the key to curing the animal mutation. Meanwhile, the behavior of the animals has escalated and they've started to destroy infrastructure in an attempt to make the environment of the planet uninhabitable for humans.
Josh Holloway stars as a spy who has been enhanced with a super computer microchip in his brain and aids an elite government cyber-security agency in special missions.
Netflix Original Series
FRIENDS FROM COLLEGE
There's quite a bit of swearing in the trailer - you have been warned!
The Byrdes, husband and wife Marty (Jason Bateman) and Wendy (Laura Linney), their teenage kids Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz) and Jonah (Skylar Gaertner) -- are for all intents and purposes an ordinary family. Ordinary save for Marty’s job: The top money launderer for the second largest drug cartel in Mexico.
Netflix's take on Castlevania, a series of horror fantasy-themed action-adventure video games created and developed by Konami, centered on the Belmont family, a clan of vampire hunters, and their fight with Dracula
Netflix Original Film
BEFORE I FALL
Forced to continually relive the day she dies in a car crash, a privileged high schooler must unravel the cosmic mystery of her suddenly looping life.
TO THE BONE
Netflix's new drama caused controversy the minute the trailer landed. It stars Lily Collins as a s20 year old girl with anorexia who enters a group home to aid her recovery. Her doctor is played by Keanu Reeves. Some mental health experts worried the film might serve as a trigger for some people living with anorexia.
Here's the trailer:
THE INCREDIBLE JESSICA JAMES
Burned by a bad breakup, a struggling New York City playwright makes an unlikely connection with a divorced app designer she meets on a blind date. Starring Jessica Williams and Chris O'Dowd.
A Melbourne obstetrician in her thirties struggles with the increasingly chaotic family, romantic and professional aspects of her life in this drama. Starring: Asher Keddie, Kat Stewart, Richard Davies
Comedian Romesh Ranganathan is sent by his mother on a ramshackle odyssey around his parents' homeland of Sri Lanka in an attempt to connect him with his roots.
Netflix Original Comedy
Comedy's freshest voices take the stage in LA for six half-hour specials packed with sly jokes, hilarious anecdotes and awkward confessions.
ADITI MITTAL: THINGS THEY WOULDN'T LET ME SAY
Trailblazing comic Aditi Mittal mixes topical stand-up with frank talk about being single, wearing thongs and the awkwardness of Indian movie ratings.
ARI SHAFFIR: DOUBLE NEGATIVE: COLLECTION
Wry yet thoughtful, comedian Ari Shaffir brings his edgy humor to two fast-paced stand-up specials about children and adulthood.
JOE MANDE'S AWARD-WINNING COMEDY SPECIAL
Stand-up comic Joe Mande aims for critical adulation with this special that covers dating shows, "Shark Tank," Jewish summer camp and much more.
Drama and documentary
HITLER: THE RISE OF EVIL
Series profiling the life of Adolf Hitler as a child and his rise through the ranks of the National German Workers' Party prior to World War II.
Matthew Fox, Tommy Lee Jones, Eriko Hatsune and award-winning Japanese star Toshiyuki Nishida star in this film about the American occupation of Japan and the days just after Emperor Hirohito's World War II surrender.
BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ
Moving 1962 biographical drama telling the fascinating story of prisoner Robert Stroud (Burt Lancaster) who develops a fascination with birds after he nurses a sickly sparrow back to health.
Netflix Original Documentary
Divers, scientists and photographers around the world mount an epic underwater campaign to document the disappearance of coral reefs.
LAST CHANCE U
In a docuseries set at one of NCAA football's most fertile recruiting grounds, guys with red flags seek to prove their worth on the field and in class.
DAUGHTERS OF DESTINY
Oscar-winning filmmaker Vanessa Roth follows a group of young people from India's most impoverished families as they strive for a brighter future.
2006 doc directed by Billy Corben featuring interviews with police, journalists, lawyers, former drug smugglers and gang members. It charts the rise of cocaine and the Miami Drug War of the 70s and 80s.
COCAINE COWBOYS 2
2008 sequel, again directed by Billy Corben and Lisa M Perry. Set in 1992 it's narrated by Charles Cosby, a small time cocaine dealer in Oakland, California who writes a fan letter to Cocaine Godmother Griselda Blanco who is in prison. Six months later he's her lover and a multi-millionaire and the head of her $40m a year cocaine business.
A surfing adventure across 15 countries gives a young boy from Kauai an opportunity to widen his horizons and gain a deeper understanding of life.
EXTRAORDINARY: THE STAN ROMANEK STORY
Documentary about Stan Romanek, the man at the centre of the world's most famous extraterrestrial contact story. Thousands around the world believe his story is true.
INNSAEI: THE SEA WITHIN
Renowned thinkers and spiritualists discuss the Icelandic concept of Innsaei, which enables humans to connect through empathy and intuition.
FITTEST ON EARTH: A DECADE OF FITNESS
Elite athletes qualify for and compete in the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games, a grueling five-day, 15-event test of fitness and endurance.
AGENT CODY BANKS
KATE AND MIM-MIM
TOP CAT: THE MOVIE
Netflix Original Series for Kids
DAWN OF THE CROODS
DEGRASSI: NEXT CLASS
BUDDY THUNDERSTRUCK: THE MAYBE PILE
THE ADVENTURES OF PUSS IN BOOTS
SHADOWHUNTERS: THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS
New episodes every Tuesday
New episodes every Sunday
New episodes every Monday
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