TV & Movies

20 Of The Best Movies On Netflix NZ Right Now

By Morgan Reardon
22nd Jan 2021

A man burns a document while wearing an outrageous moustache.

Buttering up the popcorn and firing up Netflix has got to be our favourite thing ever. If you’re anything like us we know you don’t relish in spending hours scrolling for something half decent to kick back to.

Here are all the best movies to watch on Netflix NZ right now.

The White Tiger

Based on the New York Times bestseller and 2008 Man Booker Prize-winning novel, this flick follows Balram Halwai, who narrates his epic and darkly humorous rise from poor villager to successful entrepreneur in modern India. Cunning and ambitious, our young hero jockeys his way into becoming a driver for Ashok and Pinky (Priyanka Chopra Jonas), who have just returned from America. Society has trained Balram to be one thing — a servant — so he makes himself indispensable to his rich masters. But after a night of betrayal, he realizes the corrupt lengths they will go to trap him and save themselves. On the verge of losing everything, Balram rebels against a rigged and unequal system to rise up and become a new kind of master. 

Outside The Wire

From the team that brought us Extraction and The Old Guard, this sci-fi action-adventure directed by Mikael Håfström will have you on the edge of your seat. The plot goes like this: Set in the future, Harp (Damson Idris), a drone pilot, is sent into a deadly militarized zone where he finds himself working for Leo (Marvel’s Anthony Mackie), a not-entirely-human android officer, tasked to locate a doomsday device before the insurgents do. Outside The Wire is the perfect fast-paced flick to binge this weekend. 

Chris Rock Total Blackout: The Tamborine Extended Cut

Because right now the world just needs more laughter, put this baby to the top of your hit list for some serious LOLs and thought-provoking content. In this “remix” of his Grammy nominated 2018 special, Chris Rock takes the stage with searing observations on race, fatherhood, and politics. The extended cut includes never-before-seen jokes, interviews, and behind the scenes footage. Prepare to see a side of the funny guy you haven't witnessed before. 

Beneath Clouds 

Australian First Nations man, Iven Sen’s breakout movie Beneath Clouds is an important watch. Following a young Indigenous girl (who’s blonde and light-skinned and in denial of her heritage) and a newly escaped prisoner, this movie throws the two alienated characters together forcing them on a tumultuous emotional and physical journey. It’s moving, thought-provoking and incredible. We could go on but honestly, just watch it. 

Pieces Of A Woman

Executive produced by Martin Scorsese, Pieces Of A Woman tells the deeply personal and ultimately transcendent story of a woman learning to live alongside her loss. The plot goes like this: Martha (Vanessa Kirby) and Sean (Shia LaBeouf) are a Boston couple on the verge of parenthood whose lives change irrevocably when a home birth ends in unimaginable tragedy. Thus begins a yearlong odyssey for Martha, who must navigate her grief while working through fractious relationships with Sean and her domineering mother (Ellen Burstyn), along with the publicly vilified midwife (Molly Parker), whom she must face in court. Yep, it’s an emotional rollercoaster. 

Jungle

Based on a true story, this flick will have you on the edge of your seat. It stars Daniel Radcliffe as Israeli adventurer Yossi Ghinsberg, who travels to Bolivia in the 80s. At his hostel he befriends  Swiss school teacher Marcus Stamm and American photographer Kevin Gale who he convinces to join him on his journey into the heart of the Amazon rainforest. Leading them is a mysterious guide called Karl, who promises to take them to meet an indigenous tribe. But when plans go wrong and Yossi is separated from the group, his dream trip turns into a nightmare as he faces deadly threats in his fight for survival. 

Green Book 

Inspired by a true story, Green Book was a box office smash hit, snagging Oscars for best picture, best screenplay and best supporting actor for Mahershala Ali. It follows award-winning African-American pianist Dr Don Shirley (Ali) who hires Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), a tough-talking bouncer from the Bronx to be his driver (and protection) as he embarks on a concert tour in America’s Deep South in the early 60s. Despite being complete opposites, as the tour goes on the duo soon form a deep bond while tackling racism and danger head on. 

Death To 2020

2020: A year so [insert dire adjective of choice here], even the creators of Black Mirror couldn’t make it up… but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a little something to add. Death to 2020 is a dark comedy that tells the story of the dreadful year that was—and perhaps still is? This landmark documentary-style special weaves together a chorus of narration from some of the world’s most (fictitious) renowned voices with real-life archival footage spanning the past 12 months. We’re talking an all-star cast like: Samuel L. Jackson, Hugh Grant, Kumail Nanjiani, Lisa Kudrow and Leslie Jones. Death to 2020 is the cathartic comedy event you’ll never forget about the year you really, really don’t want to remember.

The Midnight Sky

Adapted from Lily Brooks-Dalton’s acclaimed novel Good Morning, Midnight, and directed by George Clooney, pop this Netflix original to the top of your must watch list. This post-apocalyptic tale follows Augustine (Clooney), a lonely scientist in the Arctic, as he races to stop Sully (Felicity Jones) and her fellow astronauts from returning home to a mysterious global catastrophe. This flick boasts an all-star cast including David Oyelowo, Kyle Chandler, Demián Bichir and Tiffany Boone. 

ariana grande: excuse me, i love you

This awesome doco follows the Grammy-winning, multi-platinum singer-songwriter around the globe on her sold out 2019 Sweetener World Tour, capturing the spectacular performances of the hits that have burned up the charts, as well as exclusive, never-before-seen footage of the internationally beloved superstar at home and on the road with her dancers and band. The film offers an exclusive peek at the many facets of the passionate, raw, and always real artist and provides backstage access to the pre-show rehearsals, iconic styling, and the intimate and emotional moments that are the reason for the special connection she has with her fans.

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Tensions and temperatures rise over the course of an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago as a band of musicians await trailblazing performer, the legendary ‘Mother of the Blues’ Ma Rainey (Viola Davis). Late to the session, the fearless, fiery Ma engages in a battle of wills with her white manager and producer over control of her music. As the band waits in the studio’s claustrophobic rehearsal room, ambitious cornet player Levee (the late Chadwick Boseman) —who has an eye for Ma’s girlfriend and is determined to stake his own claim on the music industry—spurs his fellow musicians into an eruption of stories revealing truths that will forever change the course of their lives. Watch it here.

Suffragette

Packing an all-star cast, pop this historic drama to the top of your must-watch list. Set in Britain in the early 1910s, the flick follows young mum Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) and captures how the burgeoning suffragette movement irrevocably changes her life. After she gets caught up in a suffragette protest while delivering a package for work, Maud meets dynamic, political activist Emmeline Pankhurst (Meryl Streep). Horrified by the injuctices she witnesses, Maud joins a diverse group of women who fight for equality and the right to vote. Faced with increasing police action and contempt from her family, Maud and her dedicated suffragettes risk everything—their jobs, homes, family and lives—for a just cause.

The Prom

Directed by Ryan Murphy and packing an A-list cast, The Prom is one of the best movies on Netflix. It goes like this: Dee Dee (Meryl Streep) and Barry (James Corden) are New York stage stars whose exxy new Broadway show is a major flop. Meanwhile, in small-town Indiana, high school student Emma is experiencing a very different kind of heartbreak: the head of the PTA (Kerry Washington) has banned her from attending the prom with her girlfriend. When Dee Dee and Barry decide that Emma's predicament is the perfect cause to help resurrect their public images, they hit the road with Angie (Nicole Kidman) and Trent, another pair of actors looking for a professional lift. But when their self-absorbed celebrity activism backfires, the foursome find their own lives upended as they rally to give Emma a night she deserves. 

Ava

Hold on tight, this fast-paced, action thriller will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Jessica Chastain stars as Ava, an elite assassin hired by the world’s richest and most powerful people to take out everyone from billionaires to political figures. But when she begins doubting her work and the people she’s paid to kill, an important job goes dangerously wrong and soon Ava’s own employer turns on her, ordering her assination. Struggling to save her life and that of her estranged family, Ava has a target on her back and must use all of her killer instinct to survive. Expect truly epic fight scenes and an awesome cast including the likes of John Malkovich, Colin Farrell and Common. 

Little

If you’re after a good LOL-fest then this flick is for you. Little follows Jordan (Regina Hall) who, after being bullied as a kid, has become a bully herself as the CEO of an uber successful tech company. She torments everyone from her long-suffering assistant, April (Issa Rae) to the rest of her employees on a daily basis. But when a magic spell transforms Jordan back into her 13-year-old self, right before the biggest presentation of her career, she’s forced to rely on April more than ever before. Soon enough Jordan releases this ‘little’ curse could actually be an important life lesson for her, and one that was long overdue. Prepare for laughs and some tender, heartwarming moments. 

Giving Voice

This doco follows the emotional journey of six students as they advance through the high-stakes August Wilson Monologue Competition, an event which celebrates one of America’s biggest playwrights. Every year, thousands of students from twelve cities across the US perform the Pulitzer Prize winner’s work for a shot to perform on Broadway. The flick captures students discovering themselves and the world around them through Wilson’s “Century Cycle,” a canon of ten plays portraying the 20th century African American experience. Executive producer Viola Davis, along with Fences co-star Denzel Washington, share the impact that Wilson’s timeless artistry has had on their careers and their hopes for the young people carrying it forward.

Us 

If you were a fan of Jordan Peele’s smash hit Get Out, then you’ll absolutely love Us. It has all the hallmarks of a Peele classic, equal parts scary and thought-provoking—in short, it’s not your standard horror flick. The movie follows Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong'o) and her husband Gabe (Black Panther’s Winston Duke) who along with their kids head to a beach town for a holiday. Things take a dark turn when eerie dopplegängers of Adelaide, Gabe, and their children dressed in red jumpsuits and wielding scissors start terrorising them at their house. From there the twists and turns come thick and fast, so pay attention and… leave the lights on.

Sweet River

This Aussie thriller will keep you up at night. It goes like this: Hanna returns to the sleepy town of Billins, where her four-year-old son Joey was abducted by notorious serial killer Simpkins and is presumed dead. On hearing the news that Simpkins has died and her son’s DNA was found on his property, Hanna mounts her own investigation. But the town has another dark secret: several years earlier, a school bus mysteriously ran off the road and into a river, with all the children on-board perishing. Things turn seriously scary when Hanna starts to see mysterious children in the town’s rolling fields and her obsession to uncover the truth also starts to reveal the town’s darkest secrets...secrets that both the living and the dead will fight to protect.

The Limehouse Golem

It’s the 1880s in London and the city is gripped with fear as a gruesome serial killer is on the loose, leaving secretive messages written in the blood of his victims. With the public terrified and police failing to find the killer, Scotland Yard calls on Inspector Kildare (played brilliantly by Bill Nighy), a seasoned pro, to take the case. With a long list of suspects, Kildare sets about interviewing prime suspects; novelist George Gissing (Morgan Watkins), philosopher Karl Marx (Henry Goodman) and musician Dan Leno (Douglas Booth) but it seems as though the real killer is someone no one could have dared imagine. Watch it here.

Hillbilly Elegy

Based on J.D. Vance’s New York Times Bestseller and directed by Academy Award winner Ron Howard put Hillbilly Elegy to the top of your must watch list. The plot goes like this: J.D. Vance (Gabriel Basso), a former Marine from southern Ohio and current Yale Law student, is on the verge of landing his dream job when a family crisis forces him to return to the home he’s tried to forget. J.D. must navigate the complex dynamics of his Appalachian family, including his volatile relationship with his mother Bev (Amy Adams), who’s struggling with addiction. Fueled by memories of his grandmother Mamaw (Glenn Close), the resilient and whip-smart woman who raised him, J.D. comes to embrace his family’s indelible imprint on his own personal journey. 

 

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Image credit: Netflix 

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