Netflix is not just a perfect place to explore high-quality TV shows like The Witcher, Stranger Things, and Dark. The legendary subscription service still has a wealth of outstanding and underrated films, some of which have been on the radar in recent years. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the action-adventure category, a genre built on hair-raising explosions and the harrowing exploits of a few. The streaming giant has hundreds of items of all genres, from film classics to new originals from Netflix. Pressing and sitting are simple on paper, but nights will easily turn into repetitive scrolling if there are thousands of noteworthy choices.
1. Ocean’s Eleven
Ocean’s Eleven is a critically acclaimed, crowd-pleasing blockbuster, a modern masterpiece, and the best Hollywood film of the 21st century. Director Steven Soderbergh’s reinvention of the 1960 ‘s original puts together an all-star cast and immerses them (and the audience) in the high-stakes glitz and glamour of Las Vegas. In Ocean’s Eleven, the beautiful master thief of George Clooney, Danny Ocean, comes out of jail and gathers a team of expert robbers for an impossible job: stealing $160 million from the Bellagio hotel and its merciless boss, Terry Benedict, who is also only dating Danny’s ex-wife Tess. Despite the difficulty and pure mockery of Danny’s heist, the viewer is never left out of the gambit, and every move, challenge, and roadblock Ocean’s Eleven encounters (which Danny anticipated) is understandable and delighted to see Ocean’s crew resolve. Like Danny Ocean, Clooney was never cooler, and he was helped by Brad Pitt and Matt Damon.
2. Easy A
Emma Stone secured a leading role in Will Gluck’s comedy, Easy A. Supporting with an amazing cast of Amanda Bynes, Thomas Haden Church, and Fred Armisen, there was a lot of pressure for the lead lady. Easy A showed that Emma Stone could hold a film on her charming wits alone. The commercial and critical hit comedy starred Stone’s natural comedy chops, as well as her complex performance abilities. Loosely focused on The Scarlet Letter, the film centers around Olive (Stone), a straight-line high school student whose image is sullied by pernicious rumors. Fans of the movie immediately fell in love with Stone as Olive. Simply put, Quick A converted her almost overnight into a celebrity. The kicker, huh? Stone chose to make Simple A instead of the abysmal Sucker Punch. She was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actor, which is no mean feat. She portrays her character with poise and humor, demonstrating why she is such a well-known actress.
3. A Clockwork Orange
A Clockwork Orange is probably Kubrick’s most controversial film, as it was banned in several countries and rated X on release in the U.S. The tale involves several young adults, known as heroin abusers, who like to participate in old ultraviolence and abuse. It’s an unflinching look at youth unregulated (even if the actors in the film are adults, although the characters in the novel are similar to teenagers), and it’s definitely the most Kubrickian film ever produced by the maker. What I mean by that is that it has all the trademarks of Kubrick. In the first few minutes, Kubrick’s “eyes gazing up” has always been used to reflect hysteria, his nihilism, his hopelessness, and his cynicism. Even the creator, Anthony Burgess, did not like the end of the film, which was different from his novel, since the main character, Alex, did not really experience much at the end of the film and is likely to go back to his old ways again.
4. V for Vendetta
Weaving again teamed up with Wachowski’s siblings The Matrix-fame to play V in James McTeigue’s 2006 science-fiction drama, V for Vendetta, based on Alan Moore’s and David Lloyd’s graphic novel. Weaving’s character, V, is an anarchic vigilante who attempts to set off a revolt against Britain’s neo-fascist regime, aided by Natalie Portman, who plays Evey, a working-class girl caught up in his mission. The film was lauded for its metaphysical themes, the bleak imagery, the portrayal of Orwellian reality, and the performances of its leading stars, Weaving and Natalie Portman. For much of the film’s length, Weaving never reveals his face and instead wears a Guy Fawkes mask (which became quite iconic after its release). But it’s a fine oratory that brings a dramatic flair to V’s character.
5. Yes Man
This inspiring comedy, based on Danny Wallace’s novel of the same name, sees Carrey playing Carl Allen, a crotchet naysayer whose life transforms after he makes a vow to say yes to anything. The idea sounds fine on paper, but when I think about all the positions of the comedian, that’s the one who feels more “Sure” than “Yeah.” Not because writing isn’t fine, and not because Carrey isn’t good; he just feels trapped, sort of restrained. Like this bit where Carl is trying to outdo his pal at the video store, moments that were meant to be retro Carrey will never get there. Instead, you always get something of a silent wackiness that needs to burst loose, the entire film chugging along in a similar, ultimately unfulfilling way that, for Carrey, often makes it seem like he’s wearing a shirt that doesn’t suit correctly
This Edward Snowden biopic by director Oliver Stone may not have received any honors, but Gordon-Levitt is very decent as the NSA whistleblower who found refuge in Russia. The film follows Snowden from his days in the Army to his time at the CIA, and then at the NSA, where he discovered that the feds had millions of Americans under cyber-surveillance and had ransomware on the computers of foreign governments. Gordon-Levitt shows off his versatility here, telling him to play several different things at once. How should you carry around a guilty conscience to an audience? Like a Rubik’s cube, it’s tricky to play a soldier, a genius, and a common man with a relationship drama, but Gordon-Levitt lowers his voice and rises to the test. Stone has always done well with performers, and he’s doing so again because Gordon-Levitt’s sensitive success is going to surprise a lot of people
7. Fruitvale Station
To date, Ryan Coogler has been the most regular and significant collaborator in Jordan. The two young men formed a relationship early in their careers and made some impressive films together. Fruitvale Station was their first collaboration, telling the real story of Oscar Grant, a young man who was shot and killed by a law enforcement officer in 2009. Jordan plays Grant and gives a stunning performance as a young man struggling to turn his life around. The plot is extremely strong and hard to watch, but the skills of Jordan and Coogler make it a rewarding experience. Coogler and Jordan’s prior partnership is really heartbreaking. They play the last day of 22-year-old Oscar Grant III’s life before he was fatally shot by Bay Area Rapid Transit police in 2009. Fruitvale Station is a brutal, gastronomic, hard-to-swallow film that sticks to anybody who watches it for hours and days after credits have been rolled
There was a time in this country where a white person and a black person should not be together because they defied the miscegenation rules that some states already had. Although this is a barbaric and daunting process for us to fathom at this time, it was already on the books back in the day, and it was enough to compel the Loving to flee from their position in Virginia after being told by a judge to stay away. When they continued to appeal the decision, but they ultimately took their case higher, and ultimately, with a great deal of struggle and personal sacrifice, they managed to be part of the reform that would soon enshrine the nation. The real story follows Richard (Edgerton) and Mildred Loving (Ruth Negga), two interracial lovers battling institutional bigotry, and pervasive south discrimination in the 1960s. The injustice they face in their effort to marry contributed to a landmark Supreme Court hearing in 1967.
9. Hillbilly Elegy
In a film that is based on J.D. Vance’s best-selling memoir of the same name, Adams plays Bev, a woman trying to raise her two children while overcoming addiction, and Close plays her mum, Mamaw, who is resilient and clever but who has had a tough life of her own. Past and current are interwoven like J.D. (played by Gabriel Basso as an adult and Owen Asztalos as a child)—now a Yale Law student — returns to his hometown in the middle of a family emergency and has to come to terms with his own past, Appalachian ideals and American dreams.
10. I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore
I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore is another original Netflix film that deserves a spot on your must-see list. The actor Macon Blair (Green Place, Blue Ruin) wrote and directed this comedy thriller featuring Melanie Lynskey and Elijah Wood. The film is about a lady, recently robbed of a laptop, who joins her somewhat odd neighbor in attempting to track it down when the police don’t do anything about it. Soon they’re way over their heads, and there’s chaos — as well as a decent amount of unsettling humor — that ensues. Blair’s dual duty as a writer/director is working well here, as he has made a tight little film that looks like a throwback to the kind of low-budget, eccentric indie films that barely draw publicity these days. Lynskey’s role as Ruth is pretty terrific, giving life to “every woman” who has finally had enough. Wood has excelled in playing the weirdo in the last few years, and his role as Tony is no exception here.
11. I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Based on Iain Reid’s acclaimed novel of the same name, Charlie Kaufman’s new film I’m Thinking of Finishing Things follows a young woman (Jessie Buckley) who, after having second thoughts about her current relationship, travels with her partner (Jesse Plemons) to visit her parents (Toni Collette and David Thewlis) on their remote farm. However, this is not a typical family visit: a procedure that quickly becomes sinister when a woman becomes self-reflective and becomes hideous. From the imaginative mind of the guy behind the Everlasting Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I’m Thinking of Finishing Stuff is a psychological thriller that’s going to fry your nerves and make you doubt what’s real and what’s not.
12. Enola Holmes
Enola Holmes is one of the best and most adorable original Netflix movies released so far. Based on Nancy Springer’s book series of the same name, the time of mystery follows Millie Bobby Brown’s title character, who is the youngest of Holmes’ siblings and has been raised almost alone by her single mother. But one day, when she wakes up to find that her mother is gone, she takes matters into her own hands and sneaks into London to solve the matter. The film is extremely enjoyable as Enola fearlessly follows leads and looks for answers, but it’s also a surprisingly moving mother-to-daughter tale with legitimately feminist themes. In reality, the script takes time to explore what it means to be a woman in a man’s world in a way that is organic (and important) to the plot at hand
13. The Devil All the Time
It’s not hard to picture the scorchingly hot cast of Netflix’s The Devil All Time enticing, and traumatizing, naive young viewers. Part-time superheroes Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson, and Sebastian Stan lead this packed ensemble – yet the adaptation of Donald Ray Pollock’s novel by director Antonio Campos (Afterschool, Simon Killer) could not be further away from the breezy, mainstream comic book content. A massive Southern Gothic period drama in post-war Ohio, around the epicenter of a town called Knockemstiff, TDATT ‘s time-hopping tale starts with Willard Russell (Skarsgård) coming back from World War 2 and beginning a family with Charlotte (Haley Bennett). This film is a terrifying experience, but it’s worth it if you can handle it.
14. Good Time
Filmmakers Josh and Benny Safdie specialize in dizzyingly fast-paced and complex crime sagas set on the fringes of New York starring actors one does not expect. Only before the pair produced the acclaimed Uncut Gems with Adam Sandler, they produced Good Time, an ambitious and twisty film titled Robert Pattinson. The Twilight Star plays Connie, who has driven his developmentally impaired brother, Nick (Benny Safdie) out of a therapy session because he wants help stealing a bank. The getaway goes awry, and Nick, the nab of the cops. Connie, forever defending Nick, plans to break him out of police custody in a hospital where he landed after being assaulted by another inmate. The caper often includes, at varying points, a lucrative drug stash, an aging Long Island amusement park, a criminal underworld, and a misidentify.