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81 must-watch movies to check out on Netflix this week

James King has the top picks for Netflix films in June and July

Overwhelmed by all the film choices Netflix has to offer? Worry no more. Our movie man James King is back with his Netflix movie recommendations for June and July, featuring a host of must-see films old and new, designed to make your viewing that little bit easier! 

MORE: 9 excellent shows you definitely haven’t watched yet

Steve Jobs (2015)

Category: Drama

Kate Winslet and Michael Fassbender excel in this biopic of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, focusing on three key moments in his professional life. At times it feels a little more like a play than a movie but director Danny Boyle keeps the energy flowing, whilst a punchy script by The West Wing’s Aaron Sorkin isn’t afraid to address Jobs’ failures as well as his success. 

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The Woman in Black (2012)

Category: Horror

For one of his first post-Hogwarts outings, Daniel Radcliffe scored a massive hit with this adaptation of the classic creepy novel about a young, Edwardian-era lawyer sent to sort paperwork at a remote house rumoured to be haunted. Expects lots of fog, endless eerie marshland and plenty of big scares. 

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Assault on Precinct 13 (2005)

Category: Action

Solid thrills from Ethan Hawke in this tense remake of a seventies classic about a troubled cop whose quiet desk job at a small police station is rudely interrupted by the arrival a crime kingpin (Laurence Fishburne). Maria Bello and Gabriel Byrne co-star. 

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Sorry We Missed You (2019)

Category: Drama

A cast of relative unknowns lead this tough story about a hard-up dad and the delivery job he takes to try and make ends meets. It’s not all misery, with the film’s casual and natural feel delivering some laughs too. But make no mistake - Sorry We Missed You is hard-hitting filmmaking at its finest. 

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An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)

Category: Drama

Even if you’ve never seen the film you’ll probably know the song that was written for An Officer and a Gentleman: the anthemic eighties hit ‘Up Where We Belong’. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a gutsy love story about a naval cadet (Richard Gere) and the local girl he falls for (Debra Winger). Powerful retro romance. 

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E.T - The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Category: Family

The Spielberg sci-fi classic will still bring a tear to the eye, thanks not just to surprisingly effective special effects but also a timeless story - a young boy makes a unique new friend - that resonates with all ages. Plus there’s a six year old Drew Barrymore too!

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Serenity (2005)

Category: Sci-Fi

Cult TV show Firefly got this feature-length spin-off following a controversial cancellation after just eleven episodes. You can see why. The story of futuristic space outlaws both nods back to Star Wars and feels a like a forerunner of Guardians of the Galaxy. Over fifteen years later it’s still beloved by fans around the world. Starring Nathan Fillion. 

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Fighting (2009)

Category: Drama

Channing Tatum is due for a big-screen comeback soon but until then enjoy this underrated early role for the Magic Mike star, playing a street hustler who finds fame in the underground world of bare-knuckle boxing. Gritty stuff. 

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Red Dragon (2002)

Category: Thriller

Double Oscar winner Sir Anthony Hopkins reprised his most famous role as serial killer Dr Hannibal Lecter for a second time in this star-packed drama that serves as a prequel to The Silence of the Lambs. Emily Watson, Ralph Fiennes, Edward Norton and Phillip Seymour Hoffman provide classy support. 

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MORE: 10 binge-worthy LGBTQ+ shows you need to watch

Aquaman (2018)

Category: Superhero

The mighty Jason Momoa plays the DC Comics superhero, leader of underwater world Atlantis and out to stop a coup led by his own half-brother. It’s bonkers, of course, but brilliantly so. With spectacle and action to spare, it’s no wonder this was such a big hit - with a sequel on the way. Co-stars Nicole Kidman and Willem Dafoe. 

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Fatherhood (2021)

Category: Drama

A personal project for its star Kevin Hart, Fatherhood is a Netflix original about a recently widowed dad questioning if he’s up to the job of raising his daughter. And it’s an impressive turn from Kevin too, deftly blending the serious and the jokey with a classy touch. Produced by Michelle & Barack Obama. 

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WATCH: Kevin Hart's new Netflix film Fatherhood looks brilliant

Captain Phillips (2013)

Category: Action

Edge-of-your-seat real-life drama starring Tom Hanks as a merchant sailor whose ship is kidnapped by Somali pirates. Tom’s a master of this kind of thing, obviously, and the intense camera work makes this a breathtaking watch. But it’s newcomer Barkhad Abdi as pirate leader Abduwali who steals the show - and bagged himself an Oscar nomination for his work. 

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Skater Girl (2021)

Category: Drama

A Netflix premiere for this powerful and uplifting skateboarding story set in remote Rajasthan, India. Prerna (played by newcomer Rachel Saanchita Gupta) is a teen whose traditional life is transformed when a British woman visits her village and introduces her to the joys of kickflips and ollies. Rad!

The Dead Don’t Die (2019)

Category: Comedy

An all-star cast (Bill Murray, Selena Gomez, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton) give this gloriously odd zombie invasion movie some A-List punch, even if the deadpan comedy might not be to everyone’s taste. Still, some stunning upstate New York scenery make this a treat for the eyes too. 

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Erin Brockovich (2000)

Category: Drama

Julia Roberts’ signature role as the crusading legal clerk who campaigned on behalf of locals after a power company contaminated water supplies. She’s never been better either - all cleavage and attitude as she takes on the big guns whilst simultaneously trying to deal with an eventful private life. 

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Dear John (2010)

Category: Romance

More slush from the pen of author Nicholas Sparks - and perhaps the best since The Notebook. Amanda Seyfried and Channing Tatum have genuine chemistry as Savannah and John, falling for each other in picturesque South Carolina but forced apart when his military leave ends and he heads to Afghanistan. Yes, you might groan. But you’ll blub too. 

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The Untouchables (1987)

Category: Action

Classic crime pic starring a young Kevin Costner as police man Elliot Ness, out to finally arrest gangster Al Capone (Robert DeNiro) after his infamous crime spree in 1920s Chicago. Look out for supporting star Sean Connery in one of his finest roles as Elliot’s sidekick Malone plus some jaw-dropping shoot-‘em-ups. 

Bandslam (2009)

Category: Teen

Anyone else remember this? Vanessa Hudgens followed up her High School Musical success with another teen singalong - this time with a cooler edge - as a group of student misfits set out to win a local talent competition. Great tunes and sharp gags, Bandslam should have been massive. 

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The Karate Kid (2010)

Category: Family

The original Karate Kid series might have inspired more love - not to mention a spin-off Netflix show in Cobra Kai - but this Jaden Smith-starring remake is enjoyably less retro. Twelve year old Dre moves with his mother to Beijing but finds himself bullied. Perhaps moody maintenance man Mr Han (Jackie Chan) can help him out? 

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Colombiana (2011)

Category: Action

Zoe Saldana stars as a professional assassin out for revenge in this silly by stylish romp that was originally intended as a sequel to nineties crime classic Léon (starring Natalie Portman). Britain’s Lennie James co-stars. 

Super 8 (2011)

Category: Sci-Fi

Before Stranger Things there was Super 8, Star Wars director JJ Abrams’ lovingly nostalgic story about a group of friends in the 80s who accidentally film an alien invasion. Think The Goonies meets E.T, featuring a standout early turn from future star Elle Fanning. 

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The Lucky One (2012)

Category: Romance

Another adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel, this one starring Zac Efron as a US Marine returning home to track down a woman whose photo he found by the body of a dead colleague in Iraq. Sound creepy? In other hands it might be but with Sparks’ stories you can always rely on pretty people, picturesque scenery and heartfelt romance to paper over the cracks. 

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The Lorax (2012)

Category: Family

Dr Seuss tales haven’t always translated that well onto the big screen (the less said about Mike Myers’ The Cat in the Hat the better) but this hit from the team behind Despicable Me is cute, colourful and packs a strong environmental punch. Danny De Vito’s voicing of the title character is a joy too.

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The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

Category: Teen

Pitch Perfect star Hailee Steinfeld has great chemistry with legendary co-star Woody Harrelson in this refreshingly honest teen pic about a young girl’s problems at high-school (boys, friends, popularity) and the understanding teacher who’s a shoulder to cry on.

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The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear (1991)

Category: Comedy

Bonkers old-school comedy starring Leslie Nielsen and Priscilla Presley that deliciously spoofs countless cop shows with lines like: ‘This is Frank Drebin, Police Squad. Throw down your guns, and come on out with your hands up. Or come on out, then throw down your guns, whichever way you wanna do it!’ You’ll groan… but you’ll laugh too. 

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Morvern Callar (2002)

Category: Drama

Samantha Morton excels in this beautifully bleak psychological drama about a Scottish woman who runs away to Spain after her boyfriend dies, pretending along the way that the novel he’d just finished writing is actually hers. It’s unusual for sure, but few films have captured a young person’s desperation quite so dreamily.  

Just Like Heaven (2005)

Category: Rom-Com

Before Reese Witherspoon made it big in mini-series and Mark Ruffalo became The Hulk, they were both ambling along in agreeable rom-coms like this one, about a lonely widower who moves into a house still inhabited by the spirit of its late owner. Unashamedly slushy. 

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Yesterday (2019)

Category: Rom-Com

If The Beatles had never existed and someone wrote their songs now, would they be hits? That’s the question at the heart of Yesterday, starring Himesh Patel as a struggling singer/songwriter who wakes up in a parallel timeline where no one but him has heard of the Fab Four. Time to unleash a few Lennon & McCartney classics on the world, maybe? Daft but engaging fairytale from the pen of Richard Curtis. Co-starring Lily James and Ed Sheeran. 

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WATCH: Have you seen Yesterday yet?

Les Misérables (2012)

Category: Musical

Do You Hear the People Sing? You certainly will in this Oscar-winning adaptation of the world’s longest-running musical since everything is turned up to eleven: huge performances, huge songs, huge drama. You can’t fault Hugh Jackman as the heroic Jean Valjean, a former convict who restarts his life in early nineteenth-century northern France, although Russell Crowe as his police nemesis Javert is perhaps less convincing. Still, co-stars Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne and Amanda Seyfried - plus some seriously epic set-pieces - make this is a must-watch. 

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Blue Miracle (2021)

Category: Family

The underrated Dennis Quaid relishes his role as a salty sea dog in this inspiring - if a little familiar - story about a young boy (Anthony Gonzalez) taking part in a fishing competition in order to save his orphanage. 

This is Where I Leave You (2014)

Category: Drama

Bateman! Fonda! Driver! Fey! Big stars abound in this drama about a dysfunctional family (is there any other type?) reunited for a funeral. Neither laugh-out-loud nor a big weepie but with all that talent on-screen you can at be sure of at least some fireworks. 

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Midnight in Paris (2011)

Category: Rom-Com

One of the stranger romantic comedy plots, for sure (Owen Wilson plays a disgruntled modern day American in the French capital, magically travelling back to the chic 1920s every night on the stroke of twelve) but it works. Why? Owen’s laidback charm certainly helps, plus the wonderfully recreated glamour and glitz of France’s Jazz Age. There’s wit too, with gloriously tongue-in-cheek gags about arty greats such as F Scott Fitzgerald (played by Tom Hiddleston) and Salvador Dali (Adrien Brody). Magnifique!

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Bee Movie (2007)

Category: Family

Comedy superstar Jerry Seinfeld wrote, produced and voiced this delightful animation about a bee who sues the human race for exploiting his honey-making skills. Chris Rock, Renée Zellweger and Matthew Broderick lend their vocal skills too, adding up to a gag-filled hour and a half with  impressively environmental themes. 

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Easy-A (2010)

Category: Teen

If you’ve recently enjoyed Emma Stone in Cruella then check out her breakthrough role in teen movie classic Easy-A, the sassy story of high-schooler Olive and a white lie that gets way out of hand. Be prepared though: you’ll have Natasha Bedingfield’s irresistibly catchy ‘Pocketful of Sunshine’ stuck in your head well past the end credits.  

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The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Category: Horror

A creepy classic that popularised the ‘found footage’ style of horror pic as well making early use of the internet to create a huge buzz before it was even released. Worth the hype? Well, Blair Witch is a deliberately small scale story so don’t expect big-budget thrills. But that only makes it more terrifying. 

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Results (2015)

Category: Rom-Com

Mare of Easttown actor Guy Pearce stars in this downbeat but appealing comedy about a bubbly gym owner caught up in the lives of an employee (Cobie Smulders) and a depressed client (Kevin Corrigan). It’s lightweight, yes - but there’s a casual sweetness to Results that’s sure to eventually win you over. 

Second Act (2018)

Category: Rom-Com

J-Lo’s ‘Jen-aissance’ arguably began with this return to romantic comedy for the former Maid in Manhattan star. The plot? A forty-something supermarket worker fakes her CV for a shot at a corporate job. In other words, it’s typically fluffy Lopez fare. But Jenny’s no quitter and quickly followed the lightweight Second Act with the tougher Hustlers and a star-turn at the Superbowl, proving without doubt that she was back with a vengeance. Showbiz is a better place for it.

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Private Life (2018)

Category: Drama

Acclaimed grown-up saga of a middle-aged couple (Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti) trying various methods to get pregnant. A tough subject for sure, but Private Life is so rich with warmth and humanity that it never feels like hard work.

Shark Tale (2004)

Category: Family

It might not have started a Shrek-style franchise in the way the filmmakers no doubt hoped but this perky tale of wacky marine life boasts one of the best voice casts of the 21st century. Will Smith, Angelina Jolie, Jack Black, Renée Zellweger, Robert de Niro and Martin Scorsese all add their vocal skills, making up for a patchy story about undersea loan sharks (geddit?)

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Spirited Away (2001)

Category: Family

Oscar-winning fantasy from Japan that tells the story of young Chihiro and her strange journey into the land of the kami - ancient holy spirits. Once seen, never forgotten, this one - joyously colourful, insanely creative and ideal for children of all ages. 

Booksmart (2019)

Category: Comedy

Actress and occasional Harry Styles ‘companion’ Olivia Wilde directs this wickedly insightful tale of high-school nerds Molly and Amy, desperate to let their hair down on the last day of term. Beanie Feldstein, Kaitlyn Dever and Lisa Kudrow star. 

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WATCH: Check out the must-see movie, Booksmart!

Apollo 13 (1995)

Category: Thriller

Edge-of-your-seat stuff with Tom Hanks as real-life astronaut Jim Lovell, leader of America’s 1970 mission to the Moon, and the struggle he and his crew face after an on-board explosion radically rations their supplies. Kevin Bacon and Bill Paxton co-star. Pure class. 

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Intolerable Cruelty (2003)

Category: Rom-Com

An unfairly forgotten courtroom caper, this one, with Catherine Zeta-Jones and George Clooney playing up to their old-school Hollywood looks in this sprightly throwback to fast-talking romantic comedies of yesteryear. Glossy and glamorous. 

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One Chance (2013)

Category: Drama

Britain’s Got Talent winner Paul Potts was so successful a few years back that he even got his own biopic, starring a pre-megastardom James Corden as the West Country tenor. It’s no wonder really, since Paul’s rags-to-riches life is ideal for the movies: aged 36 he was working in a mobile shop but by 37 he’d had a Number One album. We might know the story but Corden’s turn as Paul - alongside Alex Roach as wife Julz and Julie Walters as mum Yvonne - is charm personified.   

Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (2005)

Category: Family

Timothée Chalamet might recently have been announced as the next big screen incarnation of Willy Wonka but this noughties Tim Burton/Johnny Depp take on the Roald Dahl chocolatier is still deliciously weird fun, as creepy as it is hilarious. Listen out for the beautifully bonkers songs too. 

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Sam Smith: Love Goes - Live at Abbey Road Studios (2021)

Category: Music

The Stay With Me hitmaker sings their greatest hits and tracks from their new album (also called Love Goes) at the iconic London venue. Missing live music? This is almost as good as the real thing. 

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Category: Family

Tom Holland’s second full movie as the heroic web-slinger and one that both fits neatly into the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as telling its own story of Peter Parker’s eventful school trip to Europe. Samuel L Jackson and Zendaya co-star with Jake Gyllenhaal having a ball as sneaky superhero Mysterio. 

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Army of the Dead (2021)

Category: Sci-Fi

Zombies your thing? Look no further than this new Netflix blockbuster featuring Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista as a tough guy mercenary with plans to rob a Vegas casino as well as battle the undead. Busy guy. 

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WATCH: Check out the trailer for Army of the Dead here

Pitch Perfect (2012)

Category: Music

The first and best of the PP trilogy, with Anna Kendrick as college new girl Beca getting to know campus a cappella legends the Barden Bellas. Great tunes and cheeky comedy, especially from scene-stealer Rebel Wilson as outrageous Aussie songbird Fat Amy. 

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Gladiator (2000)

Category: Action

The epic Oscar-winner is worth another watch, not just for Russell Crowe’s star-making performance as battle-weary general Maximum Decimus Meridius but also for future Joker Joaquin Phoenix being deliciously sleazy as power-hungry politician Commodus. 

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Jaws (1975)

Category: Thriller

The seventies blockbuster remains a textbook example of how to tell a simple story with maximum thrills. It’s man vs shark out on the high seas. Who are you going to put your money on?

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The Visit (2015)

Category: Horror

Master of mystery M Night Shyamalan (director of twisty classics Split and The Sixth Sense) delivers another masterclass is creepiness with this low-key story of a brother and sister spending a week with their long-lost grandparents. Unsurprisingly, all is not what it seems. 

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New York Minute (2004)

Category: Family

Remember the Olsen Twins? The identical child stars made many a movie back in the day but it’s New York Minute - their last film together - that’s perhaps the best, thanks to a bigger budget and perky teen movie storyline that pits them up against Schitt’s Creek’s Eugene Levy out in the Big Apple. 

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The Hitcher (2007)

Category: Thriller

The original from the eighties is a cult classic but this remake, starring Sean Bean and Sophia Bush, has its moments too. The plot? A young couple make the mistake of nearly hitting a hitchhiker out on a lonely road in New Mexico. And let’s just say, he doesn’t take it well. 

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Ma (2019)

Category: Horror

Octavia Spencer excels in this creepy tale of a lonely woman who befriends a group of party hungry teens. Is she all that she seems? Considering this is from the same people who made such awesome chillers as Get Out, The Purge and The Invisible Man, that’s not very likely is it. Delightfully unhinged.

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WATCH: Octavia Spencer stars in Ma 

The Woman in the Window (2021)

Category: Thriller

A lot has been written about all the delays and changes this Amy Adams movie has suffered (it was originally due to come out in October 2019) and it’s true that eighteen months later, it doesn’t come with the quite the buzz that the filmmakers would have liked. Nevertheless, with a cast that also includes Gary Oldman, Anthony Mackie, Julianne Moore and Jennifer Jason Leigh it’s still an enjoyably daft riff on old-school Hitchcock thrillers. 

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Brightburn (2019)

Category: Horror

What would happen if a superhero decided to use their powers for evil rather than good? Brightburn has the answer, darkly twisting a Superman-style story with a macabre glee. Great to see Elizabeth Banks in there too. 

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Dad’s Army (2016)

Category: Comedy

Rebooting the classic BBC sitcom was never going to please everyone but a pitch-perfect cast including Toby Jones, Bill Nighy, Blake Harrison and a scene-stealing Catherine Zeta-Jones manage to both pay tribute to the original show as well as giving the characters their own spin. Don’t panic, Captain Mainwaring! This is great fun. 

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Shutter Island (2010)

Category: Thriller

With photos doing the rounds of Leo Di Caprio in his new film for legendary director Martin Scorsese (Killers of the Flower Moon, filming now), why not revisit one of their earlier collaborations - the brilliantly twisty Shutter Island? Leo plays Deputy US Marshal Teddy Daniels, a fifties cop investigating the disappearance of patient at a strange psychiatric facility.  

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Hope Springs (2012)

Category: Rom-Com

Meryl Streep being shouty and imposing is great but she’s also awesome in more gentle fare, like this sweet comedy about a long-married couple (Meryl and Tommy Lee Jones) looking to reignite the spark in their relationship. Time for a visit to Dr Bernie Field (Steve Carrell) in his coastal counselling retreat. Classy stuff.

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Baby Driver (2017)

Category: Action

Mind-blowing car chases and big money heists elevate this cheeky action pic starring Ansel Elgort as a getaway driver dreaming of his escaping his life of crime. The fast and furious soundtrack rocks too, with title character Baby plugged into his music wherever he goes. Jamie Foxx, Lily James and Jon Hamm co-star. 

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Obsessed (2009)

Category: Thriller 

Remember when Beyoncé was a movie star? This might not have been her best film (that title probably goes to the glittery musical Dreamgirls) but Obsessed is an enjoyably schlocky take on Fatal Attraction that sees her battling bad girl Lisa (Ali Larter) - an unbalanced office worker who’s caught the eye of B’s hubby Derek (Idris Elba). 

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Highlander (1986)

Category: Action

Travel back to the eighties with this cult fantasy flick starring Sean Connery and Christopher Lambert, featuring a blazing rock soundtrack by Queen. Highlander might not quite be the ‘Kind of Magic’ that Freddie and the boys sung about but its story of immortal warriors meeting in 1985 New York for the ultimate showdown is flashy fun. Keep an eye out for the great Celia Imrie (Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, Calendar Girls, Bridget Jones) in an unlikely supporting role!

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The Mitchells vs the Machines (2021)

Category: Animation

A family-friendly Netflix smash from the genius team behind Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and Into the Spiderverse. The plot? A dysfunctional family on a road trip find themselves in the unlikely position of having to defend the earth from invading robots. In amongst all that craziness though is a film with genuine heart, as likely to bring a lump to your throat as make you chuckle. Awesome. 

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Men in Black International (2019)

Category: Sci-Fi

This recent reboot might not have been a hit like its Will Smith predecessors but with Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson as the new leads - plus Rebecca Ferguson, Emma Thompson and Kumail Nanjiani - this fourth film about the top secret agents still has plenty to recommend it. In fact, it’s probably a fresher film than MiB2 or MiB3, despite reports of a troubled production. I really miss that original theme song though... 

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Chadwick Boseman: Portrait of an Artist (2021)

Category: Documentary

Heartwarming, if rather brief, celebration of the late actor (so electric in Netflix’s recent jazz-era drama Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) featuring friends and colleagues. 

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The Hulk (2008)

Category: Action

Ed Norton stars as Dr Bruce Banner in this unjustly forgotten take on the Hulk tale, released four years before Mark Ruffalo took on the role with much greater fanfare. The story sees Bruce hiding out in Rio, searching for a cure for his condition, until a spilled drop of blood alerts the authorities to his whereabouts. Enter Tim Roth as surly soldier Emil Blonsky, intent on capturing similar powers to the green giant. 

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The Equalizer (2014)

Category: Action

The ever-watchable Denzel Washington is at his most intense in this reboot of the old eighties TV show about a former marine and intelligence officer, persuaded back into work after the disappearance of a young girl that he befriends one night in a Boston diner. Brutal, yes - but with a class act like Denzel at the helm this is way more than just another revenge movie. 

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The Overnight (2015)

Category: Comedy

Hilariously cheeky comedy starring Adam Scott and Taylor Schilling as a couple who find their new neighbours rather more ‘friendly’ than they’d anticipated. Not one for the kids to watch but The Overnight is made by people smart enough to know when to drawn the line too. Funny stuff. 

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Wild Things (1998)

Category: Thriller

Steamy, Southern-set drama about two high-schoolers (Denise Richards and Neve Campbell) who set-up their guidance counsellor (Matt Dillon), only for an inquisitive detective (Kevin Bacon) to start asking questions. Forget the dodgy sequels, this original still has the power to shock - as well as be shamelessly entertaining. 

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Saint Frances (2020)

Category: Comedy

One of the best films of last year tells the story of drifting Chicago girl Bridget (Kelly O’Sullivan) and how her life changes when she lands a job as nanny to precocious six year old Frances (Ramona Edith Williams). It’s a warts-and-all look at thirty-something life but be prepared - you’ll laugh and cry too. Beautiful. 

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Falling Down (1993)

Category: Thriller

One of the most talked about films of the nineties, this. Why? Michael Douglas’ role as lonely William Foster, a man who can take no more of modern life, captured an audience similarly frustrated by the pace of the world around them. The result is a haunting, hard-hitting look at a day in Foster’s life when tensions boil over, leading to an unforgettable finale. A controversial classic.

MORE: The brutal true story behind Netflix's new thriller Things Heard and Seen

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Rocketman (2019)

Category: Musical

Hilarious, heartbreaking and hugely inventive, this Elton John biopic is a singalong riot - much like the great man himself. A movie about the former Reg Dwight should never be predictable and that’s Rocketman’s strength. We might know the story but this a film so full of fantasy and magic it always keeps you gripped. Plus, Taron Egerton is flawless as the title character. 

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School of Rock (2003)

Category: Comedy

It was a big hit back in the day and it’s great to see Jack Black’s greatest role - as substitute music teacher Dewey Finn - ride a new wave of popularity thanks to some recent love on social media. Yes, the music kicks but so do the emotions. Away from the jokes this is a heartwarming story of being proud of who you are.

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Parker (2013)

Category: Action

J-Lo and The Statham in a movie together? Yep, it happened eight years ago with this enjoyably silly thriller about a professional thief and an estate agent (!), teaming up to defeat the bad guys. Jenny and Jase might have zero chemistry together but there’s still enough tension to keep this above average, with awesome stunts all done by Statham himself. 

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Tamara Drewe (2010)

Category: Rom-Com

The great Gemma Arterton wows once again as the seductive title character in this cheeky comedy, playing a London journalist returning to her Dorset home and causing havoc at a local writer’s retreat. Based on a long-running newspaper comic strip, Tamara Drewe is Bridget Jones with a literary twist. Dominic Cooper, Luke Evans and Tamsin Greig co-star. 

The Italian Job (2003)

Category: Action

The 1960s original (starring Michael Caine) is a British classic so the idea of remaking The Italian Job in America was always going to frustrate some people. Nevertheless, this isn’t bad. Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron star, playing criminal masterminds out to steal gold bullion from their enemies, but it’s the car chases (featuring modern day Minis) that really wow.

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Burn After Reading (2008)

Category: Comedy

All hail Frances McDormand, recent recipient of her third Leading Actress Oscar for an inspiring turn in the gorgeous Nomadland. Here she is in more comical mode, featuring alongside Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton and George Clooney - as well as being directed by husband Joel Coen - in a crazy tale of gym instructors who discover secret CIA files. As bonkers as it sounds... and laugh-out-loud funny. 

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Angels & Demons (2009)

Category: Thriller

The best of the three Dan Brown adaptations starring Tom Hanks as Harvard art boffin Robert Langdon, mainly because of a deliciously ripe turn from Ewan McGregor as Vatican bigwig (and former helicopter pilot) Father McKenna. Is the story of secret codes all nonsense? Probably. But Hanks and his cast sure know how to make this kind of nonsense irresistibly watchable. 

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Eagle Eye (2008)

Category: Thriller

Long before his well-publicised problems, Shia LaBoeuf was Hollywood’s hottest young leading man, as shown in this hyperactive blockbuster that pits two seemingly regular people against mysterious surveillance technology that knows their every move. Michelle Monaghan and Bill Bob Thornton provide excellent support. 

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Liar Liar (1997)

Category: Comedy

Jim Carrey was at the peak of his comedic and box-office power in this story of a sleazy lawyer cursed to spend a day telling only the truth. The jokes might not be clever but they are certainly big, plus there’s Princess Bride star Cary Elwes being wonderfully smarmy as Jim’s love rival Jerry. 

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Stowaway (2021)

Category: Sci-Fi

The ever watchable Anna Kendrick and Toni Collette star in the creepy tale of a Mars-bound spaceship and an on-board stowaway who threatens the crew’s survival. Expect breathtaking visuals, moral dilemmas and a haunting soundtrack. 

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Love & Monsters (2021)

Category: Comedy

Maze Runner star Dylan O’Brien leads this enjoyably cheeky tale of a young man searching for his high-school crush in the aftermath of a ‘Monsterpocalypse’. Whilst it would have been great to see this on the big screen, as originally intended, this is still lot of fun (with great special effects). If you enjoyed Zombieland, give it a go. 

MORE: 7 films and TV shows to watch if you liked Love and Monsters

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My Octopus Teacher (2020)

Category: Documentary

This Oscar-favourite is bound to warm your heart, telling the true story of filmmaker Craig Foster and the bond he forms with a young octopus on his diving expeditions off the coast of South Africa. Ten years in the making, here’s a film that asks us to reevaluate our own relationships with nature, boasting some stunning underwater photography along the way.  

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The Mask (1994)

Category: Comedy

Long before superhero movies were the norm, Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz (in her breakthrough role) starred in this comic-book adaptation about a hapless bank clerk who discovers a magical  mask. With a swinging soundtrack and zany FX, The Mask might be old but it’s still smmmokin’! 

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Inside Man (2006)

Category: Thriller

Powerhouse performances from Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster and Clive Owen fuel this cracking thriller about a cop, a robber and a fixer all involved in a New York bank heist. The plot might be verging on the ridiculous but with this much wit and style, who cares?!

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Last Breath (2019)

Category: Documentary

The edge-of-your-seat true story of diver Chris Lemons who, back in 2012, was trapped 100 metres under the sea without heat or light, and with only a small amount of oxygen to keep him alive. It’s the stuff of nightmares, yes, but this is also an exhilarating and life-affirming piece of film-making. 

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Backdraft (1991)

Category: Drama

Fancy a bit of nineties cheese? Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Robert de Niro and William Baldwin star in this action-packed blockbuster about the life and loves of Chicago firefighters, complete with dramatic rescues, shouty drama and a shameless love scene on top of a firetruck. They don’t make them like this anymore. 

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Wuthering Heights (2011)

Category: Romance

Kaya Scodelario plays legendary literary character Cathy Earnshaw in this mean and moody adaptation of the Emily Brontë classic. Shot in the North Yorkshire moors and featuring songs by Mumford & Sons, this earthy take on the romance between Cathy and Heathcliff (James Howson) was a little too downbeat for some but perhaps gets closer to the grittiness of the book than previous versions. 

Matilda (1996)

Category: Family

Hollywood legend Danny De Vito directs and stars in this take on the Roald Dahl book, made fifteen years before the stage musical wowed audiences worldwide. Nineties child star Mara Wilson plays the title character, a book-loving genius who uses her special powers to get her own back on those who’ve mistreated her. The result? Wickedly eccentric fun. 

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Smallfoot (2018)

Category: Family

Charming animated film about the mysterious Yeti, with Channing Tatum, Zendaya, Common and Danny DeVito voicing a group of the mythical Himalayan creatures whose world is turned upside down by arrival of a hapless documentary maker (James Corden). Cute. 

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Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

Category: Rom-Com

Did you know this spring is the twentieth anniversary of Renée Zellweger first pulling on Bridget’s big knickers? Naturally some moments feel dated and we can only imagine how Miss Jones would deal with today’s world of dating apps. Overall though, this remains a romantic comedy classic with killer lines, dashing suitors (Colin Firth and Hugh Grant) and a smart understanding of singleton life. 

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Arrival (2016)

Category: Sci-Fi

Fed up with dumb fantasy films? Arrival is the extra-terrestrial puzzler with brains and beauty that you need in your life. Amy Adams plays a linguist hired by authorities to communicate with visiting UFOs, eventually discovering that these aliens have an important message for the world. Stunning. 

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Unbroken (2014)

Category: Drama

Angelina Jolie’s career as a director is less celebrated than her acting but with Unbroken - the true story of 2nd World War prisoner and eventual Olympian Louis Zamperini - she more than proves herself behind the camera. Tough but uplifting, prepare to be wowed by a gutsy leading performance from Jack O’Connell.

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Nightcrawler (2014)

Category: Drama

With Britain’s Riz Ahmed currently winning plaudits for his stellar turn in Sound of Metal, here’s a chance to see him in supporting mode alongside Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo in a cult classic. Ever wondered how American TV news crews are always so quick to the scene of every incident? Nightcrawler has the gripping - and disturbing - answer. 

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The Strangers (2008)

Category: Horror

Atmosphere-packed chiller starring Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman as a couple whose holiday home is invaded by a trio of masked criminals. Why? The answer might just give you some sleepless nights. 

Kidulthood (2006)

Category: Drama

Groundbreaking British teen movie from the pen of Noel Clarke (who also stars). Fifteen years old it may be but Kidulthood is still a fast and furious snapshot of a West London youth culture rarely seen before on screen. Explosive stuff. 

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