All the upcoming Netflix Originals you need to put on your watchlist
Netflix is already on their way to having a stellar year for original content. While we were entertained by Dan Gilroy’s latest effort – a critique of the modern art world wrapped in a gorefest titled Velvet Buzzsaw that captures the ridiculousness of the L.A. art scene with stylish alacrity – we also found it underdeveloped, with the slasher elements tacked-on. But the streaming giant has been on fire with their limited series showing no signs of slowing down.
We keep rewatching Russian Doll over & over, and The Umbrella Academy seems to have taken everyone by surprise when it dropped last weekend. Beyond that, don’t forget to scour your app for other hidden gems, such as music festival documentary Fyre.
Fyre covers the grossly overblown Millennial mishap that occurred when some jumped-up influencers calling themselves businessmen tried to pull off the most ambitious music event ever, to disastrous results. The doc was actually produced by the same marketing company behind the festival – Fyre Festival is turning out to be a longer con than anyone expected.
Don’t sleep on High Flying Bird, either. Surprisingly complex for a quick film about basketball, Steven Soderbergh frames shady deals and sporting politics as if they’re heists. Just when you think you’ve been taking enough notes and following the acerbic dialogue and alienating lingo, a rug is yanked characteristically from under your feet as if Danny Ocean has pulled yet another fast one on you.
It’s only February and Netflix has started with a strong head start on its competition. If you’ve been impressed so far, you ain’t seen nothing yet – so check out our list of must-see Netflix projects lined up for 2019.
Ricky Gervais stars as a man on the verge of suicide when his wife unexpectedly dies. Rather than following a bleak pattern of depression, Tony instead sets out on a mission to live as long as possible in order to punish the world for what it took away from him. He begins by saying and doing what he wants, when he wants – but soon it sends his relationships spiralling out of control when his family and colleagues try to make him a better person.
After his recent standup special, we’re not quite back on board the Ricky Gervais hype train, but his track record with dark sitcoms is strong enough to give his latest effort a try.
Not all of Netflix’s original anime series are guaranteed hits (looking at you, Neo Yokio), but this stylish update of the classic Japanese series looks fun, flashy, and frantic. As the anime world starts to adapt to the modern CGI format, doors are opening to creative possibilities previously unheard-of in Japanese cartoons, and Ultraman looks as if it’s taking full advantage of animation’s continuing evolution.
Here’s one for all you 1960s film buffs. Bonnie & Clyde changed the world of Hollywood cinema forever with its brutal depiction of violence and edgy sympathy for the bad guys. If you loved Arthur Penn’s tale of the bank-robbing power couple, make sure you mark your calendars for the other side of the story, starring Woody Harrelson and Kevin Costner as the two Texas Rangers who track down the notorious criminals.
Turn Up Charlie
If you love Idris Elba but don’t have the patience to sit through the umpteenth Fast & Furious disasterpiece (in which he gets suited & booted to take down Hobbs & Shaw in the series’s first spinoff) this upcoming Netflix series is a little more subdued while still delivering Elba’s signature suavity.
In the new sitcom, our pick for the next James Bond channels his alter-ego as a DJ struggling to make ends meet. Charlie bites off more than he can chew when he offers to take care of his movie star friend’s troublesome daughter.
Do you like men with guns? Do the names Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, and Pedro Pascal actually mean something to you, rather than just morphing together into an amorphous mass of gruffness and facial hair like they do for the rest of us? Then this could be just for you.
If you nod off just trying to tell those three actors apart, Triple Frontier could pique your interest when we tell you it’s coming from J.C. Chandor, director behind the chilling slow-burn thriller A Most Violent Year. Chandor reteams with Oscar Isaac along with a guy called Ben Affleck, who we’re pretty sure wore a cape and pointy ears at some point.
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
Here’s a project that has every chance of going horribly wrong, but we’re crossing our fingers it could resurrect an underrated nostalgic gem with skill & dignity. The Dark Crystal, a sprawling fantasy comprised entirely of sets, models, costumes, and puppets, was the ultimate nightmare for puppeteers: it took Frank Oz and The Jim Henson Company almost six years to get off the ground.
Marketing a movie with no human faces is a hard sell, but the original just about managed to turn a profit, and from its status as a cult classic is born this revitalized Netflix series. Stars Taron Egerton (Rocketman), Anya Taylor-Joy (Glass), and Nathalie Emmanuel (The Fate of the Furious) as three gelflings on a quest to spark rebellion and save the world.
If you think the musical biopic has been stale since Joaquin Phoenix took on Johnny Cash in Walk the Line, get your antidote with The Dirt, the quintessential tale of men behaving badly. Douglas Booth (Mary Shelley) and co. give it their all with a faithfully filthy retelling of how Mötley Crüe became the most infamous rock band on the Sunset Strip.
Indie darling David Michôd (The Rover) takes on his most challenging project yet, teaming up with breakout star Timothee Chalamet (Beautiful Boy) to adapt not one, but three of Shakespeare’s epic historical tragedies. Spanning the reigns of Henry IV and Henry V, the cast is stacked, and Michôd writing alongside Joel Edgerton is certainly promising – but will this be a powerful drama for the ages, or a disaster of Shakespearean proportions?
We can’t quite tell if Mark Duplass is endearingly charming or endlessly irritating, but the New King of Mumblecore always demands our attention when he comes out with a new project. Here he partners with Ray Romano, fresh off his The Big Sick comeback tour, for an appropriately subdued dark comedy about brotherhood, fake sports, and terminal illness.
Paris Is Us
The French New Wave bursts into the modern streaming landscape after a shot of adrenaline, sweat, and neon with this kinetic take on modern love & partying. Expect all the light-show, fog-machine, dancefloor craziness of a Gaspar Noë film, ‘cept it prolly won’t desperately try to offend everyone watching before the closing credits.
It’s David Attenborough narrating a stunningly photographed nature documentary, so you’ll have to physically pull us away from watching this for the fifth time in a week when it drops.
All the Bright Places
Elle Fanning (I Think We’re Alone Now) and Justice Smith (Detective Pikachu) pair up in this adaptation of Jennifer Niven’s tear-jerking young adult novel. The two rising stars play two teens who bond over traumatic pasts alongside cracking supporting players such as Alexandra Shipp (Love, Simon), and Keegan Michael-Key (Toy Story 4).
When They See Us
Ava DuVernay (A Wrinkle in Time) introduces a team of newcomers as The Central Park Five, a group of black teens wrongfully convicted of sexual assault in 1989. Only after twenty-five years were their names finally cleared, though the innocent group of friends remain vilified by the media.
The exhilarating breakthrough filmmaker extends the story across four decades during which the story raged across the American consciousness, weaving the subjects’ stories from childhood to stunted adult lives behind bars. An essential watch when it’s released later this year.
Captain Marvel may be breaknecking it across galaxies to turn the fate of the universe in her upcoming appearances in her solo venture and Avengers: Endgame, but actress Brie Larson still gots time to drop in on her indie roots from time to time.
Larson’s directorial debut features her as a young artist who receives a mysterious, potentially life-changing invitation. Features her frequent co-star Samuel L. Jackson (Captain Marvel), Bradley Whitford (Get Out), and Joan Cusack (Toy Story 4).
Love, Death, and Robots
Unlikely partners Tim Miller (Deadpool) and David Fincher (Gone Girl) are teaming up to co-produce – let’s just check we’ve got this right – “a NSFW animated anthology spanning sci-fi, horror, fantasy, comedy”? Sign us the hell up.
Not only is Martin Scorsese briefly ditching his affair with longtime collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio in favor of reteaming with his first love Robert De Niro, the prestige filmmaker has somehow managed to convince bitterly retired sourpuss Joe Pesci out of the shadows for one last rodeo. If you can believe it, he’ll also be marking the first-ever collab with Scarface himself, Al Pacino. Throw in Harvey Keitel (Pulp Fiction), Bobby Cannavale (Ant-Man), and Ray Romano (The Big Sick), and we’re cooking one spicy meatball.
There are all sorts of rumors surrounding the long overshot, tumultuous production of The Irishman, from de-aging technology gone haywire to insane budget inflation – but we have a sneaking suspicion the most lauded American filmmaker working today has the skill & patience to pull a masterpiece out of the bag at the last minute.