What separates a good movie from a classic one? Whether you're seeking high art, unforgettable thrills or just something you can watch again and again, Netflix hosts dozens of movies with well-earned reputations for excellence. Wind the clock back a few years and discover which films, across a wide variety of genres, have captivated audiences for years, and will most likely do so for years to come.
Credit: Criterion Collection
Donnie Yen stars as Ip Man, a real-life Wing Chun master, in Wilson Yip's film named after the legendary martial artist. During the Sino-Japanese War of 1937, the Japanese occupy a Chinese town with a martial arts school. When an occupying colonel wants Ip Man, a gifted fighter and instructor, to teach Japanese soldiers, Ip faces both internal and external struggles for his honor.
Director Edgar Wright is best-known for his Shaun of the Dead, but his best film is arguably this adaptation of Bryan Lee O'Malley's graphic novels of the same name. A romantic comedy that skews to the 8-bit crowd, the film focuses on Scott, who falls in love with Ramona, a sub-space-travelling messenger. But in order to date her, and figure out how he's kind of a bad boyfriend himself, Scott's given a nearly impossible test: beat her 7 evil exes in tests of combat. And if that's not enough of a story to get you to click play, you hear digital coins fall on the ground each time Scott wins a battle.
Credit: Universal Pictures
Based on a Neil Gaiman novel, the wondrous stop-motion animation film Coraline captures the feeling of being a kid and wishing there was a better world to escape to. Its titular protagonist Coraline Jones finds this world in Ashland, Oregon of all places, thanks to a doll that convinces her to open a door in living room. Beyond that door, Coraline meets alternate universe versions of everyone she knows that convince her to stay, until she discovers the price for crossing over.
Credit: Galvin Collins/Laika
Since Stanley Kubrick passed, many wondered who would take up the mantle for introspective sci-fi he left behind. Moon, a meticulously crafted, methodically paced drama, positioned director Duncan Jones as the heir to the throne. The film stars Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell, an astronaut on the far side of the moon, who lives a solitary life mining helium-3, with a robot named GERTY as his only companion. As the film progresses, audiences — and Bell himself — start to question his sanity and stability, as his reality starts to fray at the edges.
Credit: Sony Pictures
Sci-fi feels much more real when it draws from reality, something we can see even in the aliens-filled world of District 9. Inspired by the events in Cape Town, South Africa's apartheid era, this film follows a race of insect-like aliens interned in a concentration camp. The story truly picks up and gets wild when an alien named Christopher Johnson escapes from captivity and looks to expose how his species is being exploited.
Credit: Sony Pictures
A farcical comedy exposing ineptitude at the CIA, Burn After Reading now reads as ahead of its time. Starring John Malkovich as Osbourne Cox, an Agency analyst who doesn't handle his firing well, the film is another hilarious romp into the absurd from Joel and Ethan Coen (The Big Lebowski), and unravels an inside-industry affair gone wrong. Frances McDormand, George Clooney and Tilda Swinton also star, and the film features a ton of memorable moments from Brad Pitt, which have been immortalized in GIF form.
Credit: Focus Features
The middle chapter in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight is a masterwork that redefined comic book movies. Not only is Heath Ledger's The Joker one of the greatest villains ever, imbued with an intensity that mesmerized audiences, but Aaron Eckhart works really well as Harvey Dent. While previous filmic versions of the conflicted District Attorney who becomes Two Face were weak and lacklustre, his struggle with the hard choices set up as crime runs rampant and a masked vigilante looks like Gotham's best bet tells a great story.
Credit: Warner Bros.