As survivors of a global lockdown, we all know the importance of streaming services like Netflix and having the best movies to watch. How much harder would months indoors have been without an endless supply of movies to watch on your phone, laptop or TV? Imagine, we’d have had to take up a real hobby. Luckily, Netflix MENA’s supply of movies is inexhaustible, but that presents another problem: what to watch?
With Netflix catalogues changing from region to region we have put together a list of stone-cold classic movies (in no particular order) which you can watch on Netflix in the UAE right now.
The Big Lebowski
One among several Coen brothers’ movies on Netflix MENA (Burn After Reading, No Country For Old Men, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs) The Big Lebowksi is the pick of the bunch, the one which has achieved cult status. Centered around a mix up between two men named Lebowski, and a rug, Jeff Bridges stars as The Dude, a man for his time and place. The excellent supporting cast (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi) all give artful performances and it’s their strength in depth that makes this so good.
A triple-header of Martin Scorsese films now follows. Beginning with Goodfellas, which is still Scorsese at his best. The tale of Henry Hill, mobster turned informant made a star of Ray Liotta and legends of DeNiro and Pesci. The sign of a true classic, Goodfellas stands up to countless re-watches, always offering something new on each viewing.
Casino was made five years after Goodfellas and if anyone thought Scorsese had said all he could on the mafia, they were dead wrong. Following the rise— and eventual fall— of a bookmaker promoted by the mob to run a Las Vegas casino, Casino features two more definitive performances from De Niro and Joe Pesci (who is arguably more terrifying than he was in Goodfellas) plus Sharon Stone going full femme fatale. Casino is a baroque mobster masterpiece.
Made exclusively for Netflix, The Irishman is Scorsese’s mob-movie swansong. The story of the mob’s involvement in the disappearance of union boss Jimmy Hoffa, The Irishman spans decades of American history, like a violent Forrest Gump. Using digital aging techniques to allow De Niro and Pesci to play younger versions of the themselves, The Irishman is also long. Really long. It’s been called a classic, and we’re sure it probably is, we just can’t stay awake long enough to get through it in one sitting. But what do we know?
There were lots of things wrong with Ocean’s Eleven, not least of which was Don Cheedle’s diabolically bad English accent, but what it also has in spades is charm. George Clooney at his most charismatic since Out Of Sight, Brad Pitt being, well, Brad Pitt, plus Matt Damon, Casey Affleck, Eliot Gould, Bernie Mac; the list goes on. Director Steven Soderbergh knew that to pull off an update of the classic Hollywood crime caper made famous by Sinatra et al, he’d need serious Hollywood muscle and that’s what he got.
Christopher Nolan’s space epic is a masterpiece. Interstellar might not always make the most sense, and the ending does tend to divide people, but for sheer spectacle, anchored by a gut wrenching emotional heart, Interstellar takes some beating. It's family-friendly space and time travel has the feel of early Steven Spielberg in its scope and appeal, but in Nolan's case, he's turned it up to eleven. You'll never look at dust in the same way again.
The Disaster Artist
James Franco’s The Disaster Artist is a meta love letter to The Room, a real film film widely regarded as the worst ever made. Franco plays Tommy Wiseau, a hopeless actor and aspiring director with zero talent but plenty of vision (and money) who sets about writing and directing his own feature film. The resulting picture is so bad it’s become a cult classic. The story of its making, told here by Franco and his younger brother, is at times sweet, hilarious, toe-curling and deeply, deeply strange.
It doesn't take much to make people jump in the cinema, but ensuring they sleep with the lights on for weeks afterwards? That takes skill, and Hereditary manages it. Horror is a subjective medium and alot of Netflix's so called 'Horror' is sub-par, but Ari Aster's film about a woman's descent into madness is genuinely chilling. A sinister beginning builds and builds to a final act that's about as unhinged as they come. Critics of the film have called Hereditary predictable and perhaps if you're a die hard horror buff it might be. For everyone else it's one of the most inventive and truly horrifying movies of recent years.
Uncut Gems is the most stressful film you will ever watch. Adam Sandler’s Howard Ratner is a fast-talking, charismatic jewelry dealer trying to pull off the deal of his lifetime. He’s a gambling addict in the middle of a divorce, has a secret mistress, mobsters trying to collect a debt and a world-famous basketball player convinced that a precious black opal he’s trying to sell must be his. Again and again, Howard makes decisions that boggle the mind. Like watching one of those dreams where you turn up to work with no trousers on, the bad decisions pile up it becomes almost unbearable to watch. Truly exhilarating nonetheless.