New Movies on Netflix

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New Movies on Netflix

Netflix has been adding so many new movies to its menu of offerings that it can be tough to keep up with all of their latest films. The following list includes 20 of the biggest movies the streaming service has released in the last few months.

Some we recommend more than others, but we’ve listed them all in order of release date, starting with the newest movies on Netflix. We’ll update this as Netflix continues to add new original films to the streaming service.

1. White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch

white-hot.jpg Netflix Release Date: April 19, 2022
Directors: Alison Klayman
Genre: Documentary
Rating: TV-14
Paste Review Score: 6.4

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In White Hot: The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch, director Alison Klayman examines the “coolness by exclusion” brand through an analysis of the company from an insider perspective—but doesn’t expect to provide answers. It would rather that we simply sit with the consequences of that exclusion. As someone who’d like to send the brand an emotional damages receipt, I’m a fan of that approach because, at this point, there’s nothing left to do with the cultural era other than lay it bare. The documentary follows former brand CEO Mike Jeffries’ timeline with the company, and his influence on its business practices at both the store and corporate level worldwide. During his tenure with the brand, he built it into the elitist, preppy cool zone for hotties only that most of us remember it to be. Using nostalgia to unite us, White Hot reframes the discriminatory actions taken by a company that had a monopoly on determining what was deemed cool in impressionable, early ’00s circles of young adults. White Hot does a great job analyzing a house of cards, composed of societal failings, that allowed Abercrombie & Fitch to monopolize a generation’s adolescence through mind, body and spirit. However, I wish this reckoning touched more on where my own trauma surrounding the brand stemmed from: Its treatment of plus-sized customers. White Hot could’ve broadened its scope to bring Abercrombie’s body-shaming transgressions into the frame, but the documentary mostly gets the main job done. It interrogates the foundations of a company we allowed to rule our subconscious through that strange chokehold: The need to be liked. The movie is a worthy examination of the culture surrounding Abercrombie and why it became so toxic—and how we followed suit—but it could’ve been a slightly more rounded-out story had it focused on all elements of the company’s biases. —Lex Briscuso


2. Choose or Die

choose-or-die.jpg Netflix Release Date: April 15, 2022
Director: Toby Meakins
Star: Asa Butterfield, Iola Evans, Eddie Marsan, Kate Fleetwood, Robert Englund
Genre: Horror
Rating: PG-13

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Gaming nostalgia is a fountain of cheap pathos that can never really be depleted, and if the first trailer for Netflix’s Choose or Die is any indication, it’s also fertile material for shlocky horror cinema. The British psychological horror thriller is the feature debut of director Toby Meakins, and hit Netflix on April 15. Choose or Die, previously titled CURS>R, is a throwback digital horror flick, evocative on some levels of the early 2000s era of clumsy internet horror that brought us the likes of FeardotCom. However, this is an evolved take on such a digital horror concept, in which a lost relic of 1980s gaming proves to be capable of warping reality around it as it forces players into a game of life and death. We’re getting definite vibes of Black Mirror’s “Bandersnatch,” with a more subtle twist of the classic Polybius urban legend) of a supposedly sinister arcade cabinet. Choose or Die stars former Hugo and Ender’s Game star Asa Butterfield, alongside Iola Evans, Eddie Marsan, Kate Fleetwood and apparently the legendary Robert Englund, who is playing … himself? As anyone who has ever seen Wes Craven’s New Nightmare can tell you, that’s always a good time. —Jim Vorel


3. Metal Lords

metal-lords.jpg Netflix Release Date: April 8, 2022
Director: Peter Sollett
Stars: Jaeden Martell, Isis Hainsworth, Adrian Greensmith, Brett Gelman, Sufe Bradshaw, Noah Urrea, Analesa Fisher, Michelle Fang, Phelan Davis, Joe Manganiello
Genre: Comedy
Rating: R
Paste Review Score: 6.5

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Director Peter Sollett (Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist) and writer D.B. Weiss (co-creator of Game of Thrones) team up to tell an unlikely (yet oh-so-relatable) tale of teenage rebellion in Netflix’s Metal Lords. Centering around a high school trio who don’t fit in for their own personal reasons—whether it be due to scrawny stature, niche cultural interests or fluctuating mental health issues—and, as a result, form a pretty kick-ass heavy metal band. The stakes are raised when the school announces a battle of the bands, accelerating their motivation to ditch their repertoire of Black Sabbath covers in favor of original songs. Before they can seriously improve, though, the pressure of constant practice and young romance drives a wedge between the friends, threatening to break up the band all together. Though much of the film feels like a heavy metal rip-off of School of Rock, Metal Lords reveals a deep-seated sincerity. Sure, the motivations of these characters are totally inane, and the narrative may appear desperately contrived. But the film’s lightheartedness and palpable high school schadenfreude keep Metal Lords from tipping over into uninspired pastiche. —Natalia Keogan


4. Return to Space

return-to-space.jpg Netflix Release Date: April 7, 2022
Directors: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin
Genre: Documentary
Rating: TV-MA
Paste Review Score: 7.9

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It’s difficult to think of someone with a more bizarre public persona than billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk. You know, the guy who claimed that we are almost definitely living in a videogame and smoked a blunt in the same Joe Rogan interview, tweeted that he used to be an alien, and named his and pop star Grimes’ baby X Æ A-Xii. Incidentally, Musk is also largely responsible for the commercialization of modern space travel. In Return to Space, Academy Award-winning documentarians Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin outline the creation of the aerospace manufacturer SpaceX, which Musk founded in 2002 with the intention of eventually colonizing Mars. In the past two decades, SpaceX has lowered the cost of space travel drastically by designing reusable spacecrafts, and has become an integral supplier for NASA because of this. While spearheading SpaceX in its embryonic stage, Musk knew that space travel was a popularity contest, a contest that he eventually won over fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos, the Amazon boss who strove to commercialize space travel with his company Blue Origin and lost a $2.9 billion lunar-landing contract to SpaceX. That’s just the cost of business these days, and Musk is exceptionally good at playing the game. This kind of business model might seem like a relatively modern phenomenon, but the filmmakers do a great job at outlining the fact that charisma, excitement, and adoration has always been at the forefront of space travel. Embedded in Return to Space is footage from NASA and SpaceX that plays out less like a documentary and more like narrative features such as The Right Stuff or First Man. And of course, a space flick wouldn’t be that without its stoic and heroic all-American heroes. Return to Space quickly establishes its heroes not as Musk and Bezos, but as Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley—the first American astronauts to fly into space from Cape Canaveral in a decade. Return to Space is also highly informative considering the complex subject matter and doesn’t shy away from discussing the ins-and-outs of SpaceX, how it is funded, why it is so difficult to fund space travel, and why we’ve only been to the moon a couple of times. These kinds of explanations are always welcome, especially at the level of efficiency found here—even if the tone does verge on “infomercial” from time to time. —Aurora Amidon


5. The Bubble

bubble.jpg Netflix Release Date: April 1, 2022
Director: Judd Apatow
Star: Karen Gillan, Iris Apatow, Fred Armisen, Maria Bakalova, David Duchovny, Keegan-Michael Key, Leslie Mann, Pedro Pascal, Peter Serafinowicz, Vir Das, Rob Delaney
Genre: Comedy
Rating: PG
Paste Review Score: 5.0

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Judd Apatow’s latest film, COVID-era comedy The Bubble, already feels like a time capsule of a hyper-specific moment in pandemic life. Following the cast of a long-running action franchise that must exist in an on-set “bubble” to reduce risk of COVID-19 exposure, it chronicles the flaws intrinsic to making a piece of Hollywood fluff while a global pandemic still rages. Yet, The Bubble plays into the very phenomenon it’s supposed to be critiquing, itself as vacuous and unnecessary as the flying dinosaur franchise installment it depicts. Overlong and lacking the requisite humor to sustain its meandering runtime, what should have been a low-stakes ensemble comedy is instead a laborious bore. Plagued once again by Apatow’s enduring tendency toward nepotism, a high-profile cast rife with comedic talent is overshadowed by the director’s own flesh and blood. After having temporarily left the fictitious Cliff Beasts franchise during its fifth film installment, actress Carol Cobb (Karen Gillan) is roped back into the subsequent sixth film, promised to be “pampered” during her mandatory 14-day quarantine ahead of entering the on-set “bubble” that’s supposedly impervious to the pandemic. When she emerges from isolation, she rejoins the ranks of the cast members she “abandoned.” The Bubble suffers from a litany of shortcomings, coming together to make something that is somehow worse than the sum of its parts. The CGI-generated segments of Cliff Beasts 6 that punctuate the film are mildly entertaining, but it’s honestly puzzling as to why Apatow felt the need to include these fully-realized snippets at all. While attempting to highlight the inconsequential nature of “rich people problems,” the film isn’t incisive or clever enough to parody the very cinematic sensation it’s unintentionally playing into. —Natalia Keogan


6. Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood

apollo-10-1-2-poster.jpg Netflix Release Date: March 25, 2022
Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Milo Coy, Jack Black, Glen Powell, Zachary Levi, Josh Wiggins, Lee Eddy, Bill Wise, Natalia L’Amoreaux, Jessica Brynn Cohen, Sam Chipman, Danielle Guilbot
Rating: PG-13
Paste Review Score: 8.0

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Near the end of Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood, Richard Linklater’s luscious rotoscope ode to the tail-end of the 1960s, the father of our young protagonist Stanley (Milo Coy) worries that his son slept through a historic event. “Even if he was asleep,” says Stanley’s mom (Lee Eddy), “he’ll one day think he saw it all.” The magic trick that is memory serves as the basis of Apollo, a film that recalls Apollo 11 from the rose-colored perspective of Stan, a ten-year-old boy living in Houston—Linklater’s childhood stomping grounds—at the time of the mission. The film begins with two suited men pulling Stan aside at school and informing him that NASA accidentally built a spaceship that was too small for an adult to ride in. Given this, they’ll need Stan to perform a test run to the Moon instead of one of their highly trained adult astronauts. What follows is a 90-minute, highly sentimental, kaleidoscopic examination of 1969, spliced with moments from the greatest fantasy of the Stanleys of the world: Traveling to space. Linklater doesn’t spare any detail of what life was like back then, nor does he worry about boring audiences by delving into the minutiae of it all. Grown-up Stanley (Jack Black), Apollo’s narrator, bounces confidently between descriptions of the monotonous games the neighborhood kids used to play, breakdowns of the plots of old black-and-white sci-fi shows, the conservative methodologies Stanley’s mom applies in making school lunches for her kids, the nuances of spending time with grandparents who lived through the Depression and everything in between. Everything in the film that has to do with chronicling life in 1969 is so captivating on its own that one can’t help but wonder what Apollo would be like if it removed Stanley’s outer space subplot altogether. Still, where Apollo succeeds, it really succeeds. It’s a stylish meditation on childhood that isn’t afraid to indulge in all the sentimentality that goes along with that. Almost 30 years after Dazed and Confused, Linklater is still reminding us exactly why childhood is a uniquely special thing.—Aurora Amidon


7. Windfall

windfall.jpg Netflix Release Date: March 18, 2022
Director: Charlie McDowell
Stars: Jason Segal, Lily Collins, Jesse Plemons
Genre: Thriller
Rating: TV-MA

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Filmmaker Charlie McDowell (The One I Love) continues his collaboration with The Discovery’s co-writer (Justin Lader) and stars (Jason Segel and Jesse Plemons) for another writerly Netflix endeavor. Windfall applies the director’s sultry pacing and intimate conversational style to a home invasion thriller, pitting a “nobody” (Segel) against a Zuckerbergian tech mogul (Plemons) and his young wife (Lily Collins, McDowell’s real life spouse). Sparse to a fault, the meandering thriller satisfies itself by baking us in the orange groves just outside the ritzy vacation home and simmering us in the tension between the married 1%ers. Its anger is palpable, thanks in part to Plemons’ delicious smugness and Segel’s body-felt frustration, but its ideas are as limited as its setting and cast. That said, Windfall is brief and sometimes nasty, which makes it more lightly pulpy than overly trite—even if the Silicon Valley revenge fantasy never feels much more than that. —Jacob Oller


8. Black Crab

black-crab.jpg Netflix Release Date: March 18, 2022
Director: Adam Berg
Stars: Noomi Rapace, Aliette Opheim, Dar Salim, Jakob Oftebro
Genre: Action Thriller
Rating: TV-MA
Paste Review Score: 6.9

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Black Crab—writer/director Adam Berg’s feature debut— is a story of a conflict fought not in streets or open fields, but in ice skates across a frigid archipelago. The image of hardened soldiers casually gliding along the surface of frozen lakes is, on paper, comical. In practice it’s pretty funny, too, though the unintentional silliness wears off rapidly. Black Crab is a serious movie with little patience for goofing around. Berg opens in what looks close to the present, with erstwhile speed skater Caroline Edh (Noomi Rapace) driving her daughter Vanja (Stella Marcimain Klintberg) the hell out of Dodge. No “why” is given, but the “what” suffices: No sooner do they inch their way into a crowded road tunnel than masked men in camo gear storm the highway and gun down fleeing civilians. When the picture cuts, an unspecified amount of time has passed and Caroline is now a veteran in the post-apocalypse; Vanja is nowhere to be seen. Black Crab uses its aesthetic of vagueness to its advantage. Berg and screenwriting partners Pelle Rådström and Jerker Virdborg (upon whose novel the movie is based) don’t try to define terms, allegiances or morality. We do not know who to consider the good guys and who to consider the bad guys. All we know is that Caroline is enlisted in the army, her enlistment is forced and her superiors believe that the war they’re fighting is nearly lost. Their final hope to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat: Assemble a crack team of elite soldiers, outfit them with MacGuffin capsules guaranteed to turn the tide and have them skate through hostile territory to “end the war.” Berg denies viewers a clear team to root for in Black Crab, but he invites our allegiance to Caroline as she valiantly struggles to see the mission through and reunite with Vanja. It’s an easy ask. In her recent roles, like Lamb and the imminent You Will Not Be Alone, Rapace has expressed boundless terror and awe in the pursuit of existential questions about being human. In Black Crab, she reminds us with steely resolve that she’s incredibly capable at performing toughness, too. Caroline is a badass, not in the vein of action heroes slaying foes as easily as blinking, but of an indomitable soul no obstacle or inconvenience can stop. Rapace makes the rest of the experience, comprising not much other than misery and suffering, worth tolerating. Black Crab actually reads as a survival film first and a war film second: There isn’t a ton of combat, though what we do see is conducted with jolting bursts of brutality, and the greatest threats the characters face tend to come from their surroundings, which reemphasizes the plot’s political neutrality. —Andy Crump


9. Rescued by Ruby

rescued-by-ruby.jpg Netflix Release Date: March 17, 2022
Directors: Kim Farrant
Stars: Grant Gustin, Scott Wolf, Kaylah Zander
Genre: Drama
Rating: TV-G

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Based on a true story, this family biopic is about a boy (well, a state trooper, played by The Flash’s Grant Gustin) and his dog (a shelter rescue named Ruby) as they work to become part of the K-9 unit.


10. The Adam Project

the-adam-project.jpg Release date: March 11, 2022
Directors: Shawn Levy
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Walker Scobell, Jennifer Garner, Zoe Saldaña, Mark Ruffalo, Catherine Keener
Genre: Sci-fi, Adventure
Rating: PG-13

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The title of The Adam Project refers to the complicated scientific research of absentminded professor Louis Reed (Mark Ruffalo), which eventually leads to the invention of time travel. The Ryan Reynolds Project, meanwhile, seems to involve the production of “original” movies that time-travel through popcorn-cinema history, pilfering as they go. Reuniting with director Shawn Levy following Free Guy and reuniting with Netflix on the heels of Red Notice, Reynolds has reconfigured his wiseass persona into a totem for faux-Spielbergian wonder, complete with daddy issues. The real wonder is how synthetic all this originality can feel. The film’s premise stacks up the wistful what-ifs. Adam (Walker Scobell) is a mouthy 12-year-old in 2022 who keeps getting beaten up by school bullies (and then suspended for “fighting”) as he works through the death of his father. Adam (Ryan Reynolds) is a mouthy 40-year-old in 2050 who flies a futuristic-looking jet while pursued by nefarious forces. Physical resemblance doesn’t materialize, but the incessant sarcastic quipping tells the story: These Adams are one and the same—and the accidental inventor of time travel is their dead dad. Through a wormhole mishap, Older Adam winds up face-to-face with his younger self, and reluctantly enlists his (self-)help to save his current-and-future wife Laura (Zoe Saldaña)—which may involve looping back to when their dad was alive. This self-conscious starriness emits a fake-looking glare, blocking any vision of time-tripping pathos. Ruffalo and Jennifer Garner (spiritually if not physically reunited after 13 Going on 30) know how to play these sorts of good-hearted parental roles, but they’re stuck in a movie too distractible to live in any of its scenes (or, for that matter, lean into the dizzying complexities of time-hopping). Levy knows what wonder and excitement in this type of movie is supposed to look like—specks of light falling through trees; sleek lightsaber-style weapons engaging in breathless, bloodless combat—and puts too much trust in awe-by-proxy. When it comes time to hit the emotional stuff home, Levy and his screenwriters overcompensate: Repeat the assurances! Double the hugs! Swell that music! Explain the catharsis everyone is experiencing! As with Free Guy, Reynolds and Levy have made a movie aimed at the dead center of mainstream geek culture, designed to be described as having so much heart—even though it’s as smooth and featureless as a Funko Pop. —Jesse Hassenger


11. Against the Ice

against-the-ice.jpg Netflix Release Date: March 2, 2022
Director: Peter Flinth
Stars: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Joe Cole
Genre: Thriller
Rating: TV-MA
Paste Review Score: 5.8

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The bravest of brave souls have been forging their way through uncharted areas of the Arctic for hundreds of years. Each of these expeditions inevitably contains its own thrilling avalanche of near-fatal roadblocks; from frostbite to hungry bears, it just comes with the territory. One of the most riveting accounts of Arctic exploration is that of the Alabama expedition to northeast Greenland in 1909. This excursion saw prolific Danish explorer Ejnar Mikkelsen and his crew on a quest to recover diaries left behind by members of the failed Mylius-Erichsen expedition, a mission that had ventured to prove that Greenland was not divided by a coast, and therefore did not partially belong to the United States. Director Peter Flinth’s Against the Ice tells the story of the Alabama expedition, with a screenplay adapted from Mikkelsen’s own Two Against the Ice, an intimate memoir which chronicles his treacherous days in the snow. At times, Mikkelsen’s story is almost too fantastical to believe: From poisonings to sled-dogs hanging off of cliffs by ropes to a polar plunge with a polar bear, the explorer came up against just about every obstacle you could possibly think of. So why, then, is Flinth’s retelling overwhelmingly repetitive and mundane? All of the pieces are there. We’ve got the underdog who is bound to make a plethora of hazardous mistakes, alongside a weathered explorer with a fierce “whatever-it-takes” mindset. We also have clear proof that the Arctic takes no prisoners and treacherous snowy ambiance constructed masterfully by Flinth through deafening winds, a blinding landscape and eerily empty wide shots which convey the unsettling endlessness of the Arctic tundra. But once Ejnar and Iver actually embark on their journey, Against the Ice is suddenly sapped of any tension it had once promised. Much of this can be attributed to the film’s lethargic pacing. We are immediately supplied with an abundance of scenes of the duo trudging across the ice (which in itself is difficult to tolerate after a while) and somehow, when sparse moments of action interject, they possess the same sluggishness. Luckily, Against the Ice is amply propped up by exemplary performances from its leads. Cole brings a soft watchful quality to the puppyish Iver, and Coster-Waldau plays Ejnar as precariously stoic and ready to quietly crumble at any moment. When Ejnar’s mental state begins to deteriorate, Coster-Waldau’s sober performance defies any man-going-crazy-in-the-wilderness cliches. Sigh. If only a good cast was enough to salvage a plodding, tedious film from the snowy wreckage. —Aurora Amidon


12. The Pirates: The Last Royal Treassure

pirates-royal-treasure.jpg Netflix Release Date: Mar. 2, 2022
Director: Kim Jeong-hoon
Stars: Kang Ha-neul, Han Hyo-joo, Lee Kwang-soo, Kwon Sang-woo
Genre: Adventure
Rating: TV-14

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The sequel to 2014 fantasy-adventure film The Pirates was released in the U.S. on Netflix just six weeks after hitting theaters—and dominating the box office—in Korea. The Pirates: The Last Royal Treassure follows a group of treasure seeking bandits as they encounter magical sea caves, boxing penguins and a fire dragon.


13. A Madea Homecoming

madea-homecoming.jpg Netflix Release Date: Feb. 25, 2022
Directors: Tyler Perry
Stars: Tyler Perry, Cassi Davis-Patton, David Mann
Genre: Comedy
Rating: TV-MA

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The latest film in Tyler Perry’s Madea universe brings the total appearances of the filmmaker’s most famous character to an even dozen movies, in addition to 11 plays, an animated film, and guest appearances or mentions on three separate TV shows. This one, adapted from the stage play Madea’s Farewell Party, follows the no-nonsense matriarch at her great-grandson’s graduation party as a series of family secrets come to light.


14. Texas Chainsaw Massacre

texas-chainsaw.jpg Netflix Release Date: Feb. 18, 2022
Director: David Blue Garcia
Stars: Sarah Yarkin, Elsie Fisher, Mark Burnham, Jacob Latimore, Moe Dunford
Genre: Horror
Rating: R
Paste Review Score: 4.0

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There has yet to be a horror film with the grisly, depraved spirit that 1974’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre brought to the genre. There’s simply no villain quite like Leatherface. He has no mercy in his bones; his identity is a warped everyman’s visage kept hidden at the heel of his insecurities. He is ruthless and despicable, but he is sympathetic in his way. He doesn’t move without cause, making his impact that much greater. He is an absolute beast, and there is a reason he and his legacy loom large into the 21st century. With this in mind, it was hard not to get excited about the direct sequel David Blue Garcia’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre promised to be. With Evil Dead remake genius Fede Alvarez producing, and an apparent dedication to meaningfully furthering the original storyline, it seemed like there was no way this new version of the worst crime in Texas history could be a misstep. It turned out to be a trite modernization of the original, resting on topical concepts that it doesn’t know how to comment on—or at least, it’s not saying what it thinks it is. Screenwriter Chris Thomas Devlin’s interpretation of this furthering of the franchise—from a story by Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues—follows Melody (Sarah Yarkin) and Dante (Jacob Latimore), two young chefs who bring a group of wide-eyed folks looking for change to Harlow, a Texas ghost town seven or eight hours outside of Austin. The goal is to breathe life into the abandoned town, resettle it and build from the ashes of the identity it left behind. But Melody’s younger sister, Lila (Elsie Fisher), isn’t exactly into the idea of leaving their life in Austin behind. Soon, they discover they are not alone in their new home, and that their decision to move here will be one they will regret. —Lex Briscuso


15. Downfall: The Case Against Boeing

downfall.jpg Netflix Release Date: Feb. 18, 2022
Director: Rory Kennedy
Genre: Documentary
Rating: TV-PG
Runtime: 99 minutes
Paste Review Score: 4.0

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On October 29, 2018, Indonesian Lion Air Flight 610 crashed seemingly without reason. On March 10, 2019, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed six minutes after takeoff. Both flights were Boeing 737 MAX aircrafts, both crashes killed everyone onboard and in both cases, Boeing blamed the dead pilots in blatantly xenophobic attacks instead of claiming any responsibility. It was later discovered that Boeing’s financial corner-cutting caused the planes to fall out of the sky: In order to compete with European aerospace company Airbus, Boeing insisted to FAA regulators that the 737 MAX would not require additional pilot training, because pilot training costs money. Therefore, Boeing allowed pilots to fly planes equipped with a brand new system called MCAS with zero training on how to use the system, and hundreds of people from all over the world paid the price with their lives. One thing documentary Downfall: The Case Against Boeing gets right is its connection between how Boeing’s corporate culture rapidly changed away from workers’ rights and toward Wall Street greed, when it merged with McDonnell Douglas in 1997, and the fatal crashes two decades later. Important safety jobs were slashed in the name of profits, and those at the top stopped listening to experts when they didn’t like what they were hearing. It’s a wonder that this didn’t happen sooner. But for a film called Downfall, there’s neither a material consequence for nor much of a final conviction of Boeing in terms of the film’s point of view. There are no indications that Boeing has done anything to reverse its culture of ignoring experts in its endless drive for profits. And why would they? Ruthless profit-chasing will always be celebrated under capitalism, not stamped out. CEO Dennis Muilenburg did resign as a result of his part in the failure of Boeing to prevent these needless deaths, but he did so to the tune of $62 million, which sounds more like a reward for evil behavior than a punishment to me. The ultimate lack of accountability for the Boeing crash deaths is a total societal failure, and the film’s failure to point that out only adds insult to injury. The film does a fantastic job of presenting the facts in its case against Boeing through talking heads interviews, but does little to indict the institution that allowed them to get away with it: The American government, which allowed Boeing to have their own employees certify the airworthiness of the 737 MAX jets in the first place. Downfall: The Case Against Boeing is your average talking-head documentary and a useful resource of information if one is writing a grade-school research paper on the basic logistics of the tragic crashes. If the filmmakers had been willing to lift the veil further, it could have also been a powerful reminder that as long as we live under a capitalist system dedicated to the imperialist project, the American government and companies, especially arms manufacturing companies, will always walk hand-in-hand in the pursuit of profits, even if it means spending the lives of people all over the world. —Katarina Docalovich


16. Fistful of Vengeance

fistful.jpg Netflix Release Date: Feb. 17, 2022
Director: Roel Reiné
Stars: Iko Uwais, Lewis Tan, Lawrence Kao, JuJu Chan, Pearl Thusi, Francesca
Genre: Martial Arts, Action
Rating: TV-MA
Runtime: 96 minutes
Paste Review Score: 3.5

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Let’s just say that I had limited expectations from Fistful of Vengeance, and my assumptions were right on the nose. The film is basically an excuse to stage a series of choreographed fights, with the script making little to no sense, full of dialogue that has you groaning out loud. It is even more unfortunate that the fight scenes, the main reason to watch the film, are more a display of rehearsed moves than thrilling action. Fistful of Vengeance is a movie offshoot of the Netflix series Wu Assassins. It’s best that you have some familiarity with that series if you want to understand this movie at all. In the series, we meet the cast of characters: Kai Jin (Iko Uwais, Indonesian actor and martial artist) is a seemingly mild-mannered chef in San Francisco, who finds out he’s the latest in the line of Wu Assassins to keep evil Wu Xing powers from taking over the world. Kai acquires supernatural powers and, with his friends Lu Xin Lee (Lewis Tan) and siblings Tommy and Jenny Wah (Lawrence Kao and Li Jun Li), is able to keep an unnecessarily complicated gang of deadly ancient powers from destroying the world. It’s a little hard to summarize Wu Assassins because the story was so convoluted, and filled with bad writing. However, the action scenes were slick and well choreographed, earning the series a fair amount of acclaim when it was released. Fistful of Vengeance takes that disregard for a coherent storyline or any sense of passage of time to a whole new level. The movie opens announcing that Jenny is dead, and that Tommy, Kai and Lu Xin are intent on seeking revenge. An amulet with mysterious powers is involved and the group ends up in Thailand, where they come across the yin-yang forces of William Pan (Jason Tobin), who comes across as some kind of visionary billionaire developer with powers of mind control, and his twin sister Ku An Qi (Rhatha Phongam), the head of the Bangkok underworld who can control bodies. The heroic trio are assisted by Preeya (Francesca Corney), who has some kind of hook-up with Tommy, and Zama (Pearl Thusi), who seems to be an Interpol agent or some similarly vague law-enforcement agency with a uniform that’s more Lara Croft than James Bond. None of this matters. The story is a bizarre mixture of clichés and martial arts tropes that borrow from Taoist principles with the same kind of reckless abandon that’s missing from the action scenes. Every now and then, the cast takes a break from the brawls to spout dialogue, make wisecracks or remember the reason they are on this self-appointed mission. It is glorious to see a predominantly Asian cast, including Asian-Americans, and extended scenes set against a gorgeous Thai backdrop. However, there’s little else to enjoy in this middling martial arts flick. —Aparita Bhandari


17. Bigbug

bigbug.jpg Netflix Release Date: Feb. 11, 2022
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Stars: Isabelle Nanty, Elsa Zylberstein, Claude Perron, Stéphane De Groodt, Youssef Hajdi, Alban Lenoir, François Levantal
Genre: Sci-fi, Comedy
Rating: TV-MA
Runtime: 111 minutes
Paste Review Score: 5.5

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When French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Jeunet burst onto the scene with Delicatessen in 1991, not only did it quickly become recognized as one of the most promising directorial debuts in history, but it also did something rare: It managed to capture the world’s fragile social and political state through fiction. Which is why, when word got out that Jeunet was teaming up with Netflix for a futuristic, artificial-intelligence-based dark comedy, it was by all accounts an exciting thing. Set in 2050, Bigbug imagines a future where humanity has co-opted A.I. as friends, romantic partners, helpers and everything in between. Things take a dark turn, though, when a subset of robots called Yonyxs attempt to eradicate humankind, forcing the good robots to dutifully lock humans in their own houses for their protection. Caught in the crosshairs of this takeover is a quirky cast of characters who are stuck in a house together against their will: Alice (Elsa Zylberstein), her lover Max (Stéphane de Groodt), her ex-husband Victor (Youssef Hajdi), his lover Jennifer (Claire Chust), their kids, a nosy neighbor and a handy robot named Monique (Claude Perron). This is undoubtedly a compelling premise, and the film is immediately paced well enough to consistently move the action forward and engage the viewer. But where Delicatessen carved out a new, original kind of dystopian film, especially in its nuanced characters and their complicated motives, Bigbug unfortunately falls quickly into the realm of the predictable. From the outset, the film doesn’t seem to take itself, or its message, seriously. And while this isn’t inherently a drawback, in Bigbug’s case, it undermines its potential deeper meanings. We see this self-sabotage primarily in a cast of overwrought, archetypal characters. Perhaps most dire, though, is a lack of nuance provided to the robots, who are either quirkily wide-eyed and sterile, or Disney-villain evil. Despite Bigbug’s strange look, though, we are frequently reminded that this is indeed the work of an aesthetic visionary. Jeunet crafts his suburban hellscape with great care, with houses decorated by mid-century modern’s rebellious cousin—and who can forget a handmade, paneled robot who looks like Albert Einstein with spider legs? The robots also possess creative innovations: An on-switch that lives underneath the fingernail; hands that can adapt to open cans and whisk egg whites. If only Jeunet had instilled his story and characters with a little more of that ingenuity, then Bigbug might have been a more substantial watch. —Aurora Amidon


18. Tall Girl 2

tall-girl-2.jpg Netflix Release Date: Feb. 11, 2022
Director: Emily Ting
Stars: Ava Michelle, Sabrina Carpenter, Griffin Gluck, Steve Zahn
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Rating: TV-PG
Runtime: 101 minutes
Paste Review Score: 5.0

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Occasionally, a movie will come along that has a premise so weak that it’s nearly impossible for it to redeem itself. This is the case with Netflix’s Tall Girl franchise, a series of films about a teenage girl who is…well, very tall. Jodi Kreyman (Ava Michelle), the protagonist of both Tall Girl and its sequel, Tall Girl 2, has been plagued by exceptional height her whole life. She’s never had a boyfriend, she does just about everything she can think of to fly under the radar and just she can’t seem to walk down her high school hallway without some smartass asking her “How’s the weather up there?” While watching the first Tall Girl, I did my best to ignore the nagging feeling that this was truly a Netflix-has-run-out-of-ideas movie, and just enjoy it for what it is, which is essentially a by-the-books teen rom-com. But how do you make a sequel out of something that was never actually supposed to have a sequel, but earned enough money that a sequel became inevitable? Since Tall Girl 2’s predecessor had such a neat conclusion and resolution, it was always going to be extremely difficult to hide its nonsensical, thin premise (a movie about a girl who is tall) behind the guise of a traditional high school movie for a second time. It seems, then, that Tall Girl 2 has nothing left to do but grasp at straws. And so Jodi’s other best friend Fareeda (Anjelika Washington) ends up selling some clothes she designed to a local retail shop, a story which causes conflict between her and her parents, but is ultimately never resolved or even really justified. Similarly, Fareeda and Stig start a relationship, which not only comes totally out of left field, but also feels like something that would happen in season eight of a soap opera when the show creators are starting to run out of ideas. Stig’s sister Stella (Johanna Liauw) visits town from Sweden, too, and her presence is never justified beyond my suspicion that the filmmakers simply wanted another addition to a quirky cast of characters whose options had already been exhausted. In fact, the only storyline in Tall Girl 2 which actually makes sense is Jodi’s role as the lead in her school’s production of Bye Bye Birdie, and her increasing anxiety and self-doubt surrounding it. This storyline bodes well for the continuation of her insecure-to-confident arc. Often coming to the rescue, though, are Tall Girl 2’s performances. The always charming Gluck steals the show as the lovesick Jack, who wears his emotions on his sleeve, and whose comic timing is close to impeccable. Sabrina Carpenter, who plays Harper, Jodi’s beauty-pageant-veteran big sister, also nails it in the comedic department, performing a recurring bit, where she stares wistfully out of the window whenever she recalls a memory, to perfection. With a solid cast and decent predecessor, Tall Girl 2 could have been a compelling watch, if only it didn’t make the mistake of relying on a premise that the first one had to go to unreasonable lengths (or heights?) to disguise as something else. —Aurora Amidon


19. Love and Leashes

love-and-leashes.jpg Netflix Release Date: Feb. 11, 2022
Director: Park Hyun-jin
Stars: Seohyun, Lee Jun-young
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Rating: TV-14
Runtime: 118 minutes
Paste Review Score: 5.0

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I’m a sucker for romances. I’ve enjoyed watching K-dramas such as Imitation and Let Me Be Your Knight featuring Lee Jun-young, who debuted with the K-pop band U-KISS. In both of those dramas he played a brooding musician, often misunderstood by his own bandmates and the world at large. I’m also well aware of Seohyun’s career after debuting with the K-pop band Girls Generation, and have her K-drama Private Lives bookmarked to watch at some point. (So many K-dramas, so little time!) As one of my friends pointed out, K-dramas with romantic storylines can be saccharinely sweet: “too pink-pink.” Of course, they can also be very dark. But typically, they’re quite chaste, and follow a well-established formula. So when the trailer for Love and Leashes dropped, I was curious. Starring Lee Jun-young and Seohyun, and based on webtoon/manga The Sensual M, this rom-com offered a BDSM sub-plot. This is how the story unfolds: Jung Ji-hoo (Lee Jun-young) transfers from the business department to the PR department of a company that seems to cater to mom-based or otherwise family-friendly product. Turns out, Jung Ji-woo (Seohyun) works for the PR team, and is well-known for her no-nonsense attitude. She especially cannot tolerate her sexist boss, and frequently challenges him despite her teammate’s advice to ignore him. When Jung Ji-woo accidentally receives a package meant for Jung Ji-hoo, she discovers that her coworker harbors a secret. He may look like a well-mannered colleague and a stand-up guy, but—GASP!—he’s into kink. One thing leads to another, and Jung Ji-woo ends up playing the dominant to Jung Ji-hoo’s submissive. “I’m a quick study,” she tells him. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Love and Leashes turns out to be more of an explainer of BDSM relationships than anything dwelling on the actual relationship between these two co-workers. Those looking for a sexier version of the office romance may be disappointed. As expected, the actors throw themselves into the role and look beautiful while enacting their fantasies—although there are several cringe-worthy moments in between—but, In the end, their romance ends up being pretty chaste. If you’re looking for an amusing diversion on a cold winter night and are into K-drama, Love and Leashes might tickle your fancy. But those searching for something more steamy should keep scrolling. —Aparita Bhandari


20. Love Tactics

love-tactics.jpg Netflix Release Date: Feb. 11, 2022
Director: Emre Kabakusak
Stars: Demet Özdemir, ?ükrü Özy?ld?z
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Rating: TV-MA
Runtime: 98 minutes

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This Turkish rom-com follows the tried-in-true rivals trope for its two leads who don’t believe in love. Asl? (Demet Özdemir) is a fashion blogger, and Kerem (?ükrü Özy?ld?z) is an ad exec, and the pair place a bet that the other will fall in love first, and they plan and scheme in order to win.