The 35 best things to watch on Netflix right now

(UPDATED FOR JULY 2015) At a loose end this evening? Here are the best films and TV shows on Netflix can put on a screen near you

Would you employ this man as your lawyer?

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Video-streaming service Netflix gives you a vast number of films, TV shows and documentaries to choose from – and that can be a problem.

More often than not, you find yourself spending your entire evening shuffling through the selection trying to pick something to watch – before realising that you no longer have time to actually watch a film.

Never fear; we've rifled through the Netflix catalogue to bring you our top picks, from chucklesome comedies to action-packed adventures. Let Stuff be your guide on your cinematic odyssey.

And before you cry, "Wait! Where's [insert your favourite critically-acclaimed and highly popular show/movie here]?" we'll add the following disclaimer: we overhaul the list regularly and try to skew it towards things that you may not have seen yet. 

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Better Call Saul

Everyone's favourite sleazy-yet-likeable lawyer Saul Goodman (well, Jimmy McGill) returns to Netflix, in a series which throws us back seven years before the explosive events of Breaking Bad.

Bob Odenkirk slips into his cheap suit with remarkable ease, and his superb performance allows his character's desperation, tenacity and humour to seep through the screen and grab our attention with both hands.

It's always fun to root for the underdog, and from the very first episode you're right there alongside Goodman, wanting him to fight to the top - all while being aware of the dark things to come. Congratulations, Netflix. You've done it again. 

Wreck-It Ralph

In the last ten years, Disney has consistently produced films that don’t feel like a chore to watch as an adult. Wreck-It Ralph is one such movie, a Golden Globe-winning example with a well thought out plot and brilliant animation which combine to make a great family film.

In fact in many ways Ralph will resonate more strongly with the adults among you, brimming as it is with some of the most iconic video game characters of yesteryear: Q*bert, Clyde from Pac-Man, Zangief from Street Fighter II and Sonic The Hedgehog, to name a few.

The acting is also excellent. From what we’d seen of John C. Reilly in Step Brothers and Talladega Nights, he seemed destined to be the ‘other funny guy’ to Will Ferrell, but here he steals the show in this story of a video game bad guy who wants to turn good.

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Winter’s Bone

Jennifer Lawrence was an unknown teenager when she made Winter’s Bone, but her performance as a 17-year-old backwoods girl forced to look after her brother and sister after her father’s disappearance was striking enough to earn her an Academy Award nomination.

Lawrence’s Ree unravels a dark, dreary and thoroughly dispiriting tale as she seeks to locate her old man, and the film’s unflinching portrayal of poverty-stricken and meth-stricken rural Missouri isn’t a pretty one – but the tone, plot and performances of both Lawrence and her (also Oscar-nominated) co-star John Hawkes, in career-best form as Ree’s terrifying, complex uncle Teardrop, make Winter’s Bone a must-see.

Gorky Park

This classic crime thriller is a fascinating snapshot of a lost world: Soviet-era Moscow, complete with Cold War-tensions, KGB 'disappearings' and ramshackle cars.

It's based on the acclaimed novel of the same name, and that's evident from the taut, tight script, believable characterising and plentiful attention to detail.

William Hurt leads a fine cast which also includes Lee Marvin, Brian Dennehy and Joanna Pacula, but the real star of the show is the city and its environs: shrouded in snow, teeming with betrayal and easy to lose yourself in.

Zero Dark Thirty

Sometimes the truth really does live up to the fiction; the hunt for Osama Bin Laden was the stuff of Tom Clancy thrillers, with its stealth helicopters, Seal team raids and tense situation rooms.

For the majority of Zero Dark Thirty, though, director Kathryn Bigelow shifts the focus on to the CIA officers chasing down leads, conducting “enhanced interrogations” and working contacts in the world’s most protracted game of cat and mouse. Wisely, Bin Laden himself is kept off-screen throughout, as elusive a presence to us as he is to the analysts.

Instead, the heart of the film is Jessica Chastain’s steely CIA officer Maya, a composite of the real-life agents who worked to track down Al-Qaeda’s figurehead; her Terminator-like intensity would seem almost implausible were it not for the fact that she’s based on real people. Sadly, the film’s forced to unceremoniously sideline her for its denouement, a blow-by-blow account of Seal Team Six’s attack on Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan that’s fraught with tension – despite the fact that the outcome isn’t in doubt.

The film also strays into controversial territory in its assertion that actionable intelligence was gained through the euphemistically-described “enhanced interrogations” – though it depicts them with unflinching, documentary-style realism, and doesn’t shy away from their lasting effects on both interrogators and captives.

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