You know how new DVDs and Blu-rays always come out on a Monday? Netflix laughs in the face of such regimented scheduling and instead releases all of its new TV shows and movies whenever the heck it feels like it.
That can make keeping track of all of the new stuff a first-world nightmare of epic proportions.
But help is at hand: here we highlight all of the best new stuff on Netflix. And yes, that does mean we've left out all of the rubbish, so you won't find the likes of Frontier or Sharknado: The 4th Awakens here.
Instead, allow us to guide you, truffle pig-like, to the finest and freshest streaming fungus.
Note: the newest stuff is at the top of the list, with the shows and movies getting progressively less new as you scroll down and switch pages
The streaming event of the year, if not the decade? Fuggetabout it! The Irishman is not only director Martin Scorsese’s long-awaited return to the world of organised crime, it also brings together the cinematic Holy Trinity of tough guy gangster movie stars: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and an out-of-retirement Joe Pesci. It’s kind of like The Expendables, but with people who can act.
Set over several decades (it’s a showcase for how far CG de-aging technology has come) the film delves one of 20th century America’s biggest mysteries: the disappearance of union boss Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino), who had links to both mainstream politics (he might have known who really killed JFK) and the mob.
An almost unrecognisable Nicole Kidman delivers one of the greatest performances of her career in Karen Kusama’s gritty, chronologically jumbled indie drama-thriller about an alcoholic LA cop attempting to atone for the sins of the past. If it sounds like a standard film noir, Destroyer is actually a bit more nuanced and thought-provoking than most crime movies, but in years to come we suspect it’ll be Kidman’s Oscar-nominated performance that people remember.
The Crown (S3)
Netflix’s lush historical drama about the life of the Windsors skips forward a few years – and gets an almost entirely new cast in the process. Fresh off the back of an Oscar for playing a rather different queen of England, Olivia Colman steps into the shoes vacated by Claire Foy as Elizabeth II, with Tobias Menzies, Ben Daniels and Helena Bonham Carter replacing other members of the royal family.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the level of the production (impeccable) and the show’s ability to portray personal, political and national crises all at once – and link them thematically while doing so. The overall quality of Netflix’s original programming output may have diminished recently, but The Crown is proof that there’s still world-class TV being made specifically for streaming.
An opaque, quiet and lyrical psychological thriller that leaves plenty of questions for the viewer to ponder once the credits roll, Earthquake Bird stars Alicia Vikander as a young translator living in late 1980s Tokyo. A chance encounter with an enigmatic photographer sparks off a tragic sequence of events, and also leads her to ponder her painful past, the nature of life, death and the relationship between the two.
Despite its bankable star and the fact that it’s based on a bestselling novel, Earthquake Bird doesn’t deliver the straightforward thrills and easy answers of outwardly similar movies like The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl. It’s beautifully shot and finely acted, but some might find the ending rather abrupt and unfulfilling – and we suspect its slow burning nature requires a bit more patience and consideration than many are prepared to give it.
Dolemite Is My Name
Eddie Murphy shines in this raucous biopic of Rudy Ray Moore, an overweight, middle-aged and professionally directionless musician and stand-up comedian who found fame in the 1970s by creating a smooth-talking and confident stage alter ego: a pimp named Dolemite.
As a rags to riches tale it might sound all too familiar, but Murphy’s performance, a fantastic supporting cast packed with familiar faces and a surprising amount of heart and soul make it a truly engaging watch – particularly if you’re learning about Moore and Dolemite for the first time.
20 Feet from Stardom
This compelling documentary turns the spotlight onto a key – and all too often overlooked – contributor to music: the backing singer. Built from interviews with performers, producers and the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger and Sting, 20 Feet From Stardom is an affecting and enlightening exploration of the life of some of the most hardworking and talented professionals in the music industry – people who share a stage with superstars night after night without a single audience member knowing their name.
Providing a view of the rock era most of us won’t have considered before, it landed the 2014 Oscar for best documentary feature.
Maradona in Mexico (S1)
Argentina’s most notorious cokehead gets a job managing a lower league side based in Sinaloa, Mexico’s most drug cartel-ravaged state and former home of El Chapo. What could go wrong?!
It’s easy to see why Netflix snapped up this fly-on-the-wall documentary series about Diego Maradona’s attempts to return to football management, and its killer combo of underdog story, redemption arc, car crash TV and character profile of one of the sport’s greatest ever players make it a compelling watch.
This beautifully shot but ponderous Henry V yarn (based more on Shakespeare’s plays than actual history) is in danger of rendering thousands of breathless Timothée Chalamet stans unexpectedly bored and perplexed. They might have come to ogle young Timmy as England’s most celebrated warrior king, but they’ll be strapped in for a rather staid character study instead of a Braveheart-esque romp.
Directed by David Michôd and focussing on the young Hal’s ascendency to the English throne, his wartime efforts in France and his relationship with his advisors, The King runs to over two hours and, while stacked with fine moments and performances (Robert Pattinson’s scenery-chewing turn as France’s theatrical dauphin is particularly memorable for… reasons), doesn’t manage to make much of an impression in that time.
Enter the Dragon
The final film to star Bruce Lee before his untimely death, 1973’s Enter the Dragon may also be the best showcase for the man’s prodigious talents as a performer. Lee plays a zen-like martial arts expert, recruited from a shaolin temple by British intelligence to spy on a menacing crime boss. How best to infiltrate the bad guy’s fortress-like island lair? By entering a kung-fu tournament taking place there, of course.
This set up allows the filmmakers to bring in a varied cast of interesting characters, with Jim Kelly and John Saxon particularly memorable as two American fighters. Is Enter the Dragon cheesy as hell? It is, with its entirely overdubbed dialogue and sound effects, extremely dramatic editing style, frequent sexism and Lee’s customary whoops and facial expressions providing camp aplenty. It’s certainly of its time – but also a brilliant watch, particularly the fight scenes.
You Were Never Really Here
Lynne Ramsay’s feverish drama certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. Joaquin Phoenix plays Joe, a bedraggled hitman with a murky past, but his world and methods are a long way from the sterile, hyper-efficient contract killing you usually see on cinema screens (hint: his weapon of choice is a hammer).
With an unnerving Jonny Greenwood soundtrack that echoes Joe’s troubled mindset, it’s an edge-of-your-seat film that won’t hold your hand through its tight 90 minutes, but its vaguely dreamlike quality will stay with you for a long time afterwards.