Stream These 15 Great Titles Before They Leave Netflix This Month

 Stream These 15 Great Titles Before They Leave Netflix This Month


The timing is presumably accidental, owing to the vagaries of licensing agreements rather than nefarious motives, but it still seems downright cruel that so many television series and films of note are departing Netflix as so many of us are still stuck at home. Here are our suggestions for what to prioritize in that ever-shrinking queue. (Dates indicate the final day a title is available.)

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This Emmy-winning drama from Matthew Weiner didn’t just help define contemporary prestige TV, to say nothing of launching its talented cast — which included Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, John Slattery, Christina Hendricks and January Jones — into the stratosphere. It challenged how we think about the past from the inside out, meticulously replicating the costumes hairstyles and architecture of the period to more effectively shine its attitudes and assumptions through a critical, contemporary prism. Things sure have changed, it’s easy to say; it’s harder to show how much they’ve stayed the same.

You probably won’t have time to watch it all, but this is a good time to rewatch some of the best episodes (like “The Suitcase,” per conventional wisdom) — or, as our critic Margaret Lyons recently suggested, all of Season 5.

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Ushio and Noriko Shinohara had been married for nearly four decades when the director Zachary Heinzerling brought his documentary camera to their Brooklyn studio, capturing the tricky tensions of this unusual union. He was an established painter and sculptor when they met, and she was a much younger art student; as a result, she put her artistic ambitions on hold in the service of his. But her current, candid work seeks to reclaim that voice, much to her husband’s chagrin, and this snapshot of a complicated marriage examines the compromises necessary in any successful union — while also asking how much is too much.

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Coming as it did at the tail end of a golden age that included “The Lion King,” “Aladdin” and “Beauty and the Beast,” this 1999 adaptation of the venerable “ape man” stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs has been somewhat forgotten in the Disney canon. But it’s a sturdy and entertaining animated adventure, with the directors Kevin Lima (“Enchanted”) and Chris Buck (“Frozen”) deftly using the limitless imaginations of their animators to flesh out Tarzan’s jungle world. Phil Collins contributes the songs; Tony Goldwyn and Minnie Driver charm as the voices of Tarzan and Jane.

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This exploration of the highs and lows of life for students at a prestigious New York ballet school is walking well-trodden ground. (There are echoes of “Fame,” “The Turning Point” and countless backstage musicals.) But the screenwriter Carol Heikkinen and the director Nicholas Hytner compensate with a keen sense of observation and authenticity; this is a film that knows how these students live and work, understands the rivalries that brew in those rehearsal studios and captures the relentless drive and perfectionism that motivates everyone involved.

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Few television series manage to run for over a decade with no discernible decline in quality, even while shedding key cast members and creative personnel. But that’s one of the many miracles attached to this 11-season wonder, set in a Boston neighborhood bar “where everybody knows your name.” Ted Danson is the rock at the show’s center, a onetime baseball star turned teetotaling barkeep; the razor-sharp writing and crisply defined supporting characters create the best kind of situation comedy, in which laughs are generated less by formulaic punch lines than by how well we know the show’s distinctive personalities.

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This moving adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald short story, directed by David Fincher, racked up an astonishing 13 Academy Award nominations — including nods for best picture, best director, best actor (Brad Pitt) and best supporting actress (Taraji P. Henson) — and the enthusiasm is understandable. Aside from its technical virtuosity, the film nimbly sidesteps the homework-assignment quality that haunts so many period literary adaptations, locating both the playfulness and melancholy in Fitzgerald’s story of a man who is born old and ages backward.

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Cate Blanchett broke through to the mainstream — and nabbed her first Oscar nomination — for this rousing portrait of Queen Elizabeth I. The director Shekhar Kapur carefully avoids the trappings of a dry historical costume drama, homing in on the earthy pleasures and tactile delights of the period and collaborating with Blanchett to present a monarch with a decidedly contemporary approach to the pursuit of power. Geoffrey Rush, Joseph Fiennes and Vincent Cassel lend able support to the proceedings.

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Nestled comfortably in a remarkable run of teen-oriented pictures that included “Sixteen Candles” and “The Breakfast Club,” this fast-paced comedy from the writer and director John Hughes offers up one of his most iconic characters: Ferris Bueller (played to winking perfection by Matthew Broderick), a cocky, confident, freewheeling fast talker who cooks up a scheme to play hooky one last time with his best friend (Alan Ruck) and his best girl (Mia Sara). Hughes cheerfully intermingles broad slapstick comedy with sly character moments, subtly steering his story to an unexpectedly graceful and moving conclusion.

Stream it here.

With the trailer for Christopher Nolan’s latest film, “Tenet,” wowing stranded moviegoers (and prompting endless discussion about when it will land in theaters), it’s a good time to revisit its most direct predecessor in Nolan’s filmography. This 2010 smash finds him doing what he does best: combining brainy existential theory with slam-bang action fireworks, telling the story of a high-tech thief (Leonardo DiCaprio) who specializes in stealing information through dream infiltration. The loaded supporting cast includes Marion Cotillard, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Stream it here.

This 2009 comedy-drama from Nora Ephron has proved to be a particularly appropriate quarantine movie, concerning as it does an amateur chef’s difficulties cooking elaborate dishes. (We’re all going through it.) Ephron adapts a book by Julie Powell, a blogger who attempted to cook all of the recipes in Julia Child’s influential cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” and a memoir by Child (written with Alex Prud’homme), which details the development of those recipes. The juxtaposition is ingenious, giving the viewer two movies for the price of one, and the performances (particularly by Meryl Streep as Child, Amy Adams as Powell and Stanley Tucci as Child’s devoted husband) are first-rate.

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Filmmakers never seem to tire of adapting Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility,” “Pride and Prejudice” and “Emma,” but they seem comparatively uninterested in her 1814 coming-of-age story, “Mansfield Park.” That’s one of the many reasons to check out this 1999 adaptation from the screenwriter and director Patricia Rozema, who remains faithful to the spirit of Austen’s novel while indulging in a handful of fascinating modifications. Frances O’Connor is dazzling in the leading role, while Jonny Lee Miller, Alessandro Nivola, Embeth Davidtz, James Purefoy, Hugh Bonneville and the playwright Harold Pinter lend able support.

Stream it here.

When this mind-melting hit from the Wachowskis landed in theaters in the spring of 1999, its shock waves reverberated throughout the filmmaking of the new millennium. Adroitly combining elements of dystopian science fiction, Asian action cinema, anime and cyberpunk, it concerns a dissatisfied hacker (Keanu Reeves) who learns that reality is an illusion and the mentors (Laurence Fishburne and Carrie-Anne Moss) who lead him on that journey. It is among the most imitated of blockbusters of the past quarter-century, but none have matched its relentless energy and narrative dexterity. (Its two sequels are also leaving Netflix after June 30.)

Stream it here.

Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise joined forces for the first time for this 2002 adaptation of the Philip K. Dick short story, envisioning a future in which elite police officers use psychic predictions to stop crimes before they happen — which is all well and good until the chief of the unit (Cruise) is accused of a “pre-crime” himself. The premise is clever, mixing action-infused, post-“Matrix” sci-fi with a classic Hitchcockian “wrong man” conflict. The film also poses thoughtful questions about surveillance and profiling that have grown only more relevant since.

Stream it here.

Tom Hanks won his first Academy Award — and kick-started a second career as a dramatic actor — with this 1993 drama from the acclaimed director Jonathan Demme. It was among the first major motion pictures to address the AIDS crisis, and it does so cautiously, wrapping its story in the familiar and comfortable conventions of the courtroom drama. But Hanks is astonishing in the leading role, deploying his Everyman warmth and good humor to humanize a struggle much of America had ignored, and Denzel Washington is brilliant as the bigoted peer whose journey to tolerance and understanding mirrored much of the audience’s.

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No one expected much from this adventure comedy, which was dumped into theaters in January 1990 and barely made a dent at the box office. But critics recognized its charms and the slyness with which its director, Ron Underwood (“City Slickers”), and its stars, Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward, were sending up the conventions of monster movies. Home video audiences caught up with it in the months and years that followed, turning into a bona fide cult smash, prompting five direct-to-video sequels — most of which are also leaving Netflix after June 30, so catch up with this goofily enjoyable series while you can.



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