The Movie Guru: ‘The Mitchells vs. the Machines’ and other Netflix delights available now
If you’re looking for the biggest variety of new original content, the place to go is Netflix.
The service has poured a ton of effort into making a wide collection of movies and TV shows, ranging from wacky road-trip movies to complicated fantasy epics. With so many options to choose from, sometimes it’s hard to find the ones that will turn out to be your absolute favorites. If you’re looking, here are some streaming treats that are available right now.
‘The Mitchells vs. the Machines’
Already a contender for best animated movie of the year, “The Mitchells vs. the Machines” is a hilarious, warm-hearted celebration of both the stresses and joys of being kind of a weird family. When the robot apocalypse interrupts a stressful family road trip, the Mitchells must learn to overcome their differences and appreciate each other’s strengths in order to stop a cell-phone helper program from taking over the world. There are entertaining swipes at certain large corporations that I absolutely won’t name here, but the real humor and heart of the movie comes from the Mitchells themselves. They’re no one’s definition of a hero, but through love and weirdness they manage to do it anyway. You’ll laugh, you’ll cheer, and you might even get a little teary along the way.
‘Shadow and Bone’
If you’re looking for another addictive fantasy series to get lost in, this is it. Based on two YA book series by Leigh Bardudo, “Shadow and Bone” is basically a YA save-the-world romance and a heist movie all in one. The two different stories follow two different groups of characters, both of which slowly but surely get woven together as the story progresses. The entire cast is great, though you’ll probably end up with your favorites (mine were the crew of criminals who try to kidnap a superhero and help her safe the world). Even better, the ending is satisfying while still leaving plenty of room for Netflix to adapt more of Bardudo’s books. I know I have my fingers crossed.
‘My Octopus Teacher’
If you missed this documentary when it came out last year, its recent Oscar win is the perfect excuse to give it a second look. “My Octopus Teacher” combines gorgeous, up-close underwater shots with the kind of Snow White fantasy we’ve all had staring at animals in an aquarium. Filmmaker Craig Foster is unfortunately somewhat less interesting than the octopus, but his Werner Herzog-like narration has a soothing quality that makes it easier to wait until the next time he goes underwater.
‘Julie and the Phantoms’
This series, about a teenage singer who accidentally befriends the ghost band haunting her garage, is a giddy, unexpectedly touching delight. Who can resist a series that combines catchy musical numbers, two teen romances with real chemistry, plenty of touching moments, a ton of laughs, and a genuinely dangerous villain? If the series does have a flaw, it’s that it’s over far too quickly. Hopefully, Netflix will solve that problem by greenlighting a second season as soon as possible.