5 Netflix movie hits, from 'Ex Machina' to 'Birdman'

With winter nights starting as early as 5 p.m., there’s nothing better than settling down for an evening of Netflix and chill after a long day. The seemingly endless selection of of TV and films can be hard to navigate if you don’t know what you’re looking for, so here are a couple solid recommendations for your next movie night in Canada, or wherever else Netflix thinks you’re streaming from.

“Ex Machina”

This recent release about a forgettable techie who is selected to partake in a Turing test of his company’s newest product, a lifelike android named Ava, raising some interesting questions about artificial intelligence and the value of life. Domhnall Gleeson’s penchant for playing almost likeable nobodies surrounded by talent serves this movie well. While he’s the point-of-view character for most of “Ex Machina,” the twist ending focuses more on revealing Ava’s true potential.

“Selma”

Ava DuVernay’s dramatic retelling of the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama led by Martin Luther King Jr. is hard to watch, but it’s a good way to put the ongoing discussion of police brutality and protests on campus into context. “Selma” is the rare film with a large cast that manages to make the audience care about everyone on screen, drawing you into the moment with creative cinematography that makes it feel like you’re in the audience of MLK’s speech.

"Interstellar”

This award winning science fiction romp may be old news to anyone who saw it in theaters, but for anyone who missed the hype, finding this tale of a team of astronauts sent into the reaches of space to escape Earth’s second dust bowl was like striking gold. While the plot pinwheels between cerebral and convoluted at times, Matthew McConaughey and co. have to play by some interesting rules if they want to save the planet and everyone they’ve ever known.

“Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Riggan, played by Michael Keaton, a washed up actor known for the Batman-esque title role, is a miserable man ready to give his life for a pretty good play he believes will be his ultimate comeback. “Birdman” is one of those painfully realistic movies about life not measuring up to expectations, which makes its sparse special effects all the more startling. With memorable performances by Edward Norton, Emma Stone and Zach Galifianakis, “Birdman” is the perfect film for fans of theater ready to take a peek behind the curtain at the drama and, in this case, mental anguish going on backstage.

“Snowpiercer”

This dystopian train ride about a world blanketed in snow after a botched attempt at geoengineering is a great way to remind yourself that, no matter how cold it gets, things could be much, much worse. Based on a French graphic novel adapted by South Korean director Bong Joon-ho in English, “Snowpiercer” has a lot to say about class and capitalism with a uniquely twisted scene behind every door.


Kimberly Armstrong is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at kimberly.armstrong@uconn.edu