The 25 best movies on Netflix (December 2018)

5. Black Panther (2018)

Region: US

The movie: The MCU breaks new territory as we head to Wakanda, ancestral home of T’Challa (AKA Black Panther) as he’s torn between inheriting the role of leading his country in the wake of his father’s death and fighting off usurpers from all sides. Lurking in the shadows, too, is Erik Kilmonger (Michael B. Jordan) who places himself firmly among the pantheon of best Marvel villains by going toe-to-toe with T’Challa for control of the technologically-advanced African nation. All this leads to several climactic showdowns within Wakanda and beyond as T’Challa has to prove he has what it takes to become a king.

Why it’s worth watching: Simply put, this is Marvel at its very, very best. While the studio with the Midas touch can seemingly do no wrong, this projected undoubtedly represented a risk. It needn’t have. With Ryan Coogler behind the camera, this is a movie that pops with flair and colour as well as elevating Black Panther to the top tier of MCU heroes. No mean feat for the first (of presumably many) standalone movies. This being Marvel, there’s several cameos along the way to keep you entertained – and one heck of a final showdown.

Read more: What does the Black Panther ending mean? And 5 other questions we still have

4. The Sixth Sense (1999)

Region: US

The movie: "I see dead people." That's the line everyone remembers from The Sixth Sense, and, that one iconic line kinda sums up the film. Cole (Haley Joel Osment) is a sensitive kid who indeed does see ghosts. His mom (Toni Collette) sends him to see a therapist Malcolm (Bruce Willis) to help with his visions and social anxieties, all the while his experiences with the dead continue to grow more violent...

Why it's worth watching: This is the reason everyone pays attention when Shyamalan releases a new movie. The Sixth Sense set the standard high and I'm not even talking about the twist. It packs in a raft of creepy moments, making it one of the most chilling flicks ever made, and somehow also manages to be a massive tearjerker at the same time. Toni Collette's last scene? Try not to blub. 

3. The Big Lebowski (1998)

Region: UK, US

The movie: It’s hard to say what’s the absolute best Coen Brothers movie. Mine’s a split between The Hudsucker Proxy and Fargo, but it’s easier to say which film has had the bigger impact on pop culture. Responsible for a million dorm room posters, and justifying a million skipped classes in favour of chillin’ out, it’s got to be The Big Lebowski. A madcap caper that’s brimming with terrific performances, it follows Jeffrey 'The Dude' Lebowski, a slacker, bowler, and White Russian aficionado as he becomes embroiled in a case of mistaken identity. To be honest, the deranged plotting doesn’t really matter, this is all about the journey. Oh, and the rug. It really did tie the room together.

Why it’s worth watching: It’s a breezy watch that continues to - to paraphrase The Dude - bring new shit to light with every viewing. From its endlessly quotable dialogue, lifetime best performances (John Goodman is brilliant), and whacked-out twists, there’s a reason it’s referred to as a modern classic.

2. Seven (1995)

Region: UK, US

The movie: Following a disastrous experience on the set of his first feature, Alien 3, David Fincher swore off studio films. He had no interest. That is, until the script for Seven landed on his desk. Penned by a former record store employee with a penchant for dark cinema, something about Seven caught Fincher’s attention and he climbed aboard. Set in an unnamed, gloomy American city, the story follows two cops, Mills (Brad Pitt) and Somerset (Morgan Freeman) as they pursue a serial killer who models his murders after the seven deadly sins.

Why it’s worth a watch: Remember that surge of serial killer movies in the ‘90s? Seven is the one that started them all. And, like all good trendsetters, it’s stood the test of time, proving that a good twist can be an integral part of the plot, and not just a crappy gimmick.

1. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1973)

Region: US

The movie: The question of whether or not we are alone in the universe is one that most of us have pondered at some point. For Spielberg, it’s one that he revisits often, through different lenses. Close Encounters is his masterpiece on the topic, arriving a decade before E.T., that follows Richard Dreyfus’ character Roy Neary, who happens to spy a UFO one night while driving home. Dazed from his experience, his entire life slowly changes, as he obsesses over the shapes he sees, desperate to make sense of it all.

Why it’s worth a watch: If you haven’t seen Close Encounters before then you need to see it, period. It’s a classic for a reason, a wedge of Spielbergian magic that will tingle all of your emotions: it’s thrilling, it’s scary, it’s action-packed, it’s dramatic, and above all, it’s a tearjerker. There’s always a reason to remain content with what we know, to stay loyal to our routines, yet Spielberg’s tale of wonderment will encourage you to stop listening to those voices and dream big.