ENTERTAINMENT

11 Great Movies From 2016 That You Can Stream On Netflix (And 1 On Hulu)

Try out a few Disney favorites, a scary dinner party or Obama's college days.

02/01/2017 9:16 AM AEDT | Updated 26/01/2017 1:59 AM AEDT
Disney/Netflix

As anxious as we all are to bid 2016 adieu, we must not forget the wealth of great films the past year has given us. A handful of them are already available to stream at home. We’ve rounded up 12 titles that will help you welcome 2017 from the comfort of your couch. 

  • "The Jungle Book"
    Disney
    Hollywood's bloated franchise obsession is running thin, but Disney's live-action reboots of its animated classics keep getting better. 2016 brought us "The Jungle Book" and "Pete's Dragon," two surprisingly meditative takes on orphan boys surviving in the wilderness with their animal pals. Netflix recently signed a deal to acquire Disney's new releases, so "The Jungle Book" has already hit the streaming service. Boot up Jon Favreau's majestic adventure -- featuring the voice work of Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong'o, Scarlett Johansson and Christopher Walken -- for a beautifully rendered take on the bare necessities of life. [Trailer]
  • "The Invitation"
    Drafthouse Films
    This deceptive chiller begins with a dinner party that reunites a group of friends at a nice home in the Hollywood Hills. It ends with a cultish quest for survival that comes to one of 2016's most inventive culminations. Directed by Karyn Kusama ("Girlfight," "Jennifer's Body"), "The Invitation" buries themes of grief and salvation in a story of menace and terror. [Trailer]
  • "13th"
    Netflix
    "Selma" director Ava DuVernay has crafted a must-see polemic that proves America is not as far removed from its slavery roots as we'd like to believe. Tracing a thin line between a loophole in the 13th Amendment that paved the way for segregation and mass incarceration, DuVernay profiles a dark facet of history via interviews with civil rights leaders, politicians and others who strip away partisan divides to show that everyone is responsible for the struggles plaguing modern race relations. [Trailer]
  • "Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You"
    Music Box Films
    In creating socially pointed sitcoms like "All in the Family," "The Jeffersons" and "Maude," Norman Lear redefined television. Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady have made an inspired documentary that explores the legend's life, from his childhood and World War II service to his pop-culture contributions and political activism. Along the way, you'll see remarkable footage from 1970s writers rooms, a fascinating exploration of race in prime-time entertainment and an ode to a voice that helped to reshape modern culture. [Trailer]
  • "White Girl"
    FilmRise
    Comparisons to "Kids" and "Spring Breakers" befit Elizabeth Wood's edgy drama about a privileged New York City undergrad (Morgan Saylor) who entertains herself by hanging around a jailbait drug dealer (Brian Marc). She develops a penchant for cocaine and easy sex. Her class status and good looks mean she rarely considers consequences, making "White Girl" a frenzy of youthful endurance. When her druggie pal is arrested, she goes to extremes to prevent him from spending decades behind bars. [Trailer]
  • "Barry"
    Netflix
    Netflix snatched up the exclusive rights to "Barry" after its Toronto Film Festival bow in September. Vikram Gandhi's affecting biopic dramatizes Barack Obama's start at Columbia University. The year is 1981. Everyone calls him Barry. Armed with cigarettes, Ralph Ellison books and no political ambition whatsoever, Obama struggles with his biracial identity and the aftermath of an absent father. The movie is a beguiling hindsight exploration of a man whose self-examination would later embed him at the center of American history. [Trailer]
  • "Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids"
    Netflix
    Several years before he directed "The Silence of the Lambs" and "Philadelphia," Jonathan Demme made "Stop Making Sense," the acclaimed concert film about the Talking Heads. Years later, he gave Neil Young a similar treatment. In 2016, Demme made "Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids," another enlivening look at a lucrative arena tour. Filmed on the closing night of Timberlake's 20/20 Experience roadshow, Demme spends just enough time with the singer and his band behind the scenes to make their onstage presence all the more seductive. He emphasizes the minutiae of a pop concert while highlighting the enveloping allure of Timberlake's theatrics. [Trailer]
  • "Zootopia"
    Disney
    "Zootopia" marked another win for Disney in 2016, crossing $1 billion at the global box office. On its face, "Zootopia" is the charismatic story of a bunny striving to prove herself in a society that questions rabbits' abilities as police officers. Beneath that is a parable about equality and a screed against xenophobia. It remains a surprisingly appropriate folktale for 2016. [Trailer]
  • "Under the Shadow"
    Netflix
    Coming to Netflix on Jan. 9, "Under the Shadow" is an Iranian horror movie that didn't earn enough attention when it popped through theaters last fall. Babak Anvari sheds a feminist light on the Middle East's female oppression in this tense thriller about a medical student whose daughter suspects an evil presence lurking through their apartment. As war explodes around them, the supernatural forces strengthen. But something even scarier occurs: Paranoia turns their every interaction into a walking nightmare, told through soft thrills and political tribulation. "Under the Shadow" has been aptly compared to 2014's "The Babadook." [Trailer]
  • "The Little Prince"
    Netflix
    Using glorious stop-motion animation, "The Little Prince" looks and feels like a poetic watercolor reverie. Mark Osborne's adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's classic novel defies the onslaught of Hollywood kids movies that end with tidy bows. Instead, this story of a young girl whose overbearing mother dictates her prep-school future blossoms as our protagonist meets an elderly aviator who regales her with fantastical tales of his past. "The Little Prince" becomes a narrative about the disconnect between a life of cold calculations and one of outsized adventures. [Trailer]
  • "Captain America: Civil War"
    Disney
    The Avengers series grew up with "Captain America: Civil War," a politically thorny imbroglio that splits the Marvel superheroes into sparring factions. The results are no more coherent than any other contemporary comic-book adaptation, but the Russo brothers' universe-expanding saga featured some of the most thrilling action on screen last year. Case in point: a whirling 15-minute battle sequence on an airport tarmac. [Trailer]
  • "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot"
    Paramount
    This one's on Hulu, not Netflix. But don't sleep on this underrated dramedy, whose misguided marketing campaign did it no favors at the box office. "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" tells the true story of Kim Baker (Tina Fey), a low-rung television journalist who volunteers as a war correspondent in Afghanistan. The movie is far from perfect, but the trailers wanted you to think it was full of antics. Instead, it's a thoughtful romp about midlife restlessness that features Fey's best performance yet. [Trailer]
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