Eventually, there may come a day when Netflix has only original films in its lineup and nothing from other studios. But today is not that day. Even with a half-dozen serious competitors, Netflix remains the king of the streaming mountain with an unmatched library of classic and modern films … but only if you can catch them before they leave. A number of titles are cycling out of Netflix’s rotation. Perhaps a few will return down the line, but why take that chance? If you want to schedule a few more movie nights before the end of February, then check out the best movies leaving Netflix at the end of the month.
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Basic Instinct (1992)
Would you believe that Basic Instinct was incredibly controversial three decades ago? In many ways, it was ahead of its time among modern thrillers. Sharon Stone stars as Catherine Tramell, a crime novelist whose affairs with both men and women have apparently left a lot of dead bodies in her wake. Detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) openly suspects that Catherine is killing her former lovers and fictionalizing their deaths in her books. And yet Nick can’t seem to stop himself from pursuing his own affair with Catherine, even as the events of her latest novel mirror his own life in disturbing ways.
Rotten Tomatoes: 54%
Stars: Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, George Dzundza, Jeanne Tripplehorn
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Runtime: 128 minutes
Easy A (2010)
What’s the harm of one lie if it brings happiness? But in Easy A, it’s never just one lie for Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone). Even with the best of intentions, Olive’s tangled web of deception takes her from an anonymous high school student to the most popular girl in school … and back to outcast again. Olive allows her fake boyfriends to spread the rumors that she’s been intimate with all of them. But when the time comes to save her reputation, Olive can’t count on anyone else to come to her rescue but herself. If you want to see the movie that made Stone a star, this is it.
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Stars: Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes, Thomas Haden Church
Director: Will Gluck
Runtime: 92 minutes
The Gift (2018)
The Gift is a movie that constantly calls into question which of its leading men is lying. Is it Simon Callem (Jason Bateman), the husband of Robyn (Rebecca Hall)? Or is it Gordon “Gordo” Mosley (Joel Edgerton)? After many years, Gordo reenters Simon’s life with generous gifts and offers of renewed friendship. However, Simon is suspicious of Gordo’s intentions for reasons he won’t disclose to Robyn. And when Robyn decides to get answers for herself, she doesn’t like the things that she learns about Simon. The increasingly tense game between Simon and Gordo leaves chaos and ruin in its wake. But is Gordo the threat, or is it Simon himself?
Rotten Tomatoes: 91
Stars: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton
Director: Joel Edgerton
Runtime: 108 minutes
Nobody makes a crime epic quite like Martin Scorsese, and Goodfellas is one of his best. The film is based upon the true story of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), a mobster in the Lucchese crime family for several decades. Goodfellas chronicles Henry’s rise in the organization, as well as his troubled marriage with Karen (Lorraine Bracco). But the primary emphasis is on Henry’s friendship and bond with Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) and Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro). Together, they were on top of the world, but when everything came crashing down, death and betrayal were the inevitable consequences of the lives they led.
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Stars: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco
Director: Martin Scorsese
Runtime: 146 minutes
Gran Torino (2008)
Clint Eastwood directs and headlines Gran Torino as Walt Kowalski, a Korean War veteran who is retired and estranged from most of his family. When Walt catches his neighbor’s son, Thao (Bee Vang), trying to steal his car, it leads to an unlikely bond of friendship between the two. Through Thao’s family, Walt finds friendship and companionship in the Hmong community. However, a local gang targets Thao and his family because of Walt’s intervention, which leads Walt into one last mission to protect his newfound loved ones.
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Ahney Her, Christopher Carley
Director: Clint Eastwood
Runtime: 116 minutes
LA 92 (2017)
“The past is prologue,” according to the tagline of LA 92. Sadly, this proved to be all too true. The film is a documentary about the aftermath of the Rodney King police beating, and the riots that followed when the officers involved were acquitted of all charges. But this wasn’t the end or the beginning of the story. LA 92 tracks its roots back to the Watts Riots of 1965, as well as other incidents of rising tension between Black residents of Los Angeles and the police and political figures within the city. The underlying issues behind these incidents seem to echo even more as the 30th anniversary approaches.
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Directors: Daniel Lindsay, T. J. Martin
Runtime: 114 minutes
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
Ocean’s Eleven is a remake of the 1960 Rat Pack classic Ocean’s 11. But it was the modern film that spawned a franchise that includes three additional movies to date. George Clooney stars as the recently paroled Danny Ocean, a con artist who comes up with the heist of a lifetime. Together with his partner, Robert “Rusty” Ryan (Brad Pitt), Danny recruits Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon), Saul Bloom (Carl Reiner), Basher Tarr (Don Cheadle), Virgil Malloy (Casey Affleck), and the rest of his crew to simultaneously rob three casinos. Not coincidentally, the plan gives Danny the chance to take down casino owner, Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), the man who is also dating Danny’s ex-wife, Tess (Julia Roberts).
Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Stars: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Andy García, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Runtime: 117 minutes
Saving Mr. Banks (2013)
There aren’t many Disney movies left on Netflix, and Saving Mr. Banks also has the rare distinction of featuring Walt Disney as one of the film’s primary characters. Tom Hanks stars as Walt, the studio chief who is desperate to convince Pamela “P. L.” Travers (Emma Thompson) to let him adapt her novel, Mary Poppins, as a film to fulfill a promise he made to his daughters. However, Pamela’s connections to the characters run deep, and she’s not easily wooed by Walt’s promises. In flashbacks, the author’s younger self (Annie Rose Buckley) encounters the figures that inspired Mary Poppins’ iconic characters and helped her bring that story to life.
Rotten Tomatoes: 79%
Stars: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman
Director: John Lee Hancock
Runtime: 125 minutes
Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston headlines Wakefield in a performance that mixes comedy with drama. Cranston’s Howard Wakefield is a successful attorney in an increasingly unhappy marriage with his wife, Diana (Jennifer Garner). One night, Howard simply hides in his garage and refuses to come home. Howard decides to simply observe Diana and their daughters as they deal with the fallout of his disappearance. This gives Howard a sense of freedom from his own life, but also the undeniable sensation that his family may be better off without him.
Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Stars: Bryan Cranston, Jennifer Garner, Beverly D’Angelo, Jason O’Mara
Director: Robin Swicord
Runtime: 96 minutes
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