Feel a bit overwhelmed when Netflix unloads what feels like a hundred new films and shows every month? Our critics are here to pull the best new stuff for grownups, from Octavia Spencer in The Help and Helen Mirren in The Queen (you know which one) to true classics like Cape Fear and West Side Story. Grab the remote — the viewing’s fine!
The Queen (June 1)
Helen Mirren is the queen of playing queens on screen, and in her most acclaimed (and Oscar-winning) royal performance, she plays England’s Queen Elizabeth during the awful, dramatic year when Princess Diana died. Michael Sheen is aces as her confidante, Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Watch it here: The Queen
The Silence of the Lambs (June 1)
Get ready for CBS’s upcoming TV sequel Clarice by watching the original monster hit about FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) and the serial killer (Anthony Hopkins) who haunts her dreams. Plus, on June 5, Netflix releases all three seasons of the 2013-15 TV series Hannibal, starring Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal the Cannibal.
Watch it here: The Silence of the Lambs
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Cape Fear (June 1)
Yes, Martin Scorsese makes great art films, but there’s nothing scarier than his B-movie about a wrongly convicted but very bad jailbird (Robert De Niro) and his vengeance on the lawyer who failed to get him off (Nick Nolte).
Watch it here: Cape Fear
Clueless (June 1)
Of all the many movies of Jane Austen’s 1816 novel Emma, the funniest is the modern Beverly Hills high school version starring Alicia Silverstone in a career-making role as the meddlesome but well-meaning girl who promotes the love life of her protegee (Brittany Murphy).
Watch it here: Clueless
West Side Story (June 1)
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was fine, but the Stephen Sondheim/Leonard Bernstein musical version of the story won 10 Oscars. Natalie Wood is stunning as the girl in love with a guy from an enemy gang, and Rita Moreno steals the show as her friend who sings “I like to be in America.”
Watch it here: West Side Story
Inside Man (June 1)
In Spike Lee’s most fun movie, detective Denzel Washington hunts brilliant bank robber Clive Owen — but why did bank president Christopher Plummer hire devious fixer Jodie Foster to hush things up? Twisty and superbly well-acted.
Watch it here: Inside Man
The Help (June 1)
Octavia Spencer got a historic Oscar and Viola Davis an Oscar nomination playing maids with attitude in a beautiful, uplifting film about Mississippi’s big changes in the civil-rights 1960s. The white actresses (Allison Janney, Emma Stone and Jessica Chastain) are fantastic, too.
Watch it here: The Help
Lady Bird (June 3)
Laurie Metcalf and Saoirse Ronan both got Oscar nominations in the most affecting mother-daughter love story in years. It’s a coming of age drama for all ages. Greta Gerwig also earned Oscar noms for writing and directing, and for best picture.
Watch it here: Lady Bird
Da 5 Bloods (June 12)
In Spike Lee’s first film after the Oscar-winning BlacKkKlansman, four Vietnam vets — Delroy Lindo, Isiah Whitlock Jr. (The Wire), Clarke Peters and Norm Lewis — go back to Vietnam to find their fallen squad leader, Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), and score a fortune, in a film that’s been compared to Apocalypse Now and Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
Watch it here: Da 5 Bloods
How to Get Away With Murder, Season 6 (June 13)
The triumphant final season of TV’s intense legal thriller shows why star Viola Davis, as law prof Annalise Keating, became the first black woman to win the lead actress Emmy. Can Annalise survive her high-drama lifestyle? Tune in and see.
Watch it here: How to Get Away With Murder
Frost/Nixon (June 13)
In Ron Howard’s thoughtful, fact-based drama, Frank Langella masterfully portrays President Nixon in his historic 1977 interview with TV journalist David Frost (Michael Sheen). Some prefer Anthony Hopkins’ performance as the tricky politico in Oliver Stone’s Nixon, but Langella is subtler and ultimately more brilliant.