Watch These 11 Titles Before They Leave Netflix This Month


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The popularity of “Yellowstone” has renewed interest in this 1990 Academy Award winner by Kevin Costner for best picture and best director, which similarly explored the complicated relationship between Indigenous Americans and white “settlers,” albeit through a more explicitly historical lens. Costner also stars, as John J. Dunbar, a lieutenant with the Union Army at a remote outpost, who comes to sympathize with – and then essentially join – the Lakota tribe. The cinematography is gorgeous, the set pieces are big and thrilling, and Costner finds just the right note of resigned rebellion in the leading role.

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In 2014, the directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg made a political black comedy in which Rogen and James Franco go to North Korea to interview Kim Jong-un and are hired by the CIA to assassinate him. And it was released, and everyone had a good laugh, the end. Just kidding: This was one of the most controversial films of the 2010s, its explosive premise resulting in cyberattacks and terror threats on behalf of North Korea and in a vigorous free-speech debate after Sony Pictures caved and scuttled its mainstream release. In retrospect, it was a lot of trouble for what was, at its core, a very broad and silly movie. The movie also had as much to say about the vanity and delusion of Americans as it did about the humanitarian crimes of the North Korean government.

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The phrase “ahead of their time” is bandied about with abandon, but it certainly applies to the 1980s output of Jim Henson, who expanded his reach with non-Muppet, dark fantasy entertainments that were met with critical and commercial indifference but have gained considerable cult followings with the passing years. “The Dark Crystal” was one example; this is another, a 1986 musical fantasy, made in collaboration with George Lucas, which Henson directed from a screenplay by the Monty Python member Terry Jones. Jennifer Connelly stars as a slightly spoiled teenager who takes a journey into a dark world to rescue her baby brother of hers; David Bowie is unforgettable, scary and seductive as the Goblin King who stands in her way di lei.

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In 1996, moviegoers turned out in droves to see a thrilling story of Americans uniting and uprising against a dire alien threat. That movie, of course, was “Independence Day”; this movie, a ’50s-style sci-fi comedy from the director Tim Burton, was released six months later and relatively ignored. But time has been kinder to Burton’s accidental spoof than the flag-waving blockbuster it followed into the marketplace. “Independence Day” has aged like milk, whereas the many virtues of the unapologetically goofy “Mars Attacks” have grown only more entertaining. Those include a killer cast (Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Glenn Close, Danny DeVito, Pam Grier, Michael J. Fox, Jack Nicholson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Natalie Portman, Martin Short and more), a cockeyed visual style and a climax featuring exploding alien brains and Slim Whitman records.

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The writer and director Jody Hill, best known for his work on the TV series “Eastbound and Down” and “The Righteous Gemstones,” made his studio debut with this pitch-black, controversy-courting comedy from 2009. Seth Rogen stars as a would-be cop biding his time as a mall security guard, but make no mistake, this is no “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.” Hill’s comedy is bleak, borderline nihilistic, portraying his protagonist as a dangerous, delusional megalomaniac drunk on his (limited) power di lui. And to his credit di lui, the film doesn’t pull its punches, up to and including its eye-opening ending. Rogen has rarely been better, weaponizing his customary charisma and warmth di lui to create a chilling (yet funny!) Portrait of a borderline sociopath.

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