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The 7 Best Movies Coming to Netflix in November 2017

Dee Rees' "Mudbound" is the main attraction of Netflix's random November lineup, which ranges from "Field of Dreams" to "Silent Hill."


It’s a good thing that Netflix already has the “Gilmore Girls” for all of those sweet Thanksgiving vibes, because the streaming giant is coming down from that Halloween sugar high in a bad way and following last month’s blockbuster slate with a relatively unremarkable roster of new additions. Proving that there isn’t much rhyme or reason behind when they’re able to upload new movies (it’s hard to curate around contract rights), the platform’s latest batch of titles is heavy on horror movies and light on seasonal fare.

Still, it’s not all bad news for those of you who might be looking for something to stream while you’re home for the holidays. Comfort watches like “Casper” and “Field of Dreams” are perfect things to put on when you’re immobilized by a stomach full of turkey, and you can even go for an energetic import like “The Queen of Spain” if you still have enough energy to read the subtitles. On the other hand, “Mudbound” is best enjoyed after you’re done tripping on Tryptophan, as Dee Rees’ Mississippi epic — Netflix’s first legitimate bid for that elusive Best Picture nomination — demands and deserves your full attention.

Here are the seven best films coming to Netflix this November.

7. “Casper” (1995)

Once a blockbuster hit (it grossed almost $300 million!), now a religious text for Buzzfeed articles about things that only ’90s kids could understand, “Casper” is one of those kids movies that’s hard to disentangle from all of its kitsch. And honestly? That’s okay. Brad Silberling’s classic time capsule may be the first movie that ever featured a fully computer-generated character in a leading role, but it’s no great loss to film history that we can’t really watch it with a straight face. On the contrary, this is the perfect nostalgia trip to stumble upon while scrolling through Netflix, the perfect thing to stream from your couch while you google to see what Devon Sawa is up to these days (his Twitter feed is alive).

With spirited turns from Bill Pullman and teen Christina Ricci — and a series inexplicable cameos that range from Clint Eastwood to Rodney Dangerfield — it’s practically just an added bonus that “Casper” is such a fun and friendly ride. Still, you might be surprised by how swept up you get in the story. Competent in a way that Hollywood isn’t much concerned with anymore, Silberling’s haunted house adventure is definitely geared towards ’90s kids, but it’s built on a solid foundation and held together with that timeless Amblin magic.

Available to stream on November 1.

6. “The Queen of Spain” (2017)

It’s entirely possible to watch (and thoroughly enjoy) Fernando Trueba’s “The Queen of Spain” without ever picking up on the fact that it’s a sequel — a very good thing, considering that the original is nowhere to be seen on Netflix. Viewers who remember Trueba’s 1998 comedy “The Girl of Your Dreams” might be happy to see these characters again, while the rest of us might wonder why they all seem to be so familiar with each other. Truth be told, that hint of a shared history works to the film’s advantage, regardless of whether or not you’ve seen the first installment.

Following a gaggle of veteran actors as they to shoot a cheesy historical epic at the height of Francoist Spain, Trueba’s spirited showbiz comedy thrives off the feeling that its characters have been working together for ages, this antic satire exploring how a communal sense of purpose helped people to survive under fascist rule. Penélope Cruz, whose Spanish-language parts continue to be sharper and more vivacious than the ones Hollywood offers her, reprises her role as screen goddess Macarena Granada, a horny diva with a heart of gold (or bronze, at the very least). Thanks to her pesky empathy, she somehow gets embroiled in a cockamamy scheme to help an exiled director escape from a labor camp. An energetic diversion that unfolds like a “Day for Night” remake as directed by Pedro Almodóvar, “The Queen of Spain” is definitely more suds than soap, but it’s plenty of fun if you’re in the mood for something frothy.

Available to stream on November 29.

5. “Silent Hill” (2006)

Netflix dropped the ball by not uploading this in time for Halloween. Video game adaptations are notoriously terrible, and nobody is going to confuse Christophe Gans’ “Silent Hill” as a genre-saving Hail Mary that undoes several decades of unwatchable garbage, but this grim riff on Konami’s survival horror series is so eerie, unnerving, and downright gross that it transcends its source material and evolves into a vividly inescapable nightmare (in a good way).

The plot is a mess, but the premise is a beauty: A young girl is haunted by dreams of a Pennsylvania mining town called Silent Hill, which burnt to the ground in a coal fire some 30 years before she was born. The girl’s mother (Radha Mitchell) takes her there in search of answers, only for the women to be separated from each other upon arrival and stranded in a foggy hellscape full of faceless nurses, a skin-flaying demon called “Pyramid Head,” and demented cult members who’ve been stuck in this place for a little too long. More violent and more hopeless than we’ve come to expect from well-financed video game adaptations, “Silent Hill” is the rare $50 million horror movie that feels genuinely unsafe, as Gans sutures a predictable story with a degree of despair that’s seldom found in scary movies of this (or any other) size.

Available to stream on November 1.

4. “It’s Not Yet Dark” (2017)

An inspirational documentary that appeals to cinephiles in much the same way that “Gleason” appeals to sports fans (though both are rooted in a universal empathy), Frankie Fenton’s “It’s Not Yet Dark” chronicles every step of Simon Fitzmaurice’s merciless decline from ALS, the film’s swift pace conveying the preciousness of every passing moment. Not that a desire to be in those moments ever seemed to stop Simon from recording them, as the lifelong film obsessive — perhaps determined to leave his devoted wife with evidence of their life together — shoots home video of himself and his family until he loses the hand strength required to hold a camera.

Eventually, Simon can’t move, can’t speak, can’t swallow, can’t even breathe without assistance. “But,” he tells us through Colin Farrell’s voice, “I can still feel. Everything.” Unbelievably, he can also direct. Unable to talk but unencumbered by the stresses of building a career, Simon sets about making a feature film, fulfilling a dream that he once had to abandon when he took a short film to Sundance and left with the first symptoms of his terminal illness. And so begins an unfathomably wistful portrait of a man who finds a flickering light in the darkness.

Available to stream on November 2.

3. “Field of Dreams”

If you upload it, they will stream.

Available to stream on November 1.

2. “Mudbound” (2017)

If November is something of a quiet month for Netflix, perhaps that’s because the company is clearing a path for “Mudbound,” the first of the streaming giant’s original films to have a legitimate shot at being nominated for Best Picture. Directed by Dee Rees (“Pariah”) and adapted to the screen from the Virgil Williams novel of the same name, “Mudbound” is a multigenerational epic about the intertwining histories of two very different Mississippi families, and how they knot together during the upheaval of World War II.

The McAllens (Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, and Jonathan Banks) are white landowners. The Jacksons (Jason Mitchell, Mary J. Blige, Rob Morgan) are black sharecroppers who live on and work their farm. Rees’ dense tapestry doesn’t always make for an easy watch, and it demands your attention in a way that seems anathema to the mobile technology that drives Netflix’s platform (a word to the wise: the film will open in select theaters on the same day). But over the course of 130 wrenching minutes, “Mudbound” offers an unflinchingly realized vision of the divides that define this country, its extraordinary cast testing which of them are real, which of them are crumbling, and which of them still matter when we’re all stuck in the mud together.

Available to stream on November 17.

1. “Michael Clayton” (2007)

George Clooney may be headed for a long stint in director’s jail after “Suburbicon” was dead on arrival, but his talents as a leading man are still beyond reproach. He’s never been better or more textured than he is in the title role of Tony Gilroy’s “Michael Clayton,” a movie that feels a lot older than it actually is, if only because it comes from a time when an original movie called “Michael Clayton” could gross almost $100 million worldwide.

A morally challenged “fixer” for a shady New York City law firm, Clayton finds himself growing something of a conscience when a high-ranking partner (a raving, spitting, and altogether genius Tom Wilkinson) experiences a manic episode after coming to terms with all of the blood on his hands. His guilt — and his tainted knowledge — are eventually bequeathed to Clayton, who finds himself in a tricky predicament where he becomes the problem that his firm needs fixed.

A smart and sophisticated thriller that never gets lost in the weeds of its plotting, “Michael Clayton” could easily have been a disposable John Grisham rip that just ran through the motions. But Clooney’s soulful performance helps elevate it into something more, the actor vividly embodying a man who trips over his feet when he’s just a half-step away from being beyond salvation. Ethics, like languages, are harder to learn as you get older, but Gilroy’s film convincingly argues that it’s possible. That alone should be enough to warrant a re-watch, but there’s no harm in a little extra incentive, courtesy of a powerhouse turn from Tilda Swinton and some characteristically no-nonsense work from the late, great Sydney Pollack.

Available to stream on November 1.

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