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The 7 Best Movies New to Netflix in April 2018

From super sharks in "Deep Blue Sea" to Kevin Spacey in "Se7en," this month's best new Netflix movies offer a variety of different monsters.

The Iron Giant

“The Iron Giant”

Warner Bros.

Spring is here, love is in the air, and everyone is finally ready to go back outside, but Netflix’s April offerings are giving us at least seven more compelling reasons to stay on the couch for at least another few weeks. This month brings an eclectic mix of new movies to the streaming platform, from the sweet Americana of “The Iron Giant” to the decidedly less sweet Americana of “Scarface” — from the mad brilliance of Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Along Came Polly” to the brilliant madness of the Wachowskis’ “Speed Racer.” We’ve also got “Deep Blue Sea” and David Fincher’s “Se7en,” two very different movies about two very different monsters (super sharks and Kevin Spacey, respectively).

Here are the seven best movies that are new to Netflix this April.

7. “Psychokinesis” (2018)

Now that Netflix increasingly positions itself as a pipeline for first-run foreign movies, every month seems to bring a major new title that English-language audiences (and critics) have never had a chance to see. This April, the streaming giant is importing the latest from “Train to Busan” director Yeon Sang-ho. Fresh off its January release in South Korea, “Psychokinesis” is a supernatural comedy about a blue-collar security officer (Ryu Seung-ryong) who discovers that he can move things with his mind. While that might seem like an obvious premise for a superhero movie, Yeon isn’t interested in the obvious — his protagonist uses his powers to help stop the evil corporate developers trying to turn his estranged daughter’s neighborhood into a shopping mall. Think globally, act locally. We’re still waiting to get a look at the film ourselves, but if it channels any of the socially conscious anarchy on display in Yeon’s previous stuff, we’ll be grateful to Netflix for giving us the chance.

Available to stream on April 25.

6. “Along Came Polly” (2004)

On its surface, “Along Came Polly” is a pretty standard-issue romantic comedy, albeit one that’s a little grosser and more sadistic than your average love story (Ben Stiller’s idea of courtship has always resembled an extended humiliation ritual). However, lurking beneath this basic story about a neurotic insurance agent who falls in love with a bohemian Jennifer Aniston, is one of the greatest supporting performances of this or any other century.

The late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman is understandably remembered for the immensity of his dramatic turns in films like “Synecdoche, New York” and “The Master,” but one of his finest roles was as Sandford Lyle, a former childhood idol who is now funding his own “E! True Hollywood Story” as he stars in an amateur production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” The comic relief of a comedy that needs some, Hoffman plays Sandy as a disheveled burnout with a major sharting problem, a legend in New York’s street basketball scene (“white chocolate!”), and — most of all — a good friend who’s willing to help out his best pal in a pinch. If there were any justice in this world, Hoffman would’ve won an Oscar for the scene where he steps into a meeting for Stiller’s character and tries to stall for time. Maybe a Nobel Peace Prize, too.

Available to stream on April 1.

5. “Deep Blue Sea” (1999)

Sharks can’t swim backwards. Sharks can’t swim backwards!!!

One of the dopiest and most sublime blockbusters of the late ’90s (a true golden age for dopey and sublime blockbusters), Renny Harlin’s “Deep Blue Sea” is an enduring reminder that all you need to make a movie is a girl and a genetically enhanced trio of super-sharks who dream of freedom. Of course, it certainly doesn’t hurt to add an incredible roster of character actors to the mix, including LL Cool J as a chef who loves his parrot, Stellan Skarsgård as a scientist who gets treated to one of the most absurd deaths of all time, and (of course) Samuel L. Jackson as a billionaire adventurer who really needs to shorten his inspirational speeches. Set on a sinking laboratory that Harlin establishes with great care, filled with terrifically silly encounters (the best of which stages a shark attack in a kitchen), and created with special effects that are just cartoonish enough to have aged well, “Deep Blue Sea” is chum in the water for anyone who wants to stream some great white shlock.

Available to stream on April 1.

4. “Speed Racer” (2008)

It’s rare to see a movie that was adapted from an ancient franchise and yet still feels ahead of its time, but something like “Speed Racer” doesn’t come around the track every day. Or every decade, for that matter. Inarguably one of the boldest and most dazzling blockbusters of the 21st century, the Wachowskis’ “Speed Racer” is such a brilliant example of a live-action anime that it almost (almost) has us convinced that an “Akira” remake might not be a bad idea (just to reiterate for any studio executives who might happen to read this: An “Akira” remake is a very bad idea).

Paid for with the power its directors had coming off the “Matrix” sequels and stylized with the same reckless abandon that would later sink “Jupiter Ascending,” “Speed Racer” takes the 1960s Japanese cartoon of the same name and swirls it into an impossibly colorful pop spectacle that never bows to American sensibilities. The movie crashed and burned with critics upon release, but it only gets better as blockbuster cinema gets worse; the only thing about it that hasn’t aged well is the casting of Matthew Fox. There may never be anything else like it again, but — in fairness — there was never anything else like it before, either.

Available to stream on April 1.

3. “Scarface” (1983)

One of the best things about “Scarface” — which narrowly edges out “Mission to Mars” as the rap community’s favorite Brian De Palma film — is that it answered a question that cinephiles and scholars had been sitting with since Howard Hawks riffed on the same story in 1932: What would a classic Hollywood gangster picture look like if you filtered it through a metric ton of cocaine? Based on every basic film bro’s favorite movie poster and boasting an Al Pacino performance so big you can see it from outer space, “Scarface” is a rags-to-riches epic about one man trying to embrace the American Dream (but accidentally snorting it instead). Pacino tears up the screen as Cuban refugee Antonio “Tony” Montana, shooting his way to the top of the Miami drug game and marrying Michelle Pfeiffer in the process. Everyone lives happily ever after.

If you’re in the New York area this month and Netflix isn’t doing it for ya, don’t miss the chance to see De Palma’s pastel masterpiece on the big screen as part of the Tribeca Film Festival.

Available to stream on April 1.

2. “The Iron Giant” (1999)

Just in time for the release of “The Incredibles 2” comes the most exquisitely painful reminder of what we lost when Brad Bird forsook hand-drawn animation for digital. A box office flop that justifiably grew into one of the most beloved kids movies ever made, “The Iron Giant” is a heartrending Cold War throwback about a little kid named Hogarth Hughes (Eli Marienthal) and the metal colossus from outer space (Vin Diesel) who becomes his best friend. Steady and soulful where most films of its ilk are manic and disingenuous, “The Iron Giant” isn’t just a gorgeously animated look back at a faded chapter of Norman Rockwell Americana, it’s also a moving examination of what it means to be human.

Available to stream on April 1.

1. “Seven” (1995)

The serial killer in “Se7en” may not have much in common with Donald Trump (one is patient, brilliant, and articulate, and the other is Donald Trump), and yet both monsters teach us the same lesson by preying upon and inspiring the worst of what we are: The world isn’t fair, but some people will always need to be better than others for it to keep spinning.

No, we’re not trying to argue that “Se7en” is a “serial killer story for the Age of Trump.” And yet, for a grunge nightmare that opens with Tipper Gore’s least favorite Nine Inch Nails song, the film seems more responsive to the present moment than you might expect. An epochal neo-noir that launched a handful of careers, galvanized others, and instantly asserted itself as one of the ’90s’ major cinematic flash points, David Fincher’s second feature will always have value when things seem hopeless.

The first two acts of this grippingly oppressive film may be the stuff of a traditional detective procedural, but they’re still suspenseful in an era when every town in America has its own “NCIS” spinoff (thanks in large part to the laconic chemistry that burbles between Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt). However, “Seven” is obviously remembered for the nihilism of its third act, which giddily reanimates the apocalyptic spirit that once atomized inside the likes of “Kiss Me Deadly.” However, this time around we find out exactly what’s in the box, Fincher ambushing Hollywood (and its audiences) with an unforgettable movie about living in a world so dark that we can’t see it clearly.

Available to stream on April 1.

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