It was a big old month for Netflix in August, what with exclusive new show Narcos leading the charge.
But now we're in September and, alongside the latest big Netflix series, a host of classics have been added to the roster.
Whether it's wisecracking or skull-cracking you're after, make yourself comfy and have a peruse over these new titles.
Consider your weekend sorted.
Toy Story 3
Having seen the first two films appear on Netflix in consecutive weeks, Toy Story fans will be as happy as Hamm in muck to discover the entire trilogy is now available to stream. With Andy leaving for college (doesn’t that make you feel old?) and the gang mistakenly abandoned at a day-care centre - essentially a POW camp for toys - it’s up to Woody to lead his plucky band of playthings back home. Buy popcorn and Kleenex in bulk.
Thor: The Dark World
Of all Marvel’s omnipotent cinematic output, it could be argued that the Thor movies remain the most underrated. Not quite as offbeat as Guardians of the Galaxy, nor as flashy as the Iron Man series, they are still brimming with action, superb villains (Loki, anyone?) riotous laughs, big-budget effects – and, at least in the case of this sequel, plenty of London. Because the day when watching Chris Hemsworth’s hammer-lugging hero jump on the Jubilee Line isn’t entertaining just doesn’t bear thinking about.
The Kite Runner
You can stop pretending you’ve ‘seen it, but enjoyed the book more’ now – The Kite Runner, the award-winning film which dinner parties wouldn’t shut up about around 2008, is now on Netflix and it really is as good as everyone says. Based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini, it charts the heart-wrenching homecoming for Afghanistan-born Amir who after spending most of his formative years in the US returns to his homeland he left during wartime to help his old friend whose son is in trouble.
The first major breakthrough for writer-director Alexander Payne (About Schmidt, Sideways, The Descendants, Nebraska), Election is as good as political satire gets. Interestingly, it also takes place entirely in a high school, drawing parallels with the absurdity of grown-up US politics through a student election which sees the campaign of Reese Weatherspoon’s overly polished and dangerously ambitious nominee threatened by Matthew Broderick’s history teacher, who doesn’t believe she’s sincere and so sets out to derail her. Looking for a razor-sharp comedy to watch? It has our vote.
What is it about Kevin Costner and sports films? If he’s not making the hairs on the back of our necks stand up in Tin Cup, he’s making grown men cry in The Field of Dreams. Well here’s another all-American slice of Costner doing something with a bat: Bull Durham, which sees the star play fill the shoes of ‘Crash’ Davis, a veteran MLB catcher who joins a team of misfits to teach Tim Robbins’ rookie pitcher how to get to the Major Leagues with heart-warming aplenty. If baseball is America’s national pastime, Costner is its national hero.
Ignore the fact studio execs came up with the title before writing the screenplay - or the fact the film tanked at the box office - R.I.P.D is still worth an hour and a half of your Sunday afternoon. Why? It stars Ryan Reynolds alongside Jeff Bridges, the latter playing a recently killed cop and the former playing the wily ghoul at the Rest in Peace Department who helps him track down his murderer. If you’re thinking Men In Black meets Ghostbusters, only half as good and without a cool theme tune, you’d be about right.
Keith Richards: Under The Influence
The man, the music, the myth, the legend - and finally this documentary allows a peek into the life of one of the greatest rock stars in history: in fact, the guy who pretty much wrote the rule book. This documentary utilises the unparalleled access that the filmmakers were given, lifting the lid on the colourful life of this week's ShortList cover star. Rock on.
Toy Story 2
Double good news for Toy Story fans - with the original added last week, you can now enjoy the just-as-superb sequel too. As part of what Mark Kermode described as the greatest film trilogy of all-time, Barbie, Miss Potato Head and Jessie appear for the first time in the second instalment. Amazingly, this was originally conceived of as a direct-to-DVD movie - it came out a little bit better than that. A great film for kids and adults alike, do the back-to-back, you know you want to.
An Evening With Kevin Smith
A legendary, and cult, moviemaker, responsible for a range of classics, including Clerks, Mallrats and the Alanis Morrisette-as-God film Dogma. But he's also just a really funny guy, as this collection of Q&A sessions held on various American colleges over 2001 and 2002. No subject is off-limits and the whole thing is a hilarious, and interesting look into making off-kilter movies.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
After the ginormous success of the first Hunger Games film - grossing over $690m and cementing Jennifer Lawrence as a huge celebrity and box office name - they swiftly rattled through the sequels, but kept the standards (and the receipts) high. Get watching this one, as Katniss Everdeen once again fights against the odds, and then you'll be perfectly prepped for Part 2, which hits cinemas in November.
A 2012 film that predated a lot of the hydraulic fracturing - or fracking - debates that now rage across the world, this was very much ahead of the curve. Matt Damon, The Office's John Krasinski and Frances McDormand all star in this fascinating story of corporate salespeople who visit a rural town to buy drilling rights and walk into more than they'd bargained for.
Fancy a good tug on the heartstrings? Then try this one for size. A 2013 film which follows Eddie Marsan, a man whose thankless job is to locate the relatives of the recently deceased and loved. Taking his task seriously, he finds himself deeply involved in the lives of others, with a breathtaking conclusion the final payoff. Keep those tissues at the ready.
Kiss Of Death
The film starring Nicolas Cage, Samuel L Jackson, Helen Hunt, Ving Rhames and the bloke from CSI Miami you probably never heard of, Kiss of Death is just begging for a watch. Cage dials up the crazy to play a violent crime lord while David Caruso’s short-tempered detective goes undercover in a bid to bring this sleazeball down. No promises you won't think of this as you watch it.
The Beverly Hills Cop trilogy
Get rid of your Godfathers. Stuff your Star Wars. Lose Lord of the Rings. For there is only one trilogy to rule them all...From that infectious theme tune (admit it, you’re humming it already), to that jacket, to that hee-haw laugh, all three Beverly Hills Cop remain as watchable as ever thanks to the brilliance of wisecracking cop Axel Foley – a role originally written for Sylvester Stallone believe it or not. Reinvest in this epic saga today.
Fans of True Detective’s second season (yes, some of us actually liked it) could do well in mourning its finale by revisiting Roman Polanski’s classic neo-noir, which also involves shady land deals and Californian criminals. Jack Nicholson stars as the PI with a nose for trouble (literally), and it doesn’t take long before he’s tangled in a web of deceit, murder and broads with smouldering looks. Fun fact: there’s actually a sequel called The Two Jakes, though you’d be best missing that one.
No Country For Old Men
Unlike Blood Simple, Fargo and Miller’s Crossing - all as darkly funny as they are darkly bloody - this 2007 neo-western is just plain dark. Sure, the bowl haircut of Javier Bardem’s hitman is slightly ridiculous, but once you’ve seen his dead-eyed stare, his flip of the coin over someone’s life, or cattle prod to the head as he stomps across the landscapes in search of some cash carried by Josh Brolin’s guy-in-the-wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time, you’ll do well to register more than a chuckle. Tommy Lee Jones’ melancholic old timer sheriff won’t cheer you up much either. Still a masterpiece mind you.
If you missed this epic and richly underrated BBC crime drama, starring Peter Mullan as the Brighton crime boss battling both a rival outfit in an increasingly fractious turf war, and also the early onset of dementia, correct that while you can. Mullen, on career-best form here, mixes his usual grouchy menace with a smattering of vulnerability, giving us a character we know we shouldn’t be rooting for but who we feel all too sorry for not to. British drama at its best.
Days of Thunder
“We want Top Gun in a racing car,” said producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, at least one man coked out of his eyeballs. And they got it, turning Tom Cruise into a racing car driver for what is effectively an extended peak-MTV music video. While nowhere near the standard of the 1986 hit of four years earlier, Cruise is nonetheless brilliant as the rookie NASCAR driver out to make a name for himself. It also marks the first of what would be three film appearances between Cruise and Nicole Kidman, in case that interests you.
Aliens On The Moon: The Truth Exposed
At this point we all know there are alien crab monsters on Mars. That’s just a fact. No arguments. But how about the moon? Using never-before-aired NASA footage, this leftfield doc attempts to settle matters on that classic space debate of whether the moon is actually a secret landing base for a far-away alien race. Ok, it’s odd but the conspiracy theorists among you will love it.
Along Came A Spider
Not based on the nursery rhyme thankfully (it’d be a much shorter film for one), this thriller actually comes from a James Patterson novel. Morgan Freeman plays forensic psychologist Alex Cross, grieving a fallen ex-colleague and lured out of self-retirement when the daughter of a congressman is kidnapped from a private school. Given he’s mostly confined to supporting roles nowadays, it’s a timely reminder of Freeman’s ability to deliver a commanding lead role.
Airplane II: The Sequel
A masterclass in spoofery, this sequel to Airplane sees Ted Striker once again forced to be a midair hero when disaster strikes aboard a lunar shuttle headed for the moon. Indeed, even more ridiculous than the original, the gag-rate is phenomenal: if it’s not unfortunately named flight staff Oveur, Dunn and Unger, you’ll be splitting your sides from the epic buffoonery of Lloyd Bridges. Looks like you picked the wrong week to give up watching Netflix.
Here’s why you didn’t enjoy Godzilla all that much: Cloverfield, AKA The Blair Witch Project on acid. Matt Reeves' 2008 ‘found footage’ horror raised the bar of disaster films and then dropped it onto the crumpled, rubbly heap of Manhattan. Which is important. Comfortably the most close-to-the-bone action film in the aftermath of 9/11, a fictional monster rampaging through the city, shown to us by a series of grainy, handheld videos as we tail a group of New Yorkers fleeing for safety, allowed Reeves to channel a subtext and harness fear that few serious films could.
The subject matter might concern a different sort of wales to his usual fare, but it’s easy to imagine David Attenborough’s rich tones feeling right at home in this documentary laden with sweeping shots of wild vistas and rugged Welsh landscape. Aptly landing on Netflix right after Gareth Bale and co's recent heroics for the national team, wildlife expert Lolo Williams takes viewers on an intimate tour of his native land. Welsh or not, by the end of it you’ll have added leeks to your five-a-day.
Woody. Buzz. Bo Peep. Potato Head. Sid. What more reasons do you need to rediscover this 1995 Pixar classic which started it all? Now 20 years old, it’s barely aged a day, luring us all back in with its game-changing mix of 3D animation and sentimental storylines. You can read into the obvious darker themes if you wish (Andy’s Dad has clearly walked out on his family and the ensuing struggle between old fashioned toy Woody and his futuristic Buzz is very likely a metaphor for Andy’s battle between his old life and his downsized future life) but the fact remains – it’s just bloody good fun.