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Latest Netflix movies: Which new releases to watch right now (May 2021)

new movies on Netflix
Training Day and The Mitchells vs The Machines. Pic credit: Warner Bros / Netflix

Every month, Netflix makes significant changes. Several movies leave the service, while the streaming giant adds several others to its library.

The good news is that Netflix is always adding original movies to its service, meaning they are building a library that will never leave.

However, at the same time, they are also adding classics and newer releases for at least a limited time that fans can enjoy watching anything they want.

Here at Monsters & Critics, we will keep track of the latest movies added to Netflix, both originals and the best older movies, and let you know our picks for what you should find to watch each month.

Updated in May 2021: These movies were all added to Netflix in the past four months and will be updated monthly, with the best new titles to watch. This list is for those films released in February 2021 through April 2021.

The Mitchells vs. The Machines (April 30)

The Mitchells vs. The Machines
The Mitchells vs. The Machines. Pic credit: Netflix

The Mitchells vs. The Machines was supposed to be a theatrical release by the production team of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The LEGO Movie).

It ended up as a Netflix original animated movie instead, and might be the best animated movie on Netflix.

A dysfunctional family has the dad trying to reconnect with his daughter before she moves away to college and sets up a road trip to drive her to college, much to her horror.

However, before they get there, a robot uprising occurs, and this family has to work together to survive.

Insidious (April 1)

Patrick Wilson in Insidious. Pic credit: FilmDistrict

James Wan (Saw, Aquaman) directed the horror movie Insidious, based on a script by his Saw partner Leigh Whannell.

In the movie, Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne are a couple whose son falls into a coma. After three months, the couple realizes something might be haunting their house and tormenting their son.

They move, thinking that will fix the problem, but the haunting follows them and they realize it is their son who is possessed, so they call in a psychic to try to save his life.

Legally Blonde (April 1)

Legally Blonde (2001)
Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde. Pic credit: MGM

Reese Witherspoon stars in Legally Blonde, a comedy released in 2001 by director Robert Luketic.

Witherspoon is Elle Woods, a sorority girl who wants to win back her ex-boyfriend by proving herself, getting a Juris Doctor degree at the Harvard Law School.

When she arrives, no one gives her a chance based on her appearance and bubbly personality, but she proves everyone wrong when she becomes a successful lawyer thanks to her never-ending self-confidence.

The Master (April 15)

The Master (2012)
Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix in The Master. Pic credit: The Weinstein Company

Paul Thomas Anderson returned in 2012 with the movie The Master, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix.

Hoffman is Lancaster Dodd, who has started his own religion and built a large following. Phoenix is Freddie Quell, a former military man who buys into the new religion completely.

There was some controversy when the movie came out, with many speculating that Anderson was targeting Scientology. However, the film has spectacular acting performances and is wonderfully filmed.

The movie picked up three Oscar nominations, all for acting (Hoffman, Phoenix, and Amy Adams).

The Pianist (April 1)

Adrien Brody in The Pianist. Pic credit: Pic credit: Focus Features

Roman Polanski directed the Holocaust movie The Pianist in 2002 and watched as the film won him an Oscar while actor Adrien Brody picked up one as well.

Brody stars as a Jewish pianist living in Poland during World War II. Just when it looks like Britain and France might save Poland when they join the war, Germany overruns the country.

Through the movie, the pianist loses everything, including his family, to the Nazi extermination camps, and has to go into hiding thanks to protection from a sympathetic member of the Jewish Ghetto Police.

Dances with Wolves (March 1)

Dances with Wolves
Kevin Costner in Dances with Wolves. Pic credit: Orion Pictures

Kevin Costner directed and starred in Dances with Wolves in 1990, based on the novel by Michael Blake.

In the movie, Costner is a Union Army lieutenant named John J. Dunbar who travels to the American frontier, searching for a military post. Along the way, he deals with the Native American tribe, the Lakota.

Dances with Wolves received 12 Oscar nominations and won seven of them, including Best Picture and Best Director.

The Dark Knight (March 1)

The Dark Knight
Heath Ledger, Christian Bale and Aaron Eckert in The Dark Knight. Pic credit: Warner Bros

The Dark Knight stands as one of the best superhero movies ever made, proving the superhero movie could transcend its place in Hollywood.

Christian Bale was back as Batman and faced two new villains, the horrific Joker, who just wanted to cause chaos, and the tragic Harvey Dent, the best man in Gotham who lost his mind when Joker killed the love of his life and became Two-Face.

The movie was praised as more than just a comic book movie, but also as a piece of cinematic art. Heath Ledger picked up an Oscar following his death for his portrayal of Joker.

Training Day (March 1)

Training Day
Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke in Training Day. Pic credit: Warner Bros

Denzel Washington had made his name in several dramatic roles over his career, but in 2001 he took a huge left turn.

Washington took on a rare villain role in the crime thriller Training Day. Denzel starred as Alonzo “King Kong” Harris, a corrupt and deadly cop in Los Angeles.

Ethan Hawke co-stars as Jake Hoyt, a youngster assigned for an evaluation by Alonzo. The two then end up on a series of adventures where Jake realizes how corrupt Alonzo is and learns his life is in great danger.

Denzel won the Oscar for Best Actor, while Hawke picked up a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

The Conjuring (Feb. 21)

Image from The Conjuring movie.
The Conjuring. Pic credit: Warner Bros.

The horror movie The Conjuring hit Netflix in February 2021, along with its sequel.

The movies are based on real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, a couple who have several documented paranormal cases over their lives.

In the first movie, Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson play the couple as they set out to investigate a farmhouse that is supposedly possessed. When the Catholic Church won’t help unless they find proof, they dig deeper and find themselves in mortal danger.

Shutter Island (Feb. 1)

Shutter Island
Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo in Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island. Pic credit: Paramount

The Martin Scorsese horror-thriller Shutter Island hit Netflix in February 2021, based on the suspense novel by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River).

This movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo as two federal agents sent to Shutter Island, a mental prison, to investigate a patient that disappeared.

This is a movie where nothing is as it seems and there are deep mysteries to unfold. It is also one of Scorsese’s rare journeys into the horror film genre.

Inception (Feb. 1)

The best action movies on Netflix (July 2020)
The Christopher Nolan movie Inception. Pic credit: Warner Bros

In 2010, Christopher Nolan created one of the most mind-bending movies in cinema.

Leonardo DiCaprio is Dom Cobb, who, along with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Arthur, are specialized thieves. They use experimental military tech to go into the subconscious of a person to steal their memories.

Since much of the movie takes place in their victims’ memories, it allows Nolan to create a world with no rules and allowed him to create one of the most visually astonishing worlds ever to grace a movie screen.

Shawn S. Lealos

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