New year, new Netflix movies. January 2024 brings quite a varied selection of films to watch on Netflix. New original films include Daniel Levy’s directorial debut “Good Grief,” in which he also stars alongside Luke Evans, Himesh Patel and Ruth Negga; “Lift,” starring Kevin Hart and Gugu Mbatha-Raw and directed by F. Gary Gray; and Daniel Kaluuya’s directorial debut “The Kitchen.”
There are also, of course, plenty of library movies worth checking out. This month’s highlights include feel-good movies like “It’s Complicated,” animated classics like “How to Train Your Dragon.” We also had to throw a musical in there for good measure, because movies that are musicals should not feel shame.
Here are the best new movies on Netflix in January 2024:
“Good Grief”– “Schitt’s Creek” star and co-creator Daniel Levy is responsible for one of TV’s all-time great feel-good shows, but he’s diving into heartbreaking drama for his feature film directing debut. He stars as Marc, an artist who is very much in love with his husband Oliver (Luke Evans). A cheery Christmas party turns tragic in mere minutes when Oliver’s cab crashes and kills him, leaving Marc grief-stricken and buoyed by his two best friends Sophie (Ruth Negga) and Thomas (Himesh Patel). But Oliver didn’t just leave a will and some property as well as his best-selling book series behind. Turns out he had met someone else outside of his marriage to Marc, which brings Marc to take his friends to Paris for the weekend to let off steam and process how he feels about all of this. The messy and chaotic coping of the star trio explores many emotions, getting to the heart of the human experience of feelings and how they clash.
“Lift” — Kevin Hart goes semi-dramatic and leads a crew of expert thieves in “Lift,” the new heist movie from “The Italian Job” and “The Fate of the Furious” director F. Gary Gray. Featuring a mega-charming ensemble that includes Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Billy Magnussen, Vincent D’Onofrio and Úrsula Corberó, the film finds Hart’s master thief teaming with his Interpol agent ex (Mbatha-Raw) to steal a bunch of gold from a terrorist. The catch? They have to lift the bricks from a plane while it’s in flight. Light and breezy, “Lift” is an entertaining addition to the continent-hopping heist genre, even if it doesn’t do anything to rewrite the playbook.
“It’s Complicated” — Before “Only Murders in the Building” brought them together for a little mystery, Meryl Streep and Steve Martin romanced each other in Nancy Myers’ “It’s Complicated.” The film follows Streep’s Jane, a restauranteur who gets tangled up in too much romance when she strikes up an affair with the ex-husband (Alec Baldwin) who cheated on her — while also falling for the charming, recently divorced architect remodeling her kitchen (Martin). Pure affluence fantasy that levels up the “Nancy Myers kitchen” to a plot point, “It’s Complicated” never takes itself too seriously, letting the audience (and Streep, who giggles her way from scene-to-scene through the lighthearted reprieve from awards drama ) laugh their way through the comedy of errors.
“The Kitchen” — Oscar-winning actor Daniel Kaluuya (“Get Out”) makes his filmmaking debut with the somber, pensive dystopian drama “The Kitchen;” directing alongside Kibwe Tavares and co-writing the script with Joe Murtagh. Set in a near-future when all social housing has been eliminated, the film takes place in a community that refuses to abandon their homes, no matter how often or how violently they are targeted for it. Rapper Kane Robinson, aka Kano, stars as a man who’s about to make it out of The Kitchen, into the local luxury apartments, until he reunites with his teenage son and has to make some hard choices about what make a home worth having. Bittersweet but lovely, “The Kitchen” is light-touch sci-fi that’s all about the characters, letting the world-building prop up their story rather than the other way around.
“Badland Hunters” — You had me at Don Lee as a post-apocalyptic hunter. The “Eternals” and “Train to Busan” star has become one of cinema’s great contemporary heavies; an on-screen force of nature who credibly bends any room he walks into to his will. According to the synopsis for this one, he’ll be facing a post-apocalyptic wasteland and a “mad scientist” while on the hunt for the folks who kidnapped a young girl. The film is also the latest in the trend of action-heavy movies directed by a stuntsperson-turned-filmmaker, a la “John Wick” and “Extraction.” This time, celebrated Korean martial arts coordinator Heo Myeong-haeng, whose credits include “Extreme Job,” “D.P. 2” and several stunt collaborations with Lee, make his directorial debut.
“How to Train Your Dragon” — This movie is not just for kids, but it’s one of the animated options arriving to Netflix this month. Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his father Stoick (Gerard Butler) have a tense relationship after the disappearance of Hiccup’s mother, as well as Hiccup’s inability to master the Viking way of killing dragons. His capture of a Night Fury dragon, Toothless, changes the entire way his seaside town sees the creatures they have come to combat, bringing about the opportunity for them to coexist. While the dog is a man’s best friend in real life, a dragon might be that in fantasy and fiction. Gerard Butler has also announced he will reprise his voice role of Stoick in the live-action “How to Train Your Dragon” movie in the works. Dean DeBlois, director of the animated trilogy, will also helm the live-action film.
“Mamma Mia!” — Amanda Seyfried centers the classic movie musical as bride-to-be Sophie with Meryl Streep (she’s everywhere) as her mother Donna. The first film of the duology involves Sophie’s search for her father, which she takes into her own hands after snooping through her mother’s diary. Sophie’s wedding invitation to the three possible options — Colin Firth’s Harry, Stellan Skarsgård’s Bill and Pierce Brosnan’s Sam causes chaos in her Greek island village as each of the men realize what they’ve been brought there for, not just a wedding, but the wedding of their possible daughter. Come for the story, stay for the ABBA soundtrack. Apparently most of the cast would do a third film too, so it’s never too early for a rewatch, and with the equally entertaining sequel also streaming on Netflix this month, you could make it a double feature!