Stream These 9 Movies Before They Leave Netflix in July


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This erotic thriller from Adrian Lyne was one of the most successful pictures of 1987 — and one of the most controversial, prompting heating conversations about its depictions of adultery and mental illness that moved from movie listings to opinion pages and magazine covers. The story is simple: Michael Douglas stars as a family man whose seemingly offhand weekend extramarital affair with Glenn Close turns into a matter of literal life and death. It is a deeply flawed picture — Close’s nuanced characterization outclasses the paper-thin caricature she’s given, and critics of the era were right to call out the cheap-thrills ending as a cop-out — but a nevertheless fascinating snapshot of the era’s sexual mores and moral paranoia.

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There was something of a prerelease, sight-unseen backlash to this 2016 Chinese-American co-production, whose initial trailers, which centered on Matt Damon, smelled suspiciously like a “white savior” narrative in the making. The film itself proved to be quite the opposite; Damon’s character, a mercenary soldier, spends much of the film being educated and humbled by the Chinese characters around him. “The Great Wall” is, in fact, a lot of fun, a period adventure in which armies are gathered and battles are mounted to protect the Great Wall from hordes of deathly monsters. The director Zhang Yimou (of “Hero” and “House of the Flying Daggers,” among others) mounts the B-movie action with style and verve, and the supporting cast (including Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau, Pedro Pascal and Jing Tian) approach the material with the proper mix of solemnity and wit.

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Ang Lee’s follow-up to the Oscar-winning triumph of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” was an ambitious attempt to make a true comic book movie — replicating not only storytelling and character but also the look, feel, and even layout of those slim volumes. It was perceived as an unsuccessful experiment at the time (Marvel rebooted it with “The Incredible Hulk” five years later), and some of the contemporaneous complaints against it were valid. But in the passing years, as the superhero movie has become narratively and stylistically codified, Lee’s visual experimentation and narrative bravado have made “Hulk” seem like less a fumble than an attractive outlier.

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It’s a tale as old as time: Two incompatible people on a first date have a little bit too much to drink, make some poor choices, and a few weeks later, have to decide what to do about them. Judd Apatow told the tale as his follow-up to “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” plunking the supporting player Seth Rogen into the lead role of a happy-go-lucky stoner whose lucky night with a whip-smart career woman (Katherine Heigl) turns both of their lives upside down. It’s a rom-com with both a heart and a dirty mind, which proved a lucrative (and much-imitated) combination, but Apatow did it best; the supporting cast is full of comic heavy hitters, including Jay Baruchel, Bill Hader, Jonah Hill, Leslie Mann, Harold Ramis, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Martin Starr and Kristen Wiig.

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This 2001 animated adaptation of the picture book by William Steig became such a ubiquitous pop culture phenomenon that it is easy to forget that it started off as something of a Hollywood in-joke: It came from Disney’s then-nascent rival studio DreamWorks, an organization co-founded by the former Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg and was filled with jabs at Disney’s characters and style. It transcended those inside-Hollywood references to become a massive, multi-franchise-spawning hit, thanks to a witty script brought to memorable life by the voice talents of Mike Myers in the leading role of a grouchy ogre, Eddie Murphy as his annoying talking donkey pal and Cameron Diaz as the princess Shrek is sent to reluctantly rescue.



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