The best movies to watch on Netflix this Valentine’s Day

Staying in on Valentine's Day? No matter if you're single or cozying up with a date, these are the best movies to watch on Netflix this year. "When We First Met" This new Netflix original mixes time travel and romantic comedy – kind of like a millennial "Groundhog Day." Adam DeVine stars as a man dealing with unrequited love, who tries again and again to win the heart of his dream girl. "When We First Met" is far from perfect (we need to ditch the idea of "the friend zone" for good), but it's fun to laugh at not with the movie's terrible writing. Watch if you plan on drinking wine with your best friend. You can totally make a drinking game out of this movie. Take a sip each time DeVine's character time travels. Take a sip each time the balance between cutesy and crude just doesn't work. "Bridget Jones's Diary" or "Bridget Jones's Baby" In "Bridget Jones's Diary," Bridget (Renée Zellweger) is a 32-year-old trying to improve her career, her body and her love life. The plot loosely follows Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice. Like most rom-coms, this 2001 movie isn't aiming for realism, but Zellweger succeeds in making her character relatable and empathetic. While the sequel "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" isn't available on Netflix, you can skip over it to watch "Bridget Jones's Baby" without missing much. Watch if your ideal Valentine's Day is binging rom-coms on the couch all night. Put on your pajamas, grab some ice cream and cozy up under five blankets for a movie marathon. "Heathers" "Heathers"/New World Pictures“Heathers” is a 1989 American black comedy film written by Daniel Waters and directed by Michael Lehmann. It stars Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, and Shannen DohertyThis '80s cult classic, a darkly funny satire on high school, stars Winona Ryder as Veronica. Veronica, part of the popular high school clique Heathers, becomes fed up with her friends' meanness. She finds a venting outlet in new boyfriend Continue Reading

A look at the best movie soundtracks, including ‘Purple Rain,’ ‘Saturday Night Fever’ and ‘8 Mile’

Sometimes the music can make the movie. Movies can leave a mark on a person just through the stories they tell, but it could also be the music that gets trapped inside viewers' brains. From the catchiness of Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" in "Purple Rain" or Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" from "Almost Famous," here's a look at the best film soundtracks from throughout the years. "Purple Rain" Prince had already started to make a name for himself when he released "1999" in 1982, but he became one of the biggest artists in the world when "Purple Rain" came out in 1984. The album served as a soundtrack to the movie "Purple Rain," which Prince also starred in. The soundtrack is loaded with classic cuts from The Purple One like "When Doves Cry," "Let's Go Crazy," "I Would Die 4 U" and "Purple Rain." "Purple Rain" is considered Prince's best album and one that continues to heavy play. The iconic soundtrack has sold over 25 million copies around the world. "Saturday Night Fever" Nothing got people dancing in 1977 like the soundtrack to "Saturday Night Fever." From beginning to end, the movie featured disco staples and captures the Bee Gees at their peak. The movie would not have been the same had "Stayin' Alive" not been playing as Tony Manero walked down the street in the opening credits, or when the he became the king of the dance floor to "You Should Be Dancing." The album also featured other Bee Gees classics like "Night Fever," "More Than a Woman" and "How Deep is Your Love." Although the Bee Gees dominated the track listing, other disco classics like The Trammps "Disco Inferno" and Yvonne Elliman's "If I Can't Have You" played a big role on the soundtrack. "Singles" "Singles" was a movie that perfectly captured the grunge scene in Seattle at the time, so it's fitting it had a Continue Reading

A comprehensive look at the best movie characters from the Warren case files on the 11th anniversary of Ed’s death

Who you gonna call? Ed and Lorraine! Ed Warren, perhaps one of the most notable demonologists in modern history, passed away on August 23, 2006. In the 11 years since his death, a number of films have emerged from his case files — stories/accounts he’d shared with with his longtime wife Lorraine. Horror master James Wan took the Warren files and ran with them, helming the critical and commercial successes “The Conjuring” (2013) and “The Conjuring 2” (2016). Each features Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as Ed and Lorraine, respectively. Wan also acted as producer on the related movie “Annabelle” (2014), which outlined the strange past of the demonic doll that lay in the Warrens’ Occult Museum. Since 2013, the Warren filmic universe has truly proliferated. Before that, however, there was also a film loosely based on the Warrens’ account of the Snedecker haunting in Southington, Conn., “The Haunting in Connecticut,” and a 1991 TV movie based on the famed Smurl haunting, “The Haunted.” Aside from the events played out on screen in recent years — including the Perron family haunting in Rhode Island (“The Conjuring”) and the Enfield Poltergeist brought to life in the sequel — the Warrens also investigated some of the most publicized paranormal occurrences of the 20th century. Some of these include: the Amityville haunting in New York (featured in the opening scene of “Conjuring 2”), the Smurl family disturbance in Pennsylvania and the presence of a pale female ghost at the Union Cemetery in Connecticut. According to, Warren claimed to have grown up in a haunted house in Connecticut. While working as an usher at The Colonial Theatre at 16, he met Lorraine Moran. At 17, Warren enlisted in the Navy and four months later his ship sank in the North Atlantic. While on Continue Reading

The best movie stunts from ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ to ‘The Dark Knight’

Thanks to unknown daredevils, not everything in Hollywood is fake. Action-film lovers know how important a great stunt is, but the men and women behind the scenes are rarely recognized for their dangerous acts. Most people are familiar with the Oscars, but very few have heard of the Taurus awards — the Oscars of the stunt world. Stunt workers are now demanding some recognition from the Academy. In the 1923 film "Safety Last" Harold Lloyd both acted and completed his own death-defying stunt by hanging from a clock on a Los Angeles skyscraper. The movie had zero special effects and has often been imitated, but never surpassed. Actors like Jackie Chan and Tom Cruise are known for performing their own impressive stunts, but other actors use stunt doubles to create really out-of-this-world scenes. Here's a look at the five best the best movie stunts: "Ben-Hur" (1956) The iconic chariot race from "Ben-Hur" was filmed by legendary stuntman Yakima Canutt who kept the cameras rolling when his own son Joe fell from a chariot and landed in front of the racing horses. Joe Canutt, who was doubling for actor Charlton Heston, bounced back from the nearly fatal fall and his dangerous take ended up in the film. Yakima Canutt also doubles in "Stagecoach" where he appears to get trampled by the horses and run over by the coach. "The Man With the Golden Gun" (1974) The stuntman was paid 30,000 pounds for this entirely real 360 car jump from one side of a river to the other. Stunt driver Jay Mulligan successfully completed it on the first try. The logistics were developed by researchers at Cornell University and it was later patented by 007. Bond stuntmen went on to perfect countless stunts in the more than 20 James Bond films that have been made to date. "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981) Continue Reading

Tammero: Newest ‘Planet of the Apes’ Is One of the Best Movies of 2014

The 2011 remake of the Charlton Heston classic made a half-billion dollars, and now the "Apes" are back again. In the Foxlight’s Michael Tammero gave us a preview of "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" on Fox and Friends this morning, saying it's even better than "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" and one of the best movies of the year. He likened this sequel to "The Empire Strikes Back," which followed the original "Star Wars." Tammero caught up with the stars of the new summer blockbuster, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell and Jason Clarke. Check it all out in the clip above. Continue Reading

‘Your Name.,’ ‘Paint it Black’ and the best movies of 2017

We’re halfway through 2017, and what a year it’s been at the movies.Animated masterpieces, gripping documentary epics and some of the best comic book adaptations ever are just some of the reasons we've kept watching this year.Before we turn our gaze to the back end of the year (and all of the awards bait that’s sure to come with it), we’re taking a moment to celebrate the best cinematic offerings of 2017 so far. 1. “Your Name.” Anime auteur Makoto Shinkai created one of the biggest animated hits of all time by simply telling a beautiful story incredibly well, with a bracing amount of urgency and timeliness.The film concerns a pair of teenagers – country girl Mitsuha and Tokyo boy Taki – who suddenly and inexplicably switch places. One morning he wakes up in her body, she wakes up in his, and they each experience life in the other’s shoes. This swapping continues on and off, seemingly at random, and a bond forms between the two over time.Deftly dodging what could have been a broad body-switching comedy, Shinkai uses this work as a call for empathy. His two leads are divided by class, geography and gender, and at a time in our world when fear-mongering and isolationism seem to be on the rise it feels like Shinkai is advocating for something else. 2. “Paint it Black” Take note: “Paint it Black,” a harrowing psychological thriller, should by all rights serve as a career turning point for what could be a pair of new, essential voices in American cinema: director Amber Tamblyn and star Alia Shawkat.Both previously known as child performers, here the pair make a dynamite duo, partnering to deliver a challenging and deeply effective examination of emotional turmoil.Starring Shawkat as a young woman trapped with her boyfriend's mother (Janet McTeer) in a symbiotic emotional downward spiral following the boyfriend's suicide, the film is an unflinching look at terrible pain Continue Reading

The best movies (so far) of 2016

The season of sequels may be upon us, but the best movies so far this year have been a mix of original fare and art-film gems. Plus a whole honking bunch of superheroes.Ranked, here are USA TODAY's film critic's top movies for the first half of 2016.You don’t have to have a soft spot for Duran Duran or The Cure to enjoy this musically tinged, 1980s-set coming-of-age treat but it helps. A teenage Irish boy (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) seemingly wanders out of his league when he falls for a local model (Lucy Boynton) and forms a band so she can be in their videos. Thing is, he’s actually pretty good, so there are great tunes to be had along the inevitably rocky road to getting the girl.It’s not the best movie in Marvel’s massive 13-movie (so far) saga, but it's up there. Civil War pits arguably the studio's best character Cap (Chris Evans) against superfriend Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in an emotionally charged battle, but also introduces an amazing new Spider-Man in Tom Holland and the diverse hero we’ve needed for a while, Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther.The complete meltdown of a dysfunctional family unit is seen through a terrifying Puritan lens in the period scare-fest. A New England clan’s rural world is rocked to the core when the littlest member goes missing, and it gets worse from there, with a dark threat in the nearby forest and the creepy goat Black Phillip on the farm. Plus: The bonkers ending will haunt you far past the closing credits.Whereas his Boyhood didn’t live up to the hype, Richard Linklater’s retro comedy exudes fun times and deep thoughts with a bunch of Texas college ballplayers who don’t even hit the field until halfway through the movie. Instead, one weekend in their lives is a study in cool music, great friends and the transition from boyhood to something resembling being a grown-up.A seemingly Continue Reading

The best movies of 2017 — so far

The year’s half over, and while there haven’t been any masterpieces released so far, it’s still been a decent 2017 at the movies.With a lot more to come.Like every year, studios will backload the year with the prestige pictures, but there are a few films on this list that should stand that particular test of time.What’s surprising so far is the number of horror and superhero films on the list. I’m an avowed horror-movie fan, but this isn’t just genre-boosting. Maybe it’s the times we live in — checked your Twitter feed lately? — but horror films have felt particularly urgent lately.As for the heroes, the grim business of films like “Dawn of Justice: Batman v Superman” seems to have reminded filmmakers that at their heart, these movies should have a sense of fun.Then again, the best movie of the year so far is a rom-com, so what do I know?Here are the best movies of 2017 — so far.Maybe it’s style over substance, but Edgar Wright’s music-drenched movie is so stylish that hardly matters. Ansel Elgort plays Baby, a young getaway driver who has to pull off one last job. He constantly listens to music (there’s a reason), so we hear what he hears — a killer soundtrack curated by Wright, whose taste has always been flawless on that front. The car chases are real, and it shows. The movie is nuts, in the best summer-movie way possible.The third film in the rebooted series is by far the best. The apes, led by Caesar (Andy Serkis in another amazing motion-capture performance), don’t want to fight man, but an unhinged colonel (Woody Harrelson) leaves them no choice. The set pieces are amazing, but it’s the smaller moments, like the exchanges between the colonel and Caesar, that stay with you. Plus, Steve Zahn is funny as a new character, Bad Ape. Richard Gere is enjoying a kind of career renaissance as he gets older, and it’s fun to see. Here he plays a Continue Reading

What are the best movies of 2016?

“Some men you just can’t reach.”So Strother Martin tells Paul Newman in “Cool Hand Luke.” Women, either, he might have added.The quote came to mind after a couple of social-media posts about compiling an annual top 10 movies list. Like clockwork, the reactions came in — this was a horrible year for movies. There weren’t any great movies this year. There weren’t even any good movies this year. RELATED: The worst movies of 2016Wrong. Wrong. And wrong.This was, in fact, a terrific year for movies. Were there dogs released? Of course. That’s what the five worst movies list is for.Even if you go strictly by the numbers, though, 2016 was an outstanding year for good movies — great, even. I’m not the be-all, end-all arbiter of what’s good and bad, but I see just about everything, so at least I know what’s out there. I rarely give a movie 5 stars. Maybe once a year. Maybe twice.This year I gave four movies 5 stars, and there were a couple that almost made the grade.You’ll find those below, along with the rest of the best of 2016.Do you disagree with the picks? I certainly hope so. Arguing about them is half the fun.The usual caveats apply. There are four or five other movies I could easily swap in, and the top four are close enough that I could switch them around and still feel OK about things. But you’ve got to pick 10, and you’ve got to rank them. Rules are rules. So here you go:MORE AZCENTRAL ON SOCIAL: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | PinterestMike Birbiglia is a talented filmmaker as well as a terrific improv comic. He merges those worlds here, with a perfectly cast movie about a New York comedy troupe struggling to succeed and, for some of its members, struggling with success. Birbiglia wrote, directs and stars as the leader of the group, bitter after being passed over for stardom. Keegan-Michael Key plays a star about to hit it big; Continue Reading

‘La La Land’ is the best movie of the year

“La La Land” is magical.You can describe it in other ways — beautiful, joyous, heartbreaking, fun, toe-tapping, emotional, flat-out great — but “magical” seems like the best fit for writer and director Damien Chazelle’s brilliant film. If you have friends who say they don’t make good movies anymore, drag them to this.RELATED: Will Emma Stone be dancing with an Oscar thanks to 'La La Land?' | What are the best movies of 2016? | Top 5 movie musicals will have you singing and dancingIt’s a full-on musical, with the magical realism that often implies. There are dance numbers, some of the Busby Berkeley variety, including the first scene, set on an LA freeway choked with traffic. It’s the oldest story in Hollywood — struggling actress meets struggling musician, a variation on the boy-meets-girl trope.It is at once a throwback and contemporary. Don’t let the bright primary colors, snappy dance numbers and gorgeous sunsets fool you — this is a movie that traces the real strains the fight for success puts on a relationship. In other words, it brings realism to the genre while making room for Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling to literally float while dancing together, and those seeming contradictions fit together perfectly.Traffic on the above-mentioned freeway grinds to a halt. So what do the drivers do? Hop out of their cars and break into song and dance to “Another Day of Sun,” which is maybe not quite as sunny as it sounds. Like the other songs, it’s written by Justin Hurwitz, with lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.Among the crowd are Mia (Stone) and Sebastian (Gosling). He blows his horn at her, she gives him the finger — ah, romance. She’s on the way to her job at a coffee shop on the Warner Bros. lot, and then on to another soul-sucking audition, in which the casting directors often don’t even look up from their phones.Seb, as some call Continue Reading