It’s time to pull out your watch-list calendars and put in some pins, because Netflix just released its April bounty and we’ve got the must-watch new arrivals. Get ready to catch them while they’re hot, and scroll down for a new feature — the best Netflix movies that are leaving this month. Last-chance fun! When it comes to Netflix, our critics have you covered coming … and going!
Legally Blonde (2001)
Think pink! Reese Witherspoon earns top honors as a gal who follows her rejecting sweetie to Harvard Law School, and finds she’s more serious than she ever knew — with some gal-power help from her manicurist (Jennifer Coolidge).
Watch it: Legally Blonde
The Pianist (2002)
A famous Polish concert pianist (Adrien Brody) escapes the Warsaw Ghetto and hides out from the Nazi invasion as the Holocaust erupts. A true story.
Watch it: The Pianist
Coming April 2
Concrete Cowboy (2021)
Idris Elba plays a Philadelphia horseman who uses the Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club to save his rebellious teen son from meaner streets, with help from a cop friend (rapper turned actor Method Man, aka Cliff Smith, 50). Modern-day cowboys roaming North Philadelphia? Sounds like a fantasy, but it’s based on a real club, whose members are in the film.
Watch it: Concrete Cowboy
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Coming April 7
Dolly Parton: A MusiCares Tribute
Dolly is the MusiCares Person of the Year, so a passel of stars join the 75-year-old icon to perform and celebrate sweet memories, including Willie Nelson, Miley Cyrus, Kacey Musgraves, Shawn Mendes, Brandi Carlile and Katy Perry.
Watch it: Dolly Parton: A MusiCares Tribute
Coming April 9
Thunder Force (2021)
Why watch a superhero movie? Because it’s funny, and stars Octavia Spencer and Melissa McCarthy, both 50, as ordinary folks suddenly granted superpowers.
Watch it: Thunder Force
DON’T MISS THIS: The Best Star Wars films, Ranked!
Coming April 14
Dad Stop Embarrassing Me!
Single dad Brian Dixon (Jamie Foxx, 53) tackles fatherhood in a new way when his headstrong daughter (Kyla-Drew) moves in with him, as his dad, Pops Dixon (David Alan Grier, 64), weighs in. This new series is inspired by Foxx’s relationship with his real-life daughter.
Watch it: Dad Stop Embarrassing Me
Coming April 27
August: Osage County (2014)
It’s like an Olympics for actors! When pappy (Sam Shepard) disappears, his pill-poppin’, chain-smoking cancer patient wife (Meryl Streep), her daughters (Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis, Julianne Nicholson), and granddaughter (Little Miss Sunshine’s Abigail Breslin) gather with their relatives (Chris Cooper, Margo Martindale and Benedict Cumberbatch). Streep got the Oscar nom, but she had competition.
And don’t miss these must-sees before they leave Netflix this month
Leaving April 19
Trapped in a loveless 1950s marriage, Carol (Cate Blanchett) alienates her husband (Kyle Chandler) and falls for a department-store clerk (Rooney Mara). A sextuple Oscar nominee based on an autobiographical novel by Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley, Strangers on a Train).
Watch it: Carol
DON’T MISS THIS: The Ultimate Guide to the Films of Novelist Patricia Highsmith
Leaving April 24
Django Unchained (2012)
Leonardo DiCaprio is pretty good as a sadistic plantation owner in Quentin Tarantino’s not very historically accurate epic, but Christoph Waltz is better as a German bounty hunter, Jamie Foxx better yet as the formerly enslaved man he helps find his enslaved wife (Kerry Washington), and Samuel L. Jackson is nonpareil as their sinister nemesis.
Watch it: Django Unchained
Leaving April 30
I Am Legend (2007)
Though the film has last-act problems, Will Smith stands tall in this version of Richard Matheson’s influential postapocalypse tale that launched a thousand vampire/zombie imitators. Immune to the plague that turned New Yorkers into bloodthirsty mutants, he seeks a cure — and personal survival.
Watch it: I Am Legend
Jumping the Broom (2014)
A Black aristocrat attorney (Paula Patton) says yes to a Wall Street hunk’s (Laz Alonso) proposal — but her snooty parents (Angela Bassett and Brian Stokes Mitchell) turn their noses up when they meet his mom (Loretta Devine), who works at the post office.
Watch it: Jumping the Broom
Troubled Vietnam vet Oliver Stone turned his trauma into a career catapult in this saga about the fight for the soul of soldier Charlie Sheen by evil sergeant Tom Berenger (a symbol of the war) and saintly sergeant Willem Dafoe.
Watch it: Platoon
Runaway Bride (1999)
Reporter Richard Gere gets fired for mocking Julia Roberts, who left three men at the altar. So he races to her small town for her fourth time at bat. Who do you guess falls in love? As usual, Joan Cusack (as her best friend) steals the picture.
Watch it: Runaway Bride
Bong Joon-ho, who made the class-struggle movie Parasite, wrote and directed this one with a sci-fi twist: After an icy apocalypse, all humanity is trapped aboard a train run by mad, wicked Tilda Swinton, with the rich in first class and the poor folk stuck in the caboose.
Watch it: Snowpiercer
Tim Appelo is AARP’s film and TV critic. Previously, he was Amazon’s entertainment editor, Entertainment Weekly’s video critic, and a writer for The Hollywood Reporter, People, MTV, LA Weekly and The Village Voice.