Each month we breakdown which theatrical releases are worth your movie-going dollars. Now in our new recurring column, we’ll be offering Netflix Instant Watch alternatives to supplement your theater-going experience.

This week action, aliens and romance hit the theaters, and we’ve culled a list of complimentary features currently available online.


Battle: Los Angeles

Aaron Eckhart plays a former Marine sergeant leading Los Angeles in the battle against invading alien forces in this big-budget action-thriller.

For an alien double feature, pair Battle: Los Angeles with one of these sci-fi flicks:

Close Encounters of the Third Kind: The 30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition (1977) – One of the ultimate alien tales, this Spielberg-directed classic follows a man (Richard Dreyfuss) who struggles to understand the visions he’s started having after his own close encounter. Whether it’s your first time or your thirtieth, you will be in awe of this sci-fi masterpiece.

Mars Attacks! (1996) – This Tim Burton picture is an unabashed homage to the B movie space flicks of the 1950s. With an intensely star-studded cast that includes Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Danny DeVito, Martin Short, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Natalie Portman, this campy sci-fi comedy is full of goofy gore, barking bug-eyed aliens, and truly bizarre human experimentation. It’s sometimes refreshing to watch something so candidly absurd.

Monsters (2010) – Gareth Edwards feature-debut is a compelling drama about a couple of Americans traversing the perilous paths of the Infected Zone, an area of Mexico overrun by huge and horrifying aliens. Tautly paced, this sci-fi drama drew notice for its understated, character-driven narrative.


Jane Eyre

The latest adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s classic romance novel, pairs Mia Wasikowska as the eponymous governess and Michael Fassbender as the roguish Rochester.

Masterpiece Classic: Wuthering Heights (2009) For a DIY Brontë double-feature, pair Charlotte’s masterpiece with Emily’s. If you like your romance dark and troubling, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more winding tale of love than that of Cathy and Heathcliff.

Sin Nombre Director Cary Fukunaga is no stranger to obstacle-ridden romance. This award-winning road movie centers on a young Honduran girl’s treacherous trip across the Mexican-American border. Along the way she meets a young thug who is on the outs with his gang. What follows is a touching but tragic tale of love and friendship.

Fish Tank (2009) If you’re craving a less reserved taste of Fassbender-focused May-December romance, try this gritty Brit drama which centers on an angst-filled teen girl who develops a complicated relationship with her mother’s new beau. Aside from common themes of secrets and lies, another tie exists, as writer/director Andrea Arnold is set to release her own Brontë adaptation, Wuthering Heights, this fall.


Certified Copy

The latest from heralded Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, this understated romance drew praise at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival for its poetic portrayal of love and intimacy. The drama stars William Shimell and Juliette Binoche as a writer and an art dealer who cross paths in Tuscany.

Shirin (2008) Kiarostami and Binoche’s first collaboration was this experimental feature, which focuses on an audience’s reaction of a moving performance of the legendary 12th-century Persian love poem Khosrow and Shirin.

Summer Hours (2008) This French drama has a two-fer in the correlation department as it stars Binoche and was a Cannes select from 2008. Written and directed by Olivier Assayas (Demonlover) it centers on a trio of adult siblings confronting their mother’s impending mortality.

Conversations with Other Women (2006) Like Certified, this deftly-crafted indie drama reveals a poignant portrayal of the complications of love. Full of whip-smart dialogue and starring Aaron Eckhart and Helena Bonham Carter, Conversations is as thought provoking as it is titillating.


Black Death

A medieval-set tale of faith and suspicion, Black Death is the latest from heralded horror director Christopher Smith. This drama stars Sean Bean and Eddie Redmayne as a soldier and a monk in search of a devil-worshiping necromancer in the midst of plague-infested England.

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (2001) The first chapter of this nerd-adored trilogy is now available online, allowing for fans to have a Bean-centric sword-and-sorcery double feature.

The Pillars of the Earth If Redmayne in period garb gets you going, try this Starz produced miniseries, based on the novels by Ken Follett. This complex narrative unfolds a tale of monarchy, monks, and architects, touching on themes of faith, love, and greed, and co-stars Ian McShane, Matthew Macfayden, and Alison Pill.

Severance (2006) The first feature to earn Smith major notice, this satirical slasher flick centers on a group of office drones set loose in the wilderness for a company retreat that leads to murder.


Can you think of a connection/suggestion we missed? Put it in comments!

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