Netflix has inadvertently trained me to run for the hills whenever I see a new original movie from the streamer with Kevin Hart’s name on it. It’s not my fault. Time after time — thanks to objectively dumb films like Me Time, The Man from Toronto, and now the newly-released Lift — the end result of wasting 90 minutes or so of my life on Netflix releases like these is that I feel like I could have been doing something better with my time, I’m less inclined to try the streamer’s original movies in the future, and I sometimes get a little closer to just cancelling my subscription altogether.
Lift, the latest in Netflix’s bad string of Kevin Hart duds, is also the most high-profile new release coming to the streaming giant over the next several days, if that tells you anything.
The movie comes from director F. Gary Gray (Friday, Set It Off, The Italian Job, The Fate of the Furious, Straight Outta Compton), and Hart plays Cyrus Whitaker — the leader of an international crew of thieves planning an elaborate heist: The theft of $500 million in gold from a passenger plane at 40,000 feet. “I love the heist genre and the idea of pairing Kevin Hart with a world-class cast,” Gray said in a Netflix promotional interview. “I really felt for his character, Cyrus Whitaker, as he orchestrated an impossible global mission — as a director, tackling the seemingly impossible task of filming a global production is my everyday adventure!”
I’ll say this: The cast is certainly impressive. Lift’s stars include Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jean Reno, and Ursula Corbero (who, of course, already has one other heist title on her Netflix resume — Money Heist, one of the biggest Netflix shows of all time). Unfortunately, the movie’s release coincided with absolutely dismal scores on Rotten Tomatoes — specifically, a 28% critics’ score, and a 54% audience score. To put it simply, Lift is another Hart misfire where the only legitimate heist that takes place is the theft of anyone’s time who watches it.
Having said that, the good news is that it’s certainly not the only big new title coming to Netflix over the next several days; there are plenty of other major Netflix releases that are likewise just around the corner. Here’s a snapshot, below, of four more new releases in addition to Lift that will likely drive the most streaming activity on Netflix over the coming week. In no particular order:
American Nightmare: Felicity Morris and Bernadette Higgins, the makers behind 2022’s The Tinder Swindler, are about to have another wild-yet-true Netflix hit on their hands. Their three-episode docuseries American Nightmare unfolds sort of like a real-life Gone Girl. It’s about a home invasion and kidnapping of a young woman. Police initially suspect the boyfriend … until the girlfriend strolls home out of the blue, throwing the whole case into the air. Release date: Jan. 17.
Love on the Spectrum (Season 2): In this Emmy Award-winning docuseries, viewers follow a group of participants on the autism spectrum as they navigate the world of dating and relationships. “In its second season,” Netflix explains about the new episodes, “this US-based series tells the stories of a unique and diverse cast of characters — including new romantic hopefuls and familiar faces — searching for something we all hope to find, love.” Release date: Jan. 19.
The Bequeathed: Next up is the first of two K-dramas we’re spotlighting, about a woman who inherits a burial ground after the death of an uncle she didn’t even know she had — which plunges her into a web of murders and various dark secrets. Netflix has definitely been on a roll in recent months with its K-dramas (like Gyeongseong Creature), so I’ll definitely be checking these new ones out. Release date: Jan. 19.
Captivating the King: The last of the coming week’s Netflix releases on our latest preview list is the 16-episode historical drama Captivating the King — which, according to Netflix, is about what happens when, “amid a royal and political power struggle, a king entangles with an intriguing woman — whose hidden desire for revenge transforms into unintended love.” A quick note for fans of the genre: The stars here include Jo Jung Suk, making this his first role in three years since his turn in the excellent Netflix K-drama Hospital Playlist. Release date: Jan. 21.