What to watch on Netflix Canada in April 2021

NOW critics pick the best movies and TV shows coming to the streaming platform


These are the most anticipated new titles hitting Netflix Canada in April 2021, including The Circle season 2, a new thriller starring Sarah Paulson and Idris Elba in Concrete Cowboy.

What we can’t wait to watch

Thunder Force

There’s something really endearing about Melissa McCarthy’s love of genre stuff. Whether she’s inserting herself into a Bond movie in Spy, or running around Seattle at the behest of an AI that sounds like James Corden in last year’s Superintelligence, she always finds a way to let the audience share in her fun at getting to goof around in a preposterous story. Written and directed by McCarthy’s husband and regular creative partner Ben Falcone, this superhero comedy pairs her with Octavia Spencer as childhood friends who become unlikely powerhouses. The trailer looks very silly. This is a good thing. April 9 (NW)

Allen Fraser/ Netflix

Run

If it feels like you spent most of last year following the buzz for director Aneesh Chaganty’s follow-up to Searching… well, you have. Run, a thriller starring Kiera Allen as a housebound teen who’s beginning to suspect her mother (Sarah Paulson) doesn’t exactly have her best interests in mind, was bounced around the release schedule by COVID, finally premiering on the American streaming service Hulu last fall. But it never made it up to Canada… until now. Hopefully you’ve managed to avoid spoilers. April 2 (NW)

Courtesy of Netflix

The Circle (season 2)

Last year’s first season of The Circle U.S. – in which isolated contestants interact with each other solely through a social media-type app – was a massive hit for the streamer. And even if the contestants didn’t quite play the game like their savvier Brazilian counterparts (check out The Circle: Brazil if you get a chance), it’s back for a second season this spring. The rollout of episodes is clever. Four episodes will be released weekly to help build momentum until the big finale on May 5. April 14 (GS)

Courtesy of Netflix

Prank Encounters (season 2)

There’s no word yet on when Netflix will release a fourth season of its retro sci-fi hit, Stranger Things. But you can check out how Gaten Matarazzo, who plays the series’ delightfully nerdy Dustin, has aged as he hosts this show of elaborately staged practical jokes and pranks. Ideal viewing for April Fool’s Day, of course. April 1 (GS)

Courtesy of Netflix

Dolly Parton: A MusiCares Tribute

Netflix has learned it can’t have too much Dolly Parton content. Joining the terrific doc, Dolly Parton: Here I Am, and the delightfully cheesy Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings and Christmas On The Square, is this star-studded musical tribute to the country music legend. Everyone from Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris to Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry deliver songs and stories about the iconic artist. April 7 (GS)

Courtesy of Netflix

Searching For Sheela

Wild Wild Country, the Netflix doc series recounting the early 80s utopian Rajneesh movement, was a breakout hit in 2018. Three years later, the show’s breakout (ahem) star Ma Anand Sheela is getting her own spinoff documentary, which follows her on her first trip to India in 30 years. The commune’s former secretary moved to Europe after doing time in a U.S. federal prison on an array of charges. The film promises to follow Sheela on an interview tour and on a visit to her family home. Coming soon (KR)

Courtesy of Netflix

Life In Color With David Attenborough

What better way to celebrate Earth Day than by staying indoors and bingeing on a new three-part series created by the guy who made us all glad we bought high-def TVs? This time out, Attenborough and his revolutionary camera technology take us from the rainforests of Costa Rica to the snowy Scottish Highlands. April 22 (GS)

Courtesy of Netflix

The Disciple

Mumbai writer/director Chaitanya Tamhane made a big splash on the international festival circuit last year after his second film picked up a few awards in Toronto and Venice. The Disciple follows a classical Hindustani vocalist whose spiritual and studious devotion to his craft brushes up against the material demands of the modern world. Executive produced by Roma director Alfonso Cuarón, the movie promises to put a meditative spin on a classic story. Coming soon (KR)

Courtesy of Netflix

Why Are You Like This

HBO has been pumping out confrontational Gen Z dramas like Euphoria, Genera+ion and We Are Who We Are for the past year. While those shows can sometimes feel like like Gen Xers and Millennials projecting their own pathos onto the younger generation, the Australian comedy Why Are You Like This has been lauded in its home country for its fresh – and arch – take on 20somethings navigating identity politics, cancel culture and “the divisive sociopolitical hellscape” we live in today. April 16 (KR)

Courtesy of Netflix

The Mitchells Vs. The Machines

Originally scheduled for theatrical release last fall, this Sony Pictures Animation feature is the latest from producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who gave us the LEGO Movie franchise and the Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. Directed and co-written by Mike Rianda, The Mitchells Vs. The Machines is a family comedy about a cheerfully dysfunctional family driving across America to drop their teenage daughter at film school… just as millions of robots rise up to destroy humanity. Danny McBride and Maya Rudolph are the parents; Abbi Jacobson is the daughter. Eric Andre and Olivia freaking Colman are in there somewhere, too. This is going to be a blast. April 30 (NW)

Courtesy of Netflix

Snabba Cash

Remember Easy Money? Released in 2010, it was a Swedish thriller (starring a young Joel Kinnaman) that followed an ambitious young man’s questionable business decisions as they led him into an action-movie nightmare of gangsters, betrayal and bullets. It ended up spawning a trilogy, and now this television series, which uses the same Jens Lapidus novel as a springboard for further moral compromise and chaos. This time, it’s Evin Ahmad (The Rain) whose life becomes a raging sea when she borrows money from the wrong people – and she’s not the only one. April 7 (NW)

Courtesy of Netflix Canada

Shadow And Bone

The latest high-fantasy romantic adventure series is built on the Grishaverse novels of Leigh Bardugo, following a young soldier called Alina (Jessie Mei Li) whose ability to manifest light gives her the ability to survive the realm of darkness her people call the Fold… and makes her the key figure in a battle that threatens to destroy her whole world. It was developed for Netflix by writer/producer Eric Heisserer (Arrival, Bird Box), so we’re hoping for some thoughtful human moments between the gargantuan effects sequences. April 23 (NW)

Aaron Ricketts / Netflix

Solid bets

Concrete Cowboy

The image of Idris Elba on horseback, just charismatic as hell, is likely all it’ll take to grab people’s attention as they scroll through the tiles. But Ricky Staub’s drama – which was picked up by Netflix after its TIFF premiere last year – is really a vehicle for Stranger Things’ Caleb McLaughlin, who stars as a troubled teen offered the chance to turn his life around working with horses in a struggling Philadelphia neighbourhood. Elba plays his father, a modern cowhand trying to keep the stables safe from gentrification. These things are complicated. April 2 (NW)

Coded Bias

Does facial recognition software discriminate against people of colour? Absolutely! And it’s a very serious problem. Shalini Kantayya’s film – which arrives on Netflix after a virtual cinema run and screenings at Sundance and Hot Docs – illustrates MIT researcher Joy Buolamwini’s distressing findings on developer bias and the risks inherent in placing public trust in the hands of deeply flawed algorithms. April 5 (NW)

Amazing Grace

Hollywood is all about Aretha Franklin this year. National Geographic just debuted the Aretha edition of its Genius series, starring Cynthia Erivo as the Queen of Soul. Franklin’s family didn’t consult on the show and have publicly objected to it. But don’t worry too much – the authorized biopic Respect starring Jennifer Hudson, Marlon Wayans, Marc Maron and Mary J. Blige is due out this year. In the meantime, Netflix is getting in on the action by making available Sydney Pollack’s concert film about the recording of Franklin’s seminal gospel album in 1972. There’s nothing like the real thing. April 2 (KR)

High Life

French auteur Claire Denis’s English-language sci-fi horror movie starring Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche inspired walkouts during its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2018. It’s not hard to understand why – High Life is more future camp classic than futuristic. Set in space on a prison ship, Binoche plays an evil, sperm-stealing doctor intent on seducing Pattinson’s celibate convicted murderer as their craft hurtles toward a black hole. There’s birth, death and impeccably designed space fashions. April 3 (KR)

The full list of new titles available on Netflix Canada in April 2021 by date:

TV

April 1

The Flash (season 7)

Magical Andes (season 2)

PAW Patrol (season 7)

Prank Encounters (season 2)

Worn Stories

April 2

The Serpent

April 5

Family Reunion (Part 3)

April 6

The Last Kids On Earth: Happy Apocalypse To You

April 7

The Big Day: Collection 2

Dolly Parton: A MusiCares Tribute

Snabba Cash

This Is A Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist

The Wedding Coach

April 8

The Way Of The Househusband

April 11

Diana: The Interview That Shook The World

April 13

The Baker And The Beauty (season 1)

Mighty Express (season 3)

April 14

The Circle (season 2)

Dad Stop Embarassing Me!

Law School

April 16

Fast & Furious Spy Racers (season 4: Mexico)

Why Are You Like This

April 18

Luis Miguel: The Series (season 2)

April 20

Izzy’s Koala World (season 2)

April 21

Zero

April 22

Life In Color With David Attenborough

April 23

Shadow And Bone

April 25

RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race (season 1)

April 27

Fatma

Go! Go! Cory Carson (season 4)

PJ Masks (season 3)

April 28

Sexify

Headspace

April 29

Yasuke

April 30

The Innocent

Pet Stars

The Unremarkable Juanquini (season 2)

Movies

Coming soon

The Disciple

Searching For Sheela

April 1

300

Alita: Battle Angel

Asterix: The Secret Of The Magic Potion

Breakway

Cold Pursuit

Crank

Crank 2: High Voltage

Dating Amber

The Eagle

Glass

Green Book

Grindhouse: Death Proof

Grindhouse: Planet Terror

Happy Death Day 2 U

In The Line of Fire

The Last Exorcism

Love Don’t Cost A Thing

Margin Call

The New Guy

Racetime!

Shoot ‘Em Up

Tersanjung The Movie

Urban Legend

Watchmen

April 2

Amazing Grace

Concrete Cowboy

Just Say Yes

Madame Claude

Run

Sky High

April 3

Escape From Planet Earth

High Life

April 4

What Lies Below

April 5

Coded Bias

April 7

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story

Elizabeth

Fried Green Tomatoes

Hop

Leap Year

Liar Liar

Missing Link

Pride & Prejudice (2005)

Ray

Ride Along

This Is 40

Wild Child

April 9

Have You Ever Seen Fireflies

Night In Paradise

Thunder Force

Words On Bathroom Walls

April 10

The Stand-In

April 12

New Gods: Nezha Reborn

Teen Spirit

April 13

Godzilla: King Of The Monsters

My Love: Six Stories Of True Love

April 14

The Intruder

Love And Monsters

The Soul

Why Did You Kill Me?

April 15

Ride Or Die

April 16

The 2nd

Arlo The Alligator Boy

Ajeeb Daastaans

Into The Beat

April 20

The Gift

Ocean’s Eleven

April 23

The Prodigy

Tell Me When

April 26

Greta

April 29

Things Heard & Seen

April 30

Fighting With My Family

The Mitchells vs. The Machines

Last call

TV series and movies leaving Netflix Canada in April 2021.

April 6

Happy Gilmore

April 11

Shrek Forever After 

Shrek The Third 

April 12

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald

April 18

Just Friends 

April 30

Kingdom (seasons 1-3)

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