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The best movies on Max right now

What are the best movies on Max right now? The streamer’s name may have changed, but Max is still one of the best streaming platforms for movies thanks to a healthy and diverse catalog made up of new releases and legacy additions. There’s plenty of quality and quantity to be found in the service’s library, with a selection of movies that run the gamut of genres, ensuring any viewer will find something to enjoy.

Considering how saturated the streaming market has become in recent years, that level of variety is an invaluable asset to have. And if you find yourself overwhelmed and struggling to find where to start, we’ve curated a guide on the best movies to stream on Max that is updated every month.

In need of some more streaming recommendations? We also have guides to the best movies on Netflix, the best movies on Hulu, the best movies on Amazon Prime Video, and the best movies on Disney+ that are worth looking through. 

It (2017) new

Genre Horror, Fantasy
Stars Jaeden Martell, Sophia Lillis, Jack Dylan Grazer
Directed by Andy Muschietti

One of Stephen King’s best movie adaptations, director Andy Muschietti’s (The Flash) It is a thrilling cinematic interpretation of the classic novel. The 2017 film follows a string of disturbing disappearances, seven children known as The Losers’ Club face the terror of the titular otherworldly creature — as well as their personal demons.

Bolstered by an impressive young cast and the equal parts commanding and bone-chilling performance by Bill Skarsgård as the titular monster, It is a superb supernatural horror movie and arguably one of the best adaptations of Stephen King’s books.

Doctor Sleep (2019) new

Doctor Sleep
Genre Horror, Thriller, Fantasy
Stars Ewan McGregor, Kyliegh Curran, Rebecca Ferguson
Directed by Mike Flanagan

Another Stephen King adaptation, director Mike Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep is perhaps one of the more underrated movies of 2019. The film received a positive critical reception upon release, but it had an underwhelming run at the box office. Nonetheless, Doctor Sleep is a riveting supernatural horror story and a satisfying sequel to the critically acclaimed The Shining.

Set decades after the events of the latter, Doctor Sleep revolves around a grown Dan Torrance (played by Ewan McGregor), a man struggling with alcoholism who wields psychic abilities, after he’s compelled back to the hotel that traumatized him and his family. Buoyed by a strong performances by McGregor and Rebecca Ferguson as antagonist and cult leader Rose the Hat, Doctor Sleep is a suitably foreboding horror-thriller.

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015) new

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
Genre Action, Adventure
Stars Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg
Directed by Christopher McQuarrie

Director Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible series is still going strong, and Max has one of the franchise’s strongest installments in Rogue Nation. Coming off the resurgent goodwill of 2011’s Ghost Protocol, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation follows Ethan Hunt and company as they tackle the shadowy machinations of the Syndicate, a terrorist organization of rogue international government agents.

The plot gets increasingly tense as disavowed MI6 agent Ilsa Foust (played by Rebecca Ferguson) enters the fray with ambitions of her own. Rogue Nation was critically well-received partly due to its tense story and compelling performances from Cruise and Ferguson.

Gangs of New York (2002) new

Gangs of New York
Genre Drama, History, Crime
Stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, Cameron Diaz
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Though it doesn’t rank among the director’s best work, Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York is still an engrossing historical drama. Based on Herbert Asbury’s book of the same name, the movie is set in 1863 as a bitter and long-running feud between the Catholics and Protestants of New York bursts into violence. In the heat of this conflict, Amsterdam Vallon (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) attempts to avenge the murder of his father by killing the ruthless gang leader known as “Bill the Butcher” (played by Daniel Day-Lewis). While the runtime can feel unwieldy, Gangs of New York is a worthwhile drama thanks to astounding production design and fantastic performances from the ensemble cast.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) new

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Genre Science Fiction, Action, Drama, Thriller
Stars Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman
Directed by Matt Reeves
The first movie in the rebooted Planet of the Apes trilogy directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, The Batman), Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is set 10 years after its predecessor. Now with human society firmly in shambles after the rise of the Simian Flu, Dawn follows Caesar (played by Andy Serkis) fighting to maintain order among his ranks and expand the apes’ territories. Meanwhile, ex-police officer Dreyfus (played by Gary Oldman) struggles to help what remains of his human colony to survive in this new world order. The worlds of apes and humans collide violently, thrillingly raising the stakes from the first movie. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes succeeds in making a story of anthropomorphic apes feel intimate.

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) new

The Bourne Ultimatum
Genre Action, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Stars Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, David Strathairn
Directed by Paul Greengrass
The closer for the original Bourne trilogy, Paul Greengrass’ (The Bourne SupremacyCaptain Phillips) The Bourne Ultimatum features Matt Damon (Oppenheimer) at his action-packed best. The story sees Jason Bourne continuing his quest to uncover the truth of his past before becoming an elite assassin for the CIA black ops’ arm called Operation Treadstone — and now being targeted by the government he used to serve. Greengrass’ The Bourne Ultimatum accomplishes the rare feat of finishing a beloved film series stronger than how it started, with Damon’s performance and meticulously directed action sequences praised as the highest points.

The Iron Giant (1999) new

The Iron Giant
Genre Family, Animation, Science Fiction, Drama
Stars Vin Diesel, Eli Marienthal, Jennifer Aniston
Directed by Brad Bird
While Disney’s studios have become synonymous for acclaimed family-friendly animation, Warner Bros. Feature Animation’s The Iron Giant arguably measures up to any of the former’s best. Directed by Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol), The Iron Giant follows the story of Howard Hughes (played by Eli Marienthal), a young boy who stumbles upon and befriends the titular giant robot. As the plot unfolds, the two go to great lengths to avoid the wrath of the paranoid federal agent Kent Mansley (played by Christopher McDonald). Overall, the movie was widely acclaimed for telling a sci-fi-themed coming-of-age story packed with emotional weight.

Ocean's Thirteen (2007) new

Ocean's Thirteen
Genre Crime, Thriller
Stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
The original Ocean’s trilogy is an ensemble movie emblematic of the ’00s, with Ocean’s Thirteen being a satisfying finish from director Steven Soderbergh (Contagion, Logan Lucky). Ocean’s Thirteen has George Clooney’s charming Danny Ocean round up his all-star cast of criminals (played by Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Bernie Mac, Andy García, and more) to get revenge on casino mogul Willy Bank (played by Al Pacino). After Bank double-crosses Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould) when trying to start up his own casino, Ocean and the crew set out to ruin the former for everything he’s worth. As with the original, Ocean’s Thirteen was well-received for maintaining a stylish aesthetic and clever comedy.

Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) new

Avatar: The Way of Water
Genre Science Fiction, Adventure, Action
Stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver
Directed by James Cameron
It took over a decade for the sequel to James Cameron’s 2009 box office juggernaut to release, but it was well worth the wait considering its even greater commercial success. Avatar: The Way of Water sees the Na’vi pair Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) return as they face a new human threat against their young family. As they brace themselves for this assault, the group seeks shelter and refuge with Pandora’s aquatic Na’ci clan known as Metkayina. Much like the first film, The Way of Water is a visual showstopper that raises the bar for cinematic special effects.

Dunkirk (2017) new

94 %
Genre War, Action, Drama
Stars Fionn Whitehead, Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance
Directed by Christopher Nolan
One of the most prolific contemporary directors, Christopher Nolan takes a unique approach to war epics with Dunkirk. Set in the heat of the World War II Dunkirk evacuation effort, the movie follows an ensemble cast including Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Barry Keoghan, and Harry Styles in an oppressingly tense story. These perspectives provide unique depictions of the horrors of the war, and it takes a more subdued style of dialogue to create suspense through the atmosphere.

Pulp Fiction (1994) new

Pulp Fiction
Genre Thriller, Crime
Stars John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino is another one of the most celebrated directors in the industry, and his 1994 feature Pulp Fiction is possibly his most iconic work. A combination of gritty crime drama that lives up to its name and a dose of dark comedy, Pulp Fiction revolves around a group of unique and eccentric criminals that see their chaotic lives converge. The movie has an ambitious narrative structure, with each storytelling point of view taking place out of order before culminating into one big, bloody picture.

3:10 to Yuma (2007) new

3:10 to Yuma
Genre Western
Stars Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Peter Fonda
Directed by James Mangold
A remake of the 1957 film of the same name directed by Delmer Daves, James Mangold’s 3:10 to Yuma is a thrilling modernization of the classic western action tale. This time starring Russell Crow as vicious gang leader Ben Wade and Christian Bale as war-veteran-turned-rancher Dan Evans, the story focuses on the latter taking on the daring job of apprehending the ruthless outlaw. This second adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s short story is a worthy reimagining thanks to the co-leading men’s passionate performances.

Moonlight (2016) new

Genre Drama
Stars Trevante Rhodes, André Holland, Janelle Monáe
Directed by Barry Jenkins
A three-time Academy Award winner including Best Picture, director Berry Jenkins’ Moonlight is one of the most powerful dramas in recent years. Based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s unpublished semi-autobiographical play, Moonlight revolves around the protagonist Chiron (played by Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders, and Alex Hibbert) going through various stages of life. Following his childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, Moonlight is a poignant coming-of-age story that explores struggles with abuse, coming to terms with his self-image, and discovering his sexuality.

The Lego Batman Movie (2017) new

The Lego Batman Movie
Genre Animation, Action, Comedy, Family
Stars Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera
Directed by Chris McKay
Many of Batman’s best outing across DC Comics media has been exploring the gritty, street-level ventures. However, that’s not to say there isn’t any room for lighthearted campiness in the modern age, with Chris McKay’s The Lego Batman Movie being a strong testament to this. The movie focuses on Batman (played by Murderville‘s Will Arnett) as he attempts to overcome his fear and thwart the Joker’s latest scheme (played by Zach Galifianakis). The Lego Batman Movie is packed with witty humor, wildly entertaining performances, and a colorful revolving cast of characters.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) new

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Genre Adventure, Fantasy, Action
Stars Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler
Directed by Peter Jackson
Regarded as the father of the genre, J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings books are seen as the benchmark of high fantasy. Thankfully, director Peter Jackson made beautiful work of adapting his epic to the screen, with The Fellowship of the Ring being a sweeping opening for the trilogy. This installment sets the stage with the Dark Lord Sauron seeking the One Ring to return his power before jumping forward in time to follow Frodo Baggins (played by Elijah Wood) and eight companions as they begin their journey to Mount Doom. Complete with a stunning ensemble cast including Ian McKellen, Sean Bean, and Viggo Mortensen, Fellowship was acclaimed for its rich story, superb performances, and show-stopping cinematography.

Parasite (2019) new

Genre Comedy, Thriller, Drama
Stars Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong
Directed by Bong Joon-ho

Director Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite was a breakout hit in 2019, earning an Academy Award for Best Picture. The Korean dark comedy/thriller hybrid focuses on the desperate exploits of a poor family that schemes their way into working for a wealthy family.

The family poses as qualified for the tasks at hand, but the more they involve themselves in the wealthy Park family’s lives, the deeper they get tangled in a shocking incident. Parasite earned widespread critical acclaim for its smart humor combined with equally poignant social commentary on class dynamics.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Genre Adventure, Fantasy, Action
Stars Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler
Directed by Peter Jackson

Cementing the series’ status as one of the most outstanding film trilogies ever made, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is a triumphant finish for Peter Jackson’s tenure in Middle-earth. The film continues with Bilbo Baggins (Elijah Wood) and Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin) journeying to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom.

Meanwhile, the remaining heroes, including Gandalf (Ian McKellen), Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), and Legolas (Orlando Bloom), amass an army to battle with Sauron. Winning an astonishing 11 Academy Awards out of 11 nominations, The Return of the King was emphatically acclaimed for its faithfulness to Tolkien’s source material, stunning visuals, and powerfully emotional payoff.

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Genre Action, Animation, Crime, Mystery
Stars Kevin Conroy, Dana Delany, Hart Bochner
Directed by Bruce Timm, Eric Radomski
The Dark Knight is one of the pillars of DC Comics, with his mythos beloved across every medium he’s featured in. And while Tim Burton, Christopher Nolan, and Matt Reeves hold most of the limelight for Batman on the big screen, Eric Radomski and Bruce Timm’s Mask of the Phantasm still stands as one of the superhero’s greatest depictions. Set within the DCAU continuity that Batman: The Animated Series spawned, this movie sees the titular vengeful killer wreak havoc across Gotham City’s underworld. Mixing comic book flair with tragic romance, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is one of the most true-to-character portrayals of the superhero and his complex psyche.

Creed II (2018) new

Creed II
Genre Drama
Stars Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson
Directed by Steven Caple Jr.

Michael B. Jordan’s Creed series has proven itself pound for pound alongside the wider Rocky franchise, and director Steven Caple Jr.’s Creed II is a solid follow-up.

This sophomore installment of the series effectively bridges the gap between the past and present of the franchise, with Adonis (Jordan) continuing training under Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). Creed II pits Adonis in another titanic boxing match, this time against Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu) — the son of antagonist Ivan Drago from 1985’s Rocky IV.

Hereditary (2018) new

Genre Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Stars Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro
Directed by Ari Aster

A24 studio has made itself one of the biggest names in the indie film scene, with director Ari Aster providing it with some of the best horror movies in recent years. Aster is a master of building dread through psychological and body horror, and Hereditary is a terrifyingly effective showcase of both.

It stars the likes of Toni Collette and Alex Wolff as part of a family that finds itself haunted by an ominous presence after the death of their mysterious grandmother. Collette was an expected standout, but the whole cast put up excellent performances in a genuinely foreboding experience, with its striking cinematography adding to the tension.

I Love You, Man (2009)

I Love You, Man
Genre Comedy, Romance
Stars Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones
Directed by John Hamburg

Paul Rudd has been charming audiences for years now, and I Love You, Man is one of the more affectionately regarded rom-coms from the 2000s.

Starring alongside the equally appealing Jason Segal and Rashida Jones, this goofball romantic comedy follows Rudd’s leading man in an awkward three-person dynamic. When Peter Klaven (Rudd) finds himself in search of a friend to be the best man at his wedding with Zooey Rice (Jones), he soon picks Sydney Fife (Segal). But things begin to get awkward as Peter’s newfound best friend starts creating tension in his relationship with Zooey.

Creed (2015)

Genre Drama, Action
Stars Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson
Directed by Ryan Coogler

Michael B. Jordan’s directorial debut Creed III takes Adonis’ story and boxing career to new heights, and HBO Max hosts the film that kicked off this successful new series. Creed follows the titular amateur boxer Adonis Creed as he looks to break away from the mundanity of his — admittedly successful — life to pursue his true calling in the form of professional boxing.

After embarking on this risky venture, Creed trains under the ring of Sylvester Stallone’s iconic Rocky Balboa, who’s become jaded about his past. Creed succeeds in being a spinoff of a legacy franchise that fully justifies its existence, with or without the title of its predecessors.

Taxi Driver (1976)

Taxi Driver
Genre Crime, Drama
Stars Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Albert Brooks
Directed by Martin Scorsese
One of legendary director Martin Scorsese’s oldest classics, Taxi Driver is one of the earliest — and greatest — collaborations with equally lauded actor Robert De Niro. An influential and grimy crime drama, this movie tells the disturbing story of New York cabby Travis Bickle. A war veteran, the movie follows along as Travis’ increasingly deteriorating mental state pushes him to extremes, and decides to take justice and the law into his own hands. A bleak painting of urban decay, Taxi Driver is a powerful showcase of neo-noir filmmaking.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

The Silence of the Lambs
Genre Crime, Drama, Thriller
Stars Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn
Directed by Jonathan Demme
A chilling classic, The Silence of the Lambs is a critically acclaimed crime drama and psychological horror film. Directed by Jonathan Demme and adapting Thomas Harris’ 1988 novel, the film centers around top-class FBI agent Clarice Starling — played by Jodie Foster — as she attempts to track down a serial killer dubbed “Buffalo Bill.” To do so, she consults with Dr. Hannibal Lecter — played by Anthony Hopkins — a brilliant psychiatrist turned cannibalistic murderer, to get inside the mind of their target. This Academy Award-winning hit emphatically became one of the most influential horror and thriller movies.

The Terminator (1984)

The Terminator
Genre Action, Thriller, Science Fiction
Stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton
Directed by James Cameron
Directed by box office hitmaker James Cameron, The Terminator is an all-time sci-fi classic from the ’80’s age of the “movie star.” Starring actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in the titular leading role, the movie centers around the cybernetic assassin being sent back in time to kill Sarah Conner, as her unborn son will eventually prove to be the defeat of the nearly all-powerful A.I. known as Skynet. This hostile A.I. leads the oppression of humanity in a dystopian future, and The Terminator saw critical acclaim for its tense sci-fi story and brutal action.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

The Dark Knight Rises
78 %
Genre Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
Stars Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Following up on what’s widely considered to be the greatest live-action Batman movie is a tall order, but Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises earns its victory lap. Taking place nearly a decade later, a Dark Knight Returns-esque Bruce Wayne comes out of retirement when the mysterious Bane leads a resurgent League of Shadows against Gotham City to finish what Ra’s al Ghul started in Batman Begins. Tom Hardy does an excellent job at putting together this imposing rendition of the hulking mastermind, and The Dark Knight Rises ultimately serves as a satisfying finish to Bruce Wayne’s character arc and Nolan’s celebrated Batman trilogy.

The Dark Knight (2008)

The Dark Knight
Genre Drama, Action, Crime, Thriller
Stars Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Michael Caine
Directed by Christopher Nolan
The movie that effectively became the gold standard for live-action Batman ventures, Christopher Nolan’s sophomore effort in the revered Dark Knight trilogy became the most acclaimed. The Dark Knight takes place in the titular superhero’s second year of cleaning up the streets of Gotham City, which has seen organized crime take a stranglehold over it for decades. However, the Clown Prince of Crime makes his presence known to attempt to upend that progress through sheer chaos. In part thanks to the dynamic between Christan Bale’s take on the brooding hero and Heath Ledger’s mesmerizing rendition of the Joker, The Dark Knight succeeds as one of the best superhero movies to date, as well as a compelling Michael Mann-like crime thriller.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Genre Adventure, Fantasy, Action
Stars Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler
Directed by Peter Jackson
Following up on the widespread critical acclaim of director Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers successfully builds upon its predecessor’s strengths. This epic fantasy adventure is masterfully structured into three parallel storylines: Frodo and Sam continue their trek across Middle-earth to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mordor; Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and the revived Gandalf arrive at the war-ravaged nation of Rohan to help defeat the invading army of Sauron; and Pippin and Merry escape the orcs’ imprisonment and, with the help of Treebeard, coordinate the attack on Sauron’s fortress at Isengard. Bolstered by a talented ensemble cast, The Two Towers is as riveting a watch now as it was in 2002.

Batman Begins (2005)

Batman Begins
Genre Action, Crime, Drama
Stars Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan revitalized the DC Comics icon for the big screen with this origin story. Going back to the more grounded, street-level roots of the character, Batman Begins stands as one of the most triumphant Hollywood reboots. Christian Bale brings forth a darker, grittier take on the Dark Knight in a story that’s truer to the source material. Nor does it stray far from the inherent fantastical nature of the comic book medium, with Liam Neeson giving a convincing portrayal of international terrorist Ra’s al Ghul and Cillian Murphy in tow as the mad doctor known as the Scarecrow. Batman Begins paved the way for arguably one of the best modern movie trilogies.

The Banshees of Inisherin (2022)

The Banshees of Inisherin
87 %
r 114m
Genre Drama, Comedy
Stars Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon
Directed by Martin McDonagh
There is no greater wound than a broken heart, especially when it’s inflicted by your best friend. The Banshees of Inisherin explores a broken bond between lifelong friends Colm Doherty (Brendan Gleeson) and Pádraic Súilleabháin (Colin Farrell) at the end of the Irish Civil War in 1923. One day, Colm simply cuts all ties to Padraic and absolutely refuses to give him a good reason why. Pádraic’s sister, Siobhán (Kerry Condon), tries to encourage her brother’s attempts to mend the broken friendship. Regardless, Colm threatens to harm himself if Padraic even tries to talk to him, leading to even greater friction between them.

Se7en (1995)

65 %
r 127m
Genre Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Stars Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow
Directed by David Fincher
Is it a stretch to call Se7en a holiday movie? After all, John Doe did go through the trouble of picking up a special present for our heroes, which he ordered straight from Goop! In all seriousness, this is a pretty bleak story that is told extremely well. Brad Pitt stars as David Mills, a young police detective who is partnered with a veteran, Detective Lieutenant William Somerset (Morgan Freeman). The serial killer known as John Doe is plaguing the city with a series of murders inspired by the seven deadly sins. And John Doe plans to drag the detectives down into his world of darkness if it’s the last thing he does.

Barbarian (2022)

78 %
r 103m
Genre Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Stars Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgård, Justin Long
Directed by Zach Cregger
Perhaps one of the reasons that Barbarian resonates so strongly is that it’s tapping into a new vein of modern horror: overbooked Airbnb vacations. Through a series of unfortunate events, Tess Marshall (Georgina Campbell) finds herself spending the night with Keith Toshko (Bill Skarsgård), a man she has never met before. And she takes a real chance by agreeing to stay with a stranger. It’s a choice that she will come to regret, but not because of Keith. There is something far more dangerous in play, and Tess soon finds herself in over her head.

The Witch (2015)

The Witch
83 %
r 92m
Genre Horror, Mystery, Drama, Fantasy
Stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie
Directed by Robert Eggers

The Witch was Anya Taylor-Joy’s first feature film, and it made her a star. In the early 1600s, Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy) is the eldest daughter in a family of Puritans led by her parents, William (Ralph Ineson) and Katherine (Kate Dickie). After the family is banished by their local religious sect, Thomasin is horrified when her infant brother is stolen out from under her nose. Unbeknownst to the family, there really is a witch (Bathsheba Garnett) in the woods, and she has a taste for the young. Through her hardships, Thomasin discovers that she also has powers of her own, which only makes things scarier.

District 9 (2009)

District 9
81 %
r 112m
Genre Science Fiction
Stars Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, Nathalie Boltt
Directed by Neill Blomkamp
Neill Blomkamp wowed Hollywood with his directorial debut, District 9. In this sci-fi allegory tale, aliens (also known as Prawns) have been on Earth for decades and are subjected to extremely poor living conditions, including the slum known as District 9. Sharlto Copley stars as Wikus van de Merwe, an administrator who has been tasked with relocating the aliens to another city. But when Wikus is exposed to an alien virus, he begins transforming into a Prawn himself. Wikus’ only hope is to join an alien, Christopher Johnson (Jason Cope), and his son, CJ, in a plot to reactivate the dormant alien ship and possibly give the Prawns a chance to escape from Earth.

Goodfellas (1990)

90 %
r 146m
Genre Drama, Crime
Stars Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas holds up as one of the greatest crime dramas ever made. The late Ray Liotta headlines a stellar cast as Henry Hill, a real-life mobster who rose through the ranks to become a key figure in the mafia. Henry used his newfound wealth and power to woo Karen (Lorraine Bracco) to marry him and enjoy the spoils of his life of crime. Even Henry’s close friends, Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) and Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci), get to enjoy the good life while it lasts. But nothing lasts forever, and Henry’s greed, lust, and addictions threaten to tear down everything he’s built. And if he’s not careful, those vices will take his life as well.

Inception (2010)

74 %
pg-13 148m
Genre Action, Science Fiction, Adventure
Stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ken Watanabe
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Welcome to the heist movie of our dreams. Christopher Nolan struck box office gold with Inception, a mind-bending thriller about Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), a professional thief who makes his living stealing secrets from people’s minds while they sleep. However, Cobb is haunted by both a failure from his past and a lethal manifestation of his late wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard). But if Cobb and his team pull off the ultimate job, he might just be able to get back to his kids. First, Cobb will have to prove that inception is real by implanting an idea in his next target.

Elvis (2022)

64 %
pg-13 159m
Genre Music, Drama, History
Stars Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Richard Roxburgh
Directed by Baz Luhrmann
Director Baz Luhrmann is widely known for his bombastic musicals, and Elvis is no exception. Austin Butler absolutely inhabits the role of the legendary Elvis Presley, and he even won praise from the Presley family for his performance. But the film takes place from the perspective of Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), Elvis’ manager and the man who helped make him a star. Yet calling Elvis a “star” undersells just how popular he was and continues to be today. Through his rise and fall, the movie explores the man behind the legend. And even in death, Elvis’ legacy lives on.

Training Day (2001)

Training Day
69 %
r 122m
Genre Action, Crime, Drama
Stars Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Scott Glenn
Directed by Antoine Fuqua
Denzel Washington finally won an Oscar for Best Actor for his riveting turn as Detective Alonzo Harris in Training Day. The film follows Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke), a police officer who is up for a promotion. Jake is assigned to Harris for the day so the veteran detective can evaluate him. What Jake couldn’t have foreseen is that Harris is corrupt beyond his wildest dreams, and the reality of policing Los Angeles is far uglier than he believed. However, Harris’ agenda for Jake goes far beyond showing him the ropes — and it might get Jake killed.

The Batman (2022)

The Batman
72 %
pg-13 176m
Genre Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Stars Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano
Directed by Matt Reeves
Let the era of Battinson begin! The Batman is a complete reboot of the Dark Knight, with Robert Pattinson in the title role. In director Matt Reeves’ vision for Gotham City, Batman is still early in his career when he goes up against Riddler (Paul Dano), a madman who may bring down the entire city. While Batman trusts Jim Gordon (Jeffrey Wright), he isn’t so sure about Selina Kyle (Zoë Kravitz), a cat burglar who has her own agenda. But if Batman wants to save Gotham, he will have to become more than just a vigilante.

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Blade Runner 2049
81 %
r 164m
Genre Science Fiction, Drama
Stars Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Director Denis Villeneuve really has a talent for making visually arresting sci-fi films. Blade Runner 2049 is simply gorgeous, even when it explores the seedy side of the future. Thirty years after the original Blade Runner, a police replicant named K (Ryan Gosling) discovers evidence that a human and a replicant had a child together. K even comes to believe that the child may have been him. To get answers about his true nature, K will have to track down the long-missing Blade Runner, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford).

Dune (2021)

74 %
Genre Science Fiction, Adventure
Stars Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Director Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune was one of the few true hits of the pandemic era. And now that the film is back on HBO Max, viewers can see why it received several Oscar nominations as well. Timothée Chalamet portrays Paul Atreides, the heir of House Atreides and seemingly a figure of destiny. The universe is in Paul’s hands, or at least it was until his house was betrayed by the emperor and attacked by House Harkonnen. Now, Paul and his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), must find a way to survive on the desert planet, Arrakis/Dune, and reclaim the power that was once theirs.

12 Years a Slave (2013)

12 Years a Slave
96 %
Genre Drama, History
Stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o
Directed by Steve McQueen
You may not know this, but 12 Years a Slave is based on the true story of Solomon Northup, and the book he wrote about his experience. Solomon (Chiwetel Ejiofor) was a free Black man in 1841 who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the south. Despite Solomon’s protests, he is forced to toil for vile slave masters, including Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender). While in captivity, Solomon befriends a fellow slave named Patsey (Lupita Nyong’o). However, the hope of ever seeing his wife and children again seems like an increasingly remote possibility for Solomon.

Memento (2000)

80 %
r 113m
Genre Mystery, Thriller
Stars Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan’s second feature film, Memento, established him as one of the top directors in Hollywood. Guy Pearce headlines the film as Leonard Shelby, a man who is searching for his wife’s killer. However, that search is complicated by Leonard’s anterograde amnesia, which means that he can’t form any new memories. And every 15 minutes or so, Leonard forgets everything and resets. The film plays with time by beginning at the end and working its way backwards as Leonard wonders who he can trust, and whom he should kill.

Malcolm X (1992)

Malcolm X
73 %
pg-13 202m
Genre Drama, History
Stars Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Albert Hall
Directed by Spike Lee
Denzel Washington did not win an Oscar for playing Malcolm X in the movie that shares his name. But he should have, because his performance is mesmerizing and this is one of director Spike Lee’s greatest films. The story follows Malcolm Little from his teenage years to his criminal career and finally to his prison stint where he converted to Islam and ultimately reinvented himself as a high ranking member of the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X’s profile in the Black community alarms his enemies both within and outside of the Nation of Islam. And when Malcolm chooses his own path to follow, it places his life in danger.

No Country for Old Men (2007)

No Country for Old Men
91 %
r 122m
Genre Crime, Drama, Thriller
Stars Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin
Directed by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Many Coen Brothers crime films have a light touch and many comedic moments. No Country For Old Men is not one of those films. Instead, the Coens go into very dark territory in this early ‘80s period piece. Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) stumbles across a drug deal gone bad as well as millions of dollars in drug money. Unfortunately for Liewelyn, the cartel has sent Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) to retrieve the cash, and he is easily one of the most terrifying movie villains of the 21st century. It’s no wonder that Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) feels so outmatched by the criminal element. Anton’s capacity for violence has no limits, and Liewelyn soon realizes just how much trouble he’s in.

Mad Max Fury Road (2015)

Mad Max Fury Road
90 %
r 120m
Genre Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Stars Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
Directed by George Miller
Most sequels fail to live up to the original movie that inspired them. But most sequels aren’t Mad Max: Fury Road, a thrilling action film that successfully revamped and updated the franchise for a new century. Tom Hardy headlines the film as Max Rockatansky, but the real star is Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa. She absolutely steals the movie from him. Together, they take it upon themselves to protect the unwilling wives of Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) and escort them to safety across the wasteland. The action is top-notch, and it’s an easy film to watch again and again.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

The Shawshank Redemption
80 %
r 142m
Genre Drama
Stars Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown, Gil Bellows
Directed by Frank Darabont
Stephen King’s The Shawshank Redemption is one of his best non-horror stories, although there are definitely some horrific things that take place inside Shawshank Penitentiary. Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife and her lover. However, Andy’s pleas of innocence are ignored, even when a fellow inmate offers information that could clear his name. As the decades pass, Andy befriends Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman) and struggles to overcome the cage within his mind as well as the prison holding his body. Andy’s courage inspires Red, especially when Andy’s greatest secret emerges.

Jurassic Park (1993)

Jurassic Park
68 %
pg-13 128m
Genre Sci-fi, Action, Adventure
Stars Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Samuel L. Jackson, Wayne Knight
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Nearly three decades after its debut, Jurassic Park still stands as a monumental special effects achievement for its depiction of believable dinosaurs. Dr. John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) summons three experts, Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), to his private island so they can see a test run of the new theme park with actual cloned dinosaurs. While the doctors are alarmed and excited by the implications of John’s actions, they are soon thrust into a dangerous situation when Jurassic Park is sabotaged from within.

Editors' Recommendations

Movie images and data from:
Guillermo Kurten
Freelance Writer, Entertainment
A University of Houston graduate in Print Media Journalism, Guillermo has covered sports entertainment and practically all…
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