The 50 best movies on Hulu right now

Last update: September 17, 2020

Hulu, once only a streaming platform for network television, has expanded to feature a robust library of films. As with any catalog, however, Sturgeon’s law still applies, and it might seem difficult to find the real gems housed within Hulu’s massive library.

Fortunately, we have you covered. This curated list is a one-stop guide to the best movies on Hulu right now. So, turn on your favorite streaming device, have Alexa dim the lights, and let the credits roll. Check back periodically, as we’re always updating recommendations based on Hulu’s latest releases.

Subscribe to a different platform? Not only do we have a guide to the best shows on Hulu, but we’ve rounded up the best movies on Amazon Prime, the best movies on Netflix, and the best movies on Disney+.

Palm Springs (2020)

Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti find themselves stuck in a time loop while attending a wedding in Palm Springs, only to have the novelty of their never-ending day together turn sour when they discover they can’t seem to escape the day or each other. The Hulu Original comedy earned praise for its clever spin on the well-worn plot device that keeps the characters living through the same day over and over again.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti
Director: Max Barbakow
Rating: R
Runtime: 90 minutes

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Minding the Gap (2018)

Minding the Gap

Across 12 years, director Bing Liu searches for correlations between his skateboarder friends’ rocky upbringings and modern-day masculinity in his hometown of Rockford, Illinois. Bing follows 23-year-old Zack’s tumultuous relationship with his girlfriend as it deteriorates after the birth of their son, as well as with 17-year-old Keire struggling with his racial identity after the death of his father. Navigating an uncomfortable relationship between his camera, his friends, and his own past, Bing explores the gap between childhood and adulthood with alacrity.

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Genre: Documentary
Stars: N/A
Director: Bing Liu
Rating: NR
Runtime: 93 minutes

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Shirley (2020)

Acclaimed horror author Shirley Jackson was famously reclusive and odd. In Shirley, we see just how much so. After moving to a small Vermont college town where her husband, Stanley, will be a professor, Stanley and Shirley offer room and board to Fred and Rose, so long as they help look after Shirley. Jackson soon finds her creative process disrupted by the new tenants and her husband’s philandering, although Rose may serve as some curious inspiration.

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Genre: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Stars: Elisabeth Moss, Michael Stuhlbarg, Logan Lerman, Odessa Young
Director: Josephine Decker
Rating: R
Runtime: 107 minutes

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RBG (2018)

RBG

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed an enormous legal legacy and has become a pop culture icon. In this documentary, the filmmakers explore the unique personal journey of the 84-year-old quiet warrior’s rise to the nation’s court. RBG takes a deep dive into Ginsburg’s exceptional life through personal interviews and extensive backstory.

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Genre: Documentary
Stars: Ruth Bader Ginsberg
Director: Betsy West, Julie Cohen
Rating: PG
Runtime: 96 minutes

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The Interview (2014)

James Franco and Seth Rogen in The Interview

The Interview may have fallen shorter of its expectations than any movie of all time. After North Korea literally launched a cyberattack on Sony studios to prevent the movie’s release, The Interview hit theaters with a resounding, passionless, thoughtless thud. When Dave Skylark (James Franco) and Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) discover that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is a fan of their celebrity tabloid TV show, Skylark Tonight, they land the chance of a lifetime to interview the dictator and legitimize themselves as journalists. However, as they plan to travel to Pyongyang, the CIA ropes them into an assassination plot. They are, unfortunately, the two least-qualified people on the planet for the job.

Rotten Tomatoes: 52%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Randall Park
Director: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
Rating: R
Runtime: 112 minutes

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Shoplifters (2018)

A film about a Korean family in abject poverty and their overwhelming compassion and urge to do what’s right, Shoplifters is a gut-wrenching watch. Osamu’s family must shoplift to make ends meet. After one of their typical sprees, they come across a little girl abandoned in the freezing cold. At first reluctant to shelter her, Osamu’s wife agrees to care for her after learning her hardships are even greater than their own. She becomes one of the family, living happily together until a surprise incident reveals secrets that will test their bonds.

Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Lily Franky, Sakura Andô, Maya Matsuoka
Director: Hirokazu Koreeda
Rating: R
Runtime: 121 minutes

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The Terminator (1984)

The Terminator on Amazon Prime

The movie that launched a sci-fi revolution and put James Cameron on a path to superstardom, The Terminator is one of the most beloved sci-fi films of all time. Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) lives an ordinary life until a cyborg from the future shows up one day. Known as the Terminator, he’s been programmed to kill her, for she is an absolutely essential element to the survival of mankind. Meanwhile, Kyle Reese has also been sent back in time to protect the unknowing Connor, who will one day become mother to mankind’s hero.

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Genre: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenneger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn
Director: James Cameron
Rating: R
Runtime: 108 minutes

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Bumblebee (2018)

Bumblebee gives Transformers some heart on Amazon Prime

The Transformers franchise hasn’t exactly been known for the heart of its movies, but Bumblebee is the rare spinoff that vastly exceeds its primary source material. Autobot Bumblebee finds himself on the run from enemies in 1987, seeking refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian town. There, he’s discovered battle-scarred and broken by Charlie, a young woman looking for her place in the world. As Charlie fixes him up, believing him to be a junky old VW bug, she soon discovers that he’s no ordinary Volkswagen. Unfortunately, a number of competing interests also discover his existence, as well.

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Genre: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Stars: Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena
Director: Travis Knight
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 119 minutes

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Diane (2018)

Mary Kay Place in Diane

Diane (Mary Kay Place) puts everyone else first. She’s extremely generous, spending her days checking in on sick friends, volunteering at her local soup kitchen, and working effortlessly to save her drug-addicted adult son (Jake Lacy) from himself. But despite her relentless self-sacrifice, Diane is haunted by a past she can’t forget, which threatens to tear her world apart. Mary Kay Place is extraordinary as a woman rifling through the wreckage of her life in search of redemption.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Mary Kay Place, Jake Lacy, Andrea Martin
Director: Kent Jones
Rating: NR
Runtime: 96 minutes

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Tangerine (2015)

Tangerine

Shot on an iPhone, Tangerine follows working girl Sin-Dee (Kitana KiKi Rodriguez) as she gets back out on the street on Christmas Eve in Tinseltown. Hearing that her pimp boyfriend (James Ransone) wasn’t faithful during the 28 days she was in lockup, she and her best friend Alexandra embark on a mission to get to the bottom of the scandalous rumor. Their odyssey leads them through the various subcultures and neighborhoods of Los Angeles in the kind of rich, intimate detail you don’t often see on film. It’s just about the wackiest Christmas movie you’ll ever see.

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Stars: Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, James Ransone, Mya Taylor
Director: Sean Baker
Rating: R
Runtime: 88 minutes

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Amazing Grace (2018)

Aretha Franklin in Amazing Grace

Experience Aretha Franklin in all her considerable glory in Amazing Grace. This concert film compiles footage from a 1972 performance at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles. Performing songs from the bestselling gospel album Amazing Grace, Franklin tears down the house in this rip-roaring film.

Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Genre: Documentary, Musical
Stars: Aretha Franklin
Director: Sydney Pollack
Rating: G
Runtime: 87 minutes

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Escape from Alcatraz (1979)

Arguably one of the most iconic Clint Eastwood movies of all time, Escape from Alcatraz is the true tale of Frank Morris’ unprecedented flight from one of the most secure maximum security institutions in the U.S. at the time. Don Siegel’s dramatic re-creation of the 1962 prisoner escape is remarkable in how it evokes the consistently ascending stresses of those involved, going to great lengths even to personify the Alcatraz prison as a monster of time in its own right.

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Genre: Action & Adventure
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Patrick McGoohan, Roberts Blossom
Director: Don Siegel
Rating: PG
Runtime: 112 minutes

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I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

James Baldwin was one of the most influential writers of the late 20th century, penning numerous essays and acclaimed novels addressing issues of race at a time when racial friction seemed to be boiling over in America. Working from an unfinished Baldwin manuscript, director Raoul Peck has created I Am Not Your Negro, a documentary examining Baldwin’s views and how they apply not only to the tumults of the ’60s but to modern America as well. Samuel L. Jackson narrates, infusing the material with a husky weariness. I Am Not Your Negro leaves one with the impression that Baldwin’s work has never been finished, and never been more important.

Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Genre: Documentary
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson
Director: Raoul Peck
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 93 minutes

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True Grit (2010)

This Coen Brothers remake of the Western classic introduced the world to Hailee Steinfeld, who plays 14-year-old farm girl Mattie Ross. After her father is murdered by hired hand Tom Chaney, Ross sets out to catch the killer and bring him to justice. However, to catch Chaney, it’s going to take somebody with “true grit,” so Ross hires the toughest lawman she can find, U.S. Marshal Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn (Jeff Bridges). As the two pursue justice together, a bond forms that melts Cogburn’s icy heart and helps Ross find some closure and peace after her father’s death.

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Genre: Western, Drama
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin
Director: Joel & Ethan Coen
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 110 minutes

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Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

Before he directed Thor: Ragnarok and Jojo Rabbit, filmmaker Taika Waititi wrote and directed this 2016 film about a teenage troublemaker and his reluctant father figure who become the subject of a massive manhunt when they disappear into the forests of New Zealand. Julian Dennison and Sam Neill co-star in the film, which received widespread praise for its clever story and lead actors’ chemistry.

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Julian Dennison, Sam Neill
Director: Taika Waititi
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 101 minutes

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Parasite (2019)

Filmmaker Bong Joon Ho’s Best Picture winner at the 92nd Academy Awards is a brutal, thought-provoking, masterfully shot thriller that explores the class divide through the experiences of a South Korean family who cons their way into working for a wealthy family whose lives couldn’t be more unlike their own. While the first act of the film is peppered with humor, the overall tone of the film is anything but — particularly after a shocking discovery turns the family’s grift into something far more sinister.

Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Genre: Thriller
Stars: Song Kang-ho, Choi Woo-Shik, Park So-dam, Jang Hye-jin
Director: Bong Joon Ho
Rating: R
Runtime: 132 minutes

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Booksmart (2019)

So, you worked really hard in school, avoided drugs and alcohol, didn’t go to any parties, and were rewarded by getting into the Ivy League college of your choice. Nice! You’ve got a lot in common with Booksmart‘s protagonists, Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein). If you’re anything like them, however, you may be unhappy to learn that everyone else in your school also got into the Ivy League college of their choice but they partied constantly and had a great time in high school. That realization leads Amy and Molly to go out for one wild night of partying before graduation day. It may sound like a tired concept for a high-school comedy but Booksmart is anything but a run-of-the-mill teen movie. By investing in the friendship of its brilliant female leads and focusing more on questions of growing up and discovering yourself rather than sex and dating, Booksmart is a refreshing take on the teen comedy. Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut is funny, refreshingly creative, and heartwarming.

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein, Jessica Williams
Director: Olivia Wilde
Rating: R
Runtime: 102 minutes

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West Side Story (1961)

West Side Story

One of the most beloved musical productions of all time, the film adaptation of Broadway’s West Side Story won 10 Oscars in 1962. A modern update of Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story tells the tale of a turf war between rival teenage gangs in Hell’s Kitchen: The Sharks and the Jets. Caught in the middle of it are two lovers from opposite sides of the battle lines, whose love can’t be derailed by petty turf squabbles. With a timeless score from Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein, West Side Story is a musical classic for the ages.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Genre: Drama, Musical
Stars: Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Rita Moreno
Director: Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins
Rating: PG
Runtime: 151 minutes

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A Quiet Place  (2018)

John Krasinski directed, co-wrote, and co-starred in this 2018 thriller that follows a family trying to make a life for themselves in a world where terrifying creatures use sound to hunt humans. Widely regarded as one of the best movies of the year, the film is a non-stop adventure that ratchets up the tension with its clever use of sound and talented cast, which also includes Krasinski’s wife, Emily Blunt.

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Genre: Horror
Stars: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe
Director: John Krasinski
Rating: PG-13
Runtime:  91 minutes

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Warrior (2011)

warrior

Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy play estranged brothers who end up on a collision course after they both enter a mixed martial arts tournament in this 2011 film co-written and directed by Gavin O’Connor. Nick Nolte received an Academy Award nomination for his supporting role as the father of the two brothers.

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Genre: Drama
Stars: Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton
Director: Gavin O’Connor
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 140 minutes

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The Sisters Brothers (2018)

Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly in The Sisters Brothers

Since the failure of big-budget westerns like 2013’s The Lone Ranger and 2011’s Cowboys & Aliens, Hollywood’s seemed apprehensive about putting much money into westerns. As a result, the westerns we do get are usually outside the proverbial box. The Sisters Brothers is a great example, starring Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly as two unlikely guns-for-hire during the gold rush era. Everything you expect in a western happens in The Sisters Brothers, just not quite the way you expect them. Director Jacques Audiard, for example, sometimes chooses to stage gunfights in almost complete darkness, with only the sounds and flashes letting us know they’re happening. This unpredictable and sullen comedy plays with western tropes and delivers an experience unique to the genre.

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Genre: Drama, Western
Stars: John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal
Director: Jacques Audiard
Rating: R
Runtime: 122 minutes

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Casino (1995)

From Goodfellas to their most recent The Irishman, the crime drama trio of Martin Scorsese, Joe Pesci, and Robert De Niro remains a match made in Hollywood heaven. Though it may not stand the test of time so much so as those previously mentioned, Casino is still ample evidence of Scorsese’s directorial prowess and ability to adapt real-world crime stories into epic pictures. It is based on Nicholas Pileggi’s nonfiction work Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas, showcasing the brutal and violent day-to-day of a gambling handicapper (De Niro) with ties to the mob. Casino is an expert portrayal of the glitzy and seedy underworld that makes up the foundation of America’s gambling capital.

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Genre: Crime, Drama
Stars: Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, James Woods, Sharon Stone
Director: Martin Scorsese
Rating: R
Runtime: 182 minutes

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Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Winner of the Palme d’Or, the Cannes Film Festival’s highest honor, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is considered a modern masterpiece of period cinema. In 1760 France, young Marianne is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of Héloïse, a young woman who has just left the convent and become reluctantly betrothed. A methodical portraitist, Marianne arrives under the guise of companionship, observing Héloïse by day and secretly painting her by night. But as the two women spend more time together, an attraction grows as they revel in Héloïse’s first — and last — moments of freedom as she transfers from the convent to an unwilling marriage. As Marianne works, the portrait takes on greater meaning, symbolizing the two women’s collaboration and forbidden love for one another.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Genre: Drama, Romance
Stars: Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel, Luana Bajrami
Director: Céline Sciamma
Rating: R
Runtime: 119 minutes

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The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years (2016)

Music documentaries, especially ones discussing The Beatles, are a dime a dozen. Yet few documentaries ever have the acclaimed Ron Howard at the helm, especially one that does away with the conventional through-the-years filmography. Instead, Howard decided to focus more on the early days of the infamous rock band, gazing more so at their rise into fame and the ingredients to their immediate success. The Beatles: Eight Days a Week is a music-lover’s go-to, offering the best sound and live performance experiences while also delivering interesting tidbits on the nature of The Beatles’ rise to stardom.

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Genre: Documentary, Music
Stars: Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Ed Sullivan
Director: Ron Howard
Rating: Not Rated
Runtime: 306 minutes

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If Beale Street Could Talk (2019)

If Beale Street Could Talk

If Beale Street Could Talk takes you to early-1970s Harlem and introduces you to 19-year-old Tish Rivers (KiKi Layne). Tish is a daughter and soon-to-be wife to her artist fiancé Alonzo Hunt, who goes by Fonny (Stephan James). Friends since childhood, their unbreakable bond has flourished together, and they dream of a bright, beautiful future. But when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit, their love is tested by an unforgiving and racially-biased world.

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Genre: Drama, Romance
Stars: KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Regina King
Director: Barry Jenkins
Rating: R
Runtime: 117 minutes

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Big Time Adolescence (2019)

This Hulu original follows a bright, mostly innocent 16-year old named Mo (Griffin Gluck) as he attempts to navigate high school. Fortunately, he has the guidance of his best friend, charismatic college dropout Zeke (Pete Davidson). Zeke genuinely cares about Mo, but as he shares the untraditional life lessons he’s learned in drug dealing, partying, and dating, things go a little off the rails in Mo’s life. Meanwhile, Mo’s dad (Jon Cryer) tries to take back the reins.

Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Stars: Pete Davidson, Griffin Gluck
Director: Jason Orley
Rating: R
Runtime: 90 minutes

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Fighting with My Family (2018)

Based on the true story of WWE Superstar Paige, Fighting with My Family is one of the more unusual heartwarming comedies of recent years. Directed by comedy legend Stephen Merchant, this film centers on a tight-knit wrestling family. Paige and her brother Zak are over the moon when they get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to try out for WWE. But when only Paige earns a spot in the competitive training program, she has to leave her family and face this cutthroat world on her own. Her journey pushes her to fight for her family and ultimately prove that devotion is precisely what can make her a star.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Stars: Florence Pugh, Lena Headey, Dwayne Johnson
Director: Stephen Merchant
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 107 minutes

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I, Tonya (2017)

Tonya Harding is one of the most notorious figures in sports history. Once a shining star in the world of figure skating, she transformed into a villain after her ex-husband and bodyguard conspired to injure her rival, Nancy Kerrigan (Caitlin Carver), a conspiracy many believed Harding had a hand in. I, Tonya follows Harding (Margot Robbie) from her sad childhood to her rise as a figure skater, to her eventual fall.

What elevates the film above most biopics, however, is its willingness to play with reality; I, Tonya filters events through the perspectives of its characters, leaving the audience questioning whether Harding is simply a misunderstood person with some flaws or a devious villain. Robbie’s standout performance — and that of Allison Janney, who plays Harding’s mother — is the foundation that supports the entire endeavor.

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama, Sport
Stars: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janey
Director: Craig Gillespie
Rating: R
Runtime: 119 minutes

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Vice (2018)

With 2015’s The Big Short, director Adam McKay transitioned from the fun, outlandish comedies that had defined his career to that point (Anchorman, Step Brothers) to didactic, angry satire. Vice, which chronicles Dick Cheney’s (Christian Bale) long ascent up the stairs of political power, takes that formula and runs with it. The black comedy takes aim at its subject and also at the society that enabled him. The movie follows a not-entirely chronological path through Cheney’s life, from his shiftless, drunken youth to his tenure as one of the most powerful men in America. As in The Big Short, the plot is frequently interrupted by explanatory skits, the narrator, even the characters themselves. Beyond McKay’s dynamic approach to satire, Vice is worth watching for Bale’s tremendous performance.

Rotten Tomatoes: 66%
Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama
Stars: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell
Director: Adam McKay
Rating: R
Runtime: 132 minutes

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How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

How To Train Your Dragon

The How to Train Your Dragon trilogy is truly rare in that all three movies are certified hits. The final entry in the series, Hidden World finds Hiccup as the chief and ruler of dragon utopia Berk, alongside Astrid. But the sudden appearance of a female Light Fury coincides with the darkest threat their village has ever faced, forcing Hiccup and Toothless to journey to a hidden world that was thought only to exist in myth. Fighting together to the ends of the Earth, Hiccup and Toothless discover where their true destinies lie and must go further than they ever have to protect everything they love.

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Genre: Animation, Family, Action & Adventure
Stars: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett
Director: Dean DeBlois
Rating: PG
Runtime: 110 minutes

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Sorry to Bother You (2018)

The directorial debut of Boots Riley (perhaps better known as the frontman of the hip-hop band The Coup), Sorry to Bother You is a madcap satire of 21st-century capitalism, a film that tosses realism out the window within the first 10 minutes or so. The movie follows Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield), a sad-sack guy who, desperate for money, gets a job as a telemarketer at a grimy office (he lies about his previous work experience, which his interviewer considers a positive). Cassius struggles to make sales, so an older coworker (Danny Glover) gives him some advice, telling him to use a “white voice.” After using a white voice (David Cross), Cassius suddenly starts racking up sales and soon gets a promotion to the esteemed position of Power Caller. As he climbs the corporate ladder, however, Cassius risks losing his soul to the relentless machine of marketing. Sorry to Bother You makes uses of some bonkers visuals to accompany its eccentric premise, such as an early sequence in which Cassius, as he calls customers, literally drops into their houses, snapping back to the office when they hang up.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Stars: LaKeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler
Director: Boots Riley
Rating: R
Runtime: 112 minutes

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Buried (2010)

Claustrophobia has never been so expertly rendered than with the 2010 film Buried, which went largely unnoticed despite rave reviews. Ryan Reynolds plays Paul Conroy, an American truck driver who awakens in an Iraqi coffin with only a Blackberry and a Zippo lighter for company. His kidnapper, Jagbir, calls and demands the U.S. pay a ransom of $5 million for his and his companion’s safe return, otherwise, he will be left to rot in the claustrophobic death trap. With little oxygen and ever-increasing skepticism over his survival, Conroy races to beat the many ticking clocks that will ultimately decide his fate.

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Thriller
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Ivana Mino, Stephen Tobolosky
Director: Rodrigo Cortés
 
Rating: R
Runtime: 95 minutes

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The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Chris Hemsworth and Kristen Connolly in The Cabin In The Woods

Beloved more so for its humor than its fear, The Cabin in the Woods is unlike any horror film ever conceived. Drew Goddard does away with convention, instead lightening up the mood with an array of comic relief, delivered best by Curt Vaughn (Chris Hemsworth) and Marty Mikalski (Fran Kranz). It’s like the live-action version of Until Dawn, with an added layer of thrilling intrigue, as not everything is as it may seem. Join five college students in a night of unrelenting terror, as each one falls to the deathly secrets of this mysterious cabin in the woods.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Stars: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Jesse Williams
Director: Drew Goddard
Rating: R
Runtime: 95 minutes

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Rocketman (2019)

Retelling the wild and music-filled life of Sir Elton John, Rocketman captures in great detail the journey of a British artist’s slow but sure claim to fame. Taron Egerton, known best for his role in Kingsman: The Secret Service, plays the titular musician on a road of discovery filled with its fair share of young love and substance abuse. It’s one of the best musician movies, examining the singer’s life with immense accuracy and heartbreaking detail. Joining Hulu in late May, Rocketman is the perfect companion piece for all fans of Elton John to experience his ascension not only into stardom but into his truest self.

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Genre: Biopic, Drama
Stars: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Bryce Dallas Howard, Richard Madden
Director: Dexter Fletcher
Rating: R
Runtime: 121 minutes

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My Cousin Vinny (1992)

Everyone has that one family member that’s more than a little “out there,” as is the case with Bill Gambini (Ralph Macchio) and his eccentric cousin Vinny (Joe Pesci). After accidentally shoplifting on their trip through Alabama, Bill and his friend Stan (Mitchell Whitfield) are wrongfully charged with first-degree murder and accessory for the robbing and killing of a Sac-O-Suds convenience store clerk. Though only but a lowly personal injury lawyer with no trial experience, Vinny accepts the call to action and aids in the acquitting of his younger cousin. My Cousin Vinny may not be on par with the likes of any John Grisham tale, but with praise from several lawyers as to the film’s volition to real-world law, coupled with director Jonathan Lynn’s Cambridge University law degree, it’s the next best thing with a dash of must-see hilarity.

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Joe Pesci, Ralph Macchio, Marisa Tomei
Director: Jonathan Lynn
Rating: R
Runtime: 120 minutes

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Meek’s Cutoff (2010)

Meek's Cutoff

In the earliest days of the Oregon Trail, a wagon train of three families follows mountain man Stephen Meek (Bruce Greenwood) over the Cascade Mountains. Meek claims to know a shortcut and leads the group on an unmarked path across the high plain desert, only to become lost. As the emigrants face hunger and thirst and begin turn on one another, a Native American wanderer crosses their path. The group now finds that they’re torn between trusting a man who has already failed them and trusting one who has always been seen as a natural-born enemy.

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Genre: Drama, Western
Stars: Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Will Patton
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Rating: PG
Runtime: 104 minutes

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Natural Born Killers (1994)

Oliver Stone’s frenzied chronicle of a serial-killing couple’s media sensation murder spree across America was not particularly loved by critics. However, casual viewers without pearls to clutch will love this deeply satirical, deeply grotesque look at violence and media in America. If you didn’t know any better, you might think Natural Born Killers was a Tarantino movie. Plus: Young Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, and Robert Downey Jr.!

Rotten Tomatoes: 41%
Genre: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Stars: Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Robert Downey Jr.
Director: Oliver Stone
Rating: R
Runtime: 119 minutes

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Apollo 11 (2019)

Take one giant leap into the past, wherein humankind barrelled through the nighttime sky and raced to walk on surfaces not our own. Apollo 11 tracks the star-bound adventure of Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin in a moment now frozen in time. Provided via never-before-seen footage and audio recordings, Apollo 11 is the next-best equivalent of time traveling back to that very life-altering event. Experience the groundbreaking NASA exploration like never before, all within the comfort of the living room.

Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Genre: Documentary, History
Stars: Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins
Director: Todd Douglas Miller
Rating: G
Runtime: 93 minutes

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Mission: Impossible — Fallout (2018)

Fallout has a good case for being the best entry to the Mission: Impossible franchise. Rogue Nation writer-director Christopher McQuarrie returns and continues to push the envelope in this traditionally envelope-pushing series. M:I is at its best when the world of espionage in which it exists is living just along the edge of believability, which McQuarrie has fully grasped. Thanks to Tom Cruise’s insane penchant for thrill-seeking and ability to perform death-defying stunts sans double, the most recent iterations of Mission: Impossible do just that: Expand our mind beyond what we thought possible, while grounding the story of international conspiracies and world-destroying syndicates just enough to feel plausible. While James Bond’s MI6 enjoys a level of tongue-in-cheek, Ethan Hunt’s IMF captures the imagination of an interconnected, deeply perilous world and gleefully operates in the fringes. Fallout continues to explore the villainy and influence of The Syndicate and its leader, Solomon Lane, as the IMF joins forces with the CIA to prevent a global catastrophe. It’s as good as spy movies get.

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Stars: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 147 minutes

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Akira (1988)

badass motorcycles

The seminal anime film Akira has had a huge impact on sci-fi since its release, but despite how many films and video games have drawn on Akira for inspiration, the movie itself still feels fresh. The film begins in Neo-Tokyo circa 2019, decades after the start of World War III. Far below the towering skyscrapers, gangs of motorcycle-riding youths fight in the streets. A leather-clad hotshot named Kaneda leads a gang called the Capsules. While evading the police, Kaneda’s comrade Tetsuo runs across a mysterious being with psychic powers, and after crashing his bike, ends up in the government’s custody. After enduring strange experiments, Tetsuo develops psychic powers, and a mighty ego to match. As Tetsuo’s powers grow, Kaneda must try to stop him before he destroys Tokyo. Akira is a slick action film full of striking imagery and stylish violence.

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Genre: Animation, Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Stars: Mitsuo Itawa, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama
Director: Katsuhiro Ôtomo
Rating: R
Runtime: 124 minutes

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The Assistant (2019)

Julia Garner in The Assistant

Jane (Julia Garner) is a recent college graduate and an aspiring film producer who, to her delight, lands her dream job as a junior assistant to a powerful entertainment mogul. But spending one day in her life is enough to understand the abuse that comes with the job. The Assistant follows one ordinary day as Jane makes coffee, makes copies, orders lunch, takes phone messages, and more, but the insidious accumulation of degradations and abuse she encounters becomes more and more prevalent as the film continues, illuminating the depth of mistreatment inherent in the system she’s just entered.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Genre: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Stars: Julia Garner, Matthew MacFayden, McKenzie Leigh
Director: Kitty Green
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 87 minutes

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Blackfish (2013)

Though it may be heartbreaking above all else, Blackfish is a tale as necessary as it is painful to bear witness to. It tells the real-life and grueling story of Tilikum, a SeaWorld-owned orca, whose experiences speak volumes of the true nature inherent in the aquarium. Proving its immense acclaim, Blackfish was even nominated for a BAFTA for best documentary. Upon its release in 2013, it gained immediate traction, provoking SeaWorld to issue multiple responses. Despite the rebuttals, the detestable experiences of these performance whales shown in the documentary will outrage many viewers.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Genre: Documentary
Stars: Tilikum, Samantha Berg, Dawn Brancheau
Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 90 minutes

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Free Solo (2018)

What can we say about Free Solo that hasn’t been said already? Filmmaker Jimmy Chin’s award-winning biopic chronicles professional climber Alex Honnold’s free solo ascent of one the most iconic slabs of granite in the world, El Capitan, as well his upbringing and van-fueled life outside the wall. It’s a harrowing portrait, one lined with vertigo-inducing shots and candid conversations about life and death, told through the lens of a 33-year-old who wants nothing more than to summit a 3,000-foot cliff with no ropes or safety harness. The footage of the climb itself — from the route planning to the actual execution — is mesmerizing, but it’s the film’s blunt examination of Honnold’s mind and motives that takes it to new heights.

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Genre: Documentary, Adventure, Sport
Stars: Alex Honnold, Tommy Caldwell, Jimmy Chin
Director: Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 100 minutes

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Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

A debilitating breakup leaves Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) heartbroken and distraught. His stepbrother, Brian (Bill Hader), convinces him to take a long vacation in Hawaii, but the trip is no sooner ruined upon Peter’s discovery that his ex (Kristen Bell) and her new rocker boyfriend (Russel Brand) are likewise in attendance. After befriending hotel concierge Rachel (Mila Kunis), Peter finds a new route to happiness but is challenged by his ex’s persistent presence. Forgetting Sarah Marshal is arguably one of Segel’s best performances, exemplifying his amazing singing capabilities and the hilarious personality he imbues into all of his many characters.

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Nicholas Stoller
Director: Jason Segel, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand, Kristen Bell, Bill Hader
Rating: R
Runtime: 118 minutes

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Fast Color (2018)

Superhero movies aren’t particularly rare these days, but what you can’t find in every multiplex is a superhero story that is more about the person than the spectacle their powers make possible. Fast Color is a brilliant exception. The film’s hero is Ruth (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) — a young woman whose emerging powers have her on the run in a not-too-distant future of climate change and resource scarcity. Ruth is desperately trying to figure out how to control her new abilities, as well as escape the government agents pursuing her, while at the same time trying to reconnect with her estranged family. Rather than fighting off alien invasions or saving the world from cackling terrorists, Fast Color gives us a superhero who is ultimately fighting the same difficult battle we’re all locked in — being a person in the world.

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Stars: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Strathairn, Lorraine Toussaint
Director: Julia Hart
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 100 minutes

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Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

Plenty of Star Trek fans will still tell you none of the 11 Trek films that followed Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan has surpassed the first follow-up to 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Ricardo Montalban reprises the role he played in an episode of the TV series — Khan, a genetically enhanced tyrant from the late 20th century. Obsessed with getting revenge on James Kirk (William Shatner), Khan ambushes the Enterprise and ultimately forces one of the original series crew to sacrifice himself for the good of the ship. Perhaps the best reason to watch The Wrath of Khan is the starship battles that at times — in spite of the futuristic setting — feel as tense and suspenseful as the naval warfare of Wolfgang Petersen’s Das Boot.

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley
Director: Nicholas Meyer
Rating: PG
Runtime: 113 minutes

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Creed II (2018)

Fans were not happy when they learned Ryan Coogler — director of 2015’s Creed — would not be returning for the sequel, but Steven Caple Jr. directs a worthy follow-up with Creed II. The sequel fuses together elements of earlier Rocky films, pitting Adonis (Michael B. Jordan) as the new heavyweight champ against Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), the son of the man who beat his father to death in 1985’s Rocky IV. Jordan is once again stellar as the boxer wrestling with his inner demons as hard as he trades blows in the ring. With all the ups and downs of any good Rockyflick, Creed II delivers an old story in fresh, new clothing.

Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Genre: Drama, Sport
Stars: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson
Director: Steven Caple Jr.
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 130 minutes

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Prisoners (2013)

Paul Dano and Jake Gyllenhaal in Prisoners

Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners asks: How far would you go to protect your child? For Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), it’s pretty darn far. When his six-year-old daughter, Anna, and her friend vanish without a trace, Keller is wracked with fear of the worst. The only lead the police have is an old RV that was parked on the street near where the girls were playing. The head of the investigation, Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal), arrests the driver (Paul Dano), but lacks the evidence needed to hold him at the station. Although Loki strongly suspects the driver, he has no choice but to let his only suspect go. With the clock ticking, Keller realizes that the system may not be able to save his daughter, so he takes matters into his own hands.

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Viola Davis
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Rating: R
Runtime: 153 minutes

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Coherence (2013)

In Coherence, a dinner party turns bizarre after a passing comet messes with reality.  Concerned more with dialogue than special effects, Coherence is the directorial debut of James Ward Byrkit. The plot works best if you don’t know much about what happens going in, but suffice to say the turn of events caused by the comet forces the characters to take hard looks at their choices and how they’ve been defined by them. It can get heavy with the quantum physics talk, but Coherence is nonetheless a sci-fi thriller that uses genre to explore character rather than for the sake of spectacle.

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Genre: Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Stars: Emily Baldoni, Maury Sterling, Nicholas Brendon
Director: James Ward Byrkit
Rating: Not Rated
Runtime: 89 minutes

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Waiting for Guffman (1996)

Christopher Guest in Waiting for Guffman

In his patented mockumentary style, Christopher Guest’s Waiting for Guffman follows a gaggle of misfit performers in Blane, Missouri. Determined to create the greatest musical of all time about Blaine’s 150-year history, Corky St. Clair (Guest) casts a dentist, a pair of travel agents, a Dairy Queen worker, and an auto mechanic in his show — the absolute crème de la crème of talent that the town has to offer.

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Genre: Comedy
Stars: Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, Fred Willard
Director: Christopher Guest
Rating: R
Runtime: 84 minutes

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