While release dates and production schedules may be delayed, online streaming services haven’t been affected, luckily. That said, there’s no time like the present to catch up on your movie list. To help you sort the wheat from the chaff, we’ve rounded up some of the better new releases on the four most prominent streaming platforms, including Netflix and Amazon Prime. Whether you’re looking for an Academy Award-winner or a twisted, arthouse film of the highest caliber, we have you covered.
District 9 (2009)
Neill Blomkamp’s sci-fi story about humanity’s first alien encounter was nominated for four Oscars. Unlike other alien movies, in this one the aliens arrive not as invaders or helpers — they’re refugees from a dying planet. Rather than work with the aliens, humans segregate them into a South African area called District 9, where the aliens are managed by Multi-National United, a corporation obsessed with using the aliens to advance their proprietary technology. When a company field agent (Sharlto Copley) contracts a mysterious virus that begins to turn him into an alien himself, he must find refuge in District 9, where he discovers just how mistreated the aliens are.
The Social Network (2010)
Aaron Sorkin’s biopic of Mark Zuckerberg and the founding of social media titan Facebook is just as engrossing as you’d expect any Sorkin film to be. Beginning in 2003 at Harvard, The Social Network follows undergrad and computer genius Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) as he works on a social networking app for university students, slowly realizing its enormous potential. Six years later, he’s one of the youngest billionaires ever, but he’s plagued by personal and legal complications, including a lawsuit involving his former best friend, Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield).
The Irishman (2019)
Another 2019 Best Picture nominee from Netflix, The Irishman marks Martin Scorsese’s return to his bread-and-butter topic: The gangster movie. Based on historical events, this gangster epic follows Frank Sheeran (Robert DeNiro), a soldier for crime boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) and associate of union leader Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino). The Irishman is a slow burn, following Sheeran through his earliest days as an enforcer until he becomes a close bodyguard and confidante of Hoffa during the height of the mafia’s control over labor unions in the United States. However, when the mob decides Hoffa is more trouble than he’s worth, it puts Sheeran in a tough spot that tests his loyalties.
Uncut Gems (2019)
Many consider Uncut Gems a significant Oscar snub; many think those people are crazy. The Safdie brothers’ stressful, pulse-pounding story about a gambling-addicted jeweler (Adam Sandler) in New York City is very much a love-it-or-hate-it kind of movie. Adam Sandler turns in one of his best performances ever as the jeweler Howard Ratner, who despite his charisma and savvy, just can’t seem to get out of his own way. When Boston Celtic Kevin Garnett (playing himself) takes an interest in one of Howard’s highest-ticket items, believing it to be a good luck charm, Ratner plans to make a killing. However, he can’t resist also gambling on Garnett and the Celtics to make the windfall that much greater, putting off mounting debts and obligations to do so.
Back to the Future (1985)
One of the most beloved sci-fi classics of all time, Back to the Future spawned a trilogy that inspired a generation. There’s a good reason Back to the Future looks so familiar now: It’s such an influential film to many of today’s most prolific filmmakers. Small-town California teen Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) is thrust back to the 1950s by an awry experiment by his eccentric scientist friend Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd). Traveling through time in a DeLorean time machine car, Marty meets young versions of his parents before they’ve fallen in love and must ensure they come together, lest he ceases to exist.
A nominee for the prestigious Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a brilliant period drama featuring powerful performances and engrossing direction. It’s 1770 in France and a young painter, Marianne (Noémie Merlant) is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of Héloïse (Adèle Haenel). However, Héloïse is a reluctant bride who has just left the convent, and Marianne must paint her without Héloïse’s knowledge. Marianne paints secretly day by day, observing and spending time with Héloïse until they soon realize there may be more than friendship afoot. The two women grow closer and closer as they share Héloïse’s last moments of freedom before the wedding.
If not for Parasite, Portrait of a Lady on Fire may very well have won the Palme d’Or. Bong Joon-ho’s masterpiece, however, was the belle of awards season, winning the Palme d’Or and countless other awards on its way to four Oscar wins, including Best Picture and Best Director. Parasite is truly a masterful film, simultaneously a slow burn and constant car crash of conflict, keeping you on the edge of your seat. The destitute Kim family develops a symbiotic relationship with the wealthy Park family. As greed, discrimination, and manipulation seep into the arrangement, lines are blurred and lives are threatened.
Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein) worked hard in school, avoided parties, and got into the Ivy League colleges they wanted to attend. Unfortunately, it turns out everyone else who did party and drink throughout high school also got in where they wanted to go. Discovering this, Amy and Molly decide to go out for one night of wild partying before graduation day. It’s a familiar concept but Booksmart puts the spotlight on the friendship of its female protagonists rather than sex and dating in high school. Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut is a refreshing take on the teen comedy.
Martin Scorsese’s mob classic was nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture, and featured a cast that seems to be essential for any gangster or Mafia movies these days. The film tells the story of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), who grows up in the mob and works hard to advance through the ranks. Awash in money and luxury, Hill is oblivious to the horror he causes and the dangers he brings to himself and his family. As drug addiction and costly mistakes come together to unravel his empire, his mob partners (Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci in an Oscar-winning performance) are forced to navigate a way forward.
The Green Mile (1999)
Frank Darabont’s adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of the same name earned four Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. Tom Hanks plays Paul Edgecomb, a death row guard in Louisiana who spends his life among convicts sentenced to die. When he meets John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), a massive black man convicted of brutally killing two women, something doesn’t sit right. Coffey has the size and strength to kill anyone but comes off as the gentlest person Edgecomb’s ever seen. Beyond his kind nature and a deathly fear of the dark, Coffey also possesses a supernatural gift that forces Edgecomb to doubt Coffey’s guilt and begin questioning the system he serves.
The Goldfinch (2019)
Although it received a theatrical release, Amazon acquired The Goldfinch to repackage as an Amazon Original. Based on Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, the film follows Theodore Decker, a young man who lost his mother at age 13 in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The tragedy follows him throughout his life, sending him on an odyssey of grief, guilt, reinvention, and redemption. Through it all, he holds onto a tangible piece of hope (and a harrowing anchor of guilt) in the form of a priceless painting of a goldfinch chained to its perch.
Mission: Impossible — Fallout continues to raise the bar in the M:I franchise. The sixth installment outpaces the earlier films with jaw-dropping action and high-octane filmmaking. Fallout opens with IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) attempting to secure some plutonium cores, but when the mission goes sideways, the cores fall into the hands of a terrorist group run by an old villain. The failure draws the ire of CIA Director Erica Sloane (Angela Bassett), who deploys an assassin (Henry Cavill) to monitor IMF’s efforts to recover the cores.
The Lighthouse (2019)
Robert Eggers follows up his surprising horror hit The Witch with this equally haunting, atmospheric film about isolation and torment. Set on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s, the film follows two lighthouse keepers (Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson) as they try to maintain a lighthouse and their sanity before they’re relieved of duty. Dafoe and Pattinson make the most of the opportunity to carry the entire script while Eggers’ eerie, intentional direction makes this one alternately batty and unnerving.
The Report (2019)
This Amazon Original Film stars Adam Driver as Daniel Jones, a senate staffer who is chosen by Senator Dianne Feinstein (Annette Bening) to investigate the destruction of CIA interrogation recordings in 2005. Based on true events, this political thriller focuses on the real-life of politics: The tension of trawling through millions of pages of documents covered in redactions. All the while, Jones and his team are forced to dodge government officials trying to squash their efforts. Driver delivers an outstanding performance in this realpolitik thriller.
Todd Phillips’ original origin story for Batman’s greatest villain was nominated for 11 Oscars, including a Best Actor win for star Joaquin Phoenix. Phoenix is outstanding as usual, but Joker shines brightest when it’s exposing the hypocrisy of philanthropy and the subjugation of the mentally ill. Set well before the rise of the Caped Crusader, in this Gotham, Bruce Wayne’s father, Thomas Wayne, pulls the strings, and he’s not the paragon Bruce will one day make him out to be. After being fired from his street clown job, Arthur Fleck (Phoenix) finds himself caught up with Wayne and the corrupt society he represents, sending Fleck into a downward spiral of revolution and crime; a path that will ultimately bring him face-to-face with the Joker alter ego.
Bad Education (2019)
Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney shine in this TIFF standout that HBO acquired for a simultaneous theatrical and streaming release. Based on a true story, Bad Education follows the beloved superintendent (Jackman) of New York’s Roslyn school district and his staff, friends, and relatives, as they become the prime suspects in the largest public school embezzlement scandal in American history.
Spike Lee’s take on the true story of an African American police officer from Colorado Springs, Colorado, who manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch received five Oscar nominations, including a win for Best Adapted Screenplay. John David Washington stars as Ron Stallworth, a savvy cop who manages to work over the local KKK over the phone and gain admission into the club. However, he’ll need the help of a surrogate, his Jewish partner (Adam Driver), to get any face time.
Two fan-favorite characters of the Fast & Furious franchise team up in this action-packed spinoff that feels, well, nothing like a spinoff. Hobbs & Shaw keeps the same high-budget action sequences and jaw-dropping fight scenes in the mix while trimming the Fast and Furious team to just three: CIA enforcer Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), MI6 outcast Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), and MI6 special agent (Vanessa Kirby). Together, they must take on a cyber-genetically enhanced villain (Idris Elba) working on behalf of terrorist shadow organization Eteon. While Eteon is hell-bent on evolving the human race by whatever villainous means necessary, the trio of heroes must overcome personal differences and past grudges to save the world.
Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
This rom-com adaptation of the international bestseller was a massive box office and critical hit. Constance Wu stars as Rachel Chu, a New York professor who accompanies her boyfriend Nick (Henry Golding) to Singapore to meet his family for the first time. Turns out, however, he’s Singapore’s most eligible bachelor, and his family is one of the wealthiest in the country. The family — especially Nick’s mother — are instantly suspicious of Rachel, believing her to be beneath Nick’s station and unworthy of him. Meanwhile, socialites keep throwing themselves at Nick while his family attempts to shame Rachel out of the picture. Rachel, however, is tougher than they all think.
From acclaimed director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), Yesterday asks the question, “What would the world look like if everybody suddenly forgot about the Beatles?” For one struggling musician named Jack (Himesh Patel), it means a massive opportunity. When Jack awakens to find that he’s the only person alive who remembers the Beatles, he begins to recreate their music and release it as his own. As he churns out hit after hit, however, he begins to wonder if all the fame and fortune are worth the life-defining lie.
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