Family travel with a toddler

Travel Shows on HBO Max

9 Best Travel Shows and Movies on HBO Max

So you want to watch something travel related and not leave your house? Have a subscription to HBO Max? Here are a few suggestions on the best travel shows and movies on HBO Max so you won’t have to waste time scrolling and looking through the titles at home. We are not able to travel full time, so in our free hours after work, we tend to watch or read a lot of travel related books. Here’s our list. 

NOTE : Some of these shows may not be available on HBO Max when you read this article. As of publishing, these shows were still available. Will update the post as necessary if we still have HBO Max and happen to check if  

Other couch potato travel related posts: 

  • Czech It Out (TV show set in the Czech Republic) 
  • White Lotus (TV show set in Hawaii and Italy)

The Flight Attendant (TV show about a flight attendant)

Anthony bourdain: parts unknown (multiple locations), death on the nile (movie set in egypt), whitechapel (tv series set in london) , the gilded age (tv series set in new york) , see our other posts about new york: .

  • TV Shows or Films that Inspire Travel on HBO Max 

The Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts Series (Wizarding World)

  • Game of Thrones 

Bonus #2: Travel shows previously on HBO Max

Stanley tucci: searching for italy , travel shows on hbo max, share this:.

  • Travel shows on Amazon Prime 
  • The best travel books to fuel your wanderlust 
  • How to read more books every year

walking along Prague Czech Republic

Czech It Out ( TV show set in the Czech Republic ) 

Spoken in Czech, a plus for our little Slovak family , with English subtitles. The 8 part TV series follows a Czech foodie slash actor and his daughter, as they go around the Czech Republic. This series makes it even more relatable for us since the stars of the show can only visit towns and cities on a limited time, which means they are not traveling full time. 

For those of us who work full time , have children ,  and travel part time, we want to show the world that this type of travel is indeed doable. We tend to have the comfort of having a home base, a steady income stream coming in, and a routine for our kid whenever he’s not traveling. 

Lukas, the host, is showing the foodie side of the Czech Republic as well as activities, sights, and other interesting areas in the cities and towns that he visits. Of course he does this while he is with his teenage daughter. A bit different than traveling with a toddler, but traveling with children is definitely very rewarding. 

This is one of our favorite travel shows, and we’re lucky that it is available on HBO Max.   

White Lotus ( TV show set in Hawaii and Italy )

A purely fictional TV series, the White Lotus is an ensemble show based in a high end resort in Hawaii. The series was filmed at the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea, so all the exterior shots you see on screen are based on an actual hotel. 

The story revolves around the guests and the employees of the White Lotus, with the start of the first episode opening to a death that happened in the hotel, with you trying to figure out who could have died. The series is coming back for another season, set in Italy, filming at the Four Seasons San Domenico Palace. It is an absolutely beautiful hotel, so we can’t wait to see what the second season has on offer. Jennifer Coolidge will be back and is reprising her character in season 2. 

Flying over the Caribbean

As the name of the TV series suggests, the main character is a flight attendant, so there is no shortage of international and domestic airport, hotel, and even sights throughout the show’s episodes. The first season is mostly a thriller and a mystery, as the main character is dragged into the brutal murder of one of her business class passengers after she sleeps with him in Bangkok. 

The first season is based on a book of the same name, The Flight Attendant, by Chris Bohjalian. Some parts of the first season feel a bit stretched and slow, with some plot holes here and there. Not sure what season 2 has in offer since the entire death of Alex Sokolov is the main arc of the book and the first season, but we’re hopeful season 2 will still show lots of travel! 

HBO seems to be the main distributor of any CNN originals, so Parts Unknown is available to stream on HBO Max. Anthony Bourdain is not your usual travel guide, but he does show a different side to a city or a place based on his connections with the locals and for food. 

Some of the episodes should have a trigger warning, so for those who can be a bit squeamish or get triggered by animal slaughter (which is shown in some of the episodes), please watch the show with someone. It would help if there was a warning before every episode for those who are sensitive, but there’s none. 

Nevertheless, if you still want to travel and “try” the different cuisines of the world without leaving the comfort of your home,  the TV series is definitely worth watching. As they say – you can live vicariously through others! 

If you’re a fan of mysteries and know of Agatha Christie, the story is one of a few set in a different country! The movie is amazing – showing lots of famous Egyptian temples and making you feel like you are on a river cruise along the Nile. However, there’s murder that happens on board, so another challenge is figuring out who the murderer is before the end of the movie! 

The book is better than the movie, but the movie has the added plus of actually taking you to places visually! Hercule Poirot’s accent is also fun to listen to! 

An oldie but goodie TV show. The first season follows a series of murders that happened in London where the murderer seems to be imitating the infamous Jack the Ripper, but in the late 2000s.

I personally love the cut scenes where they show various buildings around London and even say streets and squares that are relevant to the story. 

There are 4 seasons of Whitechapel, with only 3 episodes each. Each episode is only around 45 minutes so they are easy to digest and binge. 

Statue of Liberty, New York City

An HBO original, written by Julian Fellowes, the mastermind behind Downton Abbey. The story follows a nouveau riche family in New York, based on the Vanderbilt family as they navigate around the old rich society that dominated the city. 

Even though this is a period piece, some of the places they visit in New York still stand. The buildings are still there but instead of one family living in a house the size of a city block, has been divided into condos or apartments instead. Central Park is still there and welcoming people from various places as it stands proud in the middle of the city. 

  • 3 Day New York City Itinerary (52 WW)
  • A budget trip to New York City

TV Shows or Films that Inspire Travel on HBO Max  

Fans of these shows make it a point to visit filming sites, and we do have to admit some of their locations are breathtaking, having been to a few of them. Here are the TV shows or the films that inspire travel available on HBO Max. 

Platform 9 3/4 - King's Cross Station London

Who doesn’t love the Harry Potter franchise? If you end up going to the UK, people end up booking Harry Potter location tours, which includes Leavesden Studios, where there’s a permanent exhibition at the Universal Lot. Within London, there are plenty of Potter places you can visit, from Leadenhall Market, Platform 9 ¾ in King’s Cross, the Millennium Bridge, Tottenham Court Road, and St Paul’s Cathedral. These are just some of the places you can visit, and our post is not a comprehensive guide to the locations – those are just a quick Google away! 

Make a trip to the various cities and towns that they shot on location and you’ll see the beauty of the UK as well as imagining yourself in the wizarding world of Harry Potter itself. Make it a part of your bucket list to visit locations if you want – anything to get you out of the chair and experience the sights yourself! 

Also, the books are amazing, and when compared with the movies, they are mostly true to the book. However, the Fantastic Beast series does not have an accompanying book series, and mostly rely on the movies to tell the story. 

However, if you do go to the Wizarding World in Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, you can experience the set yourself and get corresponding merchandise as well! 

Check out our Orlando posts here:

  • An Orlando New Years Weekend Getaway
  • Orlando’s Chocolate Kingdom (Review)

Game of Thrones  

Game of Thrones is a bit different where the cast seem to have shot in different countries. From the old city of Dubrovnik in Croatia, to an island off the Basque region of Spain called Gaztelugatxe, to the Dark Hedges in Ireland, there’s plenty to see and explore if you watch the TV series. 

Aside from looking at the locations, the TV show is highly entertaining with lots of plot twists, action, and drama. There are a lot of character’s to remember though! 

There is a book series that was the premise of the TV series, so if you are a reader and like more detail on the world, then pick them up too! 

Travel Shows on HBO Max

Stanley Tucci travels to Italy to try and show the unique food that’s available in various regions of Italy. Along the way, he shows how the food has been sourced, unique places, and everything Italian in particular. The host is Italian-American, so he definitely knows what he’s talking about. 

We’ve been drooling at the food and street scenes he had in Italy, it was making us so jealous and miss travel even more. A majority of the episodes had been filmed during the pandemic, so it was kind of great to compare what it was like pre-pandemic on 2 episodes vs post pandemic. Sadly, they took this out of HBO Max, but added it to the list in case it does go back. 

And there you have it, some travel shows on HBO Max. While this list is not as comprehensive, we hope it may have helped you in your armchair travel and inspired you to visit the sights that these shows were showcasing. 

For you have any other shows that you feel we should add to the list? Feel free to list them in the comments below and we will check them out. We will include them if we feel they are entertaining and informative enough to inspire travel through the show! 

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11 of the best time travel movies to watch on streaming

From hard sci-fi to buds in hot tubs

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best travel movies on hbo max

Thirty years after their last time travel adventure, Bill and Ted are back in their most excellent journey yet. Bill and Ted Face the Music , starring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter in their iconic slacker-metalhead roles, is out in theaters and on VOD now.

As a genre, time-travel movies can encompass a lot of different styles. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure is a silly, fluffy time-jumping adventure, which stands in stark juxtaposition to the hard sci-fi 12 Monkeys or the melancholy, contemplative About Time . What they all have in common is time travel as a major plot point, whether the creators do their best to explain the science or just kind of hand wave. (A time travel movie is different from a time loop movie, though, which is why you won’t find Groundhog Day , Happy Death Day , or Palm Springs — all excellent films — on this list.)

Below, we’ve rounded up 11 of our favorite time travel narratives you can watch on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max right now. Party on, dudes.

Bruce Willis kneels in a time travel suit

If you can stomach a narrative about a viral pandemic knocking out most of humanity, Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys is a compelling adaptation of Chris Marker’s legendary short film, La Jetée (which you can stream on Criterion Channel ). The feature remake is mostly notable for its incredible performances — Bruce Willis! Christopher Plummer! An Oscar nomination for Brad Pitt! Willis stars as James Cole, one of the pandemic’s survivors, who’s sent back to 1996 to track down the origins of virus. He overshoots and ends up in 1990, where he’s involuntarily committed to a mental institution. Pitt plays his fellow inmate who, Cole discovers back in the future, may or may not be responsible for the virus.

As far as time travel movies go, 12 Monkeys is firmly in the grim, twist-y, hard sci-fi camp. If that’s your thing, it’s an excellent watch.

12 Monkeys is streaming on HBO Max .

Domhnall Gleason looks on while Rachel McAdams holds their baby

All of the marketing around About Time made it seem like a fun, fluffy rom-com in which Domhnall Gleeson uses his magical time traveling abilities to woo Rachel McAdams. But master of the British rom-com, Richard Curtis ( Love Actually , Bridget Jones’ Diary , Knotting Hill , Four Weddings and a Funeral ), makes About Time a lot deeper. I won’t spoil the twist that throws a wrench into the time travel mechanics, but I’ll just say that it’s more about the anxieties of parenthood than getting a fairy tale ending.

About Time is streaming on Netflix .

Avengers: Endgame

black widow, nebula, and tony stark walk in their time travel suits in avengers: endgame

Avengers: Endgame satisfyingly wraps up its core characters arcs and made room for the next chapter while also balancing humor, emotional weight, and huge choreographed set pieces. It also features a surprisingly well executed time travel storyline! If you haven’t seen this one since last summer, dive back into its mind-bending middle act.

Avengers: Endgame is streaming on Disney Plus .

Back to the Future trilogy

Marty (Michael J Fox) and Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) stare into the distance

The story of Marty McFly’s (Michael J. Fox) travels through time in a souped-up DeLorean, aided by his friend Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd), is a classic for good reason. The first movie, in which Marty has to make sure his parents fall in love lest he be erased from existence, is always a hit, but it’s especially fun to revisit Back to the Future Part II just to see what people in 1989 thought 2015 would look like.

Back to the Future , Back to the Future Part II, and Back to the Future Part III are streaming on Netflix .

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) face each other in front of the Circle K

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure was one of those movies that, if you grew up in the ’90s or early 2000s, you’d catch in bits and pieces because it aired constantly on cable. The format was perfect for that kind of disjointed viewing, since it mostly consists of silly scenes in which Bill and Ted get into historical hijinks strung together to form a tiny thread of narrative. But what Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure lacks in plot, it makes up for in heart. The core ethos of Bill and Ted is “Be excellent to each other,” a philosophy that the boys consistently embody. It’s just nice, okay ?

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure is streaming on Starz .

Hot Tub Time Machine

Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, John Cusack, and Clark Duke drink beers in thee Hot Tub Time Machine

If you’re the type of person who hears a title like Hot Tub Time Machine and thinks, “Ugh, that sounds stupid,” Hot Tub Time Machine is probably not for you. But if you’re the type of person who hears a title like Hot Tub Time Machine and thinks, “Hell yeah, that sounds stupid,” you’re gonna have a good time.

Hot Tub Time Machine is streaming on Hulu with Live TV .

Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) walks away from an explosion in Looper

If you only know Rian Johnson from Star Wars: The Last Jedi and/or Knives Out , it’s worth going back through his filmography before he helmed one of the biggest franchises in the world. Looper , his last film before The Last Jedi, stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis as two different versions of the same man, a time-traveling assassin, known as a “looper,” named Joe. It’s both a compelling time travel narrative and a slick action movie with neat visual effects. In the wise words of Elijah Wood, long live Rian Johnson .

Looper is streaming on FuboTV .

Safety Not Guaranteed

Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass sit in a car

Before he helmed the Jurassic World franchise, gave us the fascinating flop that is The Book of Henry , and was booted from Star Wars: Episode 9, Colin Trevorrow directed Safety Not Guaranteed. The indie comedy stars Mark Duplass as Kenneth, a paranoid, lonely guy who places a classified ad looking for a partner to join him on a time travel mission. He finds that partner in Darius (Aubrey Plaza) who, unbeknownst to him, is a newspaper intern working on a story about him. Duplass excels at playing these kind of weirdos who live on the border between sad and creepy, and it’s an energy that works well with Plaza’s disaffected schtick. Whether or not Kenneth actually built a working time machine is simultaneously the key to the story and also not really the point, and Trevorrow leaves us hanging until the very end.

Safety Not Guaranteed is streaming on Netflix .

timecrimes guy in hood making binoculars with his hands

Years before directing his breakout English-language feature Colossal with Anne Hathaway, Spanish filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo made this thriller about a man who uses a short-span time travel device to discover the identity of a masked attacker. Small-scale and twisty, Timecrimes revels in disorientation and has the dark comedic edge that has come to devine Vigalondo’s films. A whodunnit for the seasoned time-travel movie-watcher.

Timecrimes is streaming for free on Tubi TV with ads.

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Prices taken at time of publishing.

Disney is offering a bundle combining its three streaming services — Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus — for $12.99/month.

  • $13 at Disney Plus

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The 50 Best Movies on Max Right Now

In addition to new Warner and HBO films, the streamer has a treasure trove of Golden Age classics, indie flicks and foreign films. Start with these.

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By Scott Tobias

When HBO Max debuted in May 2020, subscribers rightfully expected (and got) the formidable catalog of prestige television associated with the HBO brand. But its movie library drew from a much deeper well. Warner Bros. Discovery, which owns HBO, is a huge conglomerate, and its premiere streaming service comprises decades of titles from Warner Bros., Turner Classic Movies, Studio Ghibli and more. Viewed in that light, its recent rebranding as Max seems fitting.

That means a lot of large-scale fantasy series and selections from the DC extended universe. Max is also an education in Golden Age Hollywood classics and in independent and foreign auteurs like Federico Fellini, Satyajit Ray and John Cassavetes. The list below is an effort to recommend a diverse range of movies — old and new, foreign and domestic, all-ages and adults-only — that cross genres and cultures while appealing to casual and serious movie-watchers alike. (Note: Streaming services sometimes remove titles or change starting dates without notice.)

Here are our lists of the best movies and TV shows on Netflix , the best movies on Amazon Prime Video and the best of everything on Hulu and Disney+ .

best travel movies on hbo max

‘The Lighthouse’ (2019)

After scrupulously evoking the hardships facing exiled 17th century Puritans in his debut feature, “The Witch,” director Robert Eggers brings an equally textured and visceral punch to his follow-up, “The Lighthouse,” which takes place on a God-forsaken, wind-battered island off the New England coast in the 1890s. Shot in a black and white that mimics old photographs from the period, the film squeezes into the close quarters occupied by two lighthouse keepers (Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson) who sink into paranoia and madness as their living conditions worsen. On creating a claustrophobic atmosphere, Manohla Dargis wrote , “Eggers seamlessly blurs the lines between physical space and head space.”

Stream it on Max

‘Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior’ (1982)

Two years after introducing Mel Gibson as Max Rockatansky, a police officer turned vigilante in the gang-infected wasteland of the near future, Australian director George Miller floored the accelerator for this sequel, which expanded his postapocalyptic war zone to exhilarating effect. Now without a family, Max is a drifter scavenging for food and gasoline in his supercharged V-8 Pursuit Special, eventually falling in with a community trying to protect its precious gas supply from the motorized marauders who terrorize them. “In its stripped-down, cannily cinematic way,” Vincent Canby wrote , “it’s one of the most imaginative Australian films released in this country.”

‘Stop Making Sense’ (1984)

The consensus choice for the greatest concert film ever made, Jonathan Demme’s “Stop Making Sense” is foremost a triumph of conceit, as Talking Heads frontman David Byrne first emerges on a bare stage for a solo rendition of “Psycho Killer” before his bandmates, various supporting musicians and singers, and a striking backdrop are brought in piece by piece. Demme makes the simple yet effective decision not to cut away to the cheering fans at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, focusing entirely on an evolving and dynamic show that accumulates energy as it goes along. Janet Maslin called it “a rock concert film that looks and sounds like no other.”

‘Dune: Part 2’ (2024)

The first part of Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” ended with Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) joining Chani (Zendaya) and the Indigenous Fremen in their fight against the universal conspiracists who plunder the desert planet Arrakis for its precious “spice.” While the sequel continues its imposing world-building — and adds sandworm-surfing — it follows Frank Herbert’s novel closely, becoming the rare epic to question its hero’s messianic destiny, as Paul wrestles with the likelihood that his ascendance could lead to a holy war of inconceivable devastation. Manohla Dargis wrote , “The art of cinematic spectacle is alive and rocking in ‘Dune: Part Two,’ and it’s a blast.”

‘All About My Mother’ (1999)

After establishing himself with splashy arthouse provocations like “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” and “Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!,” Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar entered a new phase of his career with “All About My Mother,” which synthesized the color and energy of his early work with formal elegance and intricate plotting. With persistent nods to “All About Eve” and Tennessee Williams, Almodóvar follows a single mother (Cecilia Roth) who loses her 18-year-old son in a car accident and sets off on a journey from Madrid to Barcelona to find the boy’s father, who has changed significantly. Janet Maslin called “All About My Mother” Almodóvar’s “best film by far.”

‘The Zone of Interest’ (2023)

Not a second of Jonathan Glazer’s Holocaust drama takes places inside Auschwitz, but its menacing aura, expressed through the Oscar-winning sound design, carries a subtle cumulative power that better serves the film’s narrative agenda. Drawing loose inspiration from Martin Amis’s novel, “ The Zone of Interest” registers the cognitive dissonance between the mass murder at Auschwitz and the daily lives of its chief architect, Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel) and his wife, Hedwig (Sandra Hüller), who attempt to raise a family on their lush estate just outside the camp’s walls. The film is a powerful reminder of the human capacity to metabolize evil.

‘Infernal Affairs’ (2002)

Though remembered primarily as the source material for Martin Scorsese’s “The Departed,” this dense and moody policier remains a high watermark for a Hong Kong cinema movement that was on the wane after the city’s handover to China several years earlier. Two of its biggest stars, Andy Lau and Tony Leung, are counterparts in an elegantly balanced plot about a young police officer (Leung) who goes undercover in a crime triad at the same time a young triad member (Lau) infiltrates the police department. Elvis Mitchell called this tense standoff between moles on opposite sides of the law an “intricate and well-told story of loyalty and betrayal.” Stream it on Max

‘This is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection’ (2019)

In Lesotho, a mountainous country encircled by South Africa, an 80-year-old woman (Mary Twala Mhlongo) becomes a surprising bulwark of resistance when local officials announce plans to move her entire village in order to flood the area and build a dam. “This is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection” moves along at a studied pace, but director Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese keeps the camera close to his elderly star as her character suppresses the grief from her recently deceased son and fights for her dignity and the permanence of her ancestral home. Nicolas Rapold wrote that Mhlongo “carries the movie on her shoulders with an authoritative presence.” Stream it on Max

‘A Serious Man’ (2009)

Joel and Ethan Coen’s unusually personal black comedy — set in their hometown, St. Louis Park, Minn., in the late 1960s — aligns itself with Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg), a put-upon Jewish physics professor whose crumbling marriage and imperiled tenure become a crisis of faith. Between his attempts to consult various rabbis for advice — including a junior rabbi who imagines Hashem, a Hebrew name for God, in a parking lot — and negotiate with his wife’s new lover (a delightful Fred Melamed), Larry’s odyssey is frequently sidesplitting, but the Coens give genuine consideration to his spiritual quest, too. A.O. Scott called the story “at once hilarious and horrific.” Stream it on Max

‘A Tale of Winter’ (1992)

The second entry in Eric Rohmer’s impeccable “Tales of the Four Seasons” series — all of which are currently streaming on Max — “A Tale of Winter” opens with an idyllic summer fling that ends with Félicie (Charlotte Véry) inadvertently leaving her lover the wrong address to her new place. Five years later, the two have not reunited and Félicie is caring for their son while dating a pair of suitors, one her married boss (Michel Voletti) at a hair salon and the other a low-key librarian (Hervé Furic). Rohmer holds her fate (and her faith) in his hands, but Vincent Canby calls the seemingly inevitable climax “completely unexpected, uncomfortable, very funny and, finally, ambiguous.” Stream it on Max

‘Good Time’ (2017)

Summoning the grit and grime of New York’s seedy underbelly, Josh and Benny Safdie nestle a touching portrait of brotherly love within a crime thriller that seethes like a burning ulcer. Robert Pattinson stars as a thief who takes increasingly desperate measures to spring his cognitively impaired brother (Benny Safdie) from Rikers Island after the two botch a bank robbery. As with other Safdie brothers films like “Heaven Knows What” and “Uncut Gems,” “Good Time” sustains a gnawing tension from the start while evoking a bygone era of New York City filmmaking. Though Pattinson scrubs his performance of movie-star vanity, his ne’er-do-well character earn sympathy through scrappiness alone. Stream it on Max

‘Modern Times’ (1936)

Nearly a decade after the first “talkie,” Charlie Chaplin opted to keep his last performance as the Little Tramp silent, using sound to minimal (though exceptional) effect in his jaundiced take on the ills of the industrialized world. At once scabrously funny and disarmingly sweet, “Modern Times” follows the Tramp as he loses his job as a bolt-tightener at a factory, goes in and out of jail, and gets mistaken for a communist rabble-rouser, though he does find love with a streetwise gamine (Paulette Goddard). Noting its social commentary, Frank S. Nugent called it “a rousing, rib-tickling, gag-be-strewn jest for all that and in the best Chaplin manner.” Stream it on Max

‘Mikey & Nicky’ (1976)

Released by Paramount Pictures at a time when the auteur inmates ran the studio asylum, writer-director Elaine May’s vital crime drama was like her version of a heightened John Cassavetes production, only with her distinctly spiky brand of dark humor. As Mikey and Nicky, respectively, she cast Cassavetes and one of his troupe members, Peter Falk, as lovable lowlifes whose friendship is tested when Mikey summons Nicky to a hotel room and asks for help getting away from a mob hit. What follows is a wild, irrational, dark-night-of-the-soul odyssey that pushes the boundaries of commercial cinema. J. Hoberman praised it as the unique buddy movie that “shows bromance from the point of view of its victims.” Stream it on Max

‘Kwaidan’ (1965)

Drawn from Lafcadio Hearn’s collections of Japanese folk tales, Masaki Kobayashi’s visually arresting horror anthology tells four separate stories with no narrative overlap, which allows Kobayashi to give each its own supernatural texture. Much of the aesthetic language that would fuel the J-horror movement decades later with films like “Ringu” are present in stories like “Black Hair,” in which a samurai returns to an eerier version of the wife he divorced, and “In a Cup of Tea,” about the haunted soul of a samurai reflected in water. Bosley Crowther called it “a horror picture with an extraordinarily delicate and sensuous quality.” Stream it on Max

‘A Ghost Story’ (2017)

In David Lowery’s minimalist twist on the haunted house movie, the ghost appears in a white bedsheet with eyeholes cut out of it, like a classic last-minute Halloween option. The spirit, in this case, is an unnamed musician (Casey Affleck) who has died in a car accident, leaving his wife (Rooney Mara) in a modest ranch home in Dallas that she can leave, but he cannot. Loss and grief are the obvious themes of “A Ghost Story,” but the film proves far more ambitious than that, opening up to temporal and cosmic planes that expand through centuries and across the universe. A.O. Scott called it “suspenseful, dourly funny and at times piercingly emotional.” Stream it on Max

‘Brooklyn’ (2015)

Based on Colm Tóibín’s novel, this swooningly romantic and bittersweet immigrant story hinges on the question of home for a young Irishwoman (Saoirse Ronan) in the 1950s torn between her new life in America and deep bonds across the Atlantic. When ambition brings her to Brooklyn, she settles her initial bout of homesickness and enters into a relationship with a sweet, working-class Italian plumber (Emory Cohen), but a family tragedy brings her back to Ireland and the lure of another suitor nearly keeps her there. A.O. Scott admired Ronan’s growth “from an uncannily intelligent child actor into a screen performer of remarkable force and sensitivity.” Stream it on Max

‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ (1966)

The third and most ambitious of his “Dollars” trilogy with Clint Eastwood, which began with the “Yojimbo”-inspired duo of “A Fistful of Dollars” and “For a Few Dollars More,” Sergio Leone’s definitive spaghetti Western transported Eastwood’s “man with no name” character to the epic backdrop of the American Southwest during the Civil War. The three men referenced in the title — Eastwood, Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef, respectively — are all on the hunt for $200,000 in Confederate gold buried at a cemetery, but they each have incomplete information and shifty motivations. Leone’s genius for drawing out tension leads to an unforgettably suspenseful finale. Stream it on Max

‘Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me’ (2012)

Formed in 1971 and broken up only three years later, Big Star is one of rock music’s most glorious flameouts, a critical darling and cult favorite that never caught fire with the listening public and started to collapse after the first of its three records. “Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me” is a noble reclamation project, gathering a who’s who of rock luminaries, from Ira Kaplan to Michael Stipe to Matthew Sweet, to enthuse about a band cursed by inept distribution and infighting. Nicolas Rapold wrote that the documentary “captures what’s it’s like to discover music so good it seems as if it were made just for you.” Stream it on Max

‘The Last Black Man in San Francisco’ (2019)

Co-written by Jimmie Fails, who stars in the lead role under his own name, Joe Talbot’s quirky, poetic directorial debut grapples with the gentrification that has changed the face of San Francisco, but the film takes such a personal approach that it doesn’t feel overtly political. Jimmie is a Black San Franciscan whose family has lived in the city for three generations, but his old family home, now worth millions, is owned by a white couple. His job as a nurse in an elder care facility won’t give him the capital to buy it back, but he and his best friend (Jonathan Majors) are on a quixotic mission to stake out their place. Manohla Dargis called it “astonishing.” Stream it on Max

‘Dr. Strangelove’ (1964)

Produced in the wake of the Cuban missile crisis, when Cold War tensions brought the world to the brink of nuclear catastrophe, Stanley Kubrick’s lacerating satire is full of inspired silliness, but it’s tied to a scenario so realistic that another movie, “Fail Safe,” was released with the same plot by the same studio later in the year. As B-52 bombers with nuclear payloads fly a routine patrol, a paranoid anti-Communist Air Force general gives them an attack code, sending the president (Peter Sellers, in one of three roles) and his advisers to a panicked session in the War Room to stop it. Bosley Crowther called it “the most shattering sick joke I’ve ever come across.” Stream it on Max

‘RoboCop’ (1987)

Arriving in Hollywood after years of scandalizing art-house audiences with his Dutch thrillers, director Paul Verhoeven (“Starship Troopers”) smuggles a bleakly satirical view of American violence and corporate chicanery under the guise of an effects-driven thriller. Peter Weller stars as Alex Murphy, a Detroit policeman who’s killed in the line of duty and then revived as a cyborg cop intended to clean up a crime-riddled city on behalf of the evil corporation that created the technology. The flickers of Alex’s humanity, however, alter his insidious programming. Our critic flinched at the violence, but admitted that “humor glimmers amid the mayhem.” Stream it on Max

‘Barbie’ (2023)

The summer’s biggest blockbuster is almost miraculously good, elevating the dubious prospect of a toy adaptation into a pop culture event that slips tart social commentary into a breezily entertaining musical comedy. The director Greta Gerwig, scripting with her partner, Noah Baumbach, casts her out-of-the-box Barbie (Margot Robbie) as a trouble-free naïf who discovers the real world is far less progressive on women’s roles than the matriarchal utopia of Barbie is. Gerwig wrings this premise for fish-out-of-water laughs and whimsical set pieces, all while holding up society to a pink plastic full-length mirror (sold separately). Manohla Dargis praised Gerwig for doing “much within the material’s inherently commercial parameters.” Stream it on Max

‘The Informant!’ (2009)

Kurt Eichenwald’s nonfiction book about a whistle-blower who exposed price-fixing in the lysine business was an unlikely thriller, but Steven Soderbergh’s screen adaptation does it one better by turning it into a zany Midwestern comedy. Packed with narration that gets into its lead character’s odd obsessions and delusions, “The Informant!” stars Matt Damon as Mark Whitacre, a midlevel executive at Archer Daniels Midland in the 1990s who offers to assist the F.B.I. in a white-collar case but assumes far too active a role in the investigation. Despite the laughs, Manohla Dargis noted , “anger inspires its giggles, forces its tears and might even explain the fiery orange that colors so many faces.” Stream it on Max

‘The Souvenir’ (2019)

The British writer-director Joanna Hogg brings a piercing wit and creative spark to the painful revelations at the heart of this semi-autobiographical drama about a young woman’s difficult stretch in film school. Honor Swinton Byrne plays Hogg’s on-screen surrogate, whose ambitions to make a short film about life in working-class Sunderland are derailed by her relationship with suave older professional with a drug problem (Tom Burke). Tilda Swinton swoops in for scene-stealing support as her mother. When it was released in mid-2019, A.O. Scott called it “one of my favorite movies of the year so far.” Stream it on Max

‘Mistress America’ (2015)

Part of a fruitful collaboration between Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig that began with Baumbach’s “Greenberg” and “Frances Ha” and continued most recently with Gerwig’s “Barbie” (which Baumbach co-wrote), “Mistress America” makes the most of the uniquely daffy comic energy that gives Gerwig a gravitational force onscreen. Here, Gerwig is the future stepsister of a college freshman (Lola Kirke), who reaches out to get to know her before their parents’ wedding but isn’t prepared to get swept up in a host of ill-considered schemes. “Mistress America” may be a screwball comedy but, as Stephen Holden noted , it “revises and subverts this most buoyant of genres with a steady undertow of anxiety, dread and anger.” Stream it on Max

‘The French Connection’ (1971)

Though known most famously for having one of the greatest car chases ever filmed, William Friedkin’s gripping policier is equally notable for its grimy, almost documentarylike evocation of New York City and the troubling ambiguity of its hero, a detective whose keen instincts are undermined by brutality and recklessness. Gene Hackman stars as “Popeye” Doyle, a narcotics detective who catches wind of a smuggling ring out of Marseille that’s working on a large heroin shipment to the United States. Yet Popeye underestimates the scale of the organization and its many-tentacled threats to anyone who tries to stop it. Roger Greenspun called it “a film of almost incredible suspense.” Watch it on Max

‘Carrie’ (1976)

Coming-of-age films are often about teenage girls making an awkward transition into womanhood, and the potency of Brian De Palma’s pulpy shocker, adapted from the novel by Stephen King, lies in its supernatural manifestation of familiar agonies. From the beginning, “Carrie” aligns itself with a misfit daughter (Sissy Spacek) of a Bible-thumping mother (Piper Laurie), who grows into violent telekinetic powers that she has trouble controlling, especially when prodded by classmates. When her anguish turns prom night into a gruesome affair, De Palma and Spacek pull off the neat trick of holding our sympathies as her psychic pain is unleashed. Watch it on Max

‘20th Century Women’ (2016)

After drawing on his aging father’s coming-out for the touching comedy “Beginners,” the writer-director Mike Mills again turned to his past for “20th Century Women,” an appealingly ramshackle memory piece about growing up in 1979 Southern California. Mills’s 15-year-old onscreen surrogate takes more of an observational role as his single mother (Annette Bening) turns their crumbling Santa Barbara home into a rental space for a young photographer (Greta Gerwig) who’s being treated for cervical cancer and a fetching carpenter (Billy Crudup) who’s handy in more ways than one. Manohla Dargis called Mills an “uncommonly generous” memoirist. Watch it on Max

‘Pulp Fiction’ (1994)

A conversation between hit men about fast food nomenclature (“Royale with cheese”) in Europe. A dance-off at a Hollywood-themed retro diner with $5 milkshakes. A restaurant robbery stalled by a spiritual epiphany. The list of unforgettable pop culture moments in this crime epic from Quentin Tarantino is as sprawling as its cast, which includes Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman and a revitalized John Travolta. But familiarity hasn’t muted the impact of this batch of four interconnected tales about honor, redemption and the art of storytelling. Janet Maslin called it “a triumphant, cleverly disorienting journey.” Watch it on Max

‘Parasite’ (2019)

The first foreign-language film ever to win best picture at the Academy Awards, Bong Joon Ho’s fiendishly clever fusion of suspense and social satire struck a chord with its universal insight into the tensions between the haves and the have-nots. The have-nots here are a family of con artists, led by the Bong favorite Song Kang-ho, who wedge their way into a wealthier household, first through a tutoring gig and then through other service positions. But there’s a big surprise lurking for all of them. Manohla Dargis admired Bong’s deftness , how “he delivers truths, often perversely and without an iota of self-serving cant.” Watch it on Max

Widely considered the birth of the psychological thriller — and its subset, the serial killer movie — Fritz Lang’s astonishingly dark film about a child murderer who terrorizes Berlin is radical both for humanizing a monster and for warning about the dangers of mass hysteria. With the killer (Peter Lorre) eight months into his rampage and the police unable to track him down, local criminals start to take up the search themselves, in part because his exploits are affecting their business and they don’t trust the rule of law to bring him to justice. Mordaunt Hall called it “a strong cinematic work with remarkably fine acting.” Watch it on Max

‘Black Girl’ (1966)

A landmark in African cinema, Ousmane Sembène’s exceptional debut feature tackles the legacy of colonialism through the politically loaded story of a Senegalese woman who is more or less enslaved by her white French employers. Hired off the streets of Dakar, Diouana (Mbissine Thérèse Diop) travels to a town off the French Riviera for an expected nanny job, but she is never allowed to leave the apartment and spends her days doing housekeeping work instead. As her hopes for greater freedom and prosperity diminish, she rebels in startling ways. In his 50th anniversary appreciation of the film, A.O. Scott called it “powerfully of its moment and permanently contemporary.” Watch it on Max

‘High and Low’ (1963)

While rarely mentioned in the same breath as cinema studies standards like “Rashomon” and “The Seven Samurai,” Akira Kurosawa’s ingenious noir thriller “High and Low” deserves a place alongside them, turning an Ed McBain novel into twisty, stylized play on police procedurals. The Kurosawa favorite Toshiro Mifune stars as a shoe company executive whose plans to buy out the business unravel when kidnappers demand ransom money for abducting his son. The one hitch? They took his chauffeur’s son instead. It usually takes years for a film to earn the superlatives the critic Howard Thompson offered in his original review : “One of the best detective thrillers ever filmed.” Watch it on Max

‘Cléo From 5 to 7’ (1962)

With this fiction feature, the French new wave director Agnès Varda brought some documentary techniques to bear on a real-time portrait of Cléo (Corinne Marchand), a singer and hypochondriac, as she awaits the results of a cancer test. Against an early-evening Paris backdrop, Varda follows Cléo through a 90-minute existential crisis that is full of spontaneous encounters, most notably a meeting with a young soldier who is preparing to leave for the war in Algeria. The life-or-death stakes of the biopsy give a vivid, bracing perspective to Varda’s character study. The critic Bosley Crowther wasn’t impressed by the film’s “fleeting moods” at the time, but its critical reputation is mostly sterling. Watch it on Max

‘Slacker’ (1991)

One of the true watershed moments in American indie cinema, this slice-of-life picture from Richard Linklater strings together the philosophers, conspiracy theorists, cranks and other assorted Austin, Texas, oddballs into a half-funny, half-profound celebration of outsidership. There was no model then for the film’s formless roundelay of fascinating talkers, but “Slacker” resonated with art-house audiences, launched Linklater’s career and expanded the possibilities of what low-budget films could do. Vincent Canby marveled that Linklater’s nonprofessional cast is “so amazingly effective that it’s hard to believe they didn’t make up their own lunacies.” Watch it on Max

‘Beau Travail’ (1999)

The films of French director Claire Denis often feel more like poetry than prose, and they count on the audience’s intuition in piecing together their elliptical passages. But when the sounds and images are as seductive as those in “Beau Travail,” her loosely inspired take on Herman Melville’s “Billy Budd,” the experience isn’t as daunting as it might seem. Moving Melville’s seafaring tale to the striking landscapes of Djibouti, the film chronicles a love triangle among French Legionnaires in training. Stephen Holden called it “the visually spellbinding equivalent of a military ballet.” Watch it on Max

‘Rosetta’ (1999)

In their Palme d’Or-winning breakthrough, the Dardenne brothers, Jean-Pierre and Luc, deploy a rigorous, hand-held camera technique in charting the patterns and limits of a 17-year-old Belgian (Émilie Dequenne) on a near-feral quest to make ends meet. Living with her alcoholic mother (Anne Yernaux) in a broken-down trailer without running water, she frantically searches for work while dangling on the precipice of disaster. The film, wrote Stephen Holden , “addresses a great subject, the Darwinian struggle to survive and its dehumanizing effects.” Watch it on Max

‘Under the Skin’ (2013)

The plot of this beguiling sci-fi mood piece from Jonathan Glazer is deceptively simple: Scarlett Johansson stars as an alien who takes the form of an attractive human to lure Glaswegian men into a trap. Yet “Under the Skin” allows the mystery of why she is doing it to linger, along with other more existential questions about this strange, lethal orphan on Earth. Glazer augments this minimalist premise with mesmerizing sound design and music, along with ravishing views of the Scottish countryside. Stephen Holden wrote that the film “conjures a mood of nightmarish alienation.” Watch it on Max

‘Touki Bouki’ (1973)

In an African cinema largely defined by austerity and social realism, Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Senegalese classic “Touki Bouki” stands out for its rule-breaking irreverence, inspired by Jean-Luc Godard. With little formal training and a minuscule budget, Mambéty liberated himself to work blackout gags and avant-garde touches into an impressionistic road movie about a cowherd (Magaye Niang) and a student (Mareme Niang) who scramble to raise money to leave Dakar for Paris. Vincent Canby praised the director for mixing “neorealism and fantasy to create a mood of unease and aimless longing.” Watch it on Max

‘Paris Is Burning’ (1991)

For this landmark L.G.B.T.Q. documentary, Jennie Livingston spent six years immersing herself in the underground ball scene in New York City, where minority, gay and transgender people come together to “vogue” in joyous drag competitions. But far beyond detailing these events, “Paris Is Burning” casts a sympathetic eye on the individual performers, whose lives are often defined by poverty, ostracism and the still-raging AIDS epidemic. Vincent Canby admired Livingston for studying her subjects “with the curiosity of a compassionate anthropologist.” Watch it on Max

‘The Battle of Algiers’ (1967)

Gillo Pontecorvo’s scrupulous depiction of insurgent and anti-terrorist tactics in the Algerian War of Independence proved so persuasive in its newsreel style that it required a disclaimer to let audiences know it was a work of fiction. Though hugely controversial in Europe for its treatment of the Algerian resistance and French torture tactics, “The Battle of Algiers” is such a cleareyed and accomplished vision of modern warfare that it has been studied by the Pentagon . Bosley Crowther called it “an uncommonly dynamic picture.” Watch it on Max

‘Black Narcissus’ (1947)

Shot with a Technicolor vividness that pops with sensuality, this simmering melodrama from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger is a rapturous exploration of forbidden pleasure. Deborah Kerr stars as the well-meaning mother superior of a convent in the Himalayas, where the nuns try to expand a former pleasure palace into a school and hospital. But as she struggles to hold the convent together, she and the other nuns can’t help but be swept up by the wildness of the place. The critic Thomas M. Pryor called it “a work of rare pictorial beauty.”

Watch it on Max

‘Foreign Correspondent’ (1940)

Though rarely cited among established Alfred Hitchcock classics like “North by Northwest,” “Vertigo” and “Psycho,” “Foreign Correspondent” is every bit as masterly, a subtle and generously entertaining piece of wartime intrigue made for and about fraught times. Joel McCrea plays a bored city desk reporter in New York who gets all the action he can handle as a foreign correspondent in Europe, but the assignment soon embeds him in a treacherous web of shifty diplomats and Nazi spies. The Times critic Bosley Crowther raved that the film “should be the particular favorite of a great many wonder-eyed folk.” Watch it on Max

‘Harlan County USA’ (1977)

This landmark labor documentary by Barbara Kopple brought cameras into coal country in 1973, covering the herculean efforts of 180 miners in southeast Kentucky to sustain a strike against the Duke Power Company. As the strike wears on, Kopple captures the rising tensions and violence between the two parties, with the company bringing in replacement workers and armed strikebreakers to intimidate their employees. More than once, even Kopple’s safety is put in serious jeopardy. The critic Richard Eder called it “ a brilliantly detailed report from one side of a battle .” Watch it on Max

‘Hoop Dreams’ (1994)

For four years, the director Steve James and his crew followed two gifted Chicago high school basketball players as they pursued a long-shot ambition to make it to the N.B.A. and lift their families out of poverty. “Hoop Dreams” is about the impossible burden they’ve chosen to carry, one in which an errant free throw or a tweaked knee can have serious real-life consequences. The critic Caryn James called it a “fascinating, suspenseful film [that] turns the endless revision of the American dream into high drama.” Watch it on Max

‘In the Mood for Love’ (2001)

Few films are as ravishingly beautiful as Wong Kar-wai’s intoxicating film about Hong Kong in the early to mid-60s, starring Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung, two screen icons at the peak of their powers. Leung and Cheung play lonely-hearts who form a special kinship because of their spouses’ neglect, but they’re reluctant to follow through on the intense romantic longing they feel for each other. Wong’s story of unrequited love in a changing city earned him the best reviews of his career, including one from the critic Elvis Mitchell , who called the film “a sweet kiss blown to a time long since over.”

‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ (2001)

The more films and TV shows attempt to mimic the world-building majesty of Peter Jackson’s fantasy epic, the better his three-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy looks. “The Fellowship of the Ring” has the unenviable task of setting the table for adventures to come, but it establishes the scope and characters of Middle-Earth with thrilling verve, starting with Frodo (Elijah Wood), a humble hobbit asked to destroy a ring of corrosive power. Elvis Mitchell praised Jackson’s “heroic job in tackling perhaps the most intimidating nerd/academic fantasy classic ever.” Watch it on Max

‘Persona’ (1967)

The opening minutes of Ingmar Bergman’s “Persona” shocked international audiences with its experimental imagery, but the remaining minutes are no less audacious in Bergman’s willingness to push his expected dramatic intensity to a new, more abstract realm. Liv Ullmann plays a famed stage actress whose mid-performance breakdown leads first to hospitalization and later to a retreat on the Baltic Sea, where her relationship with a nurse (Bibi Andersson) takes on peculiar dimensions. Bosley Crowther called it a “lovely, moody film which, for all its intense emotionalism, makes some tough intellectual demands.” Watch it on Max

‘Spirited Away’ (2002)

The Studio Ghibli maestro Hayao Miyazaki never made an animated fantasy as enchanting, complex and visually lush as this beautiful moral tale of a 10-year-old girl who finds her place in a dreamlike world of witches and spirits. After her parents disappear in an abandoned resort, the girl goes looking for them, but as night falls, the main building turns into a spa for the supernatural, where humans like herself are not welcome. Elvis Mitchell praised “the towering, lost dreaminess at the heart of the film.” Watch it on Max

‘Tokyo Story’ (1953)

The most revered of Yasujiro Ozu’s dramas is also one of the most accessible, a profound statement on the grief and laments of getting older and on the widening generation gaps of a newly westernized Japan. When an elderly couple (Chishu Ryu and Chieko Higashiyama) visit their adult children in Tokyo, the kids barely have time for them, but their dead son’s widow (Setsuko Hara) is a welcoming host. The critic Roger Greenspun wrote that the film “understands that a calm reticence may be the true heroism of ordinary old age.” Watch it on Max

An earlier version of this roundup misspelled the title of a movie by Martin McDonagh. It is “The Banshees of Inisherin," not “Inishirin.”

An earlier version of this roundup misidentified Agnès Varda’s first fiction feature. It was “La Pointe Courte,” not “Cléo From 5 to 7.”

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The 50 best movies on Max

From recent Oscar winners to classic blasts from the past, here are the best cinematic offerings on the prestige streamer.

Ilana Gordon is an entertainment, culture, and comedy writer originally from Connecticut. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

best travel movies on hbo max

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures (2); 20th Century Fox

RIP local video stores and the intimidating film nerds manning the counter, debating the merits of Kurosawa while side-eying your ninth rental of Happy Gilmore . RIP "Be kind, rewind." And RIP most of all to those towering shelves stuffed with DVD and VHS cases, adorned with scribbled staff suggestion cards conveying intense YOU NEED TO SEE THIS!!! energy in 100 Sharpied words or less. Because as convenient as streaming is, the human aspect of video stores is something we sorely miss. This leads us to… Max ! Hear us out.

More than any other streamer, Max really does remind us of ye olde video store days. And while streaming will never replace the real thing (if you live in Baltimore or L.A. , support your locals!), at least you can enjoy our own "staff suggestions" — the 50 best Max films to stream right now broken up by vibe categories (no rewinding necessary).

Do you like being scared?

Hereditary (2018).

A psycho-thriller horror film directed by Ari Aster and produced by A24 , Hereditary is all about family, but this content is not suitable for everyone at the dinner table. After Annie ( Toni Collette ) suffers the loss of her mother, she discovers the dead never really leave us — even when we desperately want them to. Thematically centered around the unknown horrors lurking within one’s gene pool, Collette is “scary good,” according to EW’s critic . Offering up a performance that is “raw, almost feral,” Collette invites us into her brain as she processes her mother's death, experiences an implosion within her immediate family, and questions her own sanity. A genre geek’s paradise, with references to — and vibes reminiscent of — classics like Rosemary’s Baby , The Exorcist , and The Shining , our critic writes that “ Hereditary doesn’t reinvent horror cinema so much as polish the cobwebs off of its classics, strip them for parts, and refashion them into something that feels terrifyingly fresh and new.” —Ilana Gordon

Where to watch Hereditary : Max

EW grade: A– ( read the review )

Director: Ari Aster  

Cast: Toni Collette, Alex Wolff , Milly Shapiro , Ann Dowd , Gabriel Byrne

Related content: Chris Evans raving about Toni Collette in Hereditary to Toni Collette is all of us

House (1977)

Only after you've seen this completely unhinged Japanese cult masterpiece can you appreciate the humor in Max's description: "A schoolgirl spends her summer vacation in a haunted house." Um, sure ? Here's the real deal: Way back in 1977, director Nobuhiko Obayashi created a comedy/experimental art film/horror film based on the ideas of his, yes, 12-year-old daughter. That sounds cute, until you've seen the film, which features a demonic cat, a killer piano, and plenty of evil spirits. It's another experience we can thank the Criterion Collection for (and Max, which has many CC gems streaming). —Debby Wolfinsohn

Where to watch House : Max

Director: Nobuhiko Obayashi

Cast: Kimiko Ikegami, Miki Jinbo, Ai Matubara, Kumiko Oba, Mieko Sato, Eriko Tanaka, Masayo Miyako, Yōko Minamida

Related content: The 20 best haunted house films of all time

Malignant (2021)

We love a good twist, which is why the less we say about this bloody good horror flick from James Wan (the devious mind behind Saw , among other films) the better. Because there's a twist in here — and it's a doozy. Malignant in a spoiler-free nutshell? Annabelle Wallis ( Annabelle , Peaky Blinders ) stars as a woman named Madison who sees dead people (she has murder vision, you could say). And if you love to be scared (and surprised), quit reading — and start watching. —D.W.

Where to watch Malignant : Max

Director: James Wan

Cast: Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young, Michole Briana White

Related content: Why James Wan's Malignant was too sick for the Oscars

We're All Going to the World's Fair (2021)

How about a nice hot bowl of creepypasta? Dad jokes aside, it takes a brave soul to venture down the internet rabbit hole presented here, full of all the unnerving, unsettling vibes. This low-budget coming-of-age tale — focused on the blurry line between our real lives and our online ones — stars newcomer Anna Cobb as Casey, a teenager whose descent into a "game" leads to some serious trouble. Viewers' reactions to the film were polarizing, to say the least. Yes, with a 91% positive critics score facing off against a 27% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, the only correct conclusion is to see it for yourself and decide. —D.W.

Where to watch We're All Going to the World's Fair : Max

Director: Jane Schoenbrun

Cast: Anna Cobb, Michael J. Rogers

Related content: The best horror movies streaming on Shudder

Film school (on your couch)

The 400 blows (1959).

François Truffaut's autobiographical classic, beautifully shot in rich black and white on the streets of Paris, looks as modern and vibrant today as it did when it was made. Credited as one of the crown jewels of the French New Wave film movement, the story follows 12-year-old Antoine (played by Jean-Pierre Leaud, resembling a young Jake Gyllenhaal ), as he floats from his rough home experience to a strict classroom to a life of juvenile crime. Each moment is more interesting than the next thanks to the shaggy, sensitive, stunning visuals — the spinning carnival Gravitron ride, the claustrophobic faces of his stressed parents, the way Antoine guzzles a bottle of milk in an alley — which are guaranteed to grab you. We won't spoil the ending by telling you what the iconic final shot is except to say it's devastatingly perfect and perfectly devastating, just like the film itself. —D.W.

Where to watch The 400 Blows : Max

EW grade: A ( read the review )

Director: Francis Truffaut

Cast: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Albert Rémy, Claire Maurier

Related content: The 50 greatest directors and their best movies

Beau Travail (1999)

This basically wordless film from director Claire Denis — who adapts Herman Melville's Billy Budd to be in a French Foreign Legion outpost in Africa — tells the story of an officer (the incredible Denis Lavant) and his relationship (a.k.a. power struggle) with a new recruit (Grégoire Colin). As EW's critic writes about the film , "Her visual style is hypnotic, rapturous, and she makes barren landscapes look gorgeous, hard men look vulnerable." What's more, the ending is a stunner. It features one of the most haunting, beautiful, and bizarre dance scenes (a Denis Lavant solo) in modern cinema, encapsulating joy, confusion, release, and regret, set to, yes, Corona's "The Rhythm of the Night." —D.W.

Where to watch Beau Travail : Max

Director: Claire Denis

Cast: Denis Lavant, Michel Subor

Related content: Robert Pattinson stars in Clarie Denis' High Life trailer

Down by Law (1986)

Though Max boasts a good deal of the Jim Jarmusch collection, from the stunning Stranger Than Paradise to the globe-trotting Night on Earth to the genre-rocking Ghost Dog , nothing beats the darkly comic hero's journey of Down by Law. Featuring flawless performances by John Lurie, Tom Waits , and Roberto Benigni , this film is like a master class in atmosphere and off-kilter humor. Shot in lush black and white on the streets of New Orleans (and literally in the surrounding swamps), Down by Law possesses a relaxed magic, and the intro alone is worth the price of admission (Waits' "Jockey Full of Bourbon" plays as we travel through NOLA). Watching this is an experience , like the best films are. —D.W.

Where to watch Down by Law : Max

Director: Jim Jarmusch

Cast: Tom Waits, John Lurie, Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Ellen Barkin

Related content: Adam Driver, Bill Murray, Selena Gomez wage zombie war in The Dead Don't Die trailer

Mikey and Nicky (1976)

Elaine May was that Hollywood rarity: an acclaimed comedian and writer turned director with a singular, eccentric vision — who also happened to be a woman. This brings us to her film Mikey and Nicky , a darkly comic tale of friendship and toxic masculinity starring John Cassavetes as a paranoid mobster and Peter Falk as his lifelong best friend. With a powerfully raw script and a gritty aesthetic, the film captured two men at the end of their grubby ropes. Wild tales from the set abound, including May's habit of letting the camera run for hours (to capture the impromptu moments), which ended up with more footage than Gone With the Wind . She also hid the film in her garage so that the studio couldn't seize it and mangle it with edits (which they did, eventually, leading to box office failure). Eventually, Mikey and Nicky got the happy ending it deserved, including a 1986 recut, a Criterion release, and near-universal critical acclaim. —D.W.

Where to watch Mikey and Nicky : Max

Director: Elaine May

Cast: Peter Falk, John Cassavetes, Ned Beatty

Related content: Elaine May to direct PBS documentary about her comedy partner Mike Nichols

Seven Samurai (1954)

If you need a little push to check out Akira Kurosawa's three-hour masterpiece, consider this: It's George Lucas' favorite film (see also: Arthur Penn, Sam Peckinpah , Sergio Leone , and John Woo ). Considered by many to be the finest action film ever made, Seven Samurai displays Kurosawa's unmatched command of emotional and cinematic power, using both bravura editing and daring experimental filming techniques. As our writer notes at the time of the Criterion release , Kurosawa wrote the book on how modern movie violence is portrayed, "from its character-driven setup to the glorious chaos of the rain-soaked climax." In other words, if you like films, you owe it to yourself to check out this one. —D.W.

Where to watch Seven Samurai : Max

Director: Akira Kurosawa

Cast: Takashi Shimura, Yoshio Inaba, Daisuke Katō, Seiji Miyaguchi, Minoru Chiaki, Isao Kimura, Toshiro Mifune

Related content: Magnificent Seven : Seven Samurai is so much more than the original

Slacker (1990)

Coffee shops, conspiracy theories, Madonna 's pap smear — Austin has changed a lot since Richard Linklater 's ode to the velvet coffin/college town lifestyle was filmed there. This mesmerizingly lackadaisical, gloriously shambolic creation is a love letter to the boredom, part-time employment, and cheap rents that flooded '90s college towns (which now feels like ancient history). Taking a "day in the life" approach, Linklater's camera follows a variety of oddball characters (most of them unprofessional actors) who cross paths as they go about their strange business in and around the University of Texas. Inspired in part by François Truffaut's naturalistic approach, Linklater's film announced his arrival on the scene in a big (but relaxed) way. And the rest, as they say, is history. —D.W.

Where to watch Slacker : Max

Director: Richard Linklater

Cast: Richard Linklater, Kim Krizan, Mark James, Stella Weir, John Slate, Louis Mackey, Teresa Taylor

Related content: Richard Linklater says 'tech people' taking over Hollywood hurt the 'cultural relevance' of indie cinema

Fine dining

Babette's feast (1987).

This '80s Danish drama won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film — and fealty from everyone from Stanley Tucci and Alton Brown to Pope Francis . Based on a story by Isak Dinesen (the pen name of Karen Blixen, who also wrote the book Out of Africa ) this piece of gastro-cinema is set in the 19th century and follows a French refugee who settles in a Norwegian port city and serves as a housekeeper for a pious pastor and his two daughters. After winning the lottery in her native France, Babette — who was formerly a celebrated chef — decides to repay the family and village with a seven-course French meal. In the process, she helps free her dinner guests from their bonds of austerity, and introduces them to passion, miracles, and celebration. If you're looking for a movie that will make you both hungry and happy, this is it. —I.G.

Where to watch Babette's Feast : Max

Director: Gabriel Axel

Cast: Stephane Audran, Birgitte Federspiel, Bodil Kjer

Related content: The biggest foreign film winners in Oscar history

Fast Food Nation (2006)

Adapted from Eric Schlosser's 2001 non-fiction takedown of the food-service industry, this Richard Linklater-directed satire is intended to scare you off your next McDouble. A feature that explores the world of fast food from the points of view of the undocumented immigrants who work on the cattle farms, the slacker teenagers that create and serve the meals, and the marketing executives who get rich off their efforts, Fast Food Nation takes a hard line look at this sector of American eating. And no matter how much you love — or hate — the convenience and taste of quick-service joints, Fast Food Nation is here to assure you of one thing: There is poop in the meat. Featuring a talented ensemble cast, EW's critic writes , "the movie's muckraking power — loosely wielded, in slackerish tones pitched for reception by the text-message generation — lies in piecing together how that poop gets into those patties, with a logic that can't easily be shrugged off." —I.G.

Where to watch Fast Food Nation: Max

Cast: Patricia Arquette , Luis Guzmán , Ethan Hawke , Ashley Johnson , Greg Kinnear , Kris Kristofferson , Catalina Sandino Moreno , Ana Claudia Talancón, Wilmer Valderrama , Bobby Cannavale , Paul Dano , Aaron Himelstein, Bruce Willis

Related content: The films of Richard Linklater, ranked

The Menu (2022)

The latest in a line of "rich people getting theirs" content, The Menu takes a simple concept (ultra-ultra luxury dining) and runs with it, to say the least. From dry-as-a-quail-bone comedy to shocking moments of violence, this film (which mainly takes place in one room) rides the uneasy line between realism and fantasy. But we had to wonder: The moment the diners spotted Voldemort ( Ralph Fiennes ) as head chef, why didn't they ask for the check? —D.W.

Where to watch The Menu : Max

EW grade: B+ ( read the review )

Director: Mark Mylod

Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy , Nicholas Hoult , Hong Chau , Janet McTeer , Reed Birney , Judith Light , John Leguizamo

Related content: Nominated for nothing: Why the Oscars decided to order off The Menu

Tampopo (1985)

You've heard of spaghetti Westerns? Well, Tampopo is a ramen Western, a deliciously daffy movie about a feisty ramen shop owner (named Tampopo, played by Nobuko Miyamoto) and a mysterious Clint Eastwood -inspired noodle fanatic ( Ken Watanabe ). The film is a wild, funny, lustful, food-centric quest that fuses Western moviemaking styles with Japanese ideas. Interesting side note: When Tampopo was released, ramen was still something most U.S. audiences thought of as the cheap stuff on grocery store shelves, making scenes about the quest for the "perfect noodle" feel, well, maybe a bit silly to the general audience. Now, of course, things are much different — real ramen shops have popped up from coast to coast, and many of us have spent hours waiting for the perfect steamy bowl of tonkotsu broth and handmade noodles. This fact only adds extra richness to an already joyously bizarre film experience. —D.W.

Where to watch Tampopo : Max

Director: Juzo Itami

Cast: Tsutomu Yamazaki, Nobuko Miyamoto, Kōji Yakusho, Ken Watanabe, Rikiya Yasuoka

Related content: Ken Watanabe talks Godzilla , Broadway, and highlights from his decades-long career

Fantastic beasts, aliens, elves, and dwarfs

Avatar: the way of water (2022).

It took 13 years (and lots of underwater technology), but James Cameron finally released the follow-up to his visual masterpiece, Avatar . The second film in the series picks up 16 years after the first: With Earth's Resources Development Administration expelled, former human and current Na'vi chief Jake Sully ( Sam Worthington ) is living happily with his wife and children — until the RDA returns, intent on colonizing Pandora and seeking vengeance on Sully and his family. Forced to flee to a remote part of the planet occupied by a clan of reef Na'vi, our heroes now must connect with a new culture and prepare to fight for their home and way of life. —I.G.

Where to watch Avatar: The Way of Water : Max

Director: James Cameron

Cast: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña , Sigourney Weaver , Stephen Lang , Kate Winslet

Related content: James Cameron has now directed 3 of the 5 highest-grossing movies of all time

Jurassic World (2015)

Nothing can top Jurassic Park , but Jurassic World — released two decades after the original film — was the first of the franchise’s six movies to come close. Set in a dinosaur theme park where lagging attendance has necessitated that geneticists come up with even more inventive and dangerous creatures, Jurassic World finds itself under attack when a transgenic dinosaur escapes and starts going after the guests. Viewers looking for hearty emotional fare should look elsewhere: this is a film that prioritizes CGI dinosaur battles above all else. But EW’s critic promises “when it comes to serving up a smorgasbord of bloody dino mayhem, it accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do beautifully.” —I.G.  

Where to watch Jurassic World : Max

Director: Colin Trevorrow

Cast: Chris Pratt , Bryce Dallas Howard , Vincent D'Onofrio

Related content: Camp Cretaceous team sets new Jurassic World: Chaos Theory series for 2024

The Lord of the Rings series (2001-2003)

What can we say that hasn't already been said? To quote our critic , Peter Jackson 's channeling of J.R.R. Tolkien 's visionary series exemplifies "what magic the movies can conjure with an inspired fellowship in charge, and unlimited pots of gold." Or take it from Middle-earth's No. 1 fan, Stephen Colbert , who created an obsessive/loving rap tribute. Thanks to Max, the complete series is now available to stream. —D.W.

Where to watch The Lord of the Rings; The Fellowship of the Ring : Max

Director: Peter Jackson

Cast: Elijah Wood , Ian McKellen , Orlando Bloom , Sean Bean , Sean Astin , Billy Boyd, Andy Serkis , Cate Blanchett , Viggo Mortensen , Liv Tyler

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Time Bandits (1981)

For those who like a little anarchy with their popcorn (and who have an appreciation for uh, unconventional endings) this genre-breaking oddity conjures a grotesque and beautiful magic that could only have come from the mind of a Python . Terry Gilliam , the man responsible for The Fisher King , Brazil , and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, has, in Time Bandits , created a title suitable for "the whole family" (sort of). It tells the story of young Kevin, a boy whose parents make the Dursleys look decent, who is kidnapped by ​​time-traveling dwarves and taken on a wild journey (chock-full of stop-motion animation effects). Like the best of Roald Dahl , Gilliam (who co-wrote the script) presents adults as idiots, children as heroes, and adventure as a priority, all in a non-sentimental yet moving manner. —D.W.

Where to watch Time Bandits : Max

Director: Terry Gilliam

Cast: John Cleese , Sean Connery , Shelley Duvall, Katherine Helmond , Ian Holm , Michael Palin

Related content: Taika Waititi to direct and co-write Time Bandits TV show for Apple

Teen angst 101

The breakfast club (1985).

Teenage angst of the '80s variety is on full display in The Breakfast Club , an indie coming-of-age dramedy about five high school students who share a memorable Saturday detention together. Writer and director John Hughes knows his way around a teenage trope, but while the film’s characters are easily and intentionally put into boxes (the brain, the athlete, the basket case, the princess, and the criminal) their inner lives and the connections they make elevate the story so it’s far more than just another teen movie. The Breakfast Club is the second movie Hughes ever directed and, as EW’s critic says, it’s “the greatest high school movie of all time.” —I.G.    

Where to watch The Breakfast Club : Max

Director: John Hughes

Cast: Emilio Estevez , Paul Gleason , Anthony Michael Hall , Judd Nelson , Molly Ringwald , Ally Sheedy

Related content: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez officially a member of The Breakfast Club after dancing video circulates online

Election (1999)

Tracy Flick walked so Gilmore Girls ' Paris Geller could run. In the 1999 comedy Election , Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick star as an overachieving high school student and a popular history teacher whose relationship becomes increasingly combative as Tracy (Witherspoon) attempts to run for president of her school's student body. Determined to prevent her from emerging victorious in an unopposed race, Jim McAllister (Broderick) recruits a sidelined football player ( Chris Klein ) as an opposition candidate, but finds that his commitment to teaching Tracy a lesson comes at the expense of his personal and professional life, as well as his sanity. Adapted from a novel by Tom Perrotta and directed by Alexander Payne ( The Holdovers ), Election was incredibly well-received by critics, earning an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay and the top slot on our list of Reese Witherspoon's best movies . The film may have faltered at the box office, but it remains one of the most enduring and funniest high school films of all time. —I.G.

Where to watch Election : Max

Director: Alexander Payne

Cast: Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein

Related content: Reese Witherspoon to reprise Election role in sequel Tracy Flick Can't Win

Lean on Me (1989)

It's hard to divorce Bill Withers' hit 1972 song "Lean on Me" from the 1989 film by the same name. A biographical drama starring Morgan Freeman , the movie tells the true story of Joe Clark, a New Jersey educator brought in to rescue the failing Eastside High School from drugs, crime, and poor test scores. After state administrators demand that 75 percent of the students must pass the minimum basic test skills or the state will assume control, the mayor brings in controversial former teacher Joe Clark (Freeman) to take on the role of principal. Clark's methods are unconventional and at times borderline vicious, but there's no doubt that this educator values and believes in his students and is willing to fight for their futures. It's rare to find inner city educational stories that don't rely on white saviorism tropes, but Lean on Me leans into the realities of its protagonist: a flawed but dedicated leader who is determined to fight for his students' rights to thrive. —I.G.

Where to watch Lean on Me : Max

Director: John G. Avildsen

Cast: Morgan Freeman, Beverly Todd, Robert Guillaume

Related content: Joe Clark, principal who inspired the film Lean on Me , dies at 82

Moonlight (2016)

A film that EW's critic calls "easily one of the most personal and most powerful films" of 2016, Moonlight is a coming of age drama told in three chapters and directed by Barry Jenkins . The film follows Chiron — a young Black boy living in Miami with his mother who has a drug problem — through his childhood, teenage years, and into young adulthood, focusing on the moments in his life that led to his present reality as a drug dealer living in Atlanta. A powerful and beautiful rumination on racial, sexual, and gender identity, Moonlight is based on the semi-autobiographical play, In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue — and the film's stunning cinematography and lighting choices pay homage to the project's original subject matter. Wholly deserving of its three Oscar wins for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor ( Mahershala Ali ), and Best Adapted Screenplay, Moonlight is a must-see. —I.G.

Where to watch Moonlight : Max

Director: Barry Jenkins

Cast : Trevante Rhodes , André Holland, Janelle Monáe , Ashton Sanders, Jharrel Jerome , Naomie Harris , Mahershala Ali

Related content: Moonlight writer-director shares secrets from the most suspenseful scene

Starving artists

American splendor (2003).

"Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff," was one of cartoonist Harvey Pekar's mottos — and it also perfectly describes this film based on his ordinary and complex life. Paul Giamatti was born to play Pekar, the cantankerous, vinegary Cleveland resident who was, weirdly, a regular David Letterman guest. While Giamatti's performance (and Hope Davis ' as his wife Joyce Brabner) would be reason enough to watch, American Splendor has a whole other selling point: The filmmakers took a super meta approach to the working-class story, blending drama, documentary interviews, archival footage, animation, and cartoons to tell the tale. For example, in one scene, Giamatti turns to watch the actual Pekar finish up a conversation he started (about jelly beans). The result is, as our reviewer puts it , "an inventive new movie hybrid that is its own formal breakthrough," or, in other words, an eye-popping delight. —D.W.

Where to watch American Splendor : Max

Directors: Shari Springer Berman , Robert Pulcini

Cast: Paul Giamatti, Hope Davis, Judah Friedlander

Related content: American Splendor tops L.A. critics' awards

Withnail and I (1987)

Calling this downwardly mobile, oft-drunk duo "artists" might be a stretch, though Withnail and I is devoted to art — the art of friendship, the art of self-delusion, and especially the art of awkward comedy. Long before cringeworthy masterpieces like The Office and Veep arrived on the scene, this rain-soaked, very British tale of two struggling actors with a LOT of dirty dishes introduced the world to the charms of one Richard E. Grant as the titular anti-hero, Withnail, beside Paul McGann 's "and I." The film is one of those secret handshakes — meeting other Withnail fans often results in an instant bond. Based on director Bruce Robinson's early days as an actor, the film is considered one of the greatest British comedies of all time. —D.W.

Where to watch Withnail and I : Max

Director: Bruce Robinson

Cast: Paul McGann, Richard E. Grant, Richard Griffiths

Related content: Richard E. Grant tears up after Barbra Streisand replies to his childhood fan letter

Working Girls (1986)

An '80s independent drama that follows New York City sex workers employed by a Manhattan brothel, Working Girls is gritty, realistic, and at times, very funny. Directed by Lizzie Borden (of filmmaking not axe-wielding fame), the film unfolds like a documentary but is actually a work of narrative fiction. Borden stylistically constructed the piece to give audiences a "behind-the-scenes" look at the business of sex work, the employees who offer the services, and the patrons who partake of them. A commercial and critical success at the time of its release, Working Girls is one of those films that has been forgotten over time, but that deserves a boost back into the cultural consciousness. —I.G.

Where to watch Working Girls : Max

Director: Lizzie Borden

Cast: Louise Smith, Deborah Banks, Liz Caldwell, Ellen McElduff

Related content: Willem Dafoe was once mistaken for a sex worker while performing in a Hawaiian skirt

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

An indie sparkler made by a Greek firecracker (writer and star Nia Vardalos ), this film is the equivalent of a triple threat: funny, smart, and romantic. My Big Fat Greek Wedding welcomes viewers inside a world that previously hadn't gotten much screen time (a large, noisy, loving Greek family) presented in a hilariously eccentric and personal way. Vardalos, a veteran of Second City, had to fight to star in her own film (execs wanted someone famous) and also to keep the core concept (she was pushed to make the Greek-American family Italian) making her eventual victory even sweeter when MBFGW became one of the highest-grossing independent films of all time. —D.W.

Where to watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding : Max

Director: Joel Zwick

Cast: Nia Vardalos, John Corbett , Lainie Kazan, Michael Constantine , Gia Carides, Louis Mandylor , Andrea Martin , Joey Fatone

Related content: Everything you need to remember to watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3

Shakespeare in Love (1998)

Even Shakespeare suffered from writer's block, or at least that's the premise of the late '90s period romantic comedy, Shakespeare in Love . Joseph Fiennes stars as the Bard, a strapping poet and writer whose newest play, Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter , is going nowhere fast, much to the dismay of Philip Henslowe ( Geoffrey Rush ) who owns the playhouse where the show is set to be performed. Inspiration strikes in the form of Lady Viola ( Gwyneth Paltrow ), a fan of Shakespeare's work and aspiring actor who auditions for a role in his newest play and ends up becoming his muse. Riddled with the love triangles, tragic miscommunications, and comic asides that have distinguished the writer's work for centuries, Shakespeare in Love is, as EW's critic writes , "really about two great loves at once — the love of life and of art — and the way that Shakespeare, like no writer before him, transformed the one into the other." —I.G.

Where to watch Shakespeare in Love : Max

Director: John Madden

Cast: Joseph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Geoffrey Rush, Colin Firth , Ben Affleck , Judi Dench , Simon Callow, Jim Carter , Martin Clunes , Antony Sher, Imelda Staunton, Tom Wilkinson , Mark Williams

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Singin' in the Rain (1952)

Widely considered one of the best musicals ever captured, Singin' in the Rain has everything from music and dance to comedy and romance. The story stars Gene Kelly as a celebrated silent film actor struggling to make the jump to the "talkies," and Debbie Reynolds as an up-and-coming actress trying to break into the business. The majority of the movie's comedy and over-the-top dance numbers are provided by the charismatic Donald O'Connor, and Jean Hagen makes a delightful (and Oscar-nominated) turn as Lina, a movie star with a face for film and a Brooklyn accent strong enough to stop traffic. A beloved treasure and shining representative from Hollywood's Golden Era, Singin' in the Rain continues to endure and inspire. —I.G.

Where to watch Singin' in the Rain : Max

EW grade: A+

Directors: Stanley Donen , Gene Kelly

Cast: Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O'Connor, Jean Hagen

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Men in trouble

Gangs of new york (2002).

Martin Scorsese spent 20 years developing Gangs of New York , a period epic that combines the history of New York City during the Civil War with the more intimate story of a son avenging his father. Set in the Lower Manhattan neighborhood of Five Points during 1863, Gangs follows Amsterdam ( Leonardo DiCaprio ) as he infiltrates an anti-immigrant gang called the Confederation of American Natives. Amsterdam plans to murder the gang's leader, Bill the Butcher ( Daniel Day-Lewis ) for having murdered his father, the leader of the Dead Rabbits, a rival gang composed of Irish Catholic immigrants. With a plot that delves into the Catholic-Protestant feud, Civil War conscription, and the isolationist desire to keep New York City free from immigration, Gangs of New York is a sweeping, historical narrative blooming with Scorcese style. Day-Lewis is at his best, with EW's critic writing , "he's the furnace that stokes the story, and he gives off real, exciting heat." —I.G.

Where to watch Gangs of New York : Max

EW grade: A- ( read the review )

Director: Martin Scorcese

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, Cameron Diaz , Jim Broadbent , John C. Reilly , Henry Thomas , Brendan Gleeson , Liam Neeson

Related content: The story behind Gangs of New York's delay

The Revenant (2015)

Leonardo DiCaprio earned his Oscar for this startling, nauseating revisionist Western. He stars as adventurer Hugh Glass, who’s left for dead by his tribe after enduring a horrific bear attack. When his son is killed by one of his own men (a sneering Tom Hardy ), Glass goes on a life or death journey of revenge. More of an action blockbuster than anyone could’ve anticipated from Birdman -director Alejandro González Iñárritu , The Revenant is one of the most unrelenting and visceral adventure pictures in modern memory. It’s not for the faint of heart (or stomach), but those who can sit for its duration will be well-rewarded. —Declan Gallagher  

Where to watch The Revenant : Max

EW grade: B ( read the review )

Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu

Cast: Leonard DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson , Will Poulter , Lukas Haas

Related content: The Revenant: Leonardo DiCaprio, Alejandro G. Iñárritu talk survivalist themes in featurette

Seven (1995)

Even serial killers need inspiration sometimes, and in David Fincher ’s Seven , one sadistic murderer models their work on the seven deadly sins. An American crime thriller written by Andrew Kevin Walker and capable of unnerving even the most hardened of viewers, the film follows a pair of odd couple detectives — one world-weary and on the brink of retirement, the other a young idealist determined to clean up a corrupt city — as the two investigate a string of homicides, each thematically linked to the aforementioned sins. With visuals designed to shock and an ending so horrifying it has been relegated to meme format — if you don’t already know what’s in the box, consider yourself lucky — the film is bleak, fiendish, and orchestrated to haunt you long after the credits roll. Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman compliment each other perfectly as the two detectives, but it’s the psychopathic killer’s performance that elevates this procedural to a new level of creative depravity. —I.G.  

Where to watch Seven : Max

EW grade : B ( read the review )

Director: David Fincher

Cast: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, John C. McGinley , Kevin Spacey  

Related content: Seven producer recalls debate over shock ending

Swiss Army Man (2016)

Hey hey, it's the Daniels! No one combines gross-out with awww better than the singularly named directing dynamic duo (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), and if you loved their Oscar-collecting spectacular Everything Everywhere All at Once , you'll probably (maybe? maybe not?) also like their very first film, Swiss Army Man . Why the qualifier? Well, because you might find some scenes a little… well… gross (two words: farting corpse). But as is their specialty, the Daniels found a way to make this quirky tale of a shipwrecked man (Paul Dano) and his dead buddy ( Daniel Radcliffe ) quite moving, too. —D.W.

Where to watch Swiss Army Man : Max

Directors: Daniel Scheinert, Daniel Kwan

Cast: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Related content: Daniel Radcliffe talks about recording the sound of farts for Swiss Army Man

Women in trouble

Eighth grade (2018).

The fact that one of the best movies about growing up as a teenage girl in the era of social media was written and directed by a 20-something man is proof positive that irony exists. Comedian Bo Burnham makes a triumphant directorial debut with Eighth Grade , a coming of age comedy about Kayla Day ( Elsie Fisher ), a 13 year old wrapping up her last week of middle school. Torn between her reality as an awkward, quiet teenager yearning for social acceptance and her contrived public persona as an aspiring YouTuber with no audience for her content, Kayla intellectually understands the importance of being yourself — she just hasn't quite worked out how to do it yet. Fisher is dynamic and endlessly watchable, and her bumbling attempts at connection with her peers and dismissive attitude towards her loving father ( Josh Hamilton ) make the film feel more like a documentary than a comedy. Either way, watching Eighth Grade is a canon event. —I.G.

Where to watch Eighth Grade : Max

Director: Bo Burnham

Cast: Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson, Jake Ryan, Fred Hechinger

Related content: Bo Burnham originally thought no one would ever take Eighth Grade seriously

I, Tonya (2017)

Those who survived the '90s might assert that few stories were more captivating during that decade than the rivalry between U.S. Olympic ice skating team contenders Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding. Those people didn't know that 23 years later, a film adaptation of 1994's biggest criminal sporting controversy would prove almost — if not more — riveting. Shot in the mockumentary style now made famous and familiar by load-bearing NBC shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation , I, Tonya stars Margot Robbie as Harding, Allison Janney as her mother LaVona Golden, and Sebastian Stan as her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly. A film that focuses as much on the unreliability of its narrators as the events they purport to explain, I, Tonya finds yet another way to channel Robbie's athleticism, grit, and charisma. —I.G.

Where to watch I, Tonya: Max

Director: Craig Gillespie

Cast: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Julianne Nicholson , Bobby Cannavale, Allison Janney

Related content: How I, Tonya used conflicting accounts of Tonya Harding's story to its advantage

Midsommar (2019)

You never know what you’re going to get from an A24 project, and that’s especially true in the horror movie Midsommar . Primarily set in Sweden and adorned with sunlight, flower crowns, and Scandinavian style, Midsommar could pass for a Pinterest board come to life if it weren’t for all the ritualistic death. The lead characters — four students visiting from the States to witness a festival, which occurs every 90 years — aren’t terribly complicated, but they don’t need to be. Director Ari Aster’s tense, terrifying world is more than enough to keep viewers engaged, and as EW’s critic says , “You can’t be afraid of the dark in Midsommar , because darkness never comes.” —I.G.

Where to watch Midsommar : Max

Director: Ari Aster

Cast: Florence Pugh , Jack Reynor , William Jackson Harper , Will Poulter

Related content: White Lotus star Haley Lu Richardson passed on Midsommar because she just didn't 'have it in me'

Still Alice (2015)

Not all films require a human antagonist — in Still Alice , a disease is as fearsome an adversary as the most terrifying supervillain. Julianne Moore stars as Dr. Alice Howland, a 50-year-old linguistics professor in the prime of her life who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's. As Alice's disease progresses, eroding her word retrieval skills, memory, and sense of self, her husband ( Alec Baldwin ) and adult children ( Kate Bosworth , Hunter Parrish, and Kristen Stewart ) each find different ways of coping with their family's loss. Alice's experiences play out like a horror movie; she can see the monster coming, but no matter what precautions she tries to take to try to keep her memories and brain safe, she cannot escape the inevitability of what's headed her way. Moore won an Oscar for her performance, but it's Stewart who emerges as the surprise MVP of the film, handling her mother's mental regressions with vulnerability and compassion. —I.G.

Where to watch Still Alice : Max

Directors: Richard Glatzer , Wash Westmoreland

Cast: Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, Hunter Parrish

Related content: Oscars 2015: Julianne Moore wins Best Actress

Under the Skin (2013)

Lest you forget, Scarlett Johansson has some serious indie film roots ( Ghost World ) that belie her current blockbuster-y status. This terrifying mood pic brings her back to her beginnings with a strong, terrifying, and profoundly weird performance. We don't want to give too much away, so let's just put the pertinent details out there: A24. Sci-fi. Scotland. Alien. Super creepy. 'Nuff said. —D.W.

Where to watch Under the Skin : Max

Director: Jonathan Glazer

Cast: Scarlett Johansson

Related content: Under The Skin : Nominated for...nothing?

Kids' corner

Anything studio ghibli.

Step 1: Click the " Studio Ghibli " tab on Max.

Step 2: Start with Spirited Away …

Step 3: Then My Neighbor Totoro … and Howl's Moving Castle … and Princess Mononoke

Step 4: Now watch the rest.

Step 5: Thank us later. —D.W.

Where to watch Studio Ghibli : Max

Directors: Hayao Miyazaki , Isao Takahata

Related content: All of the Studio Ghibli movies, ranked

Coraline (2009)

From the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas comes Coraline , a 3-D stop-motion children's fantasy film based on Neil Gaiman 's 2002 novella. Coraline Jones ( Dakota Fanning ) has just moved into a new home with her busy parents and feels ignored. When she discovers a door in her bedroom that leads to another world, she dives in and finds a place where her mom and dad are attentive and involved. But this realm is not as it seems, and before long, Coraline finds that she is in danger of being trapped there forever. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature — it lost to Pixar 's Up — Coraline is creepy, gorgeously rendered, and fantastical. —I.G.

Where to watch Coraline: Max

Director: Henry Selick

Cast: Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher , Jennifer Saunders , Dawn French, Keith David , Ian McShane

Related content: Neil Gaiman, Travis Knight talk Coraline at EW's CapeTown Film Fest

Stranger than fiction

All the beauty and the bloodshed (2022).

A documentary that puts photographer Nan Goldin on the other side of the camera, this revealing and intimate film takes a look at an artist who documented her friends' most intimate moments (and covered tough subjects in the process, from the HIV/AIDS crisis in New York to her own domestic abuse). But this isn't just a retrospective. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed — which EW named one of the best films of 2022 — spends ample time on Goldin's activism, notably her fight against the opioid epidemic (and specifically, the Sackler family's role in it). —D.W.

Where to watch All the Beauty and the Bloodshed : Max

Director: Laura Poitras

Cast: Nan Goldin

Related content: Laura Poitras talks CITIZENFOUR and why Edward Snowden is in Moscow

A haunting documentary celebrating a once in a lifetime talent, Amy offers a glimpse into the world of a young jazz singer with a voice and musical gift developed far beyond her years. Propelled into fame at an early age and ridiculed by the media, Amy Winehouse 's journey from vocal prodigy to cautionary tale premiered four years after her tragic death at age 27. Featuring direction from Asif Kapadia, Amy does right by its namesake, celebrating her love of music and interrogating how that love was dulled by a toxic relationship, familial struggles, and the substances she used to cope with her public existence. Nothing can bring Amy back from the dead, but this documentary does its best to capture her life in all its glory and complexity. —I.G.

Where to watch Amy : Max

Director: Asif Kapadia

Cast: Amy Winehouse

Related content: Back to Black movie reveals Industry star's transformation into Amy Winehouse

Hoop Dreams (1994)

Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert agreeing (!) that Hoop Dreams was the best movie of 1994 should be all we need to say about this big-hearted, deep-dive doc about the lives of two young NBA hopefuls. But we'll add a little more: The film follows two talented teenage boys, Arthur Agee and William Gates, with their eyes on basketball careers. But coming from tough circumstances means it won't always be easy. Director Steve James spent five years immersed in his subjects' lives to fully tell the tale, which he does with a poignancy that at times makes it difficult to watch, but impossible to turn away from. The result is a masterpiece. As our critic puts it , the film has "more passion and suspense than most dramatic features." —D.W.

Where to watch Hoop Dreams : Max

Director: Steve James

Cast: William Gates, Arthur Agee

Related content: Catching up with the Hoop Dreams ' stars

Paris Is Burning (1990)

One of the most compelling and groundbreaking documentaries of all time, Paris Is Burning is also off-the-hook entertaining, as a film about drag balls should be. Helping to introduce mainstream audiences to the phenomenon that is drag, each character we meet is larger than the next, all serving magisterial amounts of color and sparkle, attitude, and pathos. Our critic calls Paris Is Burning a "passionately empathetic piece of documentary filmmaking" by director Jennie Livingston , who created an iconic piece of American culture that, to quote our review once again, records "the tensions between ridicule and reverence that render the balls themselves a kind of proletarian performance art." —D.W.

Where to watch Paris Is Burning : Max

Director: Jennie Livingston

Cast: Dorian Corey, Pepper LaBeija, Venus Xtravaganza, Octavia St. Laurent, Carmen Xtravaganza, Willi Ninja, Angie Xtravaganza, Sol Pendavis Williams, Freddie Pendavis, Junior Labeija

Related content: EW chats with Paris Is Burning 's Willi Ninja

Oscars catch-up

Barbie (2023).

Warner Bros. Pictures

The summer of 2023 will forever be remembered as the summer of Barbenheimer. While Oppenheimer was the overtly intellectual, historical prestige film, Barbie more than held its own in the smarts department. A fiercely funny and feminist reading of the dolls that everyone has an opinion on, Greta Gerwig ’s Barbie follows Stereotypical Barbie’s (Margot Robbie) journey of self-discovery, which leads her away from Barbie World and into the real world. Ryan Gosling may have scored the Oscar nod for his performance as Ken, but the entire cast is worthy of recognition, and as far as satirical romps go, you don’t get much better than this. EW’s critic writes , “It's Gerwig's care and attention to detail that gives Barbie an actual point of view, elevating it beyond every other cynical, IP-driven cash grab.”  —I.G.

Where to watch Barbie : Max

Director: Greta Gerwig

Cast: Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, America Ferrera , Kate McKinnon , Michael Cera

Related content: Ryan Gosling leads sublime 'I'm Just Ken' sing-along with costars, audience at 2024 Oscars

The Color Purple (2023)

Everett Collection

Broadway went to Hollywood in 2023. Both Mean Girls and The Color Purple received movie musical adaptations of their staged shows, and The Color Purple ’s was especially successful. Based on the Alice Walker novel —  which was adapted by Steven Spielberg into a 1985 movie featuring Oprah — the movie musical stars Fantasia Barrino as Celie, an early 20th century woman stuck in an abusive marriage, whose female friendships inspire her to break free from her dictatorial husband. Barrino is excellent, successfully reprising the role she played on Broadway, but Danielle Brooks steals the show, with EW’s reviewer writing , “It’s a performance that is both showy and restrained, a master class in acting.” —I.G.

Where to watch The Color Purple : Max

Director: Blitz Bazawule

Cast: Taraji P. Henson , Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo , Corey Hawkins , H.E.R., Halle Bailey , Phylicia Pearl Mpasi, Fantasia Barrino

Related content: The Color Purple cast leads The View audience in emotional standing ovation for Whoopi Goldberg

Navalny (2022)

A documentary so suspenseful it rivals even the most thrilling fictional story, this Oscar winner paints a portrait of life under Putin and the price paid by those who defy him. Navalny tells the story of Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition leader whose poisoning by Putin operatives in August 2020 nearly killed him. Shot like a thriller, Navalny will make you sweat while shaking your head in disbelief that the onscreen action is all true. To quote EW's critic , the film is "a raw and urgent document" and "a painfully timely reminder of what it actually means to speak truth to power." In the wake of Navalny's 2024 death, the film will remain a testament to his life and legacy. —D.W.

Where to watch Navalny : Max

Director: Daniel Roher

Cast: Alexei Navalny, Yulia Navalnaya, Maria Pevchikh, Christo Grozev, Leonid Volkov

Related content: The best documentaries on Netflix

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Before there was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) and Wonka (2023), there was 1971’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory . Based on the acclaimed children’s book by Roald Dahl — who also wrote the screenplay for the film — Willy Wonka tells the story of an eccentric chocolatier (as played by Gene Wilder ) who orchestrates a contest to help him select a child to carry on his candy-making empire. Fantastical, whimsical, funny, and scary, the film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Music for its score, which included the debut of the song “The Candy Man.” Timothee Chalamet ’s Wonka is set 25 years before the events depicted in the 1971 film, and thanks to Max, you can watch both films back to back.  —I.G.

Where to watch Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory : Max

Director: Mel Stuart

Cast: Gene Wilder , Jack Albertson, Peter Ostrum, Roy Kinnear

Related content: Chocolate Fyre Festival? Inside the Willy Wonka event that had infuriated guests calling the cops

For the love of movies

Breathless (1960).

As our critic so succinctly puts it, Breathless "simultaneously salutes Hollywood and gives it the finger," and its rebellious spirit is more than apparent upon re-watch. This breezy, sexy, black-and-white crime number is the definition of cool, exemplified in the offhand, insouciant performances by Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo. Meanwhile, director Jean-Luc Godard 's loose, relaxed, handheld camera magic captures the spirit of love, danger, and Paris... forever. —D.W.

Where to watch Breathless : Max

Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Cast: Jean Seberg, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Henri-Jacques Huet, Liliane Dreyfus, Claude Mansard, Van Doude, Daniel Boulanger

Related content: The 5 best Jean-Luc Godard movies to begin with

Chungking Express (1994)

There's no doubt that Wong Kar-wai's Chungking Express is a super romantic film, telling not one, but two overlapping love stories. This classic, which was definitely influenced by another movie on our list ( Breathless ), also has one pretty big name benefactor: Mr. Quentin Tarantino , who loved the movie so much he started a company to distribute it. Its charming vision of love in Hong Kong is a gorgeously shot, super stylish journey with a winning pop soundtrack, all adding up to an experience that our reviewer describes as "a pure ecstasy bath." —D.W.

Where to watch Chungking Express : Max

Director: Wong Kar-wai

Cast: Brigitte Lin Chin-Hsia, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Faye Wong

Related content: Why you should dive into the work of Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai

My Dinner With Andre (1981)

In a medium driven by plot and action, My Dinner With Andre argues that the most revolutionary way to make cinema is to remove both of these elements. An early '80s exploration into theatrical avant-gardism, My Dinner With Andre is exactly that — a film about two men who haven't seen each other in awhile catching up during a dinner. Over the course of their meal, Wally (a struggling playwright) and Andre (a former theater director) dine at New York City's Café des Artistes where they discuss theater, new age philosophies, and what it means to live in the latter half of the 20th century. Directed by Louis Malle and co-written by Wallace Shawn and André Gregory — who also star as heightened versions of themselves — the film is daringly conceptual, dialogue-driven, and cerebral. It's also warm, deeply human, and often funny — and a great reminder to schedule a date with that one friend you've been avoiding. —I.G.

Where to watch My Dinner With Andre : Max

Director: Louis Malle

Cast: André Gregory, Wallace Shawn

Related content: A Tribute to Louis Malle

Related content:

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The 25 best movies on HBO and Max right now

From buzzy indie breakouts to old classics to 'Barbie', these are the must-watch films on Max right now.

Matthew Singer

In the beginning, there was HBO Max. Actually, if you want to go all the way back, in the true beginning, there was HBO Go, but that’s ancient history at this point. Anyway, it used to be that HBO Max was the place to go if you were itching to watch old episodes of The Sopranos or Sex and the City , or stream major current blockbusters without leaving your living room. 

A lot of things have changed since then, the first being the name. Now it’s just Max, a reflection of the merger that formed Warner Bros. Discovery in 2022. And you won’t see those huge movies in your home until they’re out of theatres for a few months. But you can still spend plenty of nights getting reacquainted with Carrie Bradshaw and Tony Soprano – and you can still get access to a ton of awesome movies. 

Thanks to licensing deals with the likes of Turner Classic Movies, Criterion Collection and Studio Ghibli, the platform is currently a major repository of truly great films new and old. Need help navigating the catalogue? Here are the 25 movies on Max you absolutely need to watch. 


💻 The 35 best movies on Netflix right now 🗓 The best movies of 2024 so far 🌎 The best films on Apple TV 🔥 The 100 best movies of all-time  

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Best movies on Max

The Zone of Interest (2023)

1.  The Zone of Interest (2023)

Director: Jonathan Glazer

Cast: Christian Friedel, Sandra Hüller

No shade to Oppenheimer, but in the coming years, Jonathan Glazer’s quietly disquieting Holocaust drama may very well come to be seen as the actual best movie of 2023. It’s already probably the most important, not just for the unique perspective it brings to the atrocity but for the parallels it holds to the modern-day atrocities occurring just over our own proverbial walls too many of us would rather not acknowledge. 

Spirited Away (2001)

2.  Spirited Away (2001)

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Voice cast: Rumi Hiiragi, Miyu Irino, Mari Natsuki

Animator Hayao Miyazaki has many contenders for the best movie in his repertoire, but his fantastical 2001 masterpiece about a girl fighting to save her family from a witch’s spell probably has the best argument for the top spot. It was the first foreign film to win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature and the second highest-grossing picture in Japanese history. Beyond the accolades, it’s simply delightful: wide-eyed, witty and full of warmth.

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)

3.  Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)

Director: Chantal Akerman

Cast: Delphine Seyrig, Jan Decorte, Henri Storck

The best film ever made – according to Sight & Sound’s 2022 poll – is the slowburniest of slowburn classics. Widowed housewife Jeanne (played by Delphine Seyrig) sticks like glue to her daily routine as Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman’s static camera observes her doing chores, preparing meals and receiving a male client every afternoon. And then, from nowhere, something snaps. Don’t let its 200-minute runtime deter you – this is a landmark in feminist cinema. 

M (1931)

4.  M (1931)

Director: Fritz Lang

Cast: Peter Lorre, Otto Wernicke, Gustaf Gründgens

One of the most influential movies ever made, German auteur Fritz Lang’s expressionist noir is the crime movie from which all other crime movies are descended. A disturbed yet somehow sympathetic Peter Lorre is a child killer on the loose in Berlin, pursued not just by the police but the city’s criminal element and an angry mob of citizens. Released at the birth of the sound era, it’s still a movie that communicates primarily through visuals – many of which remain jarring almost 100 years later.

High and Low (1963)

5.  High and Low (1963)

Director: Akira Kurosawa

Cast: Toshiro Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yutaka Sada

Second only to Ikiru in the subgenre of Kurosawa masterworks with modern settings, the Japanese legend’s adaptation of a 1959 Ed McBain novel has admirers that would likely argue for its primacy, including Spike Lee, who’s planning a remake. A wealthy businessman (Mifune) learns his son has been kidnapped. When he discovers it’s actually his chauffeur’s son who’s been abducted, he must decide what’s more important: his conscience or his bank account. It’s a class-conscious, mixed-genre thriller that also clearly influenced Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite . 

Office Space (1999)

6.  Office Space (1999)

Director: Mike Judge

Cast: Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, Gary Cole

As more and more Americans choose to work remotely, Mike Judge’s vicious skewering of beige-collar drudgery grows increasingly anachronistic – and yet, its observations about the indignities of suburban life remain brilliantly scabrous. If you’ve ever dealt with a dickhead boss or dined at a middling chain restaurant filled with depressed employees covered in ‘flair’, you’ll find it brutally hilarious, even if you’ve never filed a TPS report or have any idea what ‘PC Load Letter’ means.

Dr Strangelove: Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb (1964)

7.  Dr Strangelove: Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb (1964)

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Cast: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden

‘Gentleman, you can’t fight in here. This is the War Room!’ No movie has ever been as unsettling and uproarious as Stanley Kubrick’s absurdist skewering of Cold War logic and McCarthyite paranoia. He’s aided by three sublime Peter Sellers performances – as a polite RAF officer, mild-mannered US President and barking mad atomic scientist – and a pair of against-type turns from George C Scott and Sterling Hayden. The ending is an all-timer, too. Yee-haw!

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

8.  Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

  • Action and adventure

Director: George Miller

Cast: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult

It’s rare for a filmmaker to use new tech to revitalise an old franchise and retain the grit, pulse and aesthetic of the stripped-down original, but damned if George Miller’s fourth Mad Max film isn’t the best of the series. It’s certainly the craziest, a nonstop, amphetamine-fueled blast of fire, sand and petrol that makes the next most insane blockbuster look like Fried Green Tomatoes . Can he keep up the pace with the upcoming prequel, focused on Charlize Theron’s scene-stealing Imperator Furiosa? If so, the MPAA may need to require a doctor’s note before viewing. 

Paris Is Burning (1990)

9.  Paris Is Burning (1990)

  • Documentaries

Director: Jennie Livingston

A testament to the power of allowing marginalised people to speak for themselves, this landmark documentary brought drag culture into the mainstream, which not everyone in the LGBTQ community agrees is a good thing. But there’s no denying that the wildly expressive performances vibrate with a joy that leaps right off the screen. More than even the routines, director Livingston gave her subjects space to discuss the pleasure and pain of queer existence with unvarnished honesty – a radical act at the time, and still striking today.

Dream Scenario (2023)

10.  Dream Scenario (2023)

Director: Kristoffer Borgli

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Julianne Nicholson, Dylan Gelula

The Charlie Kaufman vibes are strong with this wonderfully weird treatise on the surreality of fleeting fame (and, yes, cancel culture) right down to casting Adaptation alum Nic Cage as a balding, unassuming college professor who inexplicably begins making cameos in the dreams of random strangers around the world. It’s a movie bursting with ideas, to the degree that it almost seems to bulge against its runtime, but Cage carries the whole affair – especially when his own dreams turn to nightmares, along with everybody else’s.

Barbie (2023)

11.  Barbie (2023)

Director: Greta Gerwig

Cast: Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Will Ferrell

Whatever your expectations were for a live-action Barbie movie, writer-director Greta Gerwig managed to either exceed or completely confound them, delivering a fantastical feminist satire that dominated the box office and became the first true post-pandemic event picture. Sadly, its lasting legacy may end up being a deluge of films based on old toys that aren’t nearly as fun or funny, but at least we’ll always have Ryan Gosling’s Ken .

Shiva Baby (2020)

12.  Shiva Baby (2020)

Director: Emma Seligman

Cast: Rachel Sennott, Molly Gordon, Polly Draper

A buzzy breakout for both director Emma Seligman and star Rachel Sennott, this indie comedy has everything from Cassavetes to Mike Nichols in its genes, but filtered through the perspective of a young, Jewish bisexual sex worker, it becomes entirely its own thing. Sennott is the young woman in question, forced to attend a shiva with her parents and endure awkward interactions with her parents’ friends, her ex-girlfriend and, worst of all, her sugar daddy and his wife. It’s a hilariously sharp coming out for two creatives whose profiles are likely to expand in coming years.   

North by Northwest (1959)

13.  North by Northwest (1959)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Cast: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason

Declaring the most ‘definitive’ Hitchcock film is a nearly impossible task, but North By Northwest is perhaps the best example of his wide-ranging appeal. It’s his purest popcorn flick, a suave, sexy caper starring Cary Grant at his most Cary Grant. It’s also genuinely suspenseful, with a handful of the most bravura action sequences in his oeuvre that are also among the most iconic of all time. (Most filmmakers would kill for just the crop duster scene, but then he follows it up with the climax at Mt Rushmore.) And it ends with the most juvenile sex joke anyone could get away with in the ‘50s. Truly, the guy could do it all.

Hereditary (2018)

14.  Hereditary (2018)

Director: Ari Aster

Cast: Toni Collette, Milly Shapiro, Gabriel Byrne

Ari Aster’s terrifying debut feature is an instant horror classic not necessarily for its shocks – of which there are many – but for how it builds to them, with a sense of creeping, nerve-shredding dread that becomes nearly unbearable the longer it goes on. Colette is tremendous as a mother whose mental state swiftly erodes following a family tragedy. It’ll stay with you a long time – consider that a warning.

RoboCop (1987)

15.  RoboCop (1987)

Director: Paul Verhoeven

Cast: Paul Weller, Nancy Allen, Daniel O’Herlihy

Dutch iconoclast Paul Verhoeven set out to satirise ‘80s corporate greed with this ultraviolent sci-fi shoot-’em-up and ended up predicting the future. Sure, the streets aren’t yet being patrolled by formerly human cops resurrected as nigh-indestructible titanium law enforcement cyborgs, but with the increasing militarisation of the American police force, how far off can we be? In all seriousness, it’s a much smarter and scathing film than its setup suggests – a Verhoeven signature.

Slacker (1990)

16.  Slacker (1990)

Director: Richard Linklater

Cast: Richard Linklater, Rudy Basquez, Jean Caffeine

What came first: slackers or Slacker ? It’s hard to say if Richard Linklater’s meandering debut defined a generation or helped create it, but regardless, there is perhaps no greater Gen X time capsule that exists. Made for the relative pittance of $23,000, it plays out essentially as a series of barely-connected vignettes, starring actual disaffected twentysomethings from Linklater’s hometown of Austin, Texas. It doesn’t sound like much, but its unfakeable authenticity proved to be the spark that ignited the indie film boom of the ‘90s.    

The Witch (2015)

17.  The Witch (2015)

Director: Robert Eggers

Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie

The devil is in the details, they say, and that’s never been more literal than in Robert Eggers’ folk-horror insta-classic. In telling the tale of a Puritan family in 1600s New England whose home is encroached upon by demonic forces, Eggers extreme attention to period accuracy creates a singularly immersive experience that allows the slow burn of the story to worm its way gradually under your skin. You’ll never approach a goat at a petting zoo the same way again. 

Hoop Dreams (1994)

18.  Hoop Dreams (1994)

Director: Steve James

At once one of the greatest documentaries of all-time and also one of the best sports movies ever , Hoop Dreams follows two basketball-obsessed kids from inner city Chicago as they attempt to transcend their surroundings and make it to the NBA. But it’s not just a movie about basketball – in fact, you don’t have to care a lick about it to be drawn in by its narrative and the wider view it takes on issues related to race, class and opportunity in America. Much has changed about the sports world in the decades since. Many other things, sadly, have not.

Parasite (2019)

19.  Parasite (2019)

Director: Bong Joon-ho

Cast: Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong

Delivering a searing capitalist critique inside a thrilling, funny, often disturbing piece of entertainment, Korean visionary Bong Joon-ho’s career highlight, about a poor family that surreptitiously attaches itself to a rich one, is a landmark of world cinema. Its global success also turned into a semi-accidental act of subterfuge: as it racked up awards, including the first ever Best Picture Oscar for a non-English production, it forced Hollywood’s oblivious elites to stand up and cheer. You can’t really blame them, though. It’s awesome.

Citizen Kane (1941)

20.  Citizen Kane (1941)

Director: Orson Welles

Cast: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore

It may have been unseated in the most recent Sight & Sound poll, but there are plenty of scholars and critics who’d argue Orson Welles’ magnum opus is still the greatest movie of all-time – and they wouldn’t be wrong. Generations of having its technical and narrative innovations folded into the common language of cinema may have dampened its impact, but watching today, it’s striking just how sweeping, engrossing and modern it feels: after all, power-hungry media moguls like Charles Foster Kane haven’t exactly faded into history.

The Battle of Algiers (1966)

21.  The Battle of Algiers (1966)

Director: Gillo Pontecorvo

Cast: Jean Martin, Saadi Yacef, Brahim Haggiag

‘Depressingly relevant’ isn’t maybe the most fun endorsement of a film, but Gillo Pontecorvo’s seminal Algerian War flick delivers fresh resonance every time you see it. It was studied by the Bush administration before the invasion of Iraq (not that they picked much up) and as a visceral insurgency story, it remains eerily prescient. It also helped establish the grammar of the modern political action-thriller. Not many movies can claim to be equally influential in Hollywood and the Pentagon.

Beau Travail (1999)

22.  Beau Travail (1999)

Director: Claire Denis

Cast: Denis Lavant, Michel Subor, Grégoire Colin

Claire Denis’s adaptation of Herman Melville’s novella ‘Billy Budd’ is an existential masterpiece full of simmering homoeroticism, grappling bodies and sunbaked African landscapes. It’s also tinged, hauntingly, with regret, as Denis Lavant’s ex-Legionnaire reflects on how his desires and sense of self got lost in the brutal regimentation of military life. The famous ending – in which a demobbed Levant hits the dance floor – will make you reevaluate Corona’s cheesy anthem ‘The Rhythm of the Night’.

Black Girl (1966)

23.  Black Girl (1966)

Director: Ousmane Sembene

Cast: Mbissine Thérèse Diop, Anne-Marie Jelinek, Robert Fontaine

A landmark in world cinema, the debut from the godfather of African film is a stark depiction of the tragedies of post-colonialism. A young Senegalese woman moves to Antibes in Southeastern France with dreams of a better life, only to find herself consistently othered by the couple she nannies for. It’s a strikingly honest portrayal of racism and the immigrant experience across Europe in the late ‘60s that remains sadly relevant today.

In the Mood for Love (2000)

24.  In the Mood for Love (2000)

Director: Wong Kar-wai

Cast: Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung

Is there a more romantic movie in cinema? Wong Kar-wai’s seductive story of two lonely (and incredibly good-looking) souls connecting in 1960s Hong Kong is a total heartbreaker. Tony Leung’s journalist meets secretary Maggie Cheung. Tantalising, flirtatious encounters ensue in a nocturnal cityscape that’s gloriously photographed by the great Christopher Doyle as this pair of married but lonely people tiptoe toward each other and the world stands still around them.

Moonlight (2016)

25.  Moonlight (2016)

Director: Barry Jenkins

Cast: Mahershala Ali, Trevante Rhodes, Janelle Monáe

It’ll forever be associated with the Great Oscar Mix-Up of 2017, and that’s a shame, because a movie so sensitive, tender and subtly powerful deserves to stand separate from any controversy. It did, however, absolutely deserve the Best Picture award it eventually took home. Following the life of its main character, a troubled kid from Miami named Chiron, it’s a coming-of-age drama that understands maturation is an ongoing process that continues our whole lives. It’s one of the 21st century’s greatest quiet stunners.

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best travel movies on hbo max

The 44 Best Movies on HBO and Max Right Now (May 2024)

Get in the grip of Zac Efron's The Iron Claw


Is that a grain of sand in your eye? It could be, if you pop on Dune: Part 2 , which is now streaming on Max. Denis Villeneuve's sci-fi epic starring Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, and half of Hollywood is on our list of the best movies on Max, and it might be the best dang thing you watch all year. Also new to our list is A24's The Iron Claw , which stars Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, and Harris Dickinson in a true story about professional wrestling's Von Erich brothers, who rose quickly to fame and fell even harder due to tragedy. 

Max also has a lot of other stuff, including a new, steady stream of A24 movies like recent Oscar winner  The Zone of Interest , Nick Cage's surreal  Dream Scenario , and Alex Garland's  Men . Max may be all about quantity, but there's plenty of quality here as well. And our list of the best movies to watch on Max has a good quantity of good quality films.

A note about how this list was made: In the interest of keeping it relevant, we're emphasizing movies recently added to HBO/Max and new releases, but we've also made sure to add other movies we think you'll want to know about. We'll be updating it regularly.

Last updated May 24; newer additions are at the top.

The Iron Claw

For fans of: Wrasslin', brotherhood, unrelenting tragedies

Harris Dickinson, Iron Claw

Harris Dickinson, Iron Claw

Year:  2023 Director:  Sean Durkin Stars:  Zac Efron, Harris Dickinson, Jeremy Allen White, Lily James, Stanley Simons Genre:  Drama Rating:  R Metacritic score:   73

The uniquely tragic true story of the Von Erich family comes to life in this film directed by  Sean Durkin , chronicling their efforts to make it in the cutthroat world of professional wrestling in the 1980s. The three brothers are played by a trio of It boys —  Zac Efron ,  Jeremy Allen White , and  Harris Dickinson  — with  Holt McCallany  and  Maura Tierney  as their parents. - Allison Picurro   [ Trailer ]         

Dune: Part 2

For fans of: Sci-fi epics, various shades of beige

Zendaya and Timothée Chalamet, Dune 2

Zendaya and Timothée Chalamet, Dune 2

Year:  2024 Director:  Denis Villeneuve Stars:  Zendaya, Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Christopher Walken Genre:  Sci-fi, Fantasy Rating:  PG-13 Metacritic score:   79

Respectfully,  Dune: Part One  was basically a really long, really beautiful trailer for  Dune: Part Two , which makes  Part Two  all the more thrilling. The  Denis Villeneuve -directed film finds Paul Atreides ( Timothée Chalamet ) joining forces with the Fremen people (which includes his love interest,  Zendaya 's Chani, and his hype man,  Javier Bardem 's Stilgar), who live on the desert planet Arrakis, to wage war against the ruthless House Harkonnen (which includes  Stellan Skarsgård 's Baron and  Austin Butler 's Feyd-Rautha). - Allison Picurro   [ Trailer ]     

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For fans of: Surreal horror, twists

Rory Kinnear, Men

Rory Kinnear, Men

Year:  2022 Director:  Alex Garland Stars:  Jessie Buckley, Rory Kinnear Genre:  Horror, thriller Rating:  R Metacritic score:   65

Before he gave us his vision of a new American civil war in, uh, Civil War , writer/director Alex Garland 's weirdest and most divisive movie was 2022's Men . This surrealist film focuses on a traumatized woman, played by Jessie Buckley , who watches her estranged husband kill himself, and then later visits a small English village where every man she meets is played by Rory Kinnear — pretty disturbing. And the final moments of the movie offer some of the wildest visuals we've ever seen. Some might say that Garland bit off more than he can chew with this one, but, honestly, that's what makes it interesting. [ Trailer ]           

The Zone of Interest

For fans of: International films, twisted history

The Zone of Interest

Year:  2023 Director:  Jonathan Glazer Stars:  Christian Friedel, Sandra Hüller Genre:  Drama, History Rating:  PG-13 Metacritic score:   92

The winner for Best International Feature and nominee for Best Picture at the 2024 Oscars was noticeably absent from streaming before the ceremony in early March, but now it's here for everyone to enjoy at home. OK, maybe "enjoy" is not the right word here. The film takes an interesting approach to one of humankind's worst atrocities — the Holocaust — and looks at it from the viewpoint of Rudolf Höss, the commandant of Auschwitz, and his family as they live next door to the death they order but go about their lives with striking mundanity. Director  Jonathan Glazer 's film highlights the way we turn a blind eye to tragedy, and is stunningly effective at doing so.  [ Trailer ]

Dream Scenario

For fans of: A24 films, Nic Cage, weird stuff

Nicolas Cage, Dream Scenario

Nicolas Cage, Dream Scenario

Year:  2023 Director:  Kristoffer Borgli Stars:  Nicolas Cage, Julianne Nicholson, Diane Gelula, Jessica Clement, Michael Cera Genre:  Comedy, Fantasy Rating:  R Metacritic score:   74

Ever dream of  Nicolas Cage ? Everyone in the A24 film  Dream Scenario  has. Cage stars as a professor who somehow becomes the star of everyone's nighttime subconscious mental parties, turning him into an overnight pop culture sensation. But when the dreams become nightmares, the attitude toward him changes. Sound weird? Good, because it is. - Tim Surette   [ Trailer ]

For fans of: Timothée Chalamet, Willy Wonka, whimsy

Timothee Chalamet, Wonka

Timothée Chalamet, Wonka

Year:  2023 Director:  Paul King Stars:  Timothée Chalamet, Calah Lane, Olivia Colman, Hugh Grant, Keegan-Michael Key Genre:  Musical, Comedy, Drama Rating:  PG Metacritic score:   66

Wonka , which is set during the very beginning of the chocolatier's career, has a very different vibe from the fairly cynical original movie, adopting the more whimsical feel of director Paul King's Paddington movies. That makes a lot of sense from a human nature standpoint — young folks tend to be more idealistic, and then they gradually gain cynicism as they get older and gain a greater appreciation for how terrible the world is. Seeing this more innocent version of Wonka was nice. - Phil Owen [ Trailer ]

The Color Purple

For fans of:  Powerful musicals, fantastic performances

H.E.R., The Color Purple

H.E.R., The Color Purple

Year:  2023 Director:  Blitz Bazawule Stars:  Fantasia Barrino, Taraji P. Henderson, Danielle Brooks, Corey Hawkins, Colman Domingo, H.E.R., and Halle Bailey Genre:  Musical, Drama Rating:  PG-13 Metacritic score:   72

Blitz Bazawule  directs this adaptation of the stage musical of the same name (which is itself an adaptation of Alice Walker's novel, which was previously adapted by Steven Spielberg), following a woman's journey to reunite with her sister and her children after being forcibly separated from them years earlier. A trio of powerhouse performances from  Fantasia Barrino ,  Danielle Brooks , and  Taraji P. Henson  bring the film to vivid life. - Allison Picurro   [ Trailer ]     

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For fans of:  The color pink, women, "Push" by Matchbox Twenty

Margot Robbie, Barbie

Margot Robbie, Barbie

Year:  2023 Director:  Greta Gerwig Stars:  Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, America Ferrera, Will Ferrell Genre:  Comedy Rating:  PG-13 Metacritic score:   80

Greta Gerwig 's satirical comedy about gender roles and plastic dolls finally comes home to streaming after accumulating $1.44 billion from the worldwide box office. By now, you know what it's about and you know who's in it, and if you somehow still haven't watched it, let me be the latest person to convince you to join the rest of us. It's outstanding. - Tim Surette   [ Trailer ]     

aka Mr. Chow

For fans of:  Entrepreneurship, Chinese history, documentaries that teach you something new but may also make you cry

aka Mr. Chow

Year:  2023 Director:  Nick Hooker Genre:  Documentary Rating:  NR Metacritic score:   TBD

Michael Chow is a restaurateur, an artist, an actor. The documentary aka Mr. Chow explores all these sides of the British Chinese entrepreneur, as well as the personal tragedies and historical events that shaped him. While most know Chow by the restaurant chain he launched across the U.S. and in London, few may be familiar with his relationship with his father, Zhou Xinfang — a trailblazing Beijing Opera grand master — and his lonely but colorful past before opening the first Mr. Chow. The film, which includes interviews from Chow's family and friends, paints a searing portrait of a man determined to build a unique legacy marked by imagination and freedom. - Kat Moon   [ Trailer ]     

After the Bite

For fans of:  Brainy nature docs with a hint of political divide, coastal town life

After the Bite

Year:  2023 Director:  Ivy Meeropol Genre:  Documentary Rating:  NR Metacritic score:   70

This thoughtful documentary on how a single fatal shark attack in a Cape Cod town left its residents puzzled about how to tackle the problem of a growing number of great white sharks looks at the issue from several potential solutions, from controlling the seal population to staying out of the water to confronting climate change. But what really jumps out is the notion of how involved humans should be with nature, which obviously makes big philosophical waves. — Tim Surette   [ Trailer ]    

Avatar: The Way of Water

For fans of:  Being wet, sequels that skip the numbers, unobtanium


Year:  2022 Director:  James Cameron Stars:  Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang Genre:  Drama, Sci-Fi Rating:  PG-13 Metacritic score:   67

James Cameron's long-awaited sequel to one of the most successful (box office-wise) movies of all time delivered another titanic success (box office-wise). You were supposed to see this sci-fi fantasy movie in the theaters, but now you can watch it picture-in-picture on your phone while you scroll Reddit. — Tim Surette   [ Trailer ]    

For fans of:  Whistleblowers, Sydney Sweeney, terrifying displays of power

Sydney Sweeney, Reality

Sydney Sweeney, Reality

Year:  2023 Director:  Tina Satter Stars:  Sydney Sweeney, Josh Hamilton, John Way, Marchánt Davis, Benny Elledge Genre:  Drama Rating:  NR Metacritic score:   84

Sydney Sweeney plays former NSA translator and whistleblower Reality Winner, who leaked an intelligence report about Russian interference in the 2016 election. The film is an adaptation of Tina Satter's acclaimed play, which takes place on the day of Winner's arrest and pulls all of its dialogue from a transcript of her FBI interrogation. — Allison Picurro   [ Trailer ]    

For fans of:  The mysteries of the Greek system, unnerving conformity

Bama Rush

Year:  2023 Director:  Rachel Fleit Genre:  Documentary Rating:  NR Metacritic score:   n/a

I'll never fully understand the allure of the Greek system at our institutions of higher learning, and this documentary film from filmmaker Rachel Fleit only confirms the toxic environment of fraternities and sororities. But  Bama Rush , inspired by the explosion of interest in Rush Week at the University of Alabama thanks to going viral on TikTok in 2021, follows four young women as they go after their social dream of joining the college's exclusive sororities and explain why it's so important to them. It's not always a convincing argument, but it's always fascinating as it looks at social status, social media, and the absurd pressures young women face today. — Tim Surette   [ Trailer ]    

Moonage Daydream

For fans of:  Glam!

David Bowie, Moonage Daydream

David Bowie, Moonage Daydream

Year:  2022 Director:  Brett Morgen Stars:  David Bowie Genre:  Documentary Rating:  NR Metacritic score:   83

This documentary film from Brett Morgen ( The Kid Stays in the Picture ) is described as a "cinematic odyssey" that looks at the life of glam rock icon David Bowie, which, given the subject, is a perfect fit. A flurry of images, animations, and impressionism, Moonage Daydrem rises to the top of films about Bowie. — Tim Surette   [ Trailer ]    

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

For fans of:  Political documentaries, fighting authoritarian regimes

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

Year:  2022 Director:  Laura Poitras Stars:  Nan Goldin Genre:  Documentary Rating:  NR Metacritic score:   90

A nominee for Best Documentary at the 2023 Oscars, this affecting film allows the legendary artist and activist Nan Goldin to tell her story. Through a series of intimate interviews and carefully constructed slideshows, she revisits the death of her sister, the years she spent in New York City LGBTQ subcultures, and explains how she eventually made it her mission to hold the Sackler family accountable for the opioid crisis. It's not just one of the best documentaries of 2022; it's one of the best films of last year, period. — Allison Picurro   [ Trailer ]


Year:  2022 Director:  Daniel Roher Stars:  Alexei Navalny Genre:  Documentary Rating:  NR Metacritic score:   82

Vladimir Putin's greatest threat is Alexei Navalny, one of the few politicians and activists in Russia to publicly oppose the Russian government. As a man rallying others against Putin's totalitarian regime, he's been blacklisted by the state-controlled media and arrested by sham courts, but that's the easy part of what is considered the most dangerous job in the world. In 2020, Navalny was poisoned by a lab-created nerve agent and nearly died. He and his supporters pointed fingers at the Kremlin, who denied any participation. This award-winning documentary (including Best Documentary at the 2023 Academy Awards), which was released before Putin's invasion of Ukraine, looks at Navalny and the poisoning, and the challenges of fighting Putin. - Tim Surette   [ Trailer ]      

Empire of Light

For fans of:  Cinema!

Olivia Colman, Empire of Light

Olivia Colman, Empire of Light

Year:  2022 Director:  Sam Mendes Stars: Olivia Colman, Micheal Ward, Colin Firth, Toby Jones Genre:  Drama, Romance Rating:  R Metacritic score:   54

Empire of Light  is yet another addition to 2022's most popular film genre: movies about the power of movies. ( Nope ,  The Fabelmans , and  Babylon  are a few more examples of that trend.) Set in the '80s,  Sam Mendes ' Oscar-nominated film stars  Olivia Colman  as a cinema worker struggling with her mental health as she strikes up a fledgling romance with her new coworker ( Micheal Ward ). The real star of the show is the great  Roger Deakins ' cinematography, though. - Allison Picurro   [ Trailer ]    

All That Breathes

For fans of:  Heartwarming stories, birds

Salik Rehman, All That Breathes

Salik Rehman, All That Breathes

Year:  2022 Director:  Shaunak Sen Genre:  Documentary Rating:  n/a Metacritic score:   87

A nominee for Best Documentary Feature at this year's Academy Awards,  All That Breathes  is a touching film about two brothers in New Delhi who run a bird hospital. When black kites, a bird of prey essential to the city's ecosystem, start falling out of the polluted skies, the siblings make it their mission to rescue and treat them. The Oscars were right about this one: It's easily one of the best documentaries of the year. - Allison Picurro   [ Trailer ]

This Place Rules

For fans of:  Gawking, guerilla media, extreme politics

Andrew Callaghan, This Place Rules

Andrew Callaghan, This Place Rules

Year:  2022 Director:  Andrew Callaghan Genre:  Documentary Rating:  TV-MA Metacritic score:   n/a

Viral YouTube guerilla journalist Andrew Callaghan continues his deep, embedded dive into far-right and far-left politics in this documentary film examining the genesis of the January 6 Capitol riots. Callaghan gets access to some big names (Alex Jones, Proud Boys bigwig Henry Tarrio), but it's his time spent with some of the regular out-there true believers — like the elementary schooler who was taught that some people in the government are reptilian humanoids — that really stands out. Unlike other web journalists of his ilk, Callaghan isn't trying to be the star, he's just trying to show perspective. And what he shows us is shocking, hilarious, frightening, and depressing. - Tim Surette   [ Trailer ]    

For fans of:  Eating the rich

The Menu

Ralph Fiennes and Anya Taylor-Joy, The Menu

Year:  2022 Director:  Mark Mylod Stars:  Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult, Hong Chau, John Leguizamo, Judith Light Genre:  Thriller, Horror, Comedy Rating:  R Metacritic score:   71

Succession  director Mark Mylod makes his feature directorial debut with this darkly comedic thriller that satirizes foodie culture. Set during one fateful night at a remote, ultra-exclusive restaurant run by a celebrity chef ( Ralph Fiennes ), his high-end diners begin to realize that the menu he's planned for them has some sinister secrets baked into it. - Allison Picurro   [ Trailer ]

The Banshees of Inisherin

For fans of:  Miniature ponies, friend divorces

Colin Farrell and Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin

Colin Farrell and Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin

Year:  2022 Director:  Martin McDonagh Stars:  Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, Barry Keoghan Genre:  Drama, Comedy Rating:  R Metacritic score:   87

One of the best films of 2022, The Banshees of Inisherin  takes place on a gloomy Irish island that begins to fall apart when two guys who live there — played by Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson — stop being friends. It's not a mutual break-up: Farrell's Pádraic is a simple man whose main sources of joy involve hanging out with his miniature pony and drinking beer in the afternoons with Gleeson's Colm. But Colm comes to the decision that he's running out of time to waste in life and doesn't want to spend it with someone he deems a lost cause. Pádraic is baffled and devastated, and the film escalates to gory heights when Colm makes it clear what he's willing to do in order to get Pádraic to leave him alone. It's a tragic and darkly funny look at the way relationships and perspectives change as people age, set against the backdrop of the Irish Civil War. - Allison Picurro   [ Trailer ]

For fans of:  U.S. history, famous people


John David Washington, Christian Bale, and Margot Robbie,  Amsterdam

Year:  2022 Director:  David O. Russell Stars:  Christian Bale, John David Washington, Margot Robbie, Taylor Swift, Robert De Niro, Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Rock, Michael Shannon, Mike Myers, Rami Malek, Timothy Olyphant, Zoe Saldana Genre:  Drama, History, Comedy Rating:  R Metacritic score:   48

Christian Bale , John David Washington , and Margot Robbie star in David O. Russell 's historical film set in the 1930s about three friends who become suspects in a murder and, in the process, unwittingly get involved in a bizarre political conspiracy. It's one of those movies where everything's moving fast, absolutely every character is played by someone super famous ( Taylor Swift herself is in it), and the tone vacillates between screwball comedy and sincere period piece. It received middling reviews and lost a lot of money upon its theatrical release, but now you can watch and make up your mind for yourself. - Allison Picurro   [ Trailer ]

Don't Worry Darling

For fans of:   The Stepford Wives , Harry Styles

Don't Worry Darling

Harry Styles and Florence Pugh,  Don't Worry Darling

Year:  2022 Director:  Olivia Wilde Stars:  Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde, Gemma Chan Genre:  Drama, Mystery, Thriller, Horror, Crime Rating:  R Metacritic score:   48

Florence Pugh and Harry Styles star in this thriller about a young couple living in a classic, idealized 1950s suburban community. The wives stay home while the husbands disappear to work on a mysterious project, and it's not until Alice (Pugh) starts asking questions that she realizes there's something much darker going on under the surface. Look, the reality is that Don't Worry Darling is slightly less entertaining than the circus of its press tour, but superb performances from Pugh and Chris Pine are not to be missed. - Allison Picurro   [ Trailer ]

For fans of:  Haunted houses, twists, the Justin Longaissance


Georgina Campbell, Barbarian

Year:  2022 Director:  Zach Cregger Stars:  Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgård, Justin Long, Matthew Patrick Davis Genre:  Thriller, Horror Rating:  R Metacritic score:   78

Barbarian did something clever by releasing something of a bait and switch trailer, which makes itself out to be a standard story about a woman ( Georgina Campbell ) spending the night in the same house as a crazy man ( Bill Skarsgård , one of the best at playing crazy men) who lures her down into a creepy basement after they get double-booked at the same Airbnb. And that is what it's about at first, sort of, before quickly revealing that it's about something else entirely, which I won't spoil here. It might stealthily be one of the best horror movies of the year. - Allison Picurro   [ Trailer ]

38 at the Garden 

For fans of:  The NBA, remembering Linsanity

Jeremy Lin, 38 at the Garden

Jeremy Lin, 38 at the Garden

Year:  2022 Director:  Frank Chi Genre:  Documentary Rating:  n/a Metacritic score: n/a

Taiwanese American Harvard-educated hooper Jeremy Lin went from warming the end of the New York Knicks' bench to global superstardom in a matter of days when he was finally given a chance to play regular minutes in the NBA in early 2012. It's one of the greatest sports stories ever, and the subject of this short — 38 minutes — documentary that interviews Lin, former NBA players, and famous talking heads about his impact on the sport, culture, and the Asian American community. I could have watched another hour of this and would have loved to have seen more details and footage from his glory season, but sadly, the documentary ends as quickly as Linsanity did.  -Tim Surette   [ Trailer ]

For fans of:  The King, the excessive cinematic stylings of Baz Luhrmann

Austin Butler, Elvis

Austin Butler, Elvis

Year:  2022 Director:  Baz Luhrmann Stars:  Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge Genre:  Drama, Musical Rating:  PG-13 Metacritic score:   64

Whether you count yourself as a fan of his or not, culture is better when Baz Luhrmann gets to go wild and make a big-budget spectacle. His latest is the Elvis Presley biopic Elvis , a disorienting '50s-themed carnival ride condensed into a two-and-a-half-hour movie. Here, a star is born in Austin Butler  as Presley, joined by a gonzo Tom Hanks  as Presley's mustache-twirling cartoon villain of a manager Tom Parker. But how am I supposed to criticize or care when Luhrmann, in all of his galaxy-brained ingenuity, decided to score a scene with a mash-up of "Viva Las Vegas" and Britney Spears' "Toxic"? What's going on in Elvis is bigger than all of us. You might as well give yourself over to it. -Allison Picurro   [ Trailer ]

We Met in Virtual Reality

For fans of:  The power of the internet

We Met in Virtual Reality

Year: 2022 Director:  Joe Hunting Genre: Documentary Rating:  NR Metacritic score:   77

This documentary about online communities on the virtual reality platform VRChat — and filmed exclusively within VRChat — starts off wild, with dozens of people and their bizarre avatars having a blast goofing off. But as the film focuses on individual stories — a couple who fell in love, an ASL teacher, and more — the real poignancy of these virtual spaces shines through for an extremely touching film about belonging, the future of social norms, and how technology shapes us. This one hits hard, and it's wonderful. - Tim Surette [ Trailer ]

Father of the Bride

For fans of:  The original Father of the Bride

Andy Garcia and Adria Arjona, Father of the Bride

Andy Garcia and Adria Arjona, Father of the Bride

Year:  2022 Director:  Gary Alazraki Stars:  Andy Garcia, Gloria Estefan, Adria Arjona Genre:  Drama, Fantasy, Comedy, Romance Rating:  PG-13 Metacritic score:   65

This is not the 1991 Steve Martin movie, but it does follow a similar plot. 2022's Father of the Bride focuses on a Cuban-American family, and centers on a father, played by Andy Garcia, who has to come to terms with the fact that his daughter is getting married. You know the formula, but to give credit where it's due, this new version adds just enough of its own cultural perspective to make it not seem like a carbon copy. - Allison Picurro   [ Trailer ]  

For fans of:  The power of women, timely issues

The Janes

Year:  2022 Director:  Emma Pildes and Tia Lessin Genre:  Documentary Rating:  NR Metacritic score:   83

Emma Pildes and Tia Lessin's documentary follows a group of women in the pre-Roe v. Wade era who bravely built an underground network that helped provide access to safe abortions for people with unwanted pregnancies. It was an organization formed in direct opposition to state legislation that banned abortions, and the sobering relevance of that can't be overstated. - Allison Picurro   [ Trailer ]      

George Carlin's American Dream

For fans of:  Beloved comedians, looking at old comedy bits through a modern lens

George Carlin, George Carlin's American Dream

George Carlin, George Carlin's American Dream

Year:  2022 Director:  Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio Stars:  George Carlin, Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Stewart, Chris Rock, Patton Oswalt, Stephen Colbert, Bill Burr Genre:  Documentary Rating:  NR Metacritic score:   86

This documentary is kind of like a long version of one of those "George Carlin predicted this!" Facebook posts your uncle is always circulating, but in a good, well-crafted way. Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio 's film looks at the life of one of the most influential comedians of all time with the goal of re-examining his jokes for our current era. It's filled with famous talking heads from the world of comedy ( Jerry Seinfeld , Chris Rock , Stephen Colbert , and more) who discuss their hero at length, and uses other funny people like Gillian Jacobs and Megan Stalter to read fan letters and diary entries. Both parts clock in at an intimidating four hours, but it's an interesting spin on the traditional famous person documentary format. - Allison Picurro   [ Trailer ] 

The Matrix  film series

For fans of:  Questioning reality, incredible/hilarious action set pieces, learning about the origins of redpilling

Carrie-Ann Moss and Keanu Reeves, The Matrix Resurrections

Carrie-Ann Moss and Keanu Reeves, The Matrix Resurrections

Year:  1999, 2003, 2004, 2021 Director:  Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski Stars:  Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Ann Moss, Laurence Fishburne Genre:  Sci-Fi Rating:  R Metacritic score:   73 , 62 , 47 , 63

Ever heard of it? All the way back in 1999, the Wachowskis gave us The Matrix , a movie about reality being different than the reality we all think we're living in, and now all these years later, Reddit users have turned "redpilling" into a whole men's rights activism thing. How the world has changed! Despite all that, these movies still rule (even an OK Matrix movie is still a ton of fun to watch), with excellently choreographed fight scenes, and all of them are devoid of all the annoying quippy humor every action movie made today has. The polarizing fourth film,  The Matrix Resurrections , is very, very different from the first three, but its strangeness and the fact that it exists at all make it a must-watch. - Allison Picurro   [ Trailer ] 

For fans of:  Bad detective work, riddles, Nirvana

Zoë Kravitz and Robert Pattinson, The Batman

Zoë Kravitz and Robert Pattinson, The Batman

Year:  2022 Director:  Matt Reeves Stars:  Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, Colin Farrell, John Turturro, Andy Serkis Genre:  Action, Sci-Fi, Drama, Mystery, Crime Rating:  PG-13 Metacritic score:   72

There seem to be two general reactions to The Batman : Either you think it's the greatest Batman movie of all time, or you're totally ambivalent about it. But you'll never know until you watch it! Here, Robert Pattinson dons the big black cape and a whole Hot Topic's worth of black eye makeup to play Bruce Wayne's alter ego. The film follows Batman's hunt for a killer with the peculiar quirk of leaving a trail of cryptic riddles in his wake, uncovering dark secrets about Gotham's history of corruption along the way. Doing an incredible approximation of a New Yawk accent and wearing about 200 layers of prosthetics that rendered him wholly unrecognizable, Colin Farrell steals this movie with his performance as The Penguin, and we'll soon get to see how he holds his own now that HBO Max went ahead and gave him his own spin-off series . - Allison Picurro   [ Trailer ]

Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off

For fans of:  Tony Hawk's Twitter account, skateboarding

Tony Hawk and Sam Jones, Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off

Tony Hawk and Sam Jones, Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off

Year:  2022 Director:  Sam Jones Stars:  Tony Hawk Genre:  Biography, Sport, Documentary Rating:  NR Metacritic score:   74

Tony Hawk , the godfather of skateboarding and getting misrecognized in public, gets a documentary detailing the ups, downs, frontside grinds, and McTwists of his life. The film is at its best when it's examining Hawk's irrepressible drive to figure out a trick — his attempts at landing a 900 give Until the Wheels Fall Off its meaning and heart — and the cost of that drive in his personal life, but the basic recounts of his achievements as a young pro, which take up a good chunk of the first half, are mostly filler. The more interesting stuff happens when friends, family, and former enemies all explain why Tony is a skategod. -Tim Surette [ Trailer ]

King Richard

For fans of: Triumphant sports stories, Venus and Serena

King Richard

Year:  2021 Director:  Reinaldo Marcus Green Stars:  Will Smith, Aunjanue Ellis, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, Jon Bernthal, Tony Goldwyn Genre:  Biography, Drama, Sport Rating:  PG-13 Metacritic score:   76

Will Smith  won a Best Actor Oscar in this biopic of Richard Williams, father of tennis icons Venus and Serena Williams. He portrays Richard with careful intensity in his dedication to shaping his young daughters' commitment to the sport, doing everything in his power and going to audacious lengths to help push them forward. King Richard  goes beyond the confines of a typical movie like this with its dedication to crafting some spectacular tennis scenes, as well as scene-stealing supporting performances from Saniyya Sidney as Venus;  Aunjanue Ellis as the sisters' mother, Brandy Price; and Jon Bernthal as Venus' coach. Plus, Beyoncé wrote a power ballad for it. - Allison Picurro   [ Trailer ]

For fans of: Sand, cinematography, remakes worth a darn

Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, and Timothée Chalamet, Dune

Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, and Timothée Chalamet, Dune

Year:  2021 Director:  Denis Villenueve Stars:  Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac Genre:  Drama, Science-Fiction Rating:  PG-13 Metacritic score:   74

Denis Villenueve's new take on Frank Herbert's science-fiction novel (and David Lynch's "classic" 1984 version) is a stunning film, despite all the browns. The hard sci-fi story follows Paul Atreides ( Timothée Chalamet ), a young royal, as his family is thrust into battle for a planet that is the only source for the most valuable substance in the universe, spice. But you are just watching for the giants worms, right? Dune is back on HBO Max for good after a simultaneous release in theaters and on HBO Max and a 90-day break from HBO Max to boost those box office numbers. - Tim Surette  [ Trailer ]

Drive My Car

For fans of: Oscar films, tenderness, slow burns

Hidetoshi Nishijima and Toko Miura, Drive My Car

Hidetoshi Nishijima and Toko Miura, Drive My Car

Year:  2021 Director:  Ryûsuke Hamaguchi Stars:  Hidetoshi Nishijima, Toko Miura Genre:  Drama Rating:  NR Metacritic score:   91

Adapted from a Haruki Murakami short story,  Ryûsuke Hamaguchi 's Oscar-nominated film follows an aging, widowed actor ( Hidetoshi Nishijima ) who takes a job directing a stage adaptation of  Uncle Vanya . He strikes up a curious bond with the young woman ( Toko Miura ) tasked with chauffeuring him back and forth, and begins to process his grief for his wife through their conversations. Its runtime clocks in at three hours total, but every hauntingly beautiful minute is worth it. - Allison Picurro  [ Trailer ]

For fans of: Hitchcock for today's age, staying inside, pandemic paranoia

Zoë Kravitz, KIMI

Zoë Kravitz, KIMI

Year:  2021 Director:  Steven Soderbergh Stars:  Zoë Kravitz Genre:  Drama, Thriller Rating: NR Metacritic score:   78

Zoë Kravitz plays an agoraphobe who works for a tech company with its own digital personal assistant. Her job is to listen to users' failed requests and improve the gadget's artificial intelligence, but when she thinks she hears a murder in one of the recordings, she inadvertently gets involved in the crime. It's a thriller in the vein of Rear Window , but better than it should be thanks to Kravitz and the eye of director Steven Soderbergh. -Tim Surette [ Trailer ]

The Fallout

For fans of: High school, trauma bonding, indie film

Jenna Ortega and Maddie Ziegler, The Fallout

Jenna Ortega and Maddie Ziegler, The Fallout

Year:  2021 Director:  Megan Park Stars:  Jenna Ortega, Maddie Ziegler Genre:  Drama Rating:  R Metacritic score:   84

This indie follows two high school girls — played by Jenna Ortega and Maddie Ziegler — who strike up a bond after surviving a school shooting. The movie is more of an empathetic look at their responses to it than it is about the actual tragedy, which is a refreshing change of pace from movies like this, which typically try to turn their characters into inspiring symbols of resilience. The Fallout is more interested in exploring how these kids get through the day after witnessing something unthinkable. Shailene Woodley and Julie Bowen co-star. - Allison Picurro   [ Trailer ]

The Suicide Squad

For fans of:  Re-do movies, blood, antiheroes

The Suicide Squad

Year:  2021 Director:  James Gunn Stars:  Idris Elba, John Cena, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Joel Kinnaman Genre:  Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi Rating:  R Metacritic score:   72

Not to be confused with 2016's Suicide Squad (there's no "the" in that one, get it?),  James Gunn  directs this irreverent superhero movie about a team of villains who are recruited by the government to go to a remote island and destroy an evil starfish. With a cast that includes  Margot Robbie ,  Idris Elba ,  John Cena ,  Joel Kinnaman , and  Viola Davis  and over-the-top violence that fits the franchise, it's a big improvement from the first Suicide Squad movie. Once you're done watching it, you can check out HBO Max's spin-off series  Peacemaker , which centers on Cena's character. - Tim Surette  [ Trailer ] 

Spirited Away

For fans of: Gorgeous animation, enchanting stories


Year:  2002 Director:  Hayao Miyazaki Stars:  Hidetoshi Nishijima, Toko Miura Genre:  Adventure, Fantasy, Animation Rating:  PG Metacritic score:   96

One of the coolest things about HBO Max is that it's home to the Studio Ghibli collection, putting Hayao Miyazaki's greatest films in one place. Spirited Away is probably his most famous one, having won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. It came out in 2001, and all these years later, it remains a stunningly animated, wholly moving film, following a little girl named Chihiro whose parents are turned into pigs by a witch, forcing her to enter the witch's treacherous, mysterious world as she tries to find a way to free her parents. It's an absolutely magical experience, and the perfect gateway to Miyazaki's work. - Allison Picurro   [ Trailer ] 

Zack Snyder's Justice League

For fans of: Acts of fan service, superhero team-ups, long movies made longer

Henry Cavill, Jason Mamoa, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Ben Affleck, and Ray Fisher, Zack Snyder's Justice League

Henry Cavill, Jason Mamoa, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Ben Affleck, and Ray Fisher, Zack Snyder's Justice League

Year:  2021 Director:  Zack Snyder Stars:  Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Jared Leto, Jason Momoa Genre:  Drama, Action Rating: NR Metacritic score:   54

What else is there to say about  Zack Snyder's Justice League ? Much like the original 2017 non-Snyder cut, this  Justice League  follows a team of superheroes, comprised of Batman ( Ben Affleck ), Superman ( Henry Cavill ), Wonder Woman ( Gal Gadot ), Aquaman ( Jason Momoa ), The Flash ( Ezra Miller ), and Cyborg ( Ray Fisher ), as they attempt to save the world from a powerful supervillain, but this version has new scenes and world-building elements that Joss Whedon's version did not. It's also much longer, clocking in at just over four hours. - Allison Picurro  [ Trailer ]

Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street

For fans of:  The wholesome art of kids' TV, Elmo and friends

Jim Henson, Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street

Jim Henson, Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street

Year:  2021 Director:  Marilyn Agrelo Genre:  Documentary Rating:  PG Metacritic score:   82

I can't think of a more wholesome time than watching a documentary about how Sesame Street came to be. Back in the '60s, a group of geniuses had the radical idea to make kids' programming educational, which of course ended up becoming one of the most successful and influential TV series of all time. It's fun to see people like Jim Henson and Frank Oz when they were young and totally uncertain about the gamble they were making on this show about friendly puppets. - Allison Picurro   [ Trailer ] 

The Lord of the Rings  trilogy

For fans of: Epic fantasies, friendship, dangerous jewelry

Viggo Mortensen, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Viggo Mortensen,  Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Year:  2001, 2002, 2003 Director:  Peter Jackson Stars:  Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen, Andy Serkis, Liv Tyler Genre:  Drama, Fantasy Rating: PG-13 Metacritic score:   92 , 87 , 94

If HBO Max only had the extended editions of the  Lord of the Rings trilogy I would still confidently call it the best streaming service out there. Luckily, it has a lot more stuff than that (clearly), but that doesn't make it any less exciting that  LOTR fans can watch the full versions of Peter Jackson's sprawling, visually stunning adventure series whenever we want. Even if you haven't seen them, you're probably familiar with the general plot: Frodo (Elijah Wood), a hobbit, goes on a quest to destroy the extraordinarily powerful One Ring and the dark lord who made it. Each extended installment clocks in at well over three hours, but HBO Max also has the regular theatrical cuts (which, admittedly, are all about three hours) if you're more of a casual fan. There's no wrong way to watch LOTR . - Allison Picurro   [ Trailer ] 

For fans of:  Movies that feel like fever dreams

Annabelle Wallis, Malignant

Annabelle Wallis, Malignant

Year:  2021 Director:  James Wan Stars:  Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young Genre:  Horror Rating:  R Metacritic score:   51

HBO Max has a big selection of horror movies that includes things like  The Shining  and the Conjuring series, but I'm choosing to highlight James Wan's frankly batty  Malignant to represent them all. It's an audacious, wholly original thrill ride about a woman (Annabelle Wallis) who keeps having visions of people being killed, only to realize the murders are actually happening in real life. I won't spoil anything, but when she eventually learns who the murderer is, it results in one of the wildest horror-action showcases you'll likely ever see. Malignant is a cult classic in the making, and it deserves our respect. - Allison Picurro   [ Trailer ] 

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The best movies on Max right now

Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson as two lighthouse keepers in The Lighthouse.

Max is a go-to platform for streaming the best movies thanks to its accessibility and its countless hours’ worth of content. Beyond quantity, the streamer’s greatest strength is the diversity of the films in its catalog.

Every kind of fan will find their niches catered to, with Max’s library spanning fantasy, sci-fi, comedies, dramas, and more. Still, the sheer amount of content available can intimidate new subscribers. Thankfully, this monthly-updated guide combs through the service’s selection to highlight some of the best movies to watch on Max right now.

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. 

The Lighthouse (2019)

Director Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse is one of the most inventive dramas in recent years. The plot follows 19th-century lighthouse keepers Ephraim Winslow ( The Batman 2′ s Robert Pattinson) and Thomas Wake ( Poor Things ‘ Willem Dafoe). The two find themselves stranded on a remote New England outpost after a devastating storm, with their mental faculties deteriorating from the isolation.

The Lighthouse earned widespread acclaim for its brutally tense atmosphere and commanding co-leading performances from Pattinson and Dafoe. The movie is an inspired mash-up of various genres, ranging from drama and thriller to psychological horror.

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Mad Max (1979)

With George Miller’s Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga releasing soon , it’s worth diving back into the director’s debut in this franchise. Miller’s Mad Max stars Mel Gibson as the eponymous antihero navigating the postapocalyptic wasteland of a near-future take on Australia. Once a police officer before the country’s societal collapse, “Mad” Max Rockatansky wanders the landscape as a vigilante fighting off the biker gang forces who dominate the roads.

While it received a mixed reception when it premiered in 1979, Mad Max earned retroactive praise as decades passed. The movie was particularly lauded for director Miller’s vision of this dystopic landscape and the bold choreography for its over-the-top action sequences.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)

While the 2000s were understandably dominated by Spider-Man, the X-Men, and Batman, the Hellboy duology deserves more praise. Directed by Guillermo del Toro , Hellboy II: The Golden Army sees the titular superhero (Ron Perlman) and his team at the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense fight against the resurgent forces of a mythical underworld prince who is amassing the Golden Army to reclaim Earth from humanity.

Though it didn’t take the box office by storm, Hellboy II: The Golden Army garnered a strong critical reception for its imaginative take on this comic book universe. Del Toro is a well-known auteur director, and his eye for fantasy and horror combines perfectly with creator Mike Mignola’s weird world.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

From Poor Things director Yorgos Lanthimos , The Killing of a Sacred Deer is another thoughtfully made thriller. Famed cardiac surgeon Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) lives a picturesque suburban life with his wife, Anna (Nicole Kidman). However, this idealized lifestyle of his is disrupted in eerie ways by Martin Lang ( Saltburn ‘s Barry Keoghan), a fatherless teenager with a connection to Steven’s past.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer received a positive critical reception for Lanthimos’ uncompromising approach to his surreal directing style. Complemented by an impressive main cast, the movie is an exciting horror-thriller with an unforgettable aesthetic.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001)

The Harry Potter franchise’s global juggernaut status is partly due to the film series’ critical success. Directed by Chris Columbus, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone — or Philosopher’s Stone , alternatively — adapts the first book in author J.K. Rowling’s acclaimed series. After living in his abusive uncle and aunt’s house, young Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) discovers he’s a powerful wizard and embarks on his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

He meets various characters, including his endearing friends Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint). Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was praised for its tasteful balance of faithfulness to the book and condensing it to fit into a satisfying feature-length runtime. More than that, its main cast was lauded for their charm and heartfelt performances.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

While it was a box-office bomb when it released in 2010, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World   developed into a cult classic thanks to its strong critical reception. Director Edgar Wright’s take on this universe does justice to Bryan Lee O’Malley’s comic book series, telling the story of musician Scott Pilgrim’s (Michael Cera) efforts to win a music competition and a record deal.

At the same time, Scott has to fend off the seven evil exes of his girlfriend, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Though it has a straightforward plot, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World elevates it with colorful comic book-like imagery  and lively performances. The movie leans into its larger-than-life nature and is complemented by its quirky humor.

Black Swan (2010)

Director Darren Aronofsky is famed for his frighteningly surreal brand of horror and thrills, with Black Swan being his highlight from the 2010s. Based on an original story by co-writer Andres Heinz, the plot centers around two ballet dancers, Nina Sayers ( May December ‘s Natalie Portman) and Lily (Mila Kunis), cast as the White and Black Swans, respectively, for a production of Swan Lake .

This premise unravels into something far bleaker when Nina succumbs to the relentless pressure of competition, leading to her struggling to separate fiction from reality and Lily becoming far more than her on-stage counterpart. Black Swan earned critical acclaim for its unsettlingly clever spin on Swan Lake and for using its premise to explore the concept of looming doppelgangers. Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis’ chemistry earned the strongest plaudits, as the former won the Academy Award for Best Actress.

Source Code (2011)

The science fiction genre succeeding on the big screen is always a joy to see, adaptation or otherwise, and 2011’s Source Code is one of the more popular original sci-fi movies in recent memory. Directed by Duncan Jones, the plot has U.S. Army Captain Colter Stevens ( Road House ‘s Jake Gyllenhaal) repeatedly thrown into an eight-minute time loop of a train explosion to uncover the identity of the terrorist responsible.

Source Code received widespread acclaim for its original and high-octane story, backed by Jake Gyllenhaal’s reliably charismatic performance. Both Jones and writer Ben Ripley’s sci-fi thriller is suitably mind-bending, but the plot also leaves room for a sincere human element worth rooting for at its core.

The Green Knight (2021)

Director David Lowery’s The Green Knight puts Dev Patel in an interesting new take on Arthurian legend. Taking inspiration from the 14th-century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight , Patel takes on the role of King Arthur’s stubborn nephew Gawain as he dives headfirst into a grand and bizarre quest to challenge the Green Knight and achieve glory.

The Green Knight is an impressive feat, as this A24 indie movie features visually stunning — and even surreal — visuals and production value. Dev Patel is a standout performer throughout the movie, making its sincere coming-of-age themes feel impactful as this subversive take on the Arthurian story plays out.

Good Time (2017)

After the financially lucrative Twilight franchise came to an end theatrically, Robert Pattinson tested his acting mettle in a series of unique indie movies. Josh and Benny Safdie’s Good Time was among the greatest standouts, following the story of a petty criminal (Pattinson) who tries to free his developmentally disabled brother (Benny Safdie) from prison after an attempted robbery goes wrong.

Good Time is an excellent small-scale crime drama and keeps a frenetic energy throughout this story. It also further proves how much of a chameleon Pattinson is as an actor, with his character Connie Nikas being palpably hateable in the role and notably different than other characters he’s played.

The Revenant (2015)

Director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant will always be at least partly known for getting Leonardo DiCaprio his first acting Oscar Award, but it’s compelling in its own right as well.

Loosely based on author Michael Punke’s novel of the same name, the movie is centered around a revenge story, as frontiersman Hugh Glass survives a brutal bear attack and hunts down the men who left him to die. The Revenant is filled with striking camera shots and bolstered by DiCaprio’s visceral performance, with Tom Hardy playing a convincing antagonist alongside him. The movie’s runtime and pacing can occasionally feel drawn out, but overall, it’s a gripping tale of vengeance.

Godzilla (2014)

With director Adam Wingard’s Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire being the latest in the thriving Monsterverse franchise, now is a great time to watch the movie that kickstarted the shared universe. Director Gareth Edwards ‘ ( Rogue One: A Star Wars Story , The Creator ) Godzilla unfolds when an American soldier is entangled in an ancient conflict between the titular reptilian Titan and two beasts of a species dubbed MUTOs.

While Edwards overplays his hand somewhat in giving the monster enough screen time, Godzilla’s presence throughout the movie is wonderfully atmospheric, building up to his appearances with an almost Jaws -like approach. Godzilla makes each of the reptile’s appearances feel significant, and the monster-fighting action is incredibly cathartic.

Midsommar (2019)

Director Ari Aster and A24 have developed some hauntingly memorable horror movies , and 2019’s Midsommar is no exception. The Hereditary director takes a different approach in this chilling feature, with Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor playing a dysfunctional couple who take a vacation with their friends to a rural Swedish settlement, only to get entangled in a grim pagan cult.

Similar to Hereditary , Aster’s Midsommar succeeds in horrifying audiences without the need for cheap jump scares by emphasizing visceral, psychological, and body horror direction in its storytelling. Pugh is the standout performer, as she makes her and the group’s steady decline and the unraveling of the cult’s practices mesmerizing.

The Breakfast Club (1985)

The 1985 movie The Breakfast Club is a bona fide coming-of-age teen comedy and drama classic. Directed by John Hughes ( Ferris Bueller’s Day Off , Planes, Trains and Automobiles , Home Alone ), the movie follows the story of five teenagers in a high school, each belonging to a unique clique that is a stark contrast to the others. Andrew Clark (Emilio Estevez) is the “jock,” Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall) is the “nerd,” John Bender (Judd Nelson) is the “criminal,” Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald) is the “princess,” and Allison Reynolds (Allie Sheedy) is the “basket case,” with all five of them attending Saturday detention for various reasons.

The Breakfast Club holds up well as a heartfelt and endearing character-driven story. With sincere coming-of-age themes at its core, including coming from troubled homes and struggling to find one’s identity, The Breakfast Club is endlessly relatable.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

Directed by Nicholas Meyer, this sequel sees Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and the rest of the USS Enterprise clash against the vengeful genetically engineered conqueror Khan (Ricardo Montalbán) as he attempts to acquire a devastating terraforming weapon dubbed Genesis.

Overall, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was seen as a triumphant return to form for the franchise on the big screen, doing a markedly better job of evoking what made the TV show so successful. The movie featured spirited and grandiose performances from the main cast of heroes, a convincing new villain, and a sense of swashbuckling adventure that longtime fans and newcomers could enjoy.

The Ides of March (2011)

A movie that was directed and co-written by and starred George Clooney, The Ides of March was a compelling political drama. The movie is an adaptation of Beau Willimon’s play Farragut North — who also co-wrote the script with Clooney — The Ides of March mainly centers around press secretary Stephen Meyers (played by Barbie ‘s Ryan Gosling) grappling with the fact that Mike Morris (played by Clooney), the political candidate he’s backing for the presidency, works for an immoral figure higher up the ladder.

The ambitious press secretary and campaign manager becomes tangled in the middle of a political scandal where he struggles with maintaining his dignity and giving into the dirty politics to advance his career. Ironically, The Ides of March might not be the most ambitious social commentary on political corruption, but it’s a convincing enough drama thanks to the talented duo of Gosling and Clooney.

RoboCop (1987)

Arguably actor Peter Weller’s most iconic theatrical role, 1987’s RoboCop is a classic sci-fi action movie of the era. The Paul Verhoeven -directed story follows police officer Alex Murphy (played by Weller) in a crime-infested Detroit set in a dystopic sci-fi future. The officer is murdered in a gang attack but is later revived by the corporation Omni Consumer Products to experiment with their titular “RoboCop” initiative.

Together with Ridley Scott’s 1982 film Blade Runner , RoboCop helped bolster the cyberpunk subgenre, with the movie having an impressive level of nuance. While the cartoonishly over-the-top action certainly draws appeal on its own, RoboCop uses its titular cyborg protagonist to explore themes of what it means to lose one’s humanity, as well as a bold critique of corporate corruption and the real-world economic policies driving the U.S. at the time.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

The long-awaited prequel Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga   finally has a trailer out and a release date set, making director George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road the perfect watch for the uninitiated. A reboot of the classic film series starring Mel Gibson, Fury Road sees Tom Hardy ( Bronson , Warrior , The Dark Knight Rises ) as the titular protagonist teaming up with Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) in a rebellion against the brutal cult leader Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne).

The movie proved to be an excellent reboot of the franchise, bolstered by a tense story, jaw-dropping action set pieces, and impressive cinematography. Mad Max: Fury Road stands as one of the most impressive dystopian sci-fi movies of the modern era.

Jurassic World (2015)

Though arguably nothing will top Steven Spielberg’s acclaimed 1993 classic, director Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World is an exciting sci-fi thriller on its own terms. Several years after the theme park failed, the titular vacation destination has replaced its predecessor, even operating smoothly for some time. However, things inevitably veer into chaos when the park’s experimentation with hybrid species leads to a breakout of the Indominus Rex.

Claire Denning (played by Bryce Dallas Howard), the park’s operations manager, and Owen Grady (played by Chris Pratt), an expert animal handler, are forced to lead an emergency containment effort. Jurassic World succeeds with how it leans on being an unapologetic nostalgia trip, with its CG dinosaurs providing fast-paced thrills amid touches on the classic “man playing god” theme of the original Jurassic Park .

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)

Director Stephen Herek’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is a cult-classic romp from the ’80s that’s fondly remembered today. The sci-fi comedy stars Keanu Reeves as Ted Logan and Alex Winter as Bill Preston, two high-school slackers who embark on a time-traveling journey to pass their history class and fulfill their future of becoming utopian paragons.

Accompanied by the time-traveler Rufus (George Carlin), the movie boasts an endearing cast of characters that help make for a charming sci-fi comedy. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure remains a delightfully goofy adventure today that will satisfy those looking for some ’80s nostalgia. This movie is also responsible for breaking Keanu Reeves’ career into the mainstream.

Aliens (1986)

Not many film franchises have the benefit of changing directors with similarly lauded reputation in the industry, but Aliens certainly did. Picking up the baton from Ridley Scott’s trailblazing original, James Cameron takes the reign of this sequel, seeing the iconic sci-fi female lead Ellen Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver) agree to investigate the source of a loss in communication with a human lunar colony at the site of the original movie.

Still regarded today as one of the greatest sci-fi movies ever made — and in general — Aliens was widely acclaimed for its blend of sci-fi, horror, and visceral action. Like with Scott’s film, this sophomore installment in a legacy series was anchored by another commanding performance by Weaver.

Rocky (1976)

One of the most iconic movies of the ’70s, director John Avildsen’s Rocky paved the way for a theatrical legacy. Starring Sylvester Stallone as up-and-coming boxer Rocky Balboa, audiences are treated to the young and unlikely upstart’s journey from poor club fighter dodging loan sharks to taking a shot at the heavyweight belt held by the legendary Apollo Creed.

Also written by Stallone, Rocky was groundbreaking for popularizing the “rags-to-riches” trope in inspiring dramas, as well as becoming a quintessential sports drama in film. Bolstered by a courageous performance by Stallone, swelling score, and striking cinematography, Rocky holds up well today and leaves a promising successor in the form of Michael B. Jordan’s Creed series.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Adapted from the novel of the same name by Lauren Weisberger, director David Frankel’s The Devil Wears Prada became a mid-2000s classic. The movie revolves around recent college graduate Andy Sachs (played by Anne Hathaway) as she lands a job in New York as prolific fashion magazine editor Miranda Priestly’s (played by Meryl Streep) co-assistant.

Effortlessly blending comedy, drama, and witty commentary on the ruthlessness of the fashion industry, The Devil Wears Prada is an incredibly entertaining romp. It earned Streep another feather in her cap with a Golden Globe award win, with Hathaway getting noteworthy praise as well.

Flight (2012)

Denzel Washington has been celebrated for several of his iconic performances, and his role in Flight deserves to be among them. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, Flight is a drama centered around Whip Whitaker (played by Washington), a pilot suffering from severe alcohol and drug addictions who has miraculously managed to go through his career with a clean record.

However, when a mechanical failure on one of his flights forces him to undertake an emergency crash landing, the investigation that follows begins to uexpose his addictive habits. Flight conducts one of the best character profiles in Washington’s backlog, and it marks a triumphant comeback to the industry for director Zemeckis.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

The bourne ultimatum (2007), avatar: the way of water (2022), pulp fiction (1994), moonlight (2016), the lego batman movie (2017), the lord of the rings: the fellowship of the ring (2001), parasite (2019).

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)

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.

Hereditary (2018)

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.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

The dark knight (2008), the lord of the rings: the two towers (2002), batman begins (2005), the witch (2015).

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.

The Batman (2022)

Dune (2021), editors' recommendations.

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Guillermo Kurten

A University of Houston graduate in Print Media Journalism, Guillermo has covered sports entertainment and practically all forms of geek culture as a freelance writer.

His young career so far has seen him write about soccer through websites including Read Bundesliga and Bayern Strikes, specializing in FC Bayern Munich. From there he moved on to Comic Book Resources, Game Rant, The Gamer, and Screen Rant to indulge his inner nerd, with over 2 years and counting as a senior writer at the latter.

Guillermo's interests span video games, movies, TV series, comic books, anime, and manga -- and if you're not careful, will talk your ear off specifically about the last 40-plus years of Batman lore.

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Guillermo studied at Lone Star College in Texas before ultimately completing his Bachelor's degree.

Blair Marnell

Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek Monthly, SYFY Wire, Superhero Hype, Collider, DC Universe, and the official sites for Star Trek and Marvel. He also lends his pop culture expertise to Digital Trends on a variety of TV, movie, and streaming features.

Rick Marshall

A veteran journalist with more than two decades of experience covering local and national news, arts and entertainment, and emerging technology, Rick has been writing for Digital Trends since 2011.

Over the years, Rick has served as an editor for MTV News and Wizard Magazine, as well as a columnist for Time Inc.,, Fandango , and He is a member of Critics Choice Association and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic for films and television series. A voracious consumer of movies and TV series, as well as a lifetime fan of comic books, video games, and all manner of geekery, his work can also be found in Mental Floss ,, and various other print and online outlets.

Dubbed a "Professional Geek," Rick has appeared on Spike TV, MTV, ABC, CBS, Fox Business, and NPR to offer commentary on entertainment and pop culture trends. He served as co-producer and host of WAMC Northeast Public Radio's "RetConned" podcast , interviewing a wide spectrum of pop-culture personalities and creators from 2016-2018.

A native of New York's Capital Region, Rick began his journalism career at the alternative newsweekly Metroland. He was named the New York Press Association's Writer of the Year while covering local, state, and national news around New York's capital city and surrounding region.

Rick attended college at SUNY Plattsburgh and SUNY Albany, earning degrees in Computer Science, Environmental Science, and Journalism. He is a proud father of two great kids, husband to an endlessly patient partner who tolerates his love for "The Transformers: The Movie," and a big fan of good beer.

After avoiding elimination on Tuesday night, the Minnesota Timberwolves look to repeat that accomplishment at home when they take on the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 of the West finals tonight.

The game is about to start, at 8:30 p.m. ET and will be televised on TNT. But if you're looking to stream the NBA playoffs without cable, pick a streaming service from the options below quickly so you don't miss any action. Watch the Mavs vs Timberwolves Game 5 Live Stream on Sling TV

When it comes to attracting A-list Hollywood talent, Apple TV+ has had tremendous success. But the actors are only part of what has put some Apple TV+ series among the best of this decade so far, from Ted Lasso to Severance, Silo, and more. This month, Apple TV+ is offering an intriguing new legal thriller that stars Jake Gyllenhaal, and fans are excited to see the story play out.

If that isn't your cup of tea, there's plenty more to check out on Apple TV+. We have spent hours watching lots of Apple TV+ originals to bring you this consistently updated list of the best shows on Apple TV+ right now. If you haven't been sure about signing up for Apple One or adding Apple TV+ to your streaming TV subscriptions, some of the shows on this list might convince you to check it out. Don't forget to use your applicable free trials!

Among documentary fans, Hulu may not always get its due compared to Netflix, which seemingly has more docuseries and documentaries than almost any other streamer. However, Hulu does have a pretty powerhouse lineup of documentaries of its own, even though a lot of great docs have left the streamer this year.

This month, Paint It Black examines the Uvalde school shooting from the perspective of the local reporters and one of the parents who lost a child. Additionally, The Stones and Brian Jones, looks back at the forgotten founder of the band, while Black Twitter: A People's History and Arnold & Sly: Rivals, Friends, Icons share fascinating oral histories. You can find these projects and more among the best documentaries on Hulu right now.

55 Best Movies On HBO Max

Joker talking

If you're looking for a streaming service with tons of famous, high-quality films across all genres, HBO Max is one of your best bets. Boasting partnerships with Turner Classic Movies and The Criterion Collection , this platform has an extensive backlog of classics and arthouse films. And then you still have to consider everything else  HBO Max has on tap, which includes an amazing selection of popular contemporary films and made-for-HBO content. 

It's hard to get a better deal than that ... but when you finally settle down with your remote, it's also hard to pick a movie. We can tell you that the choice paralysis is very real, and we've wasted a lot of time scrolling through streaming catalogs. You don't want the night to be over before you've even picked your movie! With that in mind, we've curated a list of the 55 best movies on HBO Max. These are all guaranteed to be good for conversation, sheer entertainment, or — best of all — both.

Updated on July 5, 2022:  To stay on top of HBO Max's ever-changing catalog, we'll be updating this list every month with the best new movies available on the platform. Be sure to check back often to keep up with new releases, hidden gems, and beloved classics.

The jazzy "8 1/2" provides an imaginative and tongue-in-cheek look at one director's psychology. Guido Anselmi can barely go an hour without someone implying his work is slipping, and he wants his new movie to express something truer and purer than the last. His artistic ambitions intertwine with his complicated love life as he struggles to sort out his feelings for the women in his life — including the ones in his memories and fantasies. As exuberant as it is brilliant, "8 1/2" is a surreal-tinged ode to creativity, love, lust, and human foibles.

Starring: Marcello Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimée

Director: Federico Fellini

Runtime: 139 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

2001: A Space Odyssey

In "2001: A Space Odyssey," featureless monoliths periodically appear to accelerate intellectual and technological development. This leisurely, chilly, and sophisticated science fiction film covers humanity's evolution from tool-using apes all the way to the futuristic, transcendent "Star Child." Astronaut David Bowman unexpectedly comes face-to-face with this phenomenon when his mission is endangered by the malfunctioning shipboard intelligence, HAL 9000. Bowman must then face the true purpose of his trip, in a way that means he may never return home. "2001: A Space Odyssey" requires patience, but it also rewards it, giving viewers an unforgettable panorama full of dread and wonder.

Starring: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Runtime: 142 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

This beautifully crafted romantic drama offers an in-depth and unsentimental look at the unlikely but sincere love affair between Moroccan immigrant Ali, in his 30s, and native German Emmi, a widow in her 60s. The two are genuinely drawn to each other, and their relationship has a great tenderness to it. However, it attracts nearly constant derision from the people around them, especially after they get married, and their social circles scorn this "unsuitable" romance. It's tempting for Emmi and Ali to trade some of their regard for each other for an easier life — can their marriage really thrive, with so many people against it? Will they betray each other?

Starring: Brigitte Mira, El Hedi ben Salem, Barbara Valentin

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Runtime: 93 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

All the President's Men

"All the President's Men" delves into the true story of the Watergate scandal, providing a grounded and thoroughly detailed look at how Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein investigated and revealed the story. What really makes it great is how it combines that documentary-like depth with top-notch performances and an uneasy, paranoid atmosphere. As Woodward and Bernstein unravel the initial break-in and gradually uncover a massive conspiracy, they get into deeper and deeper danger, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats. It doesn't matter that we know what happens: The movie keeps us riveted all the same.

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Warden

Director: Alan J. Pakula

Runtime: 138 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

The Battle of Algiers

A harrowingly effective film about the realities of guerrilla warfare, "The Battle of Algiers" feels more like a covertly shot documentary than anything scripted. It tells the story of Ali La Pointe, a young Algerian man inducted into fighting the occupying French, and, to a slightly lesser extent, Colonel Mathieu, a French commander charged with cracking down on the revolutionaries. "The Battle of Algiers" delves into the strategy and tactics of this kind of warfare, and doesn't hesitate to show the grim violence that often accompanies it. Its realism and gritty details are a huge strength.

Starring: Jean Martin, Brahim Haggiag, Saadi Yacef

Director: Gillo Pontecorvo

Runtime: 120 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%

Beauty and the Beast

This classic romantic fantasy captures the true meaning of enchantment. When her father unwittingly offends the cursed Beast, Belle agrees to take his place as a prisoner in the monster's castle. She expects terror from her imprisonment, but she doesn't expect the magic that surrounds her — and she certainly doesn't anticipate that the Beast will fall deeply in love with her. But their tentative romance is endangered when Belle's selfish, jealous sisters get involved. The fairy tale elements of "Beauty and the Beast" are handled with grace and delicacy, while incredible make-up and pioneering visual effects help cement its place in movie history.

Starring: Jean Marais, Josette Day, Mila Parély

Director: Jean Cocteau

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

Bicycle Thieves

Italy is in an economic downturn, and Antonio and his family have been pawning their most precious possessions just to stay afloat. When he finally gets a good-paying job, it feels like a miracle — but then the bicycle he needs for work is stolen. Suddenly, there's every chance they could fall right back into dire poverty. Desperate and determined, Antonio scours Rome with his young son, hoping against hope that the bicycle will turn up — and not knowing what he'll do if it doesn't. "Bicycle Thieves" is a masterpiece of wrenching moral conflict, and also offers a tender look at family and community.

Starring: Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell

Director: Vittorio De Sica

Runtime: 89 minutes

The Big Sleep

This classic noir has terrific dialogue — witty and sly — and giving those lines to Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall results in a knockout of a film. Bogart plays Philip Marlowe, the quintessential world-weary but noble private eye. It's his job to wade into all the trouble and corruption that his wealthy (and not always honest) clients bring with them. The dying General Sternwood hires Marlowe to deal with his spoiled, out-of-control daughter Carmen, but that seemingly simple task soon develops ornate and deadly complications — some of which involve Sternwood's other daughter, Vivian, with whom Marlowe shares sizzling chemistry.

Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Martha Vickers

Director: Howard Hawks

Runtime: 114 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Blade Runner

In this rainy, neon-soaked vision that helped shape modern sci-fi, Rick Deckard is hired to take up his old work as a blade runner, which sees him track down and destroy replicants (humanoid androids) who have escaped their off-world servitude and made their way to Earth. Finding them takes him into a shadowy world where it's almost impossible to tell the human and the nonhuman apart — and where the nonhuman may be more soulful and alive than many of their biological counterparts. "Blade Runner" is a complex and layered film that combines a thrilling noir plot with real philosophical questions, making it both intellectually and emotionally satisfying.

Starring: Harrison Ford , Rutger Hauer, Sean Young

Director: Ridley Scott

Runtime: 117 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score:  89%

Bonnie and Clyde

Stylish, violent, and bleak, "Bonnie and Clyde" follows the exploits of real-life outlaw couple Bonnie Parker and Clyde Darrow. It's the Great Depression, and the whole country feels downtrodden and dispirited — you can see why the bored Bonnie would run away with criminal Clyde, who at least promises to make life interesting. The two of them have a spark of invigorating glamor that quickly makes them, and their crime spree, famous — but their fun comes at a high and bloody price. "Bonnie and Clyde" offers both high-octane movie star charisma and the cold certainty of how all that charm can come crashing down, making this a lucid and gripping study of the underside of a legend.

Starring: Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard

Director: Arthur Penn

Runtime: 111 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

Brief Encounter

"Brief Encounter" is a bittersweet, melancholy romance about a man and a woman who find each other at the wrong time. When Laura and Alec meet by chance at the train station, there's an instant connection between them. Their easy rapport and fledgling friendship begin to tip towards romance ... but they're both already married to people they care for, and this is 1945. Still, the breathlessness and sweetness of falling in love jolts them both after years of settled marriage, making separation as painful as it is necessary. Delicately handled and emotionally realistic, "Brief Encounter" is a touching look at a short affair that could have been more.

Starring: Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard, Stanley Holloway

Director: David Lean

Runtime: 87 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

Broadcast News

The intelligent and multifaceted "Broadcast News" looks at a changing TV news industry and the people within it, who all react in different ways to the turning tide and to their difficult relationships with each other. Smart, ambitious producer Jane can't help being attracted to handsome new hire Tom, even though she's not sure she respects him. As for Tom, he combines personal earnestness with a surprisingly astute understanding of how to use his charisma to get ahead, and reporter Aaron's intellect and sharp cynicism may never be enough to keep him from bombing when he's on air The film juggles ethical dilemmas, professional progress, and the interpersonal conflict between these three characters and makes its perfect balance seem effortless.

Starring:  Holly Hunter, William Hurt, Albert Brooks

Director: James L. Brooks

Runtime: 132 minutes

It's 1941, and Casablanca sits uneasily in the middle of a warring world, with refugees, Nazis, collaborators, and criminals all pouring through the city on their way to somewhere else. Rick Blaine wants no part of it. He used to take bold stands, but those days are behind him — now, all he wants is to run his club and forget about Ilsa, the woman who broke his heart. The last thing he needs is for her to show up with her Resistance hero husband, with both of them in desperate need of his help. "Casablanca" perfectly blends its bittersweet personal stakes with the fate of the world, making for one of cinema's best romances and most powerful endings.

Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid

Director: Michael Curtiz

Runtime: 102 minutes

Citizen Kane

Business magnate Charles Foster Kane is dead, and a reporter is on a quest to track down the elusive meaning of his last declaration: "Rosebud." This involves going back through Kane's entire life, from the moment he was sent away from home at a young age to the day he took over the New York Inquirer and made it a one-stop shop for scandal, slanted reporting, and political manipulation. Kane never stops wanting things, but chasing after them never makes him or anyone else in his life very happy. "Citizen Kane" is a landmark tale of financial success and personal failure that's also innovative and crisply shot.

Starring: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Ruth Warrick

Director: Orson Welles

Runtime: 119 minutes

City Lights

Charlie Chaplin's classic silent film character the Tramp gets one of his best and most poignant outings in "City Lights." Here, the poor Tramp falls in love with a blind girl who sells flowers on the street. She mistakes him for a rich man, and, believing she would be disappointed to find out the truth, he does his best to keep up the act. This means protecting her, trying to pay her rent, and getting money for her eye operation. All his mishaps — which include a friendship with a drunken millionaire (but not his sober counterpart) — eventually take a sweet, emotional turn.

Starring: Charlie Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee

Director: Charlie Chaplin

The Dark Knight

At the start of this sequel to the groundbreakingly gritty "Batman Begins," Gotham is on the cusp of changing for the better. District Attorney Harvey Dent is bold enough to take on the city's crime and corruption, and there's a chance Bruce Wayne could hang up his cape for good. Then along comes the Joker, an unhinged nihilist who brings murderous chaos to the streets. Heath Ledger is rivetingly sinister in the role, crafting one of the most terrifying movie villains of all time. This grand battle for one city's soul helped prove comic book movies can be deeply significant as well as thrilling.

Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger

Director: Christopher Nolan

Runtime: 152 minutes

Rating: PG-13

Dog Day Afternoon

Everything goes wrong for live-wire Sonny, who's just trying to scrape together the money for his lover's surgery. Sure, he's trying to do it by robbing a bank, but nobody's perfect. In spite of this tension, even Sonny's hostages find themselves liking the guy: He's just genuinely friendly, and when he's going up against a whole wall of law enforcement, he seems like an appealing underdog. This film perfectly balances dark and offbeat comedy, nervy suspense, and tragedy, grounding it all in two spot-on performances from Al Pacino and John Cazale.

Starring: Al Pacino , John Cazale, Charles Durning

Director: Sidney Lumet

Runtime: 125 minutes

"As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster." That's how our narrator Henry Hill opens "Goodfellas," the lively, stylish, and occasionally brutal movie that strips some of the prestige polish off wiseguys, but leaves behind enough snap and allure to make watching it a blast. Henry's rise up the criminal ladder is full of murder, backstabbing, and impulsive mistakes. It's a tragicomedy populated by one of the best and liveliest casts around, creating a busy and buzzing underworld for Henry to thrive in (and sometimes betray). Stuffed full of unforgettable scenes and quotable lines, "Goodfellas" is a classic for a reason.

Starring: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci

Director: Martin Scorsese

Runtime: 146 minutes

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a stunning example of taste and luxury. New lobby boy Zero Moustafa embraces both the hotel and its charming and dryly funny concierge, Gustave, who takes the boy under his refined wing. But when Gustave inherits a famous painting from an elderly guest he romanced, the twosome gets drawn into a complicated and madcap adventure. While "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is full of fun, humor, and beauty, it exists in the shadow of the coming Nazi regime, making the film bittersweet and quietly painful. A terrific ensemble cast embodies this complexity deftly and with plenty of flair.

Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, F. Murray Abraham

Director: Wes Anderson

Runtime: 100 minutes

Hoop Dreams

The revelatory documentary "Hoop Dreams" takes a close look at what happens when two young Black men, William Gates and Arthur Agee, get a major opportunity. Both excellent basketball players, Gates and Agee have the skills to attend St. Joseph's, a mostly white private school neither could afford otherwise. It's hard to be suddenly installed in an unfamiliar environment, however, and they struggle to adjust. Their futures are up in the air, and eventually, they take different paths. "Hoop Dreams" is a window into a world movies usually ignore, full of tension, ethical tangles, uncertainty, and humanity.

Director: Steve James

Runtime: 170 minutes

Hotel Rwanda

"Hotel Rwanda" is a brutal gut-punch, as it should be. It functions partly as a chronicle of the Rwandan genocide, but it's also just an effective drama — well-acted (Don Cheadle is especially great in his lead role) and with storytelling that's as gripping as it is horrifying. Cheadle plays Paul Rusesabagina, who manages a hotel. Paul is Hutu and therefore nominally safe from the sweeping ethnic-based violence, but his wife, Tatiana, is Tutsi — and there's every chance the current government will eliminate the Tutsi completely. Paul works to shelter both Tutsi and Hutu refugees in his hotel, risking everything to try to protect whomever he can.

Starring: Don Cheadle , Sophie Okonedo, Nick Nolte

Director: Terry George

Runtime: 121 minutes

In the sci-fi world of "Inception," technology has made it possible to interfere with dreams. Dom Cobb and his team are expert thieves of others' minds, but a wrench gets thrown into the works when they're hired not for an extraction, but an "inception." This is the supposedly impossible feat of planting an idea in someone's mind and convincing them it's their own. If they can pull it off, Cobb, who is a wanted fugitive, can finally return home to his children. This all sets up a mind-blowing, spectacle-filled movie full of paradoxes, ambiguities, and dreams within dreams.

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Elliot Page

Runtime: 148 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

In the Mood for Love

Su Li-zhen and Chow Mo-wan keep crossing each other's paths. They live next to each other, eat at the same noodle shop, and, in a melancholy twist, are both victims of adultery: Su's husband is sleeping with Chow's wife. There's a hypnotic pull between the two of them, full of longing and sexual tension that only amps up as they start working on a project together. "In the Mood for Love" has a bittersweet ache to it that perfectly captures pining and heartbreak. It's also gorgeous to look at, with nearly every shot looking like a lushly colored painting.

Starring: Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung , Siu Ping Lam

Director: Wong Kar-wai

Runtime: 98 minutes

Jackie Brown

Flight attendant Jackie Brown has a big problem: She's been using her job to move ill-gotten money around for Ordell Robbie, and the cops have just nabbed her. The arrest is a problem, but the bigger concern is what Ordell does to people he suspects might cooperate with the police. With both her freedom and her life at stake, she devises a plan to one-up both Ordell and the cops, and get out of this alive ... and rich. "Jackie Brown" is full of clever schemes, but its biggest strength is Pam Grier and Robert Forster, who bring heart and maturity to the proceedings.

Starring: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Runtime: 154 minutes

There is a child murderer roaming the streets of Berlin in this chilling psychological horror movie. With both subtlety and cynicism, "M" gives us an unconventional hunt for the killer: One spearheaded by criminals who need these high-profile deaths to stop so the police will leave and they can get back to business. When their trap closes around the all-too-realistic Hans Beckert, the film brilliantly captures an almost nightmarish paranoia. Unsparing and vividly cinematic — it's full of eerie whistling and striking images — "M" was decades ahead of its time.

Starring: Peter Lorre, Otto Wernicke, Gustaf Gründgens

Director: Fritz Lang

Leonard Shelby wants to find John G., the man he believes murdered his wife, but his quest is hampered by brain trauma that prevents him from forming new long-term memories. He keeps himself on track via self-manipulation, studying his tattoos and the notes and Polaroids he leaves for himself. As "Memento" gradually unfurls — moving backwards in time so that we, like Leonard, are always facing the question of how we ended up here — we uncover a tense and chilling story that isn't remotely what we thought it would be. This is a tightly paced, mind-bending thriller with an electric central performance.

Starring: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano

Runtime: 113 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

The amiable, gawky, and slightly bumbling Monsieur Hulot was Jacques Tati's recurring comedic hero, and "Mon Oncle" is one of his best and most touching adventures. Hulot is exactly the kind of charming figure you'd want as an uncle. Young Gérard is lucky to have him, especially as an alternative to his more staid parents, and he knows it. While the two of them have aimless fun, Gérard's parents keep themselves in a rigidly controlled existence that's all about striving for money and social success. This movie offers a winning blend of sharp satire, gentle humor, and stunningly designed visuals.

Starring: Jacques Tati, Jean-Pierre Zola, Adrienne Servantie

Director: Jacques Tati

"Moon" is a fairly small-scale science fiction film, with a small cast, a limited setting, and few special effects, but it packs in enough creativity and intelligence that it feels big. It also features one of Sam Rockwell's best performances as astronaut Sam Bell, who's the sole worker at a lunar base. The isolation is clearly getting to Sam, but at least the end of his three-year contract is in sight. Soon, he'll be reunited with his family back on Earth. At least, that's what he thinks until an accident away from the base brings him face-to-face with his own double ... and a complex web of deception.

Starring: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey, Dominique McElligott

Director: Duncan Jones

Runtime: 97 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Night and Fog

"Night and Fog" is a short, brutal, and unforgettable documentary about the Holocaust. It covers the rise of the Nazi atrocities, their aftermath, and the living nightmare in between, delving into life inside the concentration camps. By cutting back and forth between the then-abandoned sites and real footage of the camps in operation, "Night and Fog" makes a moving and powerful case for the necessity of passing these harrowing stories on. Time can cover up tragedies, and the only way to reckon with them — and prevent them from happening again — is to commit them to memory.

Director: Alain Resnais

Runtime: 32 minutes

Night of the Living Dead

The dead are staggering back to mindless half-life, and they crave human flesh. They're slow, but also relentless and numerous, and soon enough, they have a small group of human survivors penned up inside a Pennsylvania farmhouse. The trapped characters include Barbra, who is left in a catatonic daze after her brother is killed in front of her, and the quick-thinking, heroic Ben, who becomes the group's unofficial leader. "Night of the Living Dead" defined zombie horror, and remains as eerie and unsettling as ever.

Starring: Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea, Karl Hardman

Director: George A. Romero

Runtime: 96 minutes

No Country for Old Men

Llewelyn Moss is out hunting in the desert when he comes across the aftermath of a drug deal gone wrong — one that's left a duffel bag full of cash behind. When he takes it, he accidentally puts himself in the path of the almost inhumanly terrifying Anton Chigurh. A relentless force of nature who can stake someone's life on a coin flip, Chigurh is the last man you want on your trail. Aging and disillusioned sheriff Ed Tom Bell, meanwhile, is following all the carnage left in Chigurh's wake, hoping he can find Moss before it's too late. Gorgeously shot, hypnotically watchable, and full of impeccable performances, "No Country for Old Men" will leave you stunned.

Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem , Josh Brolin

Directors: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Runtime: 122 minutes

North by Northwest

This suspenseful classic is a rollercoaster of surprises and ceaselessly engaging tension, and stands as proof that thrillers don't have to be too plausible — they just have to be this much fun. When ordinary advertising exec Roger Thornhill is mistaken for a spy, he's abducted, interrogated, and set up to die in a drunk driving "accident." He survives and tries to tell people what happened to him, but finds that everything has been rearranged to make his story seem ridiculous. He'll have to get to the bottom of this himself, a task that throws him in with the glamorous Eve Kendall and embroils him in complex international intrigue full of double-crosses.

Starring: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Runtime: 136 minutes

Ocean's Eleven

Ready for a heist? How about a delightful, snazzy hangout movie full of Hollywood's most charismatic actors? "Ocean's Eleven" gives you both. Veteran thief Danny Ocean is out of prison and ready to round up a crew for an unprecedentedly ambitious heist: He's aiming to knock off three casinos on the same night. Casinos are notoriously hard to rob, and these three are owned by Terry Benedict, a man capable of any amount of cold-blooded revenge. Watching Danny round up everyone he needs for his clever, audacious plan, then seeing it all come together (and sometimes nearly fall apart) is pure entertainment.

Starring: George Clooney , Matt Damon, Andy Garcia

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

On the Waterfront

There's a quote that makes "On the Waterfront" immortal — "I could've been a contender" — but there's a lot more to the movie than that. This is a complex, deeply felt social drama about corruption, social pressure, and the cost of speaking up. Marlon Brando shines as stoic but sensitive dockworker Terry, whose union leader, Johnny Friendly, tricks him into setting up a friend for murder. Terry isn't sure how or when to turn on the crooked union bosses around him, but as he sees more of Friendly's collateral damage and also falls in love with the murdered man's sister, he knows he wants to be more than just a "bum." Terry's conscience takes center stage here, making this one of the best movies ever made about a personal moral dilemma.

Starring: Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb

Director: Elia Kazan

Runtime: 108 minutes

The Passion of Joan of Arc

This exquisitely moving silent film presents the last days of Joan of Arc. Her spectacular feats and leadership in battle made her a heroine, but now she's on trial for heresy for claiming God told her to lead the French army. Neither tricks nor torture dissuade Joan from her central truth, and Jeanne Falconetti makes her resilience luminous, painful, and all too real. Her intensity and clarity are remarkable, and the film spotlights them — and the spiritual ugliness of her interrogators — in a series of distinct close-ups that will linger in your mind's eye.

Starring: Renée Jeanne Falconetti, Eugène Silvain, André Berley

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer

Runtime: 82 minutes

Pather Panchali

"Pather Panchali" is the first film of the Apu Trilogy, which follows young Apu as he grows and matures. Here, he's just a young boy in a loving but penniless household. While his parents work frantically to keep a roof over everyone's heads and food in the kitchen, he and his older sister, Durga, find small, universal childhood pleasures. Unavoidably, however, the children's lives are shaped by their family's poverty. This is a realistic and nuanced coming of age story that takes note of both the joys and sorrows of ordinary life.

Starring: Subir Banerjee, Kanu Banerjee, Karuna Banerjee

Director: Satyajit Ray

Runtime: 126 minutes

The Philadelphia Story

Philadelphia socialite Tracy Lord is getting married — well, remarried. She had a brief, tumultuous marriage to the hard-playing C.K. Dexter Haven, but now she's trying to have a thoroughly acceptable and high-minded marriage with a new beau ... never mind that their relationship has no spark. Things get complicated when it turns out she does have sparkling chemistry with society reporter Mike, there to cover the big event, and  the returned Dexter. This emotional tangle leads Tracy to consider what the men in her life really think of her, and reexamine what she thinks of herself. "The Philadelphia Story" is as fizzily delightful as champagne.

Starring: Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart

Director: George Cukor

Runtime: 112 minutes

Picnic at Hanging Rock

Dreamy, sumptuous, and strange, "Picnic at Hanging Rock" leaves its mystery thoroughly mysterious. Several schoolgirls and their teacher disappear while on a day trip to Hanging Rock, and only one of them is ever found. She claims to remember nothing about what happened, and no single theory seems to explain everything. As the characters scrutinize unsettling dreams and possible clues — the returned girl, for example, is missing her corset — it feels like they're brushing up against something that goes far beyond the rational world. The movie's lack of answers means this won't be for everyone, but if you're looking to experience something genuinely numinous and unnerving, this is the film for you.

Starring: Anne-Louise Lambert, Rachel Roberts, Dominic Guard

Director: Peter Weir

Runtime: 115 minutes

The hugely influential "Rashomon" turns courtroom drama on its head. Everyone agrees that a samurai, his wife, and a bandit had some kind of encounter in the woods that left the samurai dead. All the testimony, however — from the wife, the bandit, and even (via medium) the samurai himself — adds up to a confusing and contradictory picture. Mistakes, self-serving bias, and outright lies all combine to make each person present their own version of the story, leaving the viewer to try to decide the truth ... and maybe reflect on why these characters would rather be seen as guilty than humiliated. These insights make "Rashomon" thought-provoking, challenging, and fun.

Starring: Toshiro Mifune, Machiko Kyō, Masayuki Mori

Director: Akira Kurosawa

Runtime: 88 minutes

Safety Last!

In this iconic silent comedy, poor Harold Lloyd just wants to make it in the big city and impress his girlfriend back home. Unfortunately, the best he can do is a low-level job at a department store, which he's too proud to admit to his girlfriend. Soon he's in real, urgent need of money to live up to the image he's created, and his best chance of getting it is the cash-prize stunt of scaling the side of the department store. He has a plan to make it easier on himself ... but as we've already seen, he just doesn't have that kind of luck. Full of classic physical comedy, "Safety Last!" is a great example of how good laughs are eternal.

Starring: Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis, Bill Strother

Director: Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor

Runtime: 73 minutes

Say Anything...

If you only know this film as the reason people hold boomboxes above their heads, rest assured, "Say Anything..." has a lot more to offer than that one famous moment. Lloyd Dobler is a sweet kid who falls deeply in love with Diane, a girl clearly destined for greatness. The chemistry between them is delicate and lovely, but the differences in their lives and probable futures — and the pressure from Diane's father, who wants the best for her (but has done something awful to try to get it) — may lead to them parting for good. This teen romance is warm and emotionally nuanced, and handles deep material with the complexity it deserves.

Starring: John Cusack, Ione Skye, John Mahoney

Director: Cameron Crowe

Secrets and Lies

Hortense is a successful optometrist, but she feels like there's a hole in her life only finding her birth mother can really fill. There is a gap between her and the woman she discovers, however: Unlike Hortense, who is Black, Cynthia is white and working-class, and has another grown daughter she's frequently in conflict with. Cynthia's life hasn't turned out how she hoped, and while at first Hortense is an unwelcome reminder of the pain of her past, a connection soon grows between the two women. From that bond springs a second chance. This complex and affecting unraveling of familial history lingers long after the credits roll.

Starring: Timothy Spall, Brenda Blethyn, Marianne Jean-Baptiste

Director: Mike Leigh

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Seven Samurai

In 16th-century Japan, a poor farming village is facing extinction. The coming harvest won't bring prosperity, just a raid by vicious bandits who will take everything they have. Their best chance of survival is hiring samurai to protect them, and since they can only afford to pay in rice, they'll have to take whoever they can get. Luckily, they do get some skilled (if odd) fighters — but they're still only seven men against a horde of bandits. This means the samurai will have to train the villagers to stand up for themselves as well. "Seven Samurai" is both deep and exciting, an almost Shakespearean drama crossed with an action-adventure epic.

Starring: Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Daisuke Katō

Runtime: 207 minutes

The Seventh Seal

On a lonely beach, a knight plays a fateful game of chess with Death. World-weary Antonius Block is coming back from the Crusades, and after all he's seen, he longs for a sense of meaning. He doesn't want to die until he has that, so he hopes to drag this chess game out as long as possible. This is a time when hope, joy, and purpose feel hard to come by, though — plague is ravaging Europe, casual violence is everywhere, and women accused of witchcraft are burned at the stake. Movingly, this striking and complex film shows Antonius and the people he encounters eking some beauty and connection out of life ... even if the darkness still abounds.

Starring: Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand, Nils Poppe

Director: Ingmar Bergman

The Shawshank Redemption

Soft-spoken banker Andy Dufresne is wrongfully convicted of his wife's murder and sentenced to life in prison. Through assault, humiliation, and solitary confinement that amounts to torture, Andy holds onto a crucial sense of dignity and hope — and to his friendship with fellow lifer Red, who narrates Andy's story. The film follows Andy's years at Shawshank, all building up to a legendary climax. "The Shawshank Redemption" is full of moving, beautiful scenes that have become iconic. This is a movie that will get every possible feeling out of you.

Starring: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman , Bob Gunton

Director: Frank Darabont

The Shining

The remote Overlook Hotel needs a winter caretaker, and the job goes to Jack Torrance, whose drinking problem and violent temper aren't as far behind him as he pretends. He's not the kind of man who should spend all winter in an isolated, pressure-cooker environment with his vulnerable wife and son, even under the best circumstances — and "The Shining" doesn't remotely involve the best circumstances. The Overlook is haunted, and its long and bloody history works on Jack's already-troubled mind while it terrorizes his psychically sensitive son, Danny. Stunningly terrifying and crafted with Kubrick's usual level of intensity and care, "The Shining" is one of the scariest films ever made.

Starring: Jack Nicholson , Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd

Runtime: 144 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%

Singin' in the Rain

Talkies are on the way in, and silent films are on the way out, which means existing stars have to adapt or fade away. Don Lockwood is prepared to make the leap — especially if it means separating from his studio-mandated "romance" with frequent co-star Lina Lamont, whose unpleasant voice will keep her out of the new Hollywood. Don falls in love with free-spirited actress Kathy Selden, and wants a happy ending with her. He has the means to get it: He, Kathy, and his friend Cosmo have a plan for a musical that they're sure will be a hit. This frothy, energetic film is full of irresistible joie de vivre.

Starring: Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O'Connor

Directors: Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen

Runtime: 103 minutes

In this classic early Western, a disparate group of strangers — an alcoholic doctor, a prim whiskey salesman, a respectable wife, a "dance hall girl" run out of town, an outlaw with a heart of gold, and more — all find themselves in the same packed stagecoach. They're on a long and dangerous journey, one that keeps developing new complications. Their trials bring them together in satisfying and unexpected ways, muddling the social divisions that seem so clear at the start. "Stagecoach" is old-fashioned fun with some deeply rewarding storytelling and a great early turn by John Wayne.

Starring: Claire Trevor, John Wayne, Andy Devine

Director: John Ford

A widowed restaurant owner, Tampopo, meets a truck-driving "culinary ronin" named Gorō, who becomes her tutor in making lackluster ramen into a masterpiece. While Tampopo goes through a rigorous training process to develop the perfect noodle, she starts blossoming into greater confidence. The film also follows several smaller stories about people and food, from a tale of a gangster obsessed with the sensuality of eating to a comedy about elite businessmen who are too self-conscious and unadventurous in their restaurant ordering. "Tampopo" is the perfect movie for foodies: cheerful, colorful, and destined to make your mouth water.

Starring: Tsutomu Yamazaki, Nobuko Miyamoto, Kōji Yakusho

Director: Juzo Itami

Tokyo Story

"Tokyo Story" is a quiet, elegiac look at an elderly couple and their grown children. Shūkichi and Tomi decide to travel to Tokyo for a visit, but it's easy for them to see that their elder son and daughter and their families view them as an intrusion at worst and an inconvenience at best. They humor their aging parents, but they don't really appreciate them. Ironically, their most loyal "child" isn't their child at all: It's their widowed daughter-in-law, who is the only one in Tokyo who truly embraces them. It would be easy to turn all this into melodrama — especially towards the end — but "Tokyo Story" manages incredible pathos without ever losing its restraint.

Starring: Chishū Ryū, Chieko Higashiyama, Setsuko Hara

Director: Yasujirō Ozu

The Truman Show

Truman lives an ordinary, peaceful life in a small island town. He has a good marriage, a best friend he's known all his life, and a strong community. If he still sometimes pines for the mystery girl who got away or fantasizes about a trip without taking it, well, everyone has these little dissatisfactions. What Truman doesn't know is that his "normal life" is a carefully maintained construct: He's the lifelong star of groundbreaking reality program "The Truman Show." When he slowly starts putting the pieces together, the movie's comedy darkens and deepens, resulting in something at once funny and profound.

Starring: Jim Carrey , Laura Linney, Ed Harris

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

"The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" is a wistful romantic musical that perfectly captures both the whirlwind intoxication of first love and the sweetness and stability of later, more permanent relationships. Geneviéve and Guy are two young French lovers who feel like they can't live without each other. But the Algerian War forces them to: Guy is drafted, leaving Geneviéve alone ... and, as she soon finds out, pregnant. Their separation forces both Guy and Geneviéve to find other lovers, the ones they will wind up spending the rest of their lives with — but fate may let them brush up against each other once more. This is a stunning and sweet ode to love.

Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Nino Castelnuovo, Anne Vernon

Director: Jacques Demy

Runtime: 91 minutes

When a brothel patron carves up a woman's face for laughing at him, she and her friends want the kind of justice the law refuses to give them — and they're willing to pay to get it. Word soon gets to William Munny. Munny may have reformed in recent years, and his past weighs on him, but he still has a reputation for ruthless and indiscriminate violence. He reunites with Ned Logan, a friend from his outlaw days, and alongside the greenhorn Schofield Kid, they set out to claim this informal bounty. It's murder-for-hire from the start, and it only gets darker from there. Few movies have ever blended violence and solemnity as well as "Unforgiven" does.

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman , Morgan Freeman

Director: Clint Eastwood

Runtime: 131 minutes

When Harry Met Sally...

In 1977, college students Sally and Harry share a long car trip, and Harry advances a theory: Men and women can't be friends, because any mutual attraction will always get in the way. Any attraction between them , however, seems destined to be overwhelmed by mutual dislike — until time marches on, and the two of them become older and wiser. Gradually, they develop a deep, inseparable friendship, and find themselves putting Harry's old theory to the test ... but in reverse. If they're such good friends, will transitioning to romance ruin what they have and leave them permanently apart? "When Harry Met Sally..." is a strong candidate for the best romantic comedy ever made.

Starring: Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher

Director: Rob Reiner

Wings of Desire

Life can be lonely and painful. In "Wings of Desire," however, there are angels who do their best to give solace to the people of their cities. Damiel and Cassiel watch over Berlin, bearing witness to its inhabitants and their struggles. They've always been removed from the world, but when Damiel begins to fall in love with a trapeze artist, he starts to yearn for a human life. "Wings of Desire" is elegant, thoughtful, and surprising, and, as a bonus, contains one of the best-ever cases of an actor playing himself.

Starring: Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin, Otto Sander

Director: Wim Wenders

Runtime: 127 minutes

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The 30 Best Movies on HBO and Max Right Now


Browse our categories

This article is updated frequently as titles leave and enter Max. *New additions are indicated with an asterisk.

HBO Max is now Max . Once upon a time, the streaming service was where you could stream blockbusters like Dune (Part One) and The Matrix Resurrections on the same day they landed in theaters, but that era long gone. These days, Warner Bros. Discovery’s Max is best understood as the streaming service with a dense catalog of classic films, pulling from generations of the Warner Bros. catalog, as well as hosting Criterion, TCM, and Studio Ghibli (at least for as long as the merged Warner Bros. Discovery holds onto its licensing deals ).

But you’re not here to celebrate the size of Max’s library. You want help navigating it. The streaming giant’s deep, wide bench makes it perhaps the hardest service to pare down to 30 great films, but somehow we found a way. Our aim is to pull from a cross-section of what the service offers, including recent additions (this month look for Dune: Part Two and The Florida Project ), enduring classics ( Night of the Living Dead and Singin’ in the Rain ), award winners ( Spirited Away ), under-the-radar gems ( Funny Games ), general Vulture favorites ( Dune: Part Two ), and even films that offer an offbeat story but can’t-miss performances from its stars ( The Lighthouse ).

You’ll find our selections organized into five genre categories — drama, action, horror, comedy, and family-friendly — and each week we cycle our recommendations, whether in response to changes in the Max library or just to keep things fresh. Just because a movie no longer appears on this list doesn’t mean it’s been removed from Max. We just want to give some other films a moment in the spotlight, starting with this week’s critic’s pick below. If there’s an under-appreciated movie on the service that you think we should consider for inclusion, please let us know at [email protected] .

This Week’s Critic’s Pick

Year: 2020 Runtime: 1h 26m Director: Janicza Bravo

The best movie based on a Twitter thread. Aziah “Zola” King started a story on Twitter back in the days when it was still fun and good in 2015, recounting a tale too crazy not to be true. Taylour Paige, Riley Keough, and a stunningly great Colman Domingo star in the film version of that tale, the journey of a stripper and her friend to Tampa, where things go wrong in wild and unpredictable ways.

How We Pick Our Films

Critic Brian Tallerico watches and writes about movies and TV every day. To curate this list, he dives into Max’s catalogue to surface acclaimed, surprising, or otherwise noteworthy titles — using his taste and a lifetime of cinema study as his guide, instead of whatever the algorithm happens to be pushing. After triple-checking to make sure they’re still available, he watches each, organizes them by category, then writes his recommendation. We highlight more than just Oscar winners or popcorn flicks: These films present interesting ideas, made an impact on cinema, and changed our culture. Read on to find something to watch.

Year: 1942 Runtime: 1h 42m Director: Michael Curtiz

One of the most popular films of all time, Casablanca is now over eight decades old, but it’s still being watched somewhere every single day. Why has the story of Rick and Ilsa sustained as generations of other movies have come and gone? There’s something timeless in this tale of an ex-pat (Humphrey Bogart) who is asked to help the love of his life (Ingrid Bergman) escape the city of Casablanca during World War II. This is the first movie that so many people think of when they hear the phrase “classic cinema” for a reason.

Citizen Kane

Year:  1941 Runtime:  2h Director:  Orson Welles

Sure, plenty people have probably seen  Citizen Kane  by now, but it’s certainly not a film that plays on cable TV as much as some other acknowledged classics. So maybe you haven’t seen the movie that really redefined the form through the vision of Orson Welles? Or at least not in a long time. You have no more excuses to watch a masterpiece that gets richer every time you see it.

Clèo From 5 to 7

Year: 1962 Runtime: 1h 29m Director: Agnès Varda

The Queen of the French New Wave has a strong presence on Max because of her deep catalog in the streamer’s Criterion section, and you owe it to yourself to learn more about one of the most vital and important filmmakers of all time. This is probably her most popular film, the tale of a French singer who is awaiting test results that could confirm she has cancer. It’s a deeply powerful and philosophical character study, and the perfect gateway to discovering an essential filmmaker.

*Dune: Parts One & Two

Year:  2021, 2024 Runtime:  2h 36m, 2h 46m Director:  Denis Villeneuve

You can now watch the entire  Dune  saga to date on Max, the exclusive home to the highest grossing film of 2024 so far. The second half of Villeneuve’s saga fulfills the promise of the first, turning the set-up of the 2021 film into a full-blooded action tale of a new messiah. Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya lead an all-star cast in a film that understands both scope and character. It may not play quite as well at home as it did in theaters, but it still rocks.

In the Mood for Love

Year: 2000 Runtime: 1h 39m Director: Wong Kar-wai

One of the best films ever made, Wong Kar-wai’s 2000 drama is the story of a man (Tony Leung) and a woman (Maggie Cheung) who form a delicate relationship of glances and brief touches but can never fulfill their obvious passion for one another. Set in 1962 Hong Kong, it is a gorgeous film, filled with color and music that tell the story as much as dialogue or action. Filled with longing, cultural imposition, and regret, In the Mood for Love captivates every time you see it. It’s like entering a dream.

* The Florida Project

Year: 2017 Runtime: 1h 52m Director: Sean Baker

One of the best films of the 2010s, this heartbreaking character study from Sean Baker tells the story of people on the edge of the Happiest Place on Earth as seen through the eyes of a child. It’s a beautiful movie with unforgettable performances and poetic realism throughout.

* The Lighthouse

Year: 2019 Runtime: 1h 50m Director: Robert Eggers

Is this the best COVID lockdown movie? Sure, it came out the year before, but a lot of people watched it on streaming while they were going crazy with people with whom they were stuck. Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe are fearless in Robert Eggers’ black-and-white nightmare about two New England lighthouse keepers who learn that nothing is scarier than being trapped with someone unbearable. It’s a twisted gem.

Lost in Translation

Year: 2003 Runtime: 1h 42m Director: Sofia Coppola

Sofia Coppola exploded onto the filmmaking scene with her second film, this dramedy about a fading movie star who meets an American girl in Tokyo and both of their lives change. Bill Murray does career-best work in the film (and should have won an Oscar), and he’s matched by Scarlett Johansson, but Lost in Translation really is Coppola’s film, a tender, brilliant character study with personal resonance.

The Manchurian Candidate

Year: 2004 Runtime: 2h 10m Director: Jonathan Demme

Over four decades after the wildly influential original film, Jonathan Demme returned to the Richard Condon 1959 novel and delivered a movie that was widely underrated. Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Jon Voight, and Liev Schreiber star in the 2004 story of a sleeper agent, a film that played a lot differently in a scary post-9/11 world.

Year: 2019 Runtime: 2h 12m Director: Bong Joon-ho

Remember not that long ago before the world changed, and we could all rally around a South Korean film becoming the first foreign flick ever to win the Oscar for Best Picture ? It really was a crazy time. Thanks to Hulu’s relationship with distributor Neon, the streamer was the only place you’ll find Bong Joon-ho’ s hysterical and thrilling study of class conflict for a long time, but the beloved thriller has now dropped on Max too.

Pulp Fiction

Year:  1994 Runtime:  2h 35m Director:  Quentin Tarantino

There are certain tentpoles of American film history that changed the form — and the industry — forever, and this is undeniably one. Heck, we’re still getting Tarantino riffs almost thirty years later, as everyone wants to make a movie as effortlessly cool as his masterpiece. What more could possibly be written about  Pulp Fiction ? Nothing: Just watch it.

The Searchers

Year: 1956 Runtime: 1h 59m Director: John Ford

John Ford and John Wayne took a hard look at the genre that made them household names with this instant classic. Wayne plays a man who has devoted his life to finding his niece (Natalie Wood), kidnapped during the Texas-Indian Wars. Not only is The Searchers arguably Wayne’s best performance, but it digs deeper into the genre than the Western was typically allowed to do, opening it up to new visions by revealing it as something capable of doing more than shoot-outs and horse chases.

* The Zone of Interest

Year:  2023 Runtime:  1h 45m Director:  Jonathan Glazer

The Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film is exclusively available on Max. Based on the novel of the same name by Martin Amis, it’s the story of Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Hoss and his family, who live just outside the concentration camp. As they live and profit off horror, the sights and sounds of the Holocaust give the film a terrifying, unsettling foundation, reminding us how often true evil can be right next door.

Year: 2023 Runtime: 1h 55m Director: Greta Gerwig

One of the biggest films of 2023 has already landed on Max in the form or Greta Gerwig’s daring blockbuster, a comedy that works both as a reminder of the power imagination and the fight for equality. Anyone who thinks this movie is anti-male isn’t paying any attention. The theme of the movie is that no one — not even Barbie or Ken — should be defined by traditional roles. We should all be free to play however we want. It’s a wonderful film that will truly stand the test of time.

Dr. Strangelove

Year: 1964 Runtime: 1h 35m Director: Stanley Kubrick

The large fan base of Stanley Kubrick often mentions dark pieces of work like 2001, A Clockwork Orange , and The Shining , but one of his best and most influential films is a comedy about the end of the world. Satirizing the Cold War this aggressively way back in 1964, Kubrick rewrote the textbook for political comedy and presented viewers with an instant classic that was both hysterical and terrifying.

Year: 1999 Runtime: 1h 43m Director: Alexander Payne

What a great movie. The writer/director of Nebraska and The Descendants adapted Tom Perrotta’s novel of the same name and produced arguably his best film to date. Reese Witherspoon is amazing as Tracy Flick, an overachieving student who really aggravates a high school teacher named Jim McAllister, played by Matthew Broderick. So much so that he sabotages her run for student government president in a film that understands the intersection of the political and the personal in ways that movies actually set in D.C. rarely do.

Year: 1996 Runtime: 1h 38m Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Joel and Ethan Coen’s masterpiece is only one of the best films ever made, a story of violence and redemption in the great American North. The Coens won Best Original Screenplay and Frances McDormand took her first Oscar home for playing the unforgettable Marge Gunderson, a Minnesotan cop who gets entangled in a car salesman’s deeply inept foray into the criminal world.

Legally Blonde

Year:  2001 Runtime:  1h 36m Director:  Robert Luketic

Long before she won an Oscar or worked magic with  The Morning Show , Reese Witherspoon turned a ditzy blonde into a comedy star in this 2001 romantic comedy from director Robert Luketic. It could be stretching it to call this silly fluff “great” but what elevates the saga of Elle Woods from sorority queen to legal eagle is the total charm and commitment of Witherspoon herself. It’s one of her most likable and memorable performances.

* Singin’ in the Rain

Year:  1952 Runtime:  1h 43m Director:  Stanley Done

Movies don’t get more delightful than this beloved classic about backstage drama on the advent of the talkie. Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O’Connor are as charming as charming can be, and  Singin’ in the Rain  contains some of the best choreography of its era, and not just in the titular number. It’s joyous from front to back. Honestly, you have to be kind of a jerk not to like this movie.

* Inception

Year: 2010 Runtime: 2h 29m Director: Christopher Nolan

After the crazy success of The Dark Knight , Christopher Nolan went and made one of the most ambitious blockbusters ever made, cementing himself as one of the most interesting auteurs working in the Hollywood system. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as a man who leads a team into other people’s dreams for the purposes of corporate espionage at first. Of course, he brings some personal baggage with him. Inception is a reminder of Nolan’s incredible vision and robust filmmaking. One wishes there were more big-budget filmmakers taking these kind of risks.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Year: 2001 Runtime: 2h 58m Director: Peter Jackson

The Oscar-winning franchise by Peter Jackson bounces around the streaming services with alarming regularity, now finding its way to Max for an indeterminate amount of time. Watch the entire saga of Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gange, and the rest of the Fellowship while you can.

Mad Max: Fury Road

Year: 2015 Runtime: 2h 1m Director: George Miller

Have you seen the Furiosa trailer?! It’s insane and easily one of the most anticipated films of 2024. Go back to its predecessor, one of the best action movies ever made. This sequel rocked the world when it was released in 2015 on its way to winning multiple Oscars and really setting a new bar for practical action effects. George Miller went into the desert and returned with one of the most ambitious, insane, downright impossible action epics ever made.

Year: 1987 Runtime: 1h 43m Director: Paul Verhoeven

People like to point at ‘80s movies and say they were ahead of their time, but this may be most true about Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 masterpiece, a film that foretold how technology would impact law enforcement in ways that took decades to come true. A brilliant action satire, this is the story of a Detroit cop who is murdered and revived as the title character, a superhuman cyborg enforcer. It’s even more riveting and relevant almost four decades later. Note: Both original era sequels and the 2010s reboot are also on Max.

Year: 1976 Runtime: 1h 39m Director: Brian De Palma

Long before Stephen King was an entire industry, he was the guy who wrote Carrie, a 1974 novel about a bullied teen girl who unleashes hell on her classmates. Every once in a while, there’s a perfect combination of source material and creatives, and that’s what happened when King, De Palma, and Sissy Spacek combined forces here. Horror movie history would be made. Note: The underrated Chloe Grace Moretz remake is also on Max.

* Funny Games

Year:  1997 Runtime:  1h 50m Director:  Michel Haneke

Michael Haneke is one of the most daring filmmakers alive, willing to shock viewers to make a point. Perhaps his most divisive film remains this 1997 shocker about a family who are essentially held hostage in their vacation home in Austria. Over the course of the day, the criminals basically torture this family, and through fourth-wall breaks, Haneke interrogates why people would even want to watch something like this, illuminating what art can reveal about the dark side of humanity.

Night of the Living Dead

Year: 1968 Runtime: 1h 36m Director: George A. Romero

The movie that changed it all. It’s really hard to overstate the impact that George A. Romero’s classic black-and-white masterpiece had on not only the zombie genre, but DIY microbudget horror filmmaking. So many people have been chasing that game-changing impact of Night of the Living Dead in the half-century since it came out, but it’s the original that’s passed the test of time.

Year: 1996 Runtime: 1h 51m Director: Wes Craven

The Ghostface killer came back in January 2022 with the release of Scream , the fifth film in this franchise and the first since the death of Wes Craven, and the fun continued with another sequel in 2023 (before the wheels came off in the pre-production of a seventh film). Even the makers of the new movies would suggest that fans go back and watch the original films to see how Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) got here. All four of the Craven films are available now on Max. The first movie is still a flat-out genre masterpiece.

Under the Skin

Year: 2014 Runtime: 1h 49m Director: Jonathan Glazer

A trippy, sci-fi masterpiece, this flick stars Scarlett Johansson as an alien being exploring the world around her and, well, doing some terrifying things to the men she comes into contact with. Although that only scratches the surface of why this is a special movie, a terrifying tone piece that has more in common with Twin Peaks than Species . It’s unforgettable and brilliant, one of the best films of the ‘10s.

For Kids and Family

Spirited away.

Year: 2001 Runtime: 2h 4m Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Almost all of the Studio Ghibli films are on Max, the now exclusive home to them when it comes to streaming. The truth is that we could devote about 10 percent of this list to Hayao Miyazaki and his colleagues, but we’ll give up some that space and just point you here to the ranking of the entire output of the most important modern animation studio in the world. Start with Spirited Away , My Neighbor Totoro , and Castle in the Sky . You won’t stop.

The Wizard of Oz

Year: 1939 Runtime: 1h 41m Director: Victor Fleming

Maybe you’ve heard of it? Seriously, what could possibly be written if you’re on the fence about The Wizard of Oz ? Maybe you haven’t seen it since you were a little kid? Revisit the journey of Dorothy over the rainbow if that’s the case and appreciate this wonderful fantasy on a new level.

Year: 2023 Runtime: 1h 57m Director: Paul King

The quick turnaround from theatrical Warner Bros. releases to Max has been impressive. This family feature was still playing in some theaters when it dropped on Max. An origin story for the character created by Roald Dahl (and defined by Gene Wilder), this Timothee Chalamet vehicle plays well at home, the kind of charmer that can be used as background noise for the little ones or watched more closely on a family movie night. It’s not perfect, but it’s sweet in all the right places.

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Best Max movies in June 2024

These are the best movies on Max to stream this month

Max logo on TV with popcorn and remote control on table

The best Max movies deliver theatrical-quality films right into the comfort of your home. Max , formerly known as HBO Max, is our top choice among the best streaming services because it pulls classic films from the century-old WarnerMedia library as well as new releases. 

The movies on Max include some of the biggest franchises in the movie industry like the DC superhero smashes and the "Lord of the Rings" epics. We would be remiss if we didn't point out the excellent TV shows on the service, so check out our guide to the best Max shows . OK, now without further ado, here are our picks for the best Max movies.

Best movies on Max right now

Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what's best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.

'The Zone of Interest'

Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss (Christian Fridel) and wife Hedwig (Sandra Hüller) live in an idyllic home with their five children immediately adjacent to the camp. The family lives a seemingly normal life as horrific sounds from innocent people being put to death become the soundtrack of their existence. This gut-wrenching look at life within the Höss family is as unsettling as it sounds and has been praised by filmmakers from Steven Spielberg to Alfonso Cuarón for its intent to raise awareness about the Holocaust and the atrocities committed within it. - BV

'Dream Scenario'

Paul Matthews (Nicolas Cage) is a biology professor with a seemingly normal life. One day, he learns that he's been appearing in the dreams of random people, those who know him and those who don't. Though at first his appearances are benign and find him doing little or nothing in others' dreams, he decides to try and spice things up to change their perception of him. Soon the phenomenon reaches the media and ends up blowing up into something bizarre and nightmarish despite Paul's attempts to reinvent himself and become a source of hope for others. - BV

This prequel to the classic tale of Willy Wonka and his chocolate factory finds Timothée Chalamet taking up the top hat and cane as a younger version of the chocolatier. It follows him on his journey to open his own chocolate shop. From being coerced into a predatory contract at a boarding house to helping an orphan named Noodle (Calah Lane) escape her tenure there, this musical romp through Wonka's early days is a fun and colorful take on Roald Dahl's iconic character. - BV

Shakespeare in Love

Romantic comedies don’t tend to get a lot of love at the Oscars, but this period piece was an exception thanks to the use of historical figures, lavish costumes, sumptuous production design and star-studded cast. 

A young William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) is suffering from writer’s block, but the theatre owner decides to move forward with his unfinished play. Viola de Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow), the daughter of a wealthy merchant, attends the auditions — dressed as a man. Shakespeare’s experiences with Viola and her alter ego lead him to pen one of his greatest works, Romeo and Juliet.

Avatar: The Way of Water

James Cameron took his sweet time making a sequel to his top-grossing hit Avatar, but it was worth it. The Way of Water is a stunning spectacle that not only charted as the third biggest movie of all time, but earned four Oscar nominations (including Best Picture).

Most of the voice cast reprise their roles. Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, the story focuses on the Sully family: Jake (Sam Worthington), Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) and their children. The Na’Vi are dismayed when the RDA returns to colonize Pandora. Under threat again, Jake and Neytiri seek refuge with the aquatic Metkayina clan and learn their ways.

The surprise Best Picture Oscar winner — to everyone's delight — comes from genius Korean director Bong Joon-Ho (now an Oscar winner himself). The film defies categorization; it's a mix of thriller, horror, comedy and melodrama. It is a taut, intricately-plotted tale full of twists and turns, and on top of that, is an affecting allegory about the rich and the poor and how we're all connected as human beings in the end. 

Parasite's excellent cast didn't get the Oscar love they should've but they did get both a standing ovation and the Best Ensemble prize at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. The appreciation for this movie runs wide and deep, and if you haven't seen it yet, now's your chance.

Tess (Georgina Campbell) is in a bad neighborhood on a rainy night, but at least she found her way to the porch of the Airbnb she's staying at. There's only one problem: someone else is already staying here. And he (Bill Skarsgård) is both awkward and nice. He can't be a bad guy, right? Well, I'd tell you more, but I actually saw Barbarian and know I really should keep the details of what happens in that house at a bare minimum. Other than to say Barbarian is a horror movie with a big twist.

One of my absolute favorite movies of 2022, Barbarian is a whole lot of horror. And to see HBO Max get it relatively soon after its theatrical release? What a Halloween miracle. - Henry T. Casey

I'm as shocked as anyone that I'm writing this. I wrote Elvis off as just Baz Lurhman's latest bit of exhausting maximalist spectacle. And while it is definitely that kind of movie, it's so much more thanks to the performance of one Austin Butler, who plays The King himself, Elvis Pressley. While Butler is far from a new face on the scene — he's been acting since 2005 — Elvis is truly a star-making role for him. As someone far too young to have seen the Elvis phenomenon when it happened, the film Elvis is the first time where I understood what had happened. Once Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks) sees an electric performance from Elvis on stage, he sees all the money in the world in this kid, and so will you. Butler's on-screen charisma and electricity as he plays Elvis' hits is unlike anything I've witnessed in ages. — Henry T. Casey

King Richard

Will Smith as Richard Williams in King Richard, with Saniyya Sidney as Venus Williams in background

Venus and Serena Williams are two of the greatest tennis players of all time. Sorry, that’s kind of a spoiler (kidding) for this biopic, which focuses on their father and coach, Richard Williams. Will Smith puts the full force of his charisma into playing the mercurial, demanding dad who has a vision for his two talented daughters (Yes, this is the role that earned him an Oscar handed to him before he delivered The Slap heard 'round the world to Chris Rock). 

Williams was and remains a controversial lightning rod to the public and press, but the movie is more of a rousing ode to extremely dedicated parenthood. Williams' single-minded focus and unconventional methods helped him shepherd his daughters from the streets of Compton to hallowed grass courts of Wimbledon. - KW

The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl 

Junior (voiced by Gen Hoshino and Kellen Goff) holding a wine glass that's being filled by four bottles in The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl

The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl fits so much into its 93-minute runtime that it almost feels like it should be called a farce. In it, we follow an unnamed protagonist (dubbed Junior, for her school level) as she meets all the weirdest people in Kyoto. All the while her fellow student "Senpai" — a confused romantic — longs to confess his feelings to her. But their paths keep diverging, as she meets increasingly odder folks, such as the guy at the bar who is collecting adult woodprint drawings. Oh and then there's that encounter with the supernatural Rihaku. Thankfully, Junior's incredible talent for holding her liquor keeps her never-ending night going, as she finds more twists and turns among her peers than she could have expected – HTC

The Suicide Squad

Best HBO Max movies: The Suicide Squad

The 2016 Suicide Squad movie cleaned up at the box office, but later became reviled for failing to deliver on the promise of the premise — a team-up of super villains. DC and Warner Bros. clearly didn’t want to let this IP languish, hence this quasi-sequel, quasi-reboot. They turned to Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn to do an extreme movie makeover — and he’s done it. The Suicide Squad 2021 is earning positive reviews from critics and fans alike for its chaotic energy, gory violence and satirical irreverence. Plus, the general consensus is that it’s fun, which is not a label put on most DC movies. Stick around for the  Suicide Squad post-credits scenes . - HTC

The Lord of the Rings trilogy

Lord of the Rings

Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings films were a massive gamble that paid off in billions of dollars and multiple Oscars. The trilogy kicks off with The Fellowship of the Ring, which introduces the hobbit Frodo Baggins and his friends Sam, Merry and Pippin. When Frodo inherits the extremely dangerous One Ring, the wizard Gandalf urges him to leave the peaceful Shire. Frodo and his friends end up banding together with the ranger Aragorn, the steward-prince Boromir, elf Legolas and dwarf Gimli on a quest to destroy the ring in the fires of Mount Doom. But they must face the forces of the dark lord Sauron to free Middle-Earth of the terrible evil. - KW

Birds of Prey

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in Birds of Prey

Margot Robbie's performance as Harley Quinn in the original Suicide Squad was very clearly the best part of the film, so it was only natural that she got her own spin-off film. While Birds of Prey wasn't a hit at the box office, it's still an excellent piece of comedic anti-heroics that everyone should see. Harley's on her own, post-Joker, and trying to make a name for herself isn't easy when Black Mask (Ewan McGregor) is terrorizing Gotham. Robbie is supported by a fantastic cast, with Mary Elizabeth Winstead turning in a phenomenally awkward performance as Huntress and Rosie Perez playing a frustrated cop who can't catch a break. Worth it for the instantly memorable breakfast sandwich scene that will instantly give you a case of the munchies. – HTC

My Neighbor Totoro

Totoro, Satsuki and Mei eat watermelon in My Neighbor Totoro

Moving to a new city is always rough for kids, but the classic animated film My Neighbor Totoro takes this premise and turns it into a beautiful and trippy delight for the whole family. Siblings Satsuki and Meg find life in the countryside too different for their tastes, but soon a fantastic cast of creatures flip the script. While the gigantic forest spirit Totoro might look intimidating at first, with its giant flaws, its emotive eyes and lovable yawns make fast friends out of these kids and their new ally. 

Parents can play a game of spot the voice actor, with the likes of Tim Daly (Wings) and Dakota and Elle Fanning. Everyone in the whole household, however, will likely fall in love with the Studio Ghibli film's hand-drawn aesthetic and lush colors. And then there's the Cat Bus, which should inspire folks everywhere. — HTC 

2001: A Space Odyssey

Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film isn't just one of the best HBO Max movies. It's one of the greatest films ever made, period. The ambitious story tracks the evolution of mankind from apes to spacefarers, all while exploring themes around artificial intelligence, technological advancement, extraterrestrial life and humanity's place in the universe. From the monoliths to the computer HAL, there are so many signature elements that provoke thought and discussion.

2001: A Space Odyssey is also hugely influential, within the movie industry and in pop culture overall. The film is celebrated for its painstaking scientific realism, pioneering visual effects and iconic soundtrack. Almost every modern sci-fi movie you've ever seen owes a debt to Kubrick's vision. —  KW  

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Kelly is the streaming channel editor for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.

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Streaming on Max: The 21 Absolute Best Movies to Watch

Here are some highly rated films to check out, plus a look at what's coming out in June.

best travel movies on hbo max

Stellan Skarsgård and Austin Butler are in the starry cast of Dune: Part Two, now streaming on Max.

Wondering what you should watch on the Max streaming service ?

Max  replaced HBO Max last year and streams a variety of titles, including Warner Bros. movies like Dune and HBO originals like Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off. Below, you'll find a batch of can't-miss films on the streamer, plus a look at new releases for this month. (If you're still trying to figure out if Max is for you, skim  our review of the Warner Bros. Discovery streaming service ).

best travel movies on hbo max

New releases for June

Note:  These descriptions are taken from Max press releases and official websites for the films and lightly edited for style.

  • Mamma Mia (2008):  Musical comedy starring Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried. Sophie (Seyfried) has just one wish to make her wedding perfect: to have her father walk her down the aisle. Now she just has to find out who he is.
  • Uncut Gems (2019):  Crime thriller starring Adam Sandler. It's about Howard Ratner (Sandler), a charismatic New York City jeweler always on the lookout for the next big score.
  • Am I OK? (2022): Comedy-drama starring Dakota Johnson and Sonoya Mizuno. Best friends Lucy (Johnson) and Jane (Mizuno) think they know everything there is to know about each other. But when Jane announces she's moving, Lucy reveals a long-held secret.
  • Hannah Einbinder: Everything Must Go (2024):  Comedy special. Einbinder debuts a variety of characters and shares formative stories from throughout her life in her first stand-up special.
  • Problemista (2023):  Comedy. It's a surreal adventure through the equally treacherous worlds of New York City and the US Immigration system.

Read more:   Best TV Shows to Watch on Max

The best movies to watch

The films below consist of notable new releases and blockbusters, HBO and Max originals and Warner Bros. films made exclusively for Max . All score around 65 or higher on Metacritic.

best travel movies on hbo max

Turtles All the Way Down (2024)

Don't usually dabble in the young adult genre? You shouldn't let that keep you from taking in Turtles All the Way Down, based on a 2017 novel of the same name by John Green. The film stars Isabela Merced (Madame Web, upcoming sci-fier Alien: Romulus) as a teen who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety. With elements of romance and a captivating performance from Merced, this straight-to-streaming movie deserves more attention.

best travel movies on hbo max

Priscilla (2023)

Sofia Coppola's Priscilla, about the relationship between Priscilla and Elvis Presley, is streaming on Max along with other recent films from entertainment company A24. Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi star in the stylish flick, which tells things from Priscilla's point of view. If you like new A24 flicks, Max's stash also includes The Iron Claw, The Zone of Interest and Dream Scenario (Love Lies Bleeding and Civil War will hit the streamer eventually).

best travel movies on hbo max

Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)

Avatar: The Way of Water reintroduced audiences to James Cameron's film franchise after 13 years and won an Oscar for best visual effects. The sequel centers on the Sully family -- Jake, Neytiri and their kids -- and is brimming with adventure and heart. It'll be  at least a couple of years  until Avatar 3 arrives, but you can pass the time by rewatching this on Max.

best travel movies on hbo max

The Fallout (2022)

After a shooting occurs at her high school, 16-year-old Vada Cavell must navigate friendships, school and her relationship with her family. The Fallout skillfully approaches serious subject matter with realistic dialogue and compassion for its characters. With strong performances from stars Jenna Ortega, as Vada, and Maddie Ziegler, as her new friend Mia Reed, the feature will keep you glued to the screen for the entirety of its 90-minute runtime.

best travel movies on hbo max

Dune (2021)

Remember 2021, when Warner Bros. movies hit HBO Max on the same day they premiered in theaters? That exciting period may be over, but at least we'll always have the memory of watching Denis Villeneuve's stunning sci-fi epic Dune at home. If you've never seen the film or need to brush up on what "the spice" is before watching Part Two (which is also on Max), stream Part One now.

best travel movies on hbo max

King Richard (2021)

King Richard is a feel-good biopic about the father of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams. The film winds back the clock to before the sisters became household names, giving us a glimpse of their upbringing in Compton and time spent practicing on run-down courts with their father, Richard Williams (Will Smith). Convinced his daughters are going to be successful, Richard works tirelessly to get their star potential noticed by professional coaches. A complicated man with a tremendous personality, Richard is fascinating to get to know, and his unwavering belief in Venus and Serena is inspiring. 

best travel movies on hbo max

Son of Monarchs (2020)

A rare (nowadays) 90-minute film, American Mexican drama Son of Monarchs will stay with you long after the end credits roll. This deep character study follows two brothers who are changed in markedly different ways by the trauma they suffered in childhood. This story, folding in magical realism, follows how they move forward in life -- the butterfly metaphors are strong, with biologist Mendel returning to his hometown surrounded by majestic monarch butterfly forests.

best travel movies on hbo max

Bad Education (2019)

Based on a magazine article by journalist Robert Kolker, this tale about a public school embezzlement scandal and the student journalists who broke the news is captivating from start to finish. Allison Janney and Hugh Jackman are great in their roles as the school officials who took part in the scheme. The drama also won the 2020 Emmy award for Outstanding Television Movie. 

best travel movies on hbo max

Wonka (2023)

Dune's Timothée Chalamet stars in this prequel to Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and it's a total treat. With new and familiar tunes, a committed cast and oodles and oodles of whimsy, the film allows audiences to get to know a young Willy Wonka with giraffe-sized ambition and undeniable chocolate-making skill. It's a quirky, comforting flick from Paddington director Paul King that you'll absolutely want on your plate.

best travel movies on hbo max

Barbie (2023)

Unless you've been living in Barbie Land (or another place that isn't the real world), chances are you're very familiar with this pink-coated comedy already. The flick -- Warner Bros.' highest-grossing global release of all time -- brings a long list of stars together for a hilarious and heartfelt adventure. Greta Gerwig directs, Margot Robbie plays the titular role, and Ryan Gosling belts out an incredible power ballad as Ken.

best travel movies on hbo max

Father of the Bride (2022)

Max's Father of the Bride introduces a Cuban American family that includes patriarch Billy, a traditional guy who struggles to digest surprising news from his eldest daughter: She's met a guy, and she wants to marry and move away with him. The third film adaptation of a 1949 novel of the same name by Edward Streeter, the movie is an enjoyable iteration that includes stars like Andy Garcia and singer Gloria Estefan.

best travel movies on hbo max

Let Them All Talk (2020)

Meryl Streep playing an eccentric author in a Steven Soderbergh comedy. What more do you need to know? If you do want to know more: Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Hughes (Streep) is struggling to finish her next book, chased by her literary agent (Gemma Chan). She boards a cruise ship with old friends, who inspired her best-known work. Tensions are strong. It looks great -- Soderbergh uses crisp, natural light -- and most of the dialogue is improvised. See how Dianne Wiest, Candice Bergen, Lucas Hedges and the rest of the impeccable cast have fun with that.

best travel movies on hbo max

Kimi (2022)

Steven Soderbergh directs this engaging tech thriller set during the COVID-19 pandemic. Angela, a Seattle tech worker played by a neon blue-haired Zoë Kravitz, has agoraphobia, a fear that prevents her from making it past the front door of her apartment. But when she uncovers an unsettling recording while doing her job, she's pushed to make the leap. Kimi is a stylish thriller complete with eye-catching cinematography, a solid score and a protagonist you'll be rooting for.

best travel movies on hbo max

No Sudden Move (2021)

A movie from Steven Soderbergh, the great director behind Erin Brockovich, Ocean's Eleven and, more recently, Logan Lucky? Twists, thrills and desperate characters populate this crime thriller set in 1950s Detroit. When a seemingly simple job gets out of hand, a group of criminals must work together to uncover what's really going on. Take in the incredible cast: Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, David Harbour, Jon Hamm and Amy Seimetz. While the plot can be a little convoluted and some won't be able to get past the fish-eye lens cinematography, Soderbergh's sense of humor and immersive direction make this crime caper an entertaining night in.


best travel movies on hbo max

All That Breathes (2022)

This captivating documentary is filled with images that will stick with you. It centers on two brothers in New Delhi who run a bird hospital dedicated to black kites -- birds of prey that are a staple of the sky. It was a contender for best documentary feature at the 2023 Oscars.

best travel movies on hbo max

Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off (2022)

Tune into this HBO doc for the gravity-defying skateboard stunts, a time capsule of the '80s skateboarding scene, and a version of Hawk you've probably never seen. We get to know the renowned athlete as a lanky, stubborn but determined kid who adopted his own skateboarding style. Hawk's persistence is something to marvel at, along with all the stunning skateboard moves this film packs in. Hang on for a memorable ride.

best travel movies on hbo max

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain (2021)

This film about beloved author, chef and globe-traveling TV host Anthony Bourdain comes from documentary filmmaker Morgan Neville, who also directed 2018's Won't You Be My Neighbor? and the Oscar-winning film Twenty Feet from Stardom. In interviews with people who knew Bourdain, like his friends, former partners and longtime colleagues, the doc tracks his career path, relationships and personal struggles. Bourdain fans and those less acquainted with the star will likely appreciate this two-hour look at his life.

best travel movies on hbo max

The Color Purple (2023)

This movie musical version of The Color Purple is adapted from Alice Walker's 1982 novel and the Broadway play. Set in the early 1900s, the film tells the story of Celie, a Black woman living in the South who faces multiple hardships but is able to find strength in the bonds in her life. The cast includes Fantasia Barrino, Taraji P. Henson, Colman Domingo, Halle Bailey and Danielle Brooks, who received a 2023 Oscar nomination for her role as Celie's daughter-in-law, Sofia.

best travel movies on hbo max

In the Heights (2021)

In the Heights  stars Anthony Ramos (whom you might recognize as John Laurens in Hamilton) playing Usnavi, a bodega owner struggling to keep his business afloat while a heatwave strikes Washington Heights. Secretly in love with his neighbor Vanessa (Melissa Barrera), who dreams of getting out of the salon and out of the neighborhood, Usnavi serves the people of Washington Heights with a whole lot of love, lottery tickets and cafe con leche. Between the choreographed twirls and fireworks, In the Heights is an examination of wealth disparity, immigration, classism and the importance of culture.

best travel movies on hbo max

The Batman (2022)

Robert Pattinson steps out as Batman in this moody superhero flick directed by Matt Reeves. The movie takes place in a perpetually gray and rain-soaked Gotham City, where Bruce Wayne starts to seek out a murderer with an affinity for riddles. Along the way, he meets Catwoman, played by a swaggering Zoë Kravitz. A satisfying dark mystery with great scene-setting and storytelling, The Batman is also getting a Max spinoff series, The Penguin, in 2024.

best travel movies on hbo max

The Suicide Squad (2021)

Over-the-top violence abounds in this DC film about supervillains who agree to help the US government in exchange for some time off their prison sentences. Their mission is to destroy something alluded to as Project Starfish, harbored in the fictional island country of Corto Maltese. With a notable cast that includes Margot Robbie, Idris Elba and John Cena, 2021's The Suicide Squad is a wickedly entertaining, darkly funny bloodbath that differs from what you usually see in superhero movies. (Peacemaker, a spinoff TV series, is also available on Max.)

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Jennifer M. Wood WIRED Staff

The 35 Best Shows on Max (aka HBO Max) Right Now

Jean Smart sitting in a large gold chair next to a side table with a martini on it

It may not have the shine it once did , but Max ( previously HBO Max ) is still home to some of the best TV shows of the past 25 years, from  The Sopranos and  The Wire to  Game of Thrones  and  The Leftovers .

Max has gotten into the original content game too, with highly acclaimed series like  Hacks ,  Station Eleven , and  The Staircase ( the owl did it !). So even if you’ve watched all of the HBO classics, there’s more to devour.

Whether you’re a longtime fan of the “it’s not TV” cable network or a Max newbie trying to figure out where to start, the shows below should give you plenty upon which to feast your eyes.

Looking for more recommendations? Head to WIRED’s guide to the  best TV shows on Netflix , the  best TV shows on Amazon Prime , the  best TV shows on Disney+ , and the  best TV shows on Hulu .

If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. Learn more .

The Jinx is as unnerving as it is fascinating. Director Andrew Jarecki’s first brush with the history of Robert Durst came in the form of All Good Things , the 2010 feature starring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst that fictionalized the life of Durst. But when Durst saw what Jarecki had done with that project, he requested they sit down for an interview, which spawned this true-crime docuseries that initially premiered in 2015—and eventually led to new charges being filed against Durst. We won’t give away too much, but suffice to say the words “killed them all, of course” will forever live in your mind. The Jinx Part Two , which premiered in April, picks up the story after Durst uttered that haunting phrase.

Jean Smart has always been a legend, so it’s only appropriate that she plays a legend in Hacks . The Max series debuted in 2021—not long after the streaming platform itself dropped—and became one of its first major hits. Now in its third season, which premiered in early May, the show follows the evolution of the relationship between world-renowned Las Vegas entertainer Deborah Vance (Smart) and Ava Daniels (Hannah Einbinder, daughter of SNL legend Laraine Newman), a cynical young writer who is on the outs with Hollywood following a bad-take tweet that went viral. What begins as a reluctant “mentorship” slowly transforms into a loving and respectful friendship in which both women realize they have something to learn from the other.

The Sympathizer

Viewers still lamenting the end of The Americans will find much to love about The Sympathizer , which was co-created by acclaimed filmmakers Park Chan-wook and Don McKellar. Based on Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, this limited series follows the exploits of the Captain (Hoa Xuande), a police captain in the Vietnamese capital then known as Saigon, who also happens to be a communist spy. Eventually, he makes his way to America, where he continues gathering intelligence for the Viet Cong. While it may not sound like the premise of a black comedy, that’s indeed what it is—especially whenever Robert Downey Jr. is around. The Iron Man star makes for a formidable villain that viewers love to hate in each one of the four characters he plays.

Conan O'Brien Must Go

Conan O'Brien is at his zaniest in this offshoot of his popular podcast, Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend . Whereas the popular audio series features O'Brien chatting with his fellow celebrities, this globe-trotting series sees the former late-night host surprising everyday people he has featured on said podcast. But it doubles as a kind of travel series, as he uses the time in these far-off places (including Norway, Thailand, Argentina, and Ireland) to immerse himself in the food, traditions, and culture of his chosen destinations. The bad news? There are only four episodes of the series, which premiered on April 18, so you’ll want to savor this one—at least until the second season arrives. On May 15, Max announced that it had renewed the series.

Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show

One has to imagine that putting “Reality Show” in the title was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as this docuseries—in which comedian Jerrod Carmichael claims he’s attempting to “self- Truman Show ” himself—is much more intimate and authentic than that label would imply. Carmichael’s goal is to be as honest as he can be about his life and struggles while the cameras are rolling. And if one were to judge his success based on how uncomfortable some viewers might be bearing witness to it all, the show is an absolute triumph.

In The Regime , Kate Winslet does that thing that only Kate Winslet can really do: Play someone who is cold, calculating, and highly unlikeable yet immensely watchable. The Titanic star plays Chancellor Elena Vernham, a ruthless dictator who seems to be losing her hold over her people. So she turns to Herbert Zubak (Matthias Schoenaerts), her water diviner, for advice and companionship. But it turns out the former soldier might have some pretty lofty power goals of his own.

The Girls on the Bus

It’s hardly surprising that an election year brings with it an uptick in political content, which helps explain the timing on this new limited series. The show is inspired by series co-creator Amy Chozick’s 2018 memoir, Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns, and One Intact Glass Ceiling , about her near-decade spent following Hillary Clinton’s quest for the presidency. In the series, the political campaign is a fictional one, but the bonds forged between four female journalists who are on the trail of the next president are rooted in reality—and very much of the moment.

In 1993, American journalist Jake Adelstein landed a job at the Tokyo-based Yomiuri Shimbun as the newspaper’s first non-Japanese staff writer—a position he held for a dozen years. Nearly 30 years later, in 2022, Max turned Adelstein’s life into a slick crime drama that sees the young journalist (played by Ansel Elgort) forge a deep connection with high-ranking members of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, who allow him to get dangerously close to the violence and corruption that exist within the city. The series just concluded its explosive second season, with all episodes available to stream.

Murder in Boston: Roots, Rampage & Reckoning

Is Boston the most racist city in America? That’s the question Jason Hehir—a Beantown native and the Emmy-winning director behind The Last Dance —poses in this three-part docuseries that revisits the murder of Carol Stuart. In the fall of 1989, Chuck Stewart called 911 to report that he and his wife, who was pregnant, had been carjacked by a Black man, who shot them both. Carol did not survive, but Charles did. And the crime ignited a months-long manhunt throughout the city with police having little more to go on than the color of the alleged assailant’s skin. Eventually, Willie Bennett—a 39-year-old who had been arrested on separate charges—became the chief suspect and was presumed guilty by mostly everyone, including the media. Until an unlikely witness came forward to reveal the truth of the crime. This series, which is part true-crime mystery and part social-justice documentary, triumphs in revealing how the sins of a city’s past can continue to haunt it decades later.

True Detective: Night Country

Did you take our advice and watch Deadloch and now you want more of that, but far darker and more creepy? We have just the solution: True Detective: Night Country . Truth be told, this anthology series has had a rough go. Following a wildly successful first season that crashed Max’s predecessor , HBO Go, and had everyone talking about how time is a flat circle, the series’ second and third installments failed to capture the same momentum. Night Country is a return to form . It stars Jodie Foster and Kali Reis as a pair of investigators trying to uncover a conspiracy and solve a series of bizarre murders. Mysterious symbols are also involved. Yes, that’s pretty much the plot of every season of True Detective , but this season has corpsicles. As with all of those previous iterations, the less you know at the start, the better. Let it pull you in, and never let go.

Curb Your Enthusiasm

“I really did the best under the circumstances of a person who hates people and yet had to be amongst them,” Larry David says in the trailer for the 12th—and final (yes, really)—season of Curb Your Enthusiasm . David—both the real-life comedian and the semi-fictionalized version of himself he plays on TV—has been dipping in and out of our lives for more than 20 years now. And he continually exceeded audience expectations with each new season of Curb , most recently by adding Tracey Ullman to the cast as councilwoman/love interest Irma Kostroski. Even though he cocreated Seinfeld , one of the most game-changing TV series of all time, it’s Curb Your Enthusiasm to which he’ll always be more closely linked. Pretty good for a social assassin. Pretty, pretty good.

In the nearly 20 years since her death in 2004, Julia Child has gotten the biopic treatment with Julie & Julia (2009) and was the subject of Julie Cohen and Betsy West’s documentary Julia (2021). In 2022, Happy Valley ’s Sarah Lancashire stepped into Child’s toque to recount the earliest days of her career as a cookbook author and TV chef innovator, and it makes for one tasty dramedy. In January, we learned that the series’ second season—which wrapped up in December—will be its last; all episodes are available to stream now.

Insecure impresario Issa Rae is the brains behind this laugh-out-loud comedy, which follows Mia Knight (KaMillion) and Shawna Clark (Aida Osman), two former high school friends and struggling rappers trying to make it on the Miami music scene. Ultimately, they decide to join forces to form a group, double their chances of success, and use social media as their launching pad—all with mixed results. As much as the series is about music, at its heart it’s really about the unending possibilities of youthdom and the beauty of women supporting women.

The Gilded Age

While it hasn’t made quite the splash that Downton Abbey did, Julian Fellowes’ latest period piece is just as decadent—and really came into its own with its second season. In this case, the drama moves stateside to document the struggle between New York City’s old-money aristocrats and the vulgar new-money types attempting to infiltrate their social circles. There’s also plenty of the Upstairs, Downstairs -type drama that Fellowes is known for, with the servants who cater to Manhattan’s elite playing a big part of the story too. Somewhere in the middle of it all is Marian Brook (Louisa Jacobson), a young woman attempting to navigate a world she only belongs to by proxy. Christine Baranski, Carrie Coon, and Cynthia Nixon lead a stellar cast.

Jessie (Rose Matafeo) is a twentysomething New Zealander attempting to make ends meet as a nanny in London. One New Year’s Eve, she has a drunken one-night stand, only to sober up and realize she just slept with Tom Kapoor (Nikesh Patel), a major movie star. But what was presumably a one-off encounter turns into much more over time in this charming romcom series, which is a little bit like Notting Hill —only drunker.

Our Flag Means Death

Rhys Darby and Taika Waititi do what Rhys Darby and Taika Waititi do best as two very different kinds of pirates who cross paths in the 1700s. Darby plays Stede Bonnet, a fictionalized version of a very real member of the landed gentry whose version of a midlife crisis led to him abandon his family and hit the high seas for a swashbuckling adventure. Waititi, meanwhile, plays the infamous Blackbeard, who learns of Bonnet and seeks him out. What begins as a kind of mentorship eventually becomes the gay pirate action-comedy series you never knew you needed.

How to With John Wilson

If Steven Wright and Nathan Fielder decided to create a YouTube channel of how-to tutorials on topics like putting up scaffolding and covering furniture in plastic, it might look a lot like How to With John Wilson . So it probably comes as no surprise that Fielder is an executive producer of the series, which follows Wilson as he attempts to uncover the secrets of such universal dilemmas as how to make small talk. Wilson’s surprising mix of earnestness and deadpan delivery make the series surprising, enlightening, and extremely strange.

Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty

John C. Reilly stars as Lakers owner Jerry Buss in a performance that would make Reed Rothchild, his Boogie Nights character, proud. This fast-paced period sports drama, which is based on Jeff Pearlman’s book Showtime , chronicles exactly what it promises in the title: the rise of the Los Angeles Lakers, who ruled the NBA throughout much of the ’80s—thanks in large part to owner Buss and rookie player Magic Johnson (Quincy Isaiah). Though it has been lauded by critics, Winning Time has seemed to fly oddly under the radar. This might explain why it was recently axed by HBO. But it’s still period filmmaking and high-stakes sports drama at its finest.

Project Greenlight: A New Generation

In 2001, just three years after Good Will Hunting made them bona fide Oscar winners, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck launched Project Greenlight, a competition that gave aspiring filmmakers the chance to make a real, live movie—which begat Project Greenlight , a reality series that chronicled the ups and downs (mostly downs) of that experience. While the competition was better known for the TV series it spawned versus the movies that it produced, it’s now more than 20 years later. And, as new mentors Issa Rae, Kumail Nanjiani, and Gina Prince-Bythewood quickly realize, it’s all still a bit of a nightmare. Gray Matter , the movie that was created from the competition’s rebirth, is also streaming on Max, so you can judge for yourself whether things are different this time around.

Full Circle

When a teen goes missing in New York City, the lives—and lies—of several seemingly unconnected characters find a way to intertwine in this twisty crime series from the mind of filmmaker Ed Solomon ( Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure ). What at first might seem like a straightforward story of two bereaved parents (Claire Danes and Timothy Olyphant) attempting to deal with the kidnapping of their son becomes much more complicated in the hands of Steven Soderbergh, who produced and directs all six episodes of this limited series, where nothing is what it seems.

Last Call: When a Serial Killer Stalked Queer New York

This four-part docuseries, based on Elon Green’s book Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust and Murder in Queer New York , looks at the murders of several gay men in the early 1990s. Set against the backdrop of rising homophobia during the AIDS crisis, director Anthony Coronna’s doc talks to the family members of those killed and the LGBTQ+ community advocates who pushed law enforcement to investigate the deaths happening in their community.

The Other Two

Chasedreams (Case Walker) is a 13-year-old internet icon whose overnight rise to global stardom has become the sole focus of his mom (Molly Shannon). Chase’s older siblings, however, are having a much harder time finding success. Brother Cary (Drew Tarver) is an aspiring actor who can’t even land the part of “Man at Party Who Smells Fart,” while sister Brooke (Heléne Yorke) is just trying to figure out who and what she wants to be. All three seasons of the series, which was cocreated by former SNL head writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider, are available to binge.

No one seemed particularly wowed when HBO announced that Bill Hader and Alec Berg were cocreating a series in which Hader would play a hitman with a conscience who attempts to go straight. But what might sound like a played-out trope has  taken on new dimensions of humor, darkness, humanity, and plain old weirdness, with its recently concluded final season serving as a brilliant crescendo of all of that dark weirdness mixed in with a little time jump. Barry Berkman (Hader) is a traumatized marine whose newfound apathy toward the world and the very act of living makes him perfectly suited to work as a gun for hire. When a job takes him to Los Angeles, Barry stumbles upon an acting class led by Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler, in what may be the role that finally supplants Fonzie as his most memorable), a failed but charismatic mentor. But transitioning back into the real world isn’t without consequences for Barry, who can spend an entire episode being  hunted by a pint-size martial arts master . All four seasons of the Emmy-winning series, each one better than the next, are available to stream in full.

Love & Death

Elizabeth Olsen seamlessly transitions from part-time superhero to cold-blooded seductress in this retelling of the story of Candy Montgomery—a churchgoing wife and mother who turns murderous after having an affair with a fellow parishioner (the always excellent Jesse Plemons). If the plot sounds familiar, that might be because it’s based on the true story of a murder that took place in Texas in 1980. Or perhaps it’s because Hulu got there first with its own limited series, Candy , starring Jessica Biel as the femme fatale.

Media empires run by dysfunctional families may rise and fall, but we’ll always have  Succession . The Emmy-winning series concluded its four-season run in early 2023, but its legacy as one of the most surprising pieces of prestige TV will be felt for decades to come (especially after what happened at Shiv’s wedding … then “Connor’s Wedding,” not to mention on the balcony or in the hand-hold seen ’round the world). At a time when TV shows about rich people, real or imagined, are in ample supply,  Succession  manages to stand out by being as bitingly funny as it is painfully tragic. The jet-black family dramedy chronicles the Roy family and the people/cronies/tall men who orbit them, all of whom seem to be angling for control of Waystar RoyCo, the family-run global media conglomerate—whether by succession (get it?) or more hostile means. Think of it as  King Lear meets Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., only funny. (Unless you’re invited to play a game of Boar on the Floor.)

The Last of Us

The Last of Us managed to succeed where Netflix’s  Resident Evil (which was canceled after one season) and other live-action TV shows based on video games failed—by being really, really good. Craig Mazin ( Chernobyl ) and the video game’s original director,  Neil Druckmann , cocreated the post-apocalyptic drama, in which one grizzled survivor ( Pedro Pascal ) is tasked with smuggling a smart-mouthed teenager (Bella Ramsey) who could be the key to finding a cure for the fungal infection-fueled pandemic that has turned most of America into zombie-like creatures. Props to everyone for generating so much interest in the (very real and parasitic)  Cordyceps fungus —because  fungi nerds like TV, too . (Fans will be getting a second season of it all, with Pascal and Ramsey returning, in 2025.)

A Black Lady Sketch Show

In 2015, Robin Thede made television history when she was named head writer for  The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore —making her the first Black woman to hold the head writer position on a late-night talk show. Four years later, she revolutionized the TV landscape once again when she gathered up a group of her funniest friends—including Ashley Nicole Black, (future  Abbott Elementary creator) Quinta Brunson, Gabrielle Dennis, and Skye Townsend—and created  A Black Lady Sketch Show , the first sketch comedy written, produced, and starring Black women. The four-season series has brought such A-list names as Angela Bassett out as guest stars with its no-holds-barred humor, and the entire series is available to stream now.

Costello Jones (Daisy May Cooper) is an aspiring novelist and working-class mom who isn’t always successful at making ends meet for herself and her wise-beyond-her-years daughter, Iris (Fleur Tashjian). So Costello is regularly forced to call upon her violence-prone—but wealthy—gay best friend, Selby (Jack Farthing), to unstick them from whatever jams they’ve managed to get caught in. The series is billed as a black comedy, which it definitely is, although the moments between the levity are sometimes so dark and raw that even the frothiest bits carry weight. This darkly nuanced and sometimes surreal meditation on class, sex, dysfunction, and the varying definitions of “family” makes for a compulsively watchable series.

Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary creator/star Quinta Brunson ( A Black Lady Sketch Show ) has garnered all sorts of accolades with this ABC series and even managed to create streaming deals with both Max and  Hulu . The surprise hit follows the lives of a group of teachers who are working at one of the most woefully underfunded public schools in America while doing their best to inspire students. Yes, it all sounds very earnest—and it is—but it’s also the kind of funny we don’t see much of on network TV anymore. The series only just premiered its third season but has managed to rack up enough awards (Emmys, Critics Choice, Indie Spirit, and beyond) to fill a school trophy case.

The White Lotus

Knowing that Jennifer Coolidge stars in the first two seasons of  The White Lotus (the only actor to move locations with the series) is reason enough for many people to tune in. While it was originally imagined as a one-off series from the brilliantly screwed-up mind (in a good way) of Mike White—who cocreated the sadly overlooked  Enlightenment with Laura Dern, another HBO show you should check out—it has since morphed into a full-on franchise. The series dives below the surface of the seemingly fabulous lives of deep-pocketed guests who can afford to stay at one of the five-star resorts of the title’s locations (first Hawaii, then Sicily, with Thailand scheduled for season 3), and the people who trip over themselves to serve their every need. Somewhere in between, murder always seems to end up on the menu. As season 3 won’t premiere until 2025, you’ve got plenty of time to catch up—and you’ll want to. HBO has already announced that Carrie Coon, Walton Goggins, Parker Posey, Patrick Schwarzenegger, and Aimee Lou Wood will all appear in the next installment.

I May Destroy You

Michaela Coel is a creative force of nature who delivered on what she promised with the title of this limited series, which she created, wrote, directed, and stars in. Arabella (Coel) is a Londoner living the millennial dream with a thriving writing career, thanks in part to her celebrity as a social media influencer. But Arabella’s Insta-perfect life begins to unravel when, after a night out with friends, she begins to recall—in fragments—being sexually assaulted. Eventually, the need to piece together exactly what happened to her, and who did it, consumes her completely and the past comes knocking at her door.

The Sex Lives of College Girls

Mindy Kaling cocreated this Max series, which puts a new spin on the teenage sex comedy—one in which the women are fully in charge. Nerdy Kimberly (Pauline Chalamet, yes, Timothée’s sister), aspiring professional funny person Bela (Amrit Kaur), snotty Upper East Sider Leighton (Reneé Rapp), and soccer star/senator’s daughter Whitney (Alyah Chanelle Scott) are four college freshmen randomly thrown together as suitemates. But as they get to know each other, and themselves, their forced cohabitation develops into a true bond—one in which there’s no such thing as TMI and a “naked party” is just one way to unwind after a long week. The series’ third season is expected to premiere in the first half of this year and will be the final go-around for costar/Gen Z icon Reneé Rapp, who announced that she’d be exiting the show to focus on her musical career.

The Rehearsal

Good luck trying to explain what  The Rehearsal  is to anyone who isn’t familiar with Nathan Fielder’s mastery of uncomfortable comedy. What begins as a series in which the awkward star/comedian attempts to help people prepare for big moments in life by rehearsing them until they get it right quickly turns into a bizarre social experiment in which Fielder himself becomes one of the key players. The less you know about it ahead of time, the better. Just be aware that you’ll be encountering people who responded to a Craigslist ad to take part. For more of Fielder’s weird brilliance, all four seasons of  Nathan for You —another kind of  meta-comedy that will force you to repeatedly cover your eyes in vicarious embarrassment—are also streaming on Max.

Bad timing may have led to the unfortunately early demise of  Avenue 5 , which had filming on its second season delayed, and delayed again, due to Covid-19. But the space-set comedy from the brilliant mind of Armando Iannucci, creator of  Veep (another classic streaming on HBO Max), and its even swearier predecessor,  The Thick of It , is well worth your time, if only to see what could happen when space travel inevitably goes wrong. Hugh Laurie stars as the “captain” of an interplanetary cruise ship, with Josh Gad playing the role of eccentric tech billionaire/huge baby Herman Judd, whose planned eight-week tour of the galaxy turns dire when a gravitational disaster steers the ship off course. The series gets more bonkers as it goes along, and poop plays a massive part in saving thousands of passengers and crew members. Consider yourselves warned—and feel free to laugh at the inanity of it all. Loudly.

The Righteous Gemstones

Danny McBride and HBO are the new Brangelina of television. First they teamed up for the hilariously offensive-for-offense’s sake  Eastbound & Down ; then there was  Vice Principals. The Righteous Gemstones , which McBride created and stars in, is his latest effort to put forth a group of highly unlikeable people and find a way to make you like them even less but still want to keep watching. In this case, it’s a family of televangelists whose real god is greed and power. McBride assembled an all-star cast that includes John Goodman as the family’s patriarch, Adam DeVine and Edi Patterson as the Gemstone children, and national treasure Walton Goggins as Uncle Baby Billy Freeman—a child-star-turned-grifter who has given the series some of its most memorable quotes and moments.

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You need to watch the most underrated time-travel thriller on HBO Max ASAP

Time travel gets the Shaun of the Dead treatment.

best travel movies on hbo max

Time travel movies are a dime a dozen. There are movies where the time travel has drastic consequences , movies where it’s incredibly mundane, movies where the time travel makes for a great love story ... the genre has given us well-worn tropes that are beloved by some and dismissed as cliches by others.

One little-known movie streaming on HBO Max brings all these pop culture staples to life in a hilarious, chaotic, and aggressively self-referential adventure.

Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel was conceived as a TV movie for the BBC, but it was produced by HBO and thus scored a spot among HBO Max’s movie offerings. It gets lost in the mix, but it’s a hidden gem.

FAQ follows three friends who are all sci-fi superfans: Ray (Chris O’Dowd), Pete (Dean Lennox Kelly), and Toby (Marc Wootton). Fed up with all the tropes they see in movies, they decide to write an open letter to Hollywood.

Then, at the pub, Roy meets an American named Cassie (Anna Faris) who dumps a lot of confusing information on him. She’s a time traveler who fixes “time leaks,” and she saves famous figures from being killed by time traveling “editors” who murder famous people moments after they come up with their greatest idea. Pete doesn’t believe a word of this encounter, but then he goes to the bathroom and emerges to find the bar full of corpses.

It’s a lot to absorb, but it’s the start of a rollicking time-travel adventure that runs the gamut of tropes. There are space cops, time loops, butterfly effects, and, of course, a love story, all crammed into 83 minutes. The plot is entirely too ambitious for such a small-scale film, but by keeping the story centered around a single bar there can be serious action on a shoestring budget.

Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel HBO Max

Ray, Pete, and Toby try to activate a supposed time machine in the bar’s bathroom.

By the end, the three boys find themselves in a post-apocalyptic future (while still in the bar), and there’s a crazy sequel cliffhanger presented by another version of Cassie traveling from the future. Unfortunately, a follow-up never happened, and director Gareth Carrivick died soon after the film’s 2009 release.

Ironically, Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel seems to have escaped its rightful place next to Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead as iconic British satire because of bad timing. Were it released as an HBO Max original in the age of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and time travel movies like Palm Springs , we could have seen this isolated masterpiece reach its full potential. Instead, it’s a forgotten obscurity, but one that’s still worth your... well, you know.

Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel is streaming on HBO Max .

  • Science Fiction

best travel movies on hbo max

best travel movies on hbo max

The 7 Best New Movies on Max in May 2024

A pril's showers brought in a garden flowers that have bloomed into an entire new selection of movies landing on HBO's streamer Max in May.

Each month, streamers drop some brand new cinematic goodies that any and everyone can enjoy. From action-packed faves, funny female-led comedies and iconic biopics, there's tons of stories to get into and we're here to make it a little easier for you.

While Max's slate of new films in May stretch way beyond these seven titles, TheWrap wanted to point your attention to best ones on its lineup. Here's our curated list of some of the best new movies on Amazon Prime Video in May.

"Mad Max" (1979)

There's nothing like taking all the back to the original. If you'd like to see Hollywood's first go at the dystopian action sci-fi flick, Max has George Miller's original "Mad Max" -- just in time for "Furiosa." In a world that's been ripped of one of its most valuable resources, oil, the world has turned into a war zone where it's every person for themselves. But for Main Force Patrol office Max (Mel Gibson), he's got his own beef with a bully biker gang that murdered his wife and son. The film stars Gibson, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Joanne Samuel, Geoff Parry and more. George Miller penned the story alongside Byron Kennedy, and he also served as director.

"Sisters" (2015)

"Saturday Night Live" legends Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are Maura and Kate in the comedy "Sisters," two siblings who want to relive their days as teenagers by throwing a massive farewell party as a way to depart from their childhood home that their parents have decided to sell. However, as the bash starts to get out of control, they realize the home might not be standing much longer. Jason Moore directed the film, and fellow "SNL" writer and actress Paula Pell wrote the script.

"Silver Linings Playbook" (2012)

Written and directed by David O. Russell, the romantic comedy "Silver Linings Playbook" was an unlikely awards darling when it was released and scored Jennifer Lawrence a Best Actress Oscar. The story is centered on a man named Pat Solatano, who's been forced to move in with his Philadelphia Eagles-loving parents (Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver) after he losing his wife and career. However, things start to shift when he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), who makes a deal with him to help him restore his relationship with his wife if he can assist her with a favor as well.

"Turtles All the Way Down" (2024)

Along with some old time goodies, Max is also serving it up with its own original "Turtles All the Way Down." Directed by Hannah Marks, the movie stars Isabela Merced as Aza Holmes, a 16-year-old who struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). She then confronted with a new challenge once when she finds her way back to her childhood crush, as she must learn to find confidence in her self in the midst of juggling her condition. The film is based on the novel by John Green.

"Jersey Boys" (2014)

The musical "Jersey Boys" was inspired by the lives of the four members in the '60s group Four Seasons. Director Clint Eastwood's Broadway adaptation chronicles the musicians' scrappy journey from the streets of New Jersey to making to the top of the charts. But they realize success and fame comes with challenges, drama and sacrifices. The cast includes John Lloyd Young, Vincent Piazza, Christopher Walken, Michael Lomenda, Erich Bergen and more.

"Crank" (2006)

Jason Statham comes in as the explosive and electrifying hitman Chev Chelios. After deciding to turn his life around and leave his career as an assassin, he let's one of his targets go as his parting gift. But the next day, he wakes up and learns that he's been poisoned, and the only way to keep himself alive for the hour of life that he has is by maintaining his body's adrenaline until he can find an antidote. Brian Taylor and Mark Neveldine served as directors and wrote the script. The cast includes Statham, Amy Smart, Dwight Yoakam, Efren Ramirez and more.

"The Iron Claw" (2023)

Another biographical film is the Zac Efron-led sports drama "The Iron Claw," which tells the tragic story of the Von Erich wrestling brothers. The film follows the siblings and their rise to stardom in professional wrestling during the early 1980s. The film was written and directed by Sean Durkin and the cast includes Efron, Jeremy Allen White, Lily James, Maxwell Jacob Friedman, Harris Dickson, Holt McCallany and more.

The post The 7 Best New Movies on Max in May 2024 appeared first on TheWrap .

"Mad Max" (Warner Bros., Universal Pictures)

The 15 Best Action Movies on HBO Max Right Now, Including 'Mad Max: Fury Road'


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Sometimes the house is just too quiet. What it needs is a good shootout, or maybe an explosion. A cool quip couldn't hurt either. There are days when — for whatever reason — you just need a great action film before you hit the sack. Luckily, Max has a ton of great action movies to offer. In fact, the titles below really just represent the tip of the action iceberg (particularly when it comes to fans of Samurai films or animated Batman movies). But if you are jonesing for a night of loud rock ‘em sock ‘em cinema, this is a great place to start your search.

In the mood for something a bit quieter? Check out our list of best comedies , dramas , or family movies on the platform, or browse our list of the best movies on Max across all genres.

Editor's note: This article was updated May 2024 to include Mad Max: Fury Road.

'Mad Max: Fury Road' (2015)

Rotten tomatoes: 97% | imdb: 8.1/10, mad max: fury road.

Heralded as a masterpiece, George Miller ’s Mad Max: Fury Road is an apocalyptic tale set in the most depraved corners of our planet. In a lawless land, two rebels, Max ( Tom Hardy ) and Furiosa ( Charlize Theron ), fight against a ruthless ruler in the hope of restoring order. “What a lovely day!” cry both Nicholas Hoult ’s Nux and this movie’s viewers, with the sheer energy and excitement bursting from Fury Road enough to charge your week. Not just a rollercoaster ride of thrilling action, the film is also a masterpiece in the physical components of filmmaking, proven by its six Academy Award nominations and two wins for Editing and Costume Design. - Jake Hodges

Watch on Max

'The Batman' (2022)

Rotten tomatoes: 85% | imdb: 7.8/10.

After a mild portrayal in Justice League , Batman gets a new breath of life from director Matt Reeves . This time beneath the cowl of the caped crusader is a brooding, angsty Robert Pattinson . A detective's story through-and-through, The Batman might have a staggering runtime but where it makes up for a lot of plot comes standout performances by Zoë Kravitz , Paul Dano , Colin Farrell , Andy Serkis , and Jeffrey Wright . From the thrilling batmobile chase to the unfolding mystery set out by The Riddler, there is something for everyone in this revival of the dark knight. With a sequel announced, it's time to rewatch The Batman , because why not? – Therese Lacson Watch on Max

'Spy' (2015)

Rotten tomatoes: 95% | imdb: 7.0/10.

A packed ensemble cast that includes the likes of Rose Byrne , Jude Law , and Jason Statham support Melissa McCarthy ’s deskbound CIA agent Susan Cooper, who, after a series of mission failures, ends up undercover herself, fighting a global threat. A satirical twist on the James Bond franchise, Spy is equal parts action-packed and funny, with McCarthy turning in a show-stopping central performance. An over-the-top narrative that thrives by not taking itself too seriously, writer and director Paul Feig finds the perfect balance of genuine tension and lightheartedness alongside cinematographer Robert D. Yeoman . Camp fun from start to finish, Spy is a wonderful satire of a well-worn genre. - Jake Hodges Watch on Max

'San Andreas' (2015)

Rotten tomatoes: 49% | imdb: 6.1/10, san andreas.

Action and destruction wreak havoc in San Andreas , a film inspired by the terrifying reality of California earthquakes. Dwayne Johnson stars as a helicopter pilot in the adventure movie that marks his first collaboration with director Brad Peyton ( Rampage ). Both Johnson and Peyton’s obvious experience with high-stakes catastrophe movies is revealed by their comfort and ease when soaring through death-defying stunts and explosive sequences. San Andreas isn’t just toppled buildings – the movie allows Johnson to show his often overlooked sensitive side as he plays a father attempting to rescue his daughter ( Alexandra Daddario ) following the massive disaster. – Yael Tygiel Watch on Max

'Dune' (2021)

Rotten tomatoes: 83% | imdb: 8.0/10.

A science-fiction epic whose scope is matched only by its sense of space in its battles, Dune has some of the most exciting action sequences that are as vibrant as they are vicious. Key amongst these is every scene with Jason Momoa ’s Duncan Idaho, a charismatic yet skilled fighter who dives into every new challenge with a fearlessness and strength that is unmatched. One climactic scene in a confined hallway where he must take on impossible odds will forever stand out, making incredible use of Momoa’s immense presence and power. As he cuts through enemy after enemy, you can’t help but just watch in awe of his dedication to the performance. There is no one that could have done it like Momoa, and the scene itself is so well-choreographed that it all becomes a deadly dance. By the time it all concludes, it makes for one of the more moving and mesmerizing moments in a film that is full of them. - Chase Hutchinson Watch on Max

'Chungking Express' (1994)

Rotten tomatoes: 88% | imdb: 8.0/10, chungking express (1994).

Chungking Express is one of Wong Kar-wai ’s many dark and beautiful stories of love and loss. Although it plays like an homage to 1960s mafia and samurai films, Chungking Express explores the loneliness of its characters. Told in two distinct acts, the film opens with the adventures of He Qiwu ( Takeshi Kaneshiro ), a lovesick police officer yearning for an enigmatic drug dealer ( Brigitte Lin ); the second half features future In the Mood For Love star Tony Leung as another heartbroken police officer who shares his musings on life with a friendly snack seller ( Faye Wong ). Funny, poignant, and surprisingly action-packed, Chungking Express is one of Wong’s best. - Liam Gaughan Watch on Max

'The Suicide Squad' (2021)

Rotten tomatoes: 90% | imdb: 7.2/10, the suicide squad.

Bringing a much-needed injection of humor into the DCEU, James Gunn ’s The Suicide Squad takes the secret squad of villains, Task Force X, to the island of Corto Maltese. Under the orders of Amanda Waller ( Viola Davis ) this band of misfits and criminals is tasked with preventing an anti-American regime from gaining control over Project Starfish – an alien with mind-control abilities. As always, Margot Robbie kicks ass as Harley Quinn, while newcomers Bloodsport ( Idris Elba ), Peacemaker ( John Cena ), Polka-Dot Man ( David Dastmalchian ), and Ratcatcher 2 ( Daniela Melchior ) all bring a brilliant mix of humor, heart, and badassery to the movie. Gunn has become well known for mixing heartfelt moments in with bizarre and/or graphic action sequences, and The Suicide Squad is no different. It’s a wild and fun ride, no matter what level of DC Comics fandom you may be. (And did I mention that Sylvester Stallone is the voice of a himbo King Shark who is both adorable and deadly?) — Brynna Arens Watch on Max

'Mortal Kombat' (2021)

Rotten tomatoes: 55% | imdb: 6.0/10, mortal kombat (2021).

When it comes to films that try to take on adapting video games to the big screen, it is usually a mixed bag about what you are going to get. When it comes to the newest Mortal Kombat , it is thankfully on the more positive side of adaptations. Bolstered by a killer opening sequence and some rather well-choreographed action sprinkled throughout, it is a lot of set-up for more to come though it still packs quite a lot in this first entry. It introduces a few new characters here and there while also making sure the notable figures from the games get plenty of time to smash around in a splashy spectacle of action. It also ratchets up the gore and violence that its source material was similarly known for, ensuring there is plenty to love in this largely faithful adaptation that offers a hint of more to come. — Chase Hutchinson Watch on Max

'Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)' (2020)

Rotten tomatoes: 79% | imdb: 6.1/10, birds of prey.

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) both embraces the tone and style of its comic book origins while carving out a unique narrative in the genre. The film is grounded in the reality of misogyny and sexism, which informs the characters’ journeys, but doesn’t define their entire identities. Credit goes to the two-woman team of creators who brought a new lens to this comic book adaptation. Each character has her own arc, and though not all the Birds of Prey get enough screen time, they’re fleshed out enough for viewers to love them all by the end of the film. Birds of Prey perfectly balances character dynamics with exquisite action sequences—this film works because of its bloodless violence and its unreliable narrator.

It’s the characters that steal the show because of how well Christina Hodson writes them—Harley Quinn finally feels like a person rather than a prop; Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya is a scene-stealer with her earnest and determined performance, Jurnee Smollett-Bell juggles Dinah Lance’s inner turmoil and snarky personality and Mary Elizabeth Winstead is a humorous delight as Helena Bertinelli. Ella Jay Basco may not play a recognizable version of Cassandra Cain, but she holds her own as the quintessential precocious teen character who thaws cold hearts. This film can be a difficult watch as Harley Quinn ( Margot Robbie ), especially, often finds herself in dangerous situations, but it’s refreshing to see how the film celebrates sisterhood with characters that don’t quite like each other but work really well together. – Monita Mohan Watch on Max

'Aquaman' (2018)

Rotten tomatoes: 65% | imdb: 6.8/10.

The DCEU’s tumultuous history does have a bright spot with Aquaman . The James Wan directed feature starring Jason Mamoa expended on the character first introduced in Justice League . Arthur Curry (Mamoa), the human-born heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, goes on a quest to prevent a war between the worlds of ocean and land. There’s something so fresh about Aquaman and Wan’s direction; the action scenes, in particular, are something that you can feast your eyes on. While the film doesn’t always work, especially the story itself, which sometimes falters, the performances – especially from Mamoa and Patrick Wilson – bring it all together. It is a terrific fun from start to finish; if there is one film from the DCEU worth the watch, it is very much this one. - Arianne Binette Watch on Max

'The Dark Knight' (2008)

Rotten tomatoes: 94% | imdb: 9.0/10, the dark knight.

The seminal entry in the canon of Batman live-action films, The Dark Knight is a masterclass in adapting comic books for all audiences. With gripping storytelling, visceral action, rounded character arcs and unbelievable performances, the Christopher Nolan sequel isn’t just a good Batman film, it’s a great film in so many ways. Nolan and team effortlessly evoke the realities of the criminal justice system with a cast of characters that span the Gotham City Police Department, the District Attorney’s office, and of course, Batman himself.

The film focuses on the interplay of Gotham’s political machinations where good people are caught up in corrupt legislation and need the help of a vigilante to protect the city even though they aren’t in a position to condone his actions. The tense opening sequence and grand reveal of the Joker (the late Heath Ledger ) demonstrates that the stakes are high with a new villain terrorizing Gotham. The Joker in this film is a tour de force, and the writers expertly keep viewers guessing about what to expect from this character. The entire film is perfectly paced and balances the larger than life story with delicate character moments. The Dark Knight is a phenomenal adaptation that respects its comic book origins without being defined by them. – Monita Mohan Watch on Max

'Police Story' (1985)

Rotten tomatoes: 93% | imdb: 7.5/10, police story.

Yes, HBO Max has Jackie Chan movies. And with Police Story , it might even have the best Jackie Chan movie. Drunken Master fans can disagree, but even they have to admit Police Story is way up there when it comes to Chan’s work. The film has everything you want from the guy - cartoonish comedy gags, kung-fu sequences where anything and everything becomes an action prop, and of course, amazing stunts that nearly kill poor Chan onscreen. The final mall set-piece is truly one for the ages, and right after it ends, you get a wonderful credit sequence showing you how all the stunts were pulled off. The short answer: painfully. Watch on Max

'Godzilla vs. Kong' (2021)

Rotten tomatoes: 76% | imdb: 6.3/10, godzilla vs. kong.

Godzilla vs. Kong delivers exactly what it says on the marquee with the intensity of two Titans throwing haymakers at each other aboard an aircraft carrier. (Also this literally happens.) The plot may be a bit thin (and occasionally nonsensical) and the gigantic cast working a little too shallow, but should you ever be sitting on your couch and think something that would be cool to see would be two gargantuan monsters–a radioactive lizard beast and a twenty-story tall gorilla, for example—tossing each other around neon-lit cities and causing ten tsunami's worth of destruction, well, there's Godzilla vs. Kong. Sometimes, you just want Godzilla, you want Kong, and you want them to beat the crap out of each other. --Vinnie Mancuso Watch on Max

'Seven Samurai' (1954)

Rotten tomatoes: 100% | imdb: 8.6/10, seven samurai.

A classic for good reason. Akira Kurosawa ’s action masterpiece is as long as you’ve heard, so make extra popcorn and get ready to settle into an epic you won’t forget. There is so much to enjoy here. You basically get an entire movie where the main tough guy ( Takashi Shimura ) assembles his team of starving - but still very wily and dangerous - samurai for a suicide mission. Keep in mind one of these guys is a delightfully feral Toshiro Mifune. That in itself is worth the price of admission. But then you naturally get to watch this crude ensemble see their task to fruition in a long-form battle for the ages. It’s a perfect movie. Watch on Max

'Princess Mononoke' (1997)

Rotten tomatoes: 93% | imdb: 8.3/10, princess mononoke (1997).

Hayao Miyazaki is now and will probably forever remain one of the greatest animators the form has ever seen. His films touch audiences of all ages and folks who are children right now will probably show their kids My Neighbor Totoro before they can even speak. Of his impressive filmography, Princess Mononoke offers his most grown-up, action-packed entry. A warrior infected with a rare poison must bridge the gap between animalistic gods and men, though the war-like folly of mankind makes his job very difficult. Kids can probably watch Mononoke , but its epic storytelling and complicated themes will mean much more to adults. And so will the intense, amazing action sequences. Watch on Max


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25 Best Documentaries On Max

25 best hbo original movies, new on hbo max: all 81 movies & tv shows arriving in june.

  • The rise and fall of MoviePass is showcased in the documentary MoviePass, MovieCrash , highlighting conflicts and mismanagement.
  • MoviePass founders Stacy Spikes and Hamet Watt were fired as the company faced financial struggles and made unwise business decisions.
  • After bankruptcy and fraud investigations, Stacy Spikes bought back MoviePass in 2021, aiming to relaunch and turn it into a successful venture.

HBO Max's documentary MoviePass, MovieCrash recounts all the shocking twists and turns of the rise and fall of MoviePass , the subscription app that allows users to go to as many movie showings as they want for a monthly fee. The documentary calls MoviePass the "fastest growing company ever in the history of media," and repeatedly compares the app to Netflix for wanting to achieve a similar cultural transformation. Indeed, the idea behind MoviePass was based on noble intentions of reinvigorating the movie-going business in the age of streaming giants. Following the company's financial struggles, MoviePass relaunched in 2022 .

MoviePass, MovieCrash, showcases the conflicts and mismanagement that went on behind the scenes that led to MoviePass officially shutting down . This included the co-founders Stacy Spikes and Hamet Watt, both Black men, being phased out as the faces of MoviePass in favor of white businessmen, namely CEO Mitch Lowe and investor Ted Farnsworth. As MoviePass grew, Spikes and Hamet were demoted and eventually fired from their own company. This and more are among the shocking reveals in Max's MoviePass, MovieCrash .

These epic HBO Max documentaries are the best on the streaming platform, as ranked by IMDb, and cover a wide range of topics, both dark and light.

10 AMC Sent A Cease And Desist To MoviePass

Moviepass faced opposition from major movie theaters in its early days..

Spikes built the MoviePass company from the ground up, with crucial help from Watt in fundraising enough money to launch it. Spikes originally envisioned it as a kind of subscription service version of Urbanworld, the film festival he created. When MoviePass first launched in 2011, it faced major opposition from movie theater chains, primarily AMC. This led to the establishment of the MoviePass card, which held prepaid funds for movie tickets.

However, AMC still proved to be a difficult partnership to establish. Spikes and Watt had almost secured a deal until an abrupt change in leadership at AMC set them back. This is when they started to connect with former Netflix and Redbox executive Lowe, who believed he could use his connections in the industry to move MoviePass forward. Despite their concerns about Lowe and changing their board structure, Spikes and Watt decided it was a necessary change for the company's future.

9 To Get Subscribers, MoviePass Dropped Its Subscription Price to $9.95

To secure subscribers and funding, moviepass offered a shocking subscription deal..

A few years after its inception, MoviePass' monthly subscription cost was roughly $40, a reasonable price for anyone aiming to see more than five movies per month. However, the company faced stagnation at around 20,000 subscribers. The executives found themselves stuck in a dead zone where they needed more funding to raise their company's profile but were unable to get it with so few subscribers. In 2017, HMNY (of which Farnsworth was CEO) offered MoviePass $25 million if they could reach 100,000 subscribers in six months, when it had taken them 5 years to reach 20,000.

In an act of desperation, MoviePass lowered its monthly fee to $10, allowing subscribers to see as many movies as they wanted for roughly the price of one. There was a stampede to sign up, and MoviePass reached its target of 100,000 subscribers in approximately 48 hours, causing website crashes and problems with producing MoviePass cards. While they knew it wasn't sustainable, Lowe insisted that they keep moving forward and figure it out as they went along.

8 Stacy Spikes & Hamet Watt Were Fired By Mitch Lowe

The founders' opposition to moviepass' new strategy led to them being fired from their company..

Lowe said that he did not believe Spikes and Watt were cut out for such a large business.

As MoviePass continued to offer a low subscription fee at a substantial financial loss, Spikes and Watt stressed the need to raise the monthly fee, with Spikes being the more vocal of the two. Lowe stated in his interview in the documentary that he believed MoviePass would begin to turn a profit when it reached five million subscribers, after which they would have the power to negotiate discounts with movie theaters and sell advertising slots. Lowe said that he did not believe Spikes and Watt were cut out for such a large business.

Spikes and Watt were informed that MoviePass' board was being restructured and that they were both being removed as board members. Spikes reached out to board member Chris Kelly about the issue, who didn't respond. Shortly after this, Spikes was fired from the company in an email from Lowe, less than a year after HMNY came on board. Many other employees were devastated by this, but as of 2018, Spikes' termination was still largely kept under wraps.

7 MoviePass' Spending & PR Campaigns Increased In 2018

After the founders were fired, moviepass continued to spend staggering amounts of money..

While MoviePass, MovieCrash highlights Spikes being fired more than Watt, it is implied that they received notices of employment termination around the same time. Meanwhile, in 2018, MoviePass was spending absurd amounts of money on parties and other PR stunts, all overseen by Lowe and Farnsworth. They also began to discuss producing their own movies, as streaming services did. From the outside, Spikes and Watt were unable to sell their still highly-valued shares for a certain amount of time, and could only hope that they maintained their value until they were able to sell out.

The current executives gave many interviews, saying that MoviePass would soon become self-sufficient, but Spikes said in his interview that he was skeptical of their confidence. However, MoviePass parties continued to be the hottest events in the business while the company's employees were superstars. Everyone was certain MoviePass would be the next Netflix, but it would all come crashing down.

6 MoviePass' Gotti Starring John Travolta Got 0% On Rotten Tomatoes

Moviepass's exorbitant spending included producing a movie that failed spectacularly..

MoviePass hoped to be the next Netflix, in every way imaginable. However, spending money on an original movie was decidedly not the right move in 2018 when the executives were spending on every other thing they could imagine. A biographical crime drama starring John Travolta sounds like something that would succeed, in theory. MoviePass produced this movie in the hopes of establishing a new source of revenue.

Gotti is a biopic about crime boss John Gotti, and its reviews are astoundingly bad. Its Rotten Tomatoes score remains at 0%, while its Audience score is 44% and Metacritic is 24%. The event was a clear testament that Lowe and Farnsworth had too much confidence in their own ability to succeed at just about everything when they had no idea what they were doing. Gotti only added to the pile of mounting losses, and MoviePass employees were more worried than ever.

HBO has continually raised the bar by bringing quality material to television series and films, but some originals stand above the rest.

5 MoviePass Held A Massive Coachella Party While Customer Service Was Struggling

The worst of moviepass' spending was an unnecessary coachella trip..

However, it can be argued that everything came to a head in terms of MoviePass' spending, allegedly for legitimate PR purposes, with the company's presence at Coachella. Influencer Og Bunny was flown out to attend the festival and a MoviePass party, which Dennis Rodman also inexplicably attended. Both celebrities, as well as Lowe and Farnsworth, were constantly photographed at parties wearing MoviePass merchandise. Even Og Bunny gives the impression of the whole thing being a confusing whirlwind.

Meanwhile, MoviePass office employees were baffled. They were still understaffed, overwhelmed with customer service calls, and lacked basic office supplies, while the chief executives were spending massive amounts of money at an event that was not even for the movie industry. Furthermore, it was later discovered that another MoviePass executive Khalid Itum embezzled at least $260,000 from MoviePass and HMNY in connection with the Coachella party.

4 MoviePass' 10-K Revealed That It Lost $150 Million In A Year

Hard evidence of moviepass' business problems came in the form of its tax records..

Spikes and Watt's shares were originally worth tens of millions of dollars; by the time MoviePass filed bankruptcy, they amounted to pennies.

As a public business, MoviePass was required to release its 10-K, which revealed the true extent of the company's losses. Within the year since Lowe and Farnsworth took over, the company lost more than $150 million, averaging around $30 million a month. Spikes said that while the young company was still in his hands, they were losing around $200,000 a month. At this point, because MoviePass' problems were public knowledge, investors were starting to worry.

Journalist Jason Guerrasio (who is also an executive producer for MoviePass, MovieCrash ) highlighted the company's losses. Predictably, MoviePass' stock plummeted with the release of the 10-K and the subsequent media questioning the company's executives. Spikes and Watt's shares were originally worth tens of millions of dollars; by the time MoviePass filed bankruptcy, they amounted to pennies. This all happened within the time before the original founders were able to sell their stock.

3 MoviePass Ultimately Crashed With Mission: Impossible - Fallout

When moviepass couldn't deliver on a blockbuster's opening, subscribers started to retaliate..

While Farnsworth continued to act as though everything was fine, Lowe started to oversee some restrictions and changes to the MoviePass subscription in an attempt to salvage the business. However, even Lowe eventually handed control over to Itum after going through a divorce. MoviePass now restricted how many movies a subscriber could see, what movies they could, and what days they were able to see them. Limitations like these might have helped the company in the beginning, but by now it was far too late.

Things came to a head when Mission: Impossible - Fallout premiered and the app was largely defunct due to the staff being unable to keep up with demand. In MoviePass, MovieCrash , MoviePass employees recount the astounding amounts of hate mail they began to receive at the office from angry customers. Lowe knew that the problem could not be forestalled any longer and went to Farnsworth, saying they needed to raise $5 million. When Farnsworth said it was impossible, both MoviePass and HMNY were forced to declare bankruptcy.

2 MoviePass Became The Center Of A Fraud Investigation

After it went bankrupt, the fbi investigated how moviepass misled its customers and investors..

Following MoviePass' collapse, Spikes and Hamet were contacted by the FBI, who were investigating claims of fraud from MoviePass subscribers. Lowe and Farnsworth settled in 2021, although they never admitted to intentionally misleading their customers. As part of the investigation, more holes in both executives' pasts became apparent: Lowe gave the impression of having a different role in the creation of Netflix than he did, while Farnsworth was a wild investor in various businesses, with repetitive (possibly paid for) defensive articles published about him.

The investigation also highlighted that Lowe and Farnsworth constantly said in interviews that MoviePass would soon be very profitable to keep their investors on board. In 2022, they were both indicted on charges of securities fraud and wire fraud, and both pleaded guilty. As of May 2024, they are both still awaiting trial. Perhaps more than anything, these charges demonstrate how Lowe and Farnsworth destroyed the brand Spikes and Watt worked so hard to build.

With Max bringing in more movies and TV shows every month, there are plenty of originals and classics coming for subscribers in June 2024.

1 Stacy Spikes Bought Back MoviePass In 2021

Spikes is working to turn moviepass into the company it should've been..

After leaving MoviePass, Watt went on to establish the venture studio Share Ventures. On the other hand, Spikes heard that MoviePass was up for action in the summer of 2021, and made a bid to successfully buy back the company. He began working to relaunch MoviePass; in 2023, the company had its first profitable year since it originally launched in 2011. It is by no means as big as the streaming giants, but it has only recently been re-established — it could still become massively successful.

MoviePass, MovieCrash highlights how Spikes and Watt have served as major inspirations to many people, especially young entrepreneurs and professionals of color. MoviePass' future is still uncertain, but 2023 was arguably its best year yet. In the age of streaming services, the concept of MoviePass is still valuable because of how it can help movie theaters. The company and its founders were done a severe injustice, but it is hopefully still possible for them to make MoviePass a legitimate pillar of the movie industry.

MoviePass, MovieCrash (2024)

Max's documentary showcasing the rise and fall of the movie subscription app MoviePass, leading to its hopeful new beginning.

MoviePass, MovieCrash (2024)

Den of Geek

HBO and Max New Releases: June 2024

Here's everything coming to HBO and Max in June including a little show you may have heard of called House of the Dragon.

best travel movies on hbo max

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Queen Rhaenyra in a cavernous castle room with her children on House of the Dragon season 2.

With its list of new releases for June 2024, HBO streamer Max is finally headed back to Westeros.

The highlight of this month is undoubtedly the premiere of House of the Dragon season 2 on June 16. Episode 1 will drop on both HBO and Max that Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET. With the infamous Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons now underway, the next batch of episodes for this Game of Thrones prequel should be truly epic.

Arriving before House of the Dragon season 2 is another story of a fraught succession. Ren Faire , a documentary series about an ailing king retiring from the country’s largest renaissance festival, premieres on June 2. Other TV options this month include Julio Torres comedy Fantasmas on June 7 and docuseries One South: Portrait of a Psych Unit on June 25.

Max plays host to a couple of major movies in June as well. The Dakota Johnson-starring lesbian dramedy Am I OK? premieres on June 6. That will be followed by another Julio Torres effort, Problemista , on June 28.

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Here’s everything coming to HBO and Max in May.

New on HBO and Max – June 2024

June 1 50/50 (2011) America’s Sweethearts (2001) American Heist (2014) Bandits (2015) Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (2011) Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (2010) The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of The Dawn Treader (2010) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) Demolition (2015) The Disaster Artist (2017) Evil Dead (2013) Fright Night (1985) Generation Por Que? (2021) Hope Springs (2012) House at the End of the Street (2012) Into the Blue (2005) Into the Blue 2: The Reef (2009) The Invention of Lying (2009) Jessica’s Big Little World, Season 1D (Cartoon Network) Krampus (2015) Life After (2017) Mamma Mia! (2008) Marmaduke (2010) Minari (2020) The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008) Open Water (2003) Open Water 2: Adrift (2006) Open Water 3: Cage Dive (2017) The Other Guys (2010) Overlord (1975) Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009) Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (2015) Ride Along 2 (2016) Shadows (2020) Shining Through (1992) The Skin I Live In (2011) Spaceship Earth (2020) Splice (2009) Sugar (2008) The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009) Trixie Motel: Drag Me Home, Season 1 Uncut Gems (2019) Urban Legend (1998) User Zero (2020) Wanted (2008)

June 2 Craig of the Creek, Season 6A (Cartoon Network) Fixer Upper: The Lakehouse, Season 1 (Magnolia) Mecum Presents: Automotive Archaeology, Season 1 (Motor Trend) Ren Faire (HBO Original) Total Drama Island, Season 1 (Cartoon Network)

June 3 Battle on the Beach, Season 4 (HGTV) Deadly Influence: The Social Media Murders, Season 1 (ID) Keanu (2016) Mini Beat Power Rockers: Composirockers Unexpected, Season 6 (TLC)

June 4 Deadliest Catch 20th Anniversary Special, Season 1

June 5 Backed by the Bros, Season 1 (HGTV)

June 6 Am I OK? (2022)

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June 7 Fantasmas, Season 1 (HBO Original)

June 10 Bellator: Fight Week Dublin, Season 1 (Bleacher Report) Paranormal Caught on Camera, Season 7 (Travel) Six Schizophrenic Brothers, Season 1 (Discovery)

June 11 Deadliest Catch, Season 20 (Discovery) Motel Rescue, Season 2 (Magnolia)

June 13 Hannah Einbinder: Everything Must Go (Max Original)

June 16 American Monster, Season 12 (ID) House of The Dragon, Season 2 (HBO Original)

June 17 Bellator: Fight Camp Confidential Dublin, Season 2 (Bleacher Report)

June 18 Farmhouse Fixer: Camp Revamp, Season 1 (HGTV) Here To Climb (HBO Original) How It Really Happened, Season 8 (CNN)

June 19 Crimes Gone Viral, Season 5 (ID)

June 20 Slave Play. Not A Movie. A Play. (HBO Original)

June 21 Taylor Swift vs. Scooter Braun: Bad Blood (WT)

June 22 Stevie Van Zandt: Disciple (HBO Original)

June 23 Getting Lost with Erin French, Season 1 (Magnolia) Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines, Season 8 (Magnolia)

June 24 Cris Miro (She/Her/Hers), Season 1 (WB)

June 25 One South: Portrait Of A Psych Unit (HBO Original) Dolphin Tale 2 (2014) High Speed Chase, Season 2 (ID)

June 27 Breaking New Ground (Max Original)

June 28 Beach Cottage Chronicles, Season 4 (Magnolia) Problemista (2024) (A24)

June 30 The Great Food Truck Race, Season 17 (Food Network)

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TV Editor at Den of Geek and Television Critics Association member. Based in Cleveland, Ohio. Very upset about various sporting events.

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Top 5 Titles Coming to Max in June 2024: ‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2, ‘Problemista,’ More

best travel movies on hbo max

It’s almost time to head back to Westeros as the second season of “House of the Dragon” premieres on Max and HBO on Sunday, June 16. The epic prequel series to “Game of Thrones” will air new episodes in HBO’s premier window on Sunday night through Aug. 4. Also hitting the service in June will be the comedy special from “Hacks” star “ Hannah Einbinder: Everything Must Go ” and the motel-renovation series “ Trixie Motel: Drag Me Home .”

Also coming to Max via the Bleacher Report Sports Add-On will be United States Men’s and Women’s soccer games, the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race, Major League Baseball games, and potentially the conclusions of the NBA and NHL conference championship slates. Don’t miss any of the sports action and streaming premieres of the best prestige and unscripted titles on Max. The streamer offers three monthly subscription plans ranging from ad-supported for $9.99 to the Ultimate Ad-Free for $19.99.

What are the 5 Best Shows, Movies, and Specials Coming to Max in June 2024?

“ trixie motel: drag me home ” | saturday, june 1.

Life’s been plastic and fantastic for Trixie Mattel. Last year, the drag superstar “ RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars ” winner and partner David Silver purchased, renovated, and opened their own motel, Palm Springs’ Trixie Motel. Now, the couple returns to HGTV and Max as they take the dive into home ownership and renovate their first home together, with viewers witnessing all their lows, highs, and shades of pink.

Watch the trailer for “Trixie Motel: Drag Me Home” below:

“ Hannah Einbinder: Everything Must Go ” | Thursday, June 13

“ Hacks ” wraps up its third season on Thursday, May 30, but wait a couple of Thursdays and one of the hit comedy’s stars will be back. Series co-star Hannah Einbinder comes home to HBO with her debut stand-up special, bringing viewers “on a psychedelic thrill ride of storytelling, characters, jokes, and more.”

best travel movies on hbo max

“ House of The Dragon ” Season 2 Premiere | Sunday, June 16

The acclaimed “ Game of Thrones ” prequel series, which takes place 200 years before the events of the original culture-shifting fantasy drama, makes its highly anticipated return on Sunday, June 16 at 9 p.m. ET with new episodes released every Sunday through Aug. 4. Emma D’Arcy, Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Ewan Mitchell, Eve Best, Rhys Ifans, Steve Toussaint, Fabien Frankel, and Tom Glynn-Carney return for the second season, with Tom Taylor, Clinton Liberty, Jamie Kenna, Kieran Bew, Tom Bennett, Vincent Regan, and more joining the green and black factions.

Watch the trailer for “House of The Dragon” Season 2 trailer below:

“Slave Play. Not A Movie. A Play.” | Thursday, June 20

“Slave Play” quickly became one of the most talked-about and divisive shows of the 2019–2020 season. Formerly the record holder as the most Tony Award-nominated play of all-time, the play tackles race, sex and interracial relationships and quite literally holds a mirror up to its audience. The new documentary, directed by Harris, will take viewers behind the scenes from run-throughs to performances and through the play’s history through present day as he directs new actors through workshop rehearsals. “Slave Play. Not A Movie. A Play.” will debut on HBO on Thursday, June 20 at 9 p.m. ET with stream available simultaneously.

Watch show clips from Broadway’s “Slave Play” below:

“ Fantasmas ” and “ Problemista ” | Friday, June 7 and Friday, June 28

It’s a busy month for HBO veteran Julio Torres (“ Los Espookys ”). First, on Thursday, June 10, the former “ Saturday Night Live ” writer will debut his new absurdist semi-autobiographical miniseries “ Fantasmas ,” which follows the fictionalized Torres on a search for a lost golden oyster earring in New York City. Then, wrap up the month with the streaming premiere of A24’s “ Problemista ,” directed and written by Torres in his feature directorial debut. He stars as Alejandro, an aspiring toy designer from El Salvador, struggling to bring his unusual ideas to life who must race against time as his work visa runs out and take a job assisting an erratic art-world outcast. Tilda Swinton co-stars with RZA, Greta Lee, Catalina Saavedra, James Scully, Larry Owens, Laith Nakli, and more.

Watch the trailer for “Problemista” below:

What Shows, Movies, and Specials Are Coming to Max in June 2024?

  • 50/50 (2011)
  • America’s Sweethearts (2001)
  • American Heist (2014)
  • Bandits (2015)
  • Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (2011)
  • Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (2010)
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of The Dawn Treader (2010)
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
  • Demolition (2015)
  • The Disaster Artist (2017)
  • Evil Dead (2013)
  • Fright Night (1985)
  • Generation Por Que? (2021)
  • Hope Springs (2012)
  • House at the End of the Street (2012)
  • Into the Blue (2005)
  • Into the Blue 2: The Reef (2009)
  • The Invention of Lying (2009)
  • Jessica’s Big Little World (Season 1D) (Cartoon Network)
  • Krampus (2015)
  • Life After (2017)
  • Mamma Mia! (2008)
  • Marmaduke (2010)
  • Minari (2020)
  • The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008)
  • Open Water (2003)
  • Open Water 2: Adrift (2006)
  • Open Water 3: Cage Dive (2017)
  • The Other Guys (2010)
  • Overlord (1975)
  • Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009)
  • Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (2015)
  • Ride Along 2 (2016)
  • Shadows (2020)
  • Shining Through (1992)
  • The Skin I Live In (2011)
  • Spaceship Earth (2020)
  • Splice (2009)
  • Sugar (2008)
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)
  • Trixie Motel: Drag Me Home (Season 1)
  • Uncut Gems (2019)
  • Urban Legend (1998)
  • User Zero (2020)
  • Wanted (2008)

best travel movies on hbo max

A Korean-American family moves to Arkansas in search of their own American Dream. With the arrival of their sly, foul-mouthed, but incredibly loving grandmother, the stability of their relationships is challenged even more in this new life in the rugged Ozarks, testing the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home.

This semi-autobiographical film from writer-director Lee Isaac Chung resulted in one Academy Award win (Best Supporting Actress Yuh-Jung Youn) and five other nominations, including Best Picture.

  • Craig of the Creek (Season 6A) (Cartoon Network)
  • Fixer Upper: The Lakehouse (Season 1) (Magnolia)
  • Mecum Presents: Automotive Archaeology (Season 1) (Motor Trend)
  • Ren Faire (HBO Original)
  • Total Drama Island (Season 1) (Cartoon Network)
  • Battle on the Beach (Season 4) (HGTV)
  • Deadly Influence: The Social Media Murders (Season 1) (ID)
  • Keanu (2016)
  • Mini Beat Power Rockers: Composirockers
  • Unexpected (Season 6) (TLC)
  • Deadliest Catch 20th Anniversary Special (Season 1)
  • Backed by the Bros (Season 1) (HGTV)
  • Am I OK? (2022)
  • Fantasmas (Season 1) (HBO Original)
  • Bellator: Fight Week Dublin (Season 1) (Bleacher Report)
  • Paranormal Caught on Camera (Season 7) (Travel)
  • Six Schizophrenic Brothers (Season 1) (Discovery)
  • Deadliest Catch (Season 20) (Discovery)
  • Motel Rescue (Season 2) (Magnolia)
  • Hannah Einbinder: Everything Must Go (Max Original)
  • American Monster (Season 12) (ID)
  • House of The Dragon (Season 2) (HBO Original)
  • Bellator: Fight Camp Confidential Dublin (Season 2) (Bleacher Report)
  • Farmhouse Fixer: Camp Revamp (Season 1) (HGTV)
  • Here To Climb (HBO Original)
  • How It Really Happened (Season 8) (CNN)

best travel movies on hbo max

Lucy and Jane have been best friends for most of their lives and think they know everything there is to know about each other. But when Jane announces she’s moving to London, Lucy reveals a long-held secret. As Jane tries to help Lucy, their friendship is thrown into chaos.

  • Crimes Gone Viral (Season 5) (ID)
  • Slave Play. Not A Movie. A Play. (HBO Original)
  • Taylor Swift vs. Scooter Braun: Bad Blood (WT)
  • Stevie Van Zandt: Disciple (HBO Original)
  • Getting Lost with Erin French (Season 1) (Magnolia)
  • Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines (Season 8) (Magnolia)
  • Cris Miro (She/Her/Hers) (Season 1) (WB)
  • One South: Portrait Of A Psych Unit (HBO Original)
  • Dolphin Tale 2 (2014)
  • High Speed Chase (Season 2) (ID)
  • Breaking New Ground (Max Original)
  • Beach Cottage Chronicles (Season 4) (Magnolia)
  • Problemista (2024) (A24)
  • The Great Food Truck Race (Season 17) (Food Network)

Stevie Van Zandt: Disciple

Stevie Van Zandt: Disciple traces Van Zandt’s career as a musician, activist and actor from the clubs of Asbury Park, NJ, to stadiums around the world, to the Bada Bing Club.

What Sports Are Coming to Bleacher Report in June 2024?

”*” = Telecast will not be available in the local indicated market

Please note this list may not be comprehensive and is subject to change. All times are in ET.

Pre- and post-game programming will also be available to stream live, along with condensed replay highlights available after each game

  • MotoGP/Moto2/Moto3: Gran Premio d’Italia Brembo
  • USWNT: U.S. Women’s Deaf National Team vs. Australia, 2 p.m.
  • USWNT: USWNT vs. Korea, 5 p.m.
  • MLB: Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees*, 7:00 p.m.
  • USWNT: USWNT vs. Korea, 8 p.m.
  • Triathlon: T100 Triathlon World Tour
  • Cycling: Dwars door het Hageland
  • USMNT: USMNT vs. Colombia, 5:30 p.m.
  • Cycling: UCI Downhill World Cup (Leogang)
  • MLB: Philadelphia Phillies* at Boston Red Sox, 7 p.m.
  • Cycling: Tour of Slovenia (Men)
  • Cycling: Tour of Belgium (Men)
  • Endurance Car Racing: 24 Hours of Le Mans (Free Practices & Race)
  • USMNT: USMNT vs. Brazil, 7 p.m.
  • Cycling: UCI Downhill World Cup, Val di Sole (Various Disciplines)
  • Cycling: Tour of Switzerland (Women)
  • MLB: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees*, 7 p.m.
  • MLB: New York Yankees at New York Mets , 7 p.m.

Throughout June

  • 2024 NBA Playoffs: 2024 NBA Western Conference Finals (check local listings)
  • 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs: 2024 Stanley Cup Western Conference Final (check local listings)

Max is a subscription video streaming service that gives access to the full HBO library, along with exclusive Max Originals. There are hubs for content from TLC, HGTV, Food Network, Discovery, TCM, Cartoon Network, Travel Channel, ID, and more. Watch hit series like “The Last of Us,” “House of the Dragon,” “Succession,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and more. Thanks to the B/R Sports add-on, users can watch NBA, MLB, NHL, March Madness, and NASCAR events.

Max has three tiers, an ad-supported plan for $9.99 an ad-free plan for $15.99, and the ultimate tier that includes 4K for $19.99.

All Max subscribers will get the full libraries of shows like “Friends” , “The Big Bang Theory” , “South Park” , “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” , “The West Wing” , and more.

You can choose to add Max as a subscription through Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, or other Live TV providers.

best travel movies on hbo max


Let us know your e-mail address to send your $50 Amazon Gift Card when you sign up for DIRECTV STREAM.

You will receive it ~2 weeks after you complete your first month of service.

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Is 'Civil War' streaming anywhere? Where to watch the dystopian thriller with Kirsten Dunst

best travel movies on hbo max

“Civil War” is a dystopian thriller about a team of military-embedded journalists who travel from New York City to Washington, D.C., during a civil war between an authoritarian U.S. government and regional factions.

The journalists try to reach D.C. to interview the president before the rebel factions attack the White House. They must go through dangerous small towns and encounter crazy civilians to get there.

Written and directed by Alex Garland, the film stars Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, Cailee Spaeny, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Sonoya Mizuno and Nick Offerman.

The A24 film was released on April 12 in the United States and United Kingdom.

Here’s where to stream “Civil War” and whether it’s on Max or Netflix.

Need a break? Play the USA TODAY Daily Crossword Puzzle.

Is ‘Civil War’ streaming anywhere?

“Civil War” is available on Prime Video and Apple TV and other streaming services. You can buy the film or rent it for 30 days. Once you start the rental movie, you will have 48 hours to finish it.

You can buy “Civil War” on Prime Video, Apple TV, Fandango at Home, Google Play Movies & TV and YouTube for $24.99 and rent it for $19.99.

Where can I stream the new movie ‘Civil War’?

“Civil War” is not available to stream yet. However, since A24 has a licensing deal with Max , it can be assumed that “Civil War” will be streaming on Max at some point.

Is ‘Civil War’ on HBO Max?

“Civil War” is not on Max yet but likely will be soon due to A24’s licensing deal with the platform.

A subscription with ads on Max costs $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year. Ad-free is $15.99 per month or $149.99 a year and ultimate ad-free is $19.99 a month or $199.99 per year.

Simu Liu's Arizona connection: 'Barbie' actor's family ties to AZ and why he wishes the Suns would get it together

Will ‘Civil War’ be on Netflix?

“Civil War” will not be on Netflix since A24 is the film distributor and they have an exclusive licensing deal with Max.

R each the reporter at   [email protected] . Follow   @dina_kaur  on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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