The 50 Best Movies on HBO Max Right Now – The New York Times

Advertisement
Supported by
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.
Send any friend a story
As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month. Anyone can read what you share.

When HBO Max debuted in May 2020, subscribers rightfully expected (and got) the formidable catalog of prestige television associated with the HBO brand. But, if anything, its movie library draws from a much deeper well. WarnerMedia, which owns HBO, is a huge conglomerate, and its premiere streaming service comprises decades of titles from Warner Bros., Turner Classic Movies and Studio Ghibli, as well as new work produced directly for HBO Max.
That means a lot of large-scale fantasy series like Harry Potter and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and selections from the DC extended universe. HBO 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 of 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+.
With its potent fusion of explicit neo-noir and coming-of-age story, this David Lynch thriller explores the dark shadows of small-town America through the eyes of an innocent young man who is confronting his own curiosity and desire. Kyle MacLachlan stars as a student who discovers a severed human ear in a field and seeks out its origins, which lead him to a criminal underworld and into an unsettling relationship with a lounge singer (Isabella Rossellini). Janet Maslin wrote that “there’s no mistaking the exhilarating fact that it’s one of a kind.” (Also by Lynch: “Eraserhead,” “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.”)

Watch it on HBO Max
When a bored, penniless 15-year-old (Charlie Plummer) moves to a small town in the Pacific Northwest with his mostly absent single father, he takes refuge at a local racetrack, where he does muck work for a grizzled trainer (Steve Buscemi) and gets attached to a horse that is one bad run from the glue factory. Although “Lean on Pete” owes a debt to boy-and-his-horse stories like “The Black Stallion,” director Andrew Haigh (“Weekend”) embarks on an immensely moving journey through little-galloped areas of the country. Manohla Dargis called it “a very fine movie that I haven’t stopped thinking about since I saw it.”

Watch it on HBO Max
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 HBO Max
Drawing on the previous decade of political turmoil, this operatic thriller from Brian De Palma serves as a paranoid commentary on American power and a sophisticated look at how images can be manipulated to reveal the truth or advance insidious fictions. But on the garishly colorful surface, it’s still a dazzling entertainment about a B-movie sound man (John Travolta) from Philadelphia who witnesses a Chappaquiddick-like accident and becomes ensnared by the cover-up that follows. Vincent Canby called it “a flashy, eclectic suspense thriller.”

Watch it on HBO Max
Now that “gaslighting” has become a common term for manipulating someone into questioning their own reality, it’s a great time to visit the term’s chilling source, a psychological thriller about new bride’s gradual unraveling. Ingrid Bergman gives one of her finest performances as an aspiring opera singer whose marriage to her accompanist (Charles Boyer) sours when they move to London and take up residence at the home where her aunt was murdered 10 years earlier. Her husband’s sinister mind games, helped along by a maid played by a young Angela Lansbury, ramp up the tension in a film Bosley Crowther called “a pungent production.”

Watch it on HBO Max
After a 20-year hiatus from the Australian post-apocalyptic road trilogy that made his (and Mel Gibson’s) reputation, the director George Miller returned, sans Gibson, for perhaps the most gob-smacking entry yet, a relentless action film about women leading the fight against tyrannical men. Although Tom Hardy takes up the role of Max Rockatansky, it’s Charlize Theron who draws focus as Furiosa, a warrior determined to travel back to her homeland and confront a ruling tyrant and the gangs that support him. (Also in the series: “The Road Warrior”)

Watch it on HBO Max
Three years after the Coen brothers made “Fargo,” their friend and occasional collaborator Sam Raimi did his own pulpy and beautifully acted variation on a story of ordinary Minnesotans undone by ill-gotten money. Based on the Scott Smith novel, “A Simple Plan” begins with three men, including brothers played by Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton, finding $4.4 million in cash inside a crashed plane. But when some nefarious characters inevitably come looking for it, their relationship frays. These events, wrote Janet Maslin, “become ever more gripping and unsettling as the film proceeds.

Watch it on HBO Max
In Cory Finley’s overlooked and formally accomplished debut thriller, two high-school students, Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Amanda (Olivia Cooke), rope a local drug dealer (Anton Yelchin) into a plot to murder Amanda’s obnoxious stepfather. Although “Thoroughbreds” recalls the deadly dynamic of Peter Jackson’s “Heavenly Creatures,” the friendship between the two girls is more tenuous and affected by social class, and Finley sustains a tone of brittle, deadpan black comedy rather than tragedy. Manohla Dargis praised Finley for getting “fine performances from his actors, including Yelchin as a sad sack with a bull’s-eye where his brains should be.”

Watch it on HBO Max
Of the many fine screen adaptations of the Shakespeare tragedy “Macbeth,” Justin Kunzel’s 2015 version, with Michael Fassbender in the title role, may be the most robustly cinematic, staged in arid Scottish hills where the sky and landscape have a bloody hue. Most compelling of all is Marion Cotillard’s Lady Macbeth, whose quiet descent into madness fills the famed “out, damned spot” monologue with legitimate remorse and heartbreak. Manohla Dargis also admired Fassbender’s work, writing that he “produces a man whose anguish eventually becomes a powerful counterpoint to his deeds.”

Watch it on HBO Max
After traveling from rural Cornwall to study at the London College of Fashion, an aspiring designer (Thomasin McKenzie) has her fantasies of the “Swinging Sixties” literally come to life as she is transported into an alluring world where a young blonde (Anya Taylor-Joy) seeks to be a club singer. When that dream turns into a nightmare for both women, this immersive thriller from Edgar Wright morphs into a colorful homage to Italian giallo but with updated sexual politics. Jeannette Catsoulis admired the film’s “easy seductiveness and spikes of sophistication.” (Also by Wright: “The World’s End.”)

Watch it on HBO Max
Packed with wry jokes, historical allusions, zany Rube Goldberg set pieces and beautiful handcrafted bric-a-brac as far as the eye can see, this ensemble comedy from Wes Anderson may sound overloaded, but it moves with astonishing grace. Ralph Fiennes anchors the film as the legendary concierge of a hotel in a fictional European country that once thrived between the two world wars but has since fallen into disrepair, leaving only stories behind. For his part, A.O. Scott found himself “not only charmed and touched but also moved to a new level of respect.”

Watch it on HBO Max
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 “neo-realism and fantasy to create a mood of unease and aimless longing.”

Watch it on HBO Max
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 HBO Max
Although it functions beautifully as a lively documentary about ACT UP, an organization that emerged from Greenwich Village in the ’80s to address the AIDS crisis, “How to Survive a Plague” is more valuable still as a how-to manual on effective activism. As ACT UP members staged audacious protests to call public attention to the issue, another branch infiltrated various power centers in Washington, pushing for research, drug access and political leverage. Stephen Holden wrote that it is “charged with the exhilarating excitement felt by soldiers on the front lines of battle.”

Watch it on HBO Max
After spending the ’60s stealing scenes in independent films like “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Easy Rider,” Jack Nicholson ushered in the New Hollywood of the ’70s with one of his most subtle performances, suggesting the bruised interiority of a man on the run from his past. Nicholson stars as a blue-collar California oil rigger who reveals his surprising upper-class roots when his father becomes gravely ill and he returns with his waitress girlfriend (Karen Black) to the family home in Washington. Roger Greenspun called it “satiric in thrust and elegiac in mood.”

Watch it on HBO Max
A romantic comedy, a screwball farce and a conversation-starter rolled into one, “Tootsie” played off Dustin Hoffman’s reputation as a serious, “difficult” actor by casting him as such a pariah in the New York scene that he auditions as a woman to get a role on a daytime soap opera. All sorts of hilarious complications ensue, including overnight national success and a tricky relationship with a co-star (Jessica Lange), but his character also learns that the obstacles for women in show business and society are greater than they are for a fussy thespian. Vincent Canby called it “the best thing that’s yet happened at this year end.”

Watch it on HBO Max
After a career of iconoclastic features and documentaries, director Spike Lee proved that he could also serve as a first-rate studio craftsman with this superbly orchestrated heist movie, which benefits from his usual feel for New York neighborhoods. Clive Owen and Denzel Washington battle wits in a cops-and-robbers standoff between Owen’s cooly professional bank robber and Washington’s hostage negotiator. The plot thickens when the bank’s founder (Christopher Plummer) brings his own fixer (Jodie Foster) onto the scene. Manohla Dargis called it “precision-tooled amusement.”

Watch it on HBO Max
From its “dawn of man” sequence to its cosmic exploration of the future, this science-fiction classic from Stanley Kubrick traces mankind’s evolutionary and technological leaps, as well the conflicts that inspire and are inspired by them. Still astonishing in its mammoth ambition and philosophical scope, “2001: A Space Odyssey” turns a mission to Jupiter, guided by the sinister supercomputer HAL 9000, into a journey for the mind and the eye. The New York Times critic Renata Adler complained about its “uncompromising slowness” at the time, but the film has aged well to say the least. (Also by Kubrick: “A Clockwork Orange,” “Full Metal Jacket,” “The Shining.”)

Watch it on HBO Max
Doing his own audacious twist on Douglas Sirk’s “All That Heaven Allows,” a heartbreaking romance about a wealthy widow’s affair with a humble gardener, Rainer Werner Fassbinder offers a much odder couple, attempting to bridge the gulfs of age and race. The mismatched pair here are a Moroccan laborer (El Hedi ben Salem) in his 40s and a German house cleaner over two decades his senior (Brigitte Mira), and Fassbinder uses their relationship to expose the societal forces that both unite and divide them. Our critic Vincent Canby praised “the careful detail” with which Fassbinder dramatizes the couple’s ostracism. (Also by Fassbinder: “The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant,” “Fox and his Friends,” “The Marriage of Maria Braun”)

Watch it on HBO Max
Before her international breakthrough, “The Piano,” the director Jane Campion carved this television mini-series into an impassioned 158-minute portrait of the New Zealand author Janet Frame, based on her three autobiographical novels. With different actors playing Frame at three stages of her life — most notably Kerry Fox as the adult Janet — the film celebrates her resilience under the terrible hardships of poverty and a long stint in a mental institution. Her writing was her escape and her salvation. Vincent Canby admired how film “records the world as Janet sees it, sometimes beautiful and as often frightening.” (Also by Campion: “Sweetie.”)

Watch it on HBO Max
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 HBO Max
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.” (Also by Powell and Pressburger: “49th Parallel,” “The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp,” “The Red Shoes.”)
Watch it on HBO Max
The director David Lean may be better known for epics like “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Doctor Zhivago,” but he was equally skilled in rendering the intimate emotions at play in modest productions like “Brief Encounter,” which saves most of the waterworks for the dingy refreshment room off a railway. Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard star as married people who fall in love inadvertently while nursing their platonic friendship every Thursday at a Milford train station. The sad inevitability of their relationship makes it no less romantic. Bosley Crowther called it “extremely poignant.” (Also by Lean: “Blithe Spirit,” “Great Expectations,” “Summertime.”)

Watch it on HBO Max
Through his incisive, hilarious comedy-drama about TV journalism, the writer-director James L. Brooks exposes sins of ethics and taste that seem quaint by today’s diminished standards, but the richness of his characters stands the test of time. The friendship between a high-strung producer (Holly Hunter) and a star reporter (Albert Brooks) frays when she takes a romantic interest in a handsome anchorman (William Hurt) who represents everything about news they despise. The critic Vincent Canby admired how Brooks “has so balanced the movie that no one performance can run off with it.”

Watch it on HBO Max
A three-hour Japanese drama from a small independent distributor wasn’t the most likely candidate for a best picture nomination. But this multilayered treatment of grief, relationships and creativity from Ryusuke Hamaguchi, based on a story by Haruki Murakami, is a special piece of work. Hidetoshi Nishijima stars as a sought-after theater director who agrees to stage a version of “Uncle Vanya” in Hiroshima and further agrees to the company’s directive that he allow a driver (Toko Miura) to escort him to the venue and back. A.O. Scott called the film “a story about grief, love and work as well as the soul-sustaining, life-shaping power of art.”
Watch it on HBO Max
With its combination of grade-scale world building, thrilling space adventure and hallucinogenic imagery, Frank Herbert’s classic science-fiction novel, “Dune,” has a unique allure that’s difficult to translate to the screen. Yet Denis Villeneuve’s attempt miraculously cracks the code, preserving the language and politics of the novel while following Paul (Timothée Chalamet), a gifted young man thrust into a galactic battle over the desert planet Arrakis and a precious resource called “the spice.” Our critic Manohla Dargis called it “a starry, sumptuous take on the novel’s first half.”

Watch it on HBO Max
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.” (Also by Hitchcock: “The 39 Steps,” “The Lady Vanishes,” North by Northwest”)

Watch it on HBO Max
Based on Nicholas Pileggi’s “Wiseguy,” a biography about the gangster turned informant Henry Hill, this electrifying epic from Martin Scorsese evokes the seductions of organized lawlessness before the consequences come down like a hammer. In contrast to “The Godfather,” which focused on the head of a New York family, “Goodfellas” settles on low- to midlevel gangsters, tracking the rise and fall of Hill (Ray Liotta) and his cohorts, played by Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, as they’re undone by their own criminal excesses. Vincent Canby called the film “breathless and brilliant.” (Also by Scorsese: “The Aviator,” “The Departed,” “Mean Streets.”)

Watch it on HBO Max
Perhaps the brashest of the new wave of Italian filmmakers, Paolo Sorrentino all but declares himself Federico Fellini’s heir apparent with this spectacularly decadent experience, which evokes Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita.” In fact, Toni Servillo could be an older version of Marcello Mastroianni in that film, a 65-year-old journalist whose lavish birthday party reminds him of the emptiness of a lifetime schmoozing among the elites. As with Fellini’s film, the formlessness of the evening allows for maximum spontaneity. Our critic Manohla Dargis called it “deliciously alive.”

Watch it on HBO Max
When Joe Dante’s family-friendly horror-comedy “Gremlins” was a huge hit in 1984, the studio gave Dante creative carte blanche to do whatever he wanted with the sequel. He basically treated the offer like an oversized gremlin. Channeling the manic pop energy of Frank Tashlin and Tex Avery, “Gremlins 2: The New Batch” uses the opening of a high-tech skyscraper to unleash chaos, with dozens of nasty creatures gumming up the works. Janet Maslin wanted to “add this to the very short list of sequels that neatly surpass their predecessors.” (Also by Dante: “Gremlins,” “Looney Tunes: Back in Action.”)

Watch it on HBO Max
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 HBO Max
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 HBO Max
In the lead-up to his epic “Seven Samurai,” the director Akira Kurosawa tried his hand at this intimate, heartbreaking work about a man whose imminent death finally teaches him about how best to live. Takashi Shimura stars as a faceless bureaucrat who gets a terminal cancer diagnosis near the end of his 30-year career and struggles to figure out what to do with the time he has left. Bosley Crowther called it “a varied and detailed illustration of middle-class life in contemporary Japan.” (Also by Kurosawa: “The Hidden Fortress,” “Rashomon,” “Seven Samurai,” “Throne of Blood,” “Yojimbo.”)

Watch it on HBO Max
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.” (Also by Wong: “Happy Together.”)
Watch it on HBO Max
When Kurt Cobain died, he left behind a treasure trove of footage from his childhood, along with expansive musical archives and live performances with Nirvana. In Brett Morgen, the montage maestro who co-directed “The Kids Stays in the Picture” and directed the day-in-the-life 30 For 30 documentary “June 17th, 1994,” Courtney Love found the perfect filmmaker to approach with the material. “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck” is a sad, raucous, play-it-loud music documentary that ties the source of Cobain’s creative genius to the lifelong vulnerabilities that led to his early death. Our critic Mike Hale called it “both an artful mosaic and a hammering barrage.”

Watch it on HBO Max
The year after his international breakthrough, “L’Avventura,” beguiled and mystified audiences, Michelangelo Antonioni brought the same theme of alienation to the city with “La Notte,” which turns Milan into a hauntingly beautiful and empty place. Set within a 24-hour time frame, the film stars Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau as an unhappily married couple who go out for a rare night on the town and have their relationship tested. Bosley Crowther wrote that “the subtle attunement of one’s mood” will largely determine how much viewers will connect with the film. (Also by Antonioni: “L’Avventura,” “Red Desert.”)

Watch it on HBO Max
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.” (Also in the trilogy: “The Two Towers,” “The Return of the King.”)

Watch it on HBO Max
Gina Prince-Bythewood’s sexy, heartfelt romantic drama stood out among the abundant rom-coms of its time for the sincerity and complexity of its two main characters, whose hoop dreams lead them in and out of each other’s lives. Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan star as childhood sweethearts who bond over a passion for basketball (and trash-talking) but follow rocky paths through the professional game — and through a relationship that suffers from the same patches of instability. Elvis Mitchell appreciated its “enchanting, lived-in homeyness.”

Watch it on HBO Max
In their follow-up to “Waiting for Guffman” and “Best in Show,” the director Christopher Guest and his first-rate troupe of improvisatory performers returned with a folk music parody that is notable for its disarming sweetness, despite the many digs at granola culture. The death of a beloved producer brings the acts he discovered together for a reunion concert, including The Folksmen (Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer) and the estranged Mitch & Mickey (Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara). A.O. Scott wrote that the cast is “capable of being funny in so many different ways.” (Also by Guest: “Best in Show.”)

Watch it on HBO Max
For her first feature, the writer-director Dee Rees expanded a short film into a sensitive, big-hearted and surprisingly funny coming-of-age drama about a Brooklyn teenager who is as marginalized as the title suggests. Played by Adepero Oduye, Alike is a Black lesbian who steps tentatively into her queer identity while keeping her sexuality a secret from her parents — even though it’s obvious they have their suspicions. The critic Stephen Holden wrote that Oduye “captures the jagged mood swings of late adolescence with a wonderfully spontaneous fluency.”

Watch it on HBO Max
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.” (Also by Bergman: “Cries and Whispers,” “The Seventh Seal,” “Wild Strawberries.”)

Watch it on HBO Max
After a decade of flops in the ’80s, the director Robert Altman burst back on the scene with a Hollywood satire that doubles as an act of revenge. Through the story of Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins), a soulless studio executive who murders a disgruntled screenwriter, Altman had the narrative scaffolding he needed to land jab after jab about an industry that had been unfriendly to him for decades. Vincent Canby hailed “the return of the great gregarious filmmaker whose ‘Nashville’ remains one of the classics of the 1970s.” (Also by Altman: “M*A*S*H” and “Popeye.”)

Watch it on HBO Max
The French new wave was borne out of collective cinephilia, and nothing expressed that movie-crazy spirit quite as infectiously as François Truffaut’s “Shoot the Piano Player,” a dazzling 81-minute mash-up of techniques, references and genres. Charles Aznavour stars as a self-effacing pianist who unwittingly becomes embroiled in the criminal scheme of a noir. In this story, however, the bad guys are bungling gangsters and the femme fatale is a waitress with a heart of gold (Marie Dubois). Bosley Crowther called it “a teasing and frequently amusing (or moving) film.” (Also by Truffaut: “The 400 Blows,” “Jules and Jim,” “The Soft Skin.”)

Watch it on HBO Max
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.” (Also by Miyazaki: “Kiki’s Delivery Service,” “My Neighbor Totoro,” “Princess Mononoke.”)

Watch it on HBO Max
It may not look like a revolution, with its static black-and-white camerawork and deadpan sensibility, but Jim Jarmusch’s minimalist comedy set a new course for American independent film, changing how stories are told and who they can be about. Jarmusch wrings humor from the modest premise, about a Brooklyn layabout (John Lurie) who plays reluctant host to his Hungarian cousin (Eszter Balint), a woman whose understanding of the country begins and ends with the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins song “I Put a Spell on You.” Vincent Canby wrote that the film “is something quite special.” (Also by Jarmusch: “Dead Man,” “Down by Law,” “Night on Earth.”)

Watch it on HBO Max
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.” (Also by Ozu: “Late Autumn,” “Late Spring,” “A Story of Floating Weeds.”)

Watch it on HBO Max
Few films have been wiser about love than Jacques Demy’s “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” and none of the other contenders have sung through every word, redefining in glorious terms what could be done with a screen musical. Told in three distinct acts — each in gorgeous primary colors, with unforgettable music by Michel Legrand — the film follows a shop owner’s daughter (Catherine Deneuve) and a mechanic (Nino Castelnuovo) in Normandy as their union is challenged by war, time and other circumstances. Bosley Crowther called it “a cinematic confection” and didn’t mean it kindly. (Also by Demy: “The Young Girls of Rochefort.”)

Watch it on HBO Max
Clint Eastwood owes his career to playing sharpshooting heroes in Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns like “A Fistful of Dollars” and Don Siegel action films like “Dirty Harry.” But after decades on the job, he decided the time was right to reflect deeply on the violence his characters had wrought. Eastwood directors and stars in this powerful Oscar-winner as a retired gunslinger reluctantly drawn into a bounty hunt for two men who disfigured a prostitute. Vincent Canby called it “a most entertaining western that pays homage to the great tradition of movie westerns.” (Also by Eastwood: “Gran Torino,” “Mystic River,” “Changeling.”)

Watch it on HBO Max
Nothing about Maurice Sendak’s spare, beautifully illustrated storybook classic “Where the Wild Things Are” suggested a feature-length adaptation, but the director Spike Jonze and his co-screenwriter, Dave Eggers, expand the material without losing its essence. This is still the simple story of an angry kid (Max Records) who gets sent to his room after a tantrum and sails off to an island populated by creatures who “roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth.” But its emotional spectrum is expanded along with the scale. Manohla Dargis called it “a film that often dazzles during its quietest moments.”

Watch it on HBO Max
For many years, two angels have looked eternally and sympathetically over the citizens of Berlin, but when one (Bruno Ganz) falls in love with a mortal trapeze artist (Solveig Dommartin), he gives up his wings for the wonderful, terrible privilege of being human. This profound art-house hit from Wim Wenders asks whether eternal life is all it’s cut out to be, and Peter Falk, as a version of himself, does valuable work in breaking the somber mood. Janet Maslin called it the director’s “most ambitious effort yet.” (Also by Wenders: “Buena Vista Social Club,” “Paris, Texas.”)

Watch it on HBO Max
Advertisement

source

About Elzio

Check Also

All streaming apps on Nintendo Switch 2022|replace({"|":"|"}) – iMore

All streaming apps on Nintendo Switch 2022|replace({“|”:”|”})  iMoresource

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.