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Your time is precious, and your options are endless. The good news: We watch it all so you don’t have to. Polygon’s What to Watch highlights the best, the funniest, the scariest, and the most exciting in movies, TV, and everything in between. Stop scrolling, start watching!
The streaming landscape is vast and hard to keep track of. The rush of new movies onto streaming services (and the rush of new streaming services on our devices) is more than any one person to keep up with, and not all of them can be winners.
That’s what we’re here for. We’re going to keep this post updated with the most recent movie on each of the major streaming platforms that we liked, as well as some other options if our pick doesn’t sound like your particular jam.
So, below, find the best new movies on Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, HBO Max, Disney Plus, Paramount Plus, Apple TV, Peacock, Shudder, Mubi, and the Criterion Channel.
Genre: Epic drama/action
Run time: 1h 39m
Director: Romain Gavras
Cast: Dali Benssalah, Sami Slimane, Anthony Bajon
We made a whole list of the best Netflix original movies of 2022. In my mind, nothing can match the thrilling highs of Athena, a high-wire act of tension with stunning long takes and camera work that will frequently drop your jaw and make you ask, “How did they do that???”
Acclaimed music video director Romain Gavras, who comes from a filmmaking family, is responsible for one of the most memorable and exhilarating films in years, showcasing an uprising against police brutality in the French banlieue of Athena. Gavras taps into a tangible anger at the state of the world while flexing his formal muscles in a truly unforgettable 99-minute thrill ride.
Also good: The Big Four, an offbeat Indonesian action comedy from the twisted mind of Timo Tjahjanto (The Night Comes for Us); Lost Bullet 2, France’s answer to the vehicular mayhem of the Fast and Furious series; Emily the Criminal, an Aubrey Plaza-led crime thriller; and Hustle, Adam Sandler’s basketball dramedy co-starring real NBA players.
Genre: Sci-fi action/horror
Run time: 1h 40m
Director: Dan Trachtenberg
Cast: Amber Midthunder, Dakota Beavers, Dane DiLiegro
Dan Trachtenberg’s revival of the Predator franchise was one of 2022’s happiest surprises, taking the iconic sci-fi villain to the early 18th century in Comanche territory. The Predator squares off with Naru (Amber Midthunder), a young woman who wants nothing more than to prove herself as a great hunter. A tense, calculated thriller light on dialogue and high on tension, Prey is great genre fare and a return to form for a franchise that started with one of the best sci-fi action movies ever made.
Also good: Crimes of the Future, David Cronenberg’s latest body horror masterpiece, and Fire Island, a modern gay adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.
Genre: Historical comedy
Run time: 1h 48m
Director: Lena Dunham
Cast: Bella Ramsey, Billie Piper, Andrew Scott
A coming-of-age story equal parts funny and touching, Catherine Called Birdy is an adaptation of the novel set in 13th-century England. Bella Ramsey (now in the Last of Us show) is transcendent as Birdy, a young girl faced with the expectations of the world around her — expectations she’s not at all interested in. Ramsey brings a tangible teenage energy to the dreary medieval setting, and along with a brilliant turn by Andrew Scott (Fleabag) as her father, the two lead performances carry this adaptation from Lena Dunham.
Also good: Hansan: Rising Dragon, a massive Korean naval war epic; Thirteen Lives, Ron Howard’s dramatic retelling of the Thai cave rescue; Ambulance, Michael Bay’s intense LA crime thriller; The Outfit, a single-location crime drama with Mark Rylance; The Lost City, an outrageously silly adventure rom-com with Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum; and Pushpa: The Rise – Part 1, a thrilling Telugu crime drama.
Run time: 1h 42m
Director: Zach Cregger
Cast: Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgård, Justin Long
One of 2022’s most outrageous horror movies was also one of the year’s funniest. It’s hard to talk too much about Barbarian without spoiling things, but the basic setup is: A young woman arrives at her Airbnb rental only to find a mysterious man already staying there. Things go… in directions! Writer-director Zach Cregger’s (The Whitest Kids U’ Know) background in sketch comedy comes through in this hilarious, surprising solo directorial debut. You’ll never look at [REDACTED] the same way again.
Also good: The Banshees of Inisherin, Martin McDonagh’s award-winning black comedy; The Menu, a black comedy at an elite restaurant starring Ralph Fiennes and Anya Taylor-Joy; and Kimi, a modern take on Rear Window from Steven Soderbergh and starring Zoë Kravitz.
Run time: 1h 40m
Director: Domee Shi
Cast: Rosalie Chiang, Sandra Oh, Ava Morse
A return to form for Pixar, Turning Red celebrates the awkwardness of being a teen in a warm, exciting coming-of-age story. Director Domee Shi was inspired by some classic anime while making Turning Red, and it shows: The movie is vibrant, fun, weird, and unapologetically itself.
Also good: Fire of Love, an award-winning documentary about volcanology pioneers Katia and Maurice Krafft.
Run time: 2h 10m
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Cast: Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, Miles Teller
Before Avatar: The Way of Water came along, Top Gun: Maverick was the only smash box—office hit of 2022. It’s for good reason: The movie is a thrill ride unlike any other, with Tom Cruise’s typical devotion to jaw-dropping stunts applied to stunning aerial battles and dogfights. The cast went through real training to fly the fighter jets, which allows director Joseph Kosinski to show the movie’s action from within the cockpits themselves — a revolutionary step in action cinema that makes Maverick a unique experience sure to be mimicked for years to come.
Also good: Orphan: First Kill, the deliriously fun prequel to the 2009 horror movie, and The Lost City, an outrageously silly adventure rom-com with Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum.
Run time: 1h 45m
Director: Joel Coen
Cast: Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, Kathryn Hunter
Joel Coen’s adaptation of the classic play is driven by a powerhouse performance from Denzel Washington as well as striking set design and cinematography, bringing the stark black-and-white images to life. Kathryn Hunter, who plays the witches, also delivers an unforgettable performance.
Also good: Coda, last year’s Best Picture winner, which I haven’t seen but we liked!
Run time: 1h 23m
Director: John Hyams
Cast: Gideon Adlon, Bethlehem Million, Dylan Sprayberry
Genre director extraordinaire John Hyams (Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning, as well as the underrated show Black Summer and underrated thriller Alone) teams up with Scream scribe Kevin Williamson for this gnarly little slasher set in April 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. The premise: Two friends travel to a remote cabin in the woods to get away from the crowd of college life, but are soon joined by an unwanted guest.
While it is a fairly effective period piece of that particular time, this movie shines because of Hyams’ skill as a visual storyteller. It’s tense, is punctuated by some great action and gnarly kills, and is nice to look at (even the night scenes are lit well — how about that?). And at just 83 minutes, it’s the kind of short-and-sweet genre fare we love.
Also good: Castle Falls, a Dolph Lundgren-directed Scott Adkins crime thriller about competing groups battling for a stash of money in a building set for demolition, and Gundala, the first entry in the BCU, Indonesia’s answer to the MCU.
Run time: 1h 24m
Director: Jean Luc Herbulot
Cast: Yann Gael, Roger Sallah, Mentor Ba
A breakout 2022 surprise from Senegal, Saloum is a genre-bending thriller packed with memorable images, charismatic characters, and plenty of surprises. Directed by award-winning music video director Jean Luc Herbulot, Saloum follows three mercenaries who crash-land in Senegal on their way home from a mission. As they try and make their way to safety, everything is not as it appears.
Also good: Resurrection, a psychological thriller with one of the year’s best performances from Rebecca Hall; Hellbender, a family-made low-budget movie about a young girl who discovers she comes from a family of witches; A Wounded Fawn, a grimy serial killer thriller shot on 35mm; and The Last Thing Mary Saw, starring Isabelle Fuhrman as a young girl suspected of murder.
Run time: 2h 18m
Director: Park Chan-wook
Cast: Park Hae-il, Tang Wei
Park Chan-wook’s latest masterpiece was our No. 2 movie of 2022, and for good reason. Decision to Leave is an ambitious thriller, blending mystery and romance together in an uncanny fusion that only Park could pull off. A gorgeous movie with plenty of mystery to unwrap after you’re done, Decision to Leave is also a flat-out good time, with excellent lead performances and captivating images around every corner.
Also good: Shadow, Zhang Yimou’s stunning wuxia epic, and Faces Places, Agnès Varda’s thoughtful and charming documentary.
Run time: 1h 40m
Director: Christopher Makoto Yogi
Cast: Steve Iwamoto, Constance Wu, Tim Chiou
A beautiful ghost story that doubles as a slow-burn meditation on death and memory, I Was a Simple Man is a gorgeous family tale set in Hawaii, centered on the approaching death of the family’s aging patriarch (Steve Iwamoto, who is incredible). As family living and dead alike come to visit him, intergenerational tensions arise as old squabbles get renewed. Featuring gorgeous images of Hawaii and evocative use of dream aesthetics, I Was a Simple Man is one of the most beautiful movies of 2022.
Also good: Infinite Football, an offbeat and charming soccer-related documentary from Corneliu Porumboiu.
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