20 best movies on HBO Max right now (August 2021)

There’ll arguably by no means be an even bigger 12 months for HBO Max than 2021, what with Warner Bros.’ resolution late final 12 months to premiere its entire slate of upcoming films day-and-date via the service in mild of COVID-19 and movie show shutdowns. This previous summer time has seen films like Area Jam 2 and The Suicide Squad premiering in theaters and on streaming beginning on day one — presumably to the detriment of their field workplace hauls.

Whereas WarnerMedia’s launch plan could also be stealing all the highlight, HBO Max is a service brimming with nice films. From popular culture mainstays like Mad Max: Fury Highway and The Matrix trilogy to canonical classics like Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane and The Shining to eccentric animated options like Implausible Planet and the works of Studio Ghibli, there are a ton of superior titles to select from throughout the service as an increasing number of continued to be added every month. With that mentioned, there’s quite a bit to select from and solely so many hours within the day. Don’t sweat it, we’ve bought you coated: Listed here are 20 of a few of the greatest films on HBO Max to stream so you may lastly begin whittling down that watchlist.

Listed here are 20 of the very best movies to stream on HBO Max proper now.

2001: A Area Odyssey

2001 a space odyssey: dave in close up in his space helmet

Picture: Warner Bros. Footage

2001: A Area Odyssey is an unassailable traditional of science-fiction cinema, a piece of beautiful visible achievement and operatic scale whose legacy looms as far and broad over the expanse of movie historical past because the shadow of one among its iconic monoliths. Co-written by science-fiction creator Arthur C. Clarke, Stanley Kubrick’s landmark 1968 movie follows the epic voyage of the Discovery One from Earth to Jupiter following the invention of a mysterious artifact on the floor of the Moon. As humanity makes an attempt to know after an understanding of an inscrutable alien intelligence far older and huge than their very own, the journey is difficult when the onboard AI in command of Discovery One positive aspects sentience and makes an attempt to imperil the lives of its crew. From the movie’s opening flashback to the daybreak of human evolution to its dazzling and iconic “star gate” sequence, 2001: A Area Odyssey is an absolute must-watch for any severe sci-fi fan. —Toussaint Egan

Primary Intuition

Sharon Stone as Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct.

Picture: TriStar Footage

Paul Verhoeven’s 1992 erotic neo-noir thriller Primary Intuition starring Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone is as sexually charged as it’s gruesomely violent. Douglas is Nick Curran, a detective with the San Francisco Police Division investigating the demise of former rock star Johnny Boz who was brutally stabbed to demise whereas in mattress. His investigation leads him to Boz’s mistress Catherine Tramell, a sultry and manipulative seductress who ensnares Curran in an online of lies, lust, and suave deception. Primary Intuition is a quintessential entry within the style of erotic thrillers and a gripping work produced by a director on the peak of his skills. —TE

Black Narcissus

A nun hides in the shadows in Black Narcissus

Picture: Criterion Assortment

Centered on a cloister of nuns trying to determine a convent within the Himalayas, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s 1947 movie Black Narcissus is a sensuous, psychological melodrama of the consequences of isolation and mortal temptation, the harrowing of the weather, the character of religion, insanity, and sin. Heralded as one of many best achievements of cinema, the movie received two Oscars for greatest artwork course and cinematography on the twentieth Academy Awards. —TE


Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx in Collateral

Picture: DreamWorks Footage

Michael Mann’s 2004 motion thriller Collateral is among the director’s most profitable movies, grossing over $220 million worldwide and incomes Jamie Foxx a nomination for Greatest Supporting Actor on the 77th Academy Awards. Tom Cruise stars as Vincent, a contract killer whose task to assassinate 5 targets throughout Los Angeles leads him to holding Max (Foxx), a taxi driver with aspirations of beginning his personal enterprise hostage to drive him from goal to focus on. Collateral’s nocturnal lighting and sensible cinematography courtesy of Dion Beebe and Paul Cameron mix to make for one of the hypnotic and memorable portraits of LA’s metropolitan sprawl ever dedicated to movie, and Cruise’s efficiency because the aforementioned hitman Vincent ranks as one of many actor’s greatest. —TE


Keanu Reeves as John Constantine in 2005’s Constantine

Picture: Warner Bros. Footage

Keanu Reeves stars in Francis Lawrence’s 2005 paranormal motion horror movie as John Constantine, an professional demonologist and exorcist caught in the midst of a proxy struggle between heaven and hell on Earth. When police officer Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz) involves Constantine to help her in proving that her sister’s mysterious demise was not a suicide, the pair turn into entangled in a century-long conspiracy to unleash Lucifer’s Mammon utilizing the the Spear of Future. —TE

Escape from New York

Kurt Russell as Snake Plisken in Escape from New York.

Picture: Avco-Embassy

John Carpenter’s 1981 dystopian motion movie Escape from New York is a traditional of proto-cyberpunk sci-fi cinema. Starring Kurt Russell, the movie follows “Snake” Plissken (Kurt Russell), a legendary former soldier-turned-convict who is obtainable an opportunity to expunge his life sentence in change for rescuing the President of the US. The catch: he’ll have to maneuver undetected onto the island of Manhattan which for the previous decade has been walled off by the US authorities and transformed into a large maximum-security jail. That includes supporting performances by Isaac Hayes and Adrienne Barbeau, Escape from New York is must-see for motion followers and John Carpenter stans alike. —TE

F for Pretend


One of many final movies accomplished earlier than his demise, Orson Welles’ 1973 experiment docudrama on the lives and legacies of two of historical past’s best “fakes”: The world-renowned artwork forger Elmyr de Hory and his biographer Clifford Irving, is a whimsical and mischievous work of sleight-of-hand filmmaking. Welles’ movie inevitably circles again on the topic the filmmaker himself by its examination of each Hory and Irving’s lives, reworking into an irreverently charming and gleefully farcical meta-treatise on the character of efficiency, phantasm, and artwork. —TE


Ray Liotta, sweaty and with a bruised eye, in Goodfellas

Picture: Warner Bros.

One among Martin Scorsese’s most celebrated and memorable movies, and presumably his final unimpeachable traditional, Goodfellas charts the rise and fall of a wannabe gangster who works his method into the Mob in Fifties Brooklyn, then finds the group’s focus and fortunes altering radically over the a long time that observe. Full of storytelling gadgets that Scorsese went on to repeat again and again — notably the monologue-voiceover introduction of a complete pack of colourful gangster characters who don’t a lot matter — Goodfellas is filled with indelible dialogue and acquainted comedian bits (“I’m humorous how? I imply humorous like I’m a clown? I amuse you?”), it’s the sprawling saga of a prison watching the world change round him till he doesn’t acknowledge it anymore, made earlier than any of those tropes, strains, and gadgets turned clichés as a result of so many individuals imitated Goodfellas. —Tasha Robinson

The Hidden Fortress

The Hidden Fortress: Three men stand on cliffside poitining

Picture: Criterion Channel

Akira Kurosawa’s 1958 journey movie The Hidden Fortress is maybe greatest identified by up to date audiences for its position as one of many key inspirations behind George Lucas’ 1977 sci-fi juggernaut Star Wars. The similarities are clear from the movie’s premise alone: following a princess (Misa Uehara) disguised as a mute farmer who’s led by enemy territory by her loyal basic and bodyguard (Toshiro Mifune) to retrieve a secret cache of gold with the gold of rebuilding her kingdom. The 2 are led by a pair of comical peasants, Tahei (Minoru Chiaki) and Matashichi (Kamatari Fujiwara) who, unbeknownst to their companion’s true identification, lead them by hazard in hopes of sharing within the gold as a reward. The Hidden Fortress ranks among the many absolute best of Kurosawa’s oeuvre; a grand-scale journey stuffed with moments of gripping pleasure, motion, and disarming levity. —TE



Costs taken at time of publishing.

On high of recent WB releases in 2021, HBO Max brings collectively HBO, DC , Cartoon Community, and Criterion libraries.


An ominous portrait of a cat sprays a geyser of blood from its mouth

Picture: Criterion Channel

Watching Nobuhiko Obayashi’s Home is like watching a live-action cartoon. The bonkers cult horror traditional bursts off of the display screen with daring experimentalism and charming surrealism from the primary body and at no level ever lets up. The movie follows a gaggle of eccentric schoolgirls who travelled to the haunted nation dwelling of one among their ailing aunts, solely to be menaced by preternatural forces and apparitions as the home progressively begins to tackle a lifetime of its personal. Oddball comedy meets architectural horror in what’s more likely to be one of the hilarious and memorable film experiences you’ll ever have. —TE

Jurassic Park

Alan Grant (Sam Neill) waves a lit emergency flare to distract an oncoming Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Picture: Amblin Leisure

The blockbuster film that sparked a 3 decade-spanning franchise, Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park is marvel of late twentieth century particular results that dazzle audiences to today for its memorable performances in addition to its beautiful visuals. The movie follows paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), together with paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), who’s recruited by eccentric industrialist John Hammond to function consultants on his newest enterprise: a secluded Costa Rican theme park that homes genetically resurrected dinosaurs. Crammed with horror, suspense, motion, and journey, Jurassic Park is greater than only a thriller film; it’s a bonafide traditional and arguably one among Spielberg’s greatest. —TE

Lone Wolf and Cub: Child Cart on the River Styx

Lone Wolf and Cub sit by a fire in Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx

Picture: Criterion Assortment

Primarily based on Kazuo Koike’s widespread manga sequence of the identical title, The Lone Wolf and Cub sequence is an undisputed traditional of Japanese cinema. Tomisaburo Wakayama, in his most iconic position, inhabits the assassin-turned-itinerant-ronin-warrior Ittō Ogami, who travels the countryside of feudal Japan righting wrongs, felling foes, and elevating his younger son Daigorō. You actually can’t go unsuitable with any installment of the Lone Wolf and Cub sequence (they’re held up as classics for a purpose, in any case), although most followers and movie students would maintain up 1972’s Lone Wolf and Cub: Child Cart on the River Styx because the high-water mark for the sequence, with Ogami tasked with assassinate a Shogunate rogue whereas pursued by a formidable clan of relentless feminine assassins. For those who’re a fan of both Samurai Jack or the Wu-Tang Clan, you owe it to your self to take a seat down and watch the Lone Wolf and Cub sequence. —TE

frodo and gandalf ride on a car in fellowship of the rings the lord of the rings

Picture: New Line Cinema

Director Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy stays one of the peerless cinematic works of our time. Although there’s no selecting one favourite out of the bunch, The Fellowship of the Ring, which kicks issues off as hobbit Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wooden) begins his quest to save lots of Center Earth, is maybe essentially the most evenly constructed. Fellowship is definitely essentially the most light-hearted, as its characters diving into hassle fairly than being caught in the midst of it. For those who haven’t watched the sequence lately, give it a whirl, then dive into our year-long tribute to the Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens’ sequence, which we name “Year of the Ring.”

Marie Antoinette

Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette in Marie Antoinette

Picture: Columbia Footage

After a latest rewatch of this pop riff on French historical past, I’m satisfied Sofia Coppola is the explanation Instagram exists. Starring Kirsten Dunst because the younger queen and Jason Schwartzman as her husband, Louis XVI, the film chronicles the rise and fall of a queen swept up in regal exercise and the strain of life within the highlight. Coppola was granted entry to the precise Versailles grounds to shoot her intoxicating drama, but it surely’s the way in which she performs with pastel colours, up to date music tracks, and fashionable visible thrives that enable Marie’s bursting character to bleed into each ounce of the body. Although it’s a assemble of fiction, the biopic looks like the last word overshare, casting the viewers as voyeurs who, in at this time’s language, principally scroll by each picturesque (or tragic) second in an enormous celeb’s life. —Matt Patches

Mikey and Nicky

From left to right, John Cassavetes and Peter Falk in “Mikey and Nicky.”

Picture: The Criterion Assortment

Within the Nineteen Seventies, Elaine Might was identified for laughs. Very similar to her Nichols and Might companion Mike Nichols, Might leveraged her sketch comedy profession into a lifetime of appearing, writing, and directing. She starred in her personal directorial debut, 1971’s A New Leaf, reverse Walter Matthau, and shortly discovered industrial success with the Neil Simon adaptation The Heartbreak Child. So there’s purpose to assume 1976’s Mikey and Nicky, which pairs longtime collaborators John Cassavetes and Peter Falk, could be a romp throughout a seedy mob setting. Nope! Might’s movie is a nuclear assault on poisonous masculinity, and among the many more difficult movies I’ve ever watched.

In the course of the night time, Nicky (Cassavetes) calls Mikey (Falk) and begs for his assist. He’s stolen cash from a mob boss, and now he’s satisfied he’s nearly as good as useless. And he’s proper — in truth, Mikey is definitely helping the hitman (Ned Beatty) assigned to take out his greatest bud by coaxing Nicky out of a barricaded house. One thing of a coward, Mikey received’t pull the set off himself, so the 2 wind up cavorting round Philadelphia for the night time. Their exploits are a maelstrom of rancid, brutal, paranoid conduct. A cease at a bar in a predominantly Black a part of city instantly will get ugly. A bus driver winds up a goal of their misplaced aggression. A meetup with Nicky’s girlfriend turns to sexual violence, even from Mikey, who’s, in idea, the clear-headed of the 2. It’s a nightmare, and Might traps viewers inside it.

Mikey and Nicky is difficult to suggest — it’s not satisfying — however like nice artwork, the movie friends into the shadows of on a regular basis life that everyone knows exist, however not often see in mainstream storytelling. The movie was shot in 1973, across the time Imply Streets hit theaters, and it now looks like the last word condemnation of how Martin Scorsese’s movies (maybe unintentionally) glamorized mob violence and life. These are horrible males doing horrible issues. They’re acquainted, and the ladies of their orbit are trapped. That’s not the type of character examine most individuals need out of a laid-back night time on the films. But it surely’s needed. Seeing is believing. —MP

One Hour Picture

Robin Williams as “Sy” Parrish in One Hour Photo.

Picture: Fox Searchlight Footage

The late nice Robin Williams stars in Mark Romanek’s 2002 psychological thriller One Hour Picture as Seymour “Sy” Parrish, a lonely and unhinged picture technician who develops a fascination with a middle-class household whose pictures he has taken take care of years. Following an incident at work, Sy’s fascination dips over into full-blown obsession as his need to develop nearer to the household escalate to more and more extra harrowing, and terrifying, extremes. Williams right here is masterful; an against-type show of dramatic efficiency that ranks among the many most consummately spectacular of his profession. —TE


Joan Allen and Tobey Maguire in Pleasantville.

Picture: New Line Cinema

Garry Ross’ 1998 fantasy comedy-drama Pleasantville stars Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man) as David, an introverted excessive schooler who yearns for the straightforward idyllic household and social lifetime of his favourite ’50s sitcom Pleasantville. After crossing paths with a mysterious TV repairman, performed by the late Don Knotts (The Andy Griffith Present), he and his sister Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon) are transported into the world of the present following a freak thunderstorm. Because the siblings try to meld into the literal black-and-white established order of their newfound dwelling, the nuances of their behaviors start to set off inexplicable penalties that open the small city to a world of courageous and terrifying potentialities. —TE

Punisher: Battle Zone

Punisher: War Zone - The Punisher


Lexi Alexander’s 2008 superhero motion movie Punisher: Battle Zone, the primary Marvel adaptation directed by a lady, stands at this time as probably the greatest cinematic interpretations of the character ever created. Ray Stevenson (Thor) stars as Frank Fort, an ex-military man turned ruthless vigilante, who stalks and murders a whole mob household — except their high enforcer, Billy Russoti (Dominic West). Severely disfigured by the torture he suffers beneath Fort’s arms, Billy rebrands himself as a deranged crime boss often called Jigsaw who is not going to cease till he actual his cold-blooded revenge on the Punisher. Packed to the brim with blistering motion, erratic cinematography, and profuse gore, Punisher: Battle Zone will not be for squeamish, but it surely definitely will moist the urge for food of any diehard fan of the character. —TE


John David Washington and Robert Pattison sit in a car in Tenet

Picture: Melinda Sue Gordon/Warner Bros.

Christopher Nolan’s newest movie is greater than a typical mind-bender; a spy premise given the sci-fi twist of “inverted time” offers strategy to a purposefully confounding expertise the place plot falls away and the director’s explosive imagery envelops the viewer. It’s a wild and polarizing expertise. Fortunately, John David Washington and Robert Pattinson are charismatic sufficient to convey all of it collectively. Learn our full review from final summer time for the total obtain on this one-of-a-kind blockbuster. —MP

Princess Mononoke

princess mononoke

Picture: GKIDS

Princess Mononoke is one among Studio Ghibli’s best films. The plush, darkish fairy story follows cursed Prince Ashitaka as he leaves his village looking for a treatment. In his quest, he finds himself in Irontown, a village of outcasts led by Girl Eboshi, whose deforestation methods put the city at odds with the native forest spirits, together with San, a wild lady raised by wolves. Like many Ghibli films, there’s an environmentalist message on the film’s core, as modernity and progress duel with nature and preservation. In contrast to many Ghibli films, it really will get fairly gory in order to emphasize its message and doesn’t maintain again within the penalties the characters face for some devastating actions. Highly effective and film, Princess Mononoke lingers in the way in which many Ghibli movies do, with the identical form of bittersweet poignance. — Petrana Radulovic | 20 greatest films on HBO Max proper now (August 2021)


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