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The 61 best movies on Hulu right now

Published by Michael Bizzaco on DigitalTrends

If you’re in the mood for some grade-A cinema, look no further than Hulu. The bountiful home to hundreds of titles, including big-budget tentpole films, indie breakouts, and everything in between, has simply no shortage of flicks to binge this weekend. In fact, the only trouble we think you’ll have is wading through the sheer number of movies to choose one worth your time. That’s where we come in. As Hulu devotees, we’ve combed through all of the platform’s most savory titles to bring you this rotating weekly roundup of the best movies on Hulu right now.

Subscribe to a different platform? Not only do we have a guide to the best shows on Hulu, but we’ve rounded up the best movies on Amazon Prime Video, the best movies on Netflix, and the best movies on Disney+.

New movies added to Hulu recently

Date Night (2010) new

Genre Comedy, Action, Adventure
Stars Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg
Directed by Shawn Levy
pg-13 97m
Date Night stars Steve Carrell and Tina Fey as a married couple who have fallen into stale relationship patterns. Hoping to spice things up, they make reservations at one of the best restaurants in New York City. But an enchanting candlelit dinner soon gives way to high crime and targeted assassination as the innocent couple is mistaken for a pair of mischievous mob thieves. The onscreen dynamic between Carrell and Fey is the leading power of Date Night, a hijinks-filled comedy where the conviction of its leads is humorously balanced by the film’s gigantic set pieces. 

Escape from Alcatraz (1979) new

Genre Drama, Thriller
Stars Clint Eastwood, Patrick McGoohan, Roberts Blossom
Directed by Don Siegel
pg 113m
In Escape from Alcatraz, Clint Eastwood stars as Frank Morris, a veteran criminal best known for his many escapes from jail. Sentenced to Alcatraz, the country’s most notoriously inescapable pit, Morris begins weaving his way into the brutalist day-to-day of the prison’s operation. After serving time for a while, Morris grows tired of life at the island facility, and soon joins forces with two sibling criminals (Fred Ward, Jack Thibeau) to plot a daring escape from the imposing prison-fortress.

Hugo (2011) new

Genre Adventure, Drama, Family
Stars Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley
Directed by Martin Scorsese
pg 126m
In Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, Asa Butterfield stars as Hugo Cabret, a 1930s Parisian orphan living in the walls of a bustling train station. Tasked with caring for the station clocks, Hugo’s life is uprooted after his guardian uncle goes missing. When Hugo is caught stealing parts from a toy store to work on an automaton left to him by his late father, the owner (Ben Kingsley) agrees to let Hugo work for him, instead of reporting the youth’s thievery. Here Hugo meets Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz), the niece of the toy store owner who sets out with Hugo to solve the great mystery of the non-operational automaton.

(500) Days of Summer (2009) new

85%
76%
Genre Comedy, Drama, Romance
Stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Chloë Grace Moretz
Directed by Marc Webb
pg-13 95m
It’s love at first sight for Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer (Zooey Deschanel), two greeting card company workers. Following the initial sparks, the young employees strike up a romance that carries them through a series of 500 days (as the title spells out) — a year-plus filled with lush romance, laughs, cries, blowouts, and everything one can expect from good old love. A colorful examination of love’s peaks and valleys, Marc Webb’s 500 Days of Summer will make your heart swoon and your tear ducts come to life.

The Impossible (2012)

81%
73%
Genre Thriller, Drama
Stars Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland
Directed by J. A. Bayona
pg-13 113m
Based on the real-life experiences of Mariá Belón and her family during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, The Impossible stars Naomi Watts as a fictionalized version of Mariá and Ewan McGregor as Henry, her spouse. Vacationing with their three sons in Thailand, the family is separated as the town they’re staying in is ripped apart by a devastating tsunami. Maria and her son Lucas (a young Tom Holland), along with Henry and the two other children (Samuel Joslin and Oaklee Pendergast), must fight their way through the wreckage of the storm to reunite the entire clan.

Jacob's Ladder (1990)

73%
62%
Genre Drama, Mystery, Horror
Stars Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Peña, Danny Aiello
Directed by Adrian Lyne
r 113m
Life has been rather strange for Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins), a postal worker, Vietnam veteran, and grieving father. After a series of horrific hallucinations take over Jacob’s life, the man begins questioning his sanity. At the same time, some of his fellow ex-pats come forward and reveal they’ve been experiencing similar visions. Is this the experimental work of the U.S. government or something entirely demonic? In Jacob’s Ladder, Robbins delivers a tour-de-force performance, grabbing your heartstrings and pulling you along as one man dives deeper down a rabbit hole of doom, angelic chiropractors, and rapid-fire, rotating heads.

Behind Enemy Lines (2001)

37%
49%
Genre Action, Drama, Thriller, War
Stars Owen Wilson, Gene Hackman, Gabriel Macht
Directed by John Moore
pg-13 106m
Behind Enemy Lines stars Owen Wilson as U.S. Navy pilot Chris Burnett, who is shot down over Bosnia amid the height of the country’s horrific war in the mid-’90s. Stranded, and pursued by hostile forces, Chris must do everything in his power to survive the onslaught while his commanding officer, Leslie McMahon Reigart (Gene Hackman), races against the clock to get a combative search-and-rescue ordinance approved to get Chris out of  the hot zone. Action-packed from start to finish, Behind Enemy Lines allows Owen Wilson to step away from his typical comedic appearances for something much more serious.

Blow (2001)

55%
52%
Genre Crime, Drama
Stars Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Franka Potente
Directed by Ted Demme
r 124m
Blow stars Johnny Depp as George Jung, a high school football star turned cocaine kingpin. A chronicling of Jung’s rise to power, the biopic explores the pivotal moments in Jung’s life that would make him a central figure in the violent and propulsive international drug market of the 1970s. Adapted from the 1993 book Blow: How a Small Town Boy Made $100 Million with the Medellín Cocaine Cartel and Lost It All, the film adaptation sees Depp at the top of his acting powers, imbuing Jung with calm charisma, even in the face of brutality and the horrific underbelly of illicit substances.

Earth to Echo (2014)

55%
53%
Genre Family, Adventure, Science Fiction
Stars Teo Halm, Astro, Resse Hartwig
Directed by Dave Green
pg 89m
Earth to Echo is an animated adventure you and yours won’t want to miss. Set in Nevada, the story follows three teen pals — Alex, Tuck, and Munch — who are all absorbing the news that there childhood town is getting demolished for a major highway. After receiving strange messages on their phones, the youths attempt to explain the glitches to the adults in their lives, but no one will pay them any mind. Taking matters into their own hands, the boys trace the odd broadcasts straight to an alien-powered automaton. Riffing on familiar family-friendly tropes, Earth to Echo doesn’t set out to reinvent the wheel, but the delightful feature is arresting enough for most to enjoy.

We Need to Do Something (2021)

55%
50%
Genre Horror, Mystery
Stars Sierra McCormick, Vinessa Shaw, Pat Healy
Directed by Sean King O'Grady
r 97m
When a horrific storm blows through their town, teenaged Melissa (Sierra McCormick) and her family are trapped in the bathroom of their home. With a tree wedged against the door and signs that the world outside has descended into unfathomable madness, the nuclear family does everything in their power to stay alive with what little resources they have. But could this cruel fate be a result of something Melissa did that she hasn’t exactly come clean about? Making great use of its claustrophobic set and main ensemble, We Need to Do Something serves up notes of the post-apocalyptic genre, with a greater focus on the crumbling of the family dynamic as opposed to the otherworldly terrors that could be waiting outside.

Horton Hears a Who! (2008)

80%
71%
Genre Animation, Comedy, Family, Adventure, Fantasy
Stars Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Bill Farmer
Directed by Jimmy Hayward, Steve Martino
g 86m
The film adaptation of the beloved Dr. Seuss classic, Horton Hears a Who! features the voice talents of Jim Carrey as the titular Horton, an elephant that discovers a microcosmic civilization made up of the Whos. Chief amongst them is Ned McDodd (Steve Carrell), the mayor of the Whos. Becoming friends with Ned, Horton attempts to convince his fellow jungle inhabitants to recognize the existence of the unseeable Whos — a mission that may take more convincing than Horton ever planned for. A loving and deeply considered take on the Seuss classic, Horton Hears a Who! is an excellent animated adventure for the whole family to embark on.

King Kong (2005)

84%
81%
Genre Adventure, Drama, Action
Stars Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody
Directed by Peter Jackson
pg-13 187m
When Carl Denham (Jack Black) and his film crew depart New York for the mysterious Skull Island, their thespian sabbatical is firmly uprooted by the residents of the rock. Particularly, its giant insects, carnivorous dinosaurs, and the film’s namesake — a towering tank of a gorilla named Kong (Andy Serkis). After Kong captures Ann (Naomi Watts), Denham’s sole actress and muse, it’s up to the dedicated craftsman and his seafaring film crew to rescue the starring lady before Skull Island’s Most Deadly turns everyone into chewable fodder. Peter Jackson is known for his grandiose lensing, and his epic retelling of the King Kong lore is equal parts a Jackson spectacle and a faithful homage to the scale and scope of the 1933 original.

The Princess Bride (1987)

98%
77%
Genre Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Comedy, Romance
Stars Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin
Directed by Rob Reiner
pg 99m
Based on the much-loved William Goldman novel of the same name, The Princess Bride film adaptation tells a story within a story. A loving grandfather (Peter Falk) reads a book to his sick grandson (Fred Savage). What we see on-screen is the realization of this fairytale — a rollicking adventure about a man named Westley (Cary Elwes), the maiden he pines for (Robin Wright), and the adventure they must set out on in order to be reunited after years of separation. A brilliant homage to the swashbuckling heyday of Golden Age Hollywood, The Princess Bride is powered by a rich script, memorable characters, and an ageless quality that makes returning to the film an always-easy endeavor.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)

70%
64%
Genre Mystery, Action, Thriller, Science Fiction, Adventure
Stars Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie
Directed by Kerry Conran
pg 107m
When hordes of hellbent, giant robots descend upon a dystopian version of New York City, it’s up to Sky Captain (Jude Law) to deal with these automaton adversaries. Assisting him is reporter Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow), a whip-smart journalist that has been investigating the recent disappearance of numerous scientists — an anomaly that may have more to do with the androids than anyone thought. It’s up to Sky Captain and Polly to track down the malevolent creator of the cyborgs before humanity suffers the ultimate mechanized wrath. A mesmerizing blend of action-adventure-meets-noir, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is chock-full of technical wizardry and unbound style — making for an astonishing feature debut from writer-director Kerry Conran.

Rio (2011)

72%
63%
Genre Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family
Stars Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Leslie Mann
Directed by Carlos Saldanha
g 96m
Rio follows the mighty journey of the titular macaw (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg), a tropical bird that spends his days living comfortably in Minnesota alongside his human companion, Linda (Leslie Mann). When news travels to the human-animal duo that a rare female macaw named Jewel (Anne Hathaway) lives in Rio de Janeiro, Rio and Linda travel to the country so the birds can mate. But when a band of smugglers attempts to capture the birds, it’s up to Rio and Jewel to evade their captors and return to safety. Rio doesn’t bring much reinvention to the world of animation, but what we get is a wonderfully layered, kid-friendly exercise in big colors, imaginative environments, and humorous set-pieces.

Days of Heaven (1978)

92%
93%
Genre Drama, Romance
Stars Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, Sam Shepard
Directed by Terrence Malick
pg 94m
Days of Heaven stars Richard Gere and Brooke Adams as Bill and Abby, a couple on the run after Bill inadvertently kills a mill manager in Chicago. Arriving in the Texas Panhandle, with Bill’s kid-sister Linda in tow, Bill and Abby take up work as seasonal workers for a soft-spoken farmer (Sam Shepherd). Posing as brother and sister, the couple’s ruse is tested when the farmer starts pining for Abby. Learning that the father has a terminal illness, Bill and Abby conspire to make off with his fortune by allowing him and Abby to marry — a dastardly scheme that begins unraveling almost instantly. Terrence Malick’s sun-bleached follow-up to Badlands is a meditative drama packed with heart-heavy performances and gorgeous cinematography.

Her Smell (2019)

84%
69%
Genre Drama
Stars Elisabeth Moss, Cara Delevingne, Dan Stevens
Directed by Alex Ross Perry
r 136m
Told through five distinct vignettes, Her Smell stars Mad Men alum Elisabeth Moss as Becky Something, the loose-cannon frontman of punk rock outfit Something She. The film chronicles various stages of the band’s career and Becky’s downward spiral into drug and alcohol addiction. An indie exhalation on the hardships of a musical career and the battle to achieve sobriety, Her Smell is the story of a rocker bent on relevance and identity in a forever-changing artistic scene.

Love and Monsters (2020)

93%
63%
Genre Comedy, Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Stars Dylan O'Brien, Jessica Henwick, Michael Rooker
Directed by Michael Matthews
pg-13 109m
In the wake a cosmic catastrophe that turns nature’s predatory beasts to evolve into unbreakable monsters, humanity is all but wiped away. Seven years after the devastation, Joel (Dylan O’Brien) lives in an underground colony made up of survivors fighting against the hoards of monsters. Fearing he may end up alone, Joel decides to search for his long-ago high school girlfriend, Aimee (Jessica Henwick), embarking on a mission that will test his heart, mind, and body — as well as his toleration for mutated centipedes. Love and Monsters delivers a B-movie blast with bigger-budget shoes. It’s a film packed with memorable characters, playful carnage, and a reminder that not every summer blockbuster has to look and feel the same.

The Marksman (2021)

38%
44%
Genre Action, Thriller, Crime
Stars Liam Neeson, Katheryn Winnick, Teresa Ruiz
Directed by Robert Lorenz
r 108m
The world needs another hero, and it looks like Liam Neeson is free. Let’s call him again. Returning for another dose of action-thriller, The Marksman stars Neeson as Jim Hanson, a decorated veteran and alcoholic who spends his days reporting illegal border crossings to U.S. Border Patrol. But when a chance encounter with a mother and son, migrants fleeing the cartel, uproots Jim’s livelihood, the ex-pat must call upon his training and agility to go toe to toe with the malicious forces that want him and the on-the-runners vanquished. From Clint Eastwood collaborator Robert Lorenz (an assistant director on a number of Eastwood’s films), The Marksman plays out as we expect most Neeson vehicles to do, but with an added blast of Old West iconography. Beyond the gunfights and emotional arcs, the desert and its sun-baked truths are the major players here.

Vacation Friends (2021)

60%
49%
Genre Comedy
Stars John Cena, Lil Rel Howery, Meredith Hagner
Directed by Clay Tarver
r 103m
We all need to let loose once in a while. The same goes for Marcus (Lil Rel Howery) and Emily (Yvonne Orji), the main characters of Vacation Friends. At a resort in Mexico, the straight-lacers party it up with newfound friends, Ron (John Cena) and Kyla (Meredith Hagner). But when the week of thrills concludes, Marcus and Emily return to their normal lives. On the day of their wedding, John and Cena show up uninvited, descending a rowdy whirlwind onto the day of nuptials.

Deadpool (2016)

85%
65%
Genre Action, Adventure, Comedy
Stars Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein
Directed by Tim Miller
r 108m
Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is an ex-special forces operative working as a mercenary. After developing terminal cancer, Wade is recruited by Ajax (Ed Skrein) to be subjected to a series of experiments designed to awaken mutant genes. The trials go awry, and after Wade escapes Ajax’s burning lab with newfound superhuman abilities, the now-disfigured fighter vows revenge against the mad scientist that left him for dead. A superhero action-epic with a towering sense of humor, Deadpool is a visual feast packed with witty dialogue, bountiful pop-culture cracks, and an excellent lead performance from Ryan Reynolds.

Moneyball (2011)

94%
87%
Genre Drama
Stars Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Directed by Bennett Miller
pg-13 134m
Based on the 2003 Michael Lewis book of the same name, Moneyball stars Brad Pitt as Billy Bean, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics baseball team. After losing to the New York Yankees in the 2001 Division series, as well as losing his three-star players, Billy is tasked with building a formative team in time for the 2002 season. Going against the grain, Bean hires Ivy League economics graduate Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) to help him recruit players based on their projected value. It turns out this crazy-sounding concept could be the best decision for the Oakland-A’s. Bennett Miller is a director well-known for his empowering biopics of immense cultural figures (CapoteFoxcatcher), and Moneyball is no exception. Brad Pitt brings plenty of gravitas to the role of Billy Bean, bringing charisma and believability to one of modern baseball’s most radical figures.

The Master (2012)

84%
86%
Genre Drama
Stars Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
r 137m
Five years after the major success of There Will Be Blood, writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson returns with The Master, a mesmerizing character-study set against the backdrop of post-World War II. Starring Joaquin Phoenix as Freddie Quell, a disenchanted alcoholic and former soldier, Quell’s fractured mental state makes it difficult for the vet to hold down a job for longer than a few days. Hopping aboard a party-yacht, Quell is introduced to the vessel’s commander, the charismatic Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman). The leader of a spiritual movement known as The Cause, Dodd and Quell strike up an unlikely friendship. But as The Cause’s veil of philanthropy and science is pulled back to reveal the roots of a cult movement, the fraternal bond shared between ex-pat and semi-evangelical begins to crumble.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

86%
66%
Genre Animation, Comedy, Family
Stars Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan
Directed by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
pg 90m
Based on the children’s book of the same name, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs follows Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader), an inventor. Hoping to save his town of Swallow Falls from ultimate starvation, the tinkering Lockwood creates a machine that converts water into food. But when the mechanism gains a mind of its own, it begins producing food storms that threaten to bury the entire world in edible goods. It’s up to Flint to figure out how to stop his savory creation before it’s too late. Featuring the additional voice-talents of Anna Farris, James Caan, and Andy Samberg, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a mesmerizing dive into the extended universe of a much-loved children’s text.

I, Tonya (2017)

90%
77%
Genre Drama
Stars Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Julianne Nicholson
Directed by Craig Gillespie
r 120m
In director Craig Gillespie’s riveting biopic I, Tonya, Margot Robbie stars as the titular figure skater. On her way to Olympic stardom, Tonya’s reputation is steamrolled when her ex-husband carries out a malicious attack on Tonya’s skating rival, Nancy Kerrigan (Caitlin Carver). Not for one second does Gillespie’s sports-drama pretend to be like the rest, opting for a fourth-wall-breaking, larger-than-life approach to Tonya’s rise and fall. Where the storytelling goes through waves of experimentation in the two-hour runtime, Margot Robbie’s performance as the lime-lit Tonya is what most viewers are arriving for, and it’s certainly one of the major reasons you’ll want to stay.

The Art of Self-Defense (2019)

84%
65%
Genre Action, Comedy, Thriller
Stars Jesse Eisenberg, Alessandro Nivola, Imogen Poots
Directed by Riley Stearns
r 104m
When Casey Davies (Jesse Eisenberg) is attacked on the streets by a rogue motorcycle gang, the timid accountant decides to buy a firearm for protection. That is until he discovers a karate dojo led by a charismatic sensei (Alessandro Nivola). Initially, Casey really takes to the defense lessons, but when the sensei begins challenging him to up his masculinity and aggression, things take a sinister turn. A bleak but humorous riff on the feel-good sportsman story, The Art of Self-Defense is a sharp commentary on the state of toxic masculinity. 

In the Earth (2021)

79%
63%
Genre Horror, Science Fiction, Thriller
Stars Joel Fry, Ellora Torchia, Hayley Squires
Directed by Ben Wheatley
r 107m
After a deadly virus has ravaged much of the world, Martin Lowery (Joel Fry), a scientist, and Alma (Ellora Torchia), a park ranger, are tasked with transporting equipment through the woodlands to a research center. En route, Martin sustains a serious injury after he and Alma are attacked at their campsite. Taken in by a man named Zach (Reece Shearsmith), Martin and Alma are thankful for the rescue — until they realize the mysterious man may have an ulterior motive for rescuing them. A hallucinatory indie sci-fi from the talented mind of writer-director Ben Wheatley, In the Earth landed in cinemas mid-pandemic, making for a perfect cinematic allegory on the state of the world and how we contend with disease and the madness of humanity.

The Nice Guys (2016)

91%
70%
Genre Comedy, Crime, Action
Stars Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice
Directed by Shane Black
r 116m
Buddy-cop pairings are a cinematic trope that has pervaded for years. In The Nice Guys, the typical formula is given an adrenaline-punch by way of riveting action sequences and incredible laugh-out-loud moments. Ryan Gosling plays Holland March, a private eye that gets paired up with heavy-hitting enforcer Jackson Healey (Russell Crowe), and the duo is tasked with tracking down Amelia (Margaret Qualley). As their investigation kicks off, the plot rapidly thickens when people surrounding the missing persons case start dying. It’s only a matter of time before Holland and Jackson meet the same fate. Gosling and Crowe bring an undeniable dynamic to this ’70s-throwback, delivering top-notch humor and quick-witted onscreen chops.

Mean Creek (2004)

89%
74%
Genre Crime, Drama
Stars Rory Culkin, Scott Mechlowicz, Trevor Morgan
Directed by Jacob Aaron Estes
r 90m
In writer-director Jacob Aaron Estes’ Mean Creek, Rory Culkin stars as Sam, a young teen getting bullied by George (Josh Peck). When Sam confides in his brother Rocky (Trevor Morgan), the older sibling concocts a plan with his own friends to humiliate George — an immature effort that ultimately backfires in the most unpredicted and horrific way possible. A back-to-basics low-budget thriller that places great emphasis on the talents of its small, young cast, Mean Creek is a revenge story about the painful act of executing vengeance and living with its many complications.

The Hunger Games (2012)

84%
68%
Genre Science Fiction, Adventure, Fantasy
Stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
Directed by Gary Ross
pg-13 142m
In the dystopian ruins of what once was the United States, a nationally televised “battle royale” is held between the 12 districts of Panem, an event known as the Hunger Games. In the brutal fight to the death, each district must select one boy and one girl to send into the throes of bloodshed. When Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers for the fight to save her younger sister from having to participate, the young warrior must use all of her wit and agility to persevere. An adaptation of the award-winning book series by Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games is an epic silver-screen tour de force that helped cement the career of Jennifer Lawrence.

Undine (2020)

89%
75%
Genre Fantasy, Drama, Romance
Stars Paula Beer, Franz Rogowski, Maryam Zaree
Directed by Christian Petzold
86m
In Cristian Petzolds’ cinematic adaptation of the ancient myth of Undine, Paula Beer stars as the titular water dweller — a mermaid-type being given a chance at humanity. Working as a Berlin historian, Undine’s romantic partner unexpectedly leaves her, setting a chain of events into motion that may strip her of her womanly guise. In accordance with folklore, Undine must kill her betraying lover and return to the water to live out the rest of her days as a nymph once more. From the writer-director of Phoenix and TransitUndine is a lush blend of romance and drama, set against the architectural evolution (and decay) of a city rich with emotions of its own.

The Killing of Two Lovers (2021)

93%
83%
Genre Drama
Stars Clayne Crawford, Sepideh Moafi, Chris Coy
Directed by Robert Machoian
84m
When David (Clayne Crawford) and Nikki (Sepideh Moafi) decide to separate, David does everything in his power to keep his family of six treading water — until Nikki begins a new relationship. While they both agreed they would see other people, David begins to have a very difficult time with his ex-to-be’s new romance, leading him down a dark path of no return. Writer-director Robert Machoian is a significant talent to watch in the coming years, delivering a resonant film without an ounce of fat. The performances are top-notch, the story is heart-wrenching, and even though things can get unrelenting, there’s no way you’ll turn away once you start the film.

La La Land (2016)

91%
94%
Genre Comedy, Drama, Romance, Music
Stars Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend
Directed by Damien Chazelle
pg-13 129m
In La La Land, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone star as Sebastian and Mia, the former an aspiring jazz pianist, the latter an actress in the making. Set in the sun-soaked, Technicolor dreamscape of Los Angeles, two serendipitous encounters at a jazz club — and then months later at a pool party — propel both artists into a whirlwind romance. But when fate comes calling and their careers begin shaping up, Sebastian and Mia are forced to re-examine their romance as their true dreams start unfolding before their eyes. An absolutely dazzling musical in the tradition of Hollywood’s show-stopping spectacles, La La Land is an unforgettable foray into a once-classic genre that doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves these days.

Election (1999)

Genre Comedy
Stars Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein
Directed by Alexander Payne
r 103m
In Alexander Payne’s Election, Matthew Broderick stars as Jim McAllister, a beloved high school teacher who can’t help but notice that Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) may not make such a great student body president. Fearing her less-than-moralistic tactics will make for a poor influence on the school, Jim convinces Paul Metzler (Chris Klein), a celebrated jock, to run against Tracy, a subterfuge move that the latter discovers and becomes infuriated over. A dark comedy led by a brilliant leading-man performance from Matthew Broderick, Election is one of Alexander Payne’s best.

Black Swan (2010)

85%
79%
Genre Drama, Thriller, Horror
Stars Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel
Directed by Darren Aronofsky
r 108m
When up-and-coming ballerina Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) is given the lead role in her company’s rendition of Swan Lake, her bubble of success is savagely burst by the arrival of a new dancer, Lily (Mila Kunis). When Thomas (Vincent Cassel), the ballet’s director, re-casts Lily as Nina’s Black Swan alternate, Nina’s neuroses and inner demons throw the star into a horrific downward spiral, one filled with hallucinations, disturbing visions, and other deeply psychological terrors. Writer-director Darren Aronofsky is at the top of his game with Black Swan, delivering a tormented but satiating thriller about the many inner horrors of the arts.

Hearts Beat Loud (2018)

92%
65%
Genre Music, Drama, Comedy, Family
Stars Nick Offerman, Kiersey Clemons, Toni Collette
Directed by Brett Haley
pg-13 97m
In co-writer/director Brett Haley’s Hearts Beat Louder, Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons star as Frank and Sam, a musically inclined father-daughter pairing. With Sam heading off to college and the widowed Frank forced to shutter his record store, Frank begins to insist that he and his daughter take their routine jam sessions to the stage before they transition to bi-coastal living. One night, without Sam’s consent, Frank uploads one of their recordings to Spotify, launching the family into unexpected viral stardom. An emotionally rich film about the inner workings of father-daughter dynamics, musical aspirations, and what it takes to break free, Hearts Beat Loud is one you don’t want to miss.

Heathers (1989)

93%
72%
Genre Comedy, Crime
Stars Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty
Directed by Michael Lehmann
r 103m
A bleak high school comedy that was written on spec by scribe Daniel Waters, the film was intended for the auteurist touch of Stanley Kubrick. With directing duties eventually manned by Michael Lehmann, the resulting film still stands as an edgy cult flick more than 30 years later. Winona Ryder stars as Veronica Sawyer, one of four girls in a revered public school clique, and the other three members of her posse are teen girls with the first name “Heather.” After Veronica becomes obsessed with the new kid at school, J.D. (Christian Slater), the young couple begins a murderous spree that they cover up with forged suicide prose. While the subject matter may not land for some, Heathers is an exemplary piece of ’80s satire that turns the typical high school dramedy on its oft-duplicated head.

True Grit (2010)

95%
80%
Genre Drama, Adventure, Western
Stars Hailee Steinfeld, Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon
Directed by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
pg-13 110m
In the Coen Brothers remake of the John Wayne classic, True Grit sees Jeff Bridges handling the gruff and intoxicated role of Rooster Cogburn. When the marshall’s services are commandeered by the no-nonsense 14-year-old Mattie Ross (Hailee Stanford), seeking vengeance for her father’s murder, the unlikely duo takes to the harsh landscapes of the Old West to track down the man that shot down Mattie’s elder. Along the way, they’re joined by a Texas Ranger named LaBoeuf (Matt Damon) who has his own reasons for seeing Mattie’s father’s killer behind bars. Of note is the impressive acting duo that is Bridges and Stanford, combining wit, tough attitudes, and the perseverance of justice in a partnership like no other.

The Biggest Little Farm (2019)

91%
73%
Genre Documentary
Stars John Chester, Molly Chester
Directed by John Chester
pg 89m
John and Molly Chester took on a brand new life of toil, sweat, and the longest hours when, in 2010, the couple decided to abandoned their traditional jobs and purchased an arid 200-acre parcel of land on the fringes of Los Angeles. The Biggest Little Farm charts the seven years after their benchmark transaction as we watch the barren acreage transform into a diverse paradise of crops and fauna. A film that does wonders for the soul, spending a meditative hour-plus with the Chester clan will shed you of any wretched toxins you may be carrying with you from the day.

Babyteeth (2020)

Genre Drama, Comedy, Romance
Stars Eliza Scanlen, Tobey Wallace, Ben Mendelsohn, Essie Davis
Directed by Shannon Murphy
118m
Based on writer Rita Kalnejais’ play of the same name, Babyteeth stars Eliza Scanlon as Milla Finlay, a 16-year-old teen diagnosed with cancer. When the girl meets a man named Moses (Toby Wallace), the two quickly fall for each other, much to the dismay of Milla’s parents (played by Essie Davis and Ben Mendelsohn). While they fear that Moses may be taking advantage of the family, her parents realize that he brings Milla joy and happiness, so they do what they can to keep him around. A subversive cancer-dramedy that plays by its own set of rules, Babyteeth is a surprisingly fresh watch for those expecting your run-of-the-mill disease drama.

Beach Rats (2017)

85%
78%
Genre Drama, Romance
Stars Harris Dickinson, Madeline Weinstein, Kate Hodge
Directed by Eliza Hittman
r 95m
Frankie (Harris Dickinson) is struggling to stay adrift in life. With his father close to death and his mother on his back, practically begging him to enter a relationship with someone, Frankie retreats to the world of chatrooms and webcams, where he connects with older men. As these fleeting conversations begin taking on more gravity, the youth ditches his adolescent tendencies to start officially pursuing male companionship, all while entering into a romance with a girl named Simone (Madeline Weinstein). A coming-of-age film like no other, Beach Rats features earnest performances, gorgeous cinematography, and a compact narrative that plays much bigger than its premise.

Judy (2019)

Genre Drama, History, Music
Stars Renée Zellweger, Rufus Sewell, Finn Wittrock
Directed by Rupert Goold
pg-13 118m
An excellent biopic and homage to its titular late-great talent, Judy stars Renée Zellweger as the world-famous actress turned lounge performer, Judy Garland. Tracing her career back to her teenage years, we get a front-row vantage to the excess and excitement of celebrity life, but also a cautionary look at the many perils and pitfalls that a limelight existence can have in store. Zellweger is simply electrifying in the title role, delivering an emotionally captivating performance that stands as the centerpiece of the film. Without her chops and commitment, Judy would be a much lesser picture.

A Field in England (2013)

86%
73%
Genre Drama, History, Horror, Thriller
Stars Reece Shearsmith, Michael Smiley, Julian Barratt
Directed by Ben Wheatley
r 90m
Ben Wheatley is no stranger to perverse English eco-terrors, particularly with the director’s latest release, In the Earth. However, the auteur’s botanical nightmares seemingly began with A Field in England, this 2013 period thriller. Set during the English Civil War, the film follows a batch of rogue soldiers and an alchemist’s assistant who attempt to desert the battlefront. After being captured by a rival alchemist and fed hallucinatory mushrooms, the deserters become subservient to the cause of their captor, a man intending to unearth something mystical and almighty in the field they’re settled on. An adventure of kaleidoscopic proportions, combining notes of drama, horror, and black comedy, A Field in England is an exceptional entry in the bizarre canon of Ben Wheatley.

Leave No Trace (2018)

100%
88%
Genre Drama
Stars Thomasin McKenzie, Ben Foster, Jeff Kober
Directed by Debra Granik
pg 110m
Writer-director Debra Granik is renowned for her grim, gut-punching dramas. Continuing her tradition of devastating familial hardships brought to light in her previous films Down to the Bone and Winter’s BoneLeave No Trace stars Ben Foster and Thomasin McKenzie as Will and Tom, a father-daughter duo living on the fringes of society in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. As the two are sleeping in tents and preparing whatever they can find in nature for meals, Portland park authorities discover their hideout and force the family to reintegrate with the civilized world. As Tom sees shades of a hopeful, less challenging future before her, Will personally finds the acclimation to be difficult, particularly in the wake of his military past that has riddled him with PTSD symptoms. A heartfelt examination of Will and Tom’s relationship is the centerpiece of this less-vicious entry in Granik’s portfolio, and it’s a dynamic perfectly buttressed by Foster and McKenzie’s rich performances.

Hostiles (2017)

71%
65%
Genre Western, Drama, History
Stars Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi
Directed by Scott Cooper
r 134m
Writer-director Scott Cooper (Crazy HeartOut of the FurnaceBlack Mass) brings his iconic gritty realism to the period Western landscape. Hostiles finds Christian Bale returning to Cooper’s acting fold as Captain Joseph Blocker, an Army captain tasked with transporting a Cheyenne war chief (Wes Studi) and his family from New Mexico to their home in Montana. Along the way, the band of travelers comes across Rosalee Quaid (Rosamund Pike), a widow whose family was wiped out by Comanche warriors. Banding together, Blocker, Quaid, and Chief Yellow Hawk must contend with the grueling geography and the outlying Comanches that want them dead. Brutal and surprising, Hostiles doesn’t relent at any point in its two-hours-plus runtime.

The Croods: A New Age (2020)

77%
56%
Genre Animation, Family, Adventure, Fantasy, Comedy
Stars Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds
Directed by Joel Crawford
pg 95m
In the long-awaited follow-up to The Croods (2013), A New Age finds the titular barbarian clan searching for a safer place to call home. After stumbling upon a great walled-in structure, the Croods are captured by Phil and Hope Betterman (Peter Dinklage and Leslie Mann), fellow Neanderthals with a bit more wit and technology. Initially peeved by each other’s clans, both the Croods and Bettermans must unite to contend with the evildoing Punch Monkeys before the creatures wipe out both prehistoric dynasties. A delightful and humorous animated adventure, The Croods: A New Age was delayed several times in its production, with the coronavirus hindering the final leg of animation.

Ingrid Goes West (2017)

86%
71%
Genre Comedy, Drama
Stars Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, O'Shea Jackson Jr.
Directed by Matt Spicer
r 97m
Upon her release from a mental hospital, Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza) discovers a social media influencer on Instagram named Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen). After receiving feedback from Sloane, Ingrid packs her belongings and uses her mother’s inheritance to secretly move to LA to get as close to her newfound idol as possible. A powerhouse pairing of Plaza and Olsen is the mighty fire that burns throughout Ingrid Goes West, along with a timely narrative that acts as a humorous warning label stamped on the face of influencer culture.

Not Fade Away (2012)

68%
65%
Genre Drama
Stars John Magaro, James Gandolfini, Bella Heathcote
Directed by David Chase
r 112m
Written and directed by The Sopranos creator David Chase, Not Fade Away follows Douglas Damiano (John Magaro), a New Jersey college dropout who has mile-high aspirations of finding fame through a homegrown rock band. In keeping with British Invasion influences like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, Gene (Jack Huston), the founder of the band, asks Doug to join, with hopes that the act will grow melodically. But when a series of tumultuous events transpire, Doug finds himself as the new frontman, carrying the weight of his musical dreams, familial hardships, and blossoming love life. An homage to the heyday of rock music, Not Fade Away revisits a zeitgeist fueled by transitory sounds and dreamers hoping to land a radio hit.

Gone Girl (2014)

87%
79%
Genre Mystery, Thriller, Drama
Stars Rosamund Pike, Ben Affleck, Kim Dickens
Directed by David Fincher
r 149m
Gone Girl opens with Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) celebrating his fifth anniversary to his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) alone in a bar. When the downtrodden man returns home to find his spouse missing and signs of a bloody struggle, a full-scale investigation is launched, with Nick as a central suspect. Adding fuel to the fire is the amount of coverage Amy’s disappearance receives, a media blitz that Nick struggles to trudge his way through. Narratively driven by present-day occurrences and flashback moments, Gone Girl (based on the Gillian Flynn novel of the same name) paints a dark portrait of once-marital bliss unfolding and disintegrating in the most surprising and horrific ways possible. Led by a stellar ensemble of performers and director David Fincher’s spot-on execution, Gone Girl will leave you speechless in more ways than one.

The Obituary of Tunde Johnson (2019)

89%
58%
Genre Drama, Thriller
Stars Steven Silver, Spencer Neville, Nicola Peltz
Directed by Ali LeRoi
r 104m
Blending cultural awareness with a sci-fi-laced narrative bedrock, The Obituary of Tunde Johnson follows the titular character (portrayed by Steven Silver), a gay Nigerian-American man. Out driving, Tunde is pulled over by a disgruntled police officer who pulls his weapon and ends Tunde’s life. Immediately after the trigger is pulled, Tunde awakens, finding himself trapped in a time loop with his inevitable death facing him repeatedly. Leaning on the big trope of such memorable hits as Groundhog DayThe Obituary of Tunde Johnson pushes the typical light footing of the time loop sub-genre aside in favor of a more character-driven approach, a feat more than accomplished by director Ali LeRoi and Steven Silver’s grounded approach to the lead role.

The Donut King (2020)

97%
69%
Genre Documentary
Stars Chuong Pek Lee, Susan Lim, Ted Ngoy
Directed by Alice Gu
pg-13 94m
When Cambodian refugee Ted Ngoy secured work as a janitor and gas station clerk in Tustin, California, the man would never know that he was on the cusp of an immense legacy. Taking note of a local doughnut shop and inquiring about the business, Ngoy ended up receiving training through an affirmative action initiative, eventually finding his way into doughnut shop management. An ambitious documentary from Alice Gu, The Donut King tells the story of Ngoy’s rise into the California doughnut empire, told through the inspiringly upbeat personas of Ted Ngoy and his family.

The Vigil (2020)

Genre Horror, Thriller, Mystery
Stars Dave Davis, Lynn Cohen, Menashe Lustig
Directed by Keith Thomas
pg-13 88m
In writer-director Keith Thomas’s The Vigil, Dave Davis stars as Yakov Ronen, a displaced Orthodox Jew residing in the Hasidic Borough Park area of New York. After accepting an offer from his former rabbi to be the overnight guardian of a deceased community member, a horrific entity begins haunting Yakov. Combining traditional Jewish folk influences and the glories of shoestring filmmaking, Thomas succeeds in building a dread-laden atmosphere with earnest performances, close-quarters cinematography, and clever storytelling.

Robot & Frank (2012)

86%
67%
Genre Science Fiction, Comedy, Drama, Crime
Stars Frank Langella, Liv Tyler, James Marsden
Directed by Jake Schreier
pg-13 85m
In Robot & Frank, Frank Langella stars as Frank, an age-addled dementia patient. When Frank’s son Hunter employs the services of an android to help care for his father, an initially resistant Frank soon warms up to the robot’s presence — specifically because the cyborg can’t differentiate between what’s moral and what’s not. Thus, Frank, an ex-thief, begins using the robot to carry out local burglaries. A smart story about technological advancements, family ties, elderly care, and past lives, Robot & Frank is a whipsmart sci-fi/comedy amalgam and fitting addition to Hulu’s library.

Saint Maud (2020)

92%
83%
Genre Drama, Horror, Mystery
Stars Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle, Lily Knight
Directed by Rose Glass
r 85m
Set in a coastal community in England, Saint Maud stars Morfydd Clark as the titular Maud, a born-again Roman Catholic and on-call nurse. When Maud’s agency assigns her to care for an ailing dancer and cancer patient named Amanda (Jennifer Ehle), Maud uses the opportunity to bestow her newfound faith-healing practices on the sick woman. Initially receptive to Maud’s benevolence, Amanda’s attitude turns, leaving Maud embittered. With no one to share her religious dogma with, Maud gradually sinks into an inner world of disorienting madness while disturbing events from her past begin to resurface through visions and visits from an old friend. A magnificent debut from writer-director Rose Glass, Saint Maud is a mesmerizing slow-burn piece of body horror and a stellar vehicle for the talents of Morfydd Clark.

Wander Darkly (2020)

75%
66%
Genre Romance, Drama
Stars Sienna Miller, Diego Luna, Beth Grant
Directed by Tara Miele
r 97m
After a traumatic incident, Adrienna and Matteo (Sienna Miller and Diego Luna), a struggling young couple, are sent to the hospital. Confined to rehabilitative quarters, the once-happy pair are transported to an otherworldly realm of surreal memories. While each of them is forced to confront the hazy beginnings of their fizzling romance, their out-of-body paths will cross in bizarre and unexpected ways. Visually, Wander Darkly lives in an elevated plane of awareness, but the emotionally laden performances of both Miller and Luna help to anchor the film in a grounded and often relatable reality.

Skyfall (2012)

92%
81%
Genre Action, Adventure, Thriller
Stars Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem
Directed by Sam Mendes
pg-13 143m
In director Sam Mendes’ Skyfall, Daniel Craig returns for his third go with the James Bond character. A sequel to 2008’s Quantum of Solace, Skyfall begins with a tumultuous action set piece that kicks the film off with pure energy. When Patrice, a mercenary in possession of MI6 secrets, is cornered by Bond and Eve Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) in Istanbul … aboard a moving train. When the altercation goes haywire, the fate of every MI6 agent is jeopardized as a former operative-turned-terrorist named Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem) closes in. Skyfall sets the bar for high-octane action thrills, featuring mesmerizing cinematography, editing, sound design, along with commanding performances from the main ensemble. It’s one of the best Bond flicks ever made and a grand success of a major Hollywood blockbuster, earning over $1 billion in worldwide receipts against a $200 million budget.

Luce (2019)

90%
72%
Genre Thriller
Stars Kelvin Harrison Jr., Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer
Directed by Julius Onah
r 109m
Based on the J.C. Lee play of the same name, Luce stars Kelvin Harrison Jr. as the titular Luce, an American teen adopted from Eritrea by Peter and Amy Edgar (Tim Roth and Naomi Watts). When Luce’s history teacher, Harriet Carter (Octavia Spencer), calls a meeting with Luce’s parents after the youth turns in an essay with violent implications, the idyllic family of three are forced to question their parenting, family dynamic, and overall marriage. A riveting examination of racial bias, powered by intense performances from the main ensemble, Luce plays like a character-driven theater experience, paying fine homage to the story’s roots in live theater.

Flight (2012)

77%
76%
Genre Drama
Stars Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Kelly Reilly
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
r 138m
Airline pilot Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) can’t seem to shake his vices, booze-addled habits that are given surprise center-staging when his aircraft malfunctions midflight. Successfully pulling off a desperate emergency landing, Whip falls unconscious, awakening later in a hospital. Commended for his heroism, investigative authorities begin to unearth Whip’s drinking habits, forcing the addict to reckon with his professional and personal life choices. Featuring a mighty lead performance from Washington and a pulse-pounding first act, much of what works about Flight is its insistence on spending time with its subjects. Zemeckis’ camera tends to linger on difficult conversations; thus, so do we.

Another Round (2020)

92%
79%
Genre Comedy, Drama
Stars Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Lars Ranthe
Directed by Thomas Vinterberg
117m
With an original Danish title of Druk (“binge drinking”), co-writer and director Thomas Vinterberg’s Another Round follows a group of four high school teachers with a wild plan. Facing unenthused students, trouble at home, and other midlife hardships, the foursome agrees to test the theories of psychiatrist Finn Skårderud in the workplace. More specifically, the colleagues want to see if maintaining a constant blood-alcohol level of 0.5 will improve their creativity and overall mood. Truly more than another midlife boozer flick, Another Round sees Mads Mikkelsen in top form as Martin, the de facto onscreen leader who attempts to gain more out of his day-to-day through mild intoxication. It’s funny, at times dark, and tactfully hard-hitting.

Super Dark Times (2017)

90%
75%
Genre Drama, Thriller
Stars Owen Campbell, Charlie Tahan, Elizabeth Cappuccino
Directed by Kevin Phillips
103m
Zach (Owen Campbell) and Josh (Charlie Tahan) are lifelong pals who spend their days riding bikes, rating girls in their yearbook, and sneaking a little pot-smoking in now and then. Little do they know that their lives are about to change forever, all on one fateful afternoon. When a horrific tragedy shatters their innocence, Zach and Josh are forced to make profound adult decisions that will affect the trajectory of their lives and test the foundations of their friendship. An exciting indie debut from director Kevin Phillips, Super Dark Times leads with strong performances, captivating camera work, snappy editing, and a mood-setting score by Australian/Icelandic composer Ben Foster.

Logan Lucky (2017)

92%
78%
Genre Action, Comedy, Crime, Drama
Stars Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Riley Keough
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
pg-13 118m
Brothers Jimmy and Clyde Logan (Channing Tatum and Adam Driver) are down-on-their-luck siblings — one a laid-off construction worker, the other an amputee war vet tending bar. Hoping to break a supposed family curse and reap the reward of millions of dollars, the brothers recruit a hodge-podge ensemble of two-bit criminals to break into the underground tunnels of the Charlotte Motor Speedway. But when things don’t go as planned, the brothers and their team must contend with an FBI agent on their tail, while attempting to pull off a heist during a major race. Coming out of retirement to direct, Steven Soderbergh delivers big with Logan Lucky, a mighty amalgamation of comedy, drama, and high-stakes thrills.

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