The new year is upon us. Resolutions are in full swing. While most normal people resolve to read more, spend wiser, and eat better, I resolved to watch more movies. The new year is as good a time as ever to strengthen up the watchlist. So here goes nothing.
And because my other resolution was to give more, I’d like to gift you, dear reader, with some great movies from Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, HBO Max, and Disney Plus to stream this month.
Netflix: If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
Barry Jenkins followed up his triumphant Best Picture winner, Moonlight, with this slightly under-appreciated masterwork. In If Beale Street Could Talk, Jenkins takes a beautiful, but nearly unfilmable James Baldwin novella and turns it into cinematic wonder. Even though Regina King won an extremely deserved Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, Beale Street didn’t get the love it deserved as one of the best films of its year.
Not many working directors can capture the beauty of the human face with the same skill and depth as Jenkins. Beale Street is a prime example of his incredible ability behind the camera. He’s one of the most talented filmmakers of his time and should be celebrated as such. Let’s all do our part and start by streaming If Beale Street Could Talk.
FOR FANS OF: Punch Drunk Love; Moonlight; Fences
Prime Video: Shoplifters (2018)
Mixing some international flicks into your repertoire is always a great idea. One of my personal favorites from recent years is Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters. Kore-eda is one of the most accomplished and decorated filmmakers currently working in Japan. One viewing of Shoplifters and you’ll quickly understand why.
Shoplifters is one of the most tenderly crafted movies I’ve seen in quite some time. I was so emotionally invested from very early on and so captivated by every emotional beat. You might not necessarily need the tissue box handy while watching, but definitely come prepared to FEEL.
FOR FANS OF: Captain Fantastic; Parasite; Belfast
HBO Max: Sugar (2008)
I hate to admit it, but more often than not, I find sports movies to be pretty lackluster. One of the few sports flicks that has excited me is 2008’s Sugar, directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. You might recognize those names as being the folks who directed the first Captain Marvel.
In Sugar, Boden and Fleck tell one of the most honest sports stories captured on film. Everything here feels so much more raw than what we’re used to seeing – the emotions, the acting, the baseball being played. This is a far cry from the charming Hollywood tale that we’re used to getting. If that’s the kind of sports movie you’re looking for, then look no further than Sugar.
FOR FANS OF: The Wrestler; Moneyball; The Natural
Hulu: The Prestige (2006)
Between his Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan decided to sneak in a great little picture about dueling magicians. And I must say, this movie is quite delightful. In my eyes, this is Nolan’s most charming movie. It’s a much better wheelhouse for him than the world of big budget action flicks.
Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman are outstanding as the two leads. I’m not sure why someone hasn’t decided to put them in more movies together, but I guess that’s neither here nor there. The big draw for this movie is the big twist ending. I obviously won’t spoil it here, so you’ll just have to check it out for yourself.
FOR FANS OF: Inception; Vertigo; Now You See Me
Disney Plus: Avatar (2009)
This one feels like cheating. You’ve probably already watched this one recently either in preparation for the recently released Avatar: The Way of Water (or because you recently saw it and wanted to revisit the original). Either way, it’s a worthwhile rewatch. Yes, I say rewatch because it seems safe to assume that everyone has seen Avatar at least once at this point.
James Cameron insists that he’s going to keep making these movies, so we may as well keep ourselves familiar with the original story. Even though most of us don’t have 3D TVs in our living rooms, the advances in home viewing technology add to the intrigue of streaming Avatar now.
FOR FANS OF: Star Wars; Aliens; Planet of the Apes
So there it is. Five kick ass movies to add to your streaming queues. And they’ve got a little bit of everything – some magic, some baseball, and some giant blue people. Check back in next month for more streaming fun. Until then, happy streaming!
What’s the best hidden gem you’ve streamed recently? Share in the comments and help us expand the list!