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What's that, a plot hole you say?In a tale as old as time, some eagle-eyed fans have spotted a retconned plot-hole thanks to the timing of Captain Marvel. We've seen it in the likes Harry Potter and Star Wars – a prequel always causes problems.
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For the first time since its inception, the MCU is on unsteady ground.
Avengers: Endgame not only brought a story arc 22 movies in the making to an end, but also waved goodbye to Marvel Studios’ old guard. Chris Evans’ Captain America hung up his shield, while Iron Man – Robert Downey Jr.’s lovable playboy philanthropist who kickstarted this phenomenon – perished with an “I Am Iron Man” click of the fingers. Black Widow (though returning for a prequel solo movie) has her fate sealed, and even Hulk is lost in a complex battle of movie rights.
Following Endgame, there was no big post-credit teases and Kevin Feige’s grand plans for the next saga have not been revealed. Unfamiliar stories and characters such as Shang Chi and The Eternals are scattered throughout the next few years without a unifying force tying them together. The future of the MCU is, for lack of a better word, uncertain.
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Everything you could possibly want to know about Thor: Love and Thunder all in one placeA-list villains? Check. The return of Korg and Valkyrie? Check. A new Thor? Che—wait a minute. New Thor? No, Chris Hemsworth hasn’t departed the MCU alongside fellow Chris, Chris Evans. He’s simply going to be joined (and, let’s face it, probably upstaged) by a returning Natalie Portman as Jane Foster’s Mighty Thor.
Yet, this almost comic book-style reboot of such a colossal cinematic universe could be a perfect opportunity to keep Marvel’s output feeling fresh, as well as building a genuinely, fully-fledged MCU 2.0 out of the ashes (and dust) of the old one – and it all begins with its first major steps into television.
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Marvel has a Hulk-sized problem: where does Bruce Banner fit into the MCU now?
Marvel has at least half-a-dozen MCU series in the pipeline at Disney Plus. No longer constrained by the runtime of your average movie, Marvel can tell the stories it wants, how it wants. If Falcon and the Winter Soldier needs eight episodes, WandaVision six, and Loki a multi-season package, then Disney Plus is the right place for it. There are no hard and fast limits anymore.
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That’s a transformative prospect. Marvel’s television wing not only allows more narrative depth and a greater amount of world-building, it also means new voices can be heard, and more diverse characters can come to the fore, such as Ms. Marvel, the MCU’s first Muslim superhero.
However, it’s how the upcoming television series will feed into the movies that’s the biggest factor at play here. Instead of painstakingly scattering breadcrumbs across post-credits to help set up the next big event, MCU on TV can do the same thing. WandaVision, for example, is likely to segue into Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, with Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch poised to appear in both.
Post-credits, once Marvel’s big trademark swing for the fences to help set up years’ worth of storylines, could perhaps then be used to help elevate the fledgling, nascent series that are springing up in Phase 4. These tags can act more like what we saw with Spider-Man: Far From Home and its shocking progression of Spidey’s own personal story. That makes them seem like a bigger deal, instantly hooking fans primed for a sequel, and can stop the (admittedly rare occasion) where Avengers-centric post-credits can overshadow entire movies. I’m looking at you, Ant Man and the Wasp.
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In fact, making each Phase 4 entry more distinct and separate from other Marvel entries can actually help, not hinder, the diverse selection of upcoming movies. Whisper it, but Marvel may have also taken a glance over at DC’s roster for inspiration, insomuch as realising that not everything needs to connect.
Sure, a Big Bad will eventually emerge in this shared world, but The Eternals, Shang-Chi, and Florence Pugh’s probable emergence as Black Widow need to stand on their own two feet and show off what they bring to the MCU, not what the MCU adds to them. It’s a smart, if undeniably risky, move to open with that relatively unknown trio, yet it speaks volumes of Marvel’s desire to forge new franchises. Instead of returning to the tried and tested formula that led some naysayers to have the opinion that Marvel Studios is nothing more than comic book movies made by committee, there’s suddenly the expectation of something inherently new.
The changes and departures from Phases one through three don’t stop there. Even the older characters that are returning have had their status quo shaken up in a big way.
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In the Multiverse of Madness, backed by Sam Raimi, Doctor Strange will step into the realm of horror, a welcome genre-specific introduction in a cinematic universe that has already seen great success with political thrillers (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and apocalypse movies (Avengers: Endgame).
Similarly, Thor, too, will find his usual place in the story shifted. In fact, he won’t even be the only Thor in his own movie. Thor: Love and Thunder will see Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster return with her very own Mjolnir. Both characters either fundamentally changing their dynamics or stepping aside so someone else can have the spotlight is indicative of a Phase 4 that is shunning repetition in favour of using the older characters as a means to try slightly more inventive ways of bringing comic book movies to the masses.
Marvel’s Phase 4, then, is uncharted territory for a studio that can seemingly roll out a billion-dollar hit without breaking a sweat. Gone are the box-office mainstays and, in their place, are a handful of new characters, new twists on familiar faces, and even a new medium in television. Kevin Feige and company have to start from Ground Zero once more. It’s scary, sure, but most of all it’s a tantalising challenge waiting to be met: a creatively invigorating, ambitious slate filled with diversity, fresh stories just waiting to be told, and a blank space ahead of them. Just like it was back in 2008.
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- How to watch the Marvel movies in order
- MCU recap
- MCU timeline
- New Marvel TV shows
Gallery: The 90 movies you should be watching this month (Total Film)
Kick back with our finely-honed selection of the best movies
Whether you’ve got a long weekend or a lazy summer’s day to fill, the best movies can do wondrous things. They can teleport you to new worlds, ones filled with Rings to Rule Them All, heart-stopping horror, or just a nice 90 min slice of gooey entertainment to take your mind off the world.
But we don’t expect you to sift through literally hundreds of flicks to find the one that’s right for you. The best movies on Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Disney Plus – for all ages and tastes – are just a quick scroll away. You don’t know what you’ve been missing.
So, without further ado, here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Disney Plus right now.
Ex Machina (Netflix)
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: Computer programmer Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) wins a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend a week with his firm's CEO, Nathan (Oscar Isaac). Given the chance to pick his boss’s brain and perhaps score points excites Caleb, who doesn’t realise the entire set-up wasn’t a lottery – he was specifically chosen to take part in an experiment, wherein he administers the Turing test to evaluate a robot's consciousness. As it turns out, Ava (Alicia Vikander) the robot has other plans.
Movies concerning robots imbued with artificial intelligence tend to make a case for their 'souls' being equally as important as ours, and all that they need is love and understanding. Alex Garland's directorial debut dallies with robotic sentience, therefore tussling with a similar topic, except Ava ain't no Bicentennial Man or Iron Giant. This is the darker side of AI, a world where Skynet could very easily exist…
Katherine Langford wants another shot at Iron Man's daughter
Could they find a way of making it work?Avengers: Endgame was absolutely jam-packed full of stuff, but there was still plenty that ended up on the cutting room floor. One of those scenes included 13 Reasons Why star Katherine Langford as an older version of Tony Stark's daughter Morgan, appearing to him in a vision after he used the Infinity Gauntlet.
Pan's Labyrinth (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: Five years after the Spanish Civil War, Spain remains turbulent, with Allied forces set to free Europe from the Nazi regime. This troublesome time in Spanish history serves as the oppressive backdrop for Guillermo Del Toro’s glorious fantasy. While the war rumbles on, life for young Ofelia isn’t easy either, what with her mother marrying her evil stepfather, Captain Vidal. His orders, to flush out rebels in the countryside, lead their family to a rural retreat, where Ofelia befriends a faun who lives within a labyrinth filled with both wonder and terror.
Del Toro’s take on wartime horrors is handled with imagination like you wouldn’t believe, a wondrous moodscape of darkness and delight. This grown-up fairytale meanders between the reality of war and the dream of the labyrinth, and does so with such a light touch, you’ll wonder where one ends and the begins.
Sister Act (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: Lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier is present for a mob hit and ends up in the witness protection program. The last place her enemies would think to look? Saint Katherine’s Parish, a San Francisco convent, where she volunteers as its choir director. At first, Deloris clashes with the Reverend Mother, who disapproves of her throwing out traditional hymns in favour of gospel and rock stylings. Of course, by the time things wrap up, the two have developed a mutual respect.
This is peak Whoopi Goldberg – a performance where she can be cutting without being callous. And, wow, can she sing. The film’s so feel-good and people-pleasing that it’s hard to be cynical about it, especially when the nuns start to cover '60s classics like ”I Will Follow Him” and “My Guy” (switched to “My God”). It’s a reminder that sometimes it’s the most simple concepts that work, like pitching a lapsed Catholic pitched against the strictest of religious institutions.
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The Conversation (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: Between work on The Godfather and its sequel, Francis Ford Coppola dove straight into this low-fi espionage thriller, that stars Gene Hackman as surveillance expert Harry Caul. Hired by an unseen client through an intermediary (played by a pre-Star Wars Harrison Ford), Caul is tasked with tailing a couple and records a rather cryptic conversation between the two. The Conversation is oft-seen as Coppola’s reaction to the Watergate scandal and, whatever you make of it, it’s a damn fine paranoia parable.
One of the few times that a director has lost to himself at the Oscars! Yep, two of Coppola’s movies were nominated in 1975, The Conversation and The Godfather Part 2, with the latter scooping up the Best Picture gong. It’s chilling to watch a film that’s nearly half a decade old and realise the tensions at its core remain the same today.
Coherence (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: Proof that you don’t need a million dollars to create suspense and genuine character interactions, writer-director James Ward Byrkit delivers one of the best low-budget genre movies of the last decade. Eight friends meet for a dinner party on the same night that a comet passes through Earth’s atmosphere. On an ordinary evening, that might provide a conversational spark, but on this night all bets are off, as the group start to experience some seriously strange occurrences. Side effects of the celestial event, or, is there something else at play?
It’s hard to say why you should see Coherence without utterly spoiling it. Like The Invitation, another superb dinner party movie that changes course, this movie is best watched with very little knowledge of what’s about to happen. This is glorious filmmaking; proof that a shoestring budget and no script can lead to excellence.
Hocus Pocus (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: It’s sometimes a little too easy to forget that the Sanderson sisters are meant to be child-murdering villains in Hocus Pocus. After being accidentally resurrected in modern day Salem by young Max, the trio start to cause havoc in the local town. If they’re not stopped, they’ll suck the soul out of every child for miles in order to maintain their vitality and youth.
It wasn’t much of a hit at the time (especially with critics), but Hocus Pocus has slowly grown in reputation and become a seasonal tradition. It was part of a refreshing wave of Halloween-themed movies that weren’t actually horrors, alongside The Addams Family and Caspar the Friendly Ghost. It’s a perfect film for people who want to celebrate the holiday but are also complete scaredy cats. And then there’s the Sandersons themselves – they’re bad, yes, but oh so glamorous and fun. Who could possibly resist Bette Middler cackling her way through “I Put a Spell on You”?
I Lost My Body (Netflix)
Why I Lost My Body is one of the best movies on Netflix: A French animation about a severed hand trying to reconnect with its owner is a darkly funny adventure-drama that’s packed with pathos.
I Lost My Body is a study of scaled-down, ground-level danger, with great comedy found in the detail.
It’s also a meditation on fractured identity, heightened by the hand’s poignant hope for reconciliation. Director/co-writer Jeremy Clapin sensitively combines melancholy with an ultimately life-affirming message.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: Where the fourth entry in the Mission: Impossible series hit the ground running following a five-year break, it seemed… uhhh, impossible, for another sequel to somehow better that kinetic frenzy. Somehow, Rogue Nation did. Now, director Christopher McQuarrie does it yet again with Fallout, finding that sweet spot of plot, action, and making Tom Cruise risk his life to deliver another pulse-pounding piece of cinema. Ethan Hunt returns to scale heights and throw caution to the wind, typically at the same time, with his IMF crew in tow. This time the gang are in pursuit of a terrorist group planning to detonate three plutonium cores simultaneously across the globe.
Let’s get this out of the way now – no-one watches the Mission: Impossible franchise for its strict adherence to reality. No. We watch for the bombastic stunts and seemingly nonsensical feats of action bravura and Henry Cavill’s ability to grow a moustache by recharging his fists. Cruise and co. crank things up to 11 and re-establish the series as arguably the best ongoing action franchise. Roll on MI7.
The Edge of Seventeen (Netflix)
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: After pretty much stealing the show from Jeff Bridges in the 2011 True Grit remake, Hailee Steinfeld comes into her own in this spiky coming-of-age comedy. Sure, she’s absolutely slayed in her supporting roles, but it’s here that she’s in her element. Cast as edgy (geddit?) high school junior Nadine, it’s Steinfeld’s central performance that grounds this most excellent teen comedy, which dabbles with troubles and strife of being a kid who no-one takes seriously. Nadine’s journey begins when she tells her teacher Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson) that she’s going to kill herself, and the movie unfolds as we learn why she feels that way.
This is head and shoulders above the rest of the so-called “teen comedies” out there, most of which are bereft of actual jokes. Steinfeld’s brilliant as Nadine, nailing the line deliveries perfectly, but it’s writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig’s zingy script that recalls the best of Heathers and the warmth of Juno.
Heathers (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: The high school experience in ‘80s cinema was growing stale. Enter Heathers. A black-as-night comedy that renovates and greatly improves that pre-existing formula, it spins the unseemly undertones of many teen films into a new tale where the popular kids get a taste of their own medicine. Winona Ryder and Christian Slater star as Veronica and JD, a mismatched couple whose shared hatred of Veronica’s friends, the elite clique of Heathers, unites them. As the trio of girls start to exhibit more revolting behaviour, Veronica and JD hatch a plan to silence them, and teach them a lesson: by murdering them and making them look like suicides. Yes, it’s dark. But dang, it’s funny.
Arguably the teen movie which changed the face of teen cinema forever. No other film in the genre has so expertly carved up the very audience it is supposed to entertain. Whether through vicious one-liners, barbs so sharp they’d slice your skin (“Did you eat a brain tumour for breakfast?” or this writer's personal favourite “Dear Diary, my teen-angst bull*hit has a body count.”) or the horror these teenagers subject one another to, there’s no other movie this funny about a topic so tragic.
The Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: The franchise is concerned chiefly with the adventures of scallywag pirate Jack Sparrow, as he crosses paths with his mutinous former first mate Barbossa, the fiercely independent Elizabeth Swann, and her bland, but altogether quite sweet, love interest Will Turner. Add to that, there are curses, krakens, maelstroms, British imperialism, and a tentacle-faced Davy Jones to keep things lively.
People tend to disagree a little with how good Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End are in comparison to the first film (come on, though, how can you resist a giant Naomie Harris exploding into a thousand little crabs… it’s so weird it’s good). But there’s something to be said for the ingenuity of this franchise, which cranked out old-fashioned romanticism and colourful characters from what was a 15-minute Disneyland ride. Let’s just never speak of the fourth and fifth films ever again…
The Terminator (Netflix)
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: Low budget, high concept – The Terminator remains a solid sci-fi horror that borrows from oodles of genres to tell a love story set in a world of machines. James Cameron’s 1984 flick cast Arnold Schwarzenegger as the title character, a cyborg sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) the mother of future resistance leader, John. The resistance sends her a protector in the form of Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), who will do anything to keep her safe. Over thirty years later, this movie still has the power to give you chills.
The Terminator put James Cameron on the map, proving his skills at world-building, character development, and genre were on point for a relative newbie. While its sequel had a huge budget in comparison, it’s impressive to witness the ingenuity of the production, giving us a tightly-plotted thriller with some of the best ‘80s set pieces.
Paddington 2 (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: Paddington Bear returns for his second big-screen feature. This time, he’s become a regular fixture on his street, having settled in with the Brown family and found his place in the world. Eager to give his Aunt Lucy the best birthday present ever, he saves his money in the hopes of buying her a magical antique pop-up book. Alas, poor Paddington’s plan is scuppered when a thief steals the tome and the marmalade-loving bear is mistakenly arrested for the crime.
Is Paddington 2 better than Paddington? The mere fact of asking that question should really say everything about how damn good this movie is. Still rocking a 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating two years after its release, this sweet, kind-hearted, and surprisingly action-packed flick is guaranteed to hit you in the feels.
Marriage Story (Netflix)
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson play a couple looking to get a divorce. He's a controlling theatre director; she's an actress looking to break out into the movies. Together, they are a mess whose only real bind remains their son.
Marriage Story really is a warts-and-all piece of filmmaking, with all the horrible details of divorce – having to look for lawyers, questioning who gets to keep the child, parents who seemingly go out of their way to worsen the situation – being portrayed on screen. That realness comes from director Noah Baumbach's impeccable screenplay, which he wrote after completing his own divorce. Not one to watch if your relationship isn't emotionally stable.
The Big Sick (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: Silicon Valley’s Kumail Nanjiani writes and stars in this comedy based on his own marriage. The trials of cross-cultural romance come under scrutiny as stand-up comic Kumail falls for an American student at one of his shows. Not exactly the life his Muslim parents had in mind for him, but that’s the least of his concerns; shortly after they start dating, Emily falls into a coma, leaving Kumail to have to deal with her parents.
Billed as a traditional romantic comedy, The Big Sick has a lot more heart and edge than the posters and trailers would have you believe. The chemistry between Nanjiani and Holly Hunter and Ray Romano - as Emily’s parents - provides most of the real grit. Realistic, and proof that there is still a lot of originality left in the genre, The Big Sick is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime Video.
Free Solo (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: The winner of the 2019 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, Free Solo follows Alex Honnold on his quest to free solo climb (that means no ropes, harnesses, or anything that might save you if you slip) the El Capitan, a perilous cliff face in Yosemite National Park.
It’s as nail-biting, dizzying, and downright terrifying as you could imagine (anyone with vertigo, beware). But what’s more surprising is how it gets inside Honnold’s head, as the filmmakers try to understand not only the kind of person who’d have such disregard for their personal safety, but how his actions affect his relationships with others, including with his anxious girlfriend Sanni.
True Romance (Netflix)
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: Notoriously overlooked in favour of Reservoir Dogs and its narrative gimmicks, this is arguably the best ‘90s Tarantino movie. Except, of course, he didn’t direct it. Tony Scott handles this bloody tale of love triumphing over crime, penned by Tarantino while he was still working at the video store and eager to squeeze in as many snatches of cinema as possible into his pacy script. Christian Slater snags top billing as Clarence Worley, a seemingly-nice guy with a love of Sonny Chiba movies who gets caught up with mobsters when he falls for Alabama (Patricia Arquette), a prostitute.
True Romance cuts away the fat that sometimes Tarantino delights in. Slater’s at the top of his game here, and that’s largely down to the direction of Scott, whose eye for nailing set-pieces gave us one of the best movie scenes of the ‘90s as Slater’s nervous nerd tries to shake down his buddy in an elevator, while the chucklesome cops (Tom Sizemore and Michael Madsen) listen in. Superb stuff.
Zodiac (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: After first mastering the serial killer landscape in 1995’s Seven, David Fincher tackles the real-life world with a lengthy delve into the hunt for the Zodiac Killer. The dark, gloomy newsroom of the San Francisco Chronicle is the perfect backdrop for such a macabre tale, that starts all the way back at the Zodiac’s first victims, and his subsequent correspondence – and ciphers – with the Chronicle. His indecipherable notes snag the interest of Jake Gyllenhaal’s Robert Graysmith, a cartoonist whose intrigue in the case swells into obsession, alongside cop David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) and journalist Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr).
The world of thrillers is typically populated by characters whose arcs come to a nice, rounded conclusion: the bad guys are carted away and locked up, and those tensions simmering throughout? They simply melt away, letting the audience breathe a sigh of relief. Zodiac does away with all of that. It simply doesn’t obey the traditional rules. Mainly because screenwriter James Vanderbilt refused to wrap up the ending, and because well, the Zodiac has never been found, the movie ends on a note that’s entirely its own. What makes it so powerful is that the film is easily Fincher’s best work, in spite of that ending which offers no closure, you will find yourself looking through your fingers at the screen, and jumping when you least expect it.
Miracle on 34th Street (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: A true Christmas classic, Miracle on 34th Street is one of the films chosen to be preserved in the Library of Congress, due to it being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant”. The movie sees the real Kris Kringle hired to play Santa at Macy’s flagship store in New York. No one believes him, so he sets out to convert the cynical, convince the city hidden he’s secretly a mystical, ageless being, and spread some much-needed holiday spirit.
Forget about the '90s remake, this has everything you need. It takes a generous approach toward the season, acknowledging how easy it can be to get wrapped up in the rampaging consumerism and stress of last-minute presents shopping. But, at the end of the day, it seeks out something purer: the innocent thrill of a young child whose imagination has just been fired up. Miracle on 34th Street makes us all believe in the magic.
Uncut Gems (Netflix)
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: The Safdie brothers proved themselves a deft hand at adrenaline-pumping action with Good Time (also available on Netflix). Uncut Gems, however, sees the directing duo working on another level entirely.
Adam Sandler plays Howie, a Jewish jeweller based in New York. Howie owes a lot of people a lot of money, and also has a gambling addiction. Cue a movie that will tear your nerves apart as you watch the strangely likeable central character (put that down to Sandler's awards-worthy performance) do everything wrong. One to watch if you're ready to really get your blood pumping.
The Handmaiden (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: Very loosely based on the Sarah Waters novel Fingersmith, Park Chan-wook relocates the story from Victorian England to Korea under Japanese colonial rule. That is but one of the many unique choices made by Chan-wook that propels this movie from good to great, as its three parts chart the dubious plottings of a conman, the self-dubbed Count Fujiwara, who aims to marry wealthy heiress Lady Hideko then steal her riches and dump her. He can’t carry out his plan alone, so Fujiwara hires a pickpocket to work as the Lady’s handmaiden with the hopes the young woman will convince Hideko to wed Fujiwara.
So. Many. Reasons. Is it the operatic feeling of the plot? The sensuous visuals that mesmerize? You’ll be at a loss for words once the credits roll. This is lavish and decadent filmmaking, with thrills galore that unravel through sublime character development. Basically, it’s brilliant.
Fantasia (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: Essentially a series of shorts set to classical music, the film takes us through all manner of imaginative scenarios: from the colourful world of centaurs and fauns, the extinction of the dinosaurs, to the monstrous reign of the demon Chernabog. The most famous sequence is set to Paul Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and sees an eager Mickey accidentally summon an unstoppable army of mops.
It’s arguably the most unique and artistically ambitious entry in Disney’s entire library of animated movies. There’s nothing else like it. It’s not fixated on talking down to children or trying to coddle them, but whisks them through the classical greats with a sense of wit and sophistication. It can be weird, sweet, psychedelic and frightening – slipping between moods and emotions with ease. Even if it’s meant to be educational, it doesn’t feel like any ordinary music lesson.
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: One of those rare Stephen King adaptations that faithfully recreates all the best parts from the novel, while adding its own elements of fear, Misery still stands up 28 years later. James Caan stars as famed novelist Paul Sheldon, whose writing rituals include finishing each book at a secluded locale in Colorado. Except, this time as he begins the drive back to New York, he encounters a storm and his car veers off into a ravine. Lucky for him, his number one fan Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates, in the role that won her the Oscar) is there to save him and nurse him back to health.
Director Rob Reiner perfectly meshes the over-zealous fanaticism of Bates’ character with the genuine terror of Caan’s imprisoned writer. It’s a near-perfect page-to-screen movie.
Leave No Trace (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: With a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s no surprise that director Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace is one of the best movies on Amazon Prime. Living off the grid is normal for Iraq war veteran Will (Ben Foster) and his 13-year-old daughter, Tom (Thomasin McKenzie), having cultivated a beautiful, simple lifestyle in a sprawling urban park outside of Portland, Oregon. Their idyllic existence is sent off-kilter when a tiny slip in judgement puts them on the authorities radar, who, yank them from their dwelling and provide them with housing on a Christmas tree farm.
Imagine Captain Fantastic without the overt quirkiness and Into the Wild without the earnestness and you’re somewhere in the realm of Leave No Trace. A low-key dive into similar territory, it steers away from obvious sentimentalism and instead hones in on the relationship between a father and daughter and their shared experience living in a way that’s alien to most of the world. Beautiful, tender, and shot with an eye for the small moments in life. One of the 2019’s major Oscar snubs.
The Incredibles (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: Pixar takes its own spin on The Avengers, keeping it a strictly family affair. Public opinion has turned against superheroes. They’ve been accused of leaving behind too much collateral damage. And so, the Parrs have done their best to keep quiet and hide their powers, having settled down in an idyllic American suburb. But Bob, otherwise known as Mr. Incredible, is struggling to let go of the “glory days”. His actions end up dragging the entire family into a deadly confrontation with an embittered former fan.
The Incredibles is a flawless blend of comic book movie stylings and earnest family comedy. For all the whizz-bang action, which easily rivals most live-action attempts at the genre, the film’s also rich with themes - it touches on bureaucracy, the family unit, and what it means to be exceptional. Less deep, but equally exciting is Edna Mode’s catchphrase, “No capes!”
You Were Never Really Here (Netflix)
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: Lynne Ramsey has only directed a handful of movies, yet she has established herself as one of the UK's premiere filmmakers. You Were Never Really Here, Ramsey's follow up to We Need To Talk About Kevin, is a visceral revenge flick that centres on Joaquin Phoenix's former American military man who's afflicted with PTSD.
The action is brutal, the editing is unlike anything else, and Phoenix's performance is awards worthy – arguably even stronger than his portrayal of the Joker in that controversial supervillain blockbuster. Come for the Oscar-winning actor, stay for the thrilling direction.
Hereditary (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: The most critically-praised horror movie of recent years is also one of the best movies on Amazon Prime. Ari Aster’s directorial debut is a compelling concoction of family battles, claustrophobic crafting, and some of the best acting you’ll never see on an Oscar ballot. Toni Collette leads the stellar cast as Annie Graham, a woman racked with grief following the death of her mother. Will grief bring her closer to her husband, her son, or her daughter? One thing’s for certain, there’s plenty of domestic drama to come, but you won’t expect any of it.
It takes a lot for esteemed horror experts to throw up their hands and say they’re scared witless. That’s exactly what happened with Hereditary, which has proven to be a highly effective method of incurring lifelong insomnia. Aster is a skilled curator of mood, which, when tied together with the horrific events burning through the centre of Hereditary, will shake your very soul.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: Adapted from the famous Jules Verne novel, it follows a trio of men (including Kirk Douglas’ temperamental harpooner) who have been sent out to investigate reports of a mysterious sea monster. What they discover is one Captain Nemo, the owner of the submarine Nautilus and a sort of steampunk pirate.
Disney has done its best to revive their live-action adventures (the Pirates movies succeeded for a while, we’ll see how Jungle Cruise fares). But it’s hard to top 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, a large-scale spectacle that possesses enough imagination to make transport you instantly to another world, one which is intricately constructed and packed with all the thrills of underwater exploration.
The Irishman (Netflix)
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: Scorsese’s adaptation of I Heard You Paint Houses – Charles Brandt’s book chronicling the life of mob underling Frank Sheeran – took its time getting here, and takes a fair amount of time to watch. Packed with a show-stopping cast, Robert DeNiro leads the show as the former truck driver who falls in with a Pennsylvania crime family led by Joe Pesci’s Russell Bufalino.
This is a classic Scorsese pic that’s all the better for its three-and-a-half-hour runtime, which delves deep into a previously-unexplored territory: the loneliness of a lifelong crook. Alongside Al Pacino as Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa, Pesci and De Niro receive two of their meatiest parts to date. The movie’s CGI de-aging techniques will wow you.
Under the Skin (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: A cold, washed-out Glasgow is an unusual location for a cerebral sci-fi flick. But this is Jonathan Glazer's point: weird s**t can happen anywhere, so why not there? Scarlett Johansson stars as a perplexed extraterrestrial disguised as a perplexed young woman, who ambles around the Glaswegian streets luring men into her Transit van. Why? Well, you'll have to watch it. Shot using what Glazer calls “covert filming” - most of the movie was lensed undercover to help achieve an extra layer of odd.
This is a haunting exercise in painting a mood. Don't go in expecting a dense plot or an clearly-outlined goal and you'll be happy. It also birthed the Scarlett Johansson falling down meme and features the most bizarre response to carrot cake ever.
The Emperor’s New Groove (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: It takes a lot for some people to learn their lesson. Say, being transformed into a llama. That’s the fate that befalls the selfish, egotistical Kuzco, who makes an enemy of his royal adviser Yzma. She plans to poison him and take the throne for herself. Unfortunately, she has a rather unfortunate taste in henchman and the hapless Kronk accidentally swaps the vial of poison with a vial of transforming potion. Only after Kuzco faces the consequences of his actions will he finally be able to turn back.
The early 2000s are too easily dismissed as an era of creative bankruptcy for Disney. The Emperor’s New Groove (and one other film on this list list) prove otherwise. The film is fun, zippy, and genuinely funny in a way that feels worlds apart from the epics of the Disney Renaissance - and that’s refreshing in its own way. And how could you possibly shun a movie where Eartha Kitt pays a villain who looks likes a decrepit, centuries-old peacock come to life?
La La Land (Netflix)
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: Frankly, you need a heart of pure concrete not to be moved by Damien Chazelle's modern musical. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are the perfect star-crossed lovers. One's a jazz musician who enjoys the finer things; the other a budding actress striving for the big-time. In the end, though they seem almost perfect for each other, their ambitions drive a wedge in their relationship.
The songs, the jazz, the colours, the dancing... La La Land remains one of those rare movies that immediately transports you to another, beautiful world. One where people spontaneously burst into song, and your biggest worry is making it in hollywood.
First Reformed (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: The one where Ethan Hawke somehow wasn’t nominated for an Oscar. Taxi Driver writer Paul Schrader writes and directs this story about a small-town pastor, Ernst Toller (Hawke) whose entire life revolves around his parish. Dedicating time each day to pen a brutally-honest diary, Toller finds truth at the bottom of the bottle and a lack of belief steering him towards an ultimatum of faith. Enter newlyweds, Mary and Michael Messana, who shake up Toller’s existing beliefs.
A real slow-burn that champions the big moments in life that come to define us, you won’t anticipate the twists and turns that occur, because they feel so at odds with the tone of the movie. It’s these risky story decisions that, in places, echo Taxi Driver.
Frozen (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: Frozen tells the story of two sisters, Anna and Elsa, who become estranged from each other after their parents’ death and from all the years Elsa has been kept isolated – all because she possesses ice powers she struggles to control. With the help of a kind-hearted ice harvester named Kristoff and his reindeer Sven, alongside a magical snowman named Olaf, the two sisters save the kingdom of Arendelle and discover the key to their special bond.
The best example of the modern Disney princess, Elsa and Anna’s stories don’t prioritise getting rescued or finding some Prince Charming. It’s their relationship that remains at the heart of everything, offering a touching tribute to the power of sisterly love. Plus, the way Idina Menzel belts out “Let it Go” has given us an anthem for the ages. With Frozen II opening in cinemas son, there’s no better time to revisit what will soon be considered a modern classic of animation.
Inglourious Basterds (Netflix)
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: There are few directors as well regarded as Quentin Tarantino – and for good reason. Watch any of his flicks and you can see how each one – whether crime-caper or reimagined Western – falls into the Tarantino style. Inglourious Basterds is Tarantino's war movie and centres primarily on the huge battles, Basterds focusses on one a small group of soldiers, the Basterds, who go hunting Nazi scalps.
Of course, every group of heroes needs a worthy advisory. Enter a revelatory Christoph Waltz as Hans Landa, an SS Colonel, and one of the silver screen's best villains. Waltz plays the creepy neurotic murderer to perfection. A performance for the ages.
Predestination (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: An underseen gem that needs to be seen, rewatched, and then rewatched several more times to be believed. From Daybreakers directors Peter and Michael Spierig, Predestination sounds, on the surface, to be a typical genre jaunt. It's far from it. Ethan Hawke plays a time-travelling agent who, while on a job to stop a criminal from blowing up the world, encounters Sarah Snook’s character in a bar one night, which is where the entire first act of the movie unravels. To say more would spoil this unique adaptation of Robert Heinlein’s tale All You Zombies.
Frankly, this has one of the most ingenious Möbius strip-inspired plots that wrangles a damn good story into the proceedings. It’s unlike any other sci-fi movie that dabbles with the complexities of time travel. If you’ve not seen it, read nothing else about it, hunker down, and inhale this gloriously whacked-out love story.
Inside Out (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: What if your emotions had a emotions? That’s the question at the centre of Inside Out, the most thematically ambitious of all Pixar’s movies. We jump inside the head of Riley, an 11-year-old girl, and meet its colourful inhabitants: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger. They’re struggling to guide Riley through the major changes that come from moving halfway across the country, after her parents relocate her from Minnesota to San Francisco.
What’s so profound about Inside Out is how director Pete Docter and his team found a way to directly and elegantly talk to children about depression and the necessary role that sadness has to play in our lives. It’s not just an entertaining film, but an effective therapeutic tool (that extends beyond just children, considering it has a reputation for causing grown adults to start blubbering away).
Back to the Future (Netflix)
Why Back to the Future one of the best Netflix movies: Where to begin? Back to the Future is a quintessential sci-fi classic that's left its imprint on everything from Rick and Morty to pretty much every show and movie involving time travel. But it's not just a clever concept done right.
The story of Marty McFly's misadventures in the past with the hare-brained scientist Doc Brown is filled with energetic action, a race against time and, at its core, plenty of heart. The sequels may have stretched the idea of time travel further, but it was perfected here.
Booksmart (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: First-time director Olivia Wilde insisted on a “no asshole” and “lots of fun” policy on the set, a tactic that gifts her debut with heart and soul that doesn’t lessen the impact of its sharp humour. Booksmart is less interested in one-sided characters and crass sight gags: it’s a good-natured and witty dive into the last high school night for two self-admitted nerds, Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein). Having studied to get into top-notch colleges, it’s only on the day before graduation that they discover their slovenly classmates ALSO got into Ivy Leagues. The girls’ plan? Party hard. Once.
Forget the lazy comparisons to Superbad. Sure, on the surface Booksmart totters a similar premise (two unhip teens trying to get to a cool party) yet it’s worlds apart. Dever and Feldstein’s on-screen chemistry is dynamite, as two friends who genuinely care about each other. Their relationship, frequently tested over the course of one night, gives both actors the chance to flex their comedic chops (the hallucination scene) and dramatic (Dever’s post-pool heartbreak wander through the house is *chef’s kiss*) flair. Oh, and Billie Lourd swoops in to steal the show in every single scene. Don’t miss this.
10 Things I Hate About You (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: Part of the great '90s trend of turning literary classics into teen comedies (including Clueless and She’s All That), 10 Things I Hate About You reimagines Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew in an American high school. A Shakespeare comedy isn’t a Shakespeare comedy without an elaborate scheme – Cameron tries to woo Bianca, but her father has ruled that she can only date once her antisocial, rebellious older sister Kat does. And so, local bad boy Patrick is enlisted to help seduce Kat and overrun the rule.
It’s all about Heath Ledger, as Patrick, running up and down the school bleachers while serenading Kat with “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”. The film is filled with the sort goofy romanticism that teens absolutely adore, although just as deserving of a shout-out is Julia Stiles’ Kat and her own big scene, where she tearfully recites an achingly earnest poem about love.
Blue Velvet (Netflix)
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: Off the back of Dune, David Lynch returned from sci-fi to what he knew best: the dark, seedy underbelly of American life. White picket fences are the backdrop for his 1986 indie, that waves away the tiresome idea of a quaint affair being the biggest mystery behind closed doors, and instead dives into the brutality of what lies beneath. Kyle MacLachlan plays Jeffrey, a squeaky-clean college guy who returns home and ends up discovering a severed ear in a nearby lot. With his butter-wouldn’t-melt girlfriend Sandy (Laura Dern), the pair aim to solve the mystery and find themselves crossing paths with singer Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rosselini) and beastly thug Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper).
Blue Velvet is one of *those* movies that's continually stuck on best lists. If you’ve yet to see Lynch's masterpiece, now is the time to find out what all the fuss is about. The director's deranged, twisted vision of the real America is lush, replete with iconic visuals and some epic one-liners. Hopper, Rossellini, Dern, and MacLachlan make for a thoroughly unique central quartet.
Short Term 12 (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: Looking back, Short Term 12 plays like a ‘who’s who’ of upcoming acting talent. Brie Larson stars in this no-frills and gripping drama set in a care home for troubled teens alongside Lakeith Stanfield, Kaitlyn Dever, Rami Malek, and John Gallagher Jr. Larson leads the story as Grace, a young counsellor who works to connect with the kids while battling her own demons. Touching without spilling into sentimentality, it's alternately funny, heart-warming and sad.
Larson's a revelation - as always - and gives an understated performance, that's impressive and brave. No need for scenery-chewing when you've got skills like this. If you’ve never seen her outside of the MCU as Captain Marvel then you have to see her mesmerising turn in this.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: After being plunged into the stop-motion imaginarium of Tim Burton (although the film, in truth, was actually directed by Henry Selick), we follow Jack Skellington, otherwise known as the Pumpkin King and the most heralded resident of Halloween Town. One day, he stumbles into the portal to “Christmas Town” and becomes fixated on the holiday, recruiting his ghoulish friends to help him become the new “Sandy Claws“ and deliver toys to the world.
The Nightmare Before Christmas serves double duty as a holiday classic, since it works for both Halloween and Christmas – meaning it can be enjoyed at any point between September and January. It’s also one of the finest examples of Burton’s trademark blend of Gothic styling and fairytale sensibility, where the strange and unusual are not only celebrated, but represent the new norm.
Raiders of the Lost Arc (Netflix)
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: Action adventures don’t come as iconic as Raiders of the Lost Arc. Steven Spielberg’ charts the escapades of archaeologist Indiana Jones, who, aside from having *the* coolest name ever, does double duty as a professor and treasure hunter. Thrown into scrapes during his globe-trotting antics is simply part of the job.
Raiders embodies the spirit of pure popcorn cinema. Never silly or dull, the love and attention paid to each aspect of the production shows. And, while Star Wars fans may argue otherwise, it’s his performance as Indie that highlight Ford at his matinee idol peak, cementing his status as a smooth, action hero. It's a damn near perfect movies – and if you haven't seen Raiders, then get streaming now!
A Simple Favor (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: Following up on his run of comedy successes with a thriller, Paul Feig turns to the darker side of female friendship to tell the kooky tale of a missing woman. Anna Kendrick stars as mommy vlogger Stephanie who befriends Blake Lively’s mysterious Emily, an effortlessly cool parent, who drinks every afternoon and has no regrets, and then goes missing from their small, white-picket-fence town. A significant departure from Feig’s usual comedic fare, A Simple Favor mashes blacker humour into a twisty, turning noir as Stephanie seeks to track down her new bestie.
Kendrick and Lively’s chemistry is off the charts, their witty banter and flirtatious playfulness, absolutely winning. What’s most exciting about A Simple Favor is Feig’s willingness to venture outside of his established genre, himself flirting with boundaries to deliver a unique wedge of female-led cinema.
Lilo & Stitch (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: Lilo, who’s under the guardianship of her adult sister after the death of their parents, is in for the surprise of a lifetime when her newly adopted dog, who she names Stitch, actually turns out to be the highly dangerous Experiment 626. He’s an alien genetically bred to be a tool of pure destruction. And while Stitch might not fit in at first, he soon discovers the real meaning of “ohana”, or family.
Out of all of Disney’s animated movies, very few have a message as grounded in reality as Lilo & Stitch. It teaches kids that families come in all shapes and sizes, are functional and dysfunctional, or are bound by blood or by friendship – that doesn't mean they’re any less legitimate. Not only is Stitch as adorable as can be, but he also issues the film’s most heartbreaking piece of dialogue: “This is my family. I found it, all on my own. It's little, and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good.”
Raging Bull (Netflix)
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: The Irishman may be Martin Scorsese's attention-grabbing Netflix original, but Raging Bull is its leaner, sharper, and more bruising black-and-white cousin. Following the life and career of rugged boxer Jake LaMotta (Robert DeNiro in what might be his finest physical performance), it charts the personal and professional downfall of one of the hardest hitters to ever practice the sweet science.
Tied together by a remarkably restrained performance by that other Scorsese stalwart Joe Pesci, this is 12 rounds you’ll be happy to sit through time and time again. A classic for a reason – get Raging Bull on the telly now.
Snowpiercer (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: In his English-language debut Bong Joon-ho mashes up every genre under the sun, as the story takes place within a gigantic train hurtling across the planet, during a post-apocalyptic, never-ending ice age blizzard. The aftermath of a global warming experiment gone awry is far more violent than you'd expect. Chris Evans stars a rugged everyman who refused to accept his situation as a back-of-the-train dweller. His journey to the front of the vessel finds him in dire straits on multiple occasions at the hands of Tilda Swinton's deliciously twisted villain.
This tale of class war is a cut above the rest, Tilda Swinton's snooty Deputy-Minister Mason is a glorious creation. You'll loathe her while unable to take your eyes from the screen.
The Muppet Christmas Carol (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: The story here is pretty much the same as Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella, you just need to swap out most of the humans for felt puppets. On Christmas Eve, the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge is given a brutal lesson in human compassion, as he’s visited upon by three ghosts; the Ghost of Christmas Past (creepy), the Ghost of Christmas Present (jolly), and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (not here to mess around), We all know how it ends.
Although Muppet Treasure Island will always have its fans, The Muppet Christmas Carol is considered by many to be not only as the best Muppets movie, but one of the greatest holiday movies ever made. It captures the touching, inward-looking sentiment of the original book, while still throwing in plenty of irreverent humour to keep things feeling festive.
12 Years A Slave (Netflix)
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: Steve McQueen's tale of a freed black man who's captured by whites and forced into slavery is, as you would expect, a harrowing but important tale. Based on the true story of Solomon Northup, 12 Years A Slave has become a modern classic, thanks to its astonishing cinematography and incredible performances.
Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Solomon with the gravitas only someone classically trained on stage could offer. Meanwhile, Michael Fassbender terrifies as a malicious slave owner, and Lupita Nyong'o gives a stunningly real performance as a cotton picker. This is powerful cinema that takes a long while to digest.
Midnight Special (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: The willingness to do anything for your child is a common theme in movies. What’s less common is when the child in question has supernatural abilities. I know what you’re thinking: Is this is the superhero origin tale you’ve been waiting for? Well, hold on a second. Midnight Special does have certain superheroic echoes, but it’s more of an indie road movie spiked with sci-fi elements. The story follows Roy (Michael Shannon) and his son Alton (Jaeden Lieberher) as they try to evade capture from law enforcement and a religious cult. Why? Because Alton’s a very special boy.
Director Jeff Nichols borrows from every major genre director, uniting elements of John Carpenter and Steven Spielberg to tell a truly unique story. It’s not often that homage works without seeming like an obvious rip-off, but in this case Nichols hits a home run.
Iron Man (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: Here’s how a cocky billionaire became a planet-saving superhero. Let’s roll the years back to 2008 and the debut film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which sees Tony Stark build his first mechanised suit of armour and take down his first bad guy. In this case, it’s his second-in-command Obadiah Stane, who builds his own exoskeleton suit in an attempt to destroy Stark and take over the company.
It’s crazy to think how far the franchise has come since Iron Man, taking in intergalactic comedies like Guardians of the Galaxy and psychedelic flights of fancy like Doctor Strange. It’s only reached some kind of definitive conclusion with the box office-destroying Avengers: Endgame. But, even though Iron Man may now seem humble in comparison, you can still see the ingredients that made the MCU the unstoppable force it is today. It never lets its CGI blowouts drown out its characters, who are all perfectly cast – Robert Downey Jr. truly is Iron Man. And he’ll always be Iron Man.
Also of note, Thor: Ragnarok has joined the streaming service, and the other MCU movies are also coming in due time. They're all worth a watch, but Iron Man's where it all started, and *spoilers* lower down is where it all ends...
There Will be Blood (Netflix)
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: Few movies have received the critical adoration that There Will Be Blood has. Paul Thomas Anderson's masterpiece, the movie picked up nominations for every major award under the sun in 2007.
So, what makes There Will Be Blood so special? Put simply, it's Daniel Day Lewis's stunning central performance as charismatic oil baron Daniel Plainview. The actor grows to become truly terrifying in this epic period drama that captures the hardships of the early 1900s. Paul Dano plays dual roles as the twins Paul Sunday and Eli Sunday, and is wonderfully strange in both roles.
Ghost World (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: A superhero-free comic book adaptation, Ghost World revels in the ordinary lives of two high schoolers leading up to graduation. Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) are on the cusp of adulthood, each possessing very different ideas about where they’re headed, which is what makes the film a unique entry into the teen movie canon: this pair are pals now, yet will they be six months into the future? Does it even matter when right now is all we have? Director Terry Zwigoff works the funniest and most touching moments from the comic panels into a darkly funny modern classic.
Zwigoff strikes that perfect balance between flagrant laugh-out-loud humour (see: Illeana Douglas’ art teacher) and quiet poignancy. That’s not an easy tone to master. Birch and Johansson are excellent, channeling their own youth into their characters who are both excited and embittered by the world.
Monsters, Inc. (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: The city of Monstropolis has found its own source of renewable energy: the screams of children. Sulley and his best friend Mike work at the local factory as scarers, using portals to sneak into children’s bedrooms and harvest their terror so they can help power the city. One day, a little girl manages to escape and is let loose on Monstropolis, as Sulley and Mike take it upon themselves to get her home safe.
The brilliance of pitting John Goodman and Billy Crystal against each other makes Monsters, Inc an ingenious throwback to all of the most classic of double acts. But the film isn’t just silliness for silliness’ sake, and, in true Pixar tradition, it’s got a heart of gold at its centre in the form of Boo, the lost girl. She forms a close bond with Sulley, who she calls “Kitty”. It’s a reminder to us all that the fear of the other is an entirely irrational thing.
Spirited Away (Netflix)
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: Studio Ghibli finally earned an Oscar in 2002 when Spirited Away won Best Animated Picture. It’s hard to believe this movie is nearly 20 years old when it still feels so fresh. Directed by Ghibli stalwart Hayao Miyazaki, the anime follows 10-year old Chihiro, who enters into a mysterious world after her parents undergo a strange transformation when they eat at an abandoned amusement park. Chihiro’s journey begins as she ventures past the park into a bathhouse where she meets Yubaba, the owner, who tells her about the world of spirits she’s been whisked away to...
Gorgeous, pain-staking animation that pays attention to detail in every single frame. Miyazaki himself would often scribble thousands of frames. It’s that commitment to every moment, making Chihiro’s journey burst with unique visuals and magical interludes, that elevate this to one of the best-animated movies ever made. Plus, many of the other Studio Ghibli movies are currently available to stream! They are, for the most part, all excellent – we just picked our favourite for this list.
Eighth Grade (Amazon Prime)
The movie: At last, a movie that approaches early adolescence with a certain degree of seriousness. That’s not to say Eighth Grade isn’t funny, because it is packed with humour and charm, most of which hails from newcomer Elsie Fisher who unveils her mastery of awkwardness as Kayla Day. Even whilst suffering through her own social anxieties, Kayla attempts to better herself and her peers by offering advice through her vlog, and even taking her own pointers in order to get more friends and make it through the school year.
Why it’s worth a watch: Writer-director Bo Burnham taps into the reality of what it means to be a 13-year old today in the current culture of sharing every detail of our lives on social media. Really, it’s Fisher’s performance that makes Eighth Grade such a winning watch. She truly illuminates the struggle of adolescence, from the very first scene through to the last, letting us witness up-close those battles that seem life-or-death when you’re a kid.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: The story takes place in an alternate version of 40s Hollywood were cartoon characters are real, breathing entities, but remain an oppressed minority – exploited for their work and forced to live in the segregated borough of Toontown. One of the biggest toon stars, Roger Rabbit, is falsely accused of the murder of studio head R.K. Maroon. He turns to Detective Eddie Valiant, a jaded alcoholic, in an attempt to clear his name and uncover the sinister secret lurking in the shadows.
Roger Rabbit doesn’t use its mix of live-action and animation as some kind of flashy gimmick, but as a tool to create a rich, believable world that brilliantly parodies the noir genre. It dances on the edge of risqué without alienating its family audience, thanks to its femme fatale Jessica Rabbit (who’s not bad, just drawn that way) and the gruesome effects of Dip. It was also the first time that Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse crossed party lines and appeared onscreen together.
Phantom Thread (Netflix)
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: Paul Thomas Anderson has become one of the most critically adored directors in Hollywood. Phantom Thread re-teams the filmmaker with Daniel Day Lewis for the actor's apparently last movie. And if this is Lewis's final performance on-screen, then what a way to go out. He plays Reynolds Woodcock, an egotistical, infantile fashion designer for the wealthy who, in short, needs to be reigned in. Enter Vicky Krieps as Alma Elson.
Their's is a love story – one that's twisted and turned into something wholly original. There's a reason this picked up multiple Oscar-nominations, just don't start streaming Phantom Thread expecting a conventional ending.
Sleeping Beauty (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: Based on the Charles Perrault fairytale, while also incorporating music from Tchaikovsky’s ballet of the same name, Sleeping Beauty sees a beautiful young princess named Aurora targeted by a curse from the evil fairy Maleficent. Before the sun sets on her 16th birthday, Aurora will prick her finger on a spinning wheel and be consumed by an endless sleep. The only way the curse can be lifted is through the power of true love’s kiss.
It’s the most beautiful Disney film ever made, with an animation style modelled after medieval tapestries and illuminated manuscripts. And thanks to the classical touch in the film’s score, the final film feels so elegant and refined - it’s a swoon worthy dream just like the one Aurora sings of, where she’s united with her handsome prince. Add to that, Maleficent’s cackle and haughty air (she only unleashes the curse because she’s offended she wasn’t invited to the christening) makes her an all-time great among the Disney villains.
The Silence of the Lambs (Netflix)
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: Anthony Hopkins’ turn as the flesh-eating Hannibal Lecter is so embedded in our culture, that, with a quick sizzle of the tongue and a mention of Chianti, people know what you’re referencing. The Silence of the Lambs is more than Lecter’s churlish behaviour, however. It’s a stunning masterpiece, trimmed of all fat, that tells a story of good versus evil with distinct areas of grey to make the entire experience all the more thrilling. Jodie Foster’s recent FBI graduate Clarice Starling is a cut above the rest of her class, earning the respect of her superior Jack Crawford, who sends her to a psychiatric hospital to interview the notorious serial killer Hannibal Lecter with the hopes of gaining insight on another criminal who currently has a Senator’s daughter held hostage.
Often copied but seldom bettered, The Silence of the Lambs is a gripping, watchable-as-hell thriller. From the script choices to the casting, from the direction to its skilled editing, which transforms a standard cat-and-mouse ending into one of cinema’s most inventive finales, the film remains some thirty-something years later, a chilling piece of work.
Carol (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: One of 2015's award darlings deserves all the praise it can get. Adapted from the Patricia Highsmith novel The Price of Salt, the film stars Cate Blanchett as an exotic, affluent housewife who takes a trip to a department store to pick up something for her son, and in the process, completely charms Rooney Mara's shopgirl. From thereon, the pair become friends, quickly realising there is something deeper to their kinship. It's a 1950s piece, through and through, thanks to the costumes and production, but told through a distinct modern lens. Gorgeous and utterly compelling.
Far From Heaven director Todd Haynes knows how to do period pieces. Every tiny detail of the production is given its time in the spotlight, adding to the love story between the two leads. That in itself is a breath of fresh air, as LGBTQ relationships in cinema are rarely represented this way.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: The Force Awakens had a lot riding on it. It needed to kick off the revived franchise and soothe everyone’s memories of the prequels. It introduced us to a new trio of heroes: Rey, a scavenger whose mysterious origins are still hotly debated today, Finn, the stormtrooper-turned-rebel hero, and Poe, the hotshot pilot. Their journeys all intersect as the Resistance stands firm against the rising threat of the First Order. The Last Jedi, though divisive, built upon this, offering an exciting new story set in that galaxy far, far away.
As much as director J.J. Abrams may have played it safe by replicating the familiar beats of the original trilogy (yes, there’s another Death Star) with The Force Awakens, he also revived many of the elements that were crucial to those movies attaining their classic status. Episode 7 has that same childish sense of excitement that sweeps you up and takes you on a journey across the stars, meeting all kinds of fascinating and bizarre individuals, revisiting old friends, and settling back into the eternal fight of good vs evil. Then, The Last Jedi took the series in a brand new direction, featuring unfamiliar story beats and a new look at our beloved hero, Luke Skywalker.
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” So goes Goodfellas’ opening voiceover; an iconic one-liner that sets the stage for the movie to come. Directed by Martin Scorsese, the film is based on the true story of mobster Henry Hill, whose exploits are so outlandish you’ll be gobsmacked to learn they actually happened. With excellent turns from Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Lorraine Bracco, this is, simply put, terrific cinema.
The fast pace, the action sequences, that gorgeous tracking shot, and Liotta’s superb voiceover mark Goodfellas as a classic, but it’s the inevitable downfall of the major players involved that makes it so much damn fun to watch.
Unsane (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: While trailers positioned it as a somewhat gloomy psychiatric drama, Unsane is a far richer cinematic experience. It’s more akin to a mistaken identity thriller, with Claire Foy cast as Sawyer Valentini, a woman who moves across the country to be free of her long-time stalker. Right as her life is looking up, she finds herself locked into a mental ward after a supposedly routine health checkup. And, if that weren’t bad enough, shortly after her admission she realises that one of the staff looks familiar...
You might not always enjoy the risks Steven Soderbergh takes with filmmaking technology, yet his idea of shooting an entire feature on iPhones pays off. Dark at times due to the lighting offered on such a device, the story somehow matches that visual, making Sawyer’s desperate attempts at escape seem even more realistic.
Beauty and the Beast (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: As expected, all the highlights of Disney's Renaissance period will be available to stream on Disney Plus from day one, since the studio knows there might otherwise be riots. Based on an old French fairytale, the “beauty” of the film’s title refers to Belle, whose love of reading has made her an outsider in her own village - probably because they think a vain, arrogant slab of meat like Gaston is the best there is. But when she becomes the prisoner of a monstrous lion/buffalo hybrid who lives all alone in a decaying castle, she discovers that she’s developed a very unusual case of Stockholm Syndrome.
Beauty and the Beast is a wonderful example of what Disney does best: it uses modern technology (including computer animation, which was still in its relative infancy) and modern thinking (Belle is a smart, independent princess), but the result is still as sweepingly romantic as the oldest of folktales. That’s thanks partially to the songs, created by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman.
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: All filmmakers put themselves in their work. It’s unavoidable. Alfonso Cuaron brings his past to the fore in his opus, Roma, using his upbringing on the Mexico City streets as inspiration. An entirely no-name cast makes this exhilarating movie shine, with a story that follows live-in housekeepers for a middle-class family. Set during the '70s, Roma spins on ideas of class and culture, and places them inside some of the most breathtaking shots you’ll likely ever watch on Netflix.
After the likes of 2013’s Gravity – a complex space-set thriller hung together by cutting-edge CGI – Roma is a breath of fresh air. A simplistic dive that’s already being heralded as a masterpiece, and one of the best movies ever made, why wouldn’t you want to see that?
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: This fantasy epic is simply an essential watch for any film fan. Directed by Peter Jackson and based on J. R. R. Tolkien's classic novels, Fellowship of the Ring chronicles the beginning of an epic adventure. Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), a young hobbit who lives in Middle Earth, finds himself in possession of the powerful One Ring, an object that Dark Lord Sauron is tearing the land apart to find. Now the fate of Middle Earth hangs in the balance as Frodo and his friends must journey to Mordor and the only place the ring can be destroyed: Mount Doom.
If you're yet to journey to Mordor in this absolute classic, now is your chance. The whole trilogy is newly available on Amazon Prime Video and this is the place to start. Explore the beautiful fantasy realm of Middle Earth with Frodo, Gandalf, Samwise and more, and partnered with a memorable score from Howard Shore, you most definitely shall pass.
Mary Poppins (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: Although this adaptation of the P.L. Travers book series had its troubles (see Saving Mr. Banks), the film was still much more warmly regarded than its source material. The Mary Poppins in question is a magical nanny who flies in to help troubled families, including the Bankses, who live on Cherry Tree Lane. The patriarch of the clan, you see, has become far too obsessed with his job at the bank and has lost sight of how much his children need him.
It’s a fairly simple celebration of the joys of imagination and playtime, but the whole affair is wrapped up in an irresistible, whimsical bow. We get to jump into chalk paintings, float up to the ceiling, or tidy rooms with a single snap of a finger. Mary Poppins captured how limitless and full of potential the world felt as a child – which makes it as soothing for adults as it is for the little ones. And what a practically perfect presence Julie Andrews is, making Mary as stern and correct as she is secretly mischievous. Everyone needs a Mary Poppins in their life.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Netflix)
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: Peter Parker gets bitten by a spider, his Uncle Ben dies, and… zzz. Sorry, nodded off there for a moment. We all know Spidey’s origin story. That’s why Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse opts to bypass that retelling and dive into something new. The socially-awkward New York teen Miles Morales is the lead, and this is his story – one of diversity, acceptance, and compassion, that fuels one of the best Marvel movies made that’s not in the MCU.
It’s hard to find fault Spider-Verse – one of the best superhero movies of all time. Considering how well we know this character, it's miraculous that Spider-Verse makes the Spidey universe feel utterly original. It’s a blast, it feels fresh, the soundtrack is dynamite, and it’s visually stunning.
What We Do in the Shadows (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: Ever wondered what it might really be like as a vampire? Taika Waititi and Jermaine Clement's mockumentary peels back the years of ridiculous posturing to reveal an altogether more, ahem, realistic view. Forget your moping twinkly-skinned bloodsuckers. This bunch are as normal as they come. Well sort of. While paying rent is one of their biggest dilemmas, steering clear of sunlight is their chief concern which makes adapting to modern life a tad tricky.
There's no other film quite like What We Do in the Shadows. Horror comedies can tend to steer in a similar direction, and yet this mockumentary takes its own path, mixing up some genuine scares with gut-busting laughs. Waititi and Clement clearly had a riot riffing on the mythology while penning the script, and the cast is just dynamite bringing it to life.
The Little Mermaid (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: Hans Christian Andersen’s original version of this story was a little more upsetting than what we’re used to. Instead of Ariel getting both her man and her voice back after defeating the evil sea witch Ursula, she (a) has to deal with her new human feet bleeding constantly and being agony to walk on and (b) ends up sacrificing herself to save the prince and dissolves into a pile foam. It’s hard to imagine Disney trying to market “Ariel as foam” or “Ariel with realistic bleeding feet” dolls to the general public.
It’s the film that kicked off the Disney Renaissance and arguably still boasts the studio’s best princess. Unlike pretty much all of her predecessors, Ariel isn’t some genteel, perfect doll waiting to be rescued. She drives the film’s plot, and most important of all, she’s deeply (but relatably) flawed. Rebellious and excitable, her story is defined by her curiosity and her committed belief to the idea that the grass is always greener on the other side – or, in this case, that the grass exists in the first place.
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: Blood! Guts! More blood! That’s why! Robocop harks back to an era, albeit in the recent past, where action blockbusters weren’t beholden to a PG-13 rating. Sure, we’ve now got the likes of Deadpool, but Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop is in another class entirely.
In Robocop, Detroit runs rampant with violent crime, leading the police department into privatisation. Enter shifty corporation Omni Consumer Products, which brutally murders a beat cop Alex Murphy in order to use his barely-living body to test their new cyborg cop tech. That’s all well and good, except Murphy retains much of his human memories, giving him an added edge and a score to settle with OCP. This is pure ‘80s R-rated action. Ignore the reboot (also available on Netflix).
You Were Never Really Here (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: Probably not one to watch when you need a pick-me-up, this 2017 thriller from Lynne Ramsay focuses on the life of a New York City hitman played by Joaquin Phoenix. A contract killer, Joe dispenses with his targets for crummy wages and with a hammer, adding a dose of up-close brutality to his work that contrasts massively with his down-time which he typically spends with his ageing mother. When a Senator’s teenage daughter is believed to have been kidnapped, Joe is summoned to track her down, and to bring her captors to justice.
Aside from its captivating central performance by Joaquin Phoenix, you should be checking this out for the stellar work of Ramsay, who continues to deliver unusual takes on darker topics. You might have seen similar issues dealt with on screen, but none with such a unique and unflinching approach. Oh, and did I mention it’s only 90 minutes?
Avengers: Endgame (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: While it’s going to hard to pack the entire decade-long history of the MCU into one paragraph, safe to say this film was a long time coming. Weaving together characters and plotlines from every single entry so far, Endgame served as an epic and conclusive follow-up to Infinity War. After the warmongering Thanos collects all the Infinity Stones and causes the Snap, instantly wiping out half of all living things, the surviving heroes are left to pull up their bootstraps and try to get everyone home safe and sound.
Love it or hate it, but you’ve got to admit that Endgame is unlike any other film that’s existed before it. It’s the final chapter of a story that’s been gradually told over 22 different films (it’s an interesting mark of how the boundaries between cinema and TV are starting to dissolve). But that’s the kind of ambition that would be doomed to fail if Marvel didn’t get the balance right: it needed to be epic on an unimaginable scale, while still servicing the characters that fans had grown so attached to over the years. And it worked, as long as we ignore the controversy over Black Widow’s fate.
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: A coming-of-age drama with a difference, Moonlight tells the tale of Chiron throughout three stages in his life. Each chapter unveils the troubles he’s overcome, both internal and external, from his burgeoning sexuality to the abuse he suffers as a child. Choosing to focus on the truth of his characters over a complex plot or distracting visuals, writer-director Barry Jenkins lets the movie float along as if we are spectators to Chiron’s life.
The Academy doesn’t always get it right when it comes to Best Picture. With Moonlight, they were spot on, giving the most prestigious accolade to the most deserving movie. A timely, sensitive piece that deals with the heavy topics of Chiron’s life with the lightest touch, most of which is highlighted by the superb central performances from the Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders, and Alex Hibbert. Mahershala Ali’s turn as the drug dealer-turned-father figure Juan is sublime.
Brazil (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: What’s amazing about Terry Gilliam’s slapstick homage to George Orwell’s 1984, is that at time of release it didn’t even scrape back its meagre $15 million dollar-budget. That’s the sign of true genius, though, right? Brazil gives a righteous two fingers to The Man over and over, while telling one of the wackiest stories ever committed to celluloid. Jonathan Price plays Sam Lowry, a miserable worker at the Ministry of Education desperate to break free from the shackles of a totalitarian regime. Daydreaming of rescuing the same woman over and over, as he tries to locate a terrorist, Sam encounters his fictional woman and tries to aid her quest.
A surreal, batty takedown of bureaucracy might sound at odds with itself, and to be honest, that’s exactly Gilliam’s point. The dreary dystopian city in which it takes place is driven by automated technological systems that are seldom monitored by humans. In fact, it’s an error caused by one that leads to the movie’s first major plot point. Even at 30 years old, Brazil is eerily prescient about today’s “smart” living.
Toy Story trilogy (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: Pixar immediately branded itself as the studio obsessed with ambitious concepts, positing the idea back in 1995 that all your toys are alive and run around your room when you’re not looking. Instead of giving kids nightmares, it was somehow endearing. So the studio kept pushing and pushing until we got to Toy Story 3, which had Woody and Buzz Lightyear coming to terms with their own mortality after they were thrown into a garbage incinerator. There are some twisted geniuses at work here.
Toy Story really did, right out of the gate, establish the trademarks that have made Pixar a powerhouse animation studio. Its unusual premise has philosophical and moral underpinnings that adults can pore over and analyse to death. Meanwhile, the kids in the audience are kept entertained by the bright colours, lively characters, and funny jokes. Toy Story 4, if you’re wondering, will arrive on Disney Plus at a later date, probably next year.
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: The tender tale of a lonely man who finds companionship with his operating system – only Spike Jonze could take that concept and craft a sweet, tender story. This 2013 Oscar-winner follows the life of professional letter writer Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix). Recently separated from his wife (Rooney Mara) and struggling to move on, he befriends his new A.I. operating system, Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson).
A forbidden love story between humans and technology? I hear you: this topic can get a little icky, but Her gracefully sidesteps any gross scenarios due to Samantha’s lack of physicality. At its core, the movie explores the topic of impossible romance while revealing a lot about our relationships with devices.
Heat (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: What do you get when you unite two of cinema’s most iconic actors in the same film? Michael Mann’s Heat. Of course, to say this is essential for any film fan purely because of that would be to discount everything else that makes this one of the best action films ever made. It’s also a heist flick, that finds Robert De Niro cast in the role of criminal mastermind Neil McCauley, who’s out to do “one last job” with his crew before calling it a day. On the other side of the law, is Al Pacino’s Lieutenant, who is eager to bring down McCauley and his team.
De Niro. Pacino. They’ve since appeared together onscreen, in the lacklustre Righteous Kill, so it’s always a riot to revisit this duo in the mid-90s, especially when they work their magic for that one particular scene. Oh, and the shoot-outs? Epic.
The Lion King (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: Who knew lions could get so Shakespearean? Young Simba’s life is changed forever after his villainous uncle Scar hatches a plan to get his brother Mufasa, the King of the Pride Lands, killed. And it’s Simba who gets the blame. After the cub flees into the jungle and carves out a new Hakuna Matata lifestyle for himself, it’s the call of duty that inevitably brings him back to Pride Rock so that he can take his rightful place as king.
The Lion King is often heralded as the jewel in Disney’s crown and it’s easy to see why. Everything about it just feels so big: the scale of the stampede sequence, the sombre tone of James Earl Jones’ voice, the “Circle of Life”, and the grand themes of legacy and sacrifice. Thank god for Timon and Pumbaa, who step in right at the moment things start to get unbearably depressing. It’s an epic story painted on such an exquisite canvas, from the vast plains to the bubbling green lava of Scar’s lair. It also spawned an entire generation of people who like to lift up their pets into the sky like they’re Rafiki showing off baby Simba.
The Witch (Netflix)
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: Arriving to mass critical acclaim upon its Sundance debut, Robert Eggers’ creepy-as-hell period chiller The Witch absolutely deserves its place in the horror pantheon. The movie takes place in 1630s New England, when William, Katherine, and their family are cast out of the Puritan church and break for a new life on a remote settlement edging a spooky forest. As if being ostracised from everything they know isn’t bad enough, the couple are devastated when their baby Samuel is snatched while their daughter Thomasin watches over him. Things get worse from there. Much, much worse.
The Witch gloriously melds its period setting with familial drama and supernatural beings. It's most scary when Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy in her star-making role) and her mother are at odds. Oh, and of course, Black Philip makes it worth a watch. Who? Hit play and find out.
Fight Club (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: Another ‘90s Fincher flick that aims to disrupt what you think you know is happening on screen. Based on Chuck Palahniuk’s neo-noir tome, Fight Club takes the behaviours of angry young men and spins them into a story that deviates into ever more nihilistic turns. Edward Norton’s unnamed narrator meets Brad Pitt’s effortlessly cool Tyler Durden on a plane, where the two become acquaintances of a sort, bonding over their desire to feel something. That need swells into a movement that unites men from all over to join them in a series of underground fight clubs.
The story is more relevant now perhaps than at the time of release, with its emphasis on young white men struggling to handle their future. Cinematically, this is all about the gorgeous visuals, the at-times kaleidoscopic cinematography, and of course, that mind-boggling twist. Keep your eyes peeled for the outstanding opening credits sequence that is *chef’s kiss*.
Star Wars Episode IV - VI (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: A princess, a scoundrel, and a farm boy: it’s this simple trio of characters that sparked one of the biggest cultural phenomena of all time. Each of them found their own way to save the day. Sometimes that involves taking up Jedi training and discovering your dad is the last person you’d want them to be, at other times it means choking a giant slug kingpin with your bare hands. Occasionally it means getting frozen into a man-sized ice cube so you can finally pay your debts.
These movies have crafted a fictional universe so rich and deep, there’s the constant threat that once you fall in you might never come out. Next thing you know, you’re three hours deep into researching the true origins of chindinkalu flute player Droopy McCool. Star Wars is the kind of world you yearn to live in, because it’s a place where the most insignificant person can become the greatest hero and where there’s always hope that good can triumph over evil, no matter how bleak it might seem.
Why it's one of the best Netflix movies: Very loosely based on Jeff Vandermeer’s novel of the same name, Annihilation is a gloriously trippy jaunt into a world previously hinted at in Garland’s Ex Machina. With less emphasis on a traditional plot, this movie requires you to go into it with the willingness to soak up the mood, feeling, and gorgeous visuals.
Part body-horror, part survivalist thriller, this stands out for its stellar all-female leading cast, who bring a feminine edge to the traditionally male sci-fi genre. Combine that with the daring, WTF aspects of the story, and you’ll find your hairs standing up on the back of your neck several times throughout. Do not miss this.
A Quiet Place (Amazon Prime)
Why it's one of the best Amazon Prime movies: Following an alien invasion, the world has moved on. A race of scuttling extraterrestrials sensitive to sound now permeate the Earth, making human lives a different proposition. Just ask the Abbott family, led by Evelyn (Emily Blunt), her husband Lee (John Krasinski), and their children Regan, Marcus and Beau, who have lived in near-silence for years as a way to keep the beasts at bay. What begins as a normal day trip for Lee and Marcus quickly turns to a monster fight.
Oh, aside from the fact that everyone and their mother and their mother’s tennis partner were talking about it last year? A horror that will shred your nerves and have you hardly breathing, nevermind talking, Krasinski’s directorial debut is a superb exercise in terror-filled set pieces.
The Sound of Music (Disney Plus)
Why it's one of the best Disney Plus movies: This classic musical is actually based (although it’s no winner when it comes to historically accuracy) on the real-life Maria Von Trapp. She was a nun who married the Austrian naval commander Georg von Trapp and became the stepmother to his seven children. They performed concerts together under the growing shadow of Nazi rule, before packing their bags and moving to the United States. In reality they just took a train to Italy, although the film creates a much more dramatic escape.
It’s the unwavering sense of optimism that makes this musical sing, as best exemplified by “My Favourite Things”. When dog bites, when the bee stings, or when evil is encroaching from all sides, sometimes it’s the smallest and most fragile of joys - like music or the sound of a child’s laughter – that can get us through the darkest of times.
No Time to Die release date, new images, cast news, and everything else you need to know about Bond 25 .
We've got new images and an earlier US release dateA good thing, too. If No Time to Die sticks to its November release date, there’s an DB8’s worth of surprises and shocks to look forward to surrounding Daniel Craig’s swansong as the secret agent.