The Best Movies on HBO Right Now

For all intents and purposes, HBO is now a streaming service. While it started out as a premium cable channel and is still available for cable subscribers, they recognized the changing landscape and decided to make their programming available separate from a cable package via HBO Now. However, if you still get the channel through your cable provider, you’ll have access to HBO Go. Either way, you have access to their entire catalog of movies at any time, which means you can create a watchlist of films you want to check out.

To help you out in this endeavor, we’ve provided a list of the best movies currently available on HBO. We’ll continue to update this list as new movies are added and removed from their catalog.

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

Image via Warner Bros.

Writer/Director: Shane Black

Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer, and Michelle Monaghan

Shane Black’s feature directorial debut is the perfect spin on the neo-noir. The story follows Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jr.), a thief who stumbles his way into possibly auditioning for a role in a Hollywood movie. The studio decides to set him up with a real private investigator, Gay Perry (Val Kilmer in one his best performances), which is going fine until they stumble upon some real crimes that are connected to Harry and his former flame Harmony Faith Lane (Michelle Monaghan). Black has a blast playing with narrative conventions while never losing the soul of the picture. It’s the rare movie that can wink at the camera while still remaining earnest and hilarious at the same time. – Matt Goldberg

Being John Malkovich

Director: Spike Jonze

Writer: Charlie Kaufman

Cast: John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener, and John Malkovich

A delightfully weird movie that’s only gotten better with age, it’s kind of a miracle that Being John Malkovich even exists. The film follows Craig Schwartz, a puppeteer who discovers a small door behind a filing cabinet that lets him sense whatever actor John Malkovich does for fifteen minutes before he’s ejected into a ditch near the New Jersey Turnpike. From there, things only spiral further out of control, and it’s kind of incredible that director Spike Jonze never lets the story get away from him. Although Jonze can whip up some fancy visuals when necessary, he wisely keeps the fantastic story grounded and melancholy, the story of people who wish they could be living the lives of others because they’re so unhappy with their own. – Matt Goldberg

It

Image via Warner Bros.

Director: Andy Muschietti

Writers: Chase Palmer & Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman

Cast: Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, and Bill Skarsgard.

Even if you think you’re a big scaredy cat, you’ll probably get a kick out of It, which is more like a roller coaster ride than something that will inflict psychological trauma. The film takes place in the summer of 1989 in Derry, Maine and follows seven adolescents who are forced to confront the murderous “It”, who usually takes the form a murderous clown called Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard). Horror production values don’t get much better than this as you sink into Chung-hoon Chung’s glorious cinematography that lets you become enveloped by the terror these kids are facing. Sharp, wonderfully paced, and a feast to behold, It is a horror film that may not shock you to your core, but it delivers a fun ride throughout. – Matt Goldberg

Chicago

Image via Miramax

Director: Rob Marshall

Writer: Bill Condon

Cast: Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, John C. Reilly, Taye Diggs, and Queen Latifah

The 2002 Best Picture winner has been somewhat left by the wayside over the years, but it’s still a vibrant, electrifying adaptation of the stage musical that even director Rob Marshall has struggled to match despite following it up with the musicals Nine and Into the Woods. Bill Condon’s script sharply zeroes in on our country’s obsession with fame and infamy, often conflating the two. From there, the songs do the work and Marshall is keenly aware of his stars’ strengths and weaknesses. Zellweger isn’t much of a dancer, so he simply cuts around her while letting Zeta-Jones, who’s a triple-threat, own her numbers while Gere turns in one of his best performances as a canny lawyer who knows how the system works. That’s not to mention the ingeniously designed numbers like the Cell Block Tango and “We Both Reached for the Gun”. If you haven’t seen Chicago in a while or are wondering why it deserved to win Best Picture, take some time to see how well it holds up. – Matt Goldberg

The Devil Wears Prada

Image via 20th Century Fox

Director: David Frankel

Writer: Aline Brosh McKenna

Cast: Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, Stanely Tucci, Simon Baker, and Adrian Grenier

I’m surprised at how this has become one of the more rewatchable movies in my collection. The story follows Andy (Anne Hathaway), an aspiring writer who lands a job as one of the two assistants to Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), the notoriously demanding and callous boss of an acclaimed fashion magazine. Streep is, as always, outstanding as Priestly, adding layers and dimension to a character that could have been a simple villain. Her chemistry with Hathaway is terrific, but respect is also due to the breakthrough performance from Emily Blunt as Miranda’s other assistant plus a scene stealing turn from the always brilliant Stanley Tucci. Streep may have gotten all the attention for this movie (plus the dazzling costumes), but it’s a film where everyone is pulling their weight and there’s not a weak link. – Matt Goldberg

Lady Macbeth

Image via Roadside Attractions

Director: William Oldroyd

Writers: Nikolai Leskov and Alic Birch

Cast: Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis, Paul Hilton, and Naomi Ackie

If you want all the scenic beauty of a 19th century period piece combined with absolute brutality and twisted behavior, you’ve got to give Lady Macbeth a chance. The film follows Katherine (Florence Pugh in a breakthrough performance), a young bride sold into a loveless marriage who begins an affair with a worker on the estate. The machinations Katherine makes through the movie are thrilling, and just when you think the film can sink into darkness any further, it does. It’s not a lighthearted experience by any stretch, but thanks to Pugh’s outstanding performance and Oldroyd’s confident direction, Lady Macbeth is a captivating experience. – Matt Goldberg

The LEGO Batman Movie

Image via Warner Bros.

Director: Chris McKay

Writers: Seth Grahame-Smith and Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers and Jared Stern & John Whittington

Cast: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, and Zach Galifianakis

Leave it to an animated movie featuring toys to be one of the more insightful Batman movies ever made. The spinoff of The LEGO Movie has Batman (Will Arentt) happily busting crime but afraid to confront his real fear: being part of a family again. His world is upended when the cheerful orphan Dick Grayson (Michael Cera) enters his life and Batman has to decide if he still wants to be the dark, brooding, lone wolf hero, or if he’s willing to accept other people into his life. It’s funny, it’s sweet, it’s brilliantly animated, and it’s one of the best looks at The Dark Knight ever committed to film. – Matt Goldberg

The Tale

Image via HBO

Writer/Director: Jennifer Fox

 

Cast: Laura Dern, Elizabeth Debicki, Jason Ritter, Ellen Burstyn, Frances Conroy, Common and Isabelle Nelisse

 

Filmmaking doesn’t get more inventive or more harrowing than The Tale. Jennifer Fox set out to interrogate her own memories and look into sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of adults who she thought were her friends. It’s a vital movie of the #MeToo movement, examining how predators prey on their victims and how those victims turn their pain inward and distort what really happened to avoid facing that pain. Led by a searing, complex performance from Laura Dern, The Tale is an essential movie, brilliantly made with thought and ingenuity, and one of the best films of 2018. – Matt Goldberg

Blade Runner 2049

Image via Alcon Entertainment / Warner Bros.

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Writers: Hampton Fancher and Michael Green

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Jared Leto, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, and Dave Bautista

Here’s another film you probably should’ve seen in theaters, but may hold up a bit better on the small screen than Dunkirk. Filmmaker Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Sicario) accomplished the impossible by crafting a genuinely great Blade Runner sequel with Blade Runner 2049. The story picks up decades after Ridley Scott’s first film and follows Ryan Gosling’s K as he investigates a mystery crucial to the events of the original movie. The film is full of twists and turns that evoke a number of emotional reactions, and Harrison Ford delivers a terrific performance reprising his role as Deckard. The cinematography by Roger Deakins is phenomenal, and rightfully earned the accomplished DP his first-ever Oscar. The film is indeed a long affair and plays out at its own pace, but if you get on Blade Runner 2049’s wavelength it’s a viewing experience you’ll really, really dig. – Adam Chitwood

Dunkirk

Image via Warner Bros.

Director/Writer: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Fionn Whitehead, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, and Tom Hard

HBO is probably not the optimal viewing experience for Dunkirk, but if you haven’t seen the film yet and don’t want to blind buy the Blu-ray (which you should), it’s worth checking out. Writer/director Christopher Nolan’s World War II-set thriller is an experiential piece of cinema that tracks the evacuation of Dunkirk from invading Nazis using three distinct points of view: the soldiers on the land waiting to be rescued, the boats on the sea porting the soldiers across the English channel back to England, and the planes in the sky providing cover fire from Nazi fighters. Nolan uses his signature narrative trickery to depict these three storylines happening at different points in time in way that adds increasing urgency to every frame, and Hoyte van Hoytema’s IMAX cinematography is beautiful. Again, you probably should’ve caught this in the theater and I can’t attest to how well it holds up in a home viewing experience, but it’s among Nolan’s absolute best films. – Adam Chitwood

Silence of the Lambs

Image via Orion Pictures

Director: Jonathan Demme

Writer: Ted Tally

Cast: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Anthony Heald, and Ted Levine

Even if the figure of Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter has been reduced to parody over the years through imitation and sequels, he still remains a towering figure in Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs. Although the film exists inside the mold of a paperback thriller, the movie goes far beyond its genre by becoming a fascinating look at identity, weakness, gaze, self-destruction, and reinvention. The “quid pro quos” between Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) and Lecter are the heart of the film, providing a dangerous dance between the two characters. The movie always comes right up to the edge of pulp before yanking us back into something truly terrifying and dangerous. – Matt Goldberg

Die Hard

Image via 20th Century Fox

Director: John McTiernan

Writers: Jeb Stuart and Steven E. de Souza

Cast: Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson, Paul Gleason, William Atherton, Hart Bochner, and Alan Rickman

Just one of the greatest action movies ever made, no big deal. If you haven’t seen this classic yet, it follows New York City cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) as he makes his way to Los Angeles to win back his wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) on Christmas Eve. However, the place where she works, Nakatomi Plaza, just happens to be under siege by mercenaries bent on collecting the bearer bonds in the building’s vault. Often replicated but never duplicated (even by the solid sequel Die Hard 2), Die Hard is infinitely watchable and a total blast from start to finish. Yippie-ki-yay… – Matt Goldberg

Wonder Woman

Image via Warner Bros.

Director: Patty Jenkins

Writer: Allan Heinberg

Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Danny Huston, Robin Wright, David Thewlis, Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, Eugene Brave Rock, Elena Anaya and Lucy Davis

One of the best superhero movies ever made, Wonder Woman is a landmark, not just because it’s a superhero film with a female lead, but because it understands what makes the character special and doesn’t try to imitate other heroes. Patty Jenkins goes for a straight origin story where Diana (Gal Gadot) leaves Themyscira to help the world of men during World War I, but that story allows us to see a clear picture of Wonder Woman and what she stands for. When doing press for Wonder Woman, Jenkins said one of the movies that inspired her to be a filmmaker was Richard Donner’s Superman. It’s easy to see Wonder Woman serving as an inspiration to a new generation. – Matt Goldberg

Alien

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: Dan O’Bannon

Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Yaphet Kotto, and Ian Holm

Despite almost 40 years of distance and some lackluster sequels, Ridley Scott’s sci-fi horror movie remains as potent as ever. Going with the concept of a haunted house in space, Alien follows the crew of the commercial space tug Nostromo, who are diverted to a planet to investigate a mysterious transmission. When one member of the crew is infected with a biological organism, that organism then proceeds to attack the remaining crew members. It’s a simple premise played to maximum efficiency by Scott as he takes reasonably competent people and puts them up against a perfect killing machine. Featuring one of the best performances of Sigourney Weaver’s illustrious career, Alien is still as intimidating and thrilling as ever. – Matt Goldberg

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Image via Universal Pictures

Director: Edgar Wright

Writers: Michael Bacall & Edgar Wright

Cast: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Alison Pill, Mark Webber, Johnny Simmons, Ellen Wong, Kieran Culkin, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, and Jason Schwartzman.

Edgar Wright’s adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s outstanding comic didn’t find much of an audience upon its release, but over the years it has grown into a cult classic. The movie follows Scott Pilgrim (Cera), a sweet if slightly selfish and misguided young man who falls for delivery girl Ramona Flowers (Winstead). He can only continue to date her if he defeats her seven evil exes. Scott’s comfortable with the video game framework, but the film is really about two people discovering they have to get over their own baggage if they’re going to find new love. Wright decorates the whole picture with video game tropes and fun little nods, but never loses sight of the core romantic story. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is funny, effervescent, and only gets better on repeat viewings. – Matt Goldberg

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Director: David Yates

Writer: J.K. Rowling

Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogel, Alison Sudol, Colin Farrell, Ezra Miller

While plenty of folks were wary about Warner Bros. mining the Harry Potter universe for more films, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an excellent foundation for a brand new franchise that maintains the heart of the Potter franchise while branching out into a new direction. For one, Fantastic Beasts follows adult witches and wizards, and thus the conflicts that arise have far more serious stakes than the early Potter films. But the 1920s setting also gives Fantastic Beasts a refreshing new backdrop, and the prospect of delving into the history of Grindelwald is intriguing. The key to Fantastic Beasts, however, is the same thing that made Potter so special and that’s the characters. Here Rowling has introduced us to a new crew of lovable and diverse witches, a wizard, and a No-Maj with a heart of gold. That’s enough to make Fantastic Beasts an endearing and engaging watch. – Adam Chitwood

Back to the Future

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Writers: Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale

Cast: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, and Thomas F. Wilson

While the full Back to the Future trilogy is currently on HBO, the best of the three still remains the original. Robert Zemeckis’ movie is a marvel of storytelling, always bringing in the most information in the most efficient way possible while still remaining fun and entertaining (just think about how much you learn about Doc and Marty before the opening credits are finished). Although some aspects of the story look weirder in hindsight (comedian John Mulaney has a great bit on what the pitch for Back to the Future must have been), the movie still holds together perfectly. It’s an imaginative, fun, good-natured adventure that works on every level. – Matt Goldberg

How to Train Your Dragon

Directors: Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders

Writers: William Davies, Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders

Cast: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, and Kristen Wiig

AKA “The Good DreamWorks Animation Movie”, How to Train Your Dragon remains a towering achievement in a studio that’s better known for churning out animated movies where the main character arches his eyebrow in place of a personality. How to Train Your Dragon, which follows young Viking Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his unlikely friendship a dragon despite the creatures being the sworn enemy of his clan, isn’t just a great DWA movie, but a great movie period. The film is funny, exhilarating, heartfelt, and gorgeous. It’s a movie that takes big chances that reap even bigger rewards without sacrificing any humor or warmth in the process. – Matt Goldberg

Three Kings

Director/Writer: David O. Russell

Cast: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, Spike Jonze, Cliff Curtis, and Nora Dunn

Before David O. Russell ran to the safety of crowdpleasers like Silver Linings Playbook and The Fighter, he spent the 90s creating exciting and dangerous pictures like Three Kings. The film takes place during the first Iraq War and follows four soldiers who decide to use the confusion of war to heist gold bullion from Saddam’s palace, but instead end up getting sucked into the warfare they hoped to escape. Featuring outstanding performances from the cast (including a scene-stealing turn from acclaimed director Spike Jonze), Three Kings expertly walks the line between comedy and drama, often finding they’re able to coincide in the same scene like when one character is being tortured but his torturer is asking why the United States made Michael Jackson change his skin color. Three Kings is a gloriously off-kilter picture that never ceases to be captivating. – Matt Goldberg

Get Out

Director/Writer: Jordan Peele

Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Marcus Henderson, Betty Gabriel, Lakeith Stanfield, and LilRey Howery

I’m reluctant to call a movie a “classic” when it opens, and usually like to wait at least ten years to see if it holds up. And yet if anyone wants to label Get Out as a classic today, I’m hard-pressed to disagree. I believe this is a film that we’ll still be watching decades from now, and it’s a movie that will inspire other filmmakers to create their own “social thrillers”, biting critiques couched in comforting genres that manage to excite as well as create thoughtful conversations. They may not do it as well as writer-director Jordan Peele, but to be fair, he has set a very high bar.

As political pundits started screaming at the election of Trump, “How did we miss this?!” Get Out was already in the can and getting ready to premiere at Sundance. With his outstanding movie, Peele shows that his finger wasn’t just on the pulse of White America’s racism, but also on how that racism behaves and what it demands. In the world of Get Out, white people aren’t trying to erase black people, but blackness. The black body has it uses, and as long as black people are useful and inoffensive to white people, they can continue to exist. The premise of Get Out’s argument is dark, twisted, terrifying, and yet undeniable. – Matt Goldberg

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