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.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Image via 20th Century Fox

Director: Wes Anderson

Writer: Wes Anderson & Noah Baumbach

Cast: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, and Owen Wilson

Anderson basically revitalized his career with this daring stop-motion picture. It was both his first time doing an entire feature in stop-motion, and it was his first time adapting someone else’s work, in this case, the Roald Dahl book the same name about a Fox who ends up going to war with three mean farmers named Borris, Bunce, and Bean. But it worked wonders, imbuing the charm of Anderson’s work with the quality of Dahl’s book. The movie features all of Anderson’s trademarks, and yet it feels fresh and daring. There’s a confidence in there that seemed to be fading from his other works, and while the “bad dads” element is still present, it doesn’t feel as overbearing as it did in his other movies, perhaps due to the fact that the characters are woodland animals. Fantastic Mr. Fox also features one of the best lines in all of Anderson’s filmography: “That’s just weak songwriting! You wrote a bad song, Petey!” – Matt Goldberg

The Shape of Water

Director: Guillermo Del Toro

Writers: Guillermo Del Toro & Vanessa Taylor

Cast: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Doug Jones, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer, and Michael Stuhlbarg.

A romance story between a mute woman and a fish man seems like a joke at first, but in the hands of director/co-writer Guillermo del Toro, it’s one of the finest fantasy romances of the year. The story takes place during the Cold War and follows Eliza (Sally Hawkins), a cleaning lady at a government facility that has recently captured an amphibious creature (Doug Jones). Eliza falls for the fish man and resolves to free him, with the help of her kindly neighbor Giles (Richard Jenkins), from captivity and the torture he’s receiving at the hands agent Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon).

Del Toro has long been a master of design, but what makes films like The Shape of Water stand out is that he’s completely unafraid to wear his heart on his sleeve. While others may have worried about the story being too weird or too earnest, del Toro makes his movie about unconventional love and how essential it is to our world. The sci-fi trappings may be in his comfort zone, but like his best films, the genre gives itself over to deeper themes and emotions. The Shape of Water is about the transcendent power of love, so it’s only fitting that the film transcend genre. – Matt Goldberg

Phantom Thread

Writer/Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville, and Vicky Krieps

If you’re afraid Phantom Thread keeps up the obtuseness of Paul Thomas Anderson‘s previous two features, Inherent Vice and The Master, don’t be. This movie is hilarious. Not hilarious for a 1950s London fashion world-set period drama, but straight-up hilarious. Anderson has crafted a meticulous, snappy romance here that is packed to the brim with the kind of high society biting wit that would make the cast of Downton Abbey blush.

The film stars Daniel Day-Lewis in his final onscreen role as an iconic dressmaker in 1950s London, who lives and works alongside his sister (Lesley Manville). However, after striking up what he thinks will be another short-lived relationship with a young woman from the country (Vicky Krieps), his fine-tuned world—in which everything revolves around him—is upended in the best way possible. There are shades of Rebecca here, and the entire film is impeccably crafted with a phenomenal Johnny Greenwood score and gorgeous cinematography. The performances are fantastic, breathing life into complex, self-serious characters while Anderson’s script knows exactly which buttons to push.

 

Phantom Thread is a delight through and through; a story about love, sacrifice, and “tortured” artists. And it may just be one of Paul Thomas Anderson’s very best films. — Adam Chitwood

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Image via Fox Searchlight

If you need a Coen-esque fix, you’re not going to do much better than Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Featuring Frances McDormand in yet another Oscar-worthy turn, she plays an angry, grieving mother who, in her rage at the local police department being unable to solve her daughter’s rape and murder, rents three billboards calling out the sheriff (Woody Harrelson).

What makes Three Billboards such a marvel is that even though McDonagh beautifully laces it with pitch black humor, the soul of the movie is about the impossibility of justice and the cost of redemption. Rather than offer homilies and salves, Three Billboards is bitter and angry, and it provides no easy answers. Even the redemption arc for a corrupt local cop, played brilliantly by Sam Rockwell, is complicated by his vile actions against his personal sacrifice. Three Billboards isn’t a light movie, but it’s one that’s absolutely worth seeing. – Matt Goldberg

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

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

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

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

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