The Best Movies on HBO Right Now

Last Updated: February 5th

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.

Knight and Day

Image via 20th Century Fox

Director: James Mangold

Writer: Patrick O’Neill

Cast: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Viola Davis, Gal Gadot, and Paul Dano

Knight and Day gets a bad wrap, but it’s a fun, flirty, and flighty spy comedy. Tom Cruise plays a man on the run from the CIA who bumps into a woman (Cameron Diaz) who gets roped into a vast conspiracy against her will. In the vein of Charade or any number of Hitchcock thrillers, this movie is all about the chemistry between Cruise and Diaz, and the two are a blast to watch onscreen. James Mangold pulls from both his romantic comedy and action backgrounds to craft a hybrid of sorts, but in the end Knight and Day is mostly just a cheerful, joyous crowdpleaser. – Adam Chitwood

The Prestige

Image via Warner Bros.

Director: Christopher Nolan

Writers: Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall, Andy Serkis, and David Bowie

The Prestige is the most essential film to unlocking Christopher Nolan the filmmaker. It speaks to his overall philosophy when it comes to storytelling, and its themes are prevalent in nearly every single one of his films. It’s also one of his best movies to date. Set in London at the end of the 19th century, Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale are dueling magicians with very different approaches to their craft. When Bale’s character unveils a seemingly impossible trick, Jackman’s character is driven mad trying to figure out how it works. It’s a story of obsession, devotion, and priorities, and the film’s non-linear structure makes for a wildly compelling watch. – Adam Chitwood

Ocean's 8

Image via Warner Bros.

If they came out with a new Ocean’s movie every two years, that would be more than okay with me. Instead, it’s been over a decade since the last installment in the Ocean’s franchise, but the new movie doesn’t miss a beat with its all-female cast led by a cool-as-a-cucumber Sandra Bullock as Danny Ocean’s sister, Debbie Ocean. After spending five years in prison, Debbie is determined to swipe a valuable diamond necklace off the neck of vainglorious movie star Daphne Kluger (a scene-stealing Anne Hathaway) with the help of six fellow criminals. Gary Ross’ movie plays by the beats you’d expect of an Ocean’s movie, and you just want to wrap yourself in those beats like a warm, luxurious blanket you stole from a rich person. – Matt Goldberg

Logan

Image via 20th Century Fox

Director: James Mangold

Writers: Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, and Richard E. Grant

The saga of Wolverine on screen has seen its ups and downs, but it’s never been done better than the conclusion of his story with Logan. Taking place in a not-too-distant future where most of the X-Men have mysteriously died, an aging Logan (Hugh Jackman) cares for a dying Professor X (Patrick Stewart), but both their lives are thrown into upheaval when they come across a young girl (Dafne Keen) who has powers similar to Logan’s. Director James Mangold perfectly utilizes the tale of the beloved superhero to craft a beautiful story about legacy, fatherhood, regret, and redemption. – Matt Goldberg

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

Love, Simon

Image via 20th Century Fox

A movie that’s this funny, sweet, charming, and moving is an easy recommendation. The story follows Simon (Nick Robinson), a closeted gay teen who learns about another closeted gay kid at his high school through an anonymous Tumblr post. The two begin e-mailing back and forth and start up a unique love affair. However, when a creepy guy finds the e-mails, he blackmails Simon into helping set the guy up with one of Simon’s friends. Watching Simon try to hold his life together with both hands may seem stressful and daunting, but director Greg Berlanti makes it look effortless while never losing any of the emotional impact. The movie has a lot of love for its protagonist and all the other closeted gay teens who deserve a love story of their own. Love, Simon delivers it. – Matt Goldberg

The American President

Image via Columbia Pictures

Director: Rob Reiner

Writer: Aaron Sorkin

Cast: Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, Martin Sheen, Michael J. Fox, and Richard Dreyfuss

After creating one of the best films of the decade with A Few Good Men, director Rob Reiner reteamed with screenwriter Aaron Sorkin for The American President, which slightly foreshadows the light comedy blended with serious issues that Sorkin would later bring to The West Wing. The story follows bachelor President Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas) who falls for lobbyist Sydney Ellen Wade (Annette Bening) and tries to woo and court her in the middle of a media firestorm. The film never loses its romanticism even as it makes some sharp observations about the 24-hour news media and judging a politician by their personal life even if that personal life is nothing more innocuous than dating between two consenting adults. It’s a wonderful, funny movie that ends with one hell of a powerhouse monologue. – Matt Goldberg

Paddington 2

Director: Paul King

Writers: Paul King and Simon Farnaby

Cast: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant, Brendan Gleeson, Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonneville, Julie Walters, and Imelda Staunton

This movie is a pure delight from start to finish, and it’s even better than the terrific first film. This time around Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) is trying to get a birthday present for his Aunt Lucy (voiced by Imelda Staunton), but he ends up getting framed for robbery by a nefarious, diabolical, washed-up stage actor (Hugh Grant being hilarious and wonderful). Paddington’s family must unite to prove his innocence while Paddington learns to make friends in prison, including the facility’s grizzled cook, Knucles McGinty (Brendan Gleeson).

There should be a law against making a movie this charming and lovable, but Paddington 2 is just a bright ray of sunshine about the importance of being kind and helping others. It should be corny and mawkish, but it comes off as completely earned and honest. If you’re feeling down, Paddington 2 will definitely brighten your day. – Matt Goldberg

Blockers

Director: Kay Cannon

Writers: Brian Kehoe & Jim Kehoe

Cast: Leslie Mann, John Cena, Ike Barinholtz, Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Viswanathan, and Gideon Adlon

Blockers could have gone horribly wrong if it had been about parents who hate sex trying to stop their teenage daughters from having sex. But Kay Cannon’s raunchy comedy works not only because of the hilarious cast, but because it uses the sex as a proxy for deeper issues. One parent wants to stop her daughter from having sex because she believes it will be the first step in her child moving away and leaving her alone; another parent wants to stop it because he’s estranged from his daughter and wants to be a more active part of her life. With the motives better established, Blockers is free to be painfully funny and it’s got plenty of great gags along the way to make it one of 2018’s best comedies. – Matt Goldberg

Traffic

Image via USA Films

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Stephen Gaghan

Cast: Michael Douglas, Don Cheadle, Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Quaid, and Catherine Zeta-Jones

Many have tried but few have been able to successfully emulate Steven Soderbergh’s sprawling, multi-dimensional look at the war on drugs. Soderberg takes us from the addicts to the drug czars to the cartels to the officers on the front lines, and it never feels like a PSA or detached work of observation. He nails ever emotional beat despite the large cast and various plot thread, and almost twenty years later, it still packs a hell of a punch even as other works have gone inside the drug war. They may be good, but many of them exist in the shadow of Traffic. – 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

Big Fish

Image via Columbia Pictures

Director: Tim Burton

Writer: John August

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange, Helena Bonham Carter, and Alison Lohman

Tim Burton has yet to eclipse his 2003 adaptation of Daniel Wallace’s novel. The story follows Will Bloom (Billy Crudup), who’s on the cusp of becoming a father, but is continually frustrated by his own father, Ed Bloom (Albert Finney), whose tall tales always seem to eclipse the truth of his younger days (played by Ewan McGregor). Burton has always been fascinated by the intersection of imagination and reality, and here he finds a heartfelt way to convey it within a father-son story that’s both sweet and thoughtful without ever being cloying. While Burton’s tropes have eventually become a prison for the director, Big Fish sees the director at his best and with a story worth telling. – Matt Goldberg

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

The Post

Image via 20th Century Fox

When you have Steven Spielberg and this cast at the top of their game, you’re bound to come away with a good movie. While many will point out how timely The Post is—and it certainly doesn’t shy away from the necessity of a free press or the importance of powerful women in the workplace—the film is also just remarkably crafted from top to bottom. The entire cast is outstanding, Spielberg continues to show why he’s a living legend, and the story is impeccably told even if it can be a little on the nose at times with its critiques and declarations.

And yet The Post makes for an enjoyable picture where you get to see seasoned journalists diving into the nitty-gritty of their work. For anyone who misunderstands journalism or is quick to blow off the media, The Post makes a forceful point about what journalists actually do both in terms of dramatically finding sources and the less glamorous work of digging through pages of documents. In a time where the President whines about “Fake News” every time he hears a story he doesn’t like, The Post feels like a story we need now more than ever. – 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

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 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

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

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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