The 38 Best Movies on Max Right Now

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

HBO Max is now Max, but don’t fret — the movies you loved to watch on HBO Max all survived the transition. The new streaming service combines what was on HBO Max and Discovery+ into one giant streamer, but it maintains the stellar library of films that made HBO Max a favorite of cinephiles. And if you’re trying to figure out what to watch on Max, you’ve come to the right place.

Below, we’ve assembled a list of the best movies available to stream on Max right now, from comedies to blockbusters to rom-coms to Oscar-winning dramas and beyond. Since first launching in 2020, HBO Max quickly solidified itself as lowkey one of the best streaming services around, with a robust library of some genuinely great movies past and present to choose from. It now has a different name, but it’s a true bounty of choice with plenty of older films alongside bona fide new releases.

Take a look at our curated list of the best movies on Max below. This list will be updated weekly with new titles, so be sure to check back often.

A Ghost Story

a-ghost-story-rooney-mara
A24

If existential dread is your bag, “A Ghost Story” is one of the more unique entries in the “ghost movie” genre in the last decade. This original indie from writer/director David Lowery stars Casey Affleck as a man who dies and becomes a ghost, destined to haunt the small Texas home he shared with his wife for all time. It’s a decidedly lo-fi affair — Affleck and other ghost characters appear wearing sheets with their eye holes cut out, and Lowery presents the film in 1:3 aspect ratio. But it’s also a tremendously moving piece of work that builds to a climax that packs an emotional wallop.

Barbie

barbie-ryan-gosling-margot-robbie
Warner Bros. Pictures

The biggest film of the year is now streaming on Max. “Barbie” is an impossibly good blockbuster. It has the care, wit and charm you’d expect from a Greta Gerwig joint, but the scale only possible with the kind of budget provided to certain IP. Margot Robbie is impeccable as she traces a journey of awareness for the titular doll, especially as it relates to Barbie’s place in the world as a woman. And Ryan Gosling once again proves he’s quietly the best comedic actor working today with his turn as himbo Ken. This movie is a dream.

Midsommar

midsommar-florence-pugh
A24

Ring in the impending spring with “Midsommar,” one of the brightest and most colorful horror movies ever made. Ari Aster’s 2019 film that became an A24 favorite stars Florence Pugh as a young woman grieving the death of her sister and parents who invites herself on a trip to a midsummer festival at a commune with her boyfriend and his friends. But what starts as a curious and lovely trip into a tight-knit community soon turns into a nightmare as the rituals planned for this particular festival aren’t all fun and games. Pugh is incredible and Aster proves to be a master at tone as he keeps a visually restrained approach that makes the horrors all the more horrifying.

The Notebook

the-notebook
Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams in “The Notebook” (New Line Cinema)

If you’re looking for something romantic to spin up for Valentine’s Day, you can’t go wrong with “The Notebook.” This 2004 Nicholas Sparks adaptation made movie stars out of Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling and added more than a few iconic scenes into Hollywood lexicon. The story unfolds in two timelines as an elderly man reads a love story to a woman in a nursing home, and the story comes to life as the 1940s-set romance between McAdams’ heiress and Gosling’s lumber mill worker. If you don’t shed a tear by the end, check your pulse – you may be dead inside.

Mad Max: Fury Road

charlize-theron-mad-max-fury-road
Warner Bros.

Prepare for the prequel “Furiosa” by catching “Mad Max: Fury Road.” You don’t have to be familiar with the “Mad Max” franchise in order to appreciate the pulse-pounding at the story of this film, which finds captive Max (played by Tom Hardy) hopping aboard an oil tanker driven by Furiosa (Charlize Theron) who is absconding from Immortan Joe’s Citadel with his “wives” in tow. A chase ensues, and indeed the entirety of “Mad Max: Fury Road” is one car chase from start to finish, but captured in jaw-dropping form by Miller, who takes a meticulous approach to the action. But on top of the theatrics, the film is also a meaty feminist diatribe that leaves you with much to chew on after you’ve finished your popcorn.

The Informant!

The Informant!
Warner Bros.

Whether it’s “Ocean’s Eleven,” “Magic Mike” or “Logan Lucky,” filmmaker Steven Soderbergh has a very specific, very hilarious, very dry sense of humor that’s like a breath of fresh air. This is certainly true of Soderbergh’s 2009 film The Informant!, one of his absolute best. The film stars a beefed-up Matt Damon as Mark Whitacre, a rising star at a food processing corporation in the 1990s who decided to turn whistleblower — except he’s very, very bad at it. “The Informant!” is based on true events, but Mark is played as such a buffoon and his increasingly strange behavior is chronicled in hilarious fashion by Soderbergh. Damon gives one of his most exciting performances, and the film also offers up one of the best examples of narration ever.

Under the Silver Lake

under-the-silver-lake-andrew-garfield
A24

If you’re looking for a summer movie to watch that’s somewhat underrated, offbeat or downright odd, get thee to “Under the Silver Lake.” The 2018 film comes from “It Follows” filmmaker David Robert Mitchell and stars Andrew Garfield as a disenchanted man who, after a seemingly magical night with a young woman (played by Riley Keough), sets out to uncover the truth behind her apparent disappearance. This is a detective movie by way of aimless ennui, with a sharp commentary on toxic masculinity as it follows Garfield’s character down a series of cascading rabbit holes throughout Los Angeles.

The Skeleton Twins

the-skeleton-twins-bill-hader-kristen-wiig
Roadside Attractions

Bill Hader has said that it was this Sundance hit that sparked HBO to want to work with the “SNL” alum on what would become his hit series “Barry.” In “The Skeleton Twins,” Hader plays a man who, after attempting suicide, is reunited with his twin sister (played by Kristen Wiig) in their hometown. The somewhat estranged siblings discover their lives have more in common than they thought, and Hader and Wiig both deliver tremendous performances that balance comedy with drama.

Avatar: The Way of Water

Avatar The Way of Water
Disney

Over a decade in the making, James Cameron’s “Avatar” sequel was well worth the wait. The three-hour “Avatar: The Way of Water” is a truly immersive follow-up to Cameron’s Oscar-winning 2009 film that pushes the groundbreaking technology even further, all in service of storytelling. Cameron is the king of big emotions and that’s true here, as “Avatar 2” resembles his gargantuan “Titanic” in more ways than one — including a rip-roaring third act that never lets up.

The Harry Potter Franchise

'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban'
‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’

All eight films in the “Harry Potter” franchise are currently streaming on Max, making for a fulfilling binge-viewing if you so desire. The eight-part series still stands as one of the best and most complete film franchises of all time, as it charts the adventures of a boy wizard from his very beginnings to his final showdown with the evil Lord Voldemort. What makes “Harry Potter” so brilliant is the films evolve and mature along with the characters, so while the first few films are bright and cheery – just like their young protagonists – the latter films are dark and complex, reflecting the characters being forced into adulthood.

Good Will Hunting

Miramax
Miramax

The film that launched Matt Damon and Ben Affleck onto the world’s stage – and the Oscars stage – remains a moving, artful drama over two decades later. In “Good Will Hunting,” Damon stars as a janitor at MIT who solves an unsolvable problem on a chalkboard, which puts him on the radar of a professor (played by Stellan Skarsgard) who subsequently takes him under his wing. But after a fight puts Will in front of a judge, he’s ordered to therapy sessions with a mild-mannered therapist who happens to be an old friend of the professor’s. Robin Williams gives an Oscar-winning turn as the therapist, while the ensemble is rounded out by Minnie Driver, Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck and Cole Hauser.

Southside With You

Miramax/Roadside
Miramax/Roadside

This little-seen indie is a remarkable take on the biopic, as it pulls back the curtain on the lives of Barack Obama and Michelle Obama by imagining a single day in their lives in 1989, when a meeting to discuss community organizing turns into a date. Parker Sawyers plays the former president while Tika Sumpter plays the former first lady, and Richard Tanne writes and directs this engaging drama that takes inspiration from Richard Linklater’s “Before” trilogy.

Edge of Tomorrow

edge-of-tomorrow-tom-cruise-emily-blunt
Warner Bros.

One of the best films in Tom Cruise’s career (and that’s saying something), “Edge of Tomorrow” is also low-key the best video game movie ever made. The sci-fi film takes place in a near future where an alien invasion threatens to wipe out the globe. Cruise plays a cowardly public relations officer who is thrust onto the battlefront in London, where he is killed – only to wake up to relive the same day over again. And again. And again. He finds a companion in the toughest warrior on the field, played by Emily Blunt, who previously went through the same experience he did. Together, the two must find a way to win this unwinnable battle as the “Groundhog Day” clock starts running out. Doug Liman of “The Bourne Identity” fame directs.

Swiss Army Man

swiss-army-man-daniel-radcliffe-paul-dano
A24

If you love “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” you owe it to yourself to watch the last film made by the directing duo Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan, “Swiss Army Man.” Similarly unique, the film stars Paul Dano as a man stranded on an island who comes across a dead body (played by Daniel Radcliffe). He begins using the body as a utility (hence the film’s title), and the lifeless character starts to speak back to him and respond to what’s going on. This one’s really hard to explain in a way that makes it sound palatable, but it’s equal parts hilarious and emotional, with an incredible original score by Manchester Orchestra.

All That Breathes

all that breathes
HBO Max

You can watch one of the documentaries up for this year’s Best Documentary Feature Oscar on HBO Max this month, and it’s a great one. “All That Breathes” follows two brothers living in New Delhi who capture and treat birds that are dropping from the sky due to the increasing pollution. What really makes this doc soar, though, is director Shaunauk Sen’s cinematic approach to the film. Long takes, slow pans and evocative cinematography capture life in New Delhi in a transfixing way, making the emotional twists and turns all the more impactful.

The Menu

the-menu-ralph-fiennes-anya-taylor-joy
“The Menu” (Searchlight Pictures)

If you’re into darkly comic satires, serve up “The Menu.” Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult star as a well-to-do couple who travel to a remote island near New York to have a premiere dining experience, in which Ralph Fiennes and his teams of chefs will prepare a multi-course meal right in front of these exclusive guests. All is not what it seems, however, and Joy’s character discovers she’s in for something much different than she expected. To say more would spoil the fun, but this one’s a treat.

Hereditary

Hereditary
A24

If you’re looking to get absolutely messed up, watch “Hereditary”! Filmmaker Ari Aster’s breakout 2018 horror film stars Toni Collette as the matriarch of a family who finds themselves haunted (both literally and figuratively) after the death of her mother. It’s hard to explain why “Hereditary” is worth watching without spoiling its twists and turns, but Collette delivers an astoundingly good performance and Aster brings a patient command of the screen that makes the horrors within all the more unsettling.

The Banshees of Inisherin

The Banshees of Inisherin
The Banshees of Inisherin (Searchlight Pictures)

The “In Bruges” trio of Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson and writer/director Martin McDonagh reunite for the darkly hilarious new film “The Banshees of Inisherin,” which is a worthy follow-up to their raucous 2008 dark comedy. Set in 1923 during the waning days of the Irish Civil War, the story begins when a man played by Gleeson tells another man, played by Farrell, that he doesn’t want to be friends with him anymore. This sends Farrell’s character down a spiral, as Gleeson’s character tries to left him off easy but both learn that cutting off a friendship has dire consequences. Supporting turns by Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan round out this sad yet bitingly funny tale of friendship, loneliness and frivolity.

Barbarian

Barbarian Justin Long box office
20th Century

One of the best films of the year is one you should know as little about as possible going in. Suffice it to say “Barbarian” is a creepy horror thriller that surprises at every turn – it’s incredibly difficult to predict what happens next, but with each wild twist the film digs its nails deeper and deeper into your skin, building to an unforgettable climax. The most basic setup of the plot is Georgina Campbell plays a young woman who shows up to an Airbnb to discover it’s been double booked, as a man played by Bill Skarsgård opens the door. Turn out the lights, flip this one on and buckle up.

Elvis

Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

“Elvis” is a biopic of The King by way of “Moulin Rouge!” and “Romeo + Juliet” filmmaker Baz Luhrmann. Which is to say it’s wildly kinetic, exciting and unlike any take on Elvis Presley’s life before. There are the usual Luhrmann flourishes, especially in the first half of the film, but they fit snugly with the chronicle of a larger-than-life figure. Austin Butler transforms into the role of Elvis, delivering a jaw-dropping performance, while Tom Hanks anchors the film as Presley’s conniving business manager Colonel Tom Parker. The story is told from Parker’s perspective, which offers an interesting twist to the storytelling, but it’s clear Luhrmann cares deeply about doing justice to Elvis’ story. And that soundtrack!

Ex Machina

Ex Machina
Alicia Vikander in “Ex Machina” (A24)

A heady sci-fi two-hander with an iconic dance break from Oscar Isaac, 2014’s “Ex Machina” contains multitudes. The film hails from writer/director Alex Garland, whose knack for telling smart (and thought-provoking) sci-fi stories ranges from “Annihilation” to “Devs.” In “Ex Machina,” Isaac plays an enigmatic billionaire who summons a programmer (played by Domhnall Gleeson) to his remote compound to assess whether his A.I. creation (played by Alicia Vikander). Philosophical conversations are interspersed with feelings of dread and horror, as Garland masterfully weaves a tale about what it means to be human.

Batman Returns

Batman Returns
Warner Bros.

Tim Burton’s 1992 sequel remains one of the boldest, most interesting and sexiest Batman movies ever made – and it holds up tremendously well. “Batman Returns” is the superior follow-up to Burton’s 1989 hit, with Michael Keaton reprising his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Michelle Pfeiffer is phenomenal as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, with the character serving as a tempting mirror of Bruce Wayne’s own dichotomy — a more violent path towards vigilantism and revenge. There’s also Danny DeVito’s snarling Penguin, and perhaps most terrifying of all Christopher Walken’s soulless businessman Max Schreck. With a Christmas setting and Burton pushing the Gothic aesthetics to the extreme, this is one of the best Batman movies ever made.

Under the Skin

Under the Skin
A24

If you’re an adventurous sci-fi fan, “Under the Skin” is a must-see. This singular, unnerving film from director Jonathan Glazer stars Scarlett Johansson as an alien woman who preys on men in Scotland. But instead of high-flying theatrics, CGI or predictable plot structure, “Under the Skin” surprises at every turn. Johansson’s performance is predatory and elegant all at once, and the way Glazer captures her character’s kills will keep you up at night. Add in a transfixing score by composer Mica Levi, and this one will have you under its spell.

The Batman

the-batman-robert-pattinson
Warner Bros.

Putting a new spin on a character like Batman is incredibly difficult, but director Matt Reeves and star Robert Pattinson accomplish this and much more in the 2022 reboot “The Batman.” The film picks up in Bruce Wayne’s second year of prowling the streets as the caped crusader, and finds him roped into an investigation into a series of killings committed by The Riddler (Paul Dano). Reeves draws from films like “Zodiac” and “All the President’s Men” to result in a process-driven (and wildly compelling) crime thriller that packs some of the most striking cinematography in the character’s history thanks to Oscar-winner Greig Fraser. And that score by Michael Giacchino is a new classic. At three hours in length this one’s quite long, but it’s the detective-driven Batman story fans have long been waiting for.

Dune

Dune - Timothee Chalamet
Warner Bros.

Director Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” is the kind of prestige, epic sci-fi adaptation that studios rarely make, and for that alone it’s worth seeking out. Based on the Frank Herbert novel of the same name, the film stars Timothee Chalamet as the young Paul Atreides, a man who accompanies his family House Atreides as they’re tasked with overseeing the mining of a valuable resource on the planet Arrakis. But once they arrive, they struggle against the planet’s native population and the nefarious House Harkonnen who wants its position back at all costs. This film, gorgeously crafted, is the first half of the “Dune” story with the second half due to be adapted in the forthcoming sequel “Dune: Part Two.”

Malignant

malignant
Warner Bros.

You must be on the right wavelength to enjoy “Malignant,” but if you’re down for a horror movie that plays out with a knowing wink, this might become a new favorite. From “Aquaman” and “The Conjuring” director James Wan, the film stars Annabelle Wallis as a woman who begins to have visions of people being murdered, and when she starts digging into her past she discovers disturbing secrets – all while a killer is on the loose. This thing goes from creepy horror film to murder mystery to campy monster movie and never misses a beat, and the third act is a total blast.

Singin’ in the Rain

singin-in-the-rain
MGM

Quite simply one of the most joyous films ever made, there’s no way that “Singin’ in the Rain” will leave you in a bad mood. Released in 1952, the film is set against the backdrop of the transition from silent films to “talkies” and revolves around three Hollywood performers: Gene Kelly is Don Lockwood, Debbie Reynolds is Kathy Selden and Donald O’Connor is Cosmo Brown. In addition to telling a compelling Hollywood-set story, the film boasts some of the most mesmerizing musical numbers ever put to film, from the acrobatics of “Make ‘Em Laugh” to Kelly’s iconic “Singin’ in the Rain.” This is a perfect feel-good movie.

The Suicide Squad

the-suicide-squad-idris-elba
Warner Bros.

While filmmaker James Gunn brought a lighter sensibility to his “Guardians of the Galaxy” films for Marvel Studios, his DC film “The Suicide Squad” harkens back to the darkness of his earlier work. Not quite a sequel and not quite a reboot, the 2021 film largely stands alone as it follows the anti-hero team of Task Force X – which includes Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and Idris Elba’s Bloodsport – as they’re assigned to sneak into a foreign country on a top secret mission. R-rating antics abound, but there’s a surprising humanity at the center of this gloriously weird and wild superhero movie.

Spielberg

If you’re a fan of the work of Steven Spielberg, then the documentary “Spielberg” is a must-watch. The film is anchored by an interview with Spielberg himself (and his family members) as it runs through his storied career, with the filmmaker offering candid insight along the way. If you’ve ever wondered how Spielberg took the blow of “1941” or why “Catch Me If You Can” was rooted in a family secret, those answers and more are found within.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League

zack-snyders-justice-league
HBO Max

At four hours in length, “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” is really for interested parties only, but for those with even a passing familiarity with “Man of Steel,” “Batman v. Superman” and “Wonder Woman,” this HBO Max exclusive marks a fascinating, rich and wildly different take on “Justice League” than the one that was released in theaters in 2017. Presented in six chapters with an epilogue, everyone gets more story this time around, and it’s for the better. Cyborg (Ray Fisher) provides some emotional heft; Superman (Henry Cavill) actually gets some depth; and Ben Affleck’s Batman gets more to do than half-heartedly pull together a Justice League. This film is director Zack Snyder’s unfiltered vision for better and for worse, and that includes some major teases for sequels that never came to fruition, plenty of violence and lots of slow motion. And honestly? It’s good.

No Sudden Move

HBO Max
HBO Max

Steven Soderbergh’s HBO Max original film “No Sudden Move” is a heck of a crime thriller. Set in 1954 Detroit, it stars Don Cheadle as a gangster short on cash who wants to leave town, and who reluctantly agrees to do a job that immediately goes sideways. He’s then on the run with a fellow gangster played by Benicio Del Toro, trying to figure out who he can trust and discovering who’s behind it all. The script by Ed Solomon brilliantly weaves a twist-filled story with thematic resonance, as the film uses historical context to add to the complexity of its plot and characters.

2001: A Space Odyssey

MGM
MGM

If you’re looking to watch a sci-fi classic that may or may not make your head hurt a little bit, try Stanley Kubrick’s masterful 1968 film “2001: A Space Odyssey.” The epic adventure takes place in the year 2001 (then the future) and follows a crew that’s sent to Jupiter after a mysterious monolith is discovered on Earth. Aboard the ship is a computer named HAL that wreaks havoc on the mission. This is one of the most visually stunning and perplexing films of all-time – a true work of art that’s open to various forms of interpretation by the time you reach the end of the journey.

The Matrix Quadrilogy

the-matrix-reloaded-keanu-reeves
Warner Bros.

Revisit the original trilogy before taking in the truly bonkers fourth “Matrix” film “The Matrix Resurrections.” “The Matrix,” from 1999, remains the best of the bunch, as Keanu Reeves plays a man named Neo who is awoken to the truth that the world he inhabits is actually a computer program called The Matrix, and the real world is actually a desolate landscape run by machines. The story gets far more complicated from there in “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions,” as the few humans awake in the real world stage a coup against their machine overlords. Writers and directors The Wachowskis break ground both in terms of action and allegorical storytelling, as the films are loaded with heady philosophical ideas.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema

With the holiday season comes plenty of vacation time, and if you’re in for a really long binge-watch, “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy will do the trick. Peter Jackson’s epic trio of J.R.R. Tolkein adaptations remain some of the most accomplished achievements in the history of moviemaking, as this fantastical tale of a young hobbit who sets out to save the world as he knows it is crafted with ingenuity and passion to spare. Whether it’s your first or fifth time to Middle-earth, it’s a journey well worth taking. As a bonus, HBO Max offers both the theatrical versions and the richer extended versions available to stream.

The post The 38 Best Movies on Max Right Now appeared first on TheWrap.