Best Movies Streaming March 2018

(Welcome to Now Stream This, a column dedicated to the best movies streaming on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and every other streaming service out there.) 

The year ticks on. February comes to a close, and March begins. I can think of no better way to kick-off a brand new month than a list of great movies to stream right now (but that may be because I have a limited imagination, who knows). As always, I’ve scoured the far corners of the streaming world to bring you back these entertaining riches.

In this latest edition of Now Stream This, we have a surprisingly funny history lesson from Steven Spielberg, a horror classic that invented an entirely new genre, a Martin Scorsese crime epic, a ’70s mystery movie starring Gene Hackman, a phenomenal new miniseries from Hulu, Steven Soderbergh’s return from retirement, a ’90s thriller, and more!

These are the best movies streaming right now (and a little TV as well). Let’s get streaming.

1. Lincoln
Now Streaming on Netflix

Release Date: 2012

Genre: Historical Drama

Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook and Tommy Lee Jones

Rather than make a standard biopic about Abraham Lincoln, Steven Spielberg instead focuses on the events surrounding Lincoln’s push to ratify the 13th Amendment, and thus end slavery and also the Civil War. Far from being a stuffy history lesson, Spielberg’s Lincoln is bustling with life, thanks in part to Tony Kushner’s peppy and surprisingly funny script. What also makes Lincoln so special is the lead performance from Daniel Day-Lewis, who manages to make the 16th President of the Untied States seem like a flesh and blood human being, and not just some marble bust from the past. Watching Lincolnwhich is filled with moments that highlight the grandeur and dignity of the office of the President, here in 2018 is a little depressing – when Day-Lewis’ Honest Abe thunders, “I am the President of the United States, clothed with immense power!”, it’s nearly impossible to not shudder involuntarily when you remember who occupies that office today. Beyond that, though, this is a phenomenal film, and one of Spielberg’s best. It’s also a who’s-who of great character actors: Adam Driver, Bruce McGill, Lee Pace, Michael Stuhlbarg, Walton Goggins, Tim Blake Nelson, John Hawkes and more all pop-up for memorable appearances.

For fans of: The Civil War (the Ken Burns’ documentary, not the actual war), Young Mr. LincolnBridge of Spies, jokes about George Washington.

2. Night Moves
Now Streaming on FilmStruck

Release Date: 1975

Genre: Mystery

Director: Arthur Penn

Cast: Gene Hackman, Jennifer Warren, Susan Clark, Melanie Griffith, James Woods.

FilmStruck recently added the entire Warner Archive collection to their platform. There are a ton of new titles to pick from, but one that particularly stands-out is this 1975 flick from Arthur Penn. The great Gene Hackman (please come out of retirement for one last role, Mr. Hackman) plays Harry Moseby, a former football player now working as a private eye. Harry is hired by an aging actress to find her missing daughter, and the case takes Harry down to the Florida Keys. Once there, he finds the daughter rather quickly – she’s hiding out with her stepfather. Rather than take the girl back home right away, Harry ends up falling into an affair with Paula, the girlfriend of the stepfather. Things only get more complicated from there. Night Moves is a slow-burn thriller; the type they don’t make anymore. Hackman is, as always, fantastic, and he carries almost the entire film on his shoulders. Also, there’s a scene where he’s lounging in bed following sex making some fondue. The film culminates in a thrilling sequence out at sea, with shocking result.s

For fans of: The ConversationThe Long GoodbyeBlood Simple, post-coitus fondue.

3. Casino
Streaming on Netflix March 1

Release Date: 1995

Genre: Long and violent drama

Director: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Sharon Stone

In 1995, Martin Scorsese reunited with Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci for another crime saga. Casino is vastly different than GoodFellas, though. With Casino, Scorsese ratchets up the excess – because excess is part of the film’s theme. Everything is bigger, and louder, in Vegas – including the violence. De Niro is an expert gambler who heads to Las Vegas in the ’70s to run a casino. Pesci is his mobbed-up pal who follows him down there, and proceeds to run a ruthless crime empire in the process. Sharon Stone plays the high-roller De Niro falls for, much to his regret. At a whopping 178 minutes, Casino unfolds like a great epic. This is Lawrence of Arabia with neon.

For fans of: GoodfellasMean StreetsBugsy, characters being cut-off mid-voice-over because they’ve been hit with a baseball bat.

4. Night of the Living Dead
Now Streaming on FilmStruck

Release Date: 1968

Genre: Horror

Director: George A. Romero

Cast: Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Marilyn Eastman, Karl Hardman, Judith Ridley, Keith Wayne

No one involved with George Romero‘s low-budget horror movie Night of the Living Dead could’ve predicted it would change the face of cinema forever. Romero and company thought they were making a drive-in monster movie, only to create a film that would redefine independent cinema, horror movies, and more. With this one film, Romero effectively created an entirely new sub-genre of film: the zombie movie, which lives on to this day. By now, you know the story, right? A group of strangers get trapped in a house during a zombie outbreak, and proceed to go at each other’s throats while also trying to save their own necks from the ghouls outside. It’s so damn simple, yet Romero milks the concept for everything it’s worth, and creates a film with social undertones in the process. FilmStruck’s Criterion Channel has added the recent Criterion Collection release of the film, and this is without question the definitive version of the film, remastered to perfection. All of the disc’s special features are available to stream as well, so what are you waiting for?

For fans of: Dawn of the DeadDay of the DeadLand of the Dead, ghouls galore.

5. The Looming Tower
Now Streaming on Hulu

Release Date: 2018

Genre: Miniseries

Director: Alex Gibney and others

Cast: Tahar Rahim, Jeff Daniels, Peter Sarsgaard, Wrenn Schmidt, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bill Camp

One of the best new TV shows of 2018 hits Hulu this week. The Looming Tower is adapted from Lawrence Wright‘s Pulitzer Prize winning book of the same name, and traces the events that lead to the rise of Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. The series tells the story from the point of view of several different groups, most notably the FBI, represented by Jeff Daniels, and the CIA, represented by Peter Sarsgaard. As the series unfolds, it becomes clear that the events of September 11, 2001 might not have happened at all had these warring agencies been able to get on the same page. This is a pulse-pounding, supremely well-acted series that hooks you from the get-go.

For fans of: Zero Dark ThirtyFair GameBreach, great character actors wearing great wigs.

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