best movies streaming right now

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

Greetings, streamers. Now Stream This has returned from an expedition from the uncharted lands of your favorite streaming services to bring you back a rich bounty of recommendations. In this edition of Now Stream This, we have a Stephen Hawking documentary, a scary-as-hell international horror movie, an influential classic, a surprisingly clever thriller, a gothic vampire film, a raunch comedy, an ’80s action movie, a chilly British ghost story, and, believe it or not, Power Rangers.

These are the best movies streaming right now. Let’s get streaming.

1. A Brief History of Time
Now Streaming on FilmStruck

Release Date: 1991

Genre: Documentary

Director: Errol Morris

Cast: Stephen Hawking

Physicist Stephen Hawking died this week – a brilliant man exiting an increasingly dumbed-down world. Hawking was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 21, and doctors expected him to only live for another 2 years after the diagnosis. He ended up living for 55 years instead. Hawking enjoyed a pop-culture infused popularity, appearing on The SimpsonsStar Trek and more. He even got his own weepy biopic, the mostly-bland The Theory of Everything. But the ultimate Hawking film is Errol Morris‘ documentary A Brief History of Time. The title comes from Hawking’s 1988 book. Yet while Hawking’s book is about cosmology, Morris’ film is about Hawking’s remarkable life. Featuring a haunting score by Philip GlassA Brief History of Time is a must-see for anyone curious to learn more about the late, great Stephen Hawking.

For fans of: The Thin Blue LineThe Fog of WarWormwood, the age old question: which came first, the chicken or the egg?

2. Veronica
Now Streaming on Netflix

Release Date: 2017

Genre: International Horror

Director: Paco Plaza

Cast: Sandra Escacena, Bruna González, Claudia Placer, Iván Chavero, Ana Torrent, Consuelo Trujillo

You want to see something scary? Check out the nerve-jangling Veronica, now streaming on Netflix. This Spanish horror movie from Paco Plaza, one of the director’s of REC, uses a somewhat familiar haunting/possession-style storyline, and then ramps it up to 11 with style and genuinely creepy moments. During a solar eclipse, high schooler Veronica (Sandra Escacena) uses an Ouija board to contact her dead father. As anyone who has ever seen a horror movie can tell you, using an Ouija board is always bad news. Soon, Veronica is plagued with terrifying visions and fears for her life, the life of her young siblings. There’s nothing really new here in terms of subject matter, but Plaza’s direction is so assured, and so attuned to creating maximum terror, that the film works like gangbusters.

For fans of: The Exorcism of Emily RoseThe ConjuringOuija: Origin of Evil, sleeping with the lights on.

3. Bonnie and Clyde
Now Streaming on FilmStruck

Release Date: 1967

Genre: Crime-Drama

Director: Arthur Penn

Cast:  Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard, Gene Hackman, Estelle Parsons, Denver Pyle, Dub Taylor, Gene Wilder, Evans Evans

In 1967, Arthur Penn‘s Bonnie and Clyde brought the aesthetic of the French New Wave to Hollywood. Warner Bros. founder Jack Warner hated the film, and didn’t understand what the hell the point of it all was. He wasn’t alone – screenwriters David Newman and Robert Benton spent years trying to get their script made, with one producer after another telling them no one would be interested in watching a film about two criminals. Eventually, the film got made, and while some critics were cold toward the film, a lengthy essay by Pauline Kael singing Bonnie and Clyde‘s praises helped turn the tide. Now, Bonnie and Clyde is regarded as an influential class; a post-modern crime pic with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway falling in love, knocking over banks, and racking up a body count in the process. The word “masterpiece” gets used far more often than it should, but Bonnie and Clyde earns that distinction, and then some.

For fans of: The Wild BunchJules and JimBadlandsNatural Born Killers, unexpected Gene Wilder cameos.

4. The Gift
Now Streaming on Netflix

Release Date: 2015

Genre: Thriller

Director: Joel Edgerton

Cast: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton

Actor Joel Edgerton made his directorial debut with this surprisingly effective thriller. In perhaps one of the most clever bits of casting in recent memory, Edgerton hired the usually likable Jason Bateman to play a smug, condescending guy whose past comes back to haunt him. Bateman’s character and his wife (the always underrated Rebecca Hall) move to a new house, and run into Gordon (Edgerton), an old high school classmate of Bateman’s character. From there, Gordon begins to insert himself into Bateman and Hall’s lives, with unsettling results. At first, this looks like a simple domestic thriller, with a happy couple’s lives upended by a stalker. But Edgerton’s script is sharp as hell, and takes the audience into entirely unexpected territories.

For fans of: The Hand that Rocks the CradleUnlawful EntryCreep, running into old friends.

5. Power Rangers
Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Release Date:

Genre: Silly-Yet-Fun-Action

Director: Dean Israelite

Cast: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin, Bryan Cranston, Bill Hader, Elizabeth Banks

Alright, look. I avoided Power Rangers when it hit theaters last year. I did not grow up watching Power Rangers, and I have no attachment to the show. I also thought the trailers for the film made it look kind of…terrible. But multiple people told me time and time again that it was surprisingly fun. Still, I avoided it. Then, this month, Power Rangers appeared on Amazon Prime Video. I finally gave it a shot. And guess what? I enjoyed it. I won’t sugarcoat things: this is a bit of a stupid movie – the script is choppy, taking ridiculous short-cuts to get from scene to scene. But Dean Israelite directs the hell out of this thing, and the cast playing the Rangers – Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin – are all likable in their own specific ways. The real draw here, though, is Elizabeth Banks, who is gloriously over-the-top playing the film’s gold-loving villain Rita Repulsa. There are times when Banks seems like she’s in a completely different movie, and while that might sound distracting, it’s actually a lot of fun. The story is by-the-book: a bunch of teen outcasts get superpowers and have to save the world. Whatever. Don’t go into Power Rangers looking for a smart plot. Go into the film looking for a surprisingly entertaining action flick featuring a gonzo villain performance.

For fans of: The Breakfast ClubChronicle, Pacific RimRobot Jox, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

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