Now Stream This: 'Master And Commander', 'Jurassic Park', 'Inception', 'Host', 'Birds Of Prey', 'The Greatest Showman', And More

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

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Now Streaming on Hulu

Release Date: 2003Genre: War-Drama AdventureDirector: Peter WeirCast: Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany

In a sane world, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World launched a whole series of movies based on the Patrick O'Brian novels inspired. But we don't live in a sane world, so we'll just have to make do with this god damn perfect movie. A sprawling, deliberately paced epic, Master and Commander follows Captain Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe) of HMS Surprise during the Napoleonic Wars. There are battles, there are brawls, but really, this film doesn't so much have a plot as it does an experience – drawing you into this world and making things unfold almost as if we're right there, on the rocking ship as it navigates the high seas. I would gladly trade almost every blockbuster of the last decade for more movies like this.

For fans of: DunkirkThe New World, long movies that you wish were even longer.

Jurassic Park

Now Streaming on Netflix

Release Date: 1993Genre: Sci-Fi Action-AdventureDirector: Steven SpielbergCast: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Bob Peck, Martin Ferrero, BD Wong, Samuel L. Jackson, Wayne Knight, Joseph Mazzello, Ariana RichardsJurassic Park is a classic for a reason. Steven Spielberg took a so-so airport novel and reworked it into a technical marvel. But Jurassic Park isn't just great because of its cutting-edge effects. It's also a movie smart enough to give us characters we care about, and have them played by incredibly likable actors – Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern, etc. If we didn't care so much about these people we wouldn't really give a damn if they're in danger of becoming dino-food.For fans of: JawsKing Kong, dino DNA.


Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Release Date: 2010Genre: Sci-Fi ActionDirector: Christopher NolanCast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Dileep Rao, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, Michael Caine

As we losers here in America wait to find out if we'll ever get to see Tenet, we can always revisit another one of Christopher Nolan's big, cerebral blockbusters. Big, bold, and full of BWAAAAMIncpetion is about a mind heist. Leonardo DiCaprio leads a team that specializes in going into people's dreams – usually to steal ideas. But this time they have to plant one. The results are thrilling. Nolan gets a lot of guff for long-winded exposition, but such exposition really works here – it goes a long way towards keeping track of the constantly shifting timelines and narratives. This is the perfect example of a "smart blockbuster."

For fans of: The PrestigeThe Dark KnightBWAAAAAAAAM.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Now Streaming on HBO Max/HBO Go

Release Date: 2007Genre: WesternDirector: Andrew DominikCast: Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Shepard, Mary-Louise Parker, Paul Schneider, Jeremy Renner, Zooey Deschanel, Sam Rockwell

Melancholy and poetic, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford was a box office bomb, but over the years it's gained a healthy following. A tale of obsession and loneliness, the film follows loser Bob Ford (Casey Affleck), the ultimate Jesse James fanboy. When he gets to join the James Gang, he worms his way close to Jesse (Brad Pitt), and finds him to be a violent, volatile man, and not at all the hero Bob imagined. Thus the stage is set for an ultimate betrayal, all of it highlighted by Roger Deakin's painterly cinematography and Nick Cave and Warren Ellis' gorgeous score.

For fans of: McCabe and Mrs. MillerThe Proposition, marveling at Roger Deakins doing his thing.


Now Streaming on Shudder

Release Date: 2020Genre: HorrorDirector: Rob SavageCast: Haley Bishop, Jemma Moore, Emma Louise Webb, Radina Drandova, Caroline Ward, Teddy Linard, Seylan BaxterHost is the movie everyone is talking about – and for good reason! Rob Savage has made the horror movie of the moment; a quarantine-set tale of terror shot via Zoom. A group of friends decides to have themselves a virtual seance – and it goes horribly wrong. Never overstaying its welcome, and crescendoing into a full-blown haunted funhouse ending where anything and everything can happen, Host lives up to the hype.For fans of: UnfriendedUnfriended: Dark Web, Happy Spookies.

Donnie Brasco

Now Streaming on Netflix

Release Date: 1997Genre: DramaDirector: Mike NewellCast: Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, Michael Madsen, Bruno Kirby, James Russo, Anne Heche

I hadn't revisited Donnie Brasco in many years, and decided to rewatch it on a whim when I saw it was on Netflix. It was a wise choice, because this film really holds up, and features one of Al Pacino's best performances. Johnny Depp is an undercover cop who has infiltrated the mafia, and Pacino is his wiseguy mentor. Even though Depp's character is meant to bring Pacino and his fellow mobsters down, he can't help but grow fond of the man. Pacino is dynamite here, playing his gangster character as someone who feels like life has completely passed him by, and doesn't understand why. Director Mike Newell's filmmaking is subdued, which better allows the performances to shine.

For fans of: GoodFellasSerpico, people saying "fugazi" a lot.

Sinatra: All or Nothing at All

Now Streaming on Netflix

Release Date: 2015Genre: DocumentaryDirector: Alex GibneyCast: Frank SinatraAlex Gibney's Frank Sinatra documentary covers the singer and actor's life and career through a wealth of archival footage, and helps even those who aren't fans of Old Blue Eyes understand what made him such a big damn deal. Gibney stretches things out to four hours, so it's pretty damn exhaustive. And he doesn't shy away from Sinatra's flaws, either. This is no hagiography.For fans of: No Direction HomeEnron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, waking up in a city that doesn't sleep.

The Greatest Showman

Now Streaming on Disney+

Release Date: 2017Genre: MusicalDirector: Michael GraceyCast: Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, ZendayaThe Greatest Showman is an almost painfully stupid film. The lip-synching is obvious; the storytelling is blatantly false; the artifice is constantly showing. And yet...gosh darn it, this is fun. The songs are mostly fantastic across the board (with a few duds here and there), and Hugh Jackman is doing so much here you expect him to throw his back out from all the exertion. It's corny, it's hoaky, it's delightful. The film tells the "true" story of P. T. Barnum as he puts together his circus. The Greatest Showman would like to paint Barnum as this heroic friend to the downtrodden, which really isn't true. But hey, who said musicals have to be factually accurate? Even Hamilton bends the truth.For fans of: Hugh Jackman riding an elephant.

La Llorona

Now Streaming on Shudder

Release Date: 2020Genre: HorrorDirector: Jayro BustamanteCast: Maria Mercedes Coroy, Sabrina De La Hoz, Margarita Kenefic, Julio Diaz, Maria Telon, Juan Pablo-Olyslager, Ayla-Ela Hurtado

No, not The Conjuring Universe movie. This La Lorona takes the legend of the weeping woman and grafts it onto a story about legacy, guilt, and the sins of the past. In Guatemala, an aging former general and dictator has just managed to avoid being held accountable for war crimes, but as hordes of angry protestors surround his house demanding justice, a malevolent force seems to be lurking within the mansion the general lives in with his wife and adult daughter. Is there a ghost afoot? Does it have something to do with the mysterious new maid? The slowest of slow burns, La Llorona forgoes jump-scares for more existential horrors.

For fans: Tigers Are Not Afraid,


Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Release Date: 2020Genre: DramaDirector: Josh TrankCast: Tom Hardy, Linda Cardellini, Jack Lowden, Noel Fisher, Kyle MacLachlan, Matt Dillon

Critics were not kind to Capone. Except me. I gave it one of its few positive reviews, and I stand by it, damn it! Sure, Josh Trank's film has some issues – there are two or three subplots that go absolutely nowhere. But Capone succeeds by being a different kind of gangster movie. This isn't a biopic; it's a horror movie. We follow aging, deranged Al Capone (Tom Hardy) in his final days as he stumbles around his Florida mansion, haunted by his past. As is his wont, Hardy is almost unrecognizable here, buried in ghoulish make-up and adopting yet another one of his weird voices. It works.

For fans of: There Will Be BloodCobb, Tom Hardy s***ting himself.