The Best Movies Streaming Right Now: Vertigo, Barton Fink, And More

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

Let's just get right to it, shall we? It's the weekend, the holidays are coming, it's cold, it's time to stay inside and watch movies. If you celebrate Christmas, you can trim the tree (if you haven't already) while these play in the background. Or you can fill a Big Gulp cup up with wine and plop down on the couch, ready for the wonderful world of cinema. As always, I try to bring you a wide variety of options, and this week is kind of all over the place in terms of quality. But that's part of the fun. So let's get streaming. 


Now Streaming on The Criterion Channel

What is Alfred Hitchcock's best movie? I'm sure a compelling case can be made for many of his films to claim that title. But the one that seems to always lead the pack is "Vertigo," Hitchcock's psychosexual thriller about obsession. A box office disappointment when it arrived in 1958, years of reappraisals have helped solidify "Vertigo" as a masterpiece. James Stewart is a former cop who was forced into early retirement after developing a serious case of vertigo. Later, Stewart is hired as a private eye by a rich man to tail his wife (Kim Novak) because she's been acting odd. This sets the stage for a twisty, haunting saga, with Hitchock drilling into the obsessive nature of his main character at every turn. 

Barton Fink

Now Streaming on Hulu

One of the very best Coen Brothers movies (and that's saying something), "Barton Fink" has John Turturro as the titular character, a playwright who gets called to Hollywood in 1941. This could be a big break, in theory. But when Fink is drafted to pen the script for a wrestling picture, he immediately succumbs to writer's block. Instead of working on his script, he spends his days listless, hanging out in a creepy hotel where his neighbor is the good-natured Charlie (John Goodman, who really should've won an Oscar for his work here). As the writer's block continues to plague Fink he falls into depression, and it certainly doesn't help when he wakes up next to a dead body one morning. The end result is a fantastic film that is strange, surreal, and macabrely funny. 

End of Days

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Arnold Schwarzenegger vs. Satan: place your bets! "End of Days" is a very silly, and yet very watchable horror film set at the end of 1999. You might be too young to remember this, reader, but back in '99 there was hysteria involving the potential end of the world. Some turned to biblical prophecy while others attempted to keep the doom in the real world by implying computer systems would fail when the clock rolled over to the year 2000. Planes would fall out of the sky! Blackouts would sweep the land! Cats and dogs, living together, mass hysteria! Of course, none of that happened. No matter. In the world of "End of Days," the Y2k bug isn't what we have to worry about. Instead, we should be concerned about the devil, who has come up from hell in the form of Gabriel Byrne. He hopes to take a bride in the form of Robin Tunney, and the only person who can save the day is Arnold Schwarzenegger, playing a miserable guy who puts a piece of pizza in a blender. Like I said: silly. And yet, it's hard not to have fun here. I mean, this is a movie where Arnold fires a friggin' bazooka at the devil. How can you not enjoy that? 

Coming Home in the Dark

Now Streaming on Netflix

"Coming Home in the Dark" is extremely bleak stuff, so maybe skip this one if you're in a less-than-great mood. However, if you can handle it, you'll be in for something special. This nightmare from filmmaker James Ashcroft concerns a New Zealand family on holiday who runs into two strangers in the middle of nowhere. What follows is a violent, disturbing long night's journey into day, complete with secrets slowly revealing themselves. If it sounds like I'm being vague here it's because I don't to give away the film's shocks. Just know that the atmosphere of "Coming Home in the Dark" is foreboding, to say the least. For more info, here's my review of the film from Sundance

Jupiter Ascending

Now Streaming on HBO Max

Look, The Wachowskis' "Jupiter Ascending" has lots of problems. Lots and lots of problems. And yet ... it's so wildly inventive that it kind of wins you over. The story involves intergalactic warfare and Channing Tatum playing a half-man/half-dog with rocket roller skates. But really it's just an excuse for the Wachowskis to get weird, unleashing all sorts of strange characters and worlds. There's a pilot with an elephant head! Sean Bean controls bees (I think?)! And Eddie Redmayne chews so much scenery that I'm surprised he didn't break every single tooth in his mouth.