Best Movies Streaming Right Now Midsommar

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

It’s time for a whole new year of Now Stream This. In this week’s streaming column, you’ll find one of last year’s best movies, a breezy modern Steven Spielberg movie, a mind-bending blockbuster from Christopher Nolan, a mostly forgotten ’90s thriller, a crime drama, and more. These are the best movies streaming right now.

Midsommar
Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Release Date: 2019

Genre: Horror

Director: Ari Aster

Cast: Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper, Vilhelm Blomgren, Will Poulter

Ari Aster‘s Hereditary follow-up is both disturbing and funny, something I don’t think a lot of people were expecting. Midsommar is indeed a horror movie, but it’s also pretty damn comedic at times. Think of it as the world’s weirdest romcom. The story follows Dani (Florence Pugh), an insecure young woman who tags along with her gaslighting boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) and his pals to a midsummer festival in Sweeden. It sounds like an excuse to get high and relax in the sun, but it soon turns into a weekend of ritual sacrifice and other shocking customs. That may not sound funny, but Aster milks the absurdity of it all to great effect.

For fans of: The Wicker ManHereditary, bear suits.

 

Inception
Now Streaming on Netflix

Release Date:

Genre: Sci-fi Action Thriller

Director: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Dileep Rao, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, Michael Caine

You still can’t beat Christopher Nolan‘s Inception, a mind-bending action flick that has become the blueprint for the “smart blockbuster.” Leonardo DiCaprio leads a team of extractors who are able to go inside people’s dreams and steal information. But soon the team gets a trickier job: going into a mind to plant an idea. It sounds impossible, but DiCaprio insists it can be done. But it won’t be easy. Nolan keeps throwing one dream after another at us as the characters go deeper and deeper into worlds that look normal, but don’t play by our rules.

For fans of: The MatrixDark City, Hans Zimmer’s BWAAM sound effect.

 

Catch Me If You Can
Now Streaming on Netflix

Release Date: 2002

Genre: Crime-Comedy

Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen, Nathalie Baye

Here’s a much different Leonardo DiCaprio movie than the one above. Catch Me If You Can was Steven Spielberg‘s first sign of light in the 21st century, having started the millennium off with dark, brooding sci-fi. Here, he lightens things up – literally, creating a stylish world in bright colors. DiCaprio is Frank Abagnale, Jr., a young man who has a knack for bullshitting people. Frank runs away from home and proceeds to con his way through several careers – and lots of money in the process. His crimes soon have a dogged FBI agent (Tom Hanks) on his trail. Spielberg has occasional heavy moments in the film, but he mostly keeps things light and fun, creating one of his most entertaining films in the process.

For fans of: The TerminalOcean’s 11, surprise appearances from Amy Adams.

 

Unlawful Entry
Now Streaming on HBO Now

Release Date: 1992

Genre: Thriller

Director: Jonathan Kaplan

Cast: Kurt Russell, Madeleine Stowe, Ray Liotta

They don’t really make movies like Unlawful Entry anymore, at least not for theaters. This is the time of mid-budget thriller that would probably go right to Netflix these days, but there was a time when they hit multiplexes everywhere. Yuppie married couple Kurt Russell and Madeleine Stowe get quite a scare when a burglar busts into their house. After the thief has fled, two uniform cops are called in. One of them, played by Ray Liotta, is extremely helpful. Perhaps too helpful. Soon, Liotta’s cop is showing up unannounced and butting into Russell and Stowe’s personal life, and it becomes apparent that he has his eyes on Stowe. And oh yeah – he’s crazy. Liotta is great as the creepy stalker cop, ramping up the menace as the plot thickens.

For fans of: Cape FearSingle White Female, the glory days of ’90s thrillers.

 

In the Cut
Now Streaming on The Criterion Channel

Release Date: 2003

Genre: Mystery Thriller

Director: Jane Campion

Cast: Meg Ryan, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Jason Leigh

Remember Meg Ryan? The actress has been missing in action for a while, and one of her last major roles was in the unjustly overlooked erotic thriller In the Cut. Ryan played against type as a teacher who gets swept up in a lusty relationship with detective, played by Mark Ruffalo. Meanwhile, there’s a serial killer on the loose – and the killer might very well be Ryan’s new lover. This Jane Campion-directed flick was mostly ignored and overlooked, but is overdue for a reappraisal. It’s dark, cold, yet also sexy, and Ryan is quite good in the lead.

For fans of: Basic InstinctBody Double, remembering Meg Ryan.

 

Donnie Brasco
Now Streaming on Netflix

Release Date: 1997

Genre: Crime Drama

Director: Mike Newell

Cast: Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, Michael Madsen, Bruno Kirby, James Russo, Anne Heche

Al Pacino gets a lot of guff for the big over-the-top performances that have permeated the latter half of his career. But those critics are overlooking Donnie Brasco, which has remarkably quiet, even restrained work from Pacino. Based on a true story, the film follows Joseph Pistone (Johnny Depp), an FBI agent who goes undercover to infiltrate the mob. He befriends Benjamin “Lefty” Ruggiero (Pacino), a hitman who seems rather nice (despite all the killing). Lefty takes Joe, going by the name Donnie Brasco, under his wing while the agent gathers info. However, the longer Joe remains undercover, the harder it is to know who he really is. This is not your typical gangster pic – it’s more of a quiet character study, and that’s what makes it stand out.

For fans of: SerpicoAmerican Gangster, stereotypical wise guy accents.

 

As Good As It Gets
Now Streaming on Netflix

Release Date: 1997

Genre: Comedy

Director: James L. Brooks

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear, Cuba Gooding Jr.

James L. Brooks‘ award-winning comedy has Jack Nicholson as a writer with OCD who hates just about everyone. He’s racist, he’s sexist, and he’s homophobic, especially towards his gay neighbor, played by Greg Kinnear. There’s only one person willing to tolerate Nicholson’s bullshit – a waitress played by Helen Hunt. And since this is a movie, that means Nicholson and Hunt end up in an unlikely relationship. You may never buy the romance between Nicholson and Hunt, but the comedy here is sharp – if a bit dated. And it’s always fun to watch Nicholson sink his teeth into this sort of role.

For fans of: About SchmidtSideways, Jack Nicholson telling small children to shut up.

 

John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch
Now Streaming on Netflix

Release Date: 2019

Genre: Comedy Special

Director: Rhys Thomas

Cast: John Mulaney, several children

John Mulaney made a TV special for kids – “on purpose”, he’s quick to add. John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch is about as hilarious as you might expect it to be. But it’s also surprisingly sweet, and honest. There’s plenty of absurdist humor, but there’s also lots of talk of serious topics – you’ll be amazed at how often death comes up. Loaded with catchy songs and crazy cameos – the best of the bunch being Jake Gyllenhaal playing the unhinged Mr. Music – this is a must-see.

For fans of: Music, music, everywhere.

 

Willow
Now Streaming on Disney+

Release Date: 1988

Genre: Fantasy

Director: Ron Howard

Cast: Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Jean Marsh, Billy Barty

Before there were the Lord of the Rings films there was…Willow. With a story from George Lucas, borrowing heavily from Tolkien and other classic fantasy tales, this Ron Howard fantasy-adventure is probably forty-minutes too long, but gosh darn it, it swings for the fences. The story concerns Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis) a farmer and so-so magician who ends up being tasked with protecting a baby from an evil queen. Along the way, he hooks up with quirky characters, like warrior Madmartigan (Val Kilmer), and  Sorsha (Joanne Whalley), another warrior who develops a thing for Madmartigan despite their antagonism (they’re basically the Han and Leia of this story, and Willow is Luke; kind of).

For fans of: Lord of the Rings, the golden days of Industrial Light and Magic.

 

The Poughkeepsie Tapes
Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Release Date: 2007

Genre: Horror Found Footage

Director: John Erick Dowdle

Cast: Stacy Chbosky, Ben Messme

This highly disturbing found footage film works so well because it seems so real. There are no recognizable actors here, and the low-fi nature of most of the footage seems genuine and not staged. The story, such as it is, takes the form of a documentary about the discovery of hundreds of home videos recorded by a serial killer. In between interview segments, we get to see the tapes themselves, many of which are chilling in their believability. After a premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, The Poughkeepsie Tapes was set for a theatrical release in 2008 but ended up being pulled. It bounced around in bootleg form for years before ending up briefly on VOD, and then finally on home video in 2017. And now it’s streaming. Watch it…if you dare.

For fans of: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, found footage that seems genuine, but isn’t. Or is it? (No, it’s not.)

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