Best Movies Streaming Right Now The Master

(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, movie watchers. It’s time for another edition of Now Stream This, where I attempt to bring you an eclectic mix of movies streaming right this very moment. This week, we have one of Paul Thomas Anderson’s best films; a fantastic horror documentary; a Steven Soderbergh flick shot on an iPhone; a horror classic; a documentary that will make you cry; a cinematic TV series; a haunted baseball field; a dark satire of the Reagan Era; killer A.I.; and an overlooked crime drama. These are the best movies streaming right now. Let’s get streaming!

The Best Movies Streaming Right Now

1. The Master
Now Streaming on Netflix

Release Date: 2012

Genre: Drama

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams

The last film Paul Thomas Anderson made with the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman features one of Hoffman’s very best performances – and that’s saying something. This haunting saga – inspired loosely by the life of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard – has a deranged, captivating Joaquin Phoenix playing a wild drunk suffering from PTSD who befriends the leader (Hoffman) of a new philosophical movement. A strange bond forms between the men, and while it’s buried in subtext, it’s clear the two both desire each other, while also bringing out the worst in each other. Amy Adams is also on hand as Hoffman’s cold, collected wife. The Master isn’t the most accessible of Anderson’s films, but it’s one of the best, based on performances alone.

For fans of: MagnoliaPunch-Drunk LovePhantom Thread, Joaquin Phoenix mumbling.

2. Horror Noire
Now Streaming on Shudder

Release Date: 2019

Genre: Documentary

Director: Xavier Burgin

Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror is the best time of film documentary – one that both entertains and informs. The doc tracks the history of African Americans in horror films, starting at the dawn of cinema, and working all the way up to Jordan Peele‘s groundbreaking Get Out. A group of black actors, filmmakers and scholars are all on hand to contextualize the horror genre from a black perspective, and even if you think you know a lot about horror movies, the ends result is still an eye-opening experience. I’m sure you’ve heard of how ground-breaking it was for George Romero to cast a black man as the lead of Night of the Living Dead, but this doc finds a new way to make Romero’s bold decision seem so groundbreaking. This is a must-see for all horror fans.

For fans of: Get OutCandymanNight of the Living Dead, Rachel True being charming and funny as hell.

3. High Flying Bird
Now Streaming on Netflix

Release Date: 2019

Genre: Drama

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Cast: André Holland, Zazie Beetz, Melvin Gregg, Sonja Sohn, Zachary Quinto, Kyle MacLachlan and Bill Duke

Steven Soderbergh‘s High Flying Bird is another film the director shot on an iPhone, although you might not believe it when you watch. Yes, the visual style doesn’t quite have the same look as film, but it sure as hell doesn’t look like it was shot on a phone either. In the film, André Holland plays a sports agent who cooks up an unconventional scheme for one of his rookie clients during a lockout. I’ll admit that as someone who knows nothing about basketball (or any sport, really), some of the details in High Flying Bird went over my head. But the script by Tarell Alvin McCraney is so snappy and entertaining, and Holland’s performance is so show-stopping, that it didn’t matter. It’s actually scary how great of an actor Holland is (both here, and everything else he’s in). The secret, I think, lies in his voice – he has a very hypnotic voice that draws you in, even as he’s rattling off information.

For fans of: Jerry MaguireContagionMoneyball, wondering how someone can make something shot on a damn phone so cinematic.

4. Child’s Play
Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Release Date: 1988

Genre: Horror

Director: Tom Holland

Cast: Catherine Hicks, Dinah Manoff, Chris Sarandon, Alex Vincent, and Brad Dourif

The Child’s Play remake trailer dropped recently, and…it wasn’t as terrible as I feared it would be. I still remain skeptical of the new film, though, because nothing will beat the original. While Chucky, the killer doll at the center of the franchise, would get much more screen time in future films, the first Child’s Play is interesting because it keeps Chucky in the shadows for a long period of time. The first half of the film is set up to seem as if Andy, the young boy who gets the Chucky doll for his birthday, is the actual killer. But of course, he’s not – it’s the doll, possessed by the soul of a serial killer (played by Brad Dourif). The only hope the boy has is his mother (Catherine Hicks), who desperately tries to convince a op (Chris Sarandon) that the doll is alive. Economical, effective and even creepy (something most of the other sequels can’t lay claim to), Child’s Play remains a horror classic for a reason.

For fans of: All the Chucky films, AnnabelleDolls, foul-mouthed toys.

5. Russian Doll
Now Streaming on Netflix

Release Date: 2019

Genre: TV comedy-drama

Created By: Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland, Amy Poehler

Cast: Natasha Lyonne, Greta Lee, Yul Vazquez, Charlie Barnett, and Elizabeth Ashley

I usually stick to movies with this column, but every now and then, a TV show so good will come along that I can’t let it go uncommented on. Russian Doll is a brilliant twist on the Groundhog Day concept of being trapped in the same day, over and over again. The show is the brainchild of Natasha Lyonne, who also stars, and holy hell is she great here. I’ve been away of Lyonne since Slums of Beverly Hills, but this is the best role she’s ever had. She plays Nadia Vulvokov, a chain-smoking New Yorker stuck re-living her 36th birthday again and again. If that weren’t bad enough, she also ends up dying again and again every day. Nadia attempts to figure out what the hell is going on here, bringing us with her. The series is filled with twists and turns, with Lyonne kicking ass at every turn. Best of all: this is the rare Netflix series that doesn’t overstay its welcome. It’s only 8 episodes long, and the episodes typically only run about 25 minutes. You’ll end up coming away wanting more.

For fans of: Groundhog DayEdge of TomorrowHappy Death Day, Natasha Lyonne’s heavy New York accent.

6. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Now Streaming on HBO Go

Release Date:  2018

Genre: Documentary

Director: Morgan Neville

Get ready to cry your damn eyes out with Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Morgan Neville’s lovely documentary about Fred Rogers. Neville track’s Rogers’ long, acclaimed career in television, as he became the beloved icon Mr. Rogers. The film seeks to highlight what made Rogers so special, and how unlikely we are to ever see someone like him again. If you’re looking for never-before-revealed facts about Rogers, this film doesn’t offer them. But as a tribute to Rogers and his work, it’s a must-see. And again: you’re going to weep.

For fans of: RGBMan on Wire, crying!

7. Field of Dreams
Now Streaming on Hulu

Release Date: 

Genre: Sports Fantasy-Drama

Director: Phil Alden Robinson

Cast: Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta and Burt Lancaster

If you’ve never seen Field of Dreams, you likely know it only as the film featuring the famous movie quote, “If you build it, they will come.” But beyond that quote is an emotional film with a rather fantastical premise: a farmer (Kevin Costner) build a baseball field in his corn field. For reasons that are never explained, dead baseball players – including Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta) – come out of the corn to play, but only Costner and his family can see them. It sounds ridiculous, but director Phil Alden Robinson brings a down-to-earth earnestness that anchors everything. Costner has a reputation for some wooden performances, but he’s wonderful here, bringing an aw-shucks attitude to the part that makes him instantly relatable.

For fans of: Eight Men OutA League of Their OwnThe Natural, haunted corn.

8. The People Under the Stairs
Now Streaming on Shudder

Release Date: 1991

Genre: Horror

Director: Wes Craven

Cast: Brandon Adams, Everett McGill, Wendy Robie, A. J. Langer, Ving Rhames, and Sean Whalen

Wes Craven‘s dark, twisted satire of the Reagan Era was ahead of its time. Craven isn’t often thought of as a social commentator, but as a former professor, he was smarter than the average horror filmmaker, and with The People Under the Stairs, he delivered one of his most fascinating films. The set up deliberately misdirects us: a group of African American thieves from the ghetto head to the suburbs to pull of a robbery. But here’s the twist: the thieves, or really, thief, a young kid named Fool (Brandon Adams), is the hero, and the couple living in the suburban house are the villains. Played by Twin Peaks cast members Everett McGill and Wendy Robie, the couple – named Daddy and Mommy – are deliberately modeled on Ronald and Nancy Reagan, and their normal exterior hides a perverse true nature. It’s clever as hell, and one of Craven’s best.

For fans of: Get OutA Nightmare on Elm Street, leather.

9. Upgrade
Now Streaming on Max Go

Release Date: 2018

Genre: Sci-Fi Action Horror

Director: Leigh Whannell

Cast: Logan Marshall-Green, Betty Gabriel, and Harrison Gilbertson

Leigh Whannell‘s low-budget, action-packed ass-kicker is the movie that Venom wished it could be. Both films have a similar set-up: a man invaded by a foreign entity that can control his body. But while Venom is buried in lame CGI and a terrible script, Upgrade has inventiveness and smart writing on its side. Logan Marshall-Green plays a man in the not-too-distant future who is shot and made a quadriplegic by a gang of criminals that also murder his wife. Hopeless and suicidal, Marshall-Green gets a new lease on life thanks to some A.I. installed into his neck. The system, called STEM, enables Marshall-Green to walk again. And to seek revenge. Funny, violent, and proof that Whannell is a director worth paying attention to, Upgrade is a gem.

For fans of: RoboCopTotal Recall, Death Wish, low-budget filmmaking that looks expensive.

 

10. Brooklyn’s Finest
Now Streaming on Netflix

Release Date: 2009

Genre: Crime Drama

Director: Antoine Fuqua

Cast: Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, and Wesley Snipes

Of all of Antoine Fuqua‘s recent films, I feel like Brooklyn’s Finest is the most overlooked. Which is a pity, because it’s one of the best. The film follows three very different cops – a corrupt killer (Ethan Hawke) skimming money in order to move his family to a mold-free house; an undercover cop (Don Cheadle) who is being forced to betray an old friend, a drug dealer played by Wesley Snipes; and a tired beat cop (Richard Gere) a week away from retirement. Brooklyn’s Finest slowly brings these three characters together, often in shockingly violent ways. While the plotting here isn’t exactly original, Fuqua and his fine cast bring style and excitement, elevating the film considerably.

For fans of: Training Day, The DepartedNew Jack City, Vincent D’Onofrio cameos.

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