Best Movies Streaming Right Now Uncut Gems

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

Uncut Gems
Now Streaming on Netflix

Release Date: 2019

Genre: 135-minute panic attack

Director: Josh and Benny Safdie,

Cast: Adam Sandler, Julia Fox, Idina Menzel, Lakeith Stanfield, Kevin Garnett, Eric Bogosian

You might not be in the mood to watch Adam Sandler grow more and more unhinged for over two hours right now, and that’s understandable. But if you’re the type of person who thrives on chaos (I know you’re out there), you can’t go wrong with Uncut Gems. This isn’t the best of Sandler’s “dramatic” films, but it might feature his best performance as he embodies Howard Ratner, a jeweler with a serious gambling problem. After purchasing a rare black opal, Howard makes the mistake of handing it over to basketball player Kevin Garnett, an action that triggers a serious of unfortunate events in his fraying life. Manic, tense, and bleakly funny, Uncut Gems is like an adrenaline shot mixed with a shot of grain alcohol.

For fans of: Good TimeBefore the Devil Knows You’re Dead, yelling.

 

The Terminator
Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Release Date: 1984

Genre: Sci-Fi Action

Director: James Cameron

Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton

Terminator 2: Judgement Day is an action masterpiece, and deserves all the praise it’s received over the years. But we shouldn’t forget the film that started it all, 1984’s original The Terminator. While T2 is wall-to-wall action, the first Terminator is more of a thriller – even a horror film. It’s like Halloween, with Arnold Schwarzenegger killer cyborg standing in for Michael Myers. James Cameron‘s direction is tight and stylish without being showy, ratcheting up the tension, and keeping you on the edge of your seat. And while he would graduate to good guy roles, Arnold is genuinely intimidating as the unstoppable killing machine here.

For fans of: Terminator 2Halloween, big ’80s hair.

 

Cape Fear
Now Streaming on Netflix

Release Date: 1991

Genre: Thriller

Director: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange, Joe Don Baker, Juliette Lewis, Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck

Steven Spielberg had been pursuing a Cape Fear remake for some time, but decided against the project. Instead, he traded it to Martin Scorsese, with Scorsese, in turn, giving Spielberg the rights to Schindler’s List. The rest is history – Schindler’s List would go on to be Spielberg’s triumphant Oscar moment and Cape Fear would become one of Scorsese’s biggest box office hits. It’s also one of the filmmaker’s flashiest movies – he pulls out all the stops here, creating an almost overwhelming thriller full of brutal violence, uncomfortable sexual situations, and big, booming theatrics (you can’t escape Elmer Bernstein’s pummeling adaptation of Bernard Herrmann’s original score). Ex-con Robert De Niro gets out of jail and immediately goes after his former lawyer, blaming him for his conviction. The lawyer is played by Nick Nolte, and while the original film had this character as a noble, upstanding citizen, Scorsese’s adaptation turns him into a highly flawed guy still trying to win back his family after conducting an affair. Everyone is complex and damaged here, making for a far more interesting thriller, even though the final act more or less turns De Niro’s character into Freddy Krueger.

For fans of: The original Cape FearFatal Attraction, Robert De Niro with a Southern accent.

 

Den of Thieves
Now Streaming on Netflix

Release Date: 2018

Genre: Action

Director: Christian Gudegast

Cast: Gerard Butler, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Pablo Schreiber, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Evan Jones, Dawn Olivieri, Mo McRae, Max Holloway

Den of Thieves has been referred to as the junk food/dirtbag version of Heat, and with good reason: it follows almost all of the beats of Michael Mann’s heist masterpiece. But that doesn’t mean Den of Thieves isn’t enjoyable. After all, if you’re going to steal, why not steal from the best? Gerard Butler gives arguably his best performance as Detective Nicholas “Big Nick” O’Brien, a constantly hung-over cop who is prone to guzzling Pepto-Bismol and eating blood-drenched donuts left on the ground at a crime scene. Big Nick and his crew of dirty cops are all out to stop a gang of thieves from pulling their next big heist, resulting in a cops-and-robbers saga that – like Heat – takes plenty of time to develop its characters on both sides. It’s not high-art, but it is highly entertaining.

For fans of: HeatThe Usual Suspects, crime scene donuts.

 

Come to Daddy
Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Release Date: 2019

Genre: Horror-Comedy-Mystery

Director: Ant Timpson

Cast: Elijah Wood, Stephen McHattie, Michael Smiley, Madeleine Sami, Martin Donovan

It always feels like a bit of a cop-out when I write about a movie like Come to Daddy, and tell readers: “The less you know, the better this is.” I swear, I’m not trying to cheat or skirt around the matter at hand. But the truth of the matter is, there are some movies that play better if you go into them completely cold, and Come to Daddy definitely qualifies. I watched Ant Timpson‘s weird blend of comedy, horror, and mystery without knowing anything about it, other than the general premise – a hipster (Elijah Wood) travels to the middle-of-nowhere to reunite with his estranged father (Stephen McHattie). To say more would spoil the game, but just know this: nearly everything in Come to Daddy is designed to surprise you. You’ll never see where this thing is going, and that makes the end result all the more enjoyable.

For fans of: Elton John.

 

Fantastic Mr. Fox
Now Streaming on Disney+

Release Date: 2009

Genre: Stop-Motion Comedy

Director: Wes Anderson

Cast: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, Michael Gambon, Owen Wilson

Wes Anderson‘s first foray into stop-motion animation is this utterly charming, autumn-colored comedy. Sure, you could say this is a family film, but it’s also inherently melancholy as it follows Mr. Fox (George Clooney) going through a mid-life crisis, desperate to recapture the wild days of his youth – a move that ends up putting his animal friends and family in danger of three greedy humans. Loaded with wit and truly gorgeous visuals, Fantastic Mr. Fox proves that Anderson can work his magic in many different mediums.

For fans of: Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, Whack-Bat.

 

Police Story
Now Streaming on The Criterion Channel

Release Date: 1985

Genre: Action

Director: Jackie Chan

Cast: Jackie Chan, Brigitte Lin, Maggie Cheung, Chor Yuen, Charlie Cho

If you ever wanted a great example of why Jackie Chan is such a damn legend, look no further than Police Story. Chan directs and stars in this pic, which has him playing a cop tasked with guarding a gangster’s girlfriend. The plot is threadbare, and that’s fine, because what really matters here are the stunts. If you know anything about Jackie Chan, you know he does his own stunts – and lordy, are there plenty of those here. Chan hangs off a speeding bus, gets in countless fights, and – in the film’s climactic sequence – smashes approximately ten thousand pieces of glass. He also slides down a string of lights like a fire pole, with each light exploding as he smashes through it. It’s jaw-dropping to watch, and oh so fun.

For fans of: Jackie Chan doing crazy shit.

 

Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum
Amazon

Release Date: 2018

Genre: Horror

Director: Jung Bum-shik

Cast: Wi Ha-joon, Park Ji-hyun, Oh Ah-yeon, Mun Ye-won, Park Sung-hoon, Yoo Je-yoon, Lee Seung-wook

Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum gets no points for originality – it pretty much has the same exact set-up as Grave Encounters – but it does get points for creepiness. A group of YouTube ghost hunters enters a supposedly haunted asylum for a live broadcast, and while some of the ghost hunters have been tasked with staging supernatural stuff for entertainment value, it turns out the joint really is haunted. The first 40 or so minutes are mostly all set-up, but once Gonjiam gets going, look out – it’ll give you the creeps.

For fans of: Grave EncountersSession 9, long, drawn-out scenes where characters wait for something terrifying to happen.

 

Dave
Now Streaming on Hulu

Release Date: 1993

Genre: Comedy

Director: Ivan Reitman

Cast: Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Frank Langella, Kevin Dunn, Ving Rhames, Charles Grodin, Ben Kingsley

Dave may as well be classified as a science-fiction film at this point, because it’s set in a world where politicians actually care about people and are willing to enact much-needed change. This charming, escapist comedy from Ivan Reitman follows Dave Kovic (Kevin Kline), an average guy who just happens to be a dead ringer for the President of the United States, William Harrison Mitchell (also Kline). When President Mitchell has a stroke while in the middle of having sex with his mistress, the White House Chief of Staff (Frank Langella) comes up with an insane scheme to keep Mitchell’s condition from the public, and have Dave take over in his place. Yes, it’s not at all realistic, but Dave is so funny and charming that you end up buying into its absurd premise. Best of all, once in office, Dave starts to do good things for the country, something the apathetic Mitchell never bothered with. Again: not at all realistic. But it’s fun to pretend. And does Dave fall in love with the First Lady, played by Sigourney Weaver? You bet your ass he does. And does she fall for him? Oh yeah.

For fans of: The American PresidentDick, the myth of a helpful American government.

 

Escape From L.A.
Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Release Date: 1996

Genre: Sci-Fi Action

Director: John Carpenter

Cast: Kurt Russell, Stacy Keach, Steve Buscemi, Peter Fonda, Georges Corraface, Cliff Robertson

Escape From L.A. is pretty much John Carpenter remaking Escape From New York, but with more jokes. That might not appeal to everyone – hey, New York is the better movie – but L.A. has its charms. Once again, Kurt Rusell‘s Snake Plissken is tasked with a dangerous mission. And once again, he encounters a series of colorful characters on his way. And oh yeah, he surfs a tsunami with Peter Fonda. What’s not to love?

For fans of: Escape From New York, Kurt Russell doing his thing.

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