Mudbound streaming

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

Well, I guess it’s officially the holiday season now. Time to start thinking about family get-togethers, shopping, cold temperatures, and copious amounts of social drinking. Or you could just skip all that and stay home and stream some movies! As we wind down the clock on 2017, and the nights grow longer and colder, it’s probably best to curl up with a blanket, peruse the plethora of streaming services that exist now, and watch some fine films. Luckily, you have me here to help you pick some winners. You’re welcome.

This edition of Now Stream This features yet another great original movie from Netflix, a documentary about time travel, an underrated, brightly lit fever dream of a film, an action-movie take on a 1000-year-old poem, and more! Here are the best movies streaming right now! So let’s get streaming.

1. Mudbound
Streaming on Netflix November 17

Dee Rees‘ sweeping, sprawling American epic is proof yet again that Netflix can produce truly great movies – now if only they’d do a better job of promoting them. Mudbound deals with two men – one white, one black – who return home to Mississippi after World War II, facing struggles and familial turmoil. Racism is at the center of Mudbound, and Rees handles this subject with nuance that few other filmmakers can master. This film is epic, like a great American novel brought to the screen without anything excised. At times, Mudbound can feel overwhelming due to its heavy subject matter and lengthy runtime, but Rees handles it all in a surprisingly low-key manner, matched by Rachel Morrison’s stunning, muted cinematography. This is the type of story that could’ve easily become an overwrought, melodramatic snore, but Mudbound never succumbs to such doldrums. It’s overall one of the very best films you’ll come across this year, and it just happens to be premiering on Netflix. Featuring Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, Jason MitchellJonathan Banks and Mary J. Blige.

For fans of: Legends of the FallPariahDaughters of the Dust, Netflix making anti-streaming snobs nervous by releasing stone-cold masterpieces.

2. How to Build a Time Machine
Now Streaming on Hulu

What would you do if you could go back in time? It’s question almost all of us have thought about, in one way or another. And while it’s likely impossible, we can’t help but dream about it, and ponder. Jay Cheel‘s brilliant documentary How to Build a Time Machine focuses on the question of time travel, but it also focuses on more than that. At the center of it all is obsession, specifically the obsession of two men. One is prop builder Robert Niosi, who is on a personal quest to build a perfect replica of the time machine from George Pal’s 1960 The Time Machine. The other is theoretical physicist Ronald Mallett, who has spent his life studying time travel in an attempt to maybe one day see his deceased father again. On the surface, the stories of these two men have nothing in common, but as Cheel digs deeper he finds more and more connections, primarily the sense of loss eating away at both of them. It’s a fascinating film, and you shouldn’t waste any time looking it up on Hulu.

For fans of: The Time MachineA Brief History of TimeTime After Time (the movie and the Cindi Lauper song).

3. Michael Clayton
Now Streaming on Netflix

Now we’re talking, A moody, slow-burn legal drama? Sign me the hell up! Tony Gilroy‘s 2007 drama Michael Clayton, starring George Clooney as a very good legal “fixer” who gets wrapped up in a case involving corporate intrigue and murder, may not seem like a very exciting piece of entertainment. There’s no real action, no ticking clock, no moments of big bombast. Yet this is one thrilling film, and the thrills come from Gilroy’s tight, intense script and the stellar performances from almost everyone, including Tilda Swinton as a lawyer willing to do very, very shady things to protect her clients. They don’t make many movies like this anymore, simply because they don’t do very well at the box office. But every now and then, something like Michael Clayton comes along, and how refreshing it is!

For fans of: NightcrawlerErin Brockovich, Changing Lanes, Tom Wilkinson talking about delicious bread.

4. Stalker
Streaming on FilmStruck November 15

What is Stalker? Good luck with that question, as the film is often impenetrable. But Andrei Tarkovsky‘s 1979 stunner is a haunting, hypnotic film that sucks you in and refuses to let go. A guide leads two men – a professor and a writer – across a border into a mysterious area known as the Zone, where time and the laws of nature don’t behave exactly normal. Rife with post-apocalyptic imagery and religious undertones, Stalker is a lengthy tone-poem of a movie, with mind-blowing cinematography and prevailing sense of unease. It’s unlike anything else you’ve ever seen, so see it.

For fans of: SolarisThe MirrorApocalypse Now, watching a movie and then saying, “What was that?”

5. Speed Racer
Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

The Wachowskis turned the popular Japanese anime Speed Racer into this absolutely bonkers 2008 movie, bustling with life, energy and extremely bright colors. I won’t sit here and tell you that Speed Racer is a great movie, because I’m not entirely sure it is. But it’s a film with an incredible amount of life, a film that’s in love with being a movie, and there’s something to be said for that. Emile Hirsch is a bit of a dud as the lead, but the cast around him – John Goodman, Christina Ricci, even Matthew Fox – all do really good work. The plot, which involves Speed entering several races set on racetracks that give a big middle finger to the laws of physics, is secondary. It doesn’t matter. What matters is the spirit of the film, which is so damn alive that it’s infectious. Even if Speed Racer isn’t a complete success, it deserves praise for going all-in.

For fans of: Jupiter AscendingScott Pilgrim vs. The World, Christina Ricci saying “Cool beans!”

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