While big movie release dates and production schedules may be delayed, online streaming services haven’t been affected, luckily. There’s no time like the present to catch up on your movie list. To help you sort the wheat from the chaff, we’ve put together the best new movies that are available to stream for free on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and HBO. That ought to help you navigate days and weeks of self-isolation.
Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story is one of a trio of Netflix original movies to earn a 2019 Best Picture nomination. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson star as a couple who love each other but nonetheless have come to the unfortunate realization that their desired futures are too incompatible to support their relationship. Their lives are literally pulling them in opposite directions as Nicole (Johannson) has a job offer in Los Angeles while Charlie (Driver) prefers to stay in New York. The escalation of this and many other disagreements ultimately lead them to file for divorce and move on with their lives however they can.
Aaron Sorkin’s biopic of Mark Zuckerberg and the founding of social media titan Facebook is just as engrossing as you’d expect any Sorkin film to be. Beginning in 2003 at Harvard, The Social Network follows undergrad and computer genius Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) as he works on a social networking app for university students, slowly realizing its enormous potential. Six years later, he’s one of the youngest billionaires ever, but he’s plagued by personal and legal complications, including a lawsuit involving his former best friend, Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield).
Another 2019 Best Picture nominee from Netflix, The Irishman marks Martin Scorsese’s return to his bread-and-butter topic: The gangster movie. Based on historical events, this gangster epic follows Frank Sheeran (Robert DeNiro), a soldier for crime boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) and associate of union leader Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino). The Irishman is a slow burn, following Sheeran through his earliest days as an enforcer until he becomes a close bodyguard and confidante of Hoffa during the height of the mafia’s control over labor unions in the United States. However, when the mob decides Hoffa is more trouble than he’s worth, it puts Sheeran in a tough spot that tests his loyalties.
Many consider Uncut Gems a significant Oscar snub; many think those people are crazy. The Safdie brothers’ stressful, pulse-pounding story about a gambling-addicted jeweler (Adam Sandler) in New York City is very much a love-it-or-hate-it kind of movie. Adam Sandler turns in one of his best performances ever as the jeweler Howard Ratner, who despite his charisma and savvy, just can’t seem to get out of his own way. When Boston Celtic Kevin Garnett (playing himself) takes an interest in one of Howard’s highest-ticket items, believing it to be a good luck charm, Ratner plans to make a killing. However, he can’t resist also gambling on Garnett and the Celtics to make the windfall that much greater, putting off mounting debts and obligations to do so.
One of the most beloved sci-fi classics of all time, Back to the Future spawned a trilogy that inspired a generation. There’s a good reason Back to the Future looks so familiar now: It’s such an influential film to many of today’s most prolific filmmakers. Small-town California teen Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) is thrust back to the 1950s by an awry experiment by his eccentric scientist friend Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd). Traveling through time in a DeLorean time machine car, Marty meets young versions of his parents before they’ve fallen in love and must ensure they come together, lest he cease to exist.
A nominee for the prestigious Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a brilliant period drama featuring powerful performances and engrossing direction. It’s 1770 in France and a young painter, Marianne (Noémie Merlant) is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of Héloïse (Adèle Haenel). However, Héloïse is a reluctant bride who has just left the convent, and Marianne must paint her without Héloïse’s knowledge. Marianne paints secretly day by day, observing and spending time with Héloïse until they soon realize there may be more than friendship afoot. The two women grow closer and closer as they share Héloïse’s last moments of freedom before the wedding.
If not for Parasite, Portrait of a Lady on Fire may very well have won the Palme d’Or. Bong Joon-ho’s masterpiece, however, was the belle of awards season, winning the Palme d’Or and countless other awards on its way to four Oscar wins, including Best Picture and Best Director. Parasite is truly a masterful film, simultaneously a slow burn and constant car crash of conflict, keeping you on the edge of your seat. The destitute Kim family develops a symbiotic relationship with the wealthy Park family. As greed, discrimination, and manipulation seep into the arrangement, lines are blurred and lives are threatened.
Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein) worked really hard in school, avoided parties, and got into the Ivy League colleges they wanted to attend. Unfortunately, it turns out everyone else who did party and drink throughout high school also got in where they wanted to go. Discovering this, Amy and Molly decide to go out for one night of wild partying before graduation day. It’s a familiar concept but Booksmart puts the spotlight on the friendship of its female protagonists rather than sex and dating in high school. Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut is a refreshing take on the teen comedy.
Martin Scorsese’s mob classic was nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture, and featured a cast that seems to be essential for any gangster or Mafia movies these days. The film tells the story of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), who grows up in the mob and works hard to advance through the ranks. Awash in money and luxury, Hill is oblivious to the horror he causes and the dangers he brings to himself and his family. As drug addiction and costly mistakes come together to unravel his empire, his mob partners (Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci in an Oscar-winning performance) are forced to navigate a way forward.
LaKeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson shine in one of 2018’s stranger releases. The directorial debut of Boots Riley is a madcap, surrealistic satire of 21st-century capitalism. Cassius Green (Stanfield) is desperate for money, getting a job as a telemarketer by lying about his previous work experience. As Cassius struggles on the job, an older co-worker (Danny Glover) suggests that he use his “white voice.” The white voice (David Cross) empowers Cassius, who is suddenly racking up sales and climbing the corporate ladder. However, as he ascends, he begins to lose his soul and his grip on reality — something the film frequently reminds us of through eccentric visuals.
One of comedy legend Mel Brooks’ finest achievements, Blazing Saddles is raunchy, tasteless, and endlessly hilarious. The satire on Westerns follows crafty railroad worker Bart (Cleavon Little) as he becomes the first black sheriff of Rock Ridge, a frontier town that’s about to be leveled to make way for a new railroad that will enrich Governor Lepetomane (Brooks) and his patsy Hedley Lamarr (Harvey Korman). While the people of Rock Ridge don’t take kindly to their new sheriff at first, they come around as they realize Bart and his drunk gunfighter friend (Gene Wilder) are the best defense they have against the governor’s thugs sent to drive the people out of Dodge.
Honey Boy is Shia LaBeouf’s semiautobiographical debut script, directed by Alma Har’el. The story follows the life of child actor Otis Lort (loosely based on LaBeouf) as he goes from youthful success to self-destructive Hollywood star. Plagued by an abusive relationship with his alcoholic father, Lort struggles to keep their contentious relationship afloat and his own interests in sight over the course of a decade. LaBeouf also stars as the elder Lort.
Mission: Impossible — Fallout continues to raise the bar in the M:I franchise. The sixth installment outpaces the earlier films with jaw-dropping action and high-octane filmmaking. Fallout opens with IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) attempting to secure some plutonium cores, but when the mission goes sideways, the cores fall into the hands of a terrorist group run by an old villain. The failure draws the ire of CIA Director Erica Sloane (Angela Bassett), who deploys an assassin (Henry Cavill) to monitor IMF’s efforts to recover the cores.
Robert Eggers follows up his surprising horror hit The Witch with this equally haunting, atmospheric film about isolation and torment. Set on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s, the film follows two lighthouse keepers (Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson) as they try to maintain a lighthouse and their sanity before they’re relieved of duty. Dafoe and Pattinson make the most of the opportunity to carry the entire script while Eggers’ eerie, intentional direction makes this one alternately batty and unnerving.
This Amazon Original Film stars Adam Driver as Daniel Jones, a senate staffer who is chosen by Senator Dianne Feinstein (Annette Bening) to investigate the destruction of CIA interrogation recordings in 2005. Based on true events, this political thriller focuses on the real life of politics: The tension of trawling through millions of pages of documents covered in redactions. All the while, Jones and his team are forced to dodge government officials trying to squash their efforts. Driver delivers an outstanding performance in this realpolitik thriller.
Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney shine in this TIFF standout that HBO acquired for a simultaneous theatrical and streaming release. Based on a true story, Bad Education follows the beloved superintendent (Jackman) of New York’s Roslyn school district and his staff, friends, and relatives as they become the prime suspects in the largest public school embezzlement scandal in American history.
Set not long after 9/11, it’s easy to forget how controversial South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Team America was when it came out. Patriotism in America was still high, although beginning to wane. Parker and Stone’s response was to light up the country with this insanely over-the-top movie about America policing the world to protect it from itself, all starring puppets. It’s unclear who the bigger villains are here: North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il or the Film Actors Guild, a cadre of Hollywood liberals who will go to extreme lengths to stop America from policing the world.
Two fan-favorite characters of the Fast & Furious franchise team up in this action-packed spinoff that feels, well, nothing like a spinoff. Hobbs & Shaw keeps the same high-budget action sequences and jaw-dropping fight scenes in the mix while trimming the Fast and Furious team to just three: CIA enforcer Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), MI6 outcast Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), and MI6 special agent (Vanessa Kirby). Together, they must take on a cyber-genetically enhanced villain (Idris Elba) working on behalf of terrorist shadow organization Eteon. While Eteon is hell-bent on evolving the human race by whatever villainous means necessary, the trio of heroes must overcome personal differences and past grudges to save the world.
Bradley Cooper directed this surprisingly massive hit that was nominated for eight Oscars — it earned a win for Best Original Song. A Star Is Born has been made several times at this point, yet Cooper’s 2018 rendition seems to hit harder than its predecessors. With awe-inspiring performances of outstanding original music by Lady Gaga and Cooper himself, A Star Is Born dominated the airwaves for months after exploding at the box office. You’ll still probably hear somebody sing Shallow at your local karaoke night the next time you can go.
From acclaimed director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), Yesterday asks the question, “What would the world look like if everybody suddenly forgot about the Beatles?” For one struggling musician named Jack (Himesh Patel), it means a massive opportunity. When Jack awakens to find that he’s the only person alive who remembers the Beatles, he begins to recreate their music and release it as his own. As he churns out hit after hit, however, he begins to wonder if all the fame and fortune are worth the life-defining lie.