The best HBO Max movies reflect nothing but the culmination of our streaming dystopia. Ostensibly, that's a good thing: below you'll find masterpiece after masterpiece from the likes of Stanley Kubrick, Agnes Varda, Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch, Barbara Kopple, Jacques Demy, Akira Kurosawa, the Maysles, Pennebaker, Ingmar Bergman - those looking for a crash course in world cinema can thank Turner Classic Movies alone, which folds under the HBO banner for the rewards it's about to inhale. Basically, it's like Criterion Channel Lite in some of its more sophisticated corners.

Like most other streaming services that don't belong to, say, the House of Mouse, there's no real overarching theme to what HBO Max presents, which is exactly why HBO Max represents such a powerful desire to just roll with it and let it all happen. 

Even Hayao Miyazaki, notoriously against making his movies available on streaming services, eventually gave in. Whereas before these streaming services represented a more affordable alternative to an expensive cable TV package, now we have no alternative, even though practically every movie imaginable is now available to watch. 

Discover the best movies on HBO MAX at the moment

Discover the best movies on HBO MAX at the moment
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Don't You Worry, Darling

Florence Pugh and Harry Styles star in this thriller about a young couple living in a classic, idealized 1950s suburban community. The wives stay at home while their husbands disappear to work on a mysterious project, and it's only when Alice (Pugh) starts asking questions that she realizes there's something much darker going on beneath the surface. Look, the reality is that Don't Worry Darling is a little less entertaining than the circus of its publicity tour, but the excellent performances by Pugh and Chris Pine are unmissable. 


Barbarian has done something clever by launching a sort of bait and switch trailer, which becomes a standard story about a woman ( Georgina Campbell ) spending the night in the same house as a mad man ( Bill Skarsgård , one of the best at playing mad men) who lures her into a spooky basement after they get double bookings at the same Airbnb. And that's what it's about at first, before quickly revealing that it's about something totally different, which I won't spoil here. It could sneak up as one of the best horror films of the year. 

Last night in Soho

Woman of the moment Anya Taylor-Joy stars in Edgar Wright's psychological thriller about an aspiring fashion designer (Thomasin Mackenzie) who finds himself mysteriously able to travel back to the 1960s, where he meets a singer (Taylor-Joy), who may or may not be in danger when past and present begin to mix. 


Whether you consider yourself a fan of his or not, culture is unquestionably better when Baz Luhrmann goes mad and makes a big-budget spectacle. His latest is the Elvis Presley biopic, Elvis, a disorienting 1950s-themed carnival ride condensed into a two-and-a-half-hour movie.

Here, a star is born in Austin Butler, who gives what may be the best movie performance of the year as Presley, and is further confounded by the fact that a gonzo Tom Hanks gives what is easily the worst movie performance of the year, and definitely of his career, as Presley's cartoon villain manager Tom Parker. But how am I supposed to criticize or care when Luhrmann, in all his galactic-brain ingenuity, decided to score a scene with a mix of "Viva Las Vegas" and "Toxic" by Britney Spears? What's happening in Elvis is bigger than all of us. You too can indulge in it. 

The Bob's Burgers Movie

In many ways, The Bob's Burgers Movie is just a particularly long episode of Bob's Burgers, but who cares? Bob's Burgers is consistently good after 12 (and counting) seasons, so spending more time with the Belchers isn't exactly a chore. It has a plot - the family tries to save the restaurant from the latest threat of financial ruin, this time in the form of a drain opening up in front of the building - but it's above all a showcase for this creative team's talent for great musical scenes.

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