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Streaming on Max: The 21 Absolute Best Movies to Watch

 Streaming on Max: The 21 Absolute Best Movies to Watch


Wondering what you should watch on the Max streaming service?

Max replaced HBO Max last year and streams a variety of titles, including Warner Bros. movies like Dune and HBO originals like Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off. Below, you’ll find a batch of can’t-miss films on the streamer, plus a look at new releases for this month. (If you’re still trying to figure out if Max is for you, skim our review of the Warner Bros. Discovery streaming service).

New releases for June

Note: These descriptions are taken from Max press releases and official websites for the films and lightly edited for style.

June 1

  • Mamma Mia (2008): Musical comedy starring Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried. Sophie (Seyfried) has just one wish to make her wedding perfect: to have her father walk her down the aisle. Now she just has to find out who he is.
  • Uncut Gems (2019): Crime thriller starring Adam Sandler. It’s about Howard Ratner (Sandler), a charismatic New York City jeweler always on the lookout for the next big score.

June 6

  • Am I OK? (2022): Comedy-drama starring Dakota Johnson and Sonoya Mizuno. Best friends Lucy (Johnson) and Jane (Mizuno) think they know everything there is to know about each other. But when Jane announces she’s moving, Lucy reveals a long-held secret.

June 13

  • Hannah Einbinder: Everything Must Go (2024): Comedy special. Einbinder debuts a variety of characters and shares formative stories from throughout her life in her first stand-up special.

June 28

  • Problemista (2023): Comedy. It’s a surreal adventure through the equally treacherous worlds of New York City and the US Immigration system.

Read more: Best TV Shows to Watch on Max

The best movies to watch

The films below consist of notable new releases and blockbusters, HBO and Max originals and Warner Bros. films made exclusively for Max. All score around 65 or higher on Metacritic.

Drama

Max

Turtles All the Way Down (2024)

Don’t usually dabble in the young adult genre? You shouldn’t let that keep you from taking in Turtles All the Way Down, based on a 2017 novel of the same name by John Green. The film stars Isabela Merced (Madame Web, upcoming sci-fier Alien: Romulus) as a teen who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety. With elements of romance and a captivating performance from Merced, this straight-to-streaming movie deserves more attention.

Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla, about the relationship between Priscilla and Elvis Presley, is streaming on Max along with other recent films from entertainment company A24. Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi star in the stylish flick, which tells things from Priscilla’s point of view. If you like new A24 flicks, Max’s stash also includes The Iron Claw, The Zone of Interest and Dream Scenario (Love Lies Bleeding and Civil War will hit the streamer eventually).

20th Century Studios

Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)

Avatar: The Way of Water reintroduced audiences to James Cameron’s film franchise after 13 years and won an Oscar for best visual effects. The sequel centers on the Sully family — Jake, Neytiri and their kids — and is brimming with adventure and heart. It’ll be at least a couple of years until Avatar 3 arrives, but you can pass the time by rewatching this on Max.

WarnerMedia

After a shooting occurs at her high school, 16-year-old Vada Cavell must navigate friendships, school and her relationship with her family. The Fallout skillfully approaches serious subject matter with realistic dialogue and compassion for its characters. With strong performances from stars Jenna Ortega, as Vada, and Maddie Ziegler, as her new friend Mia Reed, the feature will keep you glued to the screen for the entirety of its 90-minute runtime.

Warner Bros

Remember 2021, when Warner Bros. movies hit HBO Max on the same day they premiered in theaters? That exciting period may be over, but at least we’ll always have the memory of watching Denis Villeneuve’s stunning sci-fi epic Dune at home. If you’ve never seen the film or need to brush up on what “the spice” is before watching Part Two (which is also on Max), stream Part One now.

Chiabella James/Warner Bros. Pictures

King Richard is a feel-good biopic about the father of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams. The film winds back the clock to before the sisters became household names, giving us a glimpse of their upbringing in Compton and time spent practicing on run-down courts with their father, Richard Williams (Will Smith). Convinced his daughters are going to be successful, Richard works tirelessly to get their star potential noticed by professional coaches. A complicated man with a tremendous personality, Richard is fascinating to get to know, and his unwavering belief in Venus and Serena is inspiring. 

Imaginal Disc

A rare (nowadays) 90-minute film, American Mexican drama Son of Monarchs will stay with you long after the end credits roll. This deep character study follows two brothers who are changed in markedly different ways by the trauma they suffered in childhood. This story, folding in magical realism, follows how they move forward in life — the butterfly metaphors are strong, with biologist Mendel returning to his hometown surrounded by majestic monarch butterfly forests.

Based on a magazine article by journalist Robert Kolker, this tale about a public school embezzlement scandal and the student journalists who broke the news is captivating from start to finish. Allison Janney and Hugh Jackman are great in their roles as the school officials who took part in the scheme. The drama also won the 2020 Emmy award for Outstanding Television Movie. 

Comedy

Warner Bros. Pictures

Dune’s Timothée Chalamet stars in this prequel to Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and it’s a total treat. With new and familiar tunes, a committed cast and oodles and oodles of whimsy, the film allows audiences to get to know a young Willy Wonka with giraffe-sized ambition and undeniable chocolate-making skill. It’s a quirky, comforting flick from Paddington director Paul King that you’ll absolutely want on your plate.

Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros.

Unless you’ve been living in Barbie Land (or another place that isn’t the real world), chances are you’re very familiar with this pink-coated comedy already. The flick — Warner Bros.’ highest-grossing global release of all time — brings a long list of stars together for a hilarious and heartfelt adventure. Greta Gerwig directs, Margot Robbie plays the titular role, and Ryan Gosling belts out an incredible power ballad as Ken.

Father of the Bride (2022)

Max’s Father of the Bride introduces a Cuban American family that includes patriarch Billy, a traditional guy who struggles to digest surprising news from his eldest daughter: She’s met a guy, and she wants to marry and move away with him. The third film adaptation of a 1949 novel of the same name by Edward Streeter, the movie is an enjoyable iteration that includes stars like Andy Garcia and singer Gloria Estefan.

HBO Max

Meryl Streep playing an eccentric author in a Steven Soderbergh comedy. What more do you need to know? If you do want to know more: Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Hughes (Streep) is struggling to finish her next book, chased by her literary agent (Gemma Chan). She boards a cruise ship with old friends, who inspired her best-known work. Tensions are strong. It looks great — Soderbergh uses crisp, natural light — and most of the dialogue is improvised. See how Dianne Wiest, Candice Bergen, Lucas Hedges and the rest of the impeccable cast have fun with that.

Thriller

Steven Soderbergh directs this engaging tech thriller set during the COVID-19 pandemic. Angela, a Seattle tech worker played by a neon blue-haired Zoë Kravitz, has agoraphobia, a fear that prevents her from making it past the front door of her apartment. But when she uncovers an unsettling recording while doing her job, she’s pushed to make the leap. Kimi is a stylish thriller complete with eye-catching cinematography, a solid score and a protagonist you’ll be rooting for.

HBO Max

A movie from Steven Soderbergh, the great director behind Erin Brockovich, Ocean’s Eleven and, more recently, Logan Lucky? Twists, thrills and desperate characters populate this crime thriller set in 1950s Detroit. When a seemingly simple job gets out of hand, a group of criminals must work together to uncover what’s really going on. Take in the incredible cast: Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, David Harbour, Jon Hamm and Amy Seimetz. While the plot can be a little convoluted and some won’t be able to get past the fish-eye lens cinematography, Soderbergh’s sense of humor and immersive direction make this crime caper an entertaining night in.

Documentary

HBO

This captivating documentary is filled with images that will stick with you. It centers on two brothers in New Delhi who run a bird hospital dedicated to black kites — birds of prey that are a staple of the sky. It was a contender for best documentary feature at the 2023 Oscars.

Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off (2022)

Tune into this HBO doc for the gravity-defying skateboard stunts, a time capsule of the ’80s skateboarding scene, and a version of Hawk you’ve probably never seen. We get to know the renowned athlete as a lanky, stubborn but determined kid who adopted his own skateboarding style. Hawk’s persistence is something to marvel at, along with all the stunning skateboard moves this film packs in. Hang on for a memorable ride.

CNN/Focus Features

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain (2021)

This film about beloved author, chef and globe-traveling TV host Anthony Bourdain comes from documentary filmmaker Morgan Neville, who also directed 2018’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor? and the Oscar-winning film Twenty Feet from Stardom. In interviews with people who knew Bourdain, like his friends, former partners and longtime colleagues, the doc tracks his career path, relationships and personal struggles. Bourdain fans and those less acquainted with the star will likely appreciate this two-hour look at his life.

Musical

Warner Bros. Pictures

This movie musical version of The Color Purple is adapted from Alice Walker’s 1982 novel and the Broadway play. Set in the early 1900s, the film tells the story of Celie, a Black woman living in the South who faces multiple hardships but is able to find strength in the bonds in her life. The cast includes Fantasia Barrino, Taraji P. Henson, Colman Domingo, Halle Bailey and Danielle Brooks, who received a 2023 Oscar nomination for her role as Celie’s daughter-in-law, Sofia.

Macall Polay/Warner Bros.

In the Heights stars Anthony Ramos (whom you might recognize as John Laurens in Hamilton) playing Usnavi, a bodega owner struggling to keep his business afloat while a heatwave strikes Washington Heights. Secretly in love with his neighbor Vanessa (Melissa Barrera), who dreams of getting out of the salon and out of the neighborhood, Usnavi serves the people of Washington Heights with a whole lot of love, lottery tickets and cafe con leche. Between the choreographed twirls and fireworks, In the Heights is an examination of wealth disparity, immigration, classism and the importance of culture.

Superhero

Jonathan-Olley-DC

Robert Pattinson steps out as Batman in this moody superhero flick directed by Matt Reeves. The movie takes place in a perpetually gray and rain-soaked Gotham City, where Bruce Wayne starts to seek out a murderer with an affinity for riddles. Along the way, he meets Catwoman, played by a swaggering Zoë Kravitz. A satisfying dark mystery with great scene-setting and storytelling, The Batman is also getting a Max spinoff series, The Penguin, in 2024.

HBO Max

Over-the-top violence abounds in this DC film about supervillains who agree to help the US government in exchange for some time off their prison sentences. Their mission is to destroy something alluded to as Project Starfish, harbored in the fictional island country of Corto Maltese. With a notable cast that includes Margot Robbie, Idris Elba and John Cena, 2021’s The Suicide Squad is a wickedly entertaining, darkly funny bloodbath that differs from what you usually see in superhero movies. (Peacemaker, a spinoff TV series, is also available on Max.)



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