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90 Great Movies and Shows to Stream on HBO Max

If you are new to HBO Max, we have a massive, in-depth list of movie and TV show recommendations to suit just about any mood.
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By  · Published on December 17th, 2020

Great Movies on HBO Max That Were Directed By Women

Hbo Max Movies Directed By Women

Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020)

Eliza Hittman’s Never Rarely Sometimes Always is a quiet yet devastating tale about the difficulties of getting an abortion and the dangers that teenage girls face every single day. Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) discovers she is pregnant and has no desire to keep or have the baby. But, in her conservative rural Pennsylvania town, abortion is not an option. So, she and her cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder) travel to New York City where Autumn can better access the care she wants. Hittman creates an honest and non-exploitative look at abortion, showing both the process and the struggles for many rural teens to gain access to it. There is barely any dialogue, but the two girls’ actions speak louder than any word as they both share a deep love for one another even in the face of a big city and predatory men.

Point Break (1991)

Kathryn Bigelow’s original 1991 film is all about surfers, bank robbery, and an FBI agent named Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves). Utah must infiltrate the group of surfers who make up the “Ex-Presidents,” a group of bank robbers led by Bodhi (Patrick Swayze). Utah’s goal is to help with the investigation. But, of course, the plan gets complicated as Utah falls in love with both a surfer and the adrenaline-charged lifestyle. Point Break features two sun-soaked, salt-covered dreamboats whose interactions are charged with homoerotic energy.

Daisies (1966)

Opulence and excessive consumption are the subject of Czech New Wave director Vera Chytilova’s 1966 surrealist comedy Daisies. Two women, Maria #1 (Jitka Cerhová) and Maria #2 (Ivana Karbanová), realize that the world is spoiled and there’s no point in pretending anymore. They don’t want to be sweet and polite, they want to spit in the face of rules and revel in the freedom of filth. They scam older men, go dancing in night clubs, and stuff themselves to bursting with massive feasts. Chytilova’s classic film is required viewing and remains relevant today as we continue to question the role of capitalism in our everyday lives.

Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962)

If you’ve never watched a film by Agnes Varda, then Cleo from 5 to 7 is the perfect place to start. The titular Cleo (Corinne Marchand) is a pop star who, from five to seven o’clock, is awaiting the results of a biopsy. She assumes she has cancer and is desperately trying to find someone to comfort her in her time of need. But due to her rather vapid lifestyle, no one takes her seriously. Cleo begins to realize how her body is being exploited and reflects on how she has lived her life up until this point. Cleo from 5 to 7 is a fascinating look at French feminism in the 1960s and how Varda’s work was so subversive during this time.

Mikey and Nicky (1976)

Comedic genius Elaine May moved into the gangster film sphere with her 1976 film Mikey and Nicky, starring John Cassavetes as Nicky and Peter Falk as Mikey. When Nicky gets into trouble with the mob yet again, his best friend Mikey comes to help bail him out. While th film involves a rather simple premise of two men trying to escape death, May goes deeper than that. As the title suggests, this is a film about the close friendship between two men and how they’ve each navigated that relationship throughout the years.

— Mary Beth McAndrews

Great Movies on HBO Max Based on DC Comics

Hbo Max Dc Comics Movies

Batman Forever (1995)

Batman Forever is not the best DC Comics adaptation available to you on HBO Max. It’s not even the best Batman movie, but let’s be real for a moment. You’ve watched Superman: The Movie, Batman ’89, and Wonder Woman a couple of dozen times already. Their placement in your heart is secured. Their narratives are scarred along the walls of your brain. Batman Forever is a neon slice of absurdity in which director Joel Schumacher jettisoned practically every aesthetical choice made by the franchise’s previous caretaker. Only a handful of supporting players and background extras remain from Batman Returns, barely holding its sequel designation together. In reality, the film is as much of a reboot as Batman Begins and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

After decades of grim Dark Knights, Schumacher’s take — bat-nipples and all — retrospectively plays like an exhilarating explosion of fresh oxygen. Gotham City is still a mess, but it’s more party than nightmare. Leaning heavily into the comic of comic books, Batman Forever celebrates the wild characters and ideas that populate its source material. When it comes to loving the caped crusader, there’s no apology.

Batman vs. Two-Face (2017)

Batman’s wingspan is ridiculously wide, and there is room beneath it for every possible tone of storytelling. You can wear Schumacher’s version for a film or two and still appreciate Christian Bale’s rock-gargled growl. You don’t get to hang around for eighty-plus years and be the same bat you were on day one and survive.

Batman vs. Two-Face is the second animated feature to exist in the world of the 1966 television series. Both Adam West and Burt Ward return to voice the dynamic duo, and Julie Newmar delivers a purr-fect showing as well. The story is loosely based on a rejected Season 3 proposal by science fiction author Harlan Ellison, in which Clint Eastwood was meant to appear as the fate-obsessed attorney Harvey Dent. For the animated adventure, Eastwood was clearly busy, but Wiliam Shatner’s schedule was wide open. Good thing, too, cuz Shatner is right at home alongside the rest of the rogues.

The “serious” Batman fan once mocked the Adam West era, but in the wake of so many Burton, Nolan, and Snyder winged-rodent adventures, the ’60s television series electrifies with originality. Batman vs. Two-Face feels like another little comic book movie miracle, returning the spotlight to a show that defined the character for decades despite never actually making it to a third season.

All-Star Superman (2011)

In the world of comics, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All-Star Superman is the definitive statement on the character. He’s not some muscle-bound boy scout with an impenetrable moral center. He’s a foundling, raised on love with an unstoppable hope for the human race. He can’t be everywhere at once, but he serves as a beacon for the rest of us to follow his actions.

The animated All-Star Superman does not have the runtime, or the interest, to cover every idea within the twelve-chaptered graphic novel, but it masterfully captures its authors’ intent. There’s punching, Lex Luthor, and the grotesque energy gobbler Parasite, but most importantly, there’s Clark Kent. He stands as the shining example we need him to be, providing us with a model of hopeful behavior that’s so hard to come by these days. Superman could turn his back on our wretched ways at any given moment, but he chooses not to do so. He will always wait for us. He will always be there.

Justice League: The New Frontier (2008)

Justice League: The New Frontier is another exceptional adaptation of a stone-cold classic. Darwyn Cooke’s original graphic novel reframes the formation of the Justice League around John F. Kennedy’s historic call to action. At a moment of great societal struggle, a few bright souls strive to do better given the talents they possess.

Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman fight injustice using three very different moral points of view. They clash initially, but the inevitable global killer forces them to fight as one unit. The DC Comics holy trinity is the main appeal to most, but The New Frontier works best when focusing on the odd ducks of the universe: Martian Manhunter, Hal Jordan, Barry Allen. Similar to All-Star Superman, the animated film perfectly captures the comic’s purpose without falling into obsessive adaptation. The style mimics Cooke’s gleeful pulp aesthetic but never translates as stiff or false. Every frame is a picture, or a panel, worthy for your wall. If you’re looking for the best at what DC’s animated division can do, look no further.

The Losers (2010)

The Losers contains one Avenger (Chris Evans), one Guardian of the Galaxy (Zoe Saldana), one Asgardian (Idris Elba), and one Watchman (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), but it feels and operates unlike anything the MCU or Alan Moore could muster. These ragtag, mouthy mercenaries are The A-Team injected with wit and flash. Betrayed by the governmental shadows they once called colleagues, The Losers strike out on a mission of revenge.

The film is never as hard or as vicious as you want it to be, but there is no denying its cast’s chemistry and charm. Jeffery Dean Morgan struts like the movie star he so should be, bouncing off Elba’s gruff machismo and gleefully swatting at Evans’ impossibly magnetic and dweeby tactician. As the villainous Max, Jason Patric is a cartoon, but it’s a movie that needs a cartoon. The Losers is a lark. Something you pop on in the middle of the day while you do laundry. Ten minutes into your chores, and you’re plopped down on the couch, gazing intently at your TV. The clothes sit wet in the dryer while you’re giggling at every barb being battled out amongst the cast.

— Brad Gullickson

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