The 60 Best Movies On Hulu Right Now (September 2022) – /Film

The content available on most streaming services changes regularly, and Hulu is no exception. As such, having a handy guide for what to watch each month can be an invaluable resource. And so, without further ado, we present to you the 60 best movies on Hulu right now.
What can you expect from the Hulu catalog specifically? Well, for one, plenty of 20th Century productions, as well as films made under its specialty label, Searchlight Pictures. Ever since Disney bought Fox (which also gave the Mouse House a controlling share of Hulu), the streaming service has been the exclusive streaming destination for all 20th Century films. Hulu also has a pretty strong, albeit constantly revolving, selection of films from other studios, so there’s plenty of good stuff to choose from. Given that HBO Max seems to be going through some turbulent times, Hulu currently seems to be the go-to place for the discerning viewer searching for quality movies to watch at home.

The landmark sci-fi anime “Akira” helped introduce western audiences to Japanese animation and has had a significant influence on numerous film and television series in the years since its release. Set 31 years after Tokyo was destroyed during World War III, this dystopian story revolves around teenage bike gang leader Shotaro Kaneda, whose childhood friend, Tetsuo, is taken to a government facility after a motorcycle accident. When Tetsuo develops telekinetic powers, Kaneda must try to stop him from destroying the city.

Joshua Oppenheimer’s critically acclaimed documentary “The Act of Killing” is a unique and chillingly powerful work that reflects on the horrors of the Indonesian genocide of 1965-1966 and the way that the perpetrators of those killings have been subsequently celebrated as heroes. The film follows several former death squad leaders as they’re interviewed about their role in the mass murders and willingly participate in bizarre Hollywood-style recreations of the atrocities they committed. Werner Herzog, who joined as an executive producer on the film after seeing it, said, “I have not seen a film as powerful, surreal, and frightening in at least a decade.”

Aretha Franklin is showcased in all her glory in this music documentary, which features long-lost footage of the Queen of Soul singing gospel songs at a Baptist church in Watts, Los Angeles. The live concert footage, which was shot by Warner Brothers and orchestrated by Sydney Pollack, offers viewers a front row seat to a performance by one of the greatest musical artists of our time, who’s at the top of her game here. The live record recorded during this event, also called “Amazing Grace,” went on to become the best-selling gospel album ever.

When it comes to “Another Round,” three words immediately come to mind: Mads Mikkelsen dancing. While there’s certainly more to the movie than that, the Danish dramedy’s notable final scene is an exhilarating and life affirming moment that also shows off Mikkelsen’s (a former gymnast and dancer) impressive physical prowess and agility. Mikkelsen stars in the film as Martin, a middle-aged high school teacher who, along with a few colleagues, decide to spice up his stale life by maintaining a constant .05 blood alcohol level in the hopes this will help him become happier and more creative. At first, the plan seems to work, but the party can’t last forever. “Another Round” won the Academy Award for best international feature in 2021.

Harvey Weinstein’s downfall started an overdue reckoning in Hollywood, leading to a reexamination of the toxic workplace culture that allowed his predatory behavior to go unchecked. Kitty Green’s quietly powerful “The Assistant” focuses on one particular part of that culture: the Hollywood assistant. 
Julia Garner stars as Jane, a new assistant at an unnamed production company where the boss, an implied Weinstein-type figure, creates a culture of harassment, sleeping with aspiring young actresses and being an all-around bully. We follow Jane during a typical workday, watching as she spends her time performing menial tasks while suffering small indignities and, ultimately, being drawn into a culture of cover-ups and silence.

Us grown-ups know that being an adult is no fun, but for Tom Hanks, it took getting a wish granted by a fortune-telling machine to learn that lesson. Of course, that’s a bit of a sardonic take on the Penny Marshall-directed classic “Big,” which is actually a charmingly funny and poignant tale of a 12-year-old boy who finds himself grown into a 30-year-old overnight. He promptly finds work at a toy company, gets promoted, and teaches the adults around him how to hold onto their inner kids-at-heart. Still, the lesson here is clear: Never grow up!

John Carpenter’s unabashedly fun cult classic “Big Trouble in Little China” is an in-your-face, genre-blending martial arts action-fantasy-comedy delight. Kurt Russell stars as the cocky but clueless Jack Burton, who gets drawn into Chinatown’s underground and must battle an evil sorcerer named Lo Pan (James Hong) in order to save the girl and the day. Full of quotable lines, creative set pieces, ’80s-riffic special effects, and plenty of action, “Big Trouble in Little China” is one of Carpenter’s best.

Darren Aronofsky’s films often explore intense obsessions that turn into ruin, and “Black Swan” is no exception. The psychological thriller stars Natalie Portman as Nina, a New York City ballet dancer desperate to land the coveted dual roles of the White and Black swans in Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.” However, Nina becomes insecure when the director feels that another dancer, Lily (Mila Kunis), better embodies the seductive Black Swan. As Nina works to perfect her routine, her desperation turns to obsession, and her grip on reality is threatened. Critics swooned over the darkly compelling “Black Swan,” which was nominated for five Oscars, with Portman winning best actress.

Folk horror sensation “The Blair Witch Project” leveraged the power of viral marketing and urban legend-style folklore to eerily successful effect, becoming a touchstone within the horror genre and sparking a found-footage craze that paved the way for films such as “Paranormal Activity.” Its plot revolves around a group of film students who travel to the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland in search of the fabled Blair Witch, only to get lost, disappear, and become part of the legend themselves after their footage is recovered. Among the innovative marketing strategies employed for the film were “missing” posters featuring the characters, complete with a number to call if you had information regarding their whereabouts.

Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut, “Booksmart,” is a refreshing and funny coming-of-age comedy centered around two scholarly high school girls (Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever) who decide to let loose for one night before graduating. Bolstered by stylish direction and a fun supporting cast that includes Lisa Kudrow and Jason Sudeikis, “Booksmart” puts a modern spin on a well-worn genre and proves that it’s fun to watch good girls be bad.

Ali Abbasi’s dark Swedish fantasy “Border” is a thrillingly weird ode to embracing our oddities. Eva Melander plays Tina, a unique-looking customs agent with an unusually keen sense of smell. Though she’s self-conscious about her appearance, she nevertheless leads a relatively normal, if rather unfulfilling, life. However, when she meets Vore, with whom she shares a strange affinity, the two begin a friendship that will awaken in Tina the surprising truth about her own identity.

Of all of Tom Hank’s various co-stars throughout the years, one of the most memorable has to be his “Cast Away” colleague: a volleyball named Wilson. In “Cast Away,” Hanks plays Chuck Noland, a FedEx employee whose cargo plane crashes in the ocean, after which he ends up stranded alone on a desert island with only a piece of sporting equipment to keep him company. Hanks was nominated for a best actor Oscar for his role, while Wilson won “best inanimate object” at the 2001 Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards.

Oh Captain, My Captain! Fans of Robin Williams will no doubt be familiar with his sensitive and endearing performance in “Dead Poets Society,” where he plays a new English teacher at a fancy boys’ prep school who helps inspire a class of tightly-wound youth to break free of their parents’ expectations by encouraging them to “seize the day.” The poignantly effective drama won an Oscar for best original screenplay for good reason, and helped establish the famously comedic Williams as a serious dramatic actor.

Wes Anderson brings his signature sense of style and whimsy to this quirkily charming stop-motion animation adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel. George Clooney stars as the titular Mr. Fox, a reformed criminal who commits to a life of domesticity at the behest of his wife (Meryl Streep). But foxes will be foxes, and when Mr. Fox slips back into his thieving ways, it puts his family and friends in danger.

“The first rule of Fight Club is: You don’t talk about Fight Club.” But there’s so much to say about David Fincher’s slick and stylish adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s nihilistic novel. In both the film and the book, an angry everyman schlep referred to as Jack (Edward Norton) starts attending all kinds of support groups just to feel something, until one day he meets the bold and macho Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), who represents everything Jack isn’t but longs to be. Tyler introduces Jack to the titular underground club, where every day dudes get together and beat each other up. “Fight Club” didn’t find financial success in theaters, but it went on to become a film geek classic, one The New York Times once dubbed “the defining cult movie of our time.”

An inventive modern-day spin on Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” “Fire Island” stars Joel Kim Booster and Bowen Yang as Noah and Howie, two best friends who head to the titular gay vacation destination on a quest for some summer fun. Once there, they meet a group of rich friends, including Charlie, a doctor, and Will, a lawyer. While Noah had been focused on helping Howie get laid, he ends up attracted to Will. Featuring a diverse, eclectic cast of characters, “Fire Island” touches on various forms of prejudice, including classism and racism, with both humor and heart.

Terry Gilliam’s off-kilter dark fantasy dramedy “The Fisher King” was an excellent vehicle for Robin Williams. In it, he gives one of his best performances as a homeless man named Parry, who believes that he’s been tasked with rescuing the Holy Grail. Parry aids a despondent, washed-up New York City radio shock jock, Jack (Jeff Bridges), and introduces him to his quest, but the two are more connected than they initially realize, as Jack is partly responsible for Parry’s current state of delusion. The creative and deeply poignant film was nominated for five Oscars, including a nod to Williams for best actor, and a win for Mercedes Ruehl, who plays Jack’s girlfriend, Anne.

Director Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s groundbreaking animated documentary, “Flee,” made Oscar history by becoming the first feature film to be nominated for Academy Awards for best animated feature, best international film, and best documentary feature. The film is mainly told via an animated recreation of a first-person account from Amin Nawabi (a pseudonym), who talks about his incredible experience fleeing Afghanistan as a child. Now that he’s an adult, Amin’s story, which had remained a secret, could threaten the life he has built together with his boyfriend, Kasper. Full of joy, pain, and self-discovery, “Flee” is a poignant, timely tale that powerfully humanizes the refugee experience.

Women deserve good sex no matter what age they happen to be, and thus should appreciate the many charms of “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande,” in which Emma Thompson plays a repressed, widowed, middle-aged woman, Nancy Stokes, who decides to hire a sex worker for precisely that. Leo Grande (Daryl McCormack) is the charismatic and attractive young man who shows up at her hotel, ready to please. But, as the two learn more about each other, they may forge an unexpected emotional connection in addition to a physical one.

They ain’t afraid of no ghosts! The classic supernatural comedy “Ghostbusters” spawned an enduring and beloved franchise, delighting kids and adults alike with its tale about a group of paranormal exterminators who must rid New York City of spirits and demons using their self-styled proton packs and, of course, their charm. Led by Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), the so-called “Ghostbusters” are ridiculed at first, but soon become indispensable when Venkman’s girlfriend, Dana (Sigourney Weaver), becomes possessed by a demigod named Zuul. And then there’s the giant Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, but that would take too long to explain.

Everybody’s favorite trapped-in-a-time-loop comedy, “Groundhog Day” is so good that you’ll want to watch it again and again. Bill Murray stars as Phil Connors, a TV weatherman who becomes stuck reliving the same day repeatedly while covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. As he figures out how to live in this new reality, Phil eventually realizes that he’s in love with his producer, Rita (Andie MacDowell). By the time he escapes, he may even learn to evolve as a person, too.

The ’80s were a prime time for gritty thrillers, and “The Hitcher” remains one of the best of the era. The nail-biting cult classic is made all the more memorable thanks to a chilling performance by Rutger Hauer as the titular hitchhiker, who also happens to be a murderous stalker, as he terrorizes his picker-upper Jim (C. Thomas Howell) and truck stop waitress Nash (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Once you’ve seen it, you’ll never pick up another hitchhiker and you’ll never look at French fries the same way again.

“Honeyland” is a beautifully-rendered, intimate, and moving documentary that offers a glimpse into a fading way of life through the eyes of Europe’s last female beekeeper. Hatidzhe lives with her ailing mother in rural Macedonia, eking out a basic existence by carefully collecting honey that she cultivates via ancient techniques. However, when a nomadic family encroaches on her livelihood, Hatidzhe must work to save the local bee ecosystem from their careless actions. It’s a story that you won’t soon forget.

It was the whack-to-the-leg heard around the world. Back in 1994, Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, tried to take her rival, Nancy Kerrigan, out of the competition by hiring someone to attack Kerrigan with a baton. “I, Tonya” takes a satirical approach to the scandal and its central figures, portraying Ms. Harding (Margot Robbie) as a product of America’s obsession with celebrity and sensationalism and the dark side of the American dream. Buoyed by its excellent central performances, “I, Tonya” ultimately creates a boldly thought-provoking portrait of a controversial figure.

When it comes to large-scale disaster movies, it doesn’t get any bigger or more American than Roland Emmerich’s “Independence Day.” The summer sci-fi blockbuster pits a group of brave Americans, including a marine captain (Will Smith), a satellite technician (Jeff Goldblum), and the president of the United States (Bill Pullman), against invading space aliens in a race to save the world — all during the Fourth of July weekend, of course. This entertainingly patriotic moneymaker helped spark a resurgence of similar blockbusters, like “Armageddon,” and became the highest-grossing film of 1996.

It certainly feels like we’ve been playing a game of Jumanji these past few years, so why not watch the original 1995 movie? The visually stimulating family adventure stars Robin Williams as Alan Parrish, who has been trapped inside the titular board game since childhood. His only way out for good lies in the hands of the young Parrish siblings, Judy (Kirsten Dunst) and Peter (Bradley Pierce), who must level up within the game, braving rhinos, giant mosquitos and more to undo the wild chaos.

Coming-of-age dramedy “Juno” put writer Diablo Cody on the map, thanks to the film’s smart and heartfelt script about a teen girl navigating an unexpected pregnancy. Elliot Page plays the titular role of Juno, who decides to give her baby up for adoption to a married couple, only for the husband (Jason Bateman) to catch romantic feelings for her. Meanwhile, Juno might be in love with the baby’s father, fellow high school student Paulie (Michael Cera).

It’s tough being a 12-year-old vampire, as Swedish coming-of-age horror film “Let the Right One In” aptly demonstrates. Young Eli, a vampire, finds a kindred spirit in a bullied boy named Oskar, and helps him learn to stand up for himself. But Eli’s need to consume blood in order to survive remains an ever-present problem, even though a mysterious, older, male companion helps her do the dirty work.

The world lost a good one when Harry Dean Stanton passed. Luckily, we have his performance in “Lucky,” one of his very last, to help us honor his immense talents. The directorial debut of actor John Carroll Lynch (“Zodiac,” “American Horror Story”), “Lucky” follows the journey of the titular 90-year-old atheist as he seeks enlightenment and comes to terms with his own mortality with help from a revolving carousel of quirky characters. It’s hard to walk away from this one with a dry eye.

Fran Kranz’s directorial debut, “Mass,” is both a stripped-down chamber piece and an emotionally wrought exploration of grief, guilt, anger, and empathy. Two couples meet in the back room of a church and talk about a tragedy that ripped their lives apart: a school shooting in which one couples’ son was a victim, and the other couples’ son was the perpetrator. With a strong script bolstered by incredible performances from the cast, “Mass” is mighty powerful stuff.

Years before he was winning Oscars for “Parasite,” South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho made another cinematic masterpiece, the true-crime-inspired “Memories of Murder.” Loosely based on South Korea’s first confirmed serial murders, this meticulously crafted crime drama follows a bumbling local cop (Song Kang-ho) and a slick big city detective who team up to try and solve a string of killings in a rural province. Drawing thematically on the concept of that which remains elusive, the film’s haunting final shot lingers long after the credits roll.

Bing Liu’s must-see documentary, “Minding the Gap,” is a personal, painful, and revelatory journal of his and his skateboard-loving friends’ experiences coming of age in Rockford, Illinois. Featuring intimate cinema verité-style footage shot over a 10-year period, the film chronicles the boys’ turbulent home lives, as well as their hopes, fears, dreams, and friendships as they learn what it means to be young men in the Rust Belt, creating a compelling and thought-provoking portrait of American life along the way.

It’s hard not to have a good time watching a Muppets movie. “The Muppets Take Manhattan” is charmingly fun entertainment for the whole family, following Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, and the rest of the gang as they take their act to the Big Apple in hopes of making it on Broadway. But the path to the big time isn’t as easy as they hoped, especially when they run into shady producers like Murray Plotsky (Dabney Coleman).
Starring: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz
Director: Frank Oz
Year: 1984
Runtime: 94 minutes
Rating: G
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%

“The Babadook” director Jennifer Kent followed up her hit horror film with an unflinchingly brutal movie about the horrors of colonialism. Set in Tasmania in the 1800s, “The Nightingale” follows Clare, an Irish convict, as she traverses the country seeking revenge on a British officer who committed unspeakable acts of violence upon her and her family. She enlists the help of an Aboriginal tracker named Billy, who has his own traumatic past and an even more questionable future in store than Clare does.

Movie fans who appreciate masterful storytelling and want more exposure to the Ivory Coast would do well to tune in to Philippe Lacôte’s gritty fable, “Night of the Kings.” Set at La Maca, a notorious prison, “Night of the Kings” follows a young prisoner who arrives just in time for the red moon, a special event during which someone must be named “The Roman,” or storyteller. The Roman’s function? He must entertain the rest of the prisoners by telling a story until the sun rises — or be killed.

Chloe Zhao made Oscars history in 2020 when she became the second woman ever to win an Academy Award for best director. She did so for her deeply empathetic look at America’s “Nomadland,” a space where dried up industries and Amazon warehouses have led to a faded vision of the American dream. Frances McDormand stars as a widow who packs up and leaves a dying town in Nevada, traveling around looking for work and meeting other “nomads” along the way. During her journey, she finds both the beauty and the pitfalls of so-called American individualism.

Jerrod Carmichael has been making a name for himself in comedy circles, and recently made waves with his third HBO comedy special, “Rothaniel.” But he’s also establishing a reputation in the filmmaking world thanks to his impressive directorial debut, “On the Count of Three,” which won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the Sundance Film Festival.
The pitch-black comedy revolves around two depressed lifelong friends, the quiet Val (Carmichael) and the more erratic Kevin (Christopher Abbott), who make a pact to help each other commit suicide, but not before they make the most of their last day on Earth. It’s a darkly funny, bittersweet, and ultimately poignant tale that handles its serious subject matter with a keen intelligence; it also features a memorable Papa Roach singalong.

Scrappy indie thriller “Open Water” made a splash at the box office in 2003. The micro-budget survival film from first time writer-director Chris Kentis and his producer wife Laura Lau ended up making $30 million domestically, proving once again that a simple story that’s told well can go a long way. Avid scuba divers themselves, the filmmakers loosely based the film on a real-life tragedy in which a couple’s vacation turned into a nightmare when they were accidentally left behind during a dive along Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Two relatively unknown actors, Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis, were cast in the film, which follows a couple as they desperately fight to stay alive while surrounded by sharks.

Time loops have been done many times before, but the charmingly fun “Palm Springs” breathes fresh life into the genre with a story about two wedding guests (Andy Samberg and Cristin Millioti) who end up falling in love while they’re stuck reliving the same day over and over. A smart, funny script and strong performances give this sci-fi-tinged rom-com an edge, making it one of the better comedies of the last few years. More of this kind of thing, Hollywood. Thank you.

Perhaps no film highlights the absurdity of late-stage capitalism better than Bong Joon-ho’s masterfully crafted dark comedy thriller, “Parasite.” The Oscar-winning film revolves around a low-class family that cons its way into working for the wealthy Park clan. But there’s more to the story than first meets the eye, as a hidden secret turns up in the basement of the Park home. 
“Parasite” hit at just the right time: in the middle of a worldwide pandemic that further emphasized the chasm between the rich and the poor. Academy voters thought so as well, rewarding the film with statuettes in four major categories.

Based on the premise, viewers might at first expect “Pig” to be a John Wick-style vengeance tale about a man whose beloved truffle pig is kidnapped, but this film is deeper and more complex than that, offering instead a pared-down but emotionally-wrought study of grief. In the film, Nicolas Cage plays a reclusive former chef who must confront the ghosts of his past as he searches for his missing pig. It’s a fantastic performance that proves that Cage is very much still a heavy hitter in the acting department, and that rightfully earned him much awards buzz.

The extremely timely “Plan B” follows two high school friends, the strait-laced Sunny (Kuhoo Verma) and the more outgoing Lupe (Victoria Moroles), as they take a road trip around South Dakota in search of a Plan B pill after one of them has a sexual encounter she regrets. In light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, this progressive, female-forward comedy touches on the topic of women’s reproductive rights and bodily autonomy in a sharp and honest way.

French filmmaker Céline Sciamma followed up her fiery period lesbian romance “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” with a sweet, heartwarming, and heartrending tale of childhood grief, memory, and the relationship between mothers and daughters. The film follows eight-year-old Nelly as she explores the woods behind her recently deceased grandmother’s house. There, she encounters a young girl about her own age, whom she later discovers is a past version of her mother. Keep tissues handy when you tune in for this one, as tears of joy and tender sorrow are sure to flow.

Céline Sciamma’s period lesbian romance, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” is a gorgeous and smoldering depiction of forbidden love and feminist power. Set in the late 1700s, the film follows an artist named Marianne who is commissioned to paint a portrait of a well-heeled young woman, Heloise. During their sessions, the women develop a romantic attraction to one another, which eventually ignites into a passionate affair. However, the situation is complicated by the fact that Heloise is betrothed to a man whom she doesn’t want to marry.

The original “Predator” is widely regarded as an action classic, with a simple premise (it’s essentially “Rambo” meets “Alien”) delivered in a well-crafted and entertaining package. In addition, two of its stars (Arnold Swarzenegger and Jesse Ventura) would later become United States governors — talk about a powerful film! 
Here, Schwarzenegger plays Dutch, a commando sent with some compatriots to rescue a group of politicians in the Central American jungle. Things get wild when they encounter an advanced and powerful alien with a penchant for skinning people alive.

Hulu’s new “Predator” prequel, “Prey,” is a thrilling film that breathes fresh life into the sci-fi action-horror franchise even as it takes the story back 300 years. The movie follows a young Comanche warrior, Naru (Amber Midthunder), who goes up against one of the first alien Predators to land on Earth. The thoroughly engaging, back-to-basics revisionist western of sorts was shot in both Comanche and English, with an all-Comanche dub available on Hulu as well.

Long before John Wick and Barry, there was another hitman with a heart of gold. Leon, aka “The Professional,” is a self-professed “cleaner” who reluctantly takes in 12-year-old Mathilda (Natalie Portman, in her film debut) after her family is killed by a corrupt, drug-addicted DEA agent (Gary Oldman). Soon, Mathilda is picking up the tricks of the trade from the gruff and reserved, though endearingly gentle, Leon. Their touching odd-couple friendship and strong performances by the cast make this an action-thriller classic.

When it comes to female directors, the great Martha Coolidge, who gave us classic ’80s teen comedies like the Nicholas Cage-led “Valley Girl” and the Val Kilmer starrer “Real Genius,” deserves more credit. In “Real Genius,” Kilmer plays Pacific Tech student and slacker genius Chris Knight, who’s paired with a geeky new freshman, Mitch Taylor (Gabe Jarret), on a project to build a chemical laser. What they don’t know is that their professor is using them to build a deadly weapon on behalf of the government.
Starring: Val Kilmer, Gabriel Jarret, William Atherton
Director: Martha Coolidge
Year: 1985
Runtime: 106 minutes
Rating: PG
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%

It’s a shame that “Game of Thrones” only recently made dragons cool again, because if the woefully underrated 2002 movie “Reign of Fire” been released after the show came out, it most certainly would have been a bigger hit. Still, like many of the best movies, it’s one that has been reappraised in recent years. Let’s face it, “Reign of Fire” rocks.
I mean, what’s not to like? You have Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey playing the elaborately named Quinn Abercromby and Denton Van Zan, who end up working together to rid a post-apocalyptic London of dragons. It’s essentially a medieval fantasy mashed up with “Mad Max.” Need I say more?

Boots Riley’s provocative, surrealist Black comedy fantasy “Sorry to Bother You” wears its anti-capitalist message on its sleeve, while also making a statement about racism in white-collar America. LaKeith Stanfield stars as telemarketer Cassius Green, who figures out the keys to success, starting with adopting a “white voice” on his calls. As he climbs the corporate ladder, however, he discovers that his company’s fortunes are tied to a mysterious gene-altering powder. Believe me when I say that it gets much weirder from there.

Kristen Stewart was nominated for an Oscar for her career-defining portrayal of Princess Diana in Pablo Larrain’s “Spencer.” That she ultimately didn’t win doesn’t change the fact that her stunning performance anchors this imaginative fable, hauntingly imbuing it with Diana’s spirit every moment that the actress is on the screen. Playing out more like a ghost story than a traditional biopic, “Spencer” takes place over Christmas weekend in 1991 at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate, and sees Diana mulling over the idea of leaving Prince Charles. She also touches on topics such as his infidelity, her eating disorder, and her devotion to her children.

The art world is rife for criticism, and yet no one’s ever skewered it quite like Swedish director Ruben Östlund in his scathingly satirical, Palme d’Or-winning black comedy, “The Square.” Claes Bang stars as a museum curator struggling with an existential crisis. He hires a PR firm to help drum up buzz around the museum and its latest exhibit, a literal square that is meant to be a “sanctuary of trust and caring,” but the situation soon spirals out of control. His affair with an American journalist (Elizabeth Moss) isn’t helping, either.

Three years before the world was introduced to “Ghostbusters,” Ivan Reitman made another comedy classic starring Bill Murray and Harold Ramis, only instead of proton packs the men donned army fatigues. That movie is none other than “Stripes,” which stars Murray as a misfit cab driver and Ramis as his hapless friend, both of whom enlist in the U.S. Army and are sent off to basic training. Film critic Roger Ebert called “Stripes” “an anarchic slob movie, a celebration of all that is irreverent, reckless, foolhardy, undisciplined, and occasionally scatological,” while accurately noting that the film is also “a lot of fun.”

Questlove’s Oscar-winning music documentary “Summer of Soul” shines a light on long lost footage from the Harlem Cultural Festival, which took place in 1969 in Mount Morris Park. Overshadowed by Woodstock, which occurred at the same time, the Harlem Cultural Festival featured incredible performances by artists such as Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly and the Family Stone, and Gladys Knight and the Pips. Weaving live concert footage with interviews, this film places the events of the summer in the correct political and historical context, and ties it into our current cultural climate, resulting in a comprehensive, powerful, and rousing film.

Veteran character actor Udo Kier’s talents shine brightly in this life-affirming indie dramedy about an aging hairdresser who goes on a quest across the small town of Sandusky, Ohio. Kier plays the fabulous Pat Pitsenbarger, a real-life local legend known as the “Liberace of Sandusky,” who once owned his own salon but is now confined to a nursing home. When he gets word that his former client (played by Linda Evans) has passed away, and that her will states that she wanted Pat to do her hair for her funeral, he busts out of the home and travels across town, reconnecting with and reconciling his past along the way.

“Three Identical Strangers” is a jaw-dropping documentary full of incredible twists and turns. The true story of a set of identical triplets who were separated at birth and later reunited, the documentary explores the concept of nature versus nurture while shedding light on a shocking story regarding the adoption system. Fascinating and infuriating in the same measure, “Three Identical Strangers” won a special jury award at the Sundance Film Festival, where it premiered.

Julia Ducournau became the first female director to win the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival with her bold, gender-bending body horror drama, “Titane.” It’s a movie with a surprising story that’s best left for viewers to discover on their own, but generally the story revolves around a woman named Alexia who receives a titanium plate implant in her head after being in a car accident as a child. As an adult, she works as a showgirl at a car show. Meanwhile, a firefighter looks for his missing son. How these two stories intersect will be revealed to those bold enough to subject themselves to the film’s metallic charms.

Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne deliver powerhouse performances in “What’s Love Got to Do With It?,” a biopic about singer Tina Turner and her turbulent marriage to the abusive Ike Turner. Charting the early days of their relationship through Tina’s rise to stardom and, ultimately, her decision to leave the marriage, “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” is as riveting a musical biopic as they come.

If you’ve never seen the classic ’80s comedy “Working Girl,” you’re missing out on a damn fine rom-com, a touchstone workplace comedy, and an excellent star vehicle for Melanie Griffith. Griffith stars in the film as Tess McGill, the secretary to cutthroat businesswoman Katherine Parker (Sigourney Weaver). When Katherine passes off one of Tess’ great ideas as her own, then breaks a leg during a skiing holiday, Tess decides to shoot her shot. She poses as her boss and negotiates a big deal with investment broker Jack Trainer (Harrison Ford). Will savvy working girl Tess get a leg up in the business world, or will her ambitious plans come tumbling down?

An insightful, honest, and heartfelt look at the complexities of life and love in your 20s, “The Worst Person in the World” is both a rom-com and an adult coming-of-age story at the same time. The film centers on Julie, a medical student turned photography student turned bookstore employee who starts dating Aksel, a comic artist 15 years her senior. One night, she wanders into a party and meets and flirts with Eivind, a barista, leading her to have doubts about Aksel. Tinged with moments of fantasy, pathos, and humor, “The Worst Person in the World” is one of the best movies of 2021.


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