January brings new movies to watch. Let’s take a look at what hits HBO Max every week, as well as a handful of its best originals, which you can check out below. If you are still looking for something to watch, the platform also offers many classics from the Criterion collection.
What’s new this week (January 31 to February 6)
Here are the highlights of this week.
- 12 years of slavery (2013) – Periodic drama. In the years before the Civil War, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, was abducted and sold into slavery in the south.
- Nightmare Alley (2021) – A crime drama directed by Guillermo del Toro. An ambitious executioner with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words hangs out with a female psychiatrist who is even more dangerous than him.
- The Secret Garden (2020) – Fantasy suitable for the family. An orphan girl discovers a magical garden hidden in her strict uncle’s mansion.
- The Book Thief (2013) – Military drama. While exposed to the horrors of World War II Germany, young Liesel finds solace in stealing books and sharing them with others.
- Rango (2011) – Animated adventure. Rango is an ordinary chameleon who happens to be in Dirt, an illegal post in the Wild West, desperate for a new sheriff.
- Cry Macho (2021) – Western starring Clint Eastwood. A former rodeo star and washed horse breeder is working to bring a man’s young son home and away from his alcoholic mother.
The best originals and blockbusters of HBO Max
A drama about reaching the age of motorcycles. Charm City Kings starred in a fresh young cast, including Jahi Di’Alo Winston as Mouse, a 14-year-old boy immersed in the world of cycling in Baltimore, much to his mother’s horror. The strengths of the film lie in its impressive young talent and strong directing of scenes involving action with motorcycles. In addition, WandaVision fans will notice Theona Paris in a supporting role. Not perfect, but there is a lot to admire.
The Fallout (2022)
After a shooting at her high school, 16-year-old Vada Kavel has to orient herself in her friendships, school and relationships with her family. Fallout skillfully approaches a serious topic with realistic dialogue and compassion for his characters. With strong performances by stars Jenna Ortega as Vada and Maddie Ziegler as her new friend Mia Reed, the feature will keep you glued to the screen throughout its 90-minute performance.
Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)
Warner Bros. Pictures
Judas and the Black Messiah made waves of Oscars, winning the Best Supporting Actor award for Daniel Kaluya, among his many nominations. It was well deserved. Kaluuya is as mesmerizing as Fred Hampton, chairman of the Black Panther Division in Illinois, who lit up the screen alongside Lakeit Stanfield, who plays an FBI informant sent to infiltrate the party. The biographical film, which dramatizes real-life events in the late 1960s, is compelling, shocking and saturated with themes of racial injustice. A great, powerful movie that requires your full attention.
This is a cute little gem of HBO Max. Pregnant stars Hailey Lou Richardson and Barbie Ferreira cross the states as a friendly duo, where pregnant teenager Veronica (Richardson) can have an abortion. Yes, it’s a matter of choice, with Veronica’s parents refusing to give her permission to have an abortion. But it also fits into the key equipment of all travel movies, depicting a beautiful friendship between the two main roles.
The Son of Monarchs (2020)
A rare (nowadays) 90-minute film, the American Mexican drama Son of Monarchs will stay with you long after the end of the titles. This in-depth study of character traces two brothers who have changed in significantly different ways from the trauma they suffered as children. This story, folded in magical realism, traces how they move forward in life – the metaphors of the butterfly are strong, as the biologist Mendel returns to his hometown, surrounded by majestic monarch butterfly forests.
8-bit christmas (2021)
A playful comedy set in the 1980s, the 8-bit Christmas follows the story of young Jake Doyle, a dedicated 10-year-old who is desperately looking for Nintendo. The film is admirably narrated by Neil Patrick Harris, an older Jake, who recalls his past efforts to secure the game console. Yes, the story has a Christmas background, but Jake’s unwavering commitment to his mission and what he learns along the way make this fun feature a must-see even after the holiday season.
Anne Hathaway and Chivetel Ejiofor star in this surprising Roma movie about the theft by Doug Lyman (Bourne’s Identity). The film was written and shot during the blockade, and the pandemic is actually against the background of the film. Hathaway and Ejiofor play a couple who plan to rob a jewelry store in London while most of the stores are closed. Their relationship became difficult during the blockade and they overestimated something or two against the background of their crazy capers. It’s not the most polished film, but you’re in it mainly because of the charisma of Hathaway and Ejiofor. Involving the pandemic will either intrigue you or repel you.
Whether you like it or not probably depends on how much you like Seth Rogen. You get a lot from him – he starred in two roles in “American Pickles”, first playing Herschel Greenbaum, a struggling Jewish worker who emigrated to America in 1919. He found a job in a pickle factory – and here things get weird – Falls into a bag of pickles, which keeps it for 100 years. He woke up in 2019 in Brooklyn and hung out with his great-grandson Ben, also played by Seth Rogen. If you accept this creative premise, then this is a great low-key comedy for the smaller screen with some impressive chemistry between Rogen and Rogen.
Meryl Streep plays an eccentric author in a Steven Soderbergh comedy. What else do you need to know? If you want to know more: Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Hughes (Streep) is struggling to complete her next book, pursued by her literary agent (Gemma Chan). She embarks on a cruise ship with old friends who inspire her most famous work. The tension is strong. It looks great – Soderbergh uses pure, natural light – and most of the dialogue is improvised. See how Diane Whist, Candice Bergen, Lucas Hedges and the rest of the impeccable cast have fun with it.
In the heights (2021)
Macall Polay / Warner Bros.
In Heights, stars Anthony Ramos (who you may recognize as John Lawrence in Hamilton) plays Usnavi, a highland owner who struggles to keep his business afloat while a heat wave hits Washington Heights. Secretly in love with his neighbor Vanessa (Melissa Barrera), who dreams of leaving the salon and leaving the city, Usnavi serves the people of Washington Heights with much love, lottery tickets and cafe con leche. Between choreographic turns and fireworks, In the Heights explores the mismatch in wealth, immigration, classicism and the importance of culture.
No sudden movements (2021)
A new Steven Soderbergh movie? Also known as the great director behind Erin Brockovich, Ocean’s Eleven and most recently Logan Lucky? Turns, thrills and desperate characters inhabit this crime thriller, which takes place in Detroit since the 50s of last century. When a seemingly simple job gets out of hand, a group of criminals have to work together to find out what’s really going on. Enjoy the amazing cast: Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, David Harbor, John Ham and Amy Seimets. Although the plot may be a bit intricate and some may not be able to get past the fisheye lens cinematography, Soderbergh’s sense of humor and immersive directing make this crime caper a fun night.
If there’s ever been a movie that gets better with a few views, it’s Tenet. Thanks to its release on HBO Max, you can now understand the plot that goes with its spectacular visuals. John David Washington plays the protagonist, whose name is a subtle hint of his James Bond mission to prevent a world-destroying attack from the future. The protagonist learns to manipulate the flow of time with the help of Robert Pattinson’s noble Neil. Probably the most Christopher Nolan of Christopher Nolan’s films, Tenet is as funny as he is brainy.
Also known as The Snyder Cut. This is for the many fans of Zack Snyder, who fought for the director to get a second chance to finish the League of Justice, after he was forced to leave before graduation due to personal tragedy. In the footsteps of Joss Whedon, but the theatrical version of 2017 was critical and a failure in the box office. Now a four-hour directorial version of Snyder is ready on HBO Max, with many new scenes, several new villains and a spectacular epilogue. If you’re on board Snyder’s Slo-mo style, it’s worth checking out its remarkably different original look.
The Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)
A fan of the 80’s? Including this style of making movies? The sequel to Wonder Woman is based on its inspirations, which will either bring you back to pleasantly simple versions of adventure and heroism, or will really irritate you with a meaningless plot and slow pace. Diana Prince of Gal Gadot has not shied away from the death of Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), working at the Smithsonian, where an ancient artifact marks the beginning of a world of trouble and forces her to make some difficult decisions. Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal are new additions to the cast. Colorful, light escape.
Birds of Prey (and the Fantastic Emancipation of a Harley Quinn) (2020)
Warner Bros. Pictures
This forced, R-rated superhero recording bursts with color, amid shocking leg fractures courtesy of a Harley Quinn. Margo Robbie and director Katie Ian have teamed up for this unique solo film starring the titular supervillain. Non-linear plot and loosely assembled anti-heroes – including Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Catcher, Jerry Smolet-Bell’s Black Canary, Rosie Perez’s alcohol detective Rene Montoya and Ella Jay Basco’s pickpocket Cassandra Kane – may repel some, more or less. But if you let the stylish visuals, creative action scenes and charisma of Harley Quinn take center stage, a delicious superhero treat will await you.
This is a bit of a novelty. See what Robert Zemekis (director of Back to the Future) and Anne Hathaway did with the retelling of Roald Dahl’s classic. Jahzir Kadeem Bruno is a Hero Boy, a young boy who has been turned into a mouse by Hathaway’s sometimes CGI’d Grand High Witch. No one says it’s close to the original Angelica Houston from 1990, but it’s intriguing enough to take a look.
Movies coming in 2022 from Marvel, Netflix, DC and others
See all photos