If you haven't already seen this stupendously well directed, impeccably acted, perfectly soundtracked and unforgettably scripted gangster yarn, what on earth are you waiting for? Close this page now, fire up Now TV and get settled in for two hours and twenty-five minutes of filmmaking at its very finest.
Martin Scorsese may have claimed his first Best Director Oscar for the decent crime thriller Departed, but Goodfellas – an epic, heady plunge into the realities of life as a New York mobster in the 50s, 60s and 70s – deserved the shiny gold chap so much more. At least Joe Pesci picked up the Best Supporting Actor gong for his turn as pint-sized psychopath Tommy DeVito, one of the great characters of 90s cinema. As for Goodfellas, is it one of the best movies ever made? Fuggedaboudit.
The Invisible Man
This psychological thriller stars Elizabeth Moss as a woman who believes she’s being stalked by her abusive, controlling ex-boyfriend – a tech entrepreneur who may have invented a way to make himself invisible. With friends and family dismissing her experiences as trauma-triggered delusions, she must face down her imperceptible tormentor alone. It might not have much to do with H.G. Wells’ original sci-fi tale, but this movie feels timely, taut and tense.
The Exorcist (1973)
Long considered one of the best horror films of all time (and according to critic Mark Kermode, one of the best films of all-time, full stop), The Exorcist’s lurid depiction of a young girl’s demonic possession quickly established it as a cult classic upon its 1974 release. In fact, when it eventually came to UK home video in the 1980s, the BBFC considered it too extreme for even an 18 certificate. It’s a decision that’ll seem bizarre to modern audiences: its content seems quite tame compared even to today’s 15-rated horror films.
That’s not to diminish The Exorcist’s tone or its atmosphere of encroaching menace – it’s a deliciously creepy movie with a fine cast, brilliantly directed by William Friedkin and rich in occult mood. If you’ve yet to experience it, we suggest you add this to your watchlist post-haste. And that you save it for a dark, quiet night…
This action thriller is dripping with black humour of a satirical bent, as a bunch of wealthy liberal Americans hunt down “deplorables” for sport. Although his name is never mentioned, it’s a comment on Trump’s divided America, and perhaps an appeal for greater nuance and understanding – but the point doesn’t hit home all that cleanly. Luckily the movie’s brisk pace, joyful disregard for worn-out tropes and love of bloody action sequences will keep you more than entertained.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy
Peter Jackson’s epic adaptation of the even more epic fantasy novel is not without its issues (I mean, how many endings does a film need?), but the director’s achievement in wrangling such an uneven, weighty and wide-ranging tome into three enjoyable blockbuster movies should not be overlooked.
You likely know the story already: a young hobbit must travel from his peaceful, bucolic corner of the world to the hellish realm of Mordor to destroy a powerful ring. Along the way he’ll encounter dangers, make new friends, take part in an apocalyptic war and much, much more. This trilogy is action-packed, well-acted and visually arresting – and capable of generating plenty of emotion at times, too.
Joaquin Phoenix gives a tour de force performance in this Oscar-winning origin story. How did an aspiring stand-up comedian become Gotham City’s greatest villain? Director Todd Phillips crafts a much more nuanced and tragic superhero movie than we’ve seen from recent DC Comics-derived efforts – it’s more Taxi Driver than Man of Steel, and all the better for it.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
John Hughes’ beloved movie about a wily suburban teenager bunking off school to spend a day with his two best friends is, like Ghostbusters, one of the true must-watch 1980s comedies – a film that does its darnedest to represent a whole era.
It helps that it’s an entertaining, engaging watch packed with memorable moments and performances, from Matthew Broderick’s career-best turn as fourth wall-breaking Ferris to Alan Ruck as his hypochondriac pal Cameron, all of which invest it with a universal appeal that’ll chime with free thinkers of all ages.
Do the Right Thing
The best-known film of Spike Lee’s early career, Do the Right Thing is the story of a hot summer’s day in Brooklyn, set on a single block of a single Bed-Stuy street. Despite its seemingly limited scope, Lee’s skill and the large cast of characters turn it into a wide-ranging and impactful metacommentary on racism and violence in America: funny, vivacious, thought-provoking and powerful – and not seeking refuge in simple platitudes or easy answers.
Watching an indie movie about jazz drumming might not sound like the most riveting way to spend an evening, but trust us: Whiplash is no ordinary movie about jazz drumming.
Miles Teller plays a music college student determined to become one of the skin-bashing greats. The only problem? He’s never quite good enough to impress his insanely demanding band conductor, played in Oscar-winning form by J. K. Simmons. Simmons’ monster of an instructor dominates the film right through to the unforgettable final reel. We doubt you’ve ever seen a music movie with so much blood, sweat and tears.