If you're seeking a streaming service focused primarily on movies, it's not Amazon Prime or Netflix that deserves your attention - it's Now TV.
Sky's cord-cutter service is better served with newer, bigger-name films than either of its main rivals, with at least one new movie being added every day to an already bulging collection.
The sheer size of that library means it's not always easy to immediately find something to watch though (you know: the paralysis of choice and so on). Which is where we come in. The Stuff team has picked out a selection of must-see cinematic masterpieces both old and new, so the next time you're settling down for an evening on the sofa, you can conserve your brainpower for picking the right snacks rather than the right movie.
No Country for Old Men
No Country for Old Men always felt like the most screen-adaptable of Cormac McCarthy’s novels, and with the Coen brothers at the helm it would have taken some kind of disaster to stop this movie from becoming an instant classic. And it is, thanks to not only the source material and its sympathetic treatment by America’s finest filmmaking pair of siblings, but due to killer performances from Josh Brolin, Kelly Macdonald, Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones and, most memorably, Javier Bardem as a philosophising, seemingly unstoppable mass murderer with a criminal haircut. If you like your thrillers as contemplative and lyrical as they are nail-biting, look no further.
Robert Eggers’ follow-up to The Witch is even more visually striking and similarly packed with rich period dialogue, as Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson play lighthouse keepers tending the lamp on a remote, fog-bound island off the coast of New England. Eggers’ tight 4:3 framing and high-contrast black-and-white cinematography gives this psychological thriller a cramped, oppressive and out-of-time feel, as the two men’s isolation starts to worry away at their nerves and strain their relationship. It’s hugely stylish and rich with imagery, but don’t go in expecting a standard chiller with all the ends neatly tied up – this film pervading feeling of dread may come easily, but answers do not.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
The first (and we think best) Indiana Jones film is a globe-trotting blockbuster that has set the standard for all Hollywood adventure movies since. A throwback to the flicks of Spielberg and producer George Lucas’ childhood, it sees Ford’s bullwhip-brandishing archaeologist travel to Egypt in an attempt to locate the Ark of the Covenant ahead of the Third Reich, who plan to use the ancient artefact’s powers to place the world under Nazi rule.
The visual effects and, er, ‘cultural depictions’ have aged noticeable since 1981, but this is mainstream filmmaking at its purest – a broadly entertaining, fast-paced and iconic movie that it’s almost impossible not to get swept up in.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco
This masterful film by first-time director Joe Talbot tells the story of Jimmie Fails (played by Jimmie Fails, the role being based on his own early life), a young African-American man striving to reclaim his childhood home – a large, ornate Victorian house in what is now an upscale San Francisco neighbourhood. The house, which Jimmie claims was built by his grandfather, is his focus in life – one unmoving certainty in a world that’s always shifting.
Beautifully shot, unpredictable and elegiac, it’s both a compelling character study and a nuanced portrait of a city that has changed, is changing and will continue to change in the future.
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.
Ready or Not
This riotous horror comedy stars Samara Weaving as a bride, freshly inducted into the wealthy clan of her new spouse. When she’s cajoled into partaking in the family’s traditional wedding night ritual, however, things take a turn for the bizarre and brutal – and suddenly she’s running around their palatial mansion in a deadly game of hide and seek.
Bristling with subversive humour, tension and gory violence, this is one of the more light-hearted horror flicks of recent years. Its talented cast, acerbic script and crowd-pleasing action add up to a winning combination.
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.