If you're seeking a streaming service focused on movies, it's not Amazon Prime or Netflix that deserves your attention - it's Now TV.
Sky's cord-cutter service is far 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-huge collection.
The sheer size of that collection means it's not always easy to immediately find something to watch though (y'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, 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.
Will Ferrell’s patchy movie output doesn’t take away from the fact that when he’s good, he’s really good, and Step Brothers is one of his films which (perhaps a little surprisingly, given its premise) illustrates this fact. Ferrell and the superb John C. Reilly play coddled middle-aged men who still live with their respective mother and father – and are forced to live together as step brothers when said parents get married.
If it sounds like the sort of film 1990s Adam Sandler would turn down, Step Brothers actually morphs swiftly from standard slapstick fare into, well, superior slapstick buddy comedy fare as the two enemies become allies against a greater threat. It may not change your life, but it will keep you laughing for 90 minutes of it.
Shaun of the Dead
The first and arguably best film in Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy (comprising this, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End) sees London electrical shop worker Shaun (Pegg) attempting to rescue his girlfriend and flatmate and survive a sudden zombie outbreak.
This zom-rom-com's scares might be somewhat thin on the ground, but the laughs more than make up for it. There’s bags of heart to it too, mostly erupting from the relationship between Shaun and his slacker best mate Ed, played memorably by Nick Frost. Wright also demonstrates time and time again the tricks and quirks that have made him a Hollywood darling – with this movie’s inspired quick-fire editing proving a star in its own right.
Why can't all teen comedies could be as funny, well-paced and ultimately life-affirming as Superbad, which manages to juggle all the tropes of the genre (partying, sex, friendship) without feeling hackneyed, gross or bloated?
Co-written by Seth Rogen (who also appears in a supporting role), it stars Michael Cera and Jonah Hill as high school best friends out to have the best party possible before going their separate ways and heading off to college. The chemistry between the pair sells the ludicrous events that follow, proving that there’s nothing inherently cheesy or lame about racy teen coming-of-age comedies – they just aren’t usually made with this much care.
Russell Crowe ascended to Hollywood stardom off the back of this swords-and-sandals epic, in which he plays a celebrated Roman general who, when cruelly betrayed by Joaquin Phoenix’s power-mad new emperor, is forced to fight his way to vengeance via the blood-stained pits of gladiatorial combat.
Directed with typical visual panache by Ridley Scott, Gladiator is a stirring Hollywood blockbuster of the highest order, ticking a whole range of boxes in its two and a half hours: sweeping vistas, soaring emotion, romance, bloody fight scenes and a truly despicable villain. Movies of its type don’t always age well – astonishingly, it’s 20 years old – but thanks to Scott’s mastery behind the camera and Crowe’s Oscar-nominated performance, this is one that’ll still feel fresh in another two decades.
The Big Lebowski
The Coen brothers’ cult comedy hit – a louche, lackadaisical and outwardly lightweight follow-up to the multiple award-winning thriller Fargo – is packed to the gills with clever call-backs, references to other films and other oh-so-clever touches for astute viewers to pick out.
But it’s also an absolute riot, as Jeff Bridges’ middle-aged stoner The Dude sets out to right a wrong (in a case of mistaken identity, two hoodlums “soiled” his beloved rug) and ends up sucked headlong into a kidnapping case involving German nihilists, pornographers, a wealthy paraplegic, performance artists, a sullen teenage car thief, the police chief of Malibu, possibly hallucinatory cowboys… and bowling.
With an outstanding script and supporting cast including Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro and John Goodman, The Big Lebowski is a rare cinematic gift – one that keeps on giving with subsequent viewings.
A love letter to mecha anime and classic kaiju movies with a peppering of Top Gun chucked in for good measure, Pacific Rim is the high-concept popcorn movie Michael Bay doubtless wished he’d thought of first: massive human-piloted robots in epic punch-ups with giant sea monsters from another dimension.
As you’d expect, director Guillermo del Toro delivers a smart, imaginative and visually stunning spectacle in a manner Bay never could, even if the relentless brawls and lack of character depth do get a touch trying towards the end.
Jordan Peele’s follow-up to Get Out might appear to pack less of a satirical punch upon first viewing, but masterfully concealed just beneath its home invasion horror, in which a family is assaulted by a murderous set of deranged doppelgangers, is a particularly barbed critique of class, upward mobility and the American Dream.
Even on the surface this makes for an entertaining, creepy and gore-splattered watch, but dig a little deeper and it might give you cause to start questioning your own position in society – and whether or not your own resentful double is out there somewhere, just waiting for the right time to take your place…
A decade of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies comes to a crescendo in this lengthy blockbuster packed with fan service, spectacle and humour.
Endgame is in many ways a curious movie: taken on its own, it would incomprehensible, overlong and unsatisfying. But for those that have digested the preceding Marvel films, who know and love these characters, it’s a last chance to see the entire gang together for one final hurrah, as Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and company attempt a bold gambit to reverse the tyrannical Thanos’ victory from Avengers: Infinity War and restore the world (and the friends) they’ve lost.
Ridley Scott’s stunning vision of a future in which rogue AI-driven robots, indistinguishable from humans but faster, stronger and more deadly, are hunted down by sanctioned enforcers set the tone for an entire generation of cyberpunk fiction.
Harrison Ford plays replicant-chaser Deckard with typical understatement, but there’s so much flair, atmosphere and spectacle in this neo noir yarn that Blade Runner will stay with you for a long time.
Once Upon a Time in the West
Sergio Leone set aside the Dollars trilogy’s crowd-pleasing antics to create two and half hours of cinematic history with this scorched-earth homage to the gritty realities of homesteading on the new frontier.
Expertly paying homage to practically every film in the genre, Leone helps the everyman Henry Fonda find his dark side while giving Charles Bronson his own theme tune (supplied, of course, by long-term Leone sidekick Ennio Morricone). It’s beautiful, brutal and iconic stuff – and a must-watch for any would-be cinema connoisseur. This is the spaghetti Western – gourmet style.
A Star is Born
If the idea of watching a musical immediately fills your mind with images of enduring singing anthropomorphic felines, twee flying nannies or dancing crockery, A Star Is Born will come as a breath of fresh air. Gritty, grounded and with a cast populated entirely by believable human beings, it stars Lady Gaga as a wannabe pop star and Bradley Cooper (who also directs) as the famous rock star who stumbles upon her, realises her talent and gives her the spotlight.
What sounds like a simple rags-to-riches story is actually a tremendously affecting tale of dreams, demons, drama and damaged people. Oh, and the songs aren’t bad either.