Well, that was a weird March, huh? I’m not gonna add a corny line here about how you probably have a lot of time on your hands now that we’re all social distancing, since I don’t know your life. But if you do happen to be looking for something to watch right now, some nice gems dropped onto Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Disney Plus in April. You’ll find everything from classic horror to Pixar’s latest family-friendly tearjerker.
So, culled from the latest updates to the streaming platforms, here are some of the best movies worth watching this month.
(Almost) every Bond movie
Daniel Craig’s final James Bond movie, No Time to Die, may have been delayed, but that won’t stop you from getting your 007 fix in April. Nearly every pre-Daniel Craig film in the James Bond canon is coming to Amazon Prime this month, including Goldfinger, Goldeneye, and The Spy Who Loved Me.
James Bond films are streaming on Amazon Prime.
The Death of Stalin
Veep and The Thick of It showrunner Armando Iannucci takes on a slightly more despicable political figure than Malcolm Tucker or Selina Meyer with The Death of Stalin, a pitch-black comedy about — you guessed it — the death of Joseph Stalin. Members of the Soviet premier’s Central Committee (Steve Buscemi as Nikita Khrushchev, Michael Palin as Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov, Jason Isaacs as General Georgy Zhukov) arrive at Stalin’s deathbed and immediately start making power plays. Iannucci doesn’t pull any punches, and the laughs keep coming even as bodies start to fall left and right.
The Death of Stalin is streaming on Netflix.
William Peter Blatty’s adaptation of his own supernatural horror novel is, simply put, a classic. Everything from director William Friedkin’s use of light and shadow to stellar performances from Max von Sydow, Linda Blair, and Ellen Burstyn works together to create a sense of dread that’s punctuated by some truly gnarly special effects. Revisit this piece of classic cinema, then check out the episode of Shudder’s documentary miniseries, Cursed Films, that goes behind the scenes of horror movie productions rumored to be “cursed.”
The Exorcist and Cursed Films are streaming on Shudder.
Sister writer-directors Lilly and Lana Wachowski didn’t invent the idea of a dystopian simulated reality future, but their vision was so resonant that “the matrix” has now become shorthand for the concept. Blending anime, video games, and kung fu films, The Matrix follows Neo (Keanu Reeves) “down the rabbit hole” to a group of rebels fighting against their machine overlords who keep humans complacent in their simulated world. From inventing the concept of bullet time to popularizing a cyberpunk aesthetic, The Matrix is groundbreaking in the purest sense of the word. The Matrix sequels, also on Netflix right now, are noteworthy in their own right.
The Matrix is streaming on Netflix.
Stephen King’s story about a writer, his biggest fan, and a rather … torturous recuperation process, has only grown in relevancy as social media as connected creators directly to their audiences. Now that we’re in a King movie adaptation boom (and because Castle Rock season 2 lifts directly from the source material), there’s never been a better time to check out Rob Reiner’s adaptation of Misery. Kathy Bates stars as the deranged nurse Annie Wilkes, and it might just be the greatest King-related performance ever committed to screen.
Misery is streaming on Hulu.
Nicolas Cage is, himself, a national treasure, and his performance as Benjamin Franklin Gates is a little more serious and grounded than much of his oeuvre (it is a Disney movie, after all). But National Treasure is a kids movie in which Nicolas Cage plays a treasure hunter who steals the Declaration of Independence in order to keep it out of the hands of Sean Bean, so it’s still absolutely bonkers.
Pixar’s latest movie was released in theaters on March 6, but — as is becoming customary with theatrical releases that were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic — its already on Disney Plus. Onward borrows Chris Pratt and Tom Holland from their Marvel bosses, casting them as Barley and Ian Lightfoot, two elf brothers who go on a quest to restore their dead father to life for just one day. Like most of Pixar’s films, Onward is at turns charming, silly, and heartwarming, and of course there’s a classic Pixar tearjerker moment designed to make even the most stoic dads cry.
Onward is streaming on Disney Plus.
What’s Up Doc?
If you like Love Story and The Way We Were but are in the mood for something much lighter, try Peter Bogdanovich’s screwball comedy What’s Up Doc?. Ryan O’Neal stars as the soft-spoken and nerdy musicologist Dr. Howard Bannister whose bag of igneous rocks keeps getting mixed up three other identical suitcases. One of those identical bags belongs to Judy Maxwell (Barbra Streisand,) a brilliant and free-spirited drifter. Howard and Judy keep crossing paths as they try to recover their possessions, eventually falling for each other (much to the chagrin of Howard’s fiancée Eunice Burns, played by the incomparable Madeline Kahn.) O’Neal even pokes fun at his dramatic Love Story character — when Judy says the iconic line from that film, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” Howard replies, “That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard.”
What’s Up Doc? is streaming on Criterion Channel.