It’s somehow that time again, when we take a look at all the good movies awaiting you in the month to come – a time when, presumably, the tardy-but-present chill in the air will make staying in and streaming something seem even more appealing than usual. As per usual, we’ve got your subscription service covered, whether you’re looking for Netflix originals, mainstream movies on Hulu and Prime, or specialized picks on FilmStruck, Shudder, and MUBI. So these are our picks to click for your post-Halloween queues:
Michael Clayton (available 11/1): Suburbicon is a straight-up stinker, so this is as good a time as any to revisit a George Clooney movie that’s actually worth watching. Tony Gilroy’s modern morality play netted six Oscar nominations and a statue of Queen Tilda, and it’s one of those dramas that’s ideal for Netflix; the more your revisit it, the clearer the precision and skill of its craft becomes.
Men in Black (available 11/1): Netflix dropped a bundle on the awful-looking Bright, which streams next month. So in apparent anticipation of that debut, they’ve added a handful of catalogue titles from star Will Smith, including The Pursuit of Happyness and his film debut, the long-forgotten Where the Day Takes You. But the best of the bunch – quite possibly his best movie, period – is this 1997 mega-hit from director Barry Sonenfeld, which savvily manages to send up the conventions of blockbuster sci-fi/action flicks, and exploit them at the same time. (Also on Hulu.)
The Homesman (available 11/5): Tommy Lee Jones has only directed four feature films: the TV Western The Good Old Boys, the Peckinpah-influenced Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, the made-for-HBO Cormac McCarthy two-hander The Sunset Limited, and this moody adaptation of Glendon Swarthout’s frontier novel. In other words, it’s a skill he only trots out for stories he really cares about; not enough of you have seen this one, so now you can remedy that.
Mudbound (available 11/17): We’ve been shouting from the mountaintop about this one since January (literally – Sundance happens up on a mountain), as Pariah director Dee Rees adapts Hillary Jordan’s novel into a sweeping epic of postwar American life. It’s brilliant, one of the year’s best, and Netflix is making their first serious play for Oscar attention with it. If there’s any justice, it’ll get some.
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton (available 11/17): Jim Carrey was not the obvious pick to play Andy Kaufman in Milos Forman’s 1999 biopic Man on the Moon – he wasn’t yet considered a Serious Actor. So he underwent a transformation downright Method in its madness, and now documentarian Chris Smith (American Movie) brings us a chronicle of that journey.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (available 11/1): There is a whole lot of good catalogue stuff hitting Amazon Prime this month – including the return, yet again, of the Bond movies, which are also streaming on Hulu – but the real gem is Shane Black’s 2005 mystery/comedy, which both resurrected Robert Downey Jr. (he repaid the favor by getting Black hired for Iron Man 3 ) and established a permanent spot on our list of holiday perennials.
The Lovers (available 11/5): One of the year’s best indies hits Prime this month as well, with Debra Winger and Tracy Letts starring as an on-the-verge-of-divorcing couple who find themselves, quite unexpectedly, hot for each other again – and end up cheating on their lovers with each other.
Allied (available 11/10): This romantic adventure from director Robert Zemeckis gained a bit of notoriety as the movie people were briefly blaming for star Brad Pitt’s break with wife Angelina Jolie. But removed from its tabloid moment, it’s a sterling piece of old-fashioned moviemaking, intelligent and sexy, robust and exciting. (Also on Hulu.)
Landline (available 11/17): Obvious Child star Jenny Slate and director Gillian Robespierre re-team for this ensemble comedy/drama about fidelity, trust, and miscommunication, which not only boasts another wonderful Slate performance, but ace turns from Edie Falco, John Turturro, and Abby Quinn.
Fences (available 11/24): Denzel Washington repeats his stage triumph, and serviceably directs as well, in this film adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize winner. It’s one of his best performances, adroitly capturing how an aging man’s bitterness poisons those around him, and Viola Davis is even better than all those awards indicate. (Also on Hulu.)
The Big Sick (available 11/24): The sleeper success of the summer couldn’t have happened to a nicer movie than co-writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon’s account of how they met, fell in love, broke up, and then spent a whole lot of time in a hospital.
25th Hour (available 11/1): Spike Lee’s adaptation of David Benioff’s novel became, by accident, the first great post-9/11 New York movie, as the go-with-his-gut filmmaker worked scenes of New York on the mend into his existing narrative of a drug dealer (Edward Norton) and his last night before heading off to jail. He ended up with one of his most elegiac and powerful pieces of work.
Barbarella (available 11/1): Mostly just leaving this here for everyone else who enjoyed the Jane-and-Jean season of You Must Remember This.
Bound (available 11/1): Before they made The Matrix, before they became a cottage industry, before they were even Lana and Lilly, the Wachowskis made their big-screen directorial debut with this fiendishly clever, endlessly stylish, and breathlessly sexy caper flick. And just between you and me, it’s still my favorite of their films.
Moonlight Mile (available 11/1): This story of a young man who finds comfort with his girlfriend’s family after her unexpected death probably sounded a bit too grim for mainstream audiences, who mostly stayed away when it hit theaters in 2002. But it’s a frequently funny and undeniably heartfelt movie (writer/director Brad Silberling based it on his own experiences with the family of his murdered girlfriend, actress Rebecca Schaeffer), with lovely performances by Jake Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon, Holly Hunter, and a then-unknown Ellen Pompeo.
Nixon (available 11/1): Just in case you’re interested in a movie about the fall of a deeply corrupt president, for no reason in particular.
Their Finest (available 11/11): One of our favorite little movies of the spring, the fictionalized story of a British movie studio making a moral-boosting movie about the Dunkirk evacuation – so, y’know, it’ll also make for a nice double-feature when Dunkirk hits home media later in the year.
Impolex / The Color Wheel / Listen Up Philip (available 11/2): In advance of the release of his next (very good) film Golden Exits, FilmStruck is streaming a triple-header from writer/director Alex Ross Perry, coupled with a master class with his regular editor, Kate Plays Christine director Robert Greene.
Stalker (available 11/15): Following its Criterion debut last summer, the Criterion Channel on FilmStruck brings us Andrei Tarkovsky’s gorgeous, searching, textured, challenging 1979 art-house fave. Stream it on the biggest screen you can find.
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (available 11/16): And just a few scant weeks after adding it to the Collection, FilmStruck brings us David Lynch’s controversial 1992 sequel/prequel/spin-off to the original series – and, now, an important narrative and stylistic link between those first two season and its recent, mind-blowing revival.
Heart of a Dog (available 11/22): Laurie Anderson’s first feature in three decade was this dreamlike essay film that fills its slender, 75-minute running time with memories, stories, musings, and detours, most of them springing from her relationship with her rat terrier Lolabelle. Thoughtful, mournful, and strangely powerful.
Pierrot le fou (available 11/12): The one-new-art-movie-a-day service is going on a bit of a Jean-Luc Godard bender this winter, rolling out one new film per week, over seven weeks, from the legend of the French New Wave (and beyond). They’ll begin with this 1965 classic, featuring his frequent collaborators (and, in the latter case, his spouse) Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina; in future weeks, they’ll add Prenom Carmen (11/19), Alphaville (11/26), Detective (12/3), A Woman is a Woman (11/10), In Praise of Love (11/17), and Contempt (Christmas Eve).
Peeping Tom (available 11/5): They’re also streaming two films from British producing-writing-directing duo Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, The Small Black Room (11/3) and The Tales of Hoffman (11/4) – and then, this still-controversial Powell effort from after their split, a grim and grisly 1960 exploration of voyeurism and murder that covered much of the same ground as Psycho, but with vastly different responses and results for the filmmakers behind them.
Irma Vep (available 11/30): With Olivier Assayas’s latest, Personal Shopper, out now on Blu-ray and DVD, we’ll take the opportunity to revisit his most iconic picture, featuring an all-time great performance from the inimitable Maggie Cheung (again, also his wife at the time; I’m sensing a theme).
The Fog (available 11/15): Sure, the month after Halloween may not seem like the right time for watching horror movies – particularly John Carpenter’s 1980 follow-up to Halloween. But this one’s a blast any time of the year, not only reuniting the Master of Horror with leading lady Jamie Lee Curtis, but throwing in a team-up with mom Janet Leigh.
The Wicker Man (available 11/15): The real one. The good one. Not the one with the bees.
Mulholland Dr. (available 11/15): Well, I guess its appearance on a specifically horror-streaming site should put those questions to rest about whether it’s a horror movie.