HBO Max is without a doubt the most popular streaming service. Each month, HBO Max releases a new flood of content. This includes both material from Warner Bros.’ vast library, as well as exclusive titles made for HBO Max.
With “The Matrix Resurrections” released at the end of December, most of what is arriving to HBO Max in January are library titles, but that’s okay (because they’re really, really good). Now, let’s take a look at our picks of the best HBO Max movies for January.
2001: A Space Odyssey
Let’s begin with one the greatest movies ever made. Stanley Kubrick’s science fiction masterpiece “2001: A Space Odyssey”This movie (which is about, among other things, technological leaps and a spiritual journey to the edge of space and killer computers), will be available on HBO Max this month. Why not catch it again? The movie that initially befuddled audiences but made an impact with more open-minded views and (let’s be real) stoners, don’t pack quite the same wallop when viewed on your 55” Samsung, but a great movie is a great movie on any format and in any size. “2001: A Space Odyssey”It amazes, however you look at it.
It’s still possible to see the beginning of what may be the greatest superhero saga in modern times. There’s a strong argument to be made that Christopher Nolan’s inaugural outing with Christian Bale as Batman is the best of the bunch, too. It’s sleek and funny in ways that the other two (also available on HBO Max) can get bulky and self-serious and the last act, with the runaway monorail, is a pure thrill ride in ways that the latter two refused to become.
Gremlins 2 The New Batch
Perhaps the most meta studio sequel until at least last month’s “Matrix Resurrections”(which will be available on HBO Max until January 21st). “Gremlins 2: The New Batch” took the formula of the original Joe Dante classic (basically that Mogwai can’t get wet, be exposed to sunlight, or eat after midnight) and turns it into an orgiastic pop spectacle. The gremlins overthrow a New York skyscraper (run by John Glover, a very Trumpian character), which Dante and his associates use as an excuse to promote 90s culture. This includes everything from colorizing old movies to yogurt. It’s a nonstop blast.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Another stunning masterpiece to add to the list. “Mad Max: Fury Road”This is a classic that will blow your hair back. It follows the road warrior (now played in part by Tom Hardy) as he joins Furiosa (Charlize Thoron) to save humanity. If you’ve never seen “Mad Max: Fury Road,” get ready. It’s almost indescribably wonderful, the type of bold artistic vision that studios seldom fund. Might be a great time to re-watch, too, if you’re a fan, ahead of New York Times writer Kyle Buchanan’s chronicle of the movie’s production, out next month. Grab your warboys and let’s go!
This one is only for women. The end of the “Magic Mike”This saga, starring Channing Tatum, and directed by Steven Soderbergh is due to air later in the year on HBO Max. So why not start at the beginning? Soderbergh’s film is so funny and full of life (and also happens to be one of the best movies made about the economic crash of 2008), it should have been heralded even more than it was. (“Magic Mike XXL,” which Soderbergh didn’t direct but produced, edited and shot; and “Finding Magic Mike,”You can also find both on the latest reality show spin-off. I hope you brought some singles.
Ready Player One
What’s the deal? “Ready Player One” is one of Steven Spielberg’s most underrated, most out-and-out fun movies of the past decade. In a futuristic future, humanity is housebound and dependent on a VR world called The Oasis. A kid named Wade (Tye Shiridan) seeks out magical eggs that will grant him control over the synthetic world. It sounds goofy, for sure, but it is also Spielberg working at the height of his blockbuster, crowd-pleasing powers, committing some of his very best set pieces to film (aided by dazzling visual effects by Industrial Light & Magic). Is this something you’re going to rewatch? “Lincoln” instead?
Teen Titans Go! Go to the Movies
Perhaps the best DC movie of all time is this hilarious animated film, in which younger versions (led by a bratty Robin), attempt to make their own movie. “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies” is irreverent and oftentimes laugh-out-loud funny, particularly in a sequence (set to Huey Lewis’ song from “Back to the Future”) where they travel through time to insure that the other superheroes don’t actually become superheroes. This is a great film. Also, this is a related article: “The LEGO Batman Movie,”HBO Max has a new animated take on DC characters. Double it!