Streaming on Max: The 24 Absolute Best Movies to Watch – CNET

Wondering what you should watch on Max?

Former HBO Max subscribers aren’t missing out on anything with Warner Bros. Discovery’s revamped streaming service. Max streams all of HBO Max, from Warner Bros. movies like Dune to HBO originals like Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off. 

Here are the titles you should check out, plus new releases for this month. And here’s more on Max, which unites the HBO Max and Discovery Plus libraries.

New releases for May

HBO Max became Max on May 23 in the US.

May 1

  • Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014): Spy film starring Taron Egerton and Colin Firth. A supersecret organization recruits an unrefined street kid into the agency’s ultracompetitive training program.
  • Parasite (2019): Thriller directed by Bong Joon-ho. Greed and class discrimination threaten the newly formed symbiotic relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan.

May 2

  • 1000% Me: Growing Up Mixed (2023): Documentary. Comedian W. Kamau Bell explores growing up mixed race in today’s America.

May 8

  • Legion of Super-Heroes (2023): Animated superhero film. At the Legion Academy in the 31st century, a new generation of heroes hones their powers with hopes of joining the Legion of Super-Heroes.
  • The Conjuring (2013): Horror film directed by James Wan. It tells the tale of how world-renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren were called on to help a family terrorized by a dark presence.

May 20

  • Love to Love You, Donna Summer (2023): Documentary about singer-songwriter Donna Summer. It’s a deeply personal portrait of the iconic artist on and off stage.

May 23

  • Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023): Superhero film. It continues the story of teenage Billy Batson who, upon reciting the magic word “SHAZAM!,” is transformed into his adult superhero alter ego, Shazam.

Read more: Best TV Shows to Watch on Max

The best movies to watch

The films below consist of notable new releases and blockbusters, HBO and Max Originals and Warner Bros. films made exclusively for HBO Max. All score around 65 or higher on Metacritic.


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Eric Zachanowich/Searchlight Pictures

A dinner at an exclusive restaurant turns from something to savor to something to survive in this shocking horror satire. Viewers learn about the privileged guests dining at Hawthorne as Ralph Fiennes’ experienced chef unveils his fateful menu. Find your seat for this delectable experience, which also stars Anya Taylor-Joy.

Barbarian (2022)


Elvis movie Elvis movie
Warner Bros.

Want to see Austin Butler rock out in a pink suit? How about one of the 89 other costumes the actor dons in the dazzling, jam-packed film that runs 2 hours and 40 minutes? Directed by Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge, The Great Gatsby), Elvis is a grand, exhilarating biopic that’s all about the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. If you didn’t catch it in theaters, now’s your chance to find a spot in the crowd.

Kimi (2022)

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Warner Bros.

After a shooting occurs at her high school, 16-year-old Vada Cavell must navigate friendships, school and her relationship with her family. The Fallout skillfully approaches serious subject matter with realistic dialogue and compassion for its characters. With strong performances from stars Jenna Ortega, as Vada, and Maddie Ziegler, as her new friend Mia Reed, the feature will keep you glued to the screen for the entirety of its 90-minute runtime.

Drive My Car (2021)

Dune Dune
Warner Bros.

Remember 2021, when Warner Bros. movies hit HBO Max on the same day they premiered in theaters? That exciting period may be over, but at least we’ll always have the memory of watching Denis Villeneuve’s stunning sci-fier Dune at home. If you’ve never seen the film or need to brush up on what “the spice” is before Part Two arrives later this year, stream Dune now.

King Richard (2021)

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Imaginal Disc

A rare (nowadays) 90-minute film, American Mexican drama Son of Monarchs will stay with you long after the end credits roll. This deep character study follows two brothers who are changed in markedly different ways by the trauma they suffered in childhood. This story, folding in magical realism, follows how they move forward in life — the butterfly metaphors are strong, with biologist Mendel returning to his hometown surrounded by majestic monarch butterfly forests.

Bad Education (2019)


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This captivating documentary is filled with images that will stick with you. It centers on two brothers in New Delhi who run a bird hospital dedicated to black kites — birds of prey that are a staple of the sky. It was a contender for best documentary feature at the 2023 Oscars.

Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off (2022)

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CNN/Focus Features

This film about beloved author, chef and globe-traveling TV host Anthony Bourdain comes from documentary filmmaker Morgan Neville, who also directed 2018’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor? and the Oscar-winning film Twenty Feet from Stardom. In interviews with people who knew Bourdain, like his friends, former partners and longtime colleagues, the doc tracks his career path, relationships and personal struggles. Bourdain fans and those less acquainted with the star will likely appreciate this two-hour look at his life.

The Banshees of Inisherin (2022)

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Father of the Bride (2022)

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Searchlight Pictures

Settle in for another eccentric, fantastic-looking feature from director Wes Anderson. The auteur behind Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel this time sets his sights on an alluring story — or rather, three. The French Dispatch, dubbed a “love letter to journalists,” takes viewers through a triad of separate tales, straight from the pages of a fictional magazine. If you missed this highly original installment when it hit theaters, now’s the time to get in on its captivating story.

8-Bit Christmas (2021)

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Meryl Streep playing an eccentric author in a Steven Soderbergh comedy. What more do you need to know? If you do want to know more: Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Hughes (Streep) is struggling to finish her next book, chased by her literary agent (Gemma Chan). She boards a cruise ship with old friends, who inspired her best-known work. Tensions are strong. It looks great — Soderbergh uses crisp, natural light — and most of the dialogue is improvised. See how Dianne Wiest, Candice Bergen, Lucas Hedges and the rest of the impeccable cast have fun with that.

Last Night in Soho (2021)

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A movie from Steven Soderbergh, the great director behind Erin Brockovich, Ocean’s Eleven and, more recently, Logan Lucky? Twists, thrills and desperate characters populate this crime thriller set in 1950s Detroit. When a seemingly simple job gets out of hand, a group of criminals must work together to uncover what’s really going on. Take in the incredible cast: Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, David Harbour, Jon Hamm and Amy Seimetz. While the plot can be a little convoluted and some won’t be able to get past the fish-eye lens cinematography, Soderbergh’s sense of humor and immersive direction make this crime caper an entertaining night in.

The Batman (2022)

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Warner Bros.

Over-the-top violence abounds in this DC film about supervillains who agree to help the US government in exchange for some time off their prison sentences. Their mission is to destroy something alluded to as Project Starfish, harbored in the fictional island country of Corto Maltese. With a notable cast that includes Margot Robbie, Idris Elba and John Cena, 2021’s The Suicide Squad is a wickedly entertaining, darkly funny bloodbath that differs from what you usually see in superhero movies. (Peacemaker, a spinoff TV series, is also available on Max.)

West Side Story (2021)

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Macall Polay/Warner Bros.

In the Heights stars Anthony Ramos (whom you might recognize as John Laurens in Hamilton) playing Usnavi, a bodega owner struggling to keep his business afloat while a heatwave strikes Washington Heights. Secretly in love with his neighbor Vanessa (Melissa Barrera), who dreams of getting out of the salon and out of the neighborhood, Usnavi serves the people of Washington Heights with a whole lot of love, lottery tickets and cafe con leche. Between the choreographed twirls and fireworks, In the Heights is an examination of wealth disparity, immigration, classism and the importance of culture.

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