June 24, 2021

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HBO Max: The 10 best movies to watch this weekend – CNET

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For a relatively new streamer, HBO Max already boasts a ton of content, from a selection of its premium HBO offerings to classics from the Criterion Collection. Armando Iannucci’s wonderfully entertaining comedy-drama The Personal History Of David Copperfield hit the streamer earlier this month, so definitely give that a watch if you haven’t already.

This list narrows the rest of the content down to the newer HBO Max Originals, of which there are a handful of quality films. Plus, blockbusters Tenet and Wonder Woman 1984, which hit HBO Max earlier in the year as part of WarnerMedia’s simultaneous theatrical and streaming release plan. See more details on what else is to come further down, among the superhero, thriller and comedy picks.

Read more: The 15 best TV shows to watch on HBO Max | Everything you need to know to sign up to HBO Max

Superhero

Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

Fan of the ’80s? Including that filmmaking style? The sequel to Wonder Woman leans hard into its inspirations, which will either take you back to pleasingly simple versions of adventure and heroism, or really annoy you with a nonsensical plot and slow pace. Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince hasn’t moved on from Steve Trevor’s (Chris Pine) death, working at the Smithsonian where an ancient artefact kicks off a world of trouble and forces her to make a few hard decisions. Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal are new additions to the cast. Colorful, lightweight escapism.

HBO Max

Aka The Snyder Cut. This one’s for the droves of Zack Snyder fans who campaigned for the director to get a second shot at finishing Justice League, after he was forced to leave before completion due to personal tragedy. In stepped Joss Whedon, but the 2017 theatrical version was a critical and box office failure. Now, a four-hour Snyder director’s cut is ready on HBO Max, with a ton of new scenes, a couple of new villains and the spectacular epilogue. If you’re on board with Snyder’s slo-mo style, it’s worth checking out his remarkably different original vision.

Thriller

Tenet (2020)

Warner Bros.

If ever there was a movie that improves with multiple rewatches, it’s Tenet. Thanks to its release on HBO Max, you can now understand the plot that goes with its spectacular visuals. John David Washington stars as the Protagonist, whose name is a subtle hint to his James Bond mission to prevent a world-destroying attack — from the future. The Protagonist learns to manipulate the flow of time with the help of Robert Pattinson’s debonair Neil. Possibly the most Christopher Nolan of Christopher Nolan movies, Tenet is as entertaining as it is cerebral.

Action

Legendary/Warner Bros

Sadly, Godzilla vs. Kong is no longer available (it will be again at some point in the future), after hanging around on the streamer for a month following its March release. Why is it still on this list? To remind you to look forward to the other movies that’ll pop up on HBO Max for their one-month window as part of WarnerMedia’s simultaneous theater and streaming release plan. Coming up: In The Heights (June 11), The Suicide Squad (Aug. 6), Dune (Oct. 1) and The Matrix 4 (Dec. 22). Plus, Mortal Kombat is leaving soon, so catch it while you still can.

Comedy

HBO Max

Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor star in this surprising rom-com heist film from Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity). The film was written and shot during lockdown, and the pandemic actually features in the film’s backdrop. Hathaway and Ejiofor play a couple planning to rob a jewelry store in London while most of the stores are shut. Their relationship has struggled in the lockdown, and they reevaluate a thing or two amid their crazy caper. It’s not the most polished flick, but you’re mainly in it for the charisma of Hathaway and Ejiofor. The inclusion of the pandemic will either intrigue you or turn you away.

HBO Max

Whether you like this or not probably hinges on how much you like Seth Rogen. You’re getting a lot of him — he stars in two roles in An American Pickle, first playing Herschel Greenbaum, a struggling Jewish laborer who emigrates to America in 1919. He finds work at a pickle factory — and this is where things get weird — falls into a vat of pickles that preserves him for 100 years. He wakes up in 2019 Brooklyn and hangs out with his great-grandson Ben, also played by Seth Rogen. If you embrace this creative premise, then this is a great low-key comedy for the smaller screen with some impressive chemistry between Rogen and Rogen.

HBO Max

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.

Drama

HBO Max

This is a sweet little gem on HBO Max. Unpregnant stars Haley Lu Richardson and Barbie Ferreira as a buddy duo crossing states to where pregnant teen Veronica (Richardson) can get an abortion. Yes, it’s about the issue of pro-choice, with Veronica’s parents refusing to give her permission to have the abortion. But it also slots into the key gear of all road-trip movies, depicting a beautiful friendship between the two leads.

HBO Max

A coming-of-age drama featuring motorbikes. Charm City Kings stars a fresh young cast, including Jahi Di’Allo Winston as Mouse, a 14-year-old swept up in the biking world of Baltimore, much to his mother’s dismay. The film’s strengths lies in its impressive young talent and strong direction of scenes involving motorbike action. Plus WandaVision fans will spot Teyonah Parris in a supporting role. Not perfect, but plenty to admire.

Fantasy

HBO Max

This one’s a bit of a novelty inclusion. See what Robert Zemeckis (director of Back to the Future) and Anne Hathaway did with their retelling of the Roald Dahl classic. Jahzir Kadeem Bruno is Hero Boy, a young boy who is turned into a mouse by Hathaway’s occasionally CGI’d Grand High Witch. No one’s saying it comes close to the 1990 Anjelica Huston original, but it’s intriguing enough to take a little look at.

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