Are you looking for a Saturday night movie? A Saturday day show? A weekend binge? Regardless of what streaming service you subscribe to, we’re here to help. We’ve gone through Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Disney Plus to find the best movies and TV shows on each service.
Jeff Bridges, left, and Gil Birmingham in “Hell or High Water.”Lorey Sebastian/CBS Films
‘Hell or High Water’
The director David Mackenzie (“Starred Up”) draws on the mythos of classic westerns to tell this contemporary story of robbers driven to crime not by greed and status but by economic distress and desperation. Ben Foster’s trigger-happy thrill-seeker, Chris Pine’s rational man with a purpose and Jeff Bridges’s wise old lawman are so well drawn and authentically acted that the dialogue scenes are as thrilling as the shootouts. Our critic praised the “verve and tongue-tickling texture” of Taylor Sheridan’s dialogue.
Want a more immersive experience? Here’s the best TV on Netflix.
Michelle Dockery in “Godless.”Ursula Coyote/Netflix
The two-time Oscar nominee Scott Frank wrote and directed all seven episodes of this gritty western mini-series, set in a struggling mid-19th-century New Mexico mining town. Michelle Dockery and Merritt Wever play two of the community’s leaders, who’ve been forced to ward off outlaws and scavengers ever since a disaster wiped out most of their local men. “Godless” plays like a lost bit of frontier mythology — of Frank’s work, our critic wrote, “If he doesn’t achieve the visual or narrative poetry of the filmmakers he’s riffing on — the John Fords, Howard Hawkses and Robert Altmans — he still gives you plenty to look at, and it’s never boring.”
Before laying waste to the American political system on HBO’s “Veep,” Armando Iannucci took his satirical scalpel to the British Parliament with this ruthless four-season comedy. Its ostensible focus is Hugh Abbot (Chris Langham), head of the fictitious Department of Social Affairs, but the showcase character is Malcolm Tucker, the inventively foul-mouthed and delightfully cruel political adviser played with scorched-earth intensity by the future 12th Doctor of “Dr. Who,” Peter Capaldi. However, as with “Veep” (and the spin-off film “The Thick of It”), the true subject is government incompetence, and the stew of ego-boosting, failing upward and general bumbling that seems to define political power on every shore.
Amazon Prime doesn’t make it easy to find stuff. Luckily, we have done the work for you.
Harrison Ford in “Witness.”Paramount Pictures
Harrison Ford stars as John Book, a Philadelphia police detective investigating a murder whose only witness is a young Amish boy, so he follows the boy and his mother (Kelly McGillis) back to their insular community to protect them. The director Peter Weir (“Picnic at Hanging Rock,” “Dead Poets Society”) deftly intermingles this suspenseful mystery story with an affecting human drama, in which Book finds himself drawn not only to the small Amish town but also to the young mother — which raises the stakes considerably.
Disney Plus has new stuff, yes. But also a ton of older stuff. Like this movie.
Bob Hoskins with Roger Rabbit, as voiced by Charles Fleischer in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”Disney
‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’
Walt Disney Studios had experimented with live-action-animation hybrids for decades before “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” but it never achieved anything close to the fluidity and sophistication of Robert Zemeckis’s one-of-a-kind noir. Through the story of a hard-boiled private detective (Bob Hoskins) who helps a cartoon rabbit on a murder rap, the film pays homage to Disney and Warner Bros. animation while delivering an all-ages “Chinatown.” Its best moments, our critic wrote, “are so novel, so deliriously funny and so crazily unexpected that they truly must be seen to be believed.”