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The Best Movies to Watch This Week

‘Saving Private Ryan,’ a trippy new Willem Dafoe vehicle and a juicy whodunit lead the pack

En español | Movie theaters still are not an option, but we have plenty of suggestions for watching at home this weekend. Is it time for a Saturday double feature of classic World War II films to honor the anniversary of D-Day? Perhaps a nostalgic summer escape to the Catskills for some Dirty Dancing (now on Amazon) is on the agenda? Maybe playing armchair sleuth during a witty, stealthy whodunit is a perfect way to relax? We’ve got the inside track on what’s new and what’s hot for your film fix this week.

Critic’s Pick of the Week

 Knives Out, PG-13

Jamie Lee Curtis, Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, Don Johnson and Michael Shannon play relatives maneuvering for the fortune of their late patriarch, Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). Daniel Craig’s Southern-fried detective, Benoit Blanc, is even better than his James Bond. This fantastic puzzler has been streaming on other platforms but goes exclusively to Amazon on June 12.

Watch it here: Amazon

Home Premiere of the Week

 Tommaso, Unrated (Film at Lincoln Center, June 5)

Lincoln Center, New York’s capital of art film, is offering a streaming Virtual Cinema to enlarge your world during quarantine. This week, Willem Dafoe, who received Oscar nominations in 2018 (The Florida Project) and 2019 (At Eternity’s Gate), plays a recovering addict turned yoga fiend, a film director resembling Tommaso’s bad-boy director, Abel Ferrara (Bad Lieutenant). Costarring Ferrara’s real wife (Cristina Chiriac) and daughter (Anna) and shot in Ferrara’s home in Rome, it’s a dreamy, semiautobiographical answer to Fellini’s 8 ½ — drifty and trippy, weaving in reality, fantasy and real films like Dafoe’s Martin Scorsese classic The Last Temptation of Christ. Dafoe anchors the fantasy, making this a micro-budget must-see. —Tim Appelo (T.A.)

Watch it here: Kino Marquee

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Remember D-Day at the Movies

Honor D-Day, June 6, 1944, by watching Tom Hanks storm Omaha Beach in Saving Private Ryan, which boasts the greatest opening scene in war-movie history and arguably the most emotionally affecting finale. Then pick another classic from AARP’s list of Best World War II Movies Ever Made, get out the popcorn, and make it a double feature.

Find more here: Best World War II Movies Ever Made

Movies to Stoke Pride

June is LGBTQ Pride Month, and while we adjust to no parades or celebrations this year, we can get our rainbows on with critically acclaimed films by and about queer people. From Julianne Moore and Annette Bening as a lesbian couple whose life with their teenagers gets upended by a visit from the kids’ biological father (Mark Ruffalo) in The Kids Are All Right or the soul-stirring, Oscar-winning Moonlight, we’ve got a new list of 12 great LGBTQ films to stream this (and every) week.

Check out the list here: Great LGBTQ Movies to Stream During Pride Month

Overwhelmed by Amazon and Netflix? We hear you

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Which is why our critics bring you the best series and films to watch on both of these enormous streaming platforms every month. Set your watch schedules with our help, and don’t miss anything great, from new flicks to classic TV series.

Serious Watch of the Week

 Shirley, R (Hulu, June 5)

Mad Men vet Elisabeth Moss gives a typically riveting performance as Shirley Jackson, author of such horror classics as 1948’s “The Lottery.” When an oblivious young couple (Logan Lerman and Odessa Young) stay with mentally ill Shirley and her equally unstable professor husband (A Serious Man’s always-excellent Michael Stuhlbarg, 51), the ensuing mind games play out like an even fiercer version of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Shirley is as unsettling as one of the writer’s own stories. —Bruce Fretts (B.F.)

Watch it here: Hulu

We’ve Got Your Feel-Good Fix of the Week!

Jen Lilley and Ryan Paevey star in the Hallmark Channel original movie Harvest Love

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Have a thing for a sweet little romantic movie? Want it all to work out in the end, after just a little bit of drama? Love a small-town setting? It’s time to indulge in a little Hallmark Movie fun, and our critics have rounded up the 11 best Hallmark classics that are streaming right now. Bet you can’t binge just one!

Find it here: 11 Hallmark Movies That Will Make You Believe in Romance Again

The Very Best Films of the 1970s Are Here For You

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Where were you when Jaws was released (and more importantly, did you go back in the ocean that year)? Did you adopt Diane Keaton’s inimitable style from Annie Hall? Did you line up for the premiere of Star Wars? Take the richest trip down cinematic memory lane with our ranking of the very best films of the 1970s. And let us know if you agree with our number 1 pick.

Find it here: The Best Movies of the 1970s, Ranked!

More of the Very Best Movies Online

It’s truly amazing how many incredible movies there are available on mainstream platforms like Amazon, Netflix and others. Our critics round up the very best for you, no matter what your interest. Check out the latest “Best of” lists from AARP critics. There’s never been a better time to catch up on movies you always intended to watch.

Other Movies to Watch

 The Vast of Night, PG-13

In the best teens-stumble-upon-uncanny-events movie since 2011’s excellent Super 8, Fay (Sierra McCormick) and Everett (Jake Horowitz) are nerds in Cayuga, New Mexico, pop. 492, in the 1950s. She’s the town’s switchboard operator, he’s a radio DJ. She excitedly tells him about coming tech wonders she’s read about: tiny TV telephones and radio-controlled electronic cars — “and a voice will come over the radio and give you directions!” But an eerie sound signals that there’s something even stranger in the air, maybe an invasion by aliens (or commies?). The story is framed as an episode of a Twilight Zone-like show whose intro says, “You’re entering the realm between clandestine and forgotten.” The film remembers the ’50s brilliantly, and it’s a gem — original, with crackling dialogue and orchestrated tension. —T.A.

Watch it here: Amazon

 The High Note, PG-13

You think you’re terrified to sing in public? Try being the daughter of Diana Ross. Tracee Ellis Ross, 47, makes her music debut crooning six tunes in this comedy about a big-time Hollywood singer and her ambitious assistant and piano accompanist (Dakota Johnson). Ice Cube, 50, plays her manager, and it costars Eddie Izzard, 58, and Bill Pullman, 66. —T.A.

Watch it here: Amazon, AppleTV, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, Fandango Now

 Lucky Grandma, Unrated

What a find! Tsai Chin, 86, who costarred with Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery and Daniel Craig’s Bonds, and Tamlyn Tomita in The Joy Luck Club, plays a gruff, chain-smoking widow who wants to avoid moving in with her son’s family. So she bets her skimpy life savings at a casino, loses, heists some gangster’s loot, defies thugs named Pock-Mark and Little Handsome, and hires a rival gang’s tallest guy as a bodyguard. A movie that might have caught on in theaters works just fine on the home screen. It’s got some of the snap of Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, but it’s sweet and funny too. Part of the fun? You can stream it via Kino Marquee, a wonderful site that hosts films that would be showing currently in independent theaters, and Alamo Drafthouse, an Austin-based independent theater that hosts streaming now as well. —T.A.

Watch it here: Kino Marquee, Alamo Drafthouse

 Military Wives, PG-13

Originally intended for a theatrical release, this uplifting British comedy-drama is now on video-on-demand (VOD) and streaming just in time for Memorial Day weekend. The English Patient’s Kristin Scott Thomas, who turns 60 this weekend, and Catastrophe’s Sharon Horgan, 49, provide perfect counterpoint as a colonel’s buttoned-down wife and a snarkier military-base compatriot who organize a choir of women with spouses serving in Afghanistan. Director Peter Cattaneo, a veteran of The Full Monty, hits the right notes, finding laughs in the familiar yet satisfying story while never losing sight of the situation’s underlying seriousness. Another hit from Bleecker Street, the film company specializing in movies for grownups. —B.F.

Watch it here: Hulu, Amazon, Apple

Valley Girl, PG-13

Valley Girl, the jukebox-musical reboot of the excellent 1983 Nicolas Cage teen comedy of the same name, opened in select drive-in theaters (as well as on Apple, FandangoNOW, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, VUDU, Xbox and Redbox). Set to a soundtrack featuring Roxy Music and the Go-Gos, it stars teen film icon Alicia Silverstone and a gang of next-gen teen queens. Drive-ins might be leading the way to a movie theater recovery, as Americans flock to them again this season.

Want to grab some popcorn and watch it on the big screen from inside the safety of your car? See full list of drive-ins screening Valley Girl:

 The True History of the Kelly Gang, R

This film was scheduled for theatrical release, but because of pandemic limitations, it has opened on your screen instead. Ned Kelly, Australia’s 19th-century answer to Billy the Kid, Jesse James and Butch Cassidy all rolled into one folk-hero package, was played on-screen by Mick Jagger (1970) and Heath Ledger (2003). Now indie wunderkind Justin Kurzel (Macbeth) directs George MacKay (1917) as the charismatically unhinged Kelly, a violent psychopath scarred by a horrific childhood. Russell Crowe plays a shaggy, hair-trigger bandit who sets the young Kelly on his path, and Game of Thrones’ Essie Davis is his she-wolf of a mother. They’re scary-good. —Chris Nashawaty

Where to watch: Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, PlayStation, Xbox, major cable platforms

 Blood Father, R

Mel Gibson’s latest smash hit instantly became Netflix’s most popular movie for grownups. It proves once again that Gibson, now 64, is one superb actor, even in pulpy entertainment. He’s John Link, proprietor of the Missing Link Tattoo parlor, located in his crummy home in a desolately picturesque trailer court. William H. Macy (Fargo, Shameless), now 70, is fine as his razzing pal and AA sponsor. Link looks like miles of rough road, but he’s better off than his estranged druggie daughter (Erin Moriarty). She’s on the run from her cartel boss boyfriend (Diego Luna, who’s great on Netflix’s must-see Narcos: Mexico). —T.A.

Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, YouTube. Typically $3.99 or by subscription.

 Bad Boys for Life, R

Will Smith, 51, and Martin Lawrence, 54, return as Miami cops who battle a ruthless Mexican cartel assassin, as well as deal with aging. It’s fun and silly, and the digital release has 50-plus minutes of new material, including an alternate ending. —T.A.

Where to watch: Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, YouTube, Fandango Now, cable video on demand. Typically $19.99.

 The Invisible Man, R

In this number 1 box-office hit, Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale) flees her controlling lover (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), an inventor. When he slits his wrists and leaves her $5 million, she fears he’s found a way to get invisible and hunt her. Moss rocks the role, delivering screams and sudden jumps, then turning the tables on the bad guy — aided by stilettos, juicy red lipstick and an excellent cosmetic concealer. —T.M.A.

Where to watch: Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, Fandango Now, cable video on demand. Typically $19.99.

 Emma, PG

Doe-eyed Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch) spins an enchanting web as Emma Woodhouse, the rich, spoiled queen bee of her sleepy village, who lives with her hypochondriac father (Love Actually’s Bill Nighy, 70). Emma believes she can find the perfect husband for sweet, naive Harriet Smith (a refreshing Mia Goth). It’s akin to a delicious crumpet smothered in lemon curd with the perfect cup of Earl Grey tea. —Susan King (S.K.)

Where to watch: Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, Fandango Now, cable video on demand. Typically $19.99.

 Uncut Gems, R

This is definitely not family fare, thanks to the raw profanity. But grownup viewers may find Adam Sandler, 53, impressive as a New York jeweler, gambler, dreamer and self-defeating buffoon who keeps making the wrong decision. —T.A. (READ FULL REVIEW)

Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, Fandango Now, Microsoft. Typically $4.99.

 The Good Liar, R

Helen Mirren, 74, plays a widowed professor with $3.6 million and no clue how to invest it. A con artist (Ian McKellen, 80) tries to woo and bilk her. An acting duel between masters — and who wins? You, the viewer. —T.A. (READ FULL REVIEW)

Where to watch: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, Fandango Now, Microsoft. Typically $4.99.

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