Welcome to January, a month of polar temperatures and chillier new releases. But, hey, new movies become available to stream almost every day on every platform, making platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and more the place to go for quality viewing.
To help parse all the latest options, we’ve taken a look at all the most recent additions and chosen the nine best movies currently available to you. From erotic thrillers to high fantasy epics to wartime comedies, here’s what you should be streaming right now.
Need more recommendations? Read are our 9 picks from last month.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Stanley Kubrick’s final film, Eyes Wide Shut, should help smooth the transition from the holidays back to work. At Christmas, Bill Harford (Tom Cruise) finds himself spiraling into an existential crisis when his theory that women are naturally faithful is tested by his wife Alice’s (Nicole Kidman) confession that she once fantasized about and considered leaving him for a man she’d met while on vacation. The revelation sets Bill down a rabbit hole of sexual encounters and secret societies, accompanied by tinsel and Christmas trees.
Stream on Hulu
The French Connection (1971)
From director William Friedkin (The Exorcist), The French Connection was a gritty police drama phenomenon, taking home Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Film Editing, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider star as Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle and Buddy “Cloudy” Russo, hard-boiled New York detectives who are hot on the trail of a French heroin smuggler. Based on real events, the film features one of the best car chases of all time, in which Popeye commandeers a car in order to chase an elevated train.
Stream on Hulu
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)/The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
All Lord of the Rings marathons start with The Fellowship of the Ring. Isn’t it time for The Two Towers and The Return of the King to have their day in the sun? Nearly two decades on, Peter Jackson’s adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s works remain some of the most impressive cinematic achievements of all time. Everything — the acting, the visual effects, the music — holds up, and the story, which advocates kindness and the power of friendship, feels more potent than ever.
The TV series M*A*S*H is available on Hulu, and so is the movie, directed by Robert Altman. Based on the same Richard Hooker novel about army doctors during the Korean War, Altman’s film stars Donald Sutherland as Hawkeye, a surgeon whose skills are matched only by his insubordinate attitude. Though some misogynist jokes haven’t aged well, M*A*S*H remains an affecting movie, combating the grim realities and gore of war with increasingly absurd humor.
Stream on Hulu
Laugh, scream, and cry with Midsommar, which plunges Dani Ardor (Florence Pugh) into a nightmarish series of events. After the death of her parents, Dani joins her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) on a trip to Sweden with a group of his graduate school friends. Their relationship is rocky, and only grows more strained as the commune they visit embarks upon a midsummer ritual that isn’t quite as benign as it initially seems. The horror unfolds in pastel colors, as well as with a surprising streak of humor throughout.
Stream on Amazon (Note: Amazon has issued a correction that Midsommar will now be available to stream on Prime beginning Jan. 10 rather than Jan. 1.)
The Monster Squad (1987)
Five iconic monsters for the price of one! Gill-man, Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, the Wolfman, and a mummy join forces in the Shane Black-penned The Monster Squad. An ancient amulet that helps maintain the cosmic balance of good and evil comes under threat when Dracula mobilizes his fellow monsters to destroy it. A group of pre-teens who call themselves the Monster Squad become the world’s last hope, as their obsession with classic monster movies makes them the perfect heroes in this new monster mash.
Stream on Shudder
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Guillermo del Toro’s powers of storytelling are on full display in Pan’s Labyrinth, a parable set five years after the Spanish Civil War. The real world blends with the mythical as Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) goes through a series of trials set by a mysterious faun while her family struggle with the Francoist regime. The question of what is real and what is imagined help keep the film compelling, as does the mix of CGI and practical/animatronic effects and costumes.
Stream on Netflix
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
If you’re feeling particularly spicy, Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has also just landed on Netflix, but why not go with the safer option? Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, directed by Mel Stuart and starring Gene Wilder as the legendary candy man, is just as soothing now as it was when you were a child (with the exception of the psychedelic boat ride). The songs sung by the children touring Wonka’s factory — and unwittingly going through a series of tests to determine their worthiness of Wonka’s empire — are still just as catchy, too.
Stream on Netflix