Summer is ending, and fall is around the corner.
It’s been a wild summer at the movies, with Barbenheimer making cultural waves (and a ton of money), seemingly revitalizing public interest in The Movies. Cinema’s back, baby! Don’t worry about the subpar movies that followed Barbenheimer in theaters. Cinema’s back, baby!!!
Each month, we round up some of the best movies leaving streaming services, so you can catch them before they depart. This month, it’s a great group. We’ve got masterpieces from each of the last three decades, including two all-time classic blockbusters, groundbreaking animated movies, and a deeply felt romantic drama from one of our great new voices in film.
Movies to watch on Netflix
If Beale Street Could Talk
Genre: Romantic drama
Run time: 1h 57m
Director: Barry Jenkins
Cast: KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Colman Domingo, Teyonah Parris
Barry Jenkins’ follow-up to his Oscar-winning Moonlight is this tender adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel.
Set in Harlem in the early 1970s, the film follows young Black couple Tish (KiKi Layne) and Fonny (Stephan James), who are simply trying to live their lives: apartment hunting, dealing with squabbling families with a child on the way, and looking toward the future. When Fonny is arrested for a crime he could not have possibly committed, their lives are thrown into turmoil.
Featuring terrific supporting performances from an all-star cast including Regina King, Colman Domingo, Teyonah Parris, Aunjanue Ellis, and Brian Tyree Henry, Beale Street is an instant masterpiece, with a transcendent score to match. Watch it before it leaves Netflix. —Pete Volk
If Beale Street Could Talk leaves Netflix on Sept. 1.
The Bad Guys
Genre: Heist comedy
Run time: 1h 40m
Director: Pierre Perifel
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Marc Maron, Awkwafina
From The Mitchells vs. The Machines to Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, there’s been a number of colorful, vibrant, and personality-driven animated films released in recent years that take after 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Case in point: Pierre Perifel’s animated directorial debut based on Aaron Blabey’s children’s book series.
The Bad Guys stars Sam Rockwell as Wolf, an anthropomorphic wolf with a Danny Ocean-like vibe who leads a gang of fellow animal criminals known as, you guessed it, “The Bad Guys.” When the troupe is apprehended while attempting to swipe a valuable artifact, Wolf manages to sweet talk state governor Diane Foxington (Zazie Beetz) into giving them a chance to rehabilitate themselves into model citizens.
At first an obvious dastardly ploy to once again escape the ironclad clutches of the law, Wolf finds himself at a crossroads as he considers the merits of turning over a new leaf for not only himself, but also his criminal compatriots. While it essentially boils down to a straightforward heist comedy-drama, with “surprises” that aren’t really surprises and “twists” that feel more like retcons than they are moments that reward genuine observation, The Bad Guys remains a genuinely entertaining children’s film sure to delight kids and have parents snapping their fingers at the screen, shouting, “Hey, I know that reference!” —Toussaint Egan
The Bad Guys leaves Netflix on Sept. 1.
Genre: Adventure comedy
Run time: 1h 24m
Director: Peter Lord, Nick Park
Cast: Phil Daniels, Lynn Ferguson, Mel Gibson
You ever think about how someone created a spiritual remake of The Great Escape, but about a group of anthropomorphic chickens plotting to flee a fortified coop before they’re all baked into pies? The early aughts were wild, man.
Peter Lord and Nick Park’s action comedy Chicken Run is an absolute blast. The 2000 stop-motion film follows Ginger (Julia Sawalha), a rebellious hen determined to save her fellow chickens from being eaten by Mr. and Mrs. Tweedy, the owners of a struggling egg farm in Yorkshire. When Rocky Rhodes (Mel Gibson), a charismatic American rooster, glides over the coop’s fences and crash-lands with a broken wing, Ginger and her friends agree to tend to Rocky’s injuries and hide him from the Tweedys in exchange for flying lessons so they can make their own escape. As the Tweedys become more and more suspicious of the chickens’ behavior, Ginger races against time to come up with a plot to save them all.
Brilliantly animated by Aardman Animations, the iconic studio behind the Wallace & Gromit and Shaun the Sheep series, Chicken Run is a laugh-out-loud comedy stuffed with personality and boundless creativity. With the long-awaited sequel, Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget, set to premiere on Netflix later this year, there’s no better time to revisit this modern animated masterpiece. —TE
Chicken Run leaves Netflix on Sept. 1.
Movies to watch on Max
Genre: Superhero action
Run time: 2h 2m
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Cast: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Jeffrey Tambor
Nobody has made a better Hellboy movie than Guillermo del Toro— sorry, Neil Marshall. The 2004 dark superhero film starring Ron Perlman and Selma Blair introduced a generation of fans, myself included, to the wild and weird world of Mike Mignola’s epic supernatural horror comic.
Loosely based on the first miniseries arc of the comic series, Hellboy: Seed of Destruction, the movie follows the story of the red-skinned paranormal investigator (Ron Perlman) as he grapples with an otherworldly threat conjured up by a resurrected Grigori Rasputin (Karel Roden) and his Nazi compatriots. Along with the help of his colleague Abe Sapien (Doug Jones), his pyromancing love interest Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), and his adopted father Trevor Bruttenholm (John Hurt), Hellboy must come face to face with his own destiny and decide whether to continue fighting on behalf of humanity or become the vessel of the apocalypse.
Even though the Hellboy universe of comics effectively wrapped up following the conclusion of the 2019 “The Devil You Know” arc of the B.P.R.D. series, the character of Hellboy isn’t going anywhere too soon, as there are plenty of new comics, movies, and games to look forward to on the horizon. Hellboy Web of Wyrd, the upcoming roguelike action game starring the late Lance Reddick is slated to come out soon, and a second Hellboy movie reboot directed by Brian Taylor (Crank) is currently in production. That’s not even mentioning the Giant Robot Hellboy comic from Mignola and Hellboy: The Wild Hunt illustrator Duncan Fegredo, due out this November. With all this and more, now’s as perfect a time as any to dive in to watch the first and best Hellboy movie, whether it’s your first or umpteenth time watching del Toro’s love letter to the boulder-fisted pugilist. —TE
Hellboy leaves Max on Aug. 31.
Movies to watch on Hulu
Genre: Blaxploitation action comedy
Run time: 1h 25m
Director: Scott Sanders
Cast: Michael Jai White, Tommy Davidson, Salli Richardson
Michael Jai White is one of the great underappreciated actors of our time, and his blaxploitation parody Black Dynamite is one of the funniest movies of the century. White stars in the movie as Black Dynamite, a former CIA agent whose quest for vengeance for his brother’s death leads him all the way to the Nixon White House. White also co-wrote the hilarious, biting screenplay, filled with silly gags and cultural commentary alike.
His long-awaited follow-up, Outlaw Johnny Black, comes out in a few weeks and looks to continue the rip-roaring genre-bending parodies. This time, White directs as well, his third directorial effort after two movies in the Never Back Down franchise. That means there’s no better time than now to catch up on one of the greatest and funniest modern American comedies. —Pete Volk
Black Dynamite leaves Hulu on Aug. 31.
Run time: 2h 7m
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum
The blockbuster movie that sparked a three-decade-spanning franchise, Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park is a marvel of special effects that dazzle audiences to this day, with memorable performances in addition to its stunning visuals.
The film follows paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), along with paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), who is recruited by eccentric industrialist John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) to serve as consultants on his latest venture: a secluded Costa Rican theme park that houses genetically resurrected dinosaurs.
Filled with horror, suspense, action, and adventure, Jurassic Park is more than just a thriller movie — it’s a bona fide classic and one of Spielberg’s best. —TE
Jurassic Park leaves Hulu on Aug. 31.
Movies to watch on Prime
Men in Black
Genre: Sci-fi action comedy
Run time: 1h 38m
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Linda Fiorentino
Men in Black dares audiences to imagine: What if extraterrestrial life was not only real, but basically used the planet Earth as an immigration office?
The modern classic stars Will Smith as James, a former NYPD detective who, after encountering a bizarre alien creature, is scouted by Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) to join a clandestine government agency responsible for maintaining the secret balance of coexistence between humans and extraterrestrials on Earth. Besides spawning a franchise consisting of an awesome animated series with a kick-ass theme song and a series of sequels that run the gamut from “pretty good” to “unfortunate,” the original Men in Black is just a solid action comedy through and through, with a terrific lead duo, a memorable villain performance by a pre-Daredevil Vincent D’Onofrio, and a rich universe of colorful supporting characters. —TE
Men in Black leaves Prime Video on Aug. 31.