Start streaming purple! HBO Max, with its royally-hued interface, is one of our best, new streaming services, full of excellent content to watch. And if you’re looking to have a chill night on the couch with the service, but are unsure what to pick, we’ve got your back to the max!
September 2021 brought a variety of titles to HBO Max, — many of which are welcomely in the autumnal, spooky zone — and we’ve sorted through them all to bring you the cream of the crop. With a cascade of stars, tones, and film eras, here are the seven best new movies to HBO Max this September 2021. Happy watching!
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Writer: Scott Frank
Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Andy Garcia, Derek Jacobi, Hanna Schygulla, Emma Thompson
Grandiose, theatrical, and brimming with emotion, Dead Again is not a subtle movie. Director/star Kenneth Branagh has crafted himself a classical-feeling mystery thriller, with bold evocations of noir, romance, and high concept time-hopping fantasy for good measure. Murders and love affairs rocket across the screen and echo events from forty years prior, with Branagh’s hard-boiled private eye and Emma Thompson‘s ever-shifting moll tracking us to and fro traumas past and present with aplomb (plus, we love a sneaky supporting serious Robin Williams). This is the pitch-perfect movie to start your fall season with, a big, stormy piece of entertainment served perfect with snuggling under a blanket.
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writer: Philip Eisner
Cast: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson
It may not be the mythological, ultraviolent director’s cut, but Event Horizon is still a slice of wild sci-fi horror more than worth your time. Playing a little like Alien meets Hellraiser, the film follows a spaceship crew sent to rescue a missing ship, only to discover the terrible truth that they seem to have discovered the unimaginable, grotesque portal to Hell — and now our new voyagers may be next. Paul W.S. Anderson lenses this film with a sense of brutal beauty, its practical production design and widescreen compositions doing wonder for its tactile atmosphere. Sam Neill gives an all-time performance of madness and villainy. And when the surreal, gory visions start intruding upon everyone, look out!
Evil Dead 2
Director: Sam Raimi
Writers: Sam Raimi, Scott Spiegel
Cast: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley, Richard Domeier
If you haven’t seen the original Evil Dead, worry not: Evil Dead 2 opens with a Looney Tunes-feeling, fast-forward remake of the entire thing, before blasting into its own wild heightening and ideas. Evil Dead 2 is an essential text in the horror-comedy canon, a powerful jolt of movie star charisma from Bruce Campbell, and an absolute playground for the kinetic wonders of Sam Raimi. It’s such a goddamn fun motion picture.
Director: James Wan
Writers: Akela Cooper, Ingrid Bisu, James Wan
Cast: Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young, Jacqueline McKenzie, Michole Briana White
Ah, Malignant, you beautiful weirdo, you. To an extent, you should not know a thing about Malignant; the better to discover its abject audaciousness in real time; the better to go “What?!” as organically as possible. But if you desire some context, here’s what I’ll tell you: It’s the new horror film from James Wan (Saw, The Conjuring). It stars Annabelle Wallis as a woman already dealing with traumas when a serial killer starts picking people off near her. And… I think that’s about all I want to say. Malignant takes some swings that would make Joaquin Phoenix in Signs blush. Its twists and turns demand you to invite friends over and yell at the screen in utter delight. You won’t be able to stop thinking about it, I promise.
Ouija: Origin of Evil
Director: Mike Flanagan
Writers: Mike Flanagan, Jeff Howard
Cast: Elizabeth Reaser, Lulu Wilson, Annalise Basso, Henry Thomas
A horror movie based on a silly board game has no business being this good. But Mike Flanagan simply has no room for such limitations; as such, his Ouija: Origin of Evil is a sneaky little masterpiece of craft, emotion, and surprising nastiness. Set in the 1960s, the film does, indeed, present the origins of the Ouija board as an accidental conduit to the evil spirit world, possessing a wondrous Lulu Wilson in the process. Flanagan lets his ’60s setting inform his filmmaking techniques, making a work that’s handsome, retro, and fundamental in its effective scares. Let him do 13 Dead End Drive next!
Director: John Roberts
Writer: Laurie Craig
Cast: Gena Rowlands, Tony Shalhoub, Cheech Marin, Hallie Eisenberg, Bruce Davison, Jay Mohr
Jay Mohr stars as the title role in Paulie, and I must inform you that Paulie is, in fact, a talking bird. But Paulie isn’t your average, hackneyed talking animal family film. It’s surprisingly mature, heartfelt, emotional, and intelligent. Episodic in nature, though with a wonderful framing device anchored by the wonderful Tony Shalhoub, the film finds Paulie flying his way through the lives of many who need him, featuring sensitive, endearing performances from Gena Rowlands and Cheech Marin. If there isn’t a #PaulieHive, I’m starting one; and now that it’s streaming on HBO Max, we’d love to have you join the flock.
Promising Young Woman
Director/Writer: Emerald Fennell
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Laverne Cox, Connie Britton
Blending a variety of tones and statements, Emerald Fennell‘s Promising Young Woman is a powerhouse of provocation, endlessly suspenseful, funny, cynical, and somehow inspiring. Carey Mulligan is out for a kind of cosmic sense of revenge, pretending to be drunk to get a slew of “nice guys” to drop their guard and attempt to assault her before revealing she is fully, vividly functional. But what happens when she meets an actual nice guy, in the form of Bo Burnham? Is her life better served making a new future or staying stuck in this feedback loop of righting the past? Promising Young Woman digs into all of these questions while asking many more, all the while providing smart, entertaining thrills.
KEEP READING: The Best Movies on HBO Max Right Now
The second season of ‘Carnival Row’ will likely arrive in 2022.
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