Filmstruck alternatives

Filmstruck, the go-to streaming service for cinephiles, is shutting down later this month, after two years of service. This is the latest of blows that seem to be the result of the merger between AT&T and Time Warner.

According to CNN, AT&T plans to launch a new streaming service next year, which will build on HBO’s success, and hopefully include the Criterion Collection, although we’re not holding our breath about that.

It’s hard to compete with the Criterion Collection and the vast library of Hollywood classics that Filmstruck offered, but here are two services that offer a selection in the same vein as Filmstruck.

Fandor

Fandor is a US streaming service for “movie fanatics”, focusing on international and arthouse films.

Going down the Fandor rabbit hole is the most fun I’ve had with a streaming website in a while.

(NY Times review)

Fandor costs $10/month or $90/year, and you can pay for their service using your credit card. Visit Fandor.

Some titles that are available now on Fandor: I am Cuba (a Soviet-Cuban film by Mikhail Kalatozov), a movie that was forgotten until it was rediscovered by US filmmakers thirty years later. Sami Blood, a Swedish coming-of-age drama, set in 1903s Sweden about a 14 year old girl who experiences prejudice at a nomad school for Sami children. Neighboring Sounds, a 2012 Brazilian drama about the lives of residents of a Brazilian apartment building and the security guards who get the job guarding the surrounding streets.

Tribeca Shortlist is another alternative, a joint venture by Lionsgate and Tribeca Enterprises (the company behind the Tribeca Film Festival). It has a small library, with a high turnover rate. Curators explain why each title made their list, which sometimes might make a movie worth watching that you would otherwise skip.

Tribeca Shortlist costs $4.99/month, and you can pay for their service using your credit card. Visit Tribeca Shortlist.

Some titles that are available now on Tribeca Shortlist: Drugstore Cowboy (Gus Van Sant’s breakthrough film), The Flowers of War (a Hong Kong/Chinese historical drama war film starring Christian Bale) and The Limey.

What’s new on Amazon Prime US in November 2018

Amazon Prime Video adds new titles to its already wide catalog of content. Here you can find the complete list of new titles for November 2018.

November 1

21
2001 Maniacs
Alice
Assault on Precinct 13
Candyman: Day of the Dead
Child’s Play
Christmas With the Kranks
Cruel Intentions
De-Lovely
Desperate Hours
Die Another Day
Duck, You Sucker (A Fistful of Dynamite)
Excalibur
Guns of the Magnificent Seven
Hostel
Hostel: Part II
Jacob’s Ladder
Leaving Las Vegas
Like Water
Little Man Tate
Little Odessa
Lord of War
Made
Making Contact (Joey)
Michael Clayton
Mr. Bean’s Holiday
Mulholland Falls
My Girl
Terms of Endearment
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
The Adventures of Tintin
The Birdcage
The Living Daylights
The Magnificent Seven Ride!
The Mexican
The Motorcycle Diaries (Diarios de motocicleta)
The Red Violin (Le violon rouge)
The World Is Not Enough
Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween
Weird Science

November 2
Homecoming: Season 1
Wonder

November 3
Kick-Ass

November 6
The Durrells in Corfu: Season 3

November 8
Thursday Night Football: Carolina Panthers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

November 9
Beat: Season 1
Little Big Awesome: Season 1B
Patriot: Season 2

November 10
The Children Act

November 15
The Expanse: Season 3
Gotti
Thursday Night Football: Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks

November 16
Coldplay: A Head Full of Dreams
Gymkhana Files: Season 1
Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny
Mirzapur: Season 1

November 17
McQueen
Siberia

November 18
Condemned

November 20
Creative Galaxy: Arty’s Holiday Masterpiece
Little Women: Season 1
Pete the Cat: A Very Groovy Christmas

November 21
Box of Moon Light
Loving Pablo

November 22
Wild Kratts: Creatures of the Deep Sea

November 24
Downsizing

November 29
Harry Brown
Thursday Night Football: New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboys

November 30
Inside Jokes: Season 1
Sleepless

What’s new on Hulu in November 2018

What to Watch on Hulu in November 2018

Hulu adds new titles to its already wide catalog of content. Here you can find the complete list of new titles for November 2018.

Notable titles arriving

Into The Dark: Flesh & Blood: Episode 2 (November 2)

Into the Dark (Hulu Original) is a monthly episodic release from Blumhouse Studios, each episode focusing on a festival for its month. Episode 2, Flesh & Blood, tells the story of Kimberly (Diana Silvers), an agoraphobic teenager, that hasn’t left the house since her mother’s murder, which remains unsolved. While under the care of her doting father (Dermot Mulroney) on the eve of Thanksgiving, Kimberly begins to suspect that she is in danger, and that it’s always the ones you love that hurt you the most.

Wonder (November 2)

A movie based on the best-selling book of the same name, starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay. It tells the inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman (portrayed by Jacob Tremblay). August is born with facial differences that, until now, prevented him from going to a mainstream school. August becomes an unlikely hero when he enters the local fifth grade class.

Big Lebowski (November 1)

This super chill cult classic. Jeff Bridge plays Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski, a LA slacker and bowler, who is assaulted when he’s mistaken for millionaire Jeffrey Lebowski. He seeks restitution for his ruined rug, that really tied the room together, and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it.

Other notable movies include a number of James Bond movies, and the first three installments from the recent Ocean’s Eleven franchise.

Here’s the full list of titles coming to Hulu in November:

November 1

K: Complete Season 2

Sailor Moon: Complete Season 3

Six: Complete Season 2

10 to Midnight

28 Days Later

2001 Maniacs

The Accused

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

A Fairly Odd Christmas

A Fistful of Dynamite

A View to Kill

Albert

Alice

Amelie

Bachelor Party

Barbie Mariposa and Her Butterfly Fairy Friends

Barbie The Pearl Princess

The Big Lebowski

The Birdcage

Benny & Joon

Blue Chips

Boo 2! A Medea Halloween

Candyman 3: Day of the Dead

Carnage Park

De-Lovely

Death Wish

Death Wish 3

Death Wish IV: The Crackdown

Desperate Hours

Diamonds are Forever

Die Another Day

Dr. No

Dysfunktional Family

Existenz

The Faculty

For Your Eyes Only

Four Rooms

From Russia with Love

Gloria

Goldeneye

Goldfinger

Guns of the Magnificent Seven

Happy Christmas

Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth

Hellraiser IV: Bloodline

Hoosiers

Hostel

Hostel 2

The Interpreter

Invasion U.S.A.

Italian for Beginners

Jane Eyre

Joey

Johnny Reno

K2

Leaving Las Vegas

License to Kill

Like Water

Little Black Book

Little Man Tate

Little Odessa

Live and Let Die

The Living Daylights

Lord of War

Made

The Magnificent Seven Ride

The Man with the Golden Gun

Map of the Human Heart

The Mighty

Missing in Action II: The Beginning

The Mod Squad

Moonraker

Mulholland Falls

Never Back Down

Never Say Never Again

Ninja III: The Domination

Ocean’s Eleven

Ocean’s Twelve

Ocean’s Thirteen

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Phantoms

Pleasantville

Radio Days

The Red Violin

Rescue Dawn

Revenge of the Ninja

Rob Roy

Santa Hunters

Searching for Bobby Fischer

Soapdish

Soufra

Species: the Awakening

Supercop

The Spy Who Loved Me

Thunderball

Tiny Christmas

Tomorrow Never Dies

Wicker Park

The World is Not Enough

XXX

XXX: State of the Union

You Only Live Twice

November 2

Into The Dark: Flesh & Blood: Episode 2 Premiere (Hulu Original)

Dietland: Complete Season 1

Wonder

November 3

Vanderpump Rules: Complete Season 6

Kick-Ass

Larger Than Life

An Ordinary Man

November 6

Top Chef: Complete Season 15

November 7

Europa Report

November 8

Under the Tree

November 9

Married With Children: Complete Seasons 1-11

November 10

Big Hero 6

November November 18

Monster’s Ball

November 12

The Little Death

The Wolfpack

November 13

Bigfoot

Keepers of the Magic

Killer Bees

November 15

Hip-Hop Houdini: Complete Season 1

12 Dog Days Till Christmas

A Christmas Kiss II

A Cinderella Christmas

A Dogwalker’s Christmas Tale

A Puppy for Christmas

Angels in the Snow

Back to Christmas

Cartel Land

Christmas Belle

Christmas with the Andersons

Dust 2 Glory

Girlfriends of Christmas Past

Holly’s Holiday

Luis & The Aliens

Married by Christmas

My Dad is Scrooge

My Santa

Naughty & Nice

Rodeo & Juliet

The Bank Job

The Christmas Calendar

The March Sisters at Christmas

The Secret of the Nutcracker

November 16

The Bisexual: Complete Season 1 Premiere (Hulu Original)

Holly Hobbie: Complete Season 1 (Hulu Original)

Dept. Q: A Conspiracy of Faith

Dept Q: The Absent One

Dept. Q: The Keeper of Lost Causes

November 18

Nina’s World: Complete Season 2

Hero (“Ying Xiong”)

The Condemned

November 20

Aliens and Agenda 21

November 21

Box of Moonlight

Damascus Cover

November 22

Hollywood Game Night: Season 6 Premiere

November 23

Baskets: Complete Season 3

November 24

Downsizing

November 28

Best of Enemies

November 29

Mighty Magiswords: Complete Season 1B (

Harry Brown

November 30

Broken Star

Daylight’s End

Scenic Route

The Remains

Undrafted

And here’s the full list of titles leaving Hulu in November:

November 30

A Good Woman

A Murder of Crows

Always Watching

American Psycho

American Psycho 2

Anaconda

Anarchy Parlor

Be Cool

Burnt Offerings

Cake

City Island

Cool It

Darkness

Doctor Dolittle 2

Driftwood

Emma

Escape From New York

Extortion

Fall Time

Get Shorty

Ghost In the Shell

Going Overboard

Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man

I Am David

Joyride

Prancer

Primal Fear

Pumpkinhead

Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings

Roger Dodger

Senorita Justice

Small Town Saturday Night

Species

Species II

Species III

Stanley & Iris

Stealth Fighter

The Terminator

They Came Together

What Dreams May Come

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

Without

How to Watch The World Cup 2018 Online

The 2018 World Cup in football (or soccer if you live in America) started yesterday. (June 14th) and lasts until July 15th.

England

The World Cup 2018 will be aired on BBC and ITV, both of which are supported by playmoTV, and are free to use. UK coverage is always well received, as most of our users generally understand English, and welcome match analysis from ex-professionals like Gary Neville and Rio Ferdinand.

Services for UK coverage:

BBC iPlayer, ITV HUB and TVPlayer. TVPlayer might be the best option, as it offers access to both BBC and ITV in the same app/website.

To enjoy UK  coverage do the following:

  1. Login to your playmoTV account (or create an account if you don’t have one)
  2. Configure your device to use our DNS servers.
  3. Get the BBC iPlayer and ITV HUB applications on Apple TV, iOS (a UK Apple account is needed), Android or Fire TV.If you wish to stream from your browser, then tvplayer.com and zattoo.com both have BBC and ITV in their channel lineup.
  4. Enjoy!

 

Iceland

In Iceland, the tournament will be aired on RUV. Football fans around the world are following their efforts closely, as Iceland is the least populated country to ever play in the World Cup.

Services supported for Icelandic coverage:

RUV is supported on all devices (including the Apple TV). No registration or payment is required.

To enjoy Icelandic coverage do the following:

  1. Login to your playmoTV account (or create an account if you don’t have one)
  2. Configure your device to use our DNS servers.
  3. Get the RUV application on Apple TV, iOS, Android or stream from ruv.is
  4. Practice the viking-clap and enjoy!

 

Germany

Germany will have the World Cup on public broadcasters ARD and ZDF, both of which are accessible on Zattoo. Zattoo is a free service, has a premium option, which gives you a better picture quality and some other features.

Services supported for German coverage:

Zattoo is supported. Zattoo has a free plan, but a premium service is also available, with better picture quality and other features. Registration is required.

To enjoy German coverage do the following:

  1. Login to your playmoTV account (or create an account if you don’t have one)
  2. Configure your device to use our DNS servers.
  3. Register for an account on zattoo.com.
  4. Get the Zattoo application on Apple TV, iOS (a UK or Swiss Apple account is needed), Android or Fire TV.
  5. Enjoy!

 

United States

FOX Sports will air the World Cup in the US. As FOX Sports is a premium cable channel, you need to sign up for a live TV service or use existing cable credentials to access the FOX Sports app.

Services supported for US coverage:

Sling TV, fuboTV, DirecTV NOW and the FOX Sports app.

We recommend Sling TV and fuboTV over DirecTV NOW, as Sling TV is supported on all devices, but fuboTV and DirecTV NOW are not supported on iOS.

What’s new on Amazon Prime US in June 2018

What to Watch on Amazon Prime US - June 2018

Each month, Amazon refreshes its catalog. Here are interesting titles that are coming to Amazon Prime Video US in June 2018. Notable titles are in bold letters.

June 1

1492: Conquest Of Paradise
2 Days In The Valley
Allan Quatermain And The Lost City Of Gold
All Or Nothing: New Zealand All Blacks: Season 1
As Good As Dead
August Rush
Babylon 5: Seasons 1-5
Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans
Beer For My Horses
Beowulf
Black Widow (AKA: Before It Had a Name)
Blitz
Blood And Glory
Blue Like Jazz
Breakdown
Burnt Offerings
Cavedweller
Chinese Box
Clown At Midnight
Command Performance
Danger Zone
Day Of The Dead
Doctor Zhivago
Dog Watch
Double Identity
Double Jeopardy
Dreams And Memories Of Where The Red Fern Grows
Drop Zone
Escape From Alcatraz
Event Horizon
Flickers
Forces Of Nature
Flood
Hans Christian Andersen: My Life As A Fairytale
Hard Rain
Harley Davidson And The Marlboro Man
House Of D
I Am David
Ladies Man
Leprechaun
Leprechaun 2
Leprechaun 3
Leprechaun 4: In Space
Leprechaun 5: In The Hood
Leprechaun 6: Back 2 Tha Hood
Leprechaun: Origins
Mousehunt
Mutant Species
Nacho Libre
Nurse 3D
Panic
Rare Birds
Religulous
Rescue Me: Seasons 1-9
Revenge Of The Pink Panther
Ring Of Fire
Saturday Night Fever
Serving Sara
Space Jam
Stanley & Iris
Survivor
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street
Tamara
Tears Of The Sun
The 4th Floor
The Age Of Innocence
The Ant Bully
The Ashram
The ‘Burbs
The Care Bears Movie
The Disaster Artist
The Eye 2
The Frozen Ground
The Iceman
The Natural
The Pink Panther Strikes Again
The Running Man
The Young Karl Marx
Tilt
Universal Soldier
Vampire In Brooklyn
The Waltons: Seasons 1-9
War, Inc.
Wonder Wheel

June 3

Lady Bird
Max 2: White House Hero
Stargate

June 5

Lions For Lambs

June 8

Lost In Oz: Season 1

June 9

Braven
Precious
Simon Says

June 15
Goliath: Season 2

June 16

Nostalgia
Transformers: The Last Knight

June 18

Suits: Season 7

June 26

Shutter Island
If You Give A Mouse A Cookie: Season 1

June TBD

A Very English Scandal: Season 1

What’s new on Amazon Prime US in May 2018

What to Watch on Amazon May 2018

Each month, Amazon refreshes its catalog. Her are interested titles that are coming to Amazon Prime Video US in May 2018.

May brings Picnic at the Hanging Rock to Amazon Prime US, The Office (UK), numerous James Bond films, Rocky I-V and more. Here’s the full list.

What’s new on HBO NOW (and HBO GO) in April 2018

HBO adds new movies and TV shows to its library every month. In this article you can see what’s coming to HBO NOW in April 2018, along with our recommendations.

April Highlights

On April 22, one of HBO’s most anticipated shows returns. If you’re unfamiliar with Westworld, it’s a sci-fi/western which was inspired by the 1973 Michael Crichton (of Jurassic Park and E.R. fame) film of the same name. The show takes places at a “Wild West” theme park created by Dr. Robert Ford (played by Anthony Hopkins) with human-esque robots, which helps guests indulge their deepest fantasies and desires.

Westworld – Season 2 Premiere – April 22

 

War for the Planet of the Apes – April 21

It arrived in theaters last summer amid critical acclaim, the third movie in the Planet of the Apes trilogy.

Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas – April 13

Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas is a new late-night docuseries, where stand-up comedian Wyatt Cenac, who’s known for his work as writer and correspondent for The Daily Show on Comedy Central, will travel the country to examine social and cultural problems facing Americans.

Paterno – April 8

An HBO original film, starring Al Pacino as Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, and centers on the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. After becoming the winningest coach in college football history, Paterno’s legacy is challenged and he is forced to face questions of institutional failure in regard to the victims.

Full list – HBO NOW/GO in April 2018

(Notable titles are in bold)

Available April 1
• Absolute Power
Bad Boys II
• Damien Omen II
• Dinner for Schmucks
• Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat
• The Final Conflict
• Final Destination
• The Final Destination
• From Hell
The Italian Job
• Laurel Canyon
• Nine to Five
• The Omen
• Omen IV: The Awakening
• Orphan
Runaway Jury
• S.W.A.T.
• The Tale of Despereaux
• Waitress
Yes Man
• The Least Worst Man
• Dear Renzo

Available April 2
• King in the Wilderness

Available April 6
• Carpinteros (a.k.a. Woodpeckers)
• Vice Season 6 premiere

Available April 7
Paterno

Available April 10
• Andre the Giant

Available April 11
• Destino: Rusia Series premiere

Available April 13
• Sol de medianoche (a.k.a. Midnight Sun)
Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas (series premiere)

Available April 14
• Elvis Presley: The Searcher Part 1 and Part 2

Available April 16
• I Am Evidence

Available April 20
• Zona Hostil (a.k.a. Rescue Under Fire)

Available April 21
War for the Planet of the Apes

Available April 22
Westworld (Season 2 Premiere)
• 24/7 Canelo-Golovkin 2

Available April 28
• The Hitman’s Bodyguard

What’s new on Tubi TV and Crackle in April 2018

Here you can see a list of all new TV Shows and Movies coming to Tubi TV and Crackle, free services both. Notable titles include critically acclaimed movies like Hotel Rwanda, Dances With Wolves and Panic Room, and popular TV series like The IT Crowd, Peep Show and Rescue Me (Seasons 1-2).

Tubi TV and Crackle are two services that are worthy of your attention if you wanna get access to a bit more content without spending a penny.

Here are some more notable titles:

Tubi TV

50/50 (2011)
Agent Cody Banks (2003)
Bandits (2001)
Buffalo 66 (1998)
Bull Durham (1987)
Bulletproof Monk (2002)
Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2010)
Casa De Mi Padre (2012)
College (2008)
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2001)
Crocodile Dundee (1986)

Dances With Wolves (1990)
Dr. T and the Women (2000)
Eight Men Out (1988)
Four Rooms (1994)
Gang Related (1997)
Ghost Town (2008)
Gods and Monsters (1999)
Heartbreakers (2000)

Hotel Rwanda (2004)
In Too Deep (1998)
Jeepers Creepers II (2003)
Love Is a Gun (1993)
Man About Town (2007)
Marvin’s Room (1995)
Masquerade (1988)
Mother’s Day (2012)
Mr. Holmes (2015)
Mulholland Falls (1996)
Muriel’s Wedding (1993)
Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow (2008)
Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)
Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)
Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)
Setup (2011)
Showgirls (1995)
Sliding Doors (1998)
Swimming With Sharks (1995)
Tekken (2011)
The Brothers Bloom (2008)
The Running Man (1987)
Thelma & Louise (1991)
The Last Stand (2013)
Valkyrie (2008)
Walking Tall (2004)

 

Crackle

What’s New
Breaking in, S1-2
Brothers, S1
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
Franklin & Bash, S1-2
Joey, S1
Last Resort, S1
Malcolm & Eddie, S1
Marry Me, S1
Paprika
Reign Over Me
Rescue Me, S1-2
Resident Evil: Retribution
Spanglish
Sunset Park
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, S1-2
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation
The Beast, S1
The Grinder, S1
The Mob Doctor, S1

 

Available One Month Only
10 Cent Pistol
30 Days of Night: Dark Days
30 Minutes or Less
6 Bullets
Airheads
American Crude
April Fool’s Day
Bachelor Party Vegas
Back to School
Boa vs. Python
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Breakout
Bucky Larson Born to Be a Star
Cleaner
Cleanskin
Clive Barker’s the Plague
Desperado
Devil in A Blue Dress
Dick
Dirty
Doom
El Mariachi
First Sunday
Fury

Girlfight
Glory
High School High
Hollow Man
Hot Fuzz (Starts 4/16)
Hustle & Flow
I Know What You Did Last Summer
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer
Linewatch
Look Who’s Talking
Look Who’s Talking Too
Mallrats
Maximum Risk
Menace II Society

Once Upon a Time in Mexico
Panic Room

Priest
Red Hill
Robocop II
Robocop III
Slackers
Stealth
The Blob
The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day
The Dark
The Karate Kid
The Karate Kid III
The Next Karate Kid
The Perfect Score
The River Murders
The Shepherd
The Social Network (Expires 4/16)

Today You Die
Toy Soldiers
Truth or Consequences, N.M.
U-571 (Starts 4/16)
Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning
Universal Soldier: Regeneration
Urban Legend
Whatever It Takes
Wolf
Zookeeper

 

Monthly Seinfeld Theme: Elaine & Puddy
619: The Fusilli Jerry
622: The Face Painter
902: The Voice
905: The Junk Mail
909: The Apology
911: The Dealership
912: The Reverse Peephole
916: The Burning
923: The Finale Part I
924: The Finale Part II

How to stream the 2018 Super Bowl

Super Bowl LII kicks of Sunday, and regardless of whether you’re a die-hard Eagles/Patriots fan or not then you probably wanna enjoy Sunday evening watching the big game, because that will be the talk of the town come Monday morning.

Here are six different ways to watch the game, all via services supported by the playmoTV gateway. (Not a user? Sign up here)

NBCSports.com

The game will be streamed for free on nbcsports.com or the NBC Sports app. NBC Sports is voiding the regular requirement of using a cable-provider login to use the app. Their live stream will start on noon ET (the game itself starts 6:30 PM ET), so you have plenty of pre-game coverage.

Sling TV

If you sign up for the Sling TV’s Blue package for $25/month you can stream the big game live on NBC. We serve the NY region for Sling, so you should be good to go there.

Sling TV is supported on all major platforms. You can read more about Sling TV here.

Hulu with Live TV

You can also enjoy the game if you have Hulu with Live TV. However, unlike Sling TV, Hulu with Live TV is only supported on Apple TV, Fire TV and in a web browser if you use a manual geolocation plugin in addition to our service. (The traditional Hulu SVOD service is supported on iOS and Android).

fuboTV

fuboTV also has NBC, and is supported with similar caveats as Hulu Live TV, although you don’t need a special Chrome plugin as well to use it in a browser. However in our opinion, the streaming quality of fuboTV does not measure up to the standards of Sling TV.

BBC iPlayer

Finally you can watch the game live on BBC, but then you’re missing Super Bowl ads, so we highly recommend considering other options before opting with this one. Here’s one that has already leaked

and in this video you can see a round-up of the teaser ads that have already been released.

Great HBO Original Films

HBO has been producing its own independent programming long before it was streaming its stuff across the internet. All of the movies are great and you should check them out – here are a few that might pique your interest.

We’ve all been there. Browsing through endless catalogs of stuff. Checking out Hulu, HBO NOW, Showtime. Then Hulu again, Showtime, HBO NOW. Funny how we see the same stuff even though we look at it in reverse order. If you’re ready to watch something a little less ordinary, here are a few great HBO Original films, that we recommend.

Behind the Candelabra

Set in 1977, this movie follows the the famous pianist Liberace and his 18-year old lover Scott Thorson in the musician’s final ten years of life. The movie is based on Thorson’s diary which was turned into a novel after Liberace’s death. The film garnered mostly positive praise and competed for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. It also got a limited cinematic release in the UK.

The film is a genuine and heart wrenching look at Liberace’s life and absolutely over-the-top his performances were. Even more important is how affectionately Michael Douglas (Liberace) and Matt Damon (Thorson) play their characters. Their performances are certainly something to watch, so much so, that Michael Douglas won an Emmy award. Further, the relationship between Liberace and Thorson is absolutely magic on the screen.

Grey Gardens

This one is certainly on the older side. First aired in 1975, Grey Gardens is a documentary that looks at two former upper-class women, a mother and daughter, who live in poverty in a dilapidated mansion in the South Hamptons of New York. The documentary was selected for preservation in the library of Congress and is hailed as one of the best documentary films ever made because of its painfully truthful storytelling.

The film uses direct cinema techniques, meaning there is no voiceover explaining the story – the two female subjects do all the voice work in the documentary.  The film came about after an investigation by The Examiner and New York Magazine of the two women’s lives led to health department inspections of their home. There, they found the home and the women living in squalor with trash and rubbish everywhere, no running water and in complete delusion.

From the Earth to the Moon

A 1998 miniseries produced by Ron Howard and Tom Hanks, From the Earth to the Moon tells the story of the Apollo missions during the 1960s and 1970s. The series was based in large part on Andrew Chaiken’s book A Man on the Moon, which was also extraordinarily good. The series features a large ensemble cast, as well as Tom Hanks in each episode.

All twelve episodes are wonderfully shot and riveting. In particular, the episode covering Apollo 13 smartly looks at the entire stressful mission from the ground’s point of view, showing how much work went into keeping those astronauts alive. The series won three Emmy awards for outstanding miniseries, outstanding casting, and outstanding hairstyling, which is sort of an odd award. Great hair or not, this series is definitely worth your time.

All The Way

Anything that stars Bryan Cranston gets our attention right out of the gate. And man, if he doesn’t play a drop dead lookalike of President Lyndon Johnson! The film also stars Anthony Mackie as Martin Luther King Jr. as he and LBJ work together (and often against one another) to pass the Civil Rights Act. The whole thing is complicated by the Vietnam War and the Gulf of Tonkin resolution.

All The Way was nominated for eight Emmys, but for some reason didn’t win any – we can’t explain why because this movie is simply wonderful. The acting is standout and the story is compelling, drawing the viewer in, as the disgusting idea of segregation is actively fought against. Further, the movie is incredibly important – the fight for equal rights was not always a rosy one. LBJ would have preferred to do the politically expedient than the right thing – it just so happened that neither was truly possible and the Civil Rights Act was passed in the United States.

Taking Chance

An extraordinarily powerful film, Taking Chance (2009) follows Lt. Colonel Michael Strobl, wonderfully played by Kevin Bacon, as he escorts a fallen marine Chance Phelps home. Phelps was killed during a mission in the Middle East. Along the way, Strobl meets and interacts with many different people and is touched by the outpouring of love and support.

The film received generally positive reviews and captured the poignant and gut-wrenching reality of war. Some reviewers noted that the movie was almost to procedural – that it covered how a soldier who is killed in action is brought home and buried. Still, the movie is a powerful one and relatively short – just 77 minutes – so certainly worth your stream.

Game Change

Based on the book of the same name by Jay Roach, Game Change follows the political journalism of Mark Halperin and John Heileman during the 2008 US presidential campaign between Barack Obama/Joe Biden and John McCain/Sarah Palin. The movie focuses predominantly on the Republican side of the ticket cataloging the many ups and downs of the ultimately unsuccessful campaign.

The movie garnered generally positive reviews, particularly for Julianne Moore’s depiction of Sarah Palin. The former governor herself has called the movie “based on false narrative.” However, former campaign manager Steve Schmidt noted that watching it was like an “out of body experience” because it was so accurate. A great film, even if you’re unfamiliar with American politics.

Too Big To Fail

Too Big to Fail catalogs the story of the 2008 financial crisis from the point of view of the men that both caused and attempted to fix it. The film is based on Andrew Ross Sorkin’s book of the same name and looks at how the US Federal Reserve and Treasury Department attempted to stop the entire global economy from crumbling, while bank executives attempted to protect their interests and their shareholders.

The movie was nominated for numerous Emmys and other awards when it debuted in 2011. The frenetic nature of the time during the collapse is expertly captured on film, drawing the viewer in. Additionally, the greed of many of the CEOs is evident and getting angry watching the film isn’t out of the realm.

Show Me a Hero

Another great miniseries based on a book of the same name, the film follows Nick Wasicsko, a former police officer and city council member in Yonkers, New York, as he fights to show the value that federally mandated-scatter-site public housing has to a white, middle-class population. It sounds really wonky…and it is. But if you enjoy political procedurals you’ll like this one.

The show spans six episodes and received critical acclaim from reviewers. Unfortunately, it did not garner high viewership, likely because of its wonky nature. The series was produced in part by David Simon, the creator of The Wire, however, so if you liked that (which you did…everyone did), give this one a try.

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