Tropic Thunder joins 12 other great movies now streaming online

I wanted to review one of Netflix’s new, original movies this week, but after checking out The Discovery, Sandy Wexler, and Win It All, I was uninspired. (Perhaps they’ll all be candidates someday for Netflix’s very welcome reboot of Mystery Science Theater 3000.) In any case, I dug into some other, much brighter gems to highlight.

How about an underrated Steven Spielberg movie? (Yes, one exists.) How about a couple of Oscar-winners for Best Screenplay? How about a couple of horror movies that wouldn’t be out of place at a 1970s grindhouse? How about a couple of sci-fi movies that are based on actual ideas rather than explosions? How about a couple of smart, funny comedies starring Jack Black? (Yes, there are at least two.)

I could go on, but don't just take it from me. Peep the whole curated list of 13 movies below—and then start streaming. Enjoy!

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The Bad News Bears and 6 other great baseball movies are now streaming online

Baseball season is here again, and to celebrate, we’ve got seven baseball-related movies: baseball comedies, baseball gangster films, baseball father-daughter dramas, baseball documentaries, and even Babe Ruth being knocked around in the back of a crazy taxi cab.

But there’s more to life than baseball. We also have Japanese warlords, talking cartoon rabbits, and punk rock pioneers. Add to that list an early film written by one of the world’s poppiest, peppiest screenwriters, and a bold, moving, absolute must-see documentary about five legendary filmmakers who went to war, photographed it, and came back to tell the tale, and it’s fair to say you won’t be wanting for entertainment anytime soon.

Five Came Back (Netflix) 

Gimme Danger (Amazon Prime)

jma gimmedanger1 Amazon Studios

★★★★☆

True Romance (Crackle) 

jma trueromance1 Warner Bros. 

★★★★☆

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New movies available for streaming include Fences, Deidra & Laney Rob a Train, Pete's Dragon, and more

Spring is arriving, so it seems fitting that several of this week’s streaming selections take the action outdoors, whether it’s telling the story of a couple sisters turned wannabee train robbers, or following a college baseball team in the last few days of summer, or exploring a black family living in the Louisiana Bayou. 

Some movies ask you to ponder heavy subjects, like assisted suicide or children’s fear of abandonment. And some on this list are just plain goofy.

If you were heading into the weekend without any firm plans, consider the matter closed.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai (Hulu)

jma buckaroobanzai1 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. 

★★★★☆

Eve’s Bayou (TubiTV)

jma evesbayou3 Trimark Pictures, Inc.

★★★★★

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Catch Memento and many other great movies now streaming online

The great film critic Pauline Kael was interviewed after her retirement in 1990 and before her death in 2001, and she remarked that there was a certain “lostness” in the air that the movies simply weren’t capturing. This week’s batch of now-streaming movies, I think, captures that thing she was talking about. It’s refreshingly cathartic to witness others going through challenges that tap into our own daily worries.

These stories of searching take many forms, from a dark comedy-turned-crime story snapped up from the Sundance Film Festival just weeks ago, to a recent superhero story about a man looking to replace something he felt he was missing, to a crime film about a man with a memory problem, and a story of two men trying to restore an old friendship. 

Mind you, this week's selection isn't all contemplative and heavy. There are two hilarious mockumentaries—one about vampire roomies, and another cult favorite about an aging rock band. All told, you're looking at an array of fine entertainment. 

This Is Spinal Tap (Netflix) [5 stars]

jma thisisspinaltap1 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. 

★★★★☆

Malcolm X (Crackle) 

jma malcolmx Warner Bros. 

★★★★★

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Snubbed by the Oscars

The Oscars are nearly here (February 26, to be precise), and maybe you’re excited about seeing all the nominated films, or maybe you’re tired of the hubbub and craving something less hyped. Several such excellent-but-underrated movies are now streaming this week.

There’s also a cadre of movies that feature action and violence and even zombies that would never be nominated. And there’s a documentary filled with controversy, and a movie that received several nominations at its time but failed to nab the big prize (to the chagrin of many).

Enjoy the Oscars, or don’t, but enjoy these movies and others regardless!

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The best movies to stream this Valentine's Day

February 14 is St. Valentine’s Day, when we give our true loves cards, candy, flowers, sundry heart-shaped things, and take them to dinner, and perhaps even a movie. The holiday can be rough if you’re single, or if you still haven’t yet recovered from the hunt for a suitable Christmas gift—and now it’s time for another? It could be that the best Valentine’s Day present is to simply cook a nice meal (or order some takeout) and stream a romantic movie or two from the comfort of home.

Following is a list of suggestions, ranging from masterful classics to slightly alternative choices—hopefully a little something for just about everyone. And, if you’re not in the mood for any love and romance, then Pixar’s Finding Dory, the second highest-grossing movie of 2016, is new on Netflix, and it’s as good an escape as any! 

Sunrise (Rental on Vudu, Amazon Prime, Google Play, iTunes)

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Where and how to stream some of this year's best Oscar nominees

It’s Oscar time again—the 89th Oscar time to be exact. The Oscars can be enormously frustrating (does anyone still think that Ordinary People deserved to beat Raging Bull for Best Picture?) and controversial. Last year brought up the “OscarsSoWhite” tirade, but this year there are several non-white faces nominated, as well as several profound documentaries about racism in America. And Mel Gibson appears to have been forgiven after some appalling, controversial behavior, receiving his first Best Director nomination since winning that trophy in 1996 for Braveheart.

The Oscars were created to celebrate movies, and the power of movies. Sure, it’s a sort of self-celebration, Hollywood using the power of show business to promote the power of show business, but it’s a fun spectacle, and there are some truly great movies being showcased this year. Stories of kindness, empathy, and understanding; or that carry a message about the sorry state of the world; or that celebrate heroism and courage. One in particular, an animated film, simply celebrates the power of a good storytelling. Following is our list of highly recommended Oscar nominees that are—or soon will be—available for streaming or digital rental.

Arrival (Rental coming to Vudu, Amazon Prime, etc.—Feb. 14)*

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