Thanks to the Warner Bros.-Discovery merger, everyone is talking about HBO Max and what the future holds for the streaming service. Regardless of how things up end up down the line, HBO Max still currently offers up an impressive slate of movies in its catalog, especially from the 2010s.
With the rise of streaming services during the decade, more films than ever seemed to come out during the 2010s, leaving many great ones to get overlooked. Some are from acclaimed directors, some are remakes, and some have big stars yet flew under the radar and deserve a chance from subscribers.
Assassination Nation (2018)
Sam Levinson is the mind behind HBO’s smash hit Euphoria but before that series premiered, he directed Assassination Nation. The film depicts the chaos that ensues in a small town after everyone’s secrets get leaked publicly by a hacker.
The ensemble cast features Joel McHale, Bill Skarsgård, Bella Thorne, and future Euphoria stars like Maude Apatow and Colman Domingo, among many others. It’s over the top, frantic, visually impressive, and filled with twists and turns, making it something you should seek out.
Reviews for Kin might cause people to stray away from it as critics and audiences were both mixed on it. However, any movie that features Zoë Kravitz, Dennis Quaid, Carrie Coon, and a cameo from Michael B. Jordan is at least worth a watch.
Kin tells the story of a young boy who stumbles upon a strange weapon with his older brother while on the run from criminals, authorities, and soldiers. Although many feel it would’ve been better as something like a Black Mirror episode, there are still things to like in this sci-fi family drama.
Barely Lethal (2015)
Speaking of films that weren’t well-received upon release, there’s Barely Lethal. The movie centers on a teenage assassin who escapes to a “normal” life and must deal with people coming after her and the hardships of high school.
The premise makes for a fun film, boosted by the extremely talented Hailee Steinfeld as the protagonist. Throw in a supporting cast including Sophie Turner, Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Alba, and Dove Cameron and you’ll be having too good of a time to worry about what critics said.
Obvious Child (2014)
Most people who have seen Jenny Slate steal the show in supporting roles will agree that she needs more leading parts. Obvious Child gives her the platform she deserves and she delivers one of the best performances of her career, winning a Critics’ Choice Award for her efforts.
Slate stars as Donna Stern, a stand-up comedian who has a one-night stand that results in an unplanned pregnancy. The movie follows her as she balances the changes in her life and plans to get an abortion. Obvious Child was praised for being honest, mature, and funny.
Life After Beth (2014)
There are so many unique zombie movie concepts littered throughout the 2010s and Life After Beth is one of the most intriguing. Written and directed by Jeff Baena, the film is about a man dealing with the loss of his girlfriend only to her to come back from the dead much different than he remembered.
Along with the cool idea behind the film, it soars thanks to the work of Aubrey Plaza as the titular Beth, as well as Dane DeHaan, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, and Anna Kendrick. Although reviews were mixed, the performance by Plaza is must-see.
How To Talk To Girls At Parties (2017)
Anyone who has been following her career can attest to the fact that Elle Fanning is one of the most impressive young actors working today. Fanning has shined in every role she’s landed and has led some notable indie films including How to Talk to Girls at Parties.
Based on a short story of the same name, this sci-fi rom-com sees an alien (Fanning) and a comic book artist (Alex Sharp) fall in love while exploring the punk scene in 1970s London. It’s an energetic movie with a strong cast and an intriguing setup. Plus, it’s helmed by the star, writer, and director of the cult classic Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
Films based on a true story are often some of the most beloved and interesting out there, with Belle ranking near the top. It’s inspired by the true tale of Dido Elizabeth Belle, an illegitimate mixed-race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral.
The film deals with her upbringing and how her skin color prevents her from the privileges that would typically be afforded to someone of her status. Gugu Mbatha-Raw does fantastic work as the titular character and this film received sparkling acclaim despite barely making more than its budget.
So many people can relate to characters who are totally unsure about their life’s direction in their 20s. That makes a film like Laggies something they’ll enjoy and see themselves in because that’s exactly where the lead character finds herself.
Typically found in period pieces, Keira Knightley is at her best as Meagan, a woman who flees when her boyfriend proposes, strikes up a friendship with a teen (Chloë Grace Moretz), and connects with that girl’s father (Sam Rockwell). Reviews were solid with praise going to Knightley and director Lynn Shelton even if not many people saw it.
The incredible Denis Villeneuve has become one of the most sought-after filmmakers of this era. He broke out with Prisoners, impressed with Sicario, and delivered sci-fi classics in Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 before helming 2021’s smash hit, Dune.
While all of those movies are well known, he directed 2013’s Enemy, which is criminally underseen. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a mild-mannered man who spots an exact double in a movie and dives into the man’s personal life. The film was an immediate sensation at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis are both fantastic actors who have starred in numerous well-received projects, yet their film together is one that not many people know about. Colossal also happens to boast one of the more ambitious ideas of any recent indie movie.
The plot sees a struggling woman (Hathaway) somehow unknowingly gain control of a massive monster that destroys Seoul whenever she gets too drunk. The strange nature of the movie was the main aspect that received praise from critics and audiences.