Now is the time for film critics and fanatics to start making their top 10 movies of the year lists. There is plenty of Oscar season fare to catch in theaters: the harrowing abduction drama Room; the gripping journalism thriller Spotlight; the inspirational Rocky spinoff Creed; and much more. But if you don't feel like braving the cold, here are the top five films of the year that are available to stream.
Beasts of No Nation
Written and directed by Cary Fukunaga — who helmed the first season of True Detective — this war drama revolves around an African warlord (Idris Elba) as he trains a young orphan (Abraham Attah) to join his guerilla soldiers. Beasts of No Nation is the first fictional feature film distributed by Netflix, and it's garnering much critical acclaim — including a nomination from the Indiana Film Journalists Association for Best Picture of the Year.
Like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, this is a tender yet thrilling tale of two boys thrust into the adult world. After running away from home, the kids in the film stumble upon and subsequently steal an abandoned police cruiser. Little do they know, the owner of the car is a corrupt sheriff — and he left a hostage in the trunk. Kevin Bacon sinks his teeth into the role of the dirty cop in this riveting film that radiates with Spielbergian warmth.
Available on Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube.
Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck
An uncomfortably up close and personal look at backstage drama. This film practically smears your clothes with cigarette ashes. It's raw, dirty, uncompromising — just like Kurt Cobain's music. A piercingly intimate portrait of the iconic artist, Montage of Heck is one of the best documentaries of the year. With its hazy home video footage, dreamy animation and brutally honest interviews, it casts a hypnotic spell — like a spirit flickering on screen.
Available on Amazon Video and HBO Go.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Don't be surprised if you see this film pop up in the Best Picture category come Oscar time. Like The Dark Knight, this action extravaganza rises above summer popcorn fare, packing the emotional punch of classic A-list entertainment. Unlike so many other blockbuster spectacles, this film's futuristic world feels lived-in and achingly real.
Available on Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube
Confined in a Manhattan apartment, the Angulo brothers escape their circumstances through cinema. This dark yet inspiring documentary follows them as they experience the outside world through movies. The most mesmerizing scenes show the boys meticulously recreating scenes from their favorite films in an effort to simulate the society that their father forbids. The Wolfpack is a slice of bizarre life that will linger in your mind. An audience favorite at the Sundance Film Festival, this is a strong Oscar contender for Best Documentary.
Available on Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix, Vudu and YouTube.