New Movies on HBO Max

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New Movies on HBO Max

HBO Max’s strategy of releasing new movies from Warner Bros. simultaneously in theaters on its streaming platform for a limited time means new original films often get pulled from its library months after release. But Dune and King Richard recently returned to the lineup. Most of the movies HBO Max adds to its robust library each month are mostly older films. Still, there are a handful of new movies available at HBO Max, both brand-new Max Originals and other recent films it just added to its streaming collection.

Below are 10 new movies on HBO Max.

1. All That Breathes

HBO Release Date: February 3, 2023
Director: Shaunak Sen
Genre: Documentary
Rating: TV-14
Paste Review Score: 9.4

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All That Breathes, a documentary by Shaunak Sen about two brothers—Muhammad Saud and Nadeem Shehzad—in New Delhi who say they have saved more than 20,000 kites (an Indian bird of prey) over the last two decades, is enchanting. There have been other stories about the amateur medic duo, along with their assistant Salik Rehman, but none as lyrical as this documentary. The brothers, former bodybuilders who grew up in the Chawri Bazaar area of Old Delhi, started treating injured black kites in 1997 out of necessity. These scavenger birds were often prey to another kind of kite—the paper ones commonly flown as a lazy weekend pastime or to mark festive occasions. The string, called manja, used in the paper kites is usually coated with glass particles, in order to cut and capture another person’s kite. However, these razor-sharp strings can be fatal to birds, slashing their wings and sending them careening from the skies, especially during the later summer and fall months when kite-flying is at its peak. On finding one such injured kite, the brothers took it to a bird hospital run by people of the Jain faith. Ahimsa, the practice of non-violence and compassion towards all life, forms the core of Jainism. And so, the hospital told Saud and Shehzad that they could not treat the meat-eating bird. As a result, the brothers ended up treating injured birds that they continued to find, with some help from other local vets and based on their own interest and knowledge. They carry out their bird rehabilitation operation, called Wildlife Rescue, out of the basement of their family’s liquid soap dispenser manufacturing office. The documentary uses the brothers and their relationship with the carrion birds as metaphors for the state of the environmental and political climate of India’s capital, forming a subtle subtext to the main account. The brothers’ relentless passion overrides an awkward tone that carries through All That Breathes. As much as this amateur trio is rehabilitating the birds, they are—in a sense—being rescued themselves. —Aparita Bhandari

2. The Menu

HBO Release Date: January 3, 2023 (Originally released November 18, 2022)
Director: Mark Mylod
Stars: Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult, Ralph Fiennes, Hong Chau, Janet McTeer, Judith Light, John Leguizamo
Genre: Comedy
Rating: R
Paste Review Score: 9.5

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Early in The Menu, director Mark Mylod’s beautiful, intricate dark comedy set amid the trappings of exclusive restaurant culture, a character explains that, for him, art doesn’t matter. Films aren’t important. Neither are books, paintings or music. Food, he tells us, is the purest and best art form, because a great chef’s medium is “the raw materials of life and death.” Like just about every piece of dialogue in the film, written with fiendish joy by Seth Reiss and Will Tracy, it’s both funny in the moment and unexpectedly profound in the larger context of The Menu’s dark game. Yes, the enigmatic master chef at the heart of film is playing with the raw materials of life and death on his plates—seafood, fungi, roast chicken, flash-frozen microgreens and plenty of artful foam—but the menu he’s developed, and the film that depicts it, is also dealing with the raw materials of human human life and death. The list of ingredients is long, the techniques complex, but everything is whipped like egg whites into something so light and airy you barely notice the bitterness until it smacks you in the teeth. The restaurant at the heart of this heady recipe is Hawthorne, a fabulously expensive establishment run by the demanding, precise Chef Slowik (Ralph Fiennes, sharp as carbon steel) from a private island where all the ingredients are local and a seat at the table will set you back more than a grand. Hawthorne serves just 12 diners per service, and on the night we journey to the island, they include everyone from a couple of regulars (Judith Light, Reed Birney) to a renowned and famously hard-to-please food critic (Janet McTeer) to a fading movie star trying to build a second career as a travel show host (John Leguizamo). The film is interested in each of these personalities to varying degrees, but turns particularly sharp focus on Margo (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Tyler (Nicholas Hoult), a mismatched couple with very different views of what they’re about to experience. Yes, all the ingredients are treated with care, and the film’s early developments are placed with the precision of a single sprig of chives tweezed onto a plating, but the film’s dark secret is that it’s not here to be subtle. Its true strength is not in tweezers, or carefully engineered molecular gastronomy, but in the furious swipes of a cleaver coming at your head. The complexity, both tonally and visually, is there to tease out the film’s black genre heart, and it’s that heart that makes The Menu a delicious and deeply filling experience that will make you beg for a second helping.—Matthew Jackson

3. The Banshees of Inisherin

HBO Release Date: December 13, 2022 (Originally released October 21, 2022)
Director: Martin McDonagh
Stars: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, Barry Keoghan
Genre: Drama
Paste Review Score: 9.8
Rating: R

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Whether we wear it on our sleeves or bury it somewhere down in the darkest part of ourselves, we all carry the fear that someday someone we trust and love will simply decide to abandon us. It lives somewhere in each of us in the same vicinity as the fear that, someday, inexplicable and motive-less violence will descend on us and our loved ones—a little knot of dread waiting to unspool. But this fear is quieter, simpler and, therefore, less-often discussed in the wider cultural landscape. There are a lot of films about sudden violence, but you don’t see as many feature-length explorations of straightforward, person-to-person departures. With that in mind, it would be easy to look to Martin McDonagh’s phenomenal The Banshees of Inisherin as some kind of fable, a dark fairy tale from a faraway time and place meant to cast long, shadowy metaphors over our own lives. If you’re willing to look closely, you’ll definitely find all the material you need to make those metaphors happen in your mind, but at the film’s Fantastic Fest premiere, McDonagh himself called it “a simple break-up story,” an exploration of what might happen to two men if one simply decided to cut ties with the other. So, is it a grand, fathoms-deep exploration of the bittersweet nature of human relationships, or “a simple break-up story” that’s just about one Irishman deciding he doesn’t want to see another Irishman anymore? In the end, it’s both, and that’s what makes The Banshees of Inisherin and its blackly hilarious portrait of everyday pain one of the best films of the year. Through beautifully framed shots rich with the texture of rustic stone walls and the warped glass of old windows, McDonagh takes us back to Ireland a century ago, where civil war rages on the mainland and things progress at their usual slow pace on the island of Inisherin. It’s here, with artillery fire raging in the background, that Colm Doherty (Brendan Gleeson) decides he’s done hanging out with his old pub pal Pádraic Súilleabháin (Colin Farrell). For some on the island, it makes a certain degree of sense—the creative and contemplative Colm and the more simple-minded Pádraic always were a mismatched pair—but for Pádraic, it’s a baffling, literal overnight tectonic shift in his life. He hopes Colm’s sudden distance is part of a fight that he somehow forgot, or a poor choice of words after one too many pints, but according to Colm, it’s painfully, frighteningly simple: “I just don’t like you no more.” It all creates an atmosphere that invites us to ask a question about what we’re watching: On the grand scale of time, does it really matter if one man decides to cut ties with another? Will history record it? Will anyone care? Or, when faced with our own mundane despair in the face of the vast wider world, is being nice to your neighbor the only thing that matters? McDonagh’s characters, and McDonagh himself, might not have an answer for us, but the film’s ability to call these questions to mind is evidence of its haunting power. In its unwavering devotion to the straightforward nature of its story, The Banshees of Inisherin has found something profound and universal, something that will leave you both laughing and shaken to your core. It’s the kind of film that crawls into your soul and stays there.—Matthew Jackson

4. Amsterdam

HBO Release Date: December 6, 2022 (Originally released October 7, 2022)
Director: David O. Russell
Stars: Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Chris Rock, Anya Taylor-Joy, Rami Malek, Robert De Niro, Zoe Saldaña, Mike Myers, Michael Shannon, Timothy Olyphant
Rating: R
Paste Review Score: 6.7

Watch on HBO Max

Amsterdam opens with a tagline that reads “A lot of this really happened,” a cutesy testimony meant to foreshadow that the film will at once relay a fascinating true story, while also cheekily muddying the line between fiction and reality. But the only thing that writer/director David O. Russell muddies is his own plot. Amsterdam follows an unlikely trio: A one-eyed eccentric named Burt Berendsen (Christian Bale), his deadpan best friend Harold Woodsman (John David Washington) and Valerie Voze (Margot Robbie), a rollicking military nurse with an affinity for forging macabre sculptures out of bloody shrapnel. The three meet at the tail end of World War I, and instantly forge a lifelong bond. The majority of Amsterdam takes place over a decade after the War, at which time Burt is an experimental New York City plastic surgeon, Harold is an attorney and neither has heard from Valerie in years. The film kicks into gear when Burt and Harold are framed for murder by a devious stranger, and are subsequently sent on wild-goose chase to clear their names. Like Amsterdam’s opening tagline, the goose-chase is relentlessly silly, from “nonsense songs” composed of whimsical French words, to drug-related physical humor and a literal freeze-framed, “I bet you’re wondering how I ended up here” moment. But for most of its 132 minutes, eccentricity is the least of Amsterdam’s problems. More than anything, the film is flat-out confusing. Incredible performances from a stand-out cast certainly help, as does the vibrant, no-frills cinematography by the masterful Emmanuel Lubezki, and the whip-tight editing by Jay Cassidy. But when all is said and done, storytelling this glaringly flawed cannot be overlooked, and the wonderful elements of Amsterdam can only do so much to glue together this faltering house of cards. —Aurora Amidon

5. A Christmas Story Christmas

HBO Release Date: November 17, 2022
Director: Clay Kaytis
Starring: Peter Billingsley, Erinn Hayes, Julie Hagerty
Rating: PG
Paste Review Score: 7.1

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A certified classic now, A Christmas Story barely made an impact when it was released in 1983. It only took on a glorious second life with home video and ubiquitous cable airings. Almost 39 years later, HBO Max is chasing the power of nostalgia with a new holiday-themed sequel, A Christmas Story Christmas. Peter Billingsley is back as a co-writer and reprises the role as adult Ralphie, bringing his own family back to Holman, Indiana for Christmas, where he’ll reunite with his childhood best friends and enemies. For those hoping it attains the heights of the original, lower your expectations. But the good news is that this one is a slow burner. After fits and stops, this sequel finds its nostalgic sweet spot midway through and lands an ending that feels earned and honors the spirit of Shepherd and the characters of A Christmas Story. —Tara Bennett

6. Don’t Worry Darling

HBO Release Date: November 7, 2022 (Originally released September 23, 2022)
Director: Olivia Wilde
Starring: Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Wilde, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne, Nick Kroll, Chris Pine
Rating: R
Paste Review Score: 5.6

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Don’t Worry Darling is a movie about men imprisoning women, physically and metaphorically, for not meeting men’s expectations about how they ought to act. The film critiques a brand of contemporary male chauvinist faux-intellectualism, including an antagonist (Chris Pine’s Frank) that director Olivia Wilde says is based on Jordan Peterson. For all the hubbub and controversy leading up to release, it’s an at-best entirely ordinary movie carried almost entirely by Florence Pugh’s performance. Taking its plot at face value, Alice (Pugh) lives with her husband Jack (Harry Styles) in a picture-perfect cul-de-sac neighborhood in the California desert. The tightknit community is made up of picturesque couples who seem to have been pulled from the 1950s, except that there’s a surprising amount of interracial relationships. Shorn of its contrived and drama-filled production context, Don’t Worry Darling’s just a middling thriller that doesn’t give its cast enough to do. It would have been more interesting as a literal one-woman show than as a figurative one. —Kevin Fox, Jr.

7. Moonfall

HBO Release Date: September 9, 2022 (Originally released February 4, 2022)
Director: Roland Emmerich
Stars: Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, Charlie Plummer, Michael Peña, John Bradley, Donald Sutherland
Rating: PG-13
Paste Review Score: 7.7

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When news broke that Roland Emmerich, director of beloved blockbuster disaster films such as Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and 2012, was slated to direct a film about humanity facing off with the literal Moon, I knew we were in for something special. And while I’m not saying that Emmerich plus apocalyptic disasters is necessarily a proven mathematical equation for success, it’s pretty darn close. Moonfall follows K. C. (John Bradley), a megastructure conspiracy theorist/the-moon-is-actually-hollow-truther who makes the shocking discovery that our beloved Moon has fallen out of orbit. When the news reaches NASA, scientist Jocinda (Halle Berry) recruits her estranged friend, disgraced astronaut Brian (Patrick Wilson), to travel into space and figure out what the heck is going on up there. And “What the heck is going on up there?” turns out to be the question of the century. Is the whole thing a government conspiracy? Are we talking aliens? Monsters? Should we nuke the moon? These are all tantalizing questions, to say the least. Of course, upholding such a consistent level of high-stakes entertainment means leaning into a particular kind of bombast and suspension-of-disbelief. A realistic movie about the Moon falling out of orbit would be a very short one. So when Jocinda gets a phone call from “NASA,” or simply…opens a damning file on a non-password-protected super-super-secret government computer, you really have no choice but to just lean into that as a viewer. The most satisfying part of Moonfall, then (besides it being a movie that’s brave enough to ask the question we’ve all been dying to know the answer for: “What if the Moon was bad?”), is that Emmerich had the courage to breathe life back into the big action blockbuster. In a world full of soulless, self-conscious CGI-rampant action flicks and superhero movies that seem like they were made by robots, Emmerich seems to really care about this movie. And that’s a trend I can get behind. —Aurora Amidon

8. Elvis

HBO Release Date: August 8, 2022 (Originally released June 24, 2022)
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Starring: Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Dacre Montgomery
Rating: PG-13
Paste Review Score: 6.0

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More somatic threat than motion picture, Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis—the rhinestoned belt buckle of musical biopics—is like a sneeze into a bullhorn: Incoherent at volcanic decibels. Luhrmann’s sprawling, confused epic spans the entirety of Elvis Presley’s professional career, from his Sun Records days to his controversial leg shaking, Vegas residency and Paramount Pictures deal. True to life, Elvis (Austin Butler) does not pilot the narrative. The film is more of a cautionary tale about corporate sovereignty by way of Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), the avaricious manager who ushered the young star into a record deal with RCA Victor and many subsequent Hollywood pictures before gambling away his hefty profits. All of Luhrmann’s maximalist flavors are on display: Breakneck editing, splashy scenery, crotch shots, selective overacting (the culprit here being Kodi Smit-McPhee’s Jimmie Rodgers Snow, a delight). The film’s first hour echoes Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby most patently, splicing songs by Doja Cat and Denzel Curry into its conservative setting and throwing editing etiquette to the wind. It’s a film so enamored by the idea of Elvis, unencumbered by the thornier specifics of his life which might burst its central bubble of leather suits, red bulbs and honky-tonk goodwill. Luhrmann’s Elvis fits squarely alongside his raft of pasteurized leading men: The Romeos, Christians and Gatsbys whose flawed, pathetic sensibilities are spackled over with pity and pomp. Luhrmann and co-writers Craig Pierce, Jeremy Doner and Sam Bromell rinse their screenplay of any introspection, favoring lush sentimentality. Such is the overarching issue with biopics today: They’re incurious, ever-churning flattery machines. —Saffron Maeve

9. Belle

HBO Release Date: August 1, 2022 (Originally released January 14, 2022)
Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Stars: Kaho Nakamura, Takeru Satoh, Ryô Narita, Lilas Ikuta, Shôta Sometani, Tina Tamashiro
Rating: PG
Paste Review Score: 8.4

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Belle explodes onto the screen with a bombastic concert in a virtual world. Known simply as U, it’s the ultimate virtual community where users can become entirely different from their dull real-life counterparts. Among them is one singer that has captured the love and adoration of billions. As the starlet Belle begins belting out her opening number, center stage on the back of a giant whale, it’s easy to be swept into this vibrant world. Thankfully, Belle has enough substance to back up this spectacle. The crux of writer/director Mamoru Hosoda’s latest film is a reimagined Beauty and the Beast mixed with teenage adversity in a digital wonderland. It’s a potpourri of hormones, misunderstandings and animation styles that recall his 2009 breakthrough Summer Wars. Belle even relies on the family dynamics seen in some of his later movies—like the lone outcast Ren in 2015’s The Boy and the Beast or the wolf siblings in 2012’s Wolf Children. Hosoda’s children have always had to endure great tragedies. It’s within this combination of family struggles and virtual reality that Belle finds its groove. Suzu (Kaho Nakamura) is a 17-year-old high school student who lives in the countryside with her father (Koji Yakusho). Although a few years have passed since the death of her mother, Suzu is still traumatized. She’s shut out the world around her, her despair sapping her of her joy and love of singing. Her relationship with her father is nonexistent, and she’s a certifiable pariah at school. Suzu takes the plunge and joins the world of U. This new world—free of the pressures of reality—allows Suzu to pursue singing once again. That’s until trouble arises in the form of a violent avatar known as “The Dragon.” Belle’s most spellbinding sequences come from inside the virtual world of U. Colorful 3D figures float through a kaleidoscope of colors and towering structures. The biggest setpieces in the movie take place here: An epic concert for billions of eager spectators, a battle through a castle—these are only a few of the memorable sights and sounds of U. To get an idea of what it sounds like, Nakamura’s contributions are like a mixture of rap and pop that becomes an instant earworm like on the opening title, “U.” The song brings in a wild rhythm while Nakamura races to keep up with the beat. It’s the perfect introduction to this futuristic virtual world. Other songs, like the ballad “Lend Me Your Voice” and the soaring anthem “A Million Miles Away,” are more traditional pieces that build up to crescendos that will have your hairs standing on end. Not only is it an intriguing retelling of Beauty and the Beast, it’s also a moving story about overcoming grief and seeking help when everything seems lost. Though it tackles a little too much, Belle is a triumph.—Max Covill

10. The Bob’s Burgers Movie

HBO Release Date: July 12, 2022 (Originally released May 27, 2022)
Director: Loren Bouchard, Bernard Derriman
Stars: H. Jon Benjamin, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, Larry Murphy, John Roberts, Kristen Schaal, Zach Galifianakis, Kevin Kline
Rating: PG-13
Paste Review Score: 8.0

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The Bob’s Burgers Movie is a family recipe that warms the heart, griddle and soul. Loren Bouchard and Bernard Derriman translate the Belchers’ blue-collar experiences from a television snack to a feature-length meal without losing an ounce of the show’s secret sauce. It’s delectably reminiscent of The Simpsons Movie, both successfully stretching what could be a compact 30-minutes into a grander, more spectacular version with theatrical blockbuster freedoms. Bob and company cook a meaty treat for fans that hospitably welcomes newcomers not yet keen on the Belcher’s charms. The film treatment follows a week in the lives of grillmaster Bob Belcher (H. Jon Benjamin), his always exuberant wife Linda (John Roberts) and their three children: Louise (Kristen Schaal), Tina (Dan Mintz) and Gene (Eugene Mirman). Panic strikes when Bob’s denied an extension on their loan payment—monthly debts must be cleared in seven days or they lose the restaurant. Wonder Wharf’s upcoming festival should attract plenty of foot traffic for possible sales, but that point becomes moot when a pipe bursts and creates a hazardous hole that blocks access to their storefront. Also, there’s a dead body. Has Linda’s optimistic “Big Mom Energy” finally met its match? Visually, The Bob’s Burgers Movie sees an animation upgrade as flatter landscape drawings embrace a three-dimensional, pop-off-the-screen style. Vibrancy saturates colors, and outlines are cleaner due to the benefits of a theatrical movie budget. That’s not to say the signature “crudeness” of the circular cartoon characters is lost—Bouchard’s artists just ensure that there’s a difference between the weekly small-screen releases and the grandeur of in-theater projections. It’s a proper counter against the curiosity of how Bob’s Burgers would differentiate itself between in-home streams and ticket prices. The definition is crisper, Bob’s foodie creations a bit tastier and environmental details a little more luscious—appropriately dressed for the occasion, if you will. There’s nothing sacrificed as we bite into a multilayered experience that comes loaded with all the fixings—it’s sweet, salty, comforting and rich with imaginative absurdity. Bouchard creates the animated carny musical that smells like the crusted beef of his dreams, which only encourages the Belchers’ legacy as American middle-class darlings who inspire hope through fart humor, menu wordplay and funny voices. As an already adoring fan? I’m left delighted and plenty stuffed—one happy customer.—Matt Donato