HBO Max has gone through a lot of changes in the two years since it was launched in May 2020. At its inception, the service struggled to distinguish itself for many consumers from HBO (an understandable source of confusion), and its been a long road to becoming one of the finest streaming libraries available.
Warner Bros. movies launched on HBO Max on the same day as their theatrical release in 2021. Movies like The Batman had to wait at least 45 days before being released on the streaming platform.
Now, even more changes are on the way. One of the first indications was the canceled of the in-progress Batgirl film, which was slated to be an HBO Max original. New CEO David Zaslav has stated that he intends to focus on scripted programming rather than streaming services.
That's also meant that quite a few HBO Max originals have been removed from the service in order to lower costs (even though they are HBO Max originals, they still have licensing fees to remain on the platform). Fortunately, even after being removed from HBO Max, they are still available to watch elsewhere, via digital rentals or other means.
Here are a few of our favorite HBO Max original films and series, as well as where you may get them right now. These do not include HBO shows like Westworld or Barry, because they are not HBO Max originals. Some of these selections are still available on HBO Max, while some are not. We will update this list as new information becomes available.
The best HBO Max original series
Our Flag Means Death
Our Flag Means Death is a tiny pirate boat that could, without having to wait for a vague promise of goodness, be successful at both ends of the spectrum. As part engaging comedy and emotionally complicated love story, Our Flag was both genuine and delightful. With just one season under our belts, we can all agree they are bullshit. Zosha Millman
Our Flag Means Death is still available on HBO Max.
It is with the greatest pride and sincerity that we continue to acknowledge how excellent John Cena is at playing Peacemaker: coming off a horrific role in The Suicide Squad; transforming a savage jock into a compelling lead character who must also deal with his cruel father while still being a tool and ensuring stability on the planet.
Cena maneuvers the Peacemakers' character through difficult terrain like an angry, soaring eagle. However, the main reason a second season on HBO Max is so enjoyable is because Cena's performance can clearly handle anything the show throws at him. Be it aliens or alienated emotions, Peacemaker is up to the challenge.
Peacemaker is still available on HBO Max.
Although Hacks was never part of the production, HBO Max couldnt have asked for a better ambassador for its originals than this acidic, moving Emmy-winning comedy series. Both have maintained a strong bond, despite the season 2 end being a flop, and their relationship will remain strong and equitable.
Hacks is still available on HBO Max.
Fboy Island is the most likely reality show to be in the least danger of going awry, and it has a humdinger of a premise that might easily be sold to another network (during an episode of his podcast Homestuck Made This World):
Three women are on an island, like an island resort, with oh, lets say 20 guys. Who are super hot. It's a dating program, kind of like The Bachelorette or something like that, and you know everyone is going on dates, and people are going to be voted off one by one. Or, Among Us, for example, because half of the guys are there to really find love, blah blah blah blah the Bachelorette. Half of the men are just f
The greatest joy in the Bachelor/ette franchise is figuring out which contestants are there for the correct reasons, and which ones are fuckboys. What if that were the whole point of the show? This is, apparently, how former Bachelor co-executive producer Elan Gale came up with the idea for Fboy Island.
The only issue is that it will make you repeat fboy rather than fuckboy in your regular vocabulary, because the program does not drop the f-bomb, and over time, fboy begins to sound like an actual regular word. Which is different.
FBoy Island is still available on HBO Max.
The award-winning novel by Emily St. John Mandels follows a devastation epidemic and the transformed society that emerges as a result. Station Eleven is at times difficult, at times hopeful, and always worthwhile. Pete Volk
From our assessment:
Station Eleven is a rare pandemic media that dwells less on the heroism of a solution or the thrill of a core cause, but more on the notion of community and the creation of art. Its a thread that connects episodes together.
Station Eleven is still available on HBO Max.
The best HBO Max original movies
An American Pickle
An American Pickle is a warm, funny tale about family interaction across generations and what is gained and lost over time (although it does have its moments of slapstick humor). Herschel Greenbaum is a poor Jewish worker from Eastern Europe who moves to America in 1919 with his wife, Sarah (Sarah Snook) and his great-grandson, Ben Greenbaum, a somewhat clueless youngster who is experimenting with computers.
The two Greenbaums discuss what their different affiliations with Judaism imply to them, as well as the ways in which generations of assimilation in another culture can alter your relationship with your heritage. The film suffers a bit when it switches into a more conventional Rogen comedy of errors halfway through, but the heart of this generational fish-out-of-water comedy remains.
Brandon Trost, cinematographer who co-directed the dance dance revolution comedy The FP with his brother Jason, has made his solo directorial debut. PV
On VOD platforms, an American Pickle is available for digital rental or purchase.
Jimmy Stewart plays a bored guy with a broken leg who passes his time healing by watching his neighbors before discovering that one of them is a murderer who must be prosecuted in Steven Soderberghs' Rear Window, which has been parodied and reimagined so many times that it may surprise to hear that Kimi gives a different interpretation of the concept, proving that it isn't overdone or at least, not yet.
Zoe Kravitz plays an agoraphobic tech worker who works remotely; everyone is staying home and social distancing, so our heroine has as many neighbors to watch as the hero of Rear Window. However, she is not quite able to go outside when she discovers a murder because to her agoraphobia.
She does not witness this murder through a neighbors window, not quite. In her job as a tech worker, she performs diagnostics for an in-home device called Kimi, which works similarly to Amazons Alexa, recording its owners' voices and obeying simple commands. Or, in the case of Kimi, unwittingly recording a murder in progress. Its the perfect contemporary twist with a high-octane denouement during which our heroine must brave the outdoors but also the accused.
Kimi is still available on HBO Max to watch.
No Sudden Move
No Sudden Move is a thriller about a bunch of small-time criminals and gangsters who were involved in the Detroit underworld in the mid-1950s. By the time Soderbergh has revealed the true criminals and malevolent forces, all acting with casual, careless racism.
No Sudden Move is still available on HBO Max.
Zack Snyders Justice League
I understand why a lot of people dont like this film or want to participate in it. The controversies, debate, and conflicting fan groups are enough to keep anyone away. On the other hand, youll see one of the finest superhero films ever made, a four-hour space opera epic (in the correct usage of the word, not the bacon one) from a filmmaker who cares deeply about the subject matter and was finally able to complete a project interrupted by personal tragedy.
The Justice League by Zack Snyder is still available on HBO Max.
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