By Lauren Huff
Updated July 31, 2020 at 03:10 PM EDT
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Francois Duhamel/Annapurna Pictures; Courtesy of NEON CJ Entertainment; Everett Collection

In a time when it seems like every day brings forth news of yet another new streaming service, it can be daunting to sift through all of the available material. This is especially true for a massive streamer such as Hulu, which has a wide array of movies to choose from — from the old to the new, the comedy to the drama, and the blockbuster to the indie. That's why EW is assembling a monthly list of the best films currently available on the streaming service, with a little something for everyone. Ready to take your movie night to the next level? Read on for this month's picks.

A Quiet Place (2018)

Jonny Cournoyer/Paramount Pictures

While you patiently wait for the sequel, which was bumped from its original March release to April 23, 2021 on account of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, why not catch up on the original? In it, first-time director John Krasinski takes every parent's fear of not being able to protect their children from the world and turns it into a horror movie — literally. Krasinski and his real-life wife Emily Blunt play a couple who will stop at nothing to protect their kids from mysterious monsters who hunt by sound that have descended on Earth. The soundless concept is thrilling and the performances are gut-wrenching, and the result is one of the most thrilling fright-fests to hit the big screen in recent years.

EW grade: B+ (read the review)

A Simple Favor (2018)

Peter Iovino/Lionsgate

There's bonkers, and then there's A Simple Favor. This tale of a mommy vlogger (Anna Kendrick) who goes searching for her  enigmatic best friend (Blake Lively) when she mysteriously goes missing is part Hitchcock, part Gone Girl, and wholly smart, stylish, and just plain weird. Director Paul Feig brings his comedic flair to the film, which is based on Darcey Bell's novel of the same name. Just when you think you have the whole thing figured out, the rug is pulled out from under you. It's a delicious romp that will keep your head swimming until the very end.

EW grade: B+ (read the review)

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Annihilation (2018)

Paramount Pictures and Skydance

In director Alex Garland's cerebral sci-fi thriller, Natalie Portman plays biologist and former soldier Lena, who sets out to discover what happened to her husband during a mission in Area X, a mysterious force field-like phenomenon dwarfing the US coastline. Things become increasingly sinister the further she and her all-female crew venture into this mysterious land of mutated creatures and forests. To say much more would be to ruin the fun of the movie, which EW critic Leah Greenblatt calls "the kind of film that leaves you dazzled, shellshocked — and not entirely sure whether your own moviegoing DNA hasn’t been altered a little in the process."

EW grade: A- (read the review)

Apollo 11 (2019)

Neon/CNN Films/Sundance Institute

The historic Apollo 11 mission has served as inspiration to countless shows and movies since its successful launch in 1969, but it's never been seen quite like this. Utilizing a newly discovered archive of 65 mm footage and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings from the actual launch, director, editor, and producer Todd Douglas Miller drops the audience right in the middle of the action. The documentary is both immersive and intimate as it takes the viewer through every stage of the launch, and is a treat for both cinephiles and history buffs alike.

EW grade: A (read the review)

Talent: Todd Douglas Miller (director)

The Assistant (2020)

In this slowburn #MeToo drama, Ozark star Julia Garner is the titular assistant of an unseen demanding film executive. Though Harvey Weinstein is never specifically named, the parallels here are clear and devastating. As EW critic Leah Greenblatt eloquently put it in her review: "Instead of melodrama, the movie finds its traction in parsing out micro-aggressions and mood: a sort of devastating slow-drip portrait of the power structures that allowed a man like Weinstein to happen — and keep more like him in place, untouched by any justice a hashtag can reach."

EW grade: B+ (read the review)

Booksmart (2019)

Annapurna Pictures

Olivia Wilde's directorial debut is a hilarious romp and an ode to smart girls everywhere. It follows Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein), two academic overachievers who realize on the eve of their high school graduation that they never really took the time to party like their peers. The two besties decide to make up for lost time and cram four years' worth of missed shenanigans into one night, and it goes about how you might expect. It's hilarious, raunchy, surprisingly poignant, and a wonderful addition to the coming-of-age genre.

EW grade: B+ (read the review)

Dirty Dancing (1987)

Everett Collection

This classic romantic film, which follows a sheltered young woman (Jennifer Grey) who falls in love with the rebellious dance instructor (Patrick Swayze) at the resort she's attending with her disapproving family, is still considered a massive success today. And it's easy to see why:  There's a smoldering Patrick Swayze, the lift to rival all lifts, perfectly choreographed sultry dance numbers, and one of the most iconic needle drops in cinema history. Even after more than three decades, it's clear that nobody puts [this] baby in a corner.

Goodfellas (1990)

Everett Collection

Widely considered to be not just one of Martin Scorsese's best films, but one of the best films of all time, Goodfellas is a cinematic embarrassment of riches in every way. It charts the rise and fall of real-life mobster Henry Hill and his associates, and everyone involved in the film is at the top of their game. From Scorsese's keen direction, to the incredible performances, it's no wonder the film was nominated for six Oscars, and is still talked about today as a sort of litmus test for all mobster movies.

EW grade: B (read the review)

If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)

Tatum Mangus / Annapurna Pictures

Based on James Baldwin's 1974 novel of the same name, Barry Jenkins' follow-up to his Best Picture-winning Moonlight is a devastating (and devastatingly beautiful) portrait of the romance between a young, black couple in 1970s New York. When Fonny (Stephan James) gets wrongly accused of rape and is arrested, Tish (Kiki Layne) and her mother Sharon (Regina King) stand by him and work to clear his name. It may be a period piece, but the way the film handles issues with the police, sexual assault, and racism feels horribly, but vitally, of this moment.

EW grade: B+ (read the review)

I, Tonya (2017)

Never before has watching an entire cast of antiheroes been so downright riveting and entertaining. Told from the conflicting accounts of the different people involved, I, Tonya tells the unbelievable true story of Tonya Harding, the first American woman to complete a triple axel in a figure skating competition. Harding's legacy was forever marred after a shockingly ill-conceived plot by her ex-husband to harm fellow Olympic competitor Nancy Kerrigan emerged. It's a darkly comedic take on one of the most infamous sports scandals in history, and it's buoyed by a revelatory performance from Margot Robbie as Tonya and Allison Janney as her abusive mother, LaVona.

EW grade: A- (read the review)

Minding the Gap (2018)

Hulu

This Emmy- and Oscar-nominated documentary from director Bing Liu follows three young friends from a small Rust Belt town who use their shared passion of skateboarding to escape the reality of their volatile home lives. And although the skateboarding sequences are riveting, Minding the Gap is, at its heart, a moving, occasionally heartbreaking, and introspective look at growing up and coming to terms with past trauma.

EW grade: A- (read the review)

Talent: Bing Liu (director)

Mission: Impossible — Fallout (2018)

Chiabella James/Paramount Pictures

It's rare that a film series gets better with each subsequent installment, but the Mission: Impossible movies have somehow managed to do just that. Fallout, the sixth entry into the high-octane spy series, sees Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his motley crew join forces with CIA assassin August Walker (Henry Cavill) to prevent mysterious arms dealer John Lark and a group of terrorists known as the Apostles from carrying out a devious plan of mass destruction. If that sounds fairly pedestrian for a spy movie, think again. Film critic Chris Nashawaty puts it this way in his glowing review: "Fallout is a unique exception that defies our seen-it-all cynicism. It’s the kind of pure, straight-no-chaser pop fun that not only keeps taking your breath away over and over again, it restores your occasionally shaky faith in summer blockbusters."

EW grade: A (read the review)

My Cousin Vinny (1992)

You may know My Cousin Vinny for its surprising, albeit much-deserved, Oscar win for Marisa Tomei for Best Supporting Actress. It's one of the rare Academy Award success stories for a comedy, and it's easy to see how she notched the win. Tomei's Mona Lisa Vito is the perfect match as the fiancee to loudmouthed, completely inexperienced lawyer Vinny (Joe Pesci), who gets called in to help when one of his cousins and a friend are arrested and accused of murder in rural Alabama. Pesci and Tomei are a riot together in this incisive, uproarious courtroom comedy.

EW grade: C+ (read the review)

Palm Springs (2020)

Part Groundhog Day, part romantic comedy, Palm Springs stars Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti as strangers stuck in a mysterious time loop who are forced to relive the same day (and awkward wedding) over and over again. The concept makes for some hilarious hijinx, and make no mistake, the film is laugh-out-loud funny, while providing a surprisingly profound meditation on love and life. It would have played well in any year, but in 2020, the idea that the mundanity and sameness of everyday life can be overcome by choosing to love those closest to us, over and over, is absolutely soul-crushing in the best of ways.

EW grade: B+ (read the review)

Parasite (2019)

Everett Collection

This Korean export made history at this year's Oscars ceremony when it became the first foreign language film to win Best Picture. In it, writer, director, and producer Bong Joon Ho deftly blends social commentary and class consciousness with thrilling wit. The film follows a poor family, the Kims, who slowly ingratiate themselves into the lives of the wealthy Park family, with disastrous consequences. The journey is full of shocking twists and turns, and by the end of it, you'll be left questioning who, in fact, are the real parasites?

EW grade: A- (read the review)

Talent: Cho Yeo-jeong, Park So-dam, Choi Woo-shik, Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Lee Jung-eun, Jang Hye-jin

Pick of the Litter (2018)

Everett Collection

PUPPIES! This too-cute-for-words dogumentary follows a litter of five Labrador puppies from birth as they train to become guide dogs for the visually impaired. Not all dogs can make the cut, and the camera follows Poppet, Patriot, Phil, Primrose, and Potomac and their various trainers as they seek to master the required skills to become, literally, the pick of the litter. It's a family-friendly movie that is sure to make your heart melt— and don't worry animal lovers, no harm befalls any of the pups in the film. Those tears on your face by the doc's end are purely joyous ones.

Talent: Don Hardy, Dana Nachman (directors)

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

NEON

In writer-director Céline Sciamma's sizzling romantic drama, a female painter (Noémie Merlant) is hired to paint a wedding portrait of a female aristocrat (Adèle Haenel) in 18th century France. During the course of their time together, the two enter into a forbidden romance. With gorgeous cinematography from Claire Mathon, and gripping performances from its leading ladies, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a work of art in and of itself. Calling the film "beautiful" just doesn't do it justice.

EW grade: A- (read the review)

Talent: Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel, Luàna Bajrami, Valeria Golino

RBG (2018)

Magnolia Pictures

Have you ever wondered how Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the Notorious RBG? This fiercely unapologetic documentary seeks to answer just that, by taking a methodical, adoring, and often humorous look at the exceptional career and life of the Supreme Court justice. Featuring interviews with the likes of Gloria Steinem, Bill Clinton, Ginsburg’s Harvard Law graduate granddaughter, and of course the justice herself, the film is an informative and inspiring doc that does the icon proud.

EW grade: A- (read the review)

Talent: Julie Cohen, Betsy West (directors), Ruth Bader Ginsburg (subject)

Romancing the Stone (1984)

20th Century Fox/Everett Collection

Part rom-com, part action-adventure, Romancing the Stone has a little something for everyone. In it, Kathleen Turner plays a romance novelist who heads to Colombia to rescue her kidnapped sister. Once there, she finds herself in the middle of a dangerous treasure hunting plot alongside a mercenary rogue named Jack Colton (Michael Douglas). With a winning combination of sizzling chemistry between the leads and a lively, action-filled script, the film is the perfect embodiment of cinematic comfort food that still holds up more than 35 years later.

Talent: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito, Holland Taylor, Manuel Ojeda, Zack Norman, Alfonso Arau

Shoplifters (2018)

Magnolia Pictures

Hirokazu Kore-eda's Palme d'Or-winning film tells the story of a dysfunctional "family" of petty thieves who take in a young girl who comes from an abusive home. Featuring excellent, lived-in performances from its entire cast, Shoplifters is a slow burn of a film that is deceptively poignant. It offers up a profound look at the nature of families, and what it truly means to be a part of one.

EW grade: A- (read the review)

Talent: Sakura Ando, Mayu Matsuoka, Lily Franky, Kirin Kiki, Miyu Sasaki, Kairi Jō

Sorry to Bother You (2018)

Annapurna Pictures

Spoiling the entire plot of this film still wouldn't prepare you for the absolute absurdness of it. In this audacious comedy, Lakeith Stanfield is Cassius Green, a telemarketer who quickly rises up the corporate ladder after adopting a "white voice." Things go from bad to absolutely bonkers when Cassius catches the attention of Steve Lift (Armie Hammer), a cocaine-snorting CEO who offers him a deal he simply can't refuse. The film's a wild, but worthy, ride from start to finish. Or, as EW's glowing review of the film puts it, "Sorry to Bother You is a timely, scalpel-sharp social satire with big laughs and even bigger ideas."

EW grade: A- (read the review)

The Cabin in the Woods (2011)

Everett Collection

When five college friends escape to a — you guessed it! — cabin in the woods for some R&R, things go wrong very, very fast. But what at first seems like an average slasher flick quickly reveals itself to be something else entirely as it becomes clear that all is not as it appears at this remote locale. Come for the horror, stay for the scathing satire.

EW grade: B- (read the review)

The Conjuring (2013)

New Line Cinema/Everett Collection

In this first film in the wildly successful Conjuring cinematic universe, Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga play real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. The couple are called to the Perron family home, where troubling supernatural incidents are occurring with alarming frequency, and get much worse as the Warrens delve more into the home's horrible history. Director James Wan is a master of horror, and his talents at ratcheting up tension and dread are on full display here, aided by excellent performances from Wilson and Farmiga. It's no wonder the film spawned numerous sequels and spin-offs — it's just that good.

EW grade: A- (read the review)

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