5 must-watch movies & TV shows streaming right now – Boston.com

By Kevin Slane
Welcome to Boston.com’s weekly streaming guide. Each week, we recommend five must-watch movies and TV shows available on streaming platforms like NetflixHuluAmazon PrimeDisney+HBO MaxPeacockParamount+, and more.
Many recommendations are for new shows, while others are for under-the-radar releases you might have missed or classics that are about to depart a streaming service at the end of the month.
Have a new favorite movie or show you think we should know about? Let us know in the comments, or email [email protected]. Looking for even more great streaming options? Check out previous editions of our must-watch list here.
One of the world’s most influential film scholars, David Bordwell, reportedly passed away this week at the age of 76 after a long battle with cancer. Along with wife Kristin Thompson, Bordwell wrote the most commonly used textbooks on film studies, with their “Film Art” a must-have for every incoming freshman, especially at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where the couple worked. Bordwell was a champion of demystifying the filmmaking process so that anyone could understand it, and his tastes ran the gamut from arthouse to blockbuster.
Case in point, one of Bordwell’s favorite films was John McTiernan’s submarine thriller “The Hunt for Red October,” in which a fresh-faced Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) must prevent nuclear war by making contact with a rogue Soviet submarine captain (Sean Connery). From 1987 to 1990, McTiernan directed three stone-cold classics: 1987’s “Predator,” 1988’s “Die Hard,” and 1990’s “Red October.” Each one set the standard for its respective genre, and has rarely been matched since. Whether you can appreciate McTiernan’s use of “concentration cuts” favored by Soviet filmmakers of the 1920s to draw attention as Bordwell did, or you simply love a good submarine movie, you can watch the film on Max this weekend.
How to watch: “The Hunt for Red October” is streaming on Max.
Despite making some of the most influential films ever over his 47-year career, director Ridley Scott (“Alien,” “Blade Runner,” “Gladiator”) has never won a Best Director Oscar. Scott missed out again this year with Napoleon,” a historical drama that reunites Scott with “Gladiator” co-star Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker”) as the legendary French emperor. “Napoleon” is as epic in scope as Napoleon’s ambition, chronicling Bonaparte’s rise through the ranks and his insatiable love of power and his wife, Josephine (Vanessa Kirby of the “Mission: Impossible” franchise). Scott has claimed he has a “fantastic” four-and-a-half-hour director’s cut of the film, but audiences will have to settle for the 158-minute version for now. 
How to watch: “Napoleon” is streaming on Apple TV+.
Fans of Nickelodeon’s animated saga “Avatar: The Last Airbender” have been burned by live-action adaptations before: M. Night Shyamalan’s attempt to bring the elemental adventure to the big screen failed miserably in 2009. Netflix’s new eight-episode series acquits itself much better, taking the time to get the little details right.
For those who haven’t seen the original: Aang the Avatar, who must master the four elements (earth, water, fire, and air) in order to save the planet, is on the run from enemies great and small with newfound Water Tribe friends Katara and Sokka. Aang has been asleep for 100 years, and in that time, the world has suffered due to the Fire Nation’s unstoppable conquest. The visuals of Netflix’s show are incredible, and true to the cartoon’s intent. The only thing missing is the Nickelodeon show’s cheeky humor — but that’s to be expected in this grown-up adaptation.
How to watch: “Avatar: The Last Airbender” is streaming on Netflix.
Adapted from the 1975 novel of the same name by James Clavell, FX’s 10-episode series transports viewers to 1600s Japan, which is on the brink of a civil war thanks to a power vacuum created by the death of a powerful leader. The conflict involves both Japanese and non-Japanese combatants, with English sailor John Blackthorne, a Protestant, battling against the Jesuit priests and entrenched Portuguese merchants. Created by married collaborators Rachel Kondo and Justin Marks, “Shogun” is the kind of historical epic that has been missing from television — especially basic cable — in recent years, and is a welcome addition to the weekend lineup.
How to watch: “Shogun” is streaming on Hulu, with new episodes airing Tuesdays on FX.
HBO Max’s loss is Netflix’s gain. After David Zaslav’s streamer dropped this twisty BBC thriller, Netflix eagerly scooped up the rights to this Jamie Dornan (“Fifty Shades of Gray”) vehicle about a car crash victim who wakes up in Australia with no idea where he’s from and who he is. In true British fashion, the series is short but sweet, with each season running only six episodes. You’ll be able to tear through it in a weekend, but be warned — you’ll still be hungry for more.
How to watch: “The Tourist” is streaming on Netflix.
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