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Exploring Some of Max’s Hidden Gems: Lesser-Known Movies

by HBOWatch Staff
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The catalog of movies and series on Max is quite extensive. However, when you log in and have to choose something to watch, you probably get decision paralysis because… well, there’s just so much to choose from! Worry not. Here are some underappreciated picks you probably haven’t seen yet.

The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Our first suggestion is a classic noir thriller: The Maltese Falcon. This movie is often regarded as a masterpiece of the detective genre. It’s based on Dashiell Hammett’s 1930 novel of the same name and boasts a cast of memorable characters, each with their own unique quirks and motivations. Humphrey Bogart’s portrayal of Sam Spade, in particular, is iconic and defines the hardboiled detective archetype. In short, an exploration of the timeless themes of greed, betrayal, and the corrupting influence of wealth. 

The Fallout (2021)

The Fallout is the debut of director Megan Park and a complex and effective contextualization of the trauma and violence of surviving a school shooting. The leads are played by Maddie Ziegler and Jenna Ortega, both of whom give a committed performance rarely seen in teen dramas. Definitely, a good watch if you are looking for a movie covering family relationships, friendship, and a world that is altered forever.

The Normal Heart (2014)

The Normal Heart is a powerful and critically acclaimed film that addresses the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States. This emotionally charged story sheds light on the initial response to the crisis and the struggles of the LGBTQ+ community during that period and deals with themes of love, activism, discrimination, and the fight for equal rights and healthcare. Based on Larry Kramer’s semi-autobiographical play of the same name, the stellar ensemble cast includes Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, and Jim Parsons. Here is HBOWatch’s review piece for this one. 

Kwaidan (1964)

Kwaidan is a Japanese anthology horror film directed by Masaki Kobayashi. There are several reasons why Kwaidan is considered a remarkable film, including its breathtaking and visually striking cinematography, and the fact that the movie is structured as an anthology with four separate stories, each with its own unique narrative and characters. This haunting option adapts traditional Japanese ghost stories and folklore, drawing from the works of writer Lafcadio Hearn. A classic of Japanese cinema (that also happened to get nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film).

Charm City Kings (2020)

Charm City Kings is a coming-of-age drama film set in Baltimore, Maryland. It touches on social issues such as economic disparities, systemic racism, and the lure of illegal activities as a means of escape for young people facing limited opportunities while also exploring universal coming-of-age themes, including the pursuit of one’s dreams and the importance of mentors and role models. The film’s soundtrack, in particular (which features hip-hop and urban music) adds a much-appreciated depth and atmosphere to the storytelling.

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