The end of the month means a fresh new crop of interesting films coming to platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime — but it also means scrambling to say goodbye to all the great movies you forgot about or always meant to get around to but didn’t. You’re looking for the good stuff and you don’t have a lot of time. We get it; we got you covered.
We’ve combed through the sea of outgoing streaming releases to bring these platforms have to offer during this, the twilight of the year’s shortest month. Here there are, 10 of the best movies leaving the major streaming platforms by March 1.
The modern romantic comedies has given away to a number of classic-lit reinventions. Easy A, one of future-Oscar-winner Emma Stone’s first big breakout roles, swaps out the 1640s exploits of a Puritan woman at the center of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter for a slut-shamed teen who owns her reputation with a vengeance. With Amanda Bynes playing the best friend and Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci as two wacky parents, Easy A is a perfectly cast romp with a brain. No offense to the once-a-week rom-com Netflix machine, but this is the gold standard. —Matt Patches
Director Mary Harron and screenwriter Guinevere Turner’s American Psycho adapted Bret Easton Ellis’ controversial novel of the same name and gave cinema one of its enduring symbols of consumer culture nihilism and capitalistic sociopathy. Patrick Bateman, the yuppie investment banker who entertains himself by moonlighting as a serial killer (or is it the other way around?), thinks and behaves as one would imagine a long lost sibling of Bruce Wayne would. The inference is made all the more material for the fact the character is portrayed by Christian Bale, the then-future star of Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster Dark Knight trilogy. American Psycho is a disquieting satire of the seething rage and ravenous violence just barely contained beneath the placid, immaculately polished presentation of corporate America, and somehow a more timely and horrifying work now than when it was first released over two decades ago. —Toussaint Egan
Martin Campbell’s back-to-basics reinvention of James Bond is still, 15 years later, the high-water mark for 007’s 21st-century adventures. As Bond introductions go, few have made as strong a first impression as Daniel Craig, who arrives fully-formed and more closely aligned with author Ian Fleming’s creation. In his first mission as 007, Bond is tasked with sabotaging Le Chiffre (the role that introduced many Americans to Danish star Mads Mikkelsen), a man who specializes in bankrolling terrorists, via high-stakes poker game. Casino Royale’s take on Bond as a real bastard with a fondness for brute force and a cheeky devil-may-care attitude is immediately compelling, and bolstered by placing him opposite Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), a “Bond girl” as complex, if not more so, than her romantic interest. If Casino Royale is guilty of anything, perhaps it’s that it has a little too much clarity on James Bond, portraying the man as the last gasp of a fading empire, a violent relic of masculinity and governmental overreach. Nearly 40 years after his introduction, a Bond film begins to confront the character’s legacy by asking questions most of the Craig era would fail to provide compelling answers to. —Joshua Rivera
Action dramatist John Woo loves big swings. His shootouts twirl with the surreal pace of a modern dance. His plots flip through pages like a paperback thriller. There will always be pigeons flying in slow-motion — flocks of them. So it makes sense that he’d team with Nicolas Cage and John Travolta, two of Hollywood’s most baroque actors, for this gloriously silly cat-and-mouse game about an FBI agent who, to hunt down the terrorist that killed his son, replaces his face with that of his target’s. Go with it! —TE
Three Days of the Condor and Out of Africa director Sydney Pollack paired John Grisham’s legal thriller with one of the biggest stars on the planet, Tom Cruise, and wound up with an out-of-control, edge-of-your-seat ride. Even before Cruise’s Mitch McDeere stumbles upon a fraud conspiracy at his new ultra-luxury law firm, he’s acting in Cruiseian extremes, doing backflips with city kids and gnawing on chicken like a fiend. The faces the actor makes in this movie are all GIFable gold. The whirlwind kicks up a notch when the ticking clock kicks in, with Mitch in over his head in conspiracy and goons looking to pick him off. —MP
GHOST IN THE SHELL
Mamoru Oshii’s 1995 animation sci-fi action thriller is a bridge between the parallel canons of Japanese animation and cyberpunk cinema. The story of Major Motoko Kusanagi, the cyborg leader of an elite special ops squad plagued by existential ennui for her physical existence, and the eerie utterances of mysterious immaterial entity known as the Puppetmaster that beckons her to find them, is one of the defining cornerstones of the subgenre, going on to directly inspire such works as the Wachowski’s sci-fi kung-fu tour-de-force The Matrix and Rupert Sanders’ regrettable live action adaptation. Ghost in the Shell’s action, in particular the explosive showdown between Kusanagi and machine gun-toting spider tank, is as impressive to watch today as it was nearly three decades ago, and the film’s themes of technological disembodiment and philosophical identity are a fascinating look into the spirit of an age when people were just beginning to engage with a computer-mediated world. —TE
One of Martin Scorsese’s most celebrated and memorable films, and possibly his last unimpeachable classic, Goodfellas charts the rise and fall of a wannabe gangster who works his way into the Mob in 1950s Brooklyn, then finds the organization’s focus and fortunes changing radically over the decades that follow. Packed with storytelling devices that Scorsese went on to repeat over and over — particularly the monologue-voiceover introduction of a whole pack of colorful gangster characters who don’t much matter — Goodfellas is full of indelible dialogue and familiar comic bits (“I’m funny how? I mean funny like I’m a clown? I amuse you?”), it’s the sprawling saga of a criminal watching the world change around him until he doesn’t recognize it anymore, made before any of these tropes, lines, and devices became clichés because so many people imitated Goodfellas. —Tasha Robinson
“I don’t think it’ll ever stop, really,” an unidentified Black man says to an interviewer in one of the opening scenes of Daniel Lindsay and T. J. Martin’s documentary LA 92. The scene itself is not pulled from the 1992 Los Angeles riots that wracked the city for six days, which claimed the lives of 64 people and injuring over 2,383 more in the wake of the acquittal of the officers at the center of the Rodney King trial, but a product of the 1965 Watts riots. “I mean, it may not be like this, but it’ll never stop,” the man tells the interviewer as he stares at something off-screen, as if searching for the right words to lend shape to the terrible and ineffable certainty that weights on his heart.
If Lindsay and Martin’s thesis could be summed up in one sentence, it is in the film’s tagline: “The past is prologue.” The story of LA 92 is of what happens when people lose all faith in any semblance of shared community or equal protection under the law; a society that, when faced with unabating horror of its own institutional hypocrisy, breaks down and spills outward in a cacophonous wave of destruction. Are we doomed to perpetuate theses cycle of barbaric injustice and wanton discrimination ad infinitum? LA 92 doesn’t offer easy answers. Rather, the film demonstrates through example that what has happened before has the potential to happen again, albeit in a form respective of its time, and that ultimately whatever answer to that question lies not within a film, but as always, within ourselves. —TE
MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD
Peter Weir’s 2003 epic nautical war-drama Master And Commander: The Far Side of the World is, as the film’s star Russel Crowe said last month in what some might describe as “the world’s loudest subtweet,” an adult’s movie. The film follows Captain John “Jack” Aubrey, the brash and fearless captain of H.M.S. Surprise and Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany) are ordered to hunt down and capture the rogue French privateer ship Acheron. An odyssey spanning over two year and set amidst the height of the Napoleonic War, Weir delivers a welcome alternative to Pirates of the Caribbean and more fantastical seafaring adventures. —TE
Look, I get why Michael Bay’s Armageddon found a place in the Criterion Collection, but Danny Boyle’s life-or-death space odyssey raises the stakes by putting Earth on the line but still finding room for deep characters and existential imagery. A problem with the sun draws a ragtag team of astronauts (played by Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, Michelle Yeoh, Cliff Curtis, Benedict Wong, and a pre-Marvel Chris Evans) into the mission of a lifetime, but along the way, they encounter the ship that was originally meant to save the day but went dark. What they find tests them — and certainly tested audience back in 2007 — but anyone ready for piercing, pulp adventure should light up over the twists and turns of Sunshine. —MP