January 2020’s Best Streaming Titles: Inception, Pan’s Labyrinth, The French Connection, The Goonies

Twisty dream-hacking, a haunting fairy tale, a legendary action thriller (and car chase), a classic kids adventure, and more.
Inception - Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan’s Inception is as trippy as big budget Hollywood spectacles get

As Netflix et al. add more content, it’s difficult to know what to look for amidst all of the newly added titles. So at the start of every month, I publish a list of particularly noteworthy and interesting movies and TV shows to add to your streaming queues.

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Inception (January 1)

Christopher Nolan’s Inception is about as trippy as big budget Hollywood spectacles get, featuring a group of dream hackers who hire a new recruit to infiltrate the subconscious of an executive. Filled with mind-blowing visuals and some incredibly clever action set pieces — and a hotly debated ending — Inception is proof that Hollywood action movies can be plenty cerebral.

Pan’s Labyrinth (January 1)

Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth may be the director’s most beautiful and poignant film to date, a dark fairy tale set against the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. A young girl is told by a mystical faun that she is the reincarnation of a fairy princess, and is forced to confront horrific evils — evils that match the ones in the real world surrounding her.

Tremors (January 1)

In this 1990 camp classic, a pair of drifters arrive in a Nevada town that’s plagued by mysterious killings — killings that turn out to be far more monstrous than previously thought. Tremors is worth it for the character of Burt Gummer alone, a doomsday prepper and survivalist played by Michael Gross. (Yes, Family Ties’ Michael Gross.) Tremors has inspired numerous sequels, with the next one — Tremors: Island Fury — scheduled to come out next year.

Here’s everything arriving on and leaving Netflix in January 2020.


Cube (January 1)

A group of strangers awakens in a series of cube-shaped rooms, but as they try to escape, they discover that the rooms are filled with devious and deadly traps. Proving that you don’t need a big budget, or even a big set, Cube packs a visceral punch with its simple-yet-twisted scenario. The two sequels — Cube 2: Hypercube, Cube Zero — are also coming to Hulu, but they’re terrible so avoid them at all costs and stick to the original film.

The French Connection (January 1)

In this classic action thriller, detective Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle (Gene Hackman) is in pursuit of a powerful heroin smuggler. Inspired by a true story, The French Connection is best known for containing one of the greatest car chases of all time. It would later go on to win numerous awards, including Oscars for best picture, actor, director, and film editing.

The Last Boy Scout (January 1)

On the one hand, The Last Boy Scout is a nihilistic, misanthrophic, and violent film with almost no redeeming qualities. On the other hand, it’s an awful lot of fun to watch, as Bruce Willis’ jaded private eye and Damon Wayans’ disgraced football player make for an interesting dynamic while taking on corrupt politicians. There’s something almost gleeful about the film’s cynicism, which is elevated by the atmospheric, noir-ish direction and cinematography.

Pi (January 1)

On paper, Darren Aronosfky’s Pi doesn’t much make much sense, seeing as how it combines chaos theory, advanced mathematics, and Jewish mysticism. But on film, Pi is pretty mind-blowing. Much of that is due to its stark black-and-white visuals and haunting electronic score, as Aronofsky skillfully blends some pretty lofty concepts into a completely original and captivating debut feature.

Here’s everything arriving on and leaving Hulu in January 2020.

Amazon Prime

The Goonies (January 1)

Directed by Richard Donner and produced by Steven Spielberg, The Goonies is about as good as a classic kids adventure film can get. When a group of social misfits on the verge of being kicked out of their homes discover a pirate treasure map, they see it as the perfect solution to their problems — if they can survive the elaborate booby traps and vicious criminals on their tail.

Sherlock Holmes (January 1)

Sherlock Holmes has been endlessly reinvented over the years, so why not give Guy Ritchie a turn? Ritchie brings his noted visual style to the world’s most famous detective, with Robert Downey Jr. starring as Holmes and Jude Law as his right-hand man, Doctor Watson. Together, the inimitable duo must defeat an aristocratic killer whose experiments in blending science and the occult appear to have brought him back from the dead.

Here’s everything arriving on and leaving Amazon in January 2020. As usual, there’s a lot of overlap between Hulu and Amazon Prime’s offerings.

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