17 best movies leaving Netflix, Hulu, HBO & Amazon at end of May 2021


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 wave of outgoing streaming releases to bring these platforms have to offer during this long holiday weekend. Here there are, 15 of the best movies leaving the major streaming platforms before June.


28 Weeks Later

Danny Boyle’s post-apocalyptic horror drama 28 Days Later broke new ground for the beleaguered zombie subgenre when it released back in 2004, ushering in a new wave of films, television shows, and videogames inspired by the breakout hit. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s 2007 follow-up 28 Weeks Later picks up, you guessed it, 28 weeks in the aftermath of the Rage virus outbreak, with most of the infected dying off from starvation and US Army attempting to aid survivors repopulate London. But when the introduction of a new patient zero sparks yet another wave of infections, it’s up to the survivors to once again escape Great Britain in order to survive. —Toussaint Egan

28 Weeks Later leaves Hulu on May 10.

48 Hours

Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy in 48 Hours.

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Walter Hill’s 1982 buddy comedy action comedy stars Nick Nolte as Jack Cates, a hard-nosed, oddball police officer and the sole survivor of a vicious cop shooting perpetuated by career criminals Albert Ganz (James Remar) and Billy Bear (Sonny Landham). With no one else to turn to, Cates enlists the aid of convict Reggie Hammond (Eddie Murphy) to help track down the killers and bring them to justice before Hammond’s 48-hour parole period is over. The two make for an electric pair, with Nolte’s straight man demeanor balanced against Murphy’s characteristic comedy quirkiness. —TE

48 Hours leaves Amazon Prime Video on May 31.

Almost Famous

Kate Hudson and Patrick Fugit in Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous (2000).

Photo: Paramount Home Entertainment

Cameron Crowe’s 2000 semi-autobiographical comedy-drama Almost Famous stars Patrick Fugit as William Miller, a 15-year-old rock fan-turned-music journalist for Rolling Stones. William’s first big task is to write a story on Stillwater, an up-and-coming band led by charismatic guitarist Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup) and lead singer Jeff “Bebe” William (Jason Lee), as they tour across the country. Crowe’s film is a funny and achingly poignant coming-of-age story as William is given a crash course in matters of love, life, and breaking through to the big time. —TE

Almost Famous leaves Amazon Prime Video and Hulu on May 31.

Aliens

Ellen Ripley holding a firearm in the xenomorph hive in Aliens

Photo: 20th Century Fox

When you decide to stream Aliens — and you should, even if you’ve seen it multiple times — do it on the biggest screen available to you. That way, you can marvel all over again at how James Cameron’s blockbuster sequel still looks so good, nearly 30 years later. Better, even, than a lot of modern sci-fi cinema. But looks aren’t everything, and Aliens is such a top-to-bottom rock solid film, the definitive sequel that takes the first movie and runs in an entirely different direction without disrespecting what came before. What’s more, Aliens still has the best setup/title one-two punch in cinema: Remember how the first movie was named after one scary creature? Well, what if there were more? And while Cameron’s film trades the horror of the first film for white knuckle action, the movie stays squarely focused on hero Ellen Ripley, who, by the time the finale comes around, will once again face off against a single Xenomorph. Plus, it’s done so much for the culture. Game over man, game over. —Joshua Rivera

Aliens leaves Amazon Prime Video on April 30.

The Blair Witch Project

Mike standing in a corner in The Blair Witch Project

Photo: Haxan Films

Many have tried to recapture the lightning in a bottle that was The Blair Witch Project, but the truth is, today’s video technology just looks too damn good!! But in the 1990s, scrappy video was in its heyday, and directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez’s mockumentary easily passed as the real thing. The black-and-white vérité approach keeps The Blair Witch Project timeless; Heather, Mike, and Josh, the doomed film students who hope to get the witch on tape, develop an instant relationship with the audience through mumble-speak and curiosity. Today’s YouTubers would kill for the kind of parasocial chemistry on display. It’s all in service to the classic beats of haunted house movie, except somehow even creepier because they’re in the woods. The endless woods… —Matt Patches

The Blair Witch Project leaves Netflix on May 31.

Chinatown

Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway in Chinatown.

Photo: Paramount Pictures

1974’s Chinatown is a neo-noir touchstone, home to one of Jack Nicholson’s most memorable starring roles and an enduring mystery classic enshrined in the National Film Registry as certified American classic. The film starts out standard enough with a mysterious woman going by the name Evelyn Mulwray (Faye Dunaway) enlisting the aid of private detective J.J. “Jake” Gittes (Nicholson) to tail her husband Hollis Mulwray, under the suspicion of infidelity. Gittes’ investigation however quickly escalates as he finds himself tangled in a web of corruption and murder, intensifying into a multi-layered conspiracy whose true scope and ramifications dwarfs all attempts to conceive it. Come for the masterful performances courtesy of Dunaway and Nicholson, stay for that devastatingly memorable final scene and line. —TE

Chinatown leaves Amazon Prime Video on May 30.

Cradle 2 the Grave

DMX and Jet Li shake hands in Cradle 2 the Grave

Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

Romeo Must Die and Exit Wounds director Andrzej Bartkowiak’s 2003 action movie asks an essential question: What if a ripoff of The Fast and the Furious starred Jet Li, Anthony Anderson, Tom Arnold, Gabrielle Union, and the late great DMX? The answer involves an opening montage set to “Go to Sleep” by Eminem, an Ocean’s Eleven-style heist, loads of wacky banter, an ATV chase staged across several nondescript Los Angeles rooftops, a relentless amount of male gaze, an underground cage fight that turns a Mini Me Austin Powers 2 gag into an actual combat tactic, and one of the all-time great MacGuffins: a set of synthetic plutonium jewels with the power of “Hiroshima … no, two Hiroshimas.” Cradle 2 the Grave does not stand up against the great action movies of today, but it does scratch a nostalgic itch for the early-2000s era of middle-tier, low-stakes fluff. In an age when Vin Diesel thinks Fast needs to go to space, this movie is deranged right here on Earth.

Cradle 2 the Grave leaves HBO Max on May 31.

Hellraiser

The cenobite Pinhead in Hellraiser.

Photo: The Criterion Channel

Halloween rebooter David Gordon Green and Godzilla: King of Monsters filmmaker Michael Dougherty recently signed on to turn Clive Barker’s Hellraiser into a TV series, but we implore you to watch the original movie version first. Directed by Barker himself, the gruesome feature finds a family moving into a house where their late uncle was seemingly torn to bits. Totally normal. They soon discover that Uncle Frank died while transcending to new plane of carnal desire, becoming the target of a group of interdimensional “Cenobites” who took the sadomasochism a little too far. As the family reckons with their smoldering sexual politics, including the wife’s burning love affair with half-resurrected Frank, the world of man and demon collides in a razor-edged clusterfuck. It’s weird! It’s art. —MP

Hellraiser leaves Criterion Channel on May 31.

Hot Fuzz

Simon Pegg as PC Nicholas Angel stands with his fellow officers in a well-lit shopping aisle, hold twin pistols akimbo style

Photo: Focus Features

Hot Fuzz may not have been the follow-up that audiences were expecting (or wanted) of Edgar Wright coming off the success of his 2004 breakout Shaun of the Dead, but it certainly ranks as one of the director’s best. Featuring the return of Wright’s frequent collaborators Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, the film is a loving pastiche of police action crime dramas from Lethal Weapon to Hard-Boiled and countless others, following the story of a hyper-vigilant cop who uncovers a bizarre conspiracy when reassigned to the sleepy countryside town of Sandford. Hot Fuzz has one of the tightest scripts of any of Wright’s films, with references, double-entendres, brick jokes, and memorable quips packed into every conceivable space of its two-hour runtime. —TE

Hot Fuzz leaves HBO Max on May 31.

Malcolm X

Denzel Washington peering out the window with a rifle as Malcolm X in Malcom X

Photo: Warner Bros.

Denzel Washington remains one of today’s great actors. Those who got wise to the legend’s talents later in life probably missed Spike Lee’s sweeping portrait of the civil rights activist, which excels with Washington’s concentrated, charismatic naturalism. Clocking in a little over three hours — just three episodes of a binge-watch! You can do it! — Malcolm X tracks the events that evolved transformed Malcolm Lee into “Malcolm X” into El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. Throughout the odyssey, Lee uses color and lighting to conjure moods that straight-laced historical adaptation wouldn’t convey, complementing Washington’s determined performance.

Malcolm X leaves Hulu on May 31.

Melancholia

Justine, Claire, and Leo wait out the Earth’s final moments.

Photo: Magnolia Pictures

Lars von Trier’s Melancholia stars Kirsten Dunst (Maria Antoinette) as Justine, a young bride who experiences a depressive episode on the eve of her wedding. When a rogue planet known as Melancholia appears hurtling towards Earth on a crash-collision course, Justine’s sister Claire struggles to maintain composure in the face of imminent disaster, while Justine navigates a strange euphoric resignation that washes over her in the planet’s last days. Melancholia is an achingly beautiful, somber, and harrowing journey through depression and ennui and one of von Trier’s finest films to date. —TE

Melancholia leaves Amazon Prime Video on May 31.

Never Rarely Sometimes Always

a girl wearing a hoodie

Photo: Focus Features

The title Never Rarely Sometimes Always doesn’t initially roll off the tongue, but Eliza Hittman’s film is powerful enough to counteract that. What makes the movie difficult to stomach is its realistic depiction of how far out of reach proper medical care can be for young women, especially those raised in more conservative environments. Autumn (Sidney Flanigan), a teenager with an unwanted pregnancy, has to travel from her hometown in Pennsylvania to New York City to obtain an abortion, and even then, she has to jump through more hoops. Luckily, she’s accompanied by her cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder), who proves to be an invaluable support.

Never Rarely Sometimes Always leaves HBO Max on May 31.

Phase IV

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Phase IV,

Fans of Ant-Man and other Formicidae-themed films must seek out Phase IV, the only directorial effort from title sequence master Saul Bass. The setup is a trip: An intergalactic anomaly causes Earth’s ants to become hyper-intelligent and aggressively productive. They build ant hill monoliths in the desert, and when threatened by mankind, devise a plan for all out war. Bass goes for broke with weird visuals, delivering something between Them! and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Phase IV leaves Hulu on May 31.

The Pursuit of Happyness

Will Smith and Jaden Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness

Photo: Zade Rosenthal/Columbia Pictures

Gabrielle Muccino’s The Pursuit of Happyness, based on the true story of philanthropist Christopher Garderner, was a significant moment for Will Smith’s career back when it was released in 2006. Smith’s portrayal of Gardner in his dogged drive to secure a better life for his son while living homeless and working two jobs earned him his second-ever Academy Award nomination and launched the career of his son Jaden Smith, who portrayed Gardener’s own. The sheer chemistry and love between the two is palpable; resolutely warm and resonating off the screen throughout every scene they share, and the film on a whole is a stirring testament to the vindication of persistence and a faith in love even in the darkest of circumstances. —TE

The Pursuit of Happyness leaves Netflix on May 31.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Leatherface chasing after a truck while wielding a chainsaw.

Photo: Criterion Channel

Tobe Hooper’s 1974 film The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is one of the most terrifying and influential horror films ever created, full stop. Salaciously marketed as a true story— though in truth largely fabricated and only partly inspired by the crimes of serial murderer Ed Gein— the film follows five close friends who happen upon a hitchhiker while driving through the back roads of Texas on a road trip. What begins as an innocuous act of good samaritan behaviour rapidly escalates into a life-or-death struggle of nightmarish proportions as the group are stalked by a family of cannibalistic psychopaths lead by ghoulish flesh mask-wearing killer known as Leatherface.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre leaves Criterion Channel on May 31.

The Truman Show

Photo: Paramount Pictures

In the age of YouTube careerists and advertising squeezing into every facet of our lives, one could imagine The Truman Show losing a bit of its speculative-fiction luster. Not at all; Jim Carrey’s arc — from incarcerated TV personality to awoken soul — still packs the eeriness of Philip K. Dick and the gravity of Ray Bradbury, a sci-fi parable built from familiar cultural trends. Philip Glass’ score will always bring the tears in the end.

The Truman Show leaves Paramount Plus on May 30.

White God

Lili riding her bike ahead a pack of dogs.

Photo: Magnolia Pictures

Pieces of a Woman director Kornél Mundruczó’s White God stars Zsófia Psotta as Lili, a 13-year-old girl fighting to protect her mixed-breed dog Hagen when her father, rather than paying the money necessary to register him, releases the dog into the streets. When Hagen is adducted by animal control officers, he and the other dogs band together to escape in a bid for freedom. Imagine Homeward Bound meets The Great Escape, or Lassie meets Sparatcus. Whichever way you put it, White God is an extraordinary movie that you absolutely should make the time to watch. —TE

White God leaves Criterion Channel on May 31.



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