CBS All Access recently evolved into the new streaming service called Paramount Plus, and here’s the best movies available on it right now. Ever since Netflix set the standard for how to operate a successful streaming outlet, more and more competitors have steadily arisen, most notably Amazon Prime and Hulu. In the last several years though, the streaming wars have been shifted into overdrive, with seemingly every major media conglomerate setting out to try their hand at a branded streaming service.
The floodgates really began to open on that front with the 2019 arrival of Disney Plus, and 2020 saw Warner Media launch HBO Max and NBC Universal launch Peacock, which will soon itself swallow WWE Network. Now, one of the first company-specific streaming options, CBS All Access – launched in 2014 – has transformed into the latest studio-centered service, Paramount Plus. This comes after the 2019 merger of CBS and media behemoth Viacom, with the merged company recently renamed Paramount. Many would argue that another streaming service is the last thing anyone needs, but at least in this case existing CBS All Access subscribers will benefit.
Paramount Plus officially launched on March 4, 2021, keeping intact the existing CBS All Access catalog of movies and TV shows, including series like Evil, and adding even more. Paramount Plus has also invested more in sports than most other general-interest streaming services, offering live-streaming of events such as the UEFA Champions League. Paramount has also assured interested users that the library will grow even bigger over the next few months. Here’s the best Paramount Plus movies subscribers can stream right this minute.
Star Trek movie franchise
One of Paramount Plus’s biggest selling points is the complete Star Trek library, including the thirteen theatrical movies. While the Star Trek film franchise has had its ups and downs, movies like The Wrath of Khan and The Undiscovered Country are still regarded as classics by both fans and critics. The modern Star Trek reboot movies starring Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, and others are also available on Paramount Plus.
The 1980s were known for big, over-the-top comedies, and one of the best is Zucker, Abrahams & Zucker’s Airplane! A parody of disaster movies, the film features wall-to-wall gags and quotable lines and stars Leslie Nielsen, Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The Paramount Plus movies also include a number of other classic comedies from the 1980s and other eras such as Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.
The Ring (2002)
Easily the best entry in the 2000s Hollywood quest to adapt every big Japanese horror movie for American audiences, The Ring remains a creepy and unsettling piece of entertainment. The plot, revolving around a cursed VHS tape, now seems quite outdated, but Naomi Watts’ lead performance holds up, as does Samara the ghost’s scare factor. It’s also proof that a PG-13 rating is not a death sentence for horror. The poorly-reviewed 2005 sequel The Ring Two is also on Paramount Plus.
The second feature to be directed by Alexander Payne, Election focuses on the surprisingly nasty election for student body president at a Nebraska High School. Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) is the most likely candidate, but civics teacher Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick) grows to despise her outwardly nice but subtly conniving behavior, and sets out to bring her down, resorting to unethical methods in order to do so. Election is a very dark comedy, but also a hilarious and thought-provoking one, and one of the best movies on Paramount Plus.
Once Upon A Time in the West (1968)
Once Upon A Time in the West is a classic Western epic directed by Italian master Sergio Leone, and one of the best Paramount Plus movies. One of Quentin Tarantino’s favorite Westerns, Once Upon A Time in the West stars Charles Bronson as a mysterious harmonica-playing gunman who becomes involved in a struggle over land in the Western town of Flagstone. Leone’s sense of style is the real attraction here, and the epic sweep of the story helped the movie start the “Once Upon A Time in…” naming convention that has since been used by dozens of ambitious directors.
The Paranormal Activity series doesn’t have the best reputation, but at least the first film still holds up as an effective and inventive low-budget thriller that touches on the omnipresent voyeurism of modern technology. The 2009 film was hugely influential, starting a wave of “found footage” horror as well as a new generation of horror movies centered on demonic possession. Seven Paranormal Activity sequels and spin-offs are also available on Paramount Plus.
Mission: Impossible Franchise
Once a popular TV series, Tom Cruise would take the Mission: Impossible property to new pop culture heights with his long-running film franchise. Cruise stars as Ethan Hunt, an IMF agent who spends most of the first film on the run after being framed as a traitor. Once he’s back in their good graces in sequels though, his quests don’t get much easier. While Paramount Plus’ movies don’t include the whole franchise, it currently streams the most recent two Mission Impossible movies, Fallout and Rogue Nation, as well as the original TV series.
David Fincher’s psychological thriller Fight Club is another hugely influential movie available on Paramount Plus. Fight Club stars Edward Norton as a disaffected man who is lured into an underground fighting circle by the charismatic Tyler Durden, played by Brad Pitt. Fight Club‘s complicated meaning and influential plot twists still make it a controversial and much-discussed film today, over 20 years after its release, and one of the best movies on Paramount Plus.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Paramount Pictures has existed in one form or another since 1912, so Paramount Plus has a much bigger catalog of classic films than competitors like Netflix and Amazon Prime. One of the most accessible to modern audiences is Don Siegel’s 1956 sci-fi thriller Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The film, which is often seen as an allegory for the Cold War, has been remade several times. Other iconic older Paramount Plus movies include the psychological horror Rosemary’s Baby, Alfred Hitchcock thriller To Catch A Thief, and archetypal Western Shane.
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