Great HBO Original Films

HBO has been producing its own independent programming long before it was streaming its stuff across the internet. All of the movies are great and you should check them out – here are a few that might pique your interest.

We’ve all been there. Browsing through endless catalogs of stuff. Checking out Hulu, HBO NOW, Showtime. Then Hulu again, Showtime, HBO NOW. Funny how we see the same stuff even though we look at it in reverse order. If you’re ready to watch something a little less ordinary, here are a few great HBO Original films, that we recommend.

Behind the Candelabra

Set in 1977, this movie follows the the famous pianist Liberace and his 18-year old lover Scott Thorson in the musician’s final ten years of life. The movie is based on Thorson’s diary which was turned into a novel after Liberace’s death. The film garnered mostly positive praise and competed for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. It also got a limited cinematic release in the UK.

The film is a genuine and heart wrenching look at Liberace’s life and absolutely over-the-top his performances were. Even more important is how affectionately Michael Douglas (Liberace) and Matt Damon (Thorson) play their characters. Their performances are certainly something to watch, so much so, that Michael Douglas won an Emmy award. Further, the relationship between Liberace and Thorson is absolutely magic on the screen.

Grey Gardens

This one is certainly on the older side. First aired in 1975, Grey Gardens is a documentary that looks at two former upper-class women, a mother and daughter, who live in poverty in a dilapidated mansion in the South Hamptons of New York. The documentary was selected for preservation in the library of Congress and is hailed as one of the best documentary films ever made because of its painfully truthful storytelling.

The film uses direct cinema techniques, meaning there is no voiceover explaining the story – the two female subjects do all the voice work in the documentary.  The film came about after an investigation by The Examiner and New York Magazine of the two women’s lives led to health department inspections of their home. There, they found the home and the women living in squalor with trash and rubbish everywhere, no running water and in complete delusion.

From the Earth to the Moon

A 1998 miniseries produced by Ron Howard and Tom Hanks, From the Earth to the Moon tells the story of the Apollo missions during the 1960s and 1970s. The series was based in large part on Andrew Chaiken’s book A Man on the Moon, which was also extraordinarily good. The series features a large ensemble cast, as well as Tom Hanks in each episode.

All twelve episodes are wonderfully shot and riveting. In particular, the episode covering Apollo 13 smartly looks at the entire stressful mission from the ground’s point of view, showing how much work went into keeping those astronauts alive. The series won three Emmy awards for outstanding miniseries, outstanding casting, and outstanding hairstyling, which is sort of an odd award. Great hair or not, this series is definitely worth your time.

All The Way

Anything that stars Bryan Cranston gets our attention right out of the gate. And man, if he doesn’t play a drop dead lookalike of President Lyndon Johnson! The film also stars Anthony Mackie as Martin Luther King Jr. as he and LBJ work together (and often against one another) to pass the Civil Rights Act. The whole thing is complicated by the Vietnam War and the Gulf of Tonkin resolution.

All The Way was nominated for eight Emmys, but for some reason didn’t win any – we can’t explain why because this movie is simply wonderful. The acting is standout and the story is compelling, drawing the viewer in, as the disgusting idea of segregation is actively fought against. Further, the movie is incredibly important – the fight for equal rights was not always a rosy one. LBJ would have preferred to do the politically expedient than the right thing – it just so happened that neither was truly possible and the Civil Rights Act was passed in the United States.

Taking Chance

An extraordinarily powerful film, Taking Chance (2009) follows Lt. Colonel Michael Strobl, wonderfully played by Kevin Bacon, as he escorts a fallen marine Chance Phelps home. Phelps was killed during a mission in the Middle East. Along the way, Strobl meets and interacts with many different people and is touched by the outpouring of love and support.

The film received generally positive reviews and captured the poignant and gut-wrenching reality of war. Some reviewers noted that the movie was almost to procedural – that it covered how a soldier who is killed in action is brought home and buried. Still, the movie is a powerful one and relatively short – just 77 minutes – so certainly worth your stream.

Game Change

Based on the book of the same name by Jay Roach, Game Change follows the political journalism of Mark Halperin and John Heileman during the 2008 US presidential campaign between Barack Obama/Joe Biden and John McCain/Sarah Palin. The movie focuses predominantly on the Republican side of the ticket cataloging the many ups and downs of the ultimately unsuccessful campaign.

The movie garnered generally positive reviews, particularly for Julianne Moore’s depiction of Sarah Palin. The former governor herself has called the movie “based on false narrative.” However, former campaign manager Steve Schmidt noted that watching it was like an “out of body experience” because it was so accurate. A great film, even if you’re unfamiliar with American politics.

Too Big To Fail

Too Big to Fail catalogs the story of the 2008 financial crisis from the point of view of the men that both caused and attempted to fix it. The film is based on Andrew Ross Sorkin’s book of the same name and looks at how the US Federal Reserve and Treasury Department attempted to stop the entire global economy from crumbling, while bank executives attempted to protect their interests and their shareholders.

The movie was nominated for numerous Emmys and other awards when it debuted in 2011. The frenetic nature of the time during the collapse is expertly captured on film, drawing the viewer in. Additionally, the greed of many of the CEOs is evident and getting angry watching the film isn’t out of the realm.

Show Me a Hero

Another great miniseries based on a book of the same name, the film follows Nick Wasicsko, a former police officer and city council member in Yonkers, New York, as he fights to show the value that federally mandated-scatter-site public housing has to a white, middle-class population. It sounds really wonky…and it is. But if you enjoy political procedurals you’ll like this one.

The show spans six episodes and received critical acclaim from reviewers. Unfortunately, it did not garner high viewership, likely because of its wonky nature. The series was produced in part by David Simon, the creator of The Wire, however, so if you liked that (which you did…everyone did), give this one a try.

DirecTV NOW

What is DirecTV NOW?

DirecTV NOW is an American live TV service, offering packages from $20/month and aimed at cordcutters. As such, DirecTV NOW is available to its users without a contract, so you can cancel anytime.

If you are a playmoTV user you can access DirecTV NOW outside the US (as a matter of fact anywhere in the world).

I wanna access DirecTV NOW ASAP! What do I need to do?
If you’re not a playmoTV user then you need to do the following (existing users that are linked can go to step 3):

  1. Sign up for a playmoTV account (takes less than a minute if you sign up via Facebook)
  2. Link your computer or device to the playmoTV gateway so we can help you access DirecTV NOW.
  3. Sign up for DirecTV NOW at their website. Yes, it’s that easy!

How much does DirecTV NOW cost?

DirecTV NOW offers a variety of packages, which are listed on the image below:

directvnow

DirecTV NOW also has two add-ons, which is access to HBO NOW live for only $5/month. (HBO access via DirecTV NOW also gives you access to HBO Go).

What content is on DirecTV NOW?

Live sports, Live TV. A lot of on-demand content as well.

How to subscribe to DirecTV NOW

You can sign up for DirecTV NOW by using your credit card. When they ask for your zip card before submitting your credit card information just remember to write your zip code along with some additional digits so DirecTV NOW thinks you’re in the US.

Supported devices for DirecTV NOW

DirecTV NOW is supported on the following devices:

  • Mac/Windows.
  • Amazon Fire TV/Fire TV Stick.
  • Apple TV 4

Note: DirecTV Now is not supported on iOS or Android.

Website: directvnow.com

Filmstruck

What is Filmstruck?

Filmstruck is an American subscription service, that’s “for movie lovers – by movie lovers”. Fandor specializes in art-house films and foreign classics. Filmstruck carries the beloved Criterion collection, so if you’re a fan of that, you might wanna give the service a try.

Does Filmstruck offer a Trial? How to much does it cost?

Filmstruck offers a 14-day trial.

After that it’s $6.99/month for “Filmstruck Only”, $10.99/month for Filmstruck + The Criterion Channel, or $99/year for an annual subscription of Filmstruck and The Criterion Channel.

I wanna access Filmstruck right now. What do I need to do?
If you’re not a playmoTV user then you need to do the following (existing users that are linked can go to step 3):

  1. Sign up for a playmoTV account (takes less than a minute if you sign up via Facebook)
  2. Link your computer or device to the playmoTV gateway so we can help you access Fandor.
  3. Go to their website, or get their app and start streaming. Yes, it’s that easy!

How to subscribe/access service?

Just visit filmstruck.com and sign up. You can pay for Filmstruck using your credit card.

Supported devices for service

If you have an active account with playmoTV, and you are linked to our beloved playmoTV DNS gateway, then you can access Filmstruck anywhere in the world on its supported devices.

Website: www.filmstruck.com

Shudder

What is Shudder?

Shudder is a US subscription services dedicated to horror films, or as they say “devoted exclusively to things that go bump in the night”.

I wanna access Shudder right now. What do I need to do?
If you’re not a playmoTV user then you need to do the following (existing users that are linked can go to step 3):

  1. Sign up for a playmoTV account (takes less than a minute if you sign up via Facebook)
  2. Link your computer or device to the playmoTV gateway so we can help you access Sling.
  3. Sign up for Shudder at their website. Yes, it’s that easy!

How much does Shudder cost?

$4.99/month or $49.99/year.

How to I subscribe to Shudder?

You can pay for Shudder using your credit card.

Supported devices for Shudder

If you have an active account with playmoTV, and you are linked to our beloved playmoTV DNS gateway, then you can access Shudder anywhere in the world on its supported devices.

Website: shudder.com

Viaplay

What is Viaplay

Viaplay is a subscription service that offers access to live sports, films and TV series for a flat monthly fee.

How much does Viaplay cost?

  • Viaplay “films and TV” costs 89 DKK/month (around $12.80 per month).
  • Viaplay Sport costs 269 DKK ($38.90 per month).
  • Viaplay Total (Sports and Viaplay Films+TV) costs 299 DKK/month ($42.6 per month)
  • Then there’s Viaplay Fighting (UFC and boxing only) which costs 199 DKK/month ($28.49 per month)

What is included in the Viaplay Sport package?

If you purchase Viaplay Sport, then $39/month will, among other things, give you access to the following:

  • Football: Premier League, Champions League, La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1, Danish  Superliga, Championship, Brazilian Série A, UEFA Youth League
  • Motor: Formula 1, Moto GP, Nascar, Speedway GP
  • Golf: European Tour, Ryder Cup, LPGA Tour, WGC, 9 major tournaments.
  • More sports: WTA Tour, EHF Champions League, NFL, Euroleague basketball, UFC, Boxing and NHL.

What content is on Viaplay?

Live sports, large selection of TV shows, movies (like the entire Star Wars saga as noted in the video above) and children shows.

How do I subscribe to Viaplay?

Just visit viaplay.dk and subscribe using your credit card.

Supported devices for Viaplay

Viaplay is supported on Mac/PC, iOS, Android, Apple TV, PlayStation 3/4, Xbox 360/One and Samsung Smart TV.

Website: www.viaplay.dk

HBO Go

What is HBO GO?

HBO GO is an on-demand service for HBO subscribers that have access to HBO GO via their cable provider. If you don’t have a cable provider login for HBO GO, then you can sign up for HBO NOW if you want to stream HBO shows and movies.

See: The difference between HBO NOW, HBO Nordic and HBO GO

How to much does HBO GO cost?

It’s free, but requires a cable provider login. Therefore, we recommend either HBO NOW or HBO Nordic if you don’t have one.

How do I access HBO GO?

If you have a cable provider login, you can access HBO GO via their site: www.hbogo.com, or via any of their supported apps for iOS, Apple TV, Xbox, Playstation, Amazon Fire etc.

Supported devices for service

If you have an active account with playmoTV, and you are linked to our beloved playmoTV DNS gateway, then you can access HBO GO anywhere in the world on its supported devices.

Website: www.hbogo.com

Now TV

What is NOW TV?

NOW TV is a subscription service that offers access to live sports, films and TV series for a flat monthly fee.

How much does NOW TV cost?

  • NOW TV Entertainment Pass costs £6.99/month (around $8.90 per month).
  • NOW TV’s Sky Sport Pass costs:£6.99 for a day pass, £10.99 for a week pass, or£33.99/month for a monthly pass. Of these passes, only the monthly pass is automatically recurring.

What is included in the NOW TV Sky Sports Pass?

If you purchase a Sky Sports Pass, then £33.99/month ($42/month) will, among other things, give you access to: Sky Sports 1,2,3,4, 5, Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports News.

On those channels you will be able to watch major sporting events like the Premier League, NFL, La Liga, Dutch Eredivisie, Grand Prix and more.

If you visit watch.nowtv.com/sports/listings you can see the schedule.

What content is on NOW TV?

Live sports, large selection of TV shows, movies. Access to live channels on both Now TV Sports and the Entertainment Pass.

How do I subscribe to NOW TV?

Just visit nowtv.com and sign up using your credit card. You need to enter a UK address during signup. Just enter an address using this site, and you should be good to go.

Supported devices for NOW TV

NOW TV is supported on Mac/PC, iOS, Android, Apple TV, PlayStation 3/4 and Xbox 360/One.

Website: nowtv.com

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