The best movies leaving streaming services at the end of March

April is nearly here and spring has sprung, which means it’s time to comb through the best movies leaving streaming services at the end of this month and plan accordingly.

This month’s lineup is an eclectic assortment of classics, crowd-pleasers, and cerebral gems. Jonathan Glazer’s 2000 debut, Sexy Beast starring Ray Winstone and Ben Kingsley, is a top priority; you must watch that if you haven’t already. Other picks include the sci-fi horror film Underwater, starring Love Lies Bleeding’s Kristen Stewart, Kathryn Bigelow’s elusive cyberpunk thriller Strange Days, a classic martial arts action film starring the inimitable Sonny Chiba, and more.

Whatever you’re looking for, there are options for you, with the added urgency of “you won’t be able to watch this here next month.”

Here are the best movies you should watch before they leave streaming this March.


Editor’s pick

Sexy Beast

Image: FilmFour/Fox Searchlight Pictures

Director: Jonathan Glazer
Cast: Ben Kingsley, Ray Winstone, Ian McShane
Leaving Criterion Channel: March 31

Earlier this month, Jonathan Glazer took home the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film for The Zone of Interest, his first Oscar win in his 30-plus-year career. Glazer has only directed four features in that time, each one more cerebral and astounding than the last. His first film, Sexy Beast, is arguably his most “commercial” effort to date — and even that qualifier feels like a stretch: It’s a black comedy crime drama that plays out with the nail-biting tension of a horror thriller.

The film centers on Gary “Gal” Dove (Ray Winstone), a career criminal happily whiling away his retirement in Costa del Sol with his wife and friends. Gal is suddenly plagued by a visit from Don Logan (Ben Kingsley), a former associate who has come to recruit him for a upcoming heist. Don is a foul-mouthed, emotionally manipulative sociopath who delights in incessantly berating those around him and bending people to his whim, so when Gal refuses his offer, Don makes it his mission to make Gal’s life a living hell until the job is done.

Glazer’s stellar direction and Ivan Bird’s dreamlike cinematography are what set Sexy Beast apart from other crime movies of its era. So does Kingsley’s scene-stealing performance as a malevolent agent of chaos, who blows in like a bad omen to wreak emotional and physical havoc on anyone and anything unfortunate enough to be close to him. That’s not even mentioning the score, which includes contributions from U.K. trip-hop outfit Unkle, who Glazer previously collaborated with on the music video for their 1998 single “Rabbit in Your Headlights.” Sexy Beast is an exhilarating, thorny, and terrifying case study in emotional manipulation that also happens to be a superb heist movie, and you should absolutely make it your priority to see it if you haven’t already. —Toussaint Egan


Movies to watch on Netflix

The Street Fighter

A close-up shot of a man contorting his face while holding his right hand in a striking position. Image: Toei Company/New Line Home Video

Director: Shigehiro Ozawa
Cast: Sonny Chiba, Yutaka Nakajima, Goichi Yamada
Leaving Netflix: March 31

One of the most influential action movies ever made, The Street Fighter is a gloriously violent display of Sonny Chiba’s unique star power, as he rips and tears his way through a bunch of gangsters and lowlifes. Decades later, Chiba’s son Mackenyu (One Piece) is carrying that legacy forward… albeit in a slightly less violent fashion.

The first movie to receive an X rating in the U.S. because of violence, The Street Fighter not only inspired the title of the fighting game series, it also introduced the idea of X-ray fatalities, directly influencing Mortal Kombat. If you’re a fighting game fan and you’ve never seen The Street Fighter, this is your chance to fix that. —Pete Volk

Movies to watch on Hulu

Underwater

Norah (Stewart) and the Captain (Cassel) sit in their diving suits, looking contemplative, in Underwater Photo: Alan Markfield/20th Century Fox

Director: William Eubank
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Vincent Cassel, Mamoudou Athie
Leaving Hulu: March 31

Underwater is a lean genre project with B-movie flair and solid execution. Sometimes, that’s all you need.

Kristen Stewart stars as the mechanical engineer of a research and drilling facility at the bottom of the Marianas Trench. When disaster strikes and part of the facility is destroyed, she joins the remaining survivors in their attempt to make it out alive. With a strong cast (with the exception of T.J. Miller, who is graciously killed very early in the movie), solid direction by William Eubank (who just directed the solid action thriller Land of Bad), and a tight script from Brian Duffield (No One Will Save You), Underwater is a fun popcorn sci-fi thriller. And with Love Lies Bleeding now out in theaters, why not check out an underrated Kristen Stewart project? —PV

Movies to watch on Max

Strange Days

A disheveled man and a woman in a black dress stand in a large crowd while confetti rains down from the sky. Image: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Angela Bassett, Juliette Lewis
Leaving Max: March 31

Strange Days is a cult classic whose reputation is defined in no small part by how difficult it has been to watch on streaming. Max added the movie to its platform in January 2023, but not all good things last.

Set in a futuristic Los Angeles just two days before the end of the 20th century, Strange Days follows Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiennes), a black-market broker dealing in an illicit technology that allows the user to record their own memories and physical sensations and experience them after the fact. When Lenny comes across a recording that threatens to implicate the LAPD in a high-profile murder, he’s forced to turn to his old friend Lornette “Mace” Mason (Angela Bassett) in order to uncover the origins behind the recording while staying one step ahead of a mysterious killer that wants him dead.

Conceived by producer James Cameron and inspired by the 1992 LA riots that erupted in the wake of the infamous Rodney King trial, Strange Days is a pitch-black sci-fi thriller that touches on institutional racism, voyeurism, societal collapse, and sexual violence, the latter of which is focused primarily on women and Black people. It’s a hard watch — but nevertheless a worthwhile one that rewards its audience with a trio of terrific performances and a strikingly original vision of a bygone alternate future. —TE

Movies to watch on Prime Video

The Swordsman

A long-haired man stares forward while holding a forked katana blade in front of him. Image: Well Go USA Entertainment

Director: Jae-Hoon Choi
Cast: Jang Hyuk, Kim Hyeon-so
Leaving Prime: March 31

There’s no shortage of terrific Korean action movies. If you’re specifically looking for one that’s a stylish, emotional historical drama with fast and frenzied swordplay, I would highly recommend The Swordsman. Set in the aftermath of the Joseon dynasty, the movie follows the story of Tae-yul, the former bodyguard of King Gwanghaegun, who lives in seclusion with his daughter, Tae-ok.

Taey-yul has been afflicted with a condition that threatens to rob him of his sight, and in order to cure it, he’ll need special herbs afforded only to the most well-connected of families. Desperate to help her father, Tae-ok accepts an offer to serve a wealthy family in exchange for the medicine, but when she is inadvertently kidnapped as part of a larger conflict, Tae-yul is forced to come out of hiding to come to her rescue.

Joe Taslim of The Raid and Warrior fame shines as Gurutai, a sneering slave trader and Qing emissary who serves as the film’s primary antagonist. The action itself is terrific, but what really elevates The Swordsman as a whole is Tae-yul grappling with his rapidly diminishing eyesight and the unfolding tragedy of his backstory conveyed through flashbacks. At an hour and a half, it’s a perfect action film to pop on and watch over the weekend. —TE

Via

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