When it comes to subscription services for streaming TV and movies, you might think that Netflix and Amazon Prime have it locked down. In fact there’s more competition out there than you might think though - we’ve rounded up some of the best streaming platforms here - and one of the top picks is Now TV.
Arguably best known to most people as the only streaming service that shows Game of Thrones as it airs through its Entertainment Pass, Now TV actually has a lot more to offer than just that. The Sky Cinema Pass offers just what it sounds like - a load of the best movies Sky Cinema has to offer - and we’ve done our best to pick our favourites here.
In case you didn't know, the Now TV Sky Cinema Pass costs £9.99 per month - though there's also a 2-week free trial - and it's worth pointing out that it's separate from the TV pass, so you only get access to the films, which means it is pretty expensive if you want access to both.
Right now (until 14 February) the streaming service is running a contest where it will pay the winner £35,000 to stay home and stream its content for a year.
There are more than a thousand films included in the Sky Cinema Pass right now, so picking a top ten obviously meant missing out some favourites. It’s also worth remembering that one of the best things about the pass is that it offers far more of the biggest recent blockbusters than Netflix or Amazon do, so it’s arguably the best streaming service for watching new movies.
Dazed and Confused
Richard Linklater’s sprawling love letter to life as a teenager in the ‘70s is still held up as one of his greatest cinematic accomplishments (no mean feat) and it’s easy to see why.
There’s not much of a plot as such - the film weaves throughout a host of different high schoolers as they go about celebrating the end of the summer, diving across cliques and year groups to reveal that just about everybody wants the same thing: to get drunk, get high, and get laid.
That’s not to say Dazed and Confused is crude though - along the way the film and its characters muse on life, love, and growing up, in classic Linklater style. Plus it’s all set to what’s surely one of the best ‘70s-inspired soundtracks around AND features the original Matthew McConaughey ‘alright, alright, alright’.
Thor's third solo outing finally sees him hit his stride after two up-and-down earlier movies. This time around he jets off into space for a buddy movie with the Hulk, all tinged with a psychedelic retro sci-fi flair courtesy of director Taika Waititi.
It's all thanks to Cate Blanchett's gothtastic villain Hela, Thor's long-lost sister who rocks up to claim the throne of Asgard. A first fight sees thrown to a distant planet where he's thrust into the gladiatorial arena against Mark Ruffalo's Hulk, all overseen by Jeff Goldblum's lunatic Grandmaster.
This is glitzy, Flash Gordon-inspired disco sci-fi with a heavy metal edge and a synth-y soundtrack, bolstered by the funniest script of any Marvel movie yet.
Lost in Translation
This Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson classic from writer/director Sofia Coppola is perhaps the perfect fish-out-of-water film, making the most of the irascible Murray as an ageing actor adrift in Tokyo and hopelessly out of his element.
It’s as funny as it is bittersweet, touching on cultural divides, ageing, love, and karaoke as it follows Murray through the Japanese capital. He gives a career-best performance in the role that sparked a bit of a career renaissance for the former Ghostbuster, perfectly undercutting his comic sensibilities with just enough melancholy to carry the film’s darker side.
Johansson shouldn’t be forgotten either - this relatively early role did a lot to establish her credentials years before her eventual move into blockbuster superhero fare, and re-watching Lost In Translation is a welcome reminder of the depth of her talent.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Unless you’ve been living under an asteroid for the last few years, we probably don’t have to tell you much about The Last Jedi. It’s Star Wars. But new. And still good. And, um, rather controversial.
This sequl picks up immediately after The Force Awakens as Rey finds a Luke Skywalker who's done with the Jedi. As she works to persuade him to rejoin the fight, the rest of the Resistance find themselves on the run from Kylo Ren and the First Order fleet in a desperate race for survival.
This is a darker, gloomier Star Wars, one unafraid to take risks with beloved characters and upend narrative conventions. It certainly didn't please anyone - there are a lot of vocal fans who hate it - but this is Star Wars at its boldest, and brings a lot more to the table than mere fan service for Lucas's originals.
The franchise may be getting bigger than ever in the new Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, but the original Jurassic Park is still the dino-fest to beat.
With a (then-groundbreaking) combination of practical and computer effects, the dinosaurs still look phenomenal decades on, and the smaller scale story of a few guests trapped in the park belies just how epic the action gets.
From the iconic sequence with the raptors in the kitchen (still the scariest the series has ever been) through to the wealth of memes it's generated (most starring the unforgettable Jeff Goldblum), this film is just as brilliant as you remember it. So, uh... find a way to to watch it tonight.
Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn star in the quintessential rom-com, as an odd couple who fall in love on the streets of Rome - except she's a European princess trying to hide her identity, and he's a journalist who's seen through the ruse and is hoping to use her for a story.
Naturally, things are never that simple, and Peck's character just has to go and develop feelings - this wouldn't be a rom-com otherwise, we suppose - but Roman Holiday doesn't fit too neatly into all the familiar boxes otherwise.
It's also a beautiful love letter to Rome in the '60s, the sort of film that leaves you absent-mindedly checking flight prices five minutes after it's over - don't say we didn't warn you.
This John Carpenter remake was a bomb on release, but luckily with the benefit of hindsight we can all recognise that it’s the finest sci-fi horror since Alien.
As a shapeshifting killer alien finds its way into a frozen research base, the inhabitants no longer know who to trust, as any one of them could be the ‘thing’. Paranoia is as much the enemy as the alien itself, which is really saying something when the alien is such a horrible mess of flesh and claws.
Kurt Russell leads the great ensemble, but the real star is the superb practical effects work, which brings to horrifying life a series of constructions of teeth, tentacles, claws, and legs - way too many legs.
This Christopher Nolan classic about two feuding magicians might not quite have the blockbuster pedigree of The Dark Night or Inception, but it's well worth a watch if you're a fan of the director and want to see him tackle something on a smaller scale.
Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman are the two stage magicians at the heart of it, trapped in a game of oneupmanship that threatens to consume them both.
Regular Nolan collaborator Michael Caine makes an appearance too (is it even a Nolan movie without him?), as does Scarlett Johansson, along with David Bowie in one of his rare film roles, an electric (ahem) performance as Nikola Tesla.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
The second ever Star Trek film (and, let's be honest, probably still the best), Wrath of Khan learnt from the problems of its predecessor - being interminably slow and dull - and swapped things up for a rollicking space adventure with a charismatic villain, big action, and a surprisingly affecting finale.
Don't worry if you haven't seen the first film (you really don't need to) or even very much of the original TV show - everyone knows the basics of the characters, and Wrath of Khan really holds up in its own right as a classic of science fiction cinema.
This is the film that's so good that they felt the need to sort-of remake it in Star Trek: Into Darkness - but the original is undoubtedly where it's at.
Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright heads into bigger action territory with Baby Driver, an astonishing crime thriller with musical twist.
No, no-one sings - well, not very much at least - but Wright has edited the whole film with music in mind, with every gunshot, impact, or sudden brake timed to hit the beat of one of the excellent tracks that fill the soundtrack.
Ansel Elgort is the titular Baby, a getaway driver who needs music for his mojo, and across the film he crosses paths with the likes of Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx, each on brilliant form as some of the colourful criminals that fill this world.
The latest Alien film got a bit of a mixed reaction when it first released, thanks in part to trying to both follow up the operatic Prometheus and re-establish the gritty horror of the original Alien, but it's a good reminder to revisit the untouchable original.
Perfectly pairing science fiction with horror, this 1979 masterpiece from Ridley Scott introduced the unsuspecting world to HR Giger's unmatchable body horror, with a creature designed to do nothing more than scare the hell out of you.
Now TV has the director's cut of the film - we don't debate each version's merits here, but this cut adds in a few interesting scenes and hints more at the fate of certain crew members.
The Italian Job
This Boxing Day staple is rightly a classic crime caper, which sees a simple gold heist sprawl into a car chase across Turin.
Iconic moments abound, from the red, white, and blue Mini Coopers to a certain line about blowing some bloody doors off, all underpinned by the one and only Michael Caine.
It’s the sort of film we all know of, but let’s be honest, you probably haven’t watched it in years. Do yourself a favour and set that right - and skip the remake, for your own sake.
Leave No Trace
This thoughtful, quiet drama starring Ben Foster explores what happens when two people who've chosen to leave modern society behind are forcefully re-acquainted with it.
Will, a troubled former marine, lives off the grid in a national park with his 13-year-old daughter. When they're discovered by social services, they're forced to return to civilisation, but they both struggle to adjust in different ways, trying to explore and re-define their relationships with society at large.
Director Debra Granik has proved that Winter's Bone was no fluke, and on the strength of Leave No Trace she could have some amazing films yet to come.
Now over 50 years old, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a landmark of science fiction cinema, an utterly unique vision that shaped much of the genre since.
It's campy, schlocky, and at times gloriously crude - a sex-tinged take on Flash Gordon that's utterly dominated by Jane Fonda in her breakout role.
It's a cliché to talk about how cinema has moved on, how the great movies of the '60s would never be made today, but in this case it really is true: they don't make 'em like this anymore.
The teen movie to end all teen movies, Clueless remains unmatched after more than 20 years.
Alicia Silverstone’s wealthy but well-meaning Cher is utterly endearing as she does her best to tutor a new student (Brittany Murphy) in this modern take on Jane Austen’s Emma that transposes the action to a stereotypical American high school.
Keep an eye out for Paul Rudd as the obligatory romantic lead, years before his more recent ripped superheroics as Marvel’s Ant-Man.
“Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown…”
Few movies are as memorable for a single line as Roman Polanski’s Chinatown, an iconic noir detective story starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway.
Nicholson’s cynical private eye is hired for a simple adultery case which ends up drawing him into a web of crimes, from mismanagement of state water in a California drought to murder, in a sprawling conspiracy with a final reveal that lands like a punch to the gut.
Almost relentlessly downbeat, this is in no way a pick-me-up, but it remains one of the best thrillers of the ‘70s (a decade that had a fair few great ones) and is as effective today as it was when it first hit cinemas.
Big Hero 6
Big Hero 6 was the first (and so far only) collaboration between Disney Animation Studios and Marvel, with an animated tale of six young superheroes in an alternate-universe fictional city dubbed San Fransokyo.
As you'd expect from a Disney animation, it's fun, charming, and totally heartwarming - unafraid to tackle some fairly heavy themes and then break the tension with some very silly humour.
The undeniable star of the show is Baymax, the inflatable healthcare robot cum reluctant superhero - and hands-down the most adorable Disney creation in years.
Arguably the best action movie ever made - not to mention the best Christmas movie - Die Hard changed the face of the blockbuster by giving us a new mould of action star. Bruce Willis's damaged John McClane is worlds away from the over-muscled super soldiers of Stallone and Schwarzenegger, and all the more human for it.
Not that he's the only reason to love Die Hard. There's the action, the sharp script, the subtle seasonal touches, and - of course - Alan Rickman's iconic villain Hans Gruber. It's hard to believe that this was the actor's big screen debut, and he remains one of the best baddies ever.
The Wicker Man
Lord Summerisle would be almost any actor’s defining role. In the case of Christopher Lee, he also played a Bond villain, Dracula, and Saruman in The Lord of the Rings, so his villainous turn in The Wicker Man can occasionally be forgotten - but it shouldn’t.
Worlds away from the shaky Nicolas Cage remake, this British horror from the ‘70s is a chilling look at a Scottish pagan cult, and what happens when Edward Woodward’s restrained Christian policeman finds himself caught up in some very unfamiliar behaviour.
This is horror in the unsettling vein, eschewing jump scares and gore for a slow creep of dread, and the pervasive sense that something just isn’t right. Watch it, but don’t expect to be quite the same on the other side.
Ridley Scott’s other iconic sci-fi creation (after Alien, of course) remains the best adaptation of any of Philip K Dick’s stories, neatly drawing the strongest elements of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? out into a lean sci-fi noir that still finds the space for plenty of slow reflection.
Harrison Ford is the grizzled police officer tasked with hunting down a group of rogue replicants - biological androids indistinguishable from real humans - but the film is less concerned with a game of cops and robbers than it is with asking just what sets them apart after all.
Blade Runner nerds will want to know that Now TV offers the theatrical cut of the film, as opposed to any of the various other cuts and edits out there, but any version of the movie is well worth watching.