Catch these 8 movie classics newly streaming for April

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This week’s batch of Staff Picks highlights movies new or newly returned to various video streaming services as of April 1 ... no fooling. Some of these — including their binge-ready sequels — may provide distraction, if not respite, for those of us complying with the governor’s stay-at-home order.

What do you think of our recommendations? Share your thoughts and some of your own home-entertainment suggestions to: wvnews@newszap.com.

The Lighthouse (2019)

Running time: 109 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Robert Eggers
Platform: Amazon Prime
Tomatometer 90%; IMDb 7.7/10

Apart from a mermaid’s cameo, this 2019 release from writer-director Robert Eggers (The Witch) has exactly two cast members: Willem Dafoe (The Grand Budapest Hotel, American Psycho) and Robert Pattinson (Twilight, Maps to the Stars). The story centers on a pair of “wickies,” or lighthouse keepers, as they were known in the parlance of New England in 1890. Describing the film as “a stark, moody, surreal and prolonged descent into seaside madness,” Associated Press film writer Lindsey Bahr gave it 3 out of 4 stars (high praise indeed from star-stingy AP). The movie — which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography — was shot on black & white film on location in Novia Scotia, Canada, in a working 70-foot lighthouse constructed specifically for the project.

From Russia With Love (1964)

Running time: 115 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG
Director: Terence Young
Platform: Amazon Prime
Tomatometer 95%; IMDb 7.4/10

In this second appearance of Sean Connery (Highlander, The Name of the Rose) in the iconic role, James Bond infiltrates an assassination plot and tangles with a Russian beauty as he seeks to obtain a Soviet encryption device stolen by the S.P.E.C.T.R.E. crime organization. One of the greatest blockbusters of the 1960s, the film — produced for a mere $2 million — brought in more than $78 million and earned critical praise. Robert Shaw (Jaws, The Sting) co-stars with support from Pedro Armendáriz (The Pearl, For Apache), Lotte Lenya (The 3 Penny Opera, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone), Bernard Lee (The Third Man, Partners in Crime) and Daniela Bianchi (Operation Kid Brother, Your Turn to Die).

Romancing the Stone (1984)

Running time: 106 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Platform: Hulu
Tomatometer 84%; IMDb  6.9/10

Pun unavoidable … this comedy-adventure flick is a hidden gem among the oeuvre of Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Forrest Gump) and represents arguably career-best performances from top-casters Kathleen Turner (Body Heat, Peggy Sue Got Married) and Michael Douglas (Wall Street, Fatal Attraction). The story follows Joan Wilder, a milquetoast author and shut-in who lives vicariously through the eyes of her romance-novel protagonist. The novelist must embark on a dangerous real-life journey into the jungles of Colombia to save her kidnapped sister. Danny DeVito (Matilda, Ruthless People) co-stars with support from Zack Norman (Cadillac Man, Chief Zabu) and Alfonso Arau (Three Amigos!, Used Cars). The sequel, Jewel of the Nile, is also available on Hulu.

Misery (1990)

Running time: 107 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Rob Reiner
Platform: Hulu
Tomatometer 90%; IMDb 7.8/10

Proving just how much worse shelter-in-place can be … this pedigreed horror-thriller directed by Rob Reiner (This Is Spinal Tap, The Wolf of Wall Street) is based on the novel from Stephen King (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile) with a screenplay by William Goldman (The Princess Bride, All the President’s Men). James Caan (The Godfather, Thief) co-stars with Kathy Bates (Titanic, Dolores Claiborne), who took home the Oscar for Best Actress for her chilling performance. Supporting cast members include Richard Farnsworth (The Natural, Anne of Green Gables), Lauren Bacall (The Big Sleep, The Mirror Has Two Faces) and Frances Sternhagen (Outland, The Mist). 

The Hangover (2009)

Running time: 100 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Todd Phillips
Platform: Netflix
Tomatometer 78%; IMDb 7.7/10

A carload of bachelor-party buddies wake with no memory, a missing bridegroom and numerously inexplicable challenges (including an errant tiger) in this raucous and ribald romp from director Todd Philips (Joker, Old School). Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born, Silver Linings Playbook), Ed Helms () and Zach Galifianakis (Birdman, Due Date) star as the misguided trio with hilarious support from Justin Bartha (National Treasure, Gigli), Heather Graham (Boogie Nights, Bowfinger), Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development, City Slickers), Ken Jeong (Crazy Rich Asians, Community), Mike Tyson (Rocky Balboa, A Madea Family Funeral) and Robb Riggle (21 Jump Street, The Daily Show).

Lethal Weapon (1987)

Running time: 109 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Richard Donner
Platform: Netflix
Tomatometer 82%; IMDb 7.6/10

From director Richard Donner (Superman, Ladyhawke) came this 80s blockbuster, which launched a four-film buddy-cop franchise (the three sequels are also available now on Netflix) and inspired many others. Danny Glover (Silverado, The Color Purple) stars as Roger Murtaugh, a ready-to-retire detective, who must pair up with Mel Gibon’s (Braveheart, The Bounty) Martin Riggs, a wild-eyed martial arts expert and ex-commando with a death wish and a seemingly limitless supply of bullets and whiskey. Gary Busey (Point Break, Under Siege) co-stars with support from Tom Atkins (The Fog, Night of the Creeps), Darlene Love (Holiday Rush, Another World) and Mitchell Ryan (Liar Liar, Grosse Pointe Blank).

Road to Perdition (2002)

Running time: 117 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Sam Mendes
Platform: Netflix
Tomatometer 81%; IMDb 7.7/10

Directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Skyfall), this hidden-classic mob drama features some great performances along with a rare glimpse of Tom Hanks (Cast Away, Saving Private Ryan) in a (nominally) bad-guy role. The story follows the revenge and redemption of a mob enforcer who must lam it after his young son witnesses a murder. Co-stars include Paul Newman (The Hustler, Cool Hand Luke), Daniel Craig (Layer Cake, Casino Royale), Ciarán Hinds (Game of Thrones, Rome), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hudsucker Proxy, The Hateful Eight) and Liam Aiken (Stepmom, Good Boy).

The Matrix (1999)

Running time: 136 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Directors: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Platform: Netflix
Tomatometer 87%; IMDb 8.7/10

Lana and Lilly Wachowski (née the Wachowski Brothers) launched their blockbuster trilogy (two sequels also available on Netflix) with this grim coming-of-age tale about a drowsy computer hacker who must accept his true nature — that of a flesh-battery enslaved in a gritty post-apocalyptic hell-scape dominated by evil robots — to embrace his fated role as humanity’s savior. Keanu Reeves (Speed, Point Break) stars as the wide-eyed protagonist with co-star Laurence Fishburne (Event Horizon, Othello) and support from Hugo Weaving (Lord of the Rings; V for Vendetta), Carrie-Anne Moss (Memento, Fido), Joe Pantoliano (Running Scared, Memento) and Gloria Foster (The Cool World, City of Hope).

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