The hottest movies to stream on Neon this summer

This piece is supported by

Looking to get in some quality movie-watching these summer holidays? Liam Maguren mines Neon’s extensive movie catalogue for some of the platform’s most valuable films—and discovers titles for all tastes.

Summer and movies go together like the heat of the sun and the sweet, sweet taste of ice cream—when you’ve had enough of the former, you cool off with the latter. It’s a perfect pairing.

Neon’s got a huge variety of movies ready to be streamed and I’m here to make the selection process much easier for you. Rather than do a standard Top 20 list (the end of the year gets clogged full of those), I’ve instead handpicked a baker’s dozen of quality titles with every kind of movie-lover in mind, followed up with some further recommendations based on the films selected.

The Batman

DC’s gritty Dark Knight got the grittiest film adaptation yet with this year’s detective noir blockbuster. From the director of Dawn and War of the Planet of the Apes, The Batman stars Robert Pattinson as “a brilliantly mopey” Bruce Wayne investigating a string of disturbing murders alongside Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle (AKA Catwoman). It might be three hours long, but this confident take on the caped crusader spends every minute proving its worth as a bold and just-fresh-enough depiction of Gotham City.

If three hours of Batman isn’t enough for you, Neon’s also got Zach Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy as well as Tim Burton’s two classics and Joel Schumacher’s, erm, memorable follow-ups. And if you’re STILL searching that barrel for a man-bat movie, there’s also Morbius.

Downton Abbey: A New Era

After the success of the first film, the Crawley family (and the main cast) return for this second movie based on the award-winning series. Set in the South of France, the story centres on the Dowager Countess and the mystery surrounding her newly inherited villa.

If you’re after a delightful period piece that doesn’t rely on a TV series worth of knowledge, Neon’s also got A Royal Night Out (the story of young party machine Princess Elizabeth), See How They Run (a sleuth story set in ye olde Hollywood), Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza (Best Picture nominee about a 1970s teenage entrepreneur), and The French Dispatch (Wes Anderson’s three-tale journo anthology set in post-war France).

The Northman

Filmmaker Robert Eggers made his uncompromising vision known with 2015 folk horror The Witch and 2019 what-do-you-even-call-this feature The Lighthouse. Kudos to Universal, then, for giving this man a huge amount of money to make the uncompromising Viking epic The Northman, a “visually incredible” cinema experience from earlier this year starring a perfectly cast Alexander Skarsgård as a warrior out for vengeance for the death of his father and kidnapping of his mother.

Need an adventure flick that’s not so… full-on? You can follow Tom Holland on a swashbuckling adventure with Uncharted. There are also two Channing Tatum journeys you can embark on: jungle rom-com The Lost City co-starring Sandra Bullock and lighthearted road movie Dog co-starring a very good girl.


This crafty NZ-shot A24 skin flick slasher is Exhibit D in the case of 2022 being a great year for horror. The story revolves around a group of indie filmmakers trying to sneakily make a porno in the rented accommodation of an elderly farmer couple, and the less you know going forward, the better. “X is so heady and graphic right away that its audience is already fluffed for the violence to begin,” we praised, “and when it does, it really delivers.” It’s well worth a sneaky look while we wait to hear word on the NZ release for the simultaneously-shot sequel Pearl.

Neon’s got a number of recent horror hits like 2022’s Scream, M Night Shayamalan’s Old, and James Wan’s wild Malignant.


Our 2nd favourite film of 2022 features one of the best performances in Nicolas Cage’s extensive career, playing a quiet chef living in the Oregonian wilderness with his beloved truffle pig. When someone attacks him in his home and kidnaps his sweet swine, he embarks on a quest to get him back. But before you go in expecting some John Wick gun-fu extravaganza, let it be known that Pig‘s less about tearing villains apart and more focused on deconstructing the gluttonous culinary world they’ve built for themselves. It’s not as violent, but it’s arguably more destructive.

If brooding thrillers like this are your thing, also consider watching Paul Schrader’s The Card Counter and Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley too. Add David Fincher classic Zodiac and Clint Eastwood masterpiece Unforgiven for a great, but very grim, movie marathon.


Streaming on Neon from 22 December

Winner of the Golden Lion at Venice 2021, this adaptation of Annie Ernaux’s novel is blessed and cursed with uncanny timing given certain current events. Based on the author’s experiences, the film details the tension and paranoia closing in on a young woman attempting to get an abortion in 1960s France, when the act was illegal. “Happening is more than just a social issue film,” we assured. “It is a portrait of shame as it relates to desire, morality, and women’s pleasure.”

You can catch up on more critically acclaimed dramas on Neon with Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, sports biopic King Richard, and teenage trauma tale The Fallout.

Operation Mincemeat

We see a glut of World War II movies come out every year. Some are great, others are forgettable. What makes this one stand out? Aside from the mighty cast (Colin Firth, Kelly Macdonald, Matthew Macfadyen to name a few), it’s the film’s source material—a real-life, audacious mission involving deceiving Nazis with a dead body—that really grabs the attention.

For some more worthwhile war flicks: The War Below tells the tale of the British minors who secretly carved out battlefield tunnels during World War I, and drone warfare drama Eye in the Sky milks heavy buckets of suspense from phone calls and boardroom meetings.

The Justice of Bunny King

Essie Davis (The Babadook) and Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit) star in this hard-edged Aotearoa drama from last year that ranked #32 in this year’s Best Movies of 2022 list from Rotten Tomatoes. A “scathingly caustic critique of an all-too insufficient welfare state,” the story follows Bunny (Davis) as a homeless woman couch surfing and window washing in the hopes of getting her children back from foster care.

For more homegrown hits on Neon, consider watching Rūrangi, which recently scored a well-deserved Emmy, as well as Juniper, starring Charlotte Rampling as an alcoholic granny, and Take Home Pay, an action-comedy starring the great Tofiga Fepulea’i as a low-rent private investigator.

Werewolves Within

Adding to the “videogame adaptations are good now” train for films and television, this comedic whodunnit based on the VR game (which was based on the card game) follows a humble officer of the law new to a snowed-in town full of jerks. To make matters worse (or better), somebody’s secretly a werewolf killing them off one by one. Playing clever but not obvious with its references to the game, this is the most pizzas-and-beer movie you could watch on Neon this summer.

If you know where to look, you can find a bunch of not-so-typical indie gems nestled in Neon’s library. A24’s Red Rocket is a mudslide worth taking, Colossal turns the big monster genre on its head (and into a playground), and Together Together adds to the growing anti-rom-com genre.

The Bad Guys

One of the year’s standout animated blockbusters, DreamWorks devoured the heist genre with this vibrant caper about a group of five animals who lean into their societal roles as “bad guys” and attempt to execute their biggest job yet—a job that threatens to fail when the wolf is called a “good boy.” A non-stop gag machine with visual bravado to match, The Bad Guys is an all-ages winner with some of the year’s best car chases.

Speaking of chases, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is also running on Neon. And if you’ve got a PAW Patrol fan in the household (it might be you, we don’t judge), PAW Patrol: The Movie is also streaming right now.

The Dissident

After freeing himself from the Russian sports doping scandal seen in his Oscar-winning documentary Icarus, Bryan Fogel jumped straight back into political intrigue with this 2020 hit. A mystery that swept the world up, Fogel details the story of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, his murder, and the ensuing cover-up.

Assassins, another 2020 hit doco, dives into similar territory with the story of two women accused of killing the half brother of North Korean Kim Jong-un. For something less intense, also consider Girls Can’t Surf about the women who glided through monster waves as well as monster sexism. And if you’re a Lizzo fan (who’s not?), “inspiring and emotionalLove, Lizzo is a must (as is Lizzo: Live in Concert which comes to Neon January 1).

The Harry Potter Saga

Plan your nights in accordingly, you muggle Millennials, because the original eight-part Hogwarts film saga is available in its entirety on Neon. Clocking in just shy of 19 hours, you might want to tackle this 2000s nostalgia trip one day at a time. Or, if a Christmas food coma is preventing you from moving, attempt a Boxing Day marathon in bed.

Perhaps that’s too much. In which case, Neon’s also got The Hunger Games series, and all four Lethal Weapon films ready for binging, with the Back to the Future trilogy also arriving December 24.

Dog Day Afternoon

One of the many classics in filmmaker Sidney Lumet’s filmography, this siege thriller relays the true story of three amateur bank robbers and a heist gone incredibly wrong. Al Pacino stars as the criminal “mastermind” behind the operation turned circus ring leader when he uses the press (and public goodwill) to his advantage against the surrounding law enforcers.

It’s an incredible piece of tense cinema worthy of a double feature with any of these other classics on Neon: Prince’s Purple Rain, Steve McQueen thrillers Bullitt and The Towering Inferno, as well as James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day.