May 2024’s Best Streaming Titles: The Blues Brothers, Dark Matter, Doctor Who, Keanu, New Jack City

A mission from God, sci-fi thrills, new TARDIS adventures, Key and Peele, a ’90s crime epic, and more.
A promo image for Keanu featuring Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, and a cute kitten
Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele tear it up in 2016’s Keanu

As Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, et al. add more content, it can be difficult to know what to look for amidst all of the new titles. Every month, I compile a list of particularly noteworthy and interesting movies and TV shows to add to your streaming queues.

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Amazon Prime Video

Airplane! (May 1)

What remains to be said about this, one of the greatest comedies of all time? Its near-endless supply of sight gags, absurdities, cameos, and slapstick humor is something for the ages. From Robert Stack’s battle with a bunch of Hare Krishnas to Lloyd Bridges’ glue-sniffing, from the epic disco battle to the jive translation, Airplane! has everything you could possibly want in a movie, and then some.

The Blues Brothers (May 1)

When Jake and Elwood Blues (John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd) learn that their old orphanage needs $5,000 to keep going, they decide to track down the members of their old blues band and put on a show to raise the money. Along the way, they’ll demolish a shopping mall, enrage a country band, take on some Nazis, and cause massive vehicular chaos across the state of Illinois. Arguably one of the best Saturday Night Live films, The Blues Brothers is a true cult classic.

Bottle Rocket (May 1)

1996’s Bottle Rocket may have been Wes Anderson’s first film, but even then, his aesthetic was pretty well-established in this story about a group of hapless would-be thieves whose plans all go awry. Bottle Rocket was also the acting debut for Luke and Owen Wilson, who would become regular members of Anderson’s retinue.

Capote (May 1)

After hearing about the brutal murder of a Kansas family, acclaimed author Truman Capote becomes fascinated by the story, and insists on traveling to Kansas to document it for his next book (which would eventually become In Cold Blood). The late Philip Seymour Hoffman gives a bravura performance as Capote, portraying the author as a charming and talented man who is not above using manipulation to achieve his own selfish goals for fame.

Lone Wolf Mcquade (May 1)

Chuck Norris is J.J. McQuade, a former Marine and Texas Ranger who walks softly and carries a really big gun — which will come in handy when he has to square off against an arms dealer (David Carradine). One of Norris’ most iconic and successful films, especially for its “buried alive” scene, Lone Wolf Mcquade would eventually serve as the inspiration for Walker, Texas Ranger a decade later.

The Night of the Hunter (May 1)

After their mother is wooed by a charismatic preacher, her two young children soon realize that he’s up to no good and only searching for their father’s buried treasure. What follows is a truly remarkable film, filled with chilling performances — especially Robert Mitchum as the evil preacher and Lillian Gish as the children’s only hope — and striking, dreamlike visuals that imbue the film with a fairy tale-ish vibe.

Rear Window (May 1)

To keep from going stir crazy while recuperating from a broken leg, a professional photographer (James Stewart) takes to spying on his neighbors in their apartment complex, and becomes convinced that one of them’s a murderer. Of course, this being an Alfred Hitchcock, nothing’s as it appears. Considered one of the greatest films of all time, Rear Window was added to the United States National Film Registry in 1997.

Run Lola Run (May 1)

When her boyfriend screws up a delivery for a local gangster, Lola has just 20 minutes to find the 100,000 Deutschmarks necessary to save his life. But as the film progresses, it shows the various ways that Lola’s Quixotic quest might unfold, for better or worse. With its kinetic non-linear plot, pulsing soundtrack, and striking lead performance from Franka Potente — who would later star in the Bourne movies — Tom Tykwer’s Run Lola Run was one of 1998’s most celebrated films.

The Blue Angels (May 23)

I love a good airshow, and airshows don’t get much better than the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels flight demonstration team. This documentary, producted by J.J. Abrams, offers us a behind-the-scenes look at the team’s training and preparation as it welcomes three new pilots. The aerial footage looks phenomenal, especially as the Angels perform some of their incredibly intricate — and incredibly dangerous — maneuvers.

Here’s everything arriving on Amazon Prime Video in May 2024.


Apple TV+

Dark Matter (May 8)

Jason Dessen has the perfect life, with a wonderful family and a rewarding career. But all of that’s ripped away when he’s abducted and wakes up in a world that he doesn’t recognize at all. Based on Blake Crouch’s acclaimed novel, Dark Matter stars Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Connelly, and Alice Braga. I really enjoyed Dark Matter when I read it several years ago, and there are some scenes that I can’t wait to see in live-action.

Here’s everything arriving on Apple TV+ in May 2024.


Disney+

Star Wars: Tales of the Empire (May 4)

The latest Star Wars animated series follows the stories of Morgan Elsbeth (last seen in Ahsako) and Barriss Offee (a former ally of Ahsako Tano) during the days of the Galatic Empire. The series also features appearances from General Grievous and Darth Vader himself.

Doctor Who, Series 14 (May 10)

Ncuti Gatwa picks up the mantle as everyone’s favorite Time Lord, with plenty of adventures throughout time and space with his companion, Ruby Sunday (played by Millie Gibson). Episode titles for this season include “Space Babies,” “The Devil’s Chord,” and the ominously titled “Empire of Death.”

The Beach Boys (May 24)

Billed as “the definitive look at America’s band,” The Beach Boys uses archival footage and recordings alongside new interviews with Brian Wilson, Mike Love, and Al Jardine as well as Lindsey Buckingham and Janelle Monáe to reflect on the beloved pop group’s history and legacy.

Here’s everything arriving on Disney+ in May 2024.


Hulu

Fantastic Mr. Fox (May 1)

Mr. Fox has a fantastic life, with a loving wife, good friends, and a good job. But what he really wants to do is steal food and play pranks on the nasty farmers living near his home. Needless to say, hilarity and hijinks ensue. Fantastic Mr. Fox’s blending of stop motion animation with Wes Anderson’s trademark aesthetic and dry humor is a match made in heaven. And the star-studded voice cast — which includes George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, and Owen Wilson — is the icing on the cake.

The Royal Tenenbaums (May 1)

Arguably my favorite Wes Anderson film, The Royal Tenenbaums is a dark, drier-than-dry — and at times, quite poignant — comedy about a trio of genius siblings who must confront their deadbeat dad when he announces that he’s dying. The film stars the usual Anderson players, along with Danny Glover, Anjelica Huston, and Gene Hackman as the conniving-yet-lovable father, Royal, who seeks to redeem himself after causing his family years of grief.

Rushmore (May 1)

Rushmore tells the story of one Max Fischer, a student at the titular private school. Despite being involved in countless extracurricular clubs, most notably the drama club, he’s a terrible student. Rushmore was one of Wes Anderson’s earliest films, but his aesthetic was fully realized even then. Rushmore is also one of his funniest films — read my review — from Fischer’s rivalry with Bill Murray’s character for the affections of a new teacher to the Vietnam War-inspired high school production that ends the film.

Die Hard (May 3)

One of the greatest action movies of all time, period. Bruce Willis stars as John McClane, a sardonic detective from New York who’s visiting his estranged wife in Los Angeles for a Christmas party at her office. And then, wouldn’t you know it, a bunch of terrorists break up the party and hold everyone hostage. It’s up to McClane to take on the terrorists — who are lead by Alan Rickman at his most suave — armed with little more than some one-liners. Suffice to say, the terrorists don’t stand a chance.

Paddington (May 16)

A modern adaptation of Michael Bond’s stories about a marmalade-loving bear who travels from “darkest Peru” to live with the Brown family in England might seem a bit odd. But the truth is, Paddington is an absolute delight of movie. Starring Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, and Ben Whishaw as Paddington’s voice, it’s full of good-natured, big-hearted fun as the lovable bear gets into all sorts of adventures while trying to avoid capture by an unhinged taxidermist (Nicole Kidman). The film received widespread critical acclaim, winning “Best Feature” at the British Academy Children’s Awards.

Here’s everything arriving on Hulu in May 2024.


Max

Hellboy II: The Golden Army (May 1)

Ron Perlman puts back on the horns (or horn stumps, to be more precise) for the second Hellboy movie, which finds the demonic agent battling an elven prince bent on destroying humanity with a magical army. Directed by Guillermo del Toro, Hellboy II is packed with stunning visuals and supernatural action.

Mad Max (May 1)

In the near future, Australia is a wasteland filled with roving motorcycle gangs. Law and order is maintained by the highway patrol, but just barely. Max Rockatansky is the patrol’s top officer, but when his family’s threatened by one of the gangs, he tosses aside the law for a rampage of revenge. Filmed in 1979 for a few hundred thousand dollars, Mad Max held the Guinness record for the world’s most profitable film — and helped reinvigorate Australia’s film industry. More importantly, though, it launched one of the most action-packed film franchises of all time.

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (May 1)

The Road Warrior is one of the prototypical post-apocalyptic films, featuring nomads trying to eke out a living in the blasted wastelands of the Australian outback. Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) is a lonely survivor who falls in with a group of settlers fighting over precious resources with a vicious gang, with the result being some of the greatest and most intense action scenes of all time.

The Iron Claw (May 10)

The Von Erich clan dominated the Texas wrestling scene throughout the late ’70s and early ’80s, but the close-knit family is seemingly hounded by a curse — and their father’s demanding nature only makes things worse. Written and directed by Sean Durkin and starring Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, Holt McCallany, and Lily James, The Iron Claw received widespread acclaim from critics, and more importantly, from folks within the wrestling community.

Here’s everything arriving on Max in May 2024.


Netflix

Starship Troopers (May 1)

While it’s entirely possible to watch Starship Troopers as a parody of military fascism, you can also just enjoy it for the over-the-top violence as a bunch of clean-cut, attractive teenagers join the military in order to fight an alien insect race. Despite receiving quite the critical drubbing at the box office, it has since inspired four sequels and two TV series.

The Matrix: Resurrections (May 1)

The Matrix: Resurrections may not be as groundbreaking as the original 1999 film, but I don’t think it’s trying to be (read my review). Rather, it emerged from a difficult time in writer/director Lana Wachowski’s life, and as such, is more a treatise on grief and trauma than a blistering cyberpunk action flick. Keanu Reeves returns as Neo, who is now living a muted existence that doesn’t make any sense. Carrie-Anne Moss returns as Trinity, and the cast is rounded out by Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.

Upgrade (May 16)

In the not-too-distant future, a quadriplegic is given a new lease on life with a powerful cybernetic upgrade, which he uses to track down the people who ruined his life. But who’s really in control: the man or the machine? Filled with inventive effects, brutal action, and some deft twists and turns, Leigh Whannell’s Upgrade far transcends its relatively meager budget.

Here’s everything arriving on Netflix in May 2024.


Tubi

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (May 1)

Ang Lee’s martial arts epic was a huge success when it appeared in 2000, winning numerous awards (including four Oscars) and becoming the most successful foreign film in American box office history. With its dramatic storyline, sweeping cinematography, evocative score, and graceful combat, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon proved that martial arts films could be more than cheesy action comedies, and ushered in a wave of artsy martial arts films including Hero, House of Flying Daggers, and The Promise.

The Day the Earth Stood Still (May 1)

One of the great classic sci-fi films, The Day the Earth Stood Still was a modest success upon its release in 1951. But its story about an alien who comes to Earth on a mission to persuade humanity to stop its destructive ways has resonated over the years. The film has appeared on numerous critics’ lists as one of the best sci-fi films of all time and allegedly, it inspired Ronald Reagan to meet with Mikhail Gorbachev to discuss alien invasions. The Day the Earth Stood Still was added to the National Film Registry in 1995.

Full Metal Jacket (May 1)

Stanley Kubrick’s Vietnam War epic is two films in one, the first a brutal examination of dehumanization in boot camp and the second takes place in the chaos of Vietnam itself. Both parts are chilling and masterful in their own right (read my review), though the first half has the added bonus of R. Lee Ermey as a sadistic drill instructor with a real gift for inventive swearing.

Groundhog Day (May 1)

In this surprisingly existential comedy, Bill Murray plays an arrogant weatherman who finds himself reliving the same day over and over again in picturesque Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania — and forced to confront who he is as a person. This is one of the classic Bill Murray movies, and was even added to the National Film Registry in 2006.

John Wick (May 1)

On paper, John Wick’s premise is pretty silly: a retired assassin returns to a life of violence to avenge his dead puppy in spectacularly bloody fashion. But of course, there’s a lot more to it than that. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the film boasts some of the best action filmmaking of the last ten years and a sense of style that’s only enhanced by Keanu Reeve’s dedication and intensity. John Wick spawned three sequels, each more outrageous than the last, and a truly fascinating mythology.

Keanu (May 1)

For their feature film debut, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele — of Key & Peele fame — star in this tale of a man who will do anything to get his beloved kitten back, even if that means infiltrating a violent gang or taking on some legendary assassins. As you might expect from Key and Peele, Keanu is hilarious, turning plenty of gangster movie tropes on their head with the help of a cast that includes Tiffany Haddish, Method Man, Luis Guzmán, Will Forte, and of course, Keanu Reeves.

New Jack City (May 1)

Starring Wesley Snipes, Chris Rock, Ice-T, Mario Van Peebles, and Judd Nelson, New Jack City chronicles the rise of a vicious drug gang and the detectives determined to take them down. Upon its release in 1991, the film was a critical and commercial success and had a massive influence on the hip-hop and R&B scenes. The soundtrack, which featured songs by Ice-T, Keith Sweat, Color Me Badd, and 2 Live Crew, dominated the Billboard charts and quickly went Platinum, selling over a million copies.

Silverado (May 1)

Written and directed by Lawrence Kasdan — of Raiders of the Lost Ark and Empire Strikes Back fame — Silverado is a rollicking western that takes some classic genre tropes and breathes new life into them. Namely, an unlikely group gunfighters and cowboys must join forces to prevent a wealthy cattle baron from taking over all of the surrounding land. Silverado stars Scott Glenn, Kevin Kline, Kevin Costner, Danny Glover, John Cleese, and Jeff Goldblum.

Here’s everything arriving on Tubi in May 2024.

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