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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Before he was the Joker, Heath Ledger was Patrick Verona, a mysterious bad boy hired to win the heart of Julia Stiles’ Katarina in this modern retelling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. While it could’ve been little more than a ’90s high school rom-com, 10 Things I Hate About You shines thanks to a smart script and a wonderful cast that includes Ledger, Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Krumholtz, and Larry Miller as the Stratford sister’s over-protective father.
All the President’s Men stars Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the two Washington Post journalists whose coverage of the Watergate scandal was instrumental in bringing down Richard Nixon’s presidency. Critically acclaimed upon its release in 1976, the political thriller based on true events has since appeared on numerous “best of” lists and was even added to the United States National Film Registry in 2010.
Pam Grier stars in this blaxploitation classic about a vigilante (Grier) determined to get revenge on the drug dealer who’s responsible for her sister’s addiction. But her quest soon brings her into conflict with the mob as well as corrupt politicians. Controversial upon its release, Coffy nevertheless became a box office hit — it was the nation’s number one film at one point — and established Pam Grier’s status. It’s since become a cult classic, with Quentin Tarantino listing it as one of his favorite films of all time.
Scientists figure out a way to clone extinct dinosaurs, and the first thing they do? Why, create an amusement park on a remote island, of course. What can go wrong? Plenty, as it turns out, and it’s up to some paleontologists and Jeff Goldblum’s chaos mathematician to find a way to survive when life, uh, finds a way. Jurassic Park is a summer blockbuster in the best way possible.
Based on Patrick O’Brian’s acclaimed novels, Master and Commander chronicles the adventures of Captain Jack Aubrey as he and his crew are tasked with tracking down a French vessel that’s been targeting the British fleet. Written and directed by Peter Weir, and starring Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany, and James D’Arcy, Master and Commander has been widely praised for its production values, action, and evocation of classic Hollywood adventures.
This retelling of the Biblical story of Moses, who is raised in the Egyptian palace and then picked by God to lead the Israelites out of slavery, is widely considered one of the best animated films of all time. Celebrated for its animation, musical numbers, voice acting, and rich characters, The Prince of Egypt was nominated for numerous awards when it was released in 1998. In subsequent years, it’s inspired direct-to-video and theatrical productions.
Clint Eastwood’s award-winning Unforgiven — among other things, it earned Oscars for “Best Picture” and “Best Director” in 1993 — works as both a deconstruction of the Western epics that helped make Eastwood’s career, as well as an excellent Western in its own right. Eastwood plays a reformed bandit and murderer who returns to his violent ways in order to save his family, but at what cost to his soul?
Here’s everything arriving on Amazon Prime Video in November 2023.
This original Apple series builds on the events of the 2014 Godzilla movie — which, let’s be honest, has aged pretty darn well — with two siblings trying to track down their father and make sense of their connection to the secretive Monarch organization. The series is split between the 1950s and the present era, and stars Kurt Russell, Wyatt Russell, Anna Sawai, Kiersey Clemons, and Ren Watabe.
Guillermo del Toro directed the second film in the Blade series, which finds Wesley Snipes’ vampire hunter teaming up with vampire royalty to fight a menace that threatens both vampire and human society. Blade 2 is a vast improvement over the first Blade movie, thanks to del Toro’s direction and visuals, a hint of body horror, and Donnie Yen’s martial arts choreography. The film also stars Kris Kristofferson, Ron Perlman, and Norman Reedus.
Released at the height of Will Smith’s box office dominance in the ’90s, Men in Black stars Smith as the latest recruit of a shadowy organization that monitors extraterrestrial life on Earth. Paired with a veteran agent (played with cranky glee by Tommy Lee Jones), he must prevent an alien menace from destroying the world. Men in Black is topnotch Hollywood blockbuster entertainment, filled with sci-fi action, imaginative alien designs, and most importantly, Smith and Jones’ wise-cracking comedy chemistry.
In the future, humanity is nearly overwhelmed when monsters emerge from an inter-dimensional rift in the Pacific Ocean. Humanity’s only hope are the Jaegers, giant, weapons-filled robots that are used to push back the alien threat. With its “giant mecha battling bizarre monsters” storyline, Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim might be the closest we ever come to seeing a live-action Neon Genesis Evangelion. Pacific Rim stars Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, and Charlie Day.
In this time twisty sci-fi actioner, Tom Cruise plays a disgraced soldier who’s quickly killed while trying to defend Earth from mysterious alien invaders — only to discover that he now relives the same day over and over again. Not only does this allow him to become a super-soldier Groundhog Day-style, but it might also be the key to defeating the aliens once and for all. In the hands of a lesser cast and crew, Edge of Tomorrow’s premise could be ridiculous and boring, but that is most certainly not the case here.
When a photojournalist is hired to find his boss’ daughter in Mexico and return her to the U.S., it seems like a pretty straightforward job. Except for the fact that Mexico is ground zero for a spreading alien infestation, and they’ll have to travel through the heart of it to get home. Short for only $500,000, Monsters is proof that you don’t need a massive budget to make an effective monster movie.
Here’s everything arriving on Hulu in November 2023.
Ridley Scott’s original Alien was as much a horror movie as it was a sci-fi flick. But with Aliens, director James Cameron decided to throw in lots of action, as well. Set nearly 60 years after the original film, Aliens finds Ellen Ripley returning to the moon where the xenomorphs were first encountered in order to investigate why the human colony there has gone silent. Joining her are a colorful bunch of Colonial Marines, and they’ll need all of the firepower they can muster to deal with what awaits them.
Breakin’ 2 helped solidify breakdancing’s pop culture dominance in the ’80s with its story of some plucky youngsters using the power of breakdancing to stop a wealthy developer from demolishing a community center in order to build a — gasp! — shopping mall. Come for the dance battles, outrageous fashion, and classic soundtrack; stay for the awesome Ice-T cameo as a heavy metal rapper.
It’s easy to dismiss 1984’s Dune for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that director David Lynch himself has disowned the film. As an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel, Dune is pretty rough, especially when compared to Denis Villeneuve’s version. It might be a failure, but taken on its own merits, it’s a fascinating one, filled with bizarre and grandiose scenes and production design as only David Lynch could imagine.
2014’s Paddington was an absolute delight of a film, following a young marmalade-loving bear’s adventures in London, and his unlikely adoption by a family there. And dare I say that Paddington 2 is an even bigger delight, filled with heart and laughs as our titular ursine hero is framed for a crime he didn’t commit and sent to jail — where his upbeat spirit begins changing his fellow inmates for the better. Also, I would be remiss not to mention Hugh Grant’s scene-stealing performance as a washed up actor whose ego far outpaces his talent.
“Shall we play a game?” That’s the deadly question faced by a young hacker (Matthew Broderick) when he accidentally hacks into a military supercomputer in charge of America’s nuclear weapons. Though a big box office success, WarGames had a much bigger impact. Its representation of the internet, and the unintended impact that computers could have on security, led to the creation of the 1984 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act as well as the first Presidential directive concerning computer security.
Here’s everything arriving on Max in November 2023.
Make yourself a White Russian and get ready to spend some time with the Dude… I’ll admit, the first time I watched The Big Lebowski, I kind of hated it. It seemed so directionless and pointless. But then I realized that it’s more about the characters and their interactions then any standard plot (though one does exist). The movie boasts a number of classic scenes, from the discussion about the importance of rugs to a discussion about nihilism. Oh, and the trippiest bowling dream sequence in cinema history.
Based on Ben Mezrich’s The Accidental Billionaires, David Fincher’s The Social Network explores the founding of Facebook, from Mark Zuckerberg’s early days at Harvard University to the site’s meteoric rise in popularity and the resulting legal tribulations and broken friendships. Though it has been criticized for playing fast and loose with historical accuracy, The Social Network is regarded as one of the best films of the 2010s, thanks to Aaron Sorkin’s award-winning script and Jesse Eisenberg’s lead performance as Zuckerberg.
Based on Capcom’s best-selling video games, this original Netflix anime follows the adventures of legendary samurai Musashi Miyamoto, who must protect a young girl from a horde of demonic warriors. A magical relic grants him awesome fighting powers, but could turn him into a monster in the process. Onimusha is directed by cult director Takashi Miike while the design of Musashi Miyamoto was inspired by iconic actor Toshiro Mifune.
Set in feudal Japan, this original Netflix animated series follows a young mixed-race woman as she vows revenge on the man who destroyed her family: her white father. Based on the trailer, this one is definitely adults only, as she carves a blood path across Japan. Blue Eye Samurai features the voices of Maya Erskine, George Takei, Randall Park, Masi Oka, Ming-Na Wen, and Kenneth Branagh as the villain.
I’m always up for a good hitman movie, and especially a movie in which a hitman begins to develop a conscience and wrestle with the morality of his profession. (Blame it on John Woo.) David Fincher’s The Killer — which is not related to Woo’s action masterpiece but rather, based on a French graphic novel by Alexis Nolent and Luc Jacamon — stars Michael Fassbender as the titular assassin whose highly structured life begins to unravel while on a job in Paris. This being a Fincher film, I’m expecting lots of stunning visuals mixed with a darkly intense storyline. In addition to streaming on Netflix, The Killer will have a limited theatrical run.
It’s a tale as old as time. Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Boy must battle girl’s evil exes in order to date her. So goes the epic tale of Scott Pilgrim as told in Bryan Lee O’Malley’s acclaimed graphic novel series of the same name. Previously adapted into live-action by Edgar Wright back in 2010, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off puts an animated spin on O’Malley’s comics, with most of the cast from Wright’s film — including Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Chris Evans — returning to voice their characters.
Here’s everything arriving on Netflix in November 2023.