As Netflix et al. add more content, it’s difficult to know what to look for amidst all of the newly added titles. So at the start of every month, I publish a list of particularly noteworthy and interesting movies and TV shows to add to your streaming queues.
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The Mars Generation (May 5)
This Netflix documentary follows a group of teenagers at Space Camp as they plan and conduct training missions to understand what a Mars expedition might be like. The Mars Generation features cameos from the likes of Bill Nye, Michio Kaku, and Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Mindhorn (May 12)
Back in the ’80s, actor Richard Thorncroft was famous for portraying Mindhorn, a TV detective with a robotic eye. Jump ahead 30 years and now he’s a washed up actor who can’t catch a break. Until, that is, the police call for his assistance in tracking down a serial killer who will only speak to Detective Mindhorn. This one looks like it has “future cult classic” written all over it.
Blame! (May 20)
After adapting his Knights of Sidonia manga, Netflix is now turning to Tsutomu Nihei’s first manga series, the cyberpunk/transhumanist title Blame!. I’ve been reading Vertical Comics’ excellent Blame! reprint, so I’m really excited (and a bit nervous) to see how Nihei’s grim, bizarre, and often nightmarish visions of the distant future will translate to the screen.
Inglourious Basterds (May 22)
Quentin Tarantino presents an alternate — and ultra-violent — take on World War II history with Inglourious Basterds. Brad Pitt leads an elite squad of soldiers behind enemy lines with only one mission: killing Nazis. Stars Michael Fassbender, Eli Roth, Daniel Brühl, and Christoph Waltz, who won a “Best Supporting Actor” Academy Award for his performance.
Doctor Strange (May 30)
Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme comes to Netflix. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as the arrogant surgeon who seeks treatment for his damaged hands, and ends up having his mind opened up to new magical realities. Doctor Strange is easily the trippiest Marvel film to date, with several sequences that are quite mind-bending. (Read my review at Christ and Pop Culture.)
Click here for a complete list of everything arriving and leaving Netflix in May 2017.
Big Fish (May 1)
Tim Burton’s fantastical tale presents the larger-than-life story of Edward Bloom, portrayed with endless amounts of charm and verve by Ewan McGregor. This is one of those movies that could easily be too precocious, but much like Amélie, the whimsy and fairy tale-ness only adds to the film’s charms.
Gladiator (May 1)
This Ridley Scott-helmed action epic features what is arguably Russell Crowe’s defining role as Maximus, a Roman general who is convicted of treason and becomes a famous gladiator. Gladiator is pure Ridley Scott, which means that what the film lacks in historical authenticity, it more than makes up in pure entertaining spectacle.
Goldeneye (May 1)
A slew of James Bond movies are coming to Hulu in May, but I picked this one because it’s one of my favorites. GoldenEye does the tricky job of deconstructing certain elements of the James Bond character (e.g., the misogyny) even as it delivers a fun, action-filled, and quintessential James Bond movie. That scene where Bond brings a Russian tank to a car chase? Classic Bond.
Life Is Beautiful (May 1)
If you’re looking for a good cry in May, then you could do worse then watching Roberto Benigni’s acclaimed comedy about a father trying to protect his young son from the horrors of a concentration camp. On paper, the storyline sounds mawkish and even offensive, but Benigni adroitly balances comedy and pathos — lots and lots of pathos.
The Naked Gun From The Flies Of Police Squad (May 1)
This one speaks directly to my inner 7th grader who thinks that movies like Airplane! are the very height of cinema. Based on the short-lived Police Squad! series, The Naked Gun follows hapless detective Frank Drebin as he uses an endless supply of puns and sight gags to save the Queen of England from an assassination plot.
A Fistful of Dollars (May 4)
Clint Eastwood’s “Man With No Name” character makes his debut in this, the first film of Sergio Leone’s legendary “Dollars Trilogy.” A Fistful of Dollars is essentially a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, in which a nameless drifter arrives in a town divided between two feuding families, and proceeds to pit them against each other — with deadly results.
Click here for a complete list of everything arriving and leaving Hulu in May 2017.
Manchester by the Sea (May 5)
One of 2016’s most acclaimed films, Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea tells the story of a troubled, haunted man (played by Casey Affleck) who begins to care for his nephew after his brother dies. A little bit of trivia: Manchester by the Sea was the first film released by a digital streaming service to be nominated for a “Best Picture” Oscar.
Jackie Brown (May 7)
For his follow-up to Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino opted for something more subdued… relatively speaking. Jackie Brown stars ’70s blaxploitation icon Pam Grier as a stewardess caught up in a money smuggling scheme with a gun runner. As is the case with all Tarantino films, Jackie Brown boasts an impressive cast including Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Michael Keaton, Bridget Fonda, and Robert Forster, who was nominated for a “Best Supporting Actor” Academy Award.
Moonlight (May 21)
Yet another one of 2016’s most acclaimed films, and the subject of one of the biggest gaffes in recent Oscar history. Moonlight follows a young black man as he grows up amidst drugs and prostitution, struggles with his sexual identity, and tries to find his place in the world.
Click here for a complete list of everything arriving and leaving Amazon Prime in May 2017.