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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Age of Shadows (January 1)
Kim Ji-woon has made a career out of directing stylish movies that range from horror (A Tale of Two Sisters) to hitman movies (A Bittersweet Life) to screwball westerns (The Good the Bad the Weird). His most recent movie, Age of Shadows is a spy thriller set in 1920s-era Seoul, as Japanese forces attempt to catch the members of a Korean resistance group. The film stars several of Korea’s biggest stars (Lee Byung-hun, Song Kang-ho).
Batman Begins (January 1)
Before Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale came along, the Caped Crusader hadn’t fared too well on the silver screen. True, Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman was enjoyable in a campy way, thanks to an ultra-gothic aesthetic, Jack Nicholson’s over-the-top Joker, and a funky Prince soundtrack. But it wasn’t until Nolan’s Batman Begins that the world’s greatest detective truly came into his own.
Caddyshack (January 1)
I consider my first viewing of Caddyshack a foundational experience. Granted, I didn’t understand everything that went on — I just thought it was funny when Bill Murray tried to blow up the golf course — but I’ve since come to appreciate Chevy Chase’s screwball humor, the endless site gags and puns, and of course, that sweet, smooth Kenny Loggins soundtrack.
Lethal Weapon (January 1)
One of the great buddy cop movies. No, scratch that… Lethal Weapon is the buddy cop movie. Written by Shane Black and directed by Richard Donner, this movie has it all: a by-the-books officer close to retirement, his new partner (who happens to be unhinged), a crazy conspiracy that pushes them to the edge of the law and beyond. Basically, it created the template for all buddy cop movies to follow… and it’s still the best one ever.
DEVILMAN crybaby season 1 (January 5)
Netflix has been investing a lot of money into new anime titles, and DEVILMAN crybaby is one of the first titles coming to the service in the new year. Based on Go Nagai’s infamous manga and directed by Masaaki Yuasa (Space Dandy, Mind Game), the original series is about a young man who unites himself with a demon in order to gain the power necessary to fight against an infernal invasion.
2018 Olympic Winter Games Preview: Meet Team USA & Go For The Gold (January 15)
The 2018 Winter Olympics are little more than a month away, and what better way to get into the games than a preview of Team USA? I confess, I’m a total Olympics junkie so I’m pretty excited to get into the Olympic spirit a few weeks before the opening ceremonies.
Click here for a complete list of everything arriving on and leaving Netflix in January 2018.
American Ninja (January 1)
I’ve written elsewhere about my fascination with the films that came out of the ’80s “ninja craze” and here’s one the classics. An army squad in the Philippines is being targeted by an elite squad of ninja assassins. Thankfully, one of the soldiers was trained from a boy in the deadly arts of ninjitsu. As is the case with most, if not all, of the ninja films from the ’80s, it’s pretty schlocky. But my inner fourth grader is jumping up and down with glee to watch it.
Black Rain (January 1)
Just to be clear, Ridley Scott’s Black Rain has nothing to do with Shohei Imamura’s Black Rain. The latter deals with the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the former is a gritty cop drama in which a disgraced cop (Michael Douglas) takes on the yakuza to break up a counterfeiting ring, and encounters all sorts of cross-cultural friction when his American style of policing offends his Japanese hosts. The film also stars legendary Japanese actor Ken Takakura.
Capote (January 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, as he portrays the author as a charming and talented man who is not above using manipulation to achieve his own selfish goals for fame.
Cube (January 1)
A group of strangers awakens in a series of cube-shaped rooms, but as they try to escape, they discover that the rooms are filled with devious and deadly traps. Proving that you don’t need a big budget, or even a big set, Cube packs a visceral punch with its simple-yet-twisted scenario. The two sequels — Cube 2: Hypercube, Cube Zero — are also coming to Hulu, but they’re terrible so avoid them at all costs and stick to the original film.
Punch-Drunk Love (January 1)
After he made several acclaimed movies (Magnolia, Boogie Nights), Paul Thomas Anderson turned some heads when he announced his next film, Punch-Drunk Love, would star Adam Sandler. Yes, that Adam Sandler. But that turned out to be a stroke of genius. Sandler is perfect as a tightly wound man in desperate need of love and grace, while Anderson’s storyline is delightfully unpredictable and his visuals are routinely gorgeous.
Click here for a complete list of everything arriving on and leaving Hulu in January 2018.
Doctor Who, Season 10 (January 1)
This season marked the end of two eras. First, the end of Peter Capaldi’s turn as the Doctor, an ancient alien who travels through space and time having crazy adventures and righting wrongs. More importantly, perhaps, it marked the last season for Steven Moffat as head writer. Overall, this season met with considerable acclaim as one of the best Doctor Who seasons in awhile.
A Ghost Story (January 7)
We usually think of ghost movies as horror movies, but A Ghost Story is something else entirely, a rumination on death and grief featuring a guy in sheet. Casey Affleck stars as the titular spectre — yes, complete with white sheet and cut out eyes — who silently observes the lives surrounding him before moving to the Great Beyond.
Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, Season One (January 12)
Netflix has Black Mirror, Hulu has Dimension 404, and Syfy has Channel Zero, so it was only a matter of time before Amazon rolled out their own sci-fi anthology series. Electric Dreams is based on stories by one of the greatest sci-fi authors of all time, Philip K. Dick, the man behind Blade Runner, Minority Report, and A Scanner Darkly. And it boasts a star-studded cast, including Vera Farmiga, Anna Paquin, Steve Buscemi, and Bryan Cranston.
Click here for a complete list of everything arriving on and leaving Amazon in January 2018. As usual, there’s a lot of overlap between Hulu and Amazon Prime’s offerings.