As Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, et al. add more content, it can be difficult to know what to look for amidst all of the newly added 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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This extremely popular stage production is set during 16th century Japan, with the country on the verge of unification. A group of seven individuals find themselves at the infamous Skull Castle, where they must prevent a madman and his massive army from tearing Japan apart. Produced by the Gekidan Shinkansen theatrical troupe, Seven Souls in the Skull Castle was hugely successful in Japan when it premiered in 2013.
In the latest film from Amy Poehler, a high school student decides to strike back at the rampant sexism in her school by starting an underground zine that soon becomes a point of controversy. Poehler also stars as the student’s mom, a former riot grrl who serves as her daughter’s inspiration. As someone who once published an underground ‘zine of their own back in high school, I can’t not be intrigued by this particular Netflix original.
In this anime follow-up to the Pacific Rim live-action movies, a pair of siblings must team up to defend Australia from rampaging kaiju. The series is being animated by Polygon Pictures, the same studio responsible for several other Netflix anime titles, including Blame!, Knights of Sidonia, and the Godzilla trilogy.
Jiu Jitsu stars Nicolas Cage as a member of an ancient order of warriors that battle alien invaders. Oh, and it also stars Frank Grillo, Tony Jaa, and Rick Yune. What more could you possibly want?
In this slick thriller from director Mike Hodges, a struggling writer (Clive Owen) becomes a croupier at a London casino and soon finds himself caught up in a potential heist. Owen is pitch-perfect as the croupier, whose cynical and aloof nature seem to serve him well even as his life begins to spiral out of control (read my review).
I’m a sucker for anything Sherlock Holmes-related, hence my interest in The Irregulars, a Netflix original about a group of misfits who help the world’s greatest detective solve crimes of a more supernatural nature — which comes in handy when a dark magical threat begins to surface in London.
Here’s everything arriving on Netflix in March 2021.
Although it was widely panned by critics, and even drove legendary actor Omar Sharif into temporary retirement, The 13th Warrior is a lot more fun than most people probably realize. Based on Michael Crichton’s Eaters of the Dead, itself a retelling of Beowulf, the film follows the exploits of a Muslim man who falls in with a bunch of Vikings who have been tasked with defeating an ancient evil.
Now here’s a slice of prime ’90s Hollywood “so bad it’s good” cinematic fluff. In The Demolition Man’s vision of the future, criminals are reprogrammed while in cryogenic stasis, leading to a utopian society. Until a psychopath breaks free, that is, and — of course — there’s only one man who can stop him. Come for the gratuitous violence and cheesy one-liners, stay for Wesley Snipes’ scene-chewing and Sylvester Stallone’s “man out of time” shtick.
In this stylish 1998 thriller from director Tony Scott, a lawyer (Will Smith) finds himself in the middle of a political conspiracy involving the murder of a U.S. congressman. His only hope is a paranoid communications specialist (Gene Hackman, in a role reminiscent of his acclaimed performance in The Conversation). Enemy of the State has been criticized for both its depiction of the NSA and for influencing Americans to be more accepting of government surveillance.
Frank Grillo (Captain America: Civil War, Zero Dark Thirty) is a former soldier who finds himself stuck in a never-ending time loop in which he dies all manner of gruesome and ridiculous deaths. The only way out is to defeat the man responsible, played by Mel Gibson. The film also stars Naomi Watts, Michelle Yeoh, and Ken Jeong.
Here’s everything arriving on and leaving Hulu in March 2021.
Long before he was Finn in Star Wars, John Boyega burst on the scene in Attack the Block as Moses, the leader a London street gang who find themselves facing off against deadly alien invaders. Attack the Block was the directorial debut of Joe Cornish, and with the aid of Boyega, Nick Frost, and Jodie Whittaker (Doctor Who, Broadchurch), he delivered a rollicking film that blends sci-fi, action, horror, and comedy with some pointed social commentary on racism and poverty.
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.
In this sequel to 1988’s Coming to America, Eddie Murphy reprises one of his most famous roles: Akeem Joffer, prince of the African nation of Zamunda. Before he can be crowned king, though, Akeem must return to America to find the son he didn’t know he had. To call Coming 2 America star-studded would be an understatement; its cast includes Arsenio Hall, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, Wesley Snipes, Morgan Freeman, and James Earl Jones as Akeem’s father, King Jaffe Joffer.
In this animated adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s acclaimed comic, a seventeen-year-old begins to manifest superpowers like those of his father, Omni-Man, who happens to be Earth’s greatest hero. So in addition to coming to terms with encroaching adulthood, he must come to terms with his burgeoning abilities. Invincible stars Steven Yeun, J. K. Simmons, Sandra Oh, Mark Hamill, and Seth Rogen.
Here’s everything arriving on Amazon in March 2021. As usual, there’s a lot of overlap between Hulu and Amazon’s offerings.
In Raya and the Last Dragon, a young woman must find the world’s last surviving dragon in order to reunite the land and save it from an evil force. The film features the voices of Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Daniel Dae Kim, Benedict Wong, and Alan Tudyk. Disney is releasing Raya and the Last Dragon as a “Premier Access” title, meaning you’ll have to pay an additional $30 to watch it, like last year’s Mulan.
Now that he carries Captain America’s shield (following the events of Avengers: Endgame), Sam Wilson teams up with Bucky Barnes to travel the world and fight a group of anarchists known as the Flag-Smashers. Several other familiar faces, including Daniel Brühl’s Helmut Zemo and Emily VanCamp’s Sharon Carter will also make appearances in the series. Given the success of WandaVision, I have some high hopes for the MCU’s latest live-action series.
Here’s everything arriving on Disney+ in March 2021.
As an adaptation of the long-running Hellblazer comic, Constantine ticked off fans by casting Keanu Reeves as the cynical British sorcerer/occult expert/con-man John Constantine and transplanting him to California. But once you get past that (and the film’s muddled plot and theology), Constantine is still a fun Hollywood-level “B” movie. The plot: when Constantine agrees to help a detective (Rachel Weisz) solve the mystery of her sister’s suicide, they’re drawn into the long-running conflict between Heaven and Hell. Cue the special effects, gross demons, and Reeves’ inimitable watchability.
Ocean’s Eleven is about as slick as heist movies come, as Danny Ocean (George Clooney at his most charming) assembles a team to knock over three Las Vegas casinos in one night. Directed with all assurance by Steven Soderbergh, Ocean’s Eleven is just a joy to watch, as the twists keep coming and the stakes keep getting higher. The film’s two sequels — Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen — will also be available.
Set nine years after the events of the acclaimed TV series, Veronica Mars finds Kristen Bell’s redoubtable sleuth returning to Neptune, California in order to try and clear her former boyfriend of murder charges — and uncovers a web of corruption beneath the town’s idyllic facade. Veronica Mars successfully translated everything that we loved about the series (e.g., colorful characters, witty humor, intriguing mysteries) to the movie format without losing a step.
2017’s Justice League has long been a source of contention. Some derided it as an overblown mess while others defended it as an unrealized vision because director Zack Snyder had stepped down due to a family emergency (Joss Whedon replaced him). For years, fans have called for the “Snyder Cut,” i.e., the version of Justice League as originally envisioned by Snyder, and now they’re finally getting it. The “Snyder Cut” is essentially a completely different film; everything Whedon shot has been removed and replaced with reshoots and new footage that feature more characters and expand the DC film universe.
In this culmination of Legendary Pictures’s “MonsterVerse,” two of cinema’s most iconic characters battle for dominance — and our planet’s fate could very well lie in the balance. The trailer makes it look like Godzilla’s the bad guy here, but I suspect that more sinister forces are at play than just gigantic monsters. In any case, Godzilla vs. Kong promises plenty of monster-smashing action, and I’m going to love every minute of it.
Here’s everything arriving on HBO Max in March 2021.