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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Hellboy II: The Golden Army (5÷1)
Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water was one of 2017’s most acclaimed films, but he’s been making imaginative dark fantasy for a long time. For example, his Hellboy movies, based on Mike Mignola’s cult comic books. In Hellboy II, the titular demon hero squares off against an evil fairy prince who has declared war on humanity with the help of an unstoppable supernatural army.
The Bourne Ultimatum (5÷1)
The first three Bourne films represent some of the best action thrillers of the ’00s, as former government agent Jason Bourne attempts to recover his memory and identity while battling the covert government program that made him in the first place. The Bourne Ultimatum brought the trilogy to a thrilling conclusion, thanks to Matt Damon’s intense portrayal, some smart directing and writing, and truly thrilling action sequences.
The Rain, Season 1 (5÷4)
Netflix has been investing heavily in foreign genre titles, including Germany’s Dark, Britain’s Black Mirror, and Brazil’s 3%. One of their latest acquisitions is the Danish series The Rain, in which a rain-borne virus has decimated much of humanity, leaving behind few survivors. Among them is a brother and sister who emerge from their family’s bunker after half a decade to a drastically different world. Initial reviews have been pretty positive for the post-apocalyptic series.
The Toys That Made Us, Season 2 (5÷25)
Netflix’s series about classic toys returns for a second season, this time focusing on the origins and histories of such beloved brands as Transformers, Hello Kitty, and LEGO.
Winner of the 2017 Academy Award for “Best Animated Feature,” Pixar’s Coco takes viewers on a journey through Mexican culture and music, and especially the Day of the Dead celebration. A young boy named Miguel yearns to play music but is forbidden to do so, which ultimately sends him on a quest through the land of the dead where he discovers hidden truths about his family and heritage.
Click here for a complete list of everything arriving on and leaving Netflix in May 2018.
The Box (May 1)
After directing the 2001 cult classic Donnie Darko, Richard Kelly seemed destined for greatness. But instead of going down the Hollywood path, he opted to get even stranger, first with Southland Tales and then The Box. Based on a Richard Matheson short story, The Box puts a married couple in the middle of an ethical dilemma that gets into government conspiracies and otherworldly phenomena. Maybe too weird for its own sake, The Box does make you wonder what might’ve been had Kelly continued making films after its release.
The Crow (May 1)
Brandon Lee’s final film returns to Hulu. Alex Proyas’ adaptation of James O’Barr’s comic is a fever dream filled with a gothily romantic aesthetic, an excellent soundtrack, and Lee’s martial arts prowess. To this day, Lee’s tragic death still looms large over the film, transforming it into something far more than the sum of its parts.
Demolition Man (May 1)
Now here’s a slice of prime ’90s Hollywood “so bad it’s good” cinematic fluff. In The Demolition Man, criminals are reprogrammed while in cryogenic stasis, which leads 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.
Strategic Air Command (May 1)
Sometimes you just want some Cold War nostalgia filled with lots of rah rah United States Air Force cheerleading and footage of vintage aircraft soaring through the wild blue yonder. Sure, there’s a plot — supposedly inspired by the life of Ted Williams — about a baseball player (James Stewart) who returns to active duty. But if you’re like me, you’re going to watch this film for all of those glorious VistaVision shots of the B‑47 Stratojet in action.
Thief (May 1)
Written and directed by Michael Mann (Heat, The Insider, Miami Vice), this cult noir classic from 1981 stars James Caan as a jewel thief who lives a tightly structured life. Ultra-moody and heavily stylized, as is Mann’s wont, Thief also boasts a score by German electronic geniuses Tangerine Dream.
I, Tonya (May 31)
Margot Robbie earned a great deal of acclaim for her portrayal of disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding, who received a lifetime ban from competitive figure skating following her involvement in the 1994 attack on fellow figure skater Nancy Kerrigan. I, Tonya also garnered Allison Janney a “Best Supporting Actress” Oscar for her performance as Harding’s abusive mother.
Also coming to Hulu are The Matrix trilogy, the Nightmare on Elm Street series, and the first five Rocky movies. Click here for a complete list of everything arriving on and leaving Hulu in May 2018.
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (5÷1)
Stanley Kubrick had waited years for the technology to make A.I., but upon his death in 1999, Steven Spielberg stepped in and completed the film, which was released in 2001. The final film — which is about a highly advanced robot named David (played uncannily by Haley Joel Osment) who yearns to be a real boy — was pretty divisive, especially with regards to its fairy tale-ish ending.
A slew of classic James Bond films are coming to Amazon in May, including this caper about a madman who wants to irradiate all of the gold in Fort Knox, making him the wealthiest and most powerful man in the world. Yes, it’s a ludicrous idea, but the result is still an iconic film. Other 007 films coming to Amazon in May include Diamonds Are Forever, Dr. No, and From Russia with Love.
The Elephant Man (5÷1)
Based on the true story of Joseph Merrick, a 19th century English man who was severely disfigured, The Elephant Man is a haunting and deeply human film about an outcast from society who turns out to be the noblest one of all. What’s even more surprising than the fact that The Elephant Man was directed by David Lynch is that it was produced by Mel Brooks, who deliberately left his name off the film so that audiences wouldn’t expect a comedy.
Click here for a complete list of everything arriving on and leaving Amazon in May 2018. As usual, there’s a lot of overlap between Hulu and Amazon Prime’s offerings.