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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Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (May 1)
Yeah, baby… Mike Myers’ original send-up of James Bond movies and ’60s swinger culture is very much a product of its time (the late ’90s). And though the sequels ran the joke into the ground (and then dug it up and re-ran it back into the ground), the original is still quite a lot of good fun, as Myers’ shagadelic super-spy must come to terms with the modern era after he’s re-thawed to take on the nefarious Dr. Evil (also played by Myers).
John Carter (May 1)
At $350 million, John Carter was one of the most expensive movies ever made. Unfortunately, the Andrew Stanton-directed adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs classic was a box office disaster. Set in the late 19th century, Carter is a former army officer who finds himself transported to Mars, where he finds himself caught up in a civil war. Because of Mars’ low gravity, he’s able to perform amazing feats of strength — which come in handy when fighting alien warriors and saving alien princesses.
The Matrix Trilogy (May 1)
Has it really been 20 years since we said “Whoa” and followed Neo into the Matrix for a mind-blowing saga of cyberpunk dystopia, religious symbolism, groundbreaking special effects, and kick-ass martial arts? Indeed, it has, and numerous think pieces have been published concerning the movie trilogy — which arrives on Netflix this May. But as interesting as they might be, nothing beats just watching the movies. Or at least the first movie, which still holds up as a thinking person’s action movie. Whoa, indeed.
Wine Country (May 10)
This Netflix original film stars a virtual who’s who of female comedians — Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, Ana Gasteyer, Rachel Dratch — as a group of friends who go on vacation to Napa valley for a birthday, only to find themselves facing various issues and crises that come with middle age. While the storyline looks like something you’ve seen a dozen times before, the names and talent make it hard to dismiss.
Moonlight (May 21)
While Netflix’s May offerings are dominated by original titles, the streaming service has still scored some coups, such as this Academy Award-winning coming-of-age drama. Starring Mahershala Ali, Janelle Monáe, and Naomie Harris, the film won numerous awards for its story of a young black man wrestling with his sexuality, as well as its editing and cinematography. Moonlight was the first film with an all-black cast to win an Oscar for Best Picture.
Here’s everything arriving on and leaving Netflix in May 2019.
Black Rain (May 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. But the former is a gritty drama in which a disgraced cop (Michael Douglas) takes on the yakuza to break up a counterfeiting ring, and encounters cross-cultural friction when his American style of policing offends his Japanese hosts. The film also stars legendary Japanese actor Ken Takakura.
Shaolin Soccer (May 1)
I still remember the first time I watched this film, and being absolutely charmed and thrilled by its tale of a group of disgraced former Shaolin monks who decide to use soccer to promote Shaolin kung fu (with the help of lots of CG effects, of course). Shaolin Soccer is completely bonkers, but also completely enjoyable from beginning to end. Writer/director Stephen Chow is considered one of Hong Kong’s greatest movie comedians, and Shaolin Soccer is arguably his best film.
WarGames (May 1)
“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, lead to the creation of the 1984 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act as well as the first Presidential directive concerning computer security.
Zombieland (May 1)
Along with Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland is proof that the best zombie movies are those that blend their undead gore with comedy. Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin as a ragtag group of survivors of the zombie apocalypse — oh, and Bill Murray in an inspired cameo — Zombieland is proof that you can find plenty to laugh about while watching the end of civilization.
Marvel’s Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D, Season 6 (May 11)
I’ve long been a fan of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, but I have to be honest, I’m a bit worried about this sixth season. Season five ended with a fair amount of closure for our various agents, especially Agent Phil Coulson, but to what extent will season six undo all of that? And what ever will become of FitzSimmons, aka, the MCU’s most tortured couple?
Knocked Up (May 16)
On its surface, Knocked Up seems like yet another raunchy, juvenile sex comedy. And well, it sort of is. But the film, about two incredibly mismatched people who come together when they discover they’re having a baby after a one-night stand, actually has some sweetness and heart to it. Which shouldn’t be too surprising given that it was written and directed by Judd Apatow, the man behind Freaks and Geeks.
Here’s everything arriving on and leaving Hulu in May 2019.
Good Omens, Season 1 (May 31)
Based on the novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, an angel (Michael Sheen) and a demon (David Tennant) must join forces to find the Antichrist (who happens to be a young boy) and prevent Armageddon. The six-episode series also stars Jon Hamm, Jack Whitehall, Brian Cox, Nick Offerman, and Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of the devil himself. This looks like it could be a good bit of irreverent fun, as you might expect from the minds of Pratchett and Gaiman.
I’m Gonna Git You Sucka (May 31)
Written and directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans prior to his breakout success with In Living Color, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka is a parody/homage to the blaxploitation films of the ’70s. To that end, it stars a number of blaxploitation legends, including Isaac Hayes, Jim Brown, Bernie Casey, and Antonio Fargas, as well as many of the people who would appear in In Living Color (e.g., Wayans’ brothers and sisters, David Alan Grier).
Mission: Impossible (May 31)
Thanks in large part to Tom Cruise’s willingness to risk life and limb, the Mission: Impossible movies have arguably become our best modern action movie franchise (sorry, James Bond). Compared to the franchise’s most recent entry, the first Mission: Impossible movie might seem a bit sedate and underwhelming — but make no mistake, it’s still a solid spy flick in its own right.
Reservoir Dogs (May 31)
Quentin Tarantino’s new film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, comes out later this year. So now’s as good a time as any to revisit his directorial debut, a stylish and bloody film about a group of thieves trying to find the mole in their midst after a heist goes wrong. Reservoir Dogs features all of the usual Tarantino-isms — whip-smart (and profane) dialog, pop culture references, non-linear storylines — and has been called the “greatest independent film of all time” by some.
Here’s everything arriving on and leaving Amazon in May 2019. As usual, there’s a lot of overlap between Hulu and Amazon Prime’s offerings.