May 2023’s Best Streaming Titles: Freaks & Geeks, Parasite, Speed, The Last Unicorn, Demon Slayer
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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Amazon Prime Video
Babe (May 1)
Baa-ram-ewe! Baa-ram-ewe! The Citizen Kane of talking pig pictures, as one critic called it, will start streaming as soon as the new month rolls around. I plan on watching it with my kids, and all the while, I’ll try to wrap my mind around the fact that the man responsible for this charming little film is the same deranged genius who gave us Mad Max.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (May 1)
You know the story: two rock n’ roll-obsessed burn-outs are destined to save the world with their band Wyld Stallyns, but only if they can successfully complete high school with a kick-ass history presentation. Enter a time-traveling phone booth from the future and, well, the rest is history. Featuring what is arguably Keanu Reeves’ greatest role, this is truly a most bodacious movie. Be excellent to each other and party on, dudes.
Fletch (May 1)
Adapted from Gregory Mcdonald’s novels, Fletch stars Chevy Chase as the eponymous undercover reporter whose unorthodox methods always get results, much to his editor’s chagrin. After he’s asked to help a billionaire with terminal cancer end his life, Fletch finds his own life threatened when things turn out to be not quite what they seem. Fletch also stars Joe Don Baker, George Wendt, and George Wendt, with a cameo from the one and only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Kung Fu Hustle (May 1)
Sing (Stephen Chow) has one dream in life: to become a member of the feared Axe Gang. But when he encounters a group of reclusive and unlikely martial artists, he’s slowly begins to realize that he could be something more. But not without plenty of hijinks — this is a Stephen Chow movie, after all. Coming on the heels of Shaolin Soccer, Kung Fu Hustle went even further into CGI-fuelled leaps of martial arts slapstick. While Shaolin Soccer is the better film overall, Kung Fu Hustle still has plenty of hilarious delights all its own.
Moonrise Kingdom (May 1)
Released in 2012, Moonrise Kingdom is a sweet coming-of-age drama about two young children who fall in love and decide to run away together. And because it’s a Wes Anderson film, it’s hyper-stylized with a skewed ’60s-inspired look — which only adds to the film’s dreaminess. Oh, and because it’s a Wes Anderson film, it’s also hilarious, with his inimitably dry, deadpan dialog delivered by a star-studded cast (e.g., Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Bill Murray).
Freaks & Geeks (May 4)
Despite only running for one season, Freaks & Geeks has developed a devoted cult following thanks to its honest, unsparing, and hilarious depiction of high school life. Set in the early ’80s, the series follows two groups of kids — the “freaks” and the “geeks” — as they navigate adolescence with varying degrees of success. Created by Paul Feig and produced by Judd Apatow, the series features a cast of “before they were famous” actors, including Linda Cardellini, Seth Rogen, and Jason Segel.
Here’s everything arriving on Amazon Prime Video in May 2023.
Silo, Season One (May 5)
In this post-apocalyptic series based on Hugh Howey’s acclaimed novels, the remnants of humanity live in a huge underground silo to protect them from the toxic and dangerous world outside. But when one of the silo’s engineers begins asking too many questions, she threatens to unravel existence as she knows it. I’ve only read the first of Howey’s novels, but enjoyed it quite a bit due to its impressive world-building and strong characters, so hopefully Silo does it justice. The Apple TV+ original series stars Rebecca Ferguson, Rashida Jones, David Oyelowo, and Tim Robbins.
Star Wars Visions, Volume 2 (May 4)
This Emmy-nominated anthology series presents animated shorts set throughout the Star Wars universe, putting a unique (and often non-canonical) spin on familiar characters and locations. This time around, the talent includes some of the world’s top animation studios, including Ireland’s Cartoon Saloon, the United Kingdom’s Aardman Animations, and South Korea’s Studio Mir.
Crater (May 12)
Caleb Channing has spent his entire life on the moon, but after his father dies, he’s scheduled to be sent to another planet. Gathering together his best friends, as well as a mysterious new arrival from Earth, Caleb sets out to fulfill his father’s last wish and visit a mysterious crater. I get some vibes that hearken back to some of Disney’s classic space/sci-fi movies, with a dash of The Martian thrown in, so this could be a fun one for the entire family.
American Born Chinese, Season One (May 24)
In this adaptation of Gene Luen Yang’s graphic novel, Jin Wang is just your average teenager. Until, that is, he meets a new student and gets caught up in an otherworldly battle right out of Chinese mythology. The series boasts an impressive cast including Oscar winners Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan, Daniel Wu, Stephanie Hsu, and the legendary James Hong.
Here’s everything arriving on Disney+ in May 2023.
Parasite (May 1)
Bong Joon-ho’s darkly comedic thriller about two South Korean families, one rich and one poor, who become inextricably linked together, was one of the most acclaimed films of 2019. Not only was it the first non-English film to win “Best Picture” at the Oscars, but it also won for best director, original screenplay, and foreign language film. Beyond America, it was the first South Korean film to win the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, which it won unanimously.
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (May 1)
Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow star in this delightful homage to the classic pulp sci-fi serials of the ’30s and ’40s. When some of the world’s most famous scientists are kidnapped, it’s up to the heroic Sky Captain (Law) to solve the mystery, which brings him and intrepid journalist Polly Perkins (Paltrow) into conflict with a mysterious secret society. One of the first films to be largely be shot against a blue screen, Sky Captain is filled with delightful dieselpunk-inspired visuals, like flying aircraft carriers and menacing robots.
Unbreakable (May 15)
After the massive success of 1999’s The Sixth Sense, M. Night Shyamalan had cart blanche to do whatever he wanted. And so, for a followup, he made Unbreakable, a downbeat and — as is Shyamalan’s wont — atmospheric film about a sad sack of a man (played by Bruce Willis) who comes to discover that he might be a superhero. But if he’s a superhero, then there must be a super-villain out there, too. Unbreakable was the first film in a trilogy, with the second (Split) receiving considerable acclaim in 2016, and the final film (Glass) coming in 2019.
Men in Black (May 16)
Will Smith stars as a street smart cop who begins working for a clandestine organization overseeing alien activity on Earth. I won’t deny it, Men in Black is a total guilty pleasure for me, due in large part to the chemistry between Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, who plays his cranky mentor.
Here’s everything arriving on HBO Max in May 2023.
Black Dynamite (May 1)
In this hilarious parody/homage to classic blaxploitation films, Black Dynamite (Michael Jai White) is the baddest mofo in the hood. But in order to defeat The Man who killed his brother, the dealers pumping heroin into the streets, and the fiendish Dr. Wu’s kung fu treachery, Black Dynamite will have to unleash his full martial arts fury… and show the ladies some love, too.
Identity (May 1)
A group of strangers at a rundown motel start getting must band together when they start getting knocked off, one by one, by a mysterious killer. And what does their plight have to do with a murdered sentenced to death? Directed by James Mangold and starring John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet, and Alfred Molina, Identity throws in some interesting twists on the usual thriller tropes.
Johnny Mnemonic (May 1)
Before he was Neo, Keanu Reeves was Johnny in this adaptation of the William Gibson short story. As a data courier, Johnny transports important information via cybernetic enhancements in his brain. But his latest delivery might be his last, as mysterious corporate forces are seeking him out even as the information he’s carrying threatens to destroy his mind. Originally envisioned as an arthouse film, Johnny Mnemonic is peak mid ’90s cyberpunk, from the 3D graphics to the clothing styles. Panned by critics, especially for Reeves’ performance, Johnny Mnemonic has since become a cult classic.
Last Action Hero (May 1)
Last Action Hero had all of the makings of a box office behemoth. It had Arnold Schwarzenegger on the marquee, a script by Shane Black (Lethal Weapon), and John McTiernan (Die Hard) in the director’s chair. But the film was a box office disaster, with audiences no doubt scratching their heads at the ultra-meta plot of a young boy suddenly transported into the fictional world of his favorite action movies. Rife with spoofs, inside jokes, pop culture references, and deconstructing humor, it’s possible that Last Action Hero was just ahead of its time.
Speed (May 1)
Keanu Reeves officially became an action movie star in this thriller about a SWAT officer (Reeves) trying to stop a mad bomber (Dennis Hopper) threatening the Los Angeles. When the bomber’s latest ploy is a bus that will explode if it slows down below 50 miles/hour, Reeves must find a way to stop him and save the passengers. Thanks to its strong performances, taut set pieces, and thrilling twists, Speed was one of 1994’s most successful movies, commercially and critically, and its status has only grown over time.
The Last Unicorn (May 12)
Adapted from Peter S. Beagle’s beloved novel, this Rankin/Bass animated production is a melancholy rumination on love, regret, and mortality. Mia Farrow voices the titular creature who is seeking out more of her kind, only to be transformed into a mortal woman who subsequently falls in love. The Last Unicorn also features the voices of Alan Arkin, Jeff Bridges, Angela Lansbury, and Christopher Lee as Haggard, the bitter old king who is responsible for the fate of the worlds’ unicorns.
Here’s everything arriving on Hulu in May 2023.
Demon Slayer, Season 3 (May 1)
One of the world’s most popular anime titles, Demon Slayer follows the adventures of young Tanjiro, who becomes a highly trained demon-slaying swordsman to avenge his family and save his sister. Based on Koyoharu Gotouge’s manga, Demon Slayer has become a worldwide phenomenon thanks to its colorful characters, thrilling action, and striking animation. The third season will cover the “Entertainment District” story arc, with Tanjiro continuing his demon-slaying mission.
FUBAR, Season One (May 25)
The one and only Arnold Schwarzenegger makes his TV acting debut in this series about a family of CIA operatives who must learn to stop lying and start trusting each other. The Netflix original also stars Monica Barbaro, Jay Baruchel, and Gabriel Luna.
Here’s everything arriving on Netflix in May 2023.