One of the frontrunners for awards season finally lands on Hulu this weekend, along with last year’s Sonic the Hedgehog movie, and the entirety of the classic Muppet Show hits Disney+
Nomadland is the latest film by Chinese filmmaker Chloé Zhao, who made waves with her 2017 film The Rider and the announcement that she would be directing the upcoming Marvel Studios film Eternals. With not a single one of her films ever falling below 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, she’s certainly an artist to pay attention to.
This movie is a blunt and poetic rumination on modern-day America in the wake of the Great Recession. When a Nevada plant shuts down, a worker named Fran (played by Frances McDormand) has nowhere else to go. She sells most of her possessions to purchase a van and travel across the American West as a nomad, where she meets others that are leading similar lifestyles. It’s being praised as one of the best films of the year.
When Mia (Daisye Tutor), a social media star, becomes the target of an online terror campaign, she has to solve a series of tests to prevent people she cares about from getting murdered. But is it real? Or is it just a game at her expense?
Shook looks to be a horror take on social media influencers and the culture that surrounds them, and joins a recent subgenre of films told partially or entirely through computer and phone screens.
‘The Muppet Show’ (Disney+)
The Muppet Show is arguably the defining piece of Muppet media. Running for five seasons and with over one hundred episodes, the variety show features the original cast led by Jim Henson and Frank Oz.
The series was created following the success of Sesame Street, which had Henson looking to create a show that catered to an older audience. The result was a wacky and hilarious show within a show, as the Muppets try and often fail to put together sketches and musical numbers featuring a variety of guest stars.
‘I Care A Lot’ (Netflix)
Rosamund Pike is bringing the same energy she had in Gone Girl to her latest film, I Care A Lot. It’s a legal thriller with a side of black comedy along the lines of Better Call Saul, and it features an all star cast that includes Peter Dinklage, Eiza González, and Dianne Wiest.
The film is about a woman named Marla (Pike) who cons elderly people out of their money by getting herself appointed to be their legal guardian. Marla and her lover, Fran (González), have had tons of success with their scheme, but they soon find themselves in the sights of a gangster (Dinklage) who has ties to one of their victims (Wiest).
‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ (Hulu)
The Sonic the Hedgehog movie was one of the last big films to hit theaters before the COVID-19 pandemic shut things down last year. After Sonic’s design in the initial trailer was met with a flurry of online backlash, the movie faced a massive overhaul less than a year before its release.
As a welcome surprise, the film is a genuinely fun family adventure that manages to get the iconic video game character right. It follows Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) as he’s forced to flee his world and winds up on Earth, where he’s found by a small town police officer named Tom (James Marsden). Together, they have to stop the evil Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carey in classic form).
‘Heroes: Silence and Rock & Roll’ (Netflix)
This new music documentary hitting Netflix focuses on the Spanish rock band Héroes del Silencio, who started out small in Spain before reaching international success and acclaim. Comprised of Enrique Bunbury, Juan Valdivia, Joaquin Cardiel, and Pedro Andreu, the band conquered the world in the 80s and 90s before splitting up, and the film captures the group’s unprecedented and exhilarating career.
Héroes del Silencio has been compared to other rock acts like The Cult, Led Zeppelin, and Guns N’ Roses, and has worked with renowned producers such as Bob Ezrin. Applauded for their lyrics, arrangements, and rhythm, they’ve left a sizable impression on the genre.
‘Hot Ones: Season 1’ (HBO Max)
Hot Ones began as a YouTube series with a simple premise: The show’s host, Sean Evans, interviews a vast array of different celebrities as the two of them chow down on wings that get progressively spicier. The show has birthed several viral moments and memes, as well as a spin-off game show that aired on truTV. Evans also proves himself to be an excellent interviewer with interesting questions despite the gimmick of the show.
The version coming to HBO Max is the original series you can find on YouTube, but with most of the promotional material cut out to trim the episodes down to the more fun and and surprisingly insightful bits.
‘The Shape of Water’ (Hulu)
Guillermo del Toro has established himself as a master of his particular mixture of dark but heartfelt fantasy and monsters, having helmed films like Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, and Pacific Rim. His artistry finally received the recognition it deserved when he released The Shape of Water in 2017, which nabbed a whopping 13 Oscar nominations and walked away with four wins, including Best Picture, Production Design, Score, and Director for Del Toro himself.
It’s undoubtedly the strangest film to ever win Best Picture, and will likely remain that way for a good while. The story follows Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins), a mute woman who communicates through sign language and works as a cleaner in a secret government lab alongside her friend Zelda (Octavia Spencer). She discovers an intelligent amphibious creature (played by Doug Jones) being held captive in the lab, and the two outcasts begin to fall in love and eventually plan for an escape, all while avoiding the watchful eye of Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon), the U.S. colonel in charge of the facility.
‘The Ninth Configuration’ (Shudder)
William Peter Blatty is best known for writing The Exorcist, both the novel and the film’s screenplay. Following that monstrous success, he made his directorial debut with 1980’s The Ninth Configuration, a psychological horror film with a darkly humorous side.
A former marine (Stacy Keach) arrives at a mental asylum housed in a remote castle to run the facility and oversee treatments for the patients. There he attempts to rehabilitate them by allowing them to act out their craziest fantasies and desires. The film won the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay upon its release. As hilarious as it is disturbing and thought-provoking, this isn’t one to be overlooked.
‘Logan Lucky’ (Hulu)
Logan Lucky is a 2017 comedic heist film that flew under the radar when it was released, which is surprising considering its packed cast that includes Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Riley Keough, Daniel Craig, Seth MacFarlane, Katie Holmes, Hilary Swank, Katherine Waterston, and Sebastian Stan. The film follows a down-on-their-luck family as they attempt to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway during a NASCAR race using the tunnel system beneath it.
The film was directed by Steven Soderbergh, who’s known for his sharp and intelligent style as well as his more arthouse leanings. He’s best known for the Ocean’s Eleven series, Contagion, Magic Mike, Unsane, and High Flying Bird. Logan Lucky is a downbeat but witty and fun crime flick that stands out amongst the filmmaker’s resume.
Also streaming now:
Netflix – ‘Monsoon’, ‘The Crew’, ‘Animals on the Loose’, ‘Thus Spoke Kishinev Rohan’, ‘Tribes of Europa’
Hulu – ‘Lost Girls & Love Hotels’
Shudder – ‘Basket Case’, ‘Outcast’
HBO Max – ‘The Book of Eli’, ‘The Batman Complete Series’, ‘Static Shock Complete Series’
Amazon Prime Video – ‘Catfish’
CONTINUED WEEKLY EPISODES:
Not only is WandaVision the first Disney+ series from Marvel Studios, but it’s the first new piece of Marvel Studios content in over a year thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic derailing their movie release plans. That’s a lot to live up to, and WandaVision takes a big gamble by not being your typical superhero entertainment. Instead, it’s a homage to classic sitcoms of the 50’s onward, filmed in front of a live studio audience and all.
SPOILERS in the below Mid-Season catch-up & Trailer
Now that the series is halfway through, much of its cheery facade has been peeled back to reveal a more sinister mystery beneath. Several other characters from the MCU – including Thor’s Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings), Ant-Man’s Jimmy Woo (Randall Park), and Captain Marvel’s Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) – have joined the show to help discover the truth, and WandaVision’s second half is sure to keep the surprises coming. The first seven episodes are now streaming, with the final three arriving in the coming weeks.
COMING THIS WEEK:
Netflix – ‘Classmates Minus’, ‘Operation Finale’, ‘The Conjuring & The Conjuring 2’, ‘Pelé’, ‘Captain Fantastic’, ‘Our Idiot Brother’
Hulu – ‘Dredd’, ‘The United States vs. Billie Holiday’
Shudder – ‘One Missed Call’, ‘Open 24 Hours’, ‘The Dark and the Wicked’
Amazon Prime Video – ‘The Informer’
HBO Max – ‘Tom & Jerry’, ‘Argo’, ‘Blade Runner 2049’, ‘Lupe’