The Witcher makes a triumphant return to Netflix and plenty of dramatic thrills hit other streaming services this week
‘The Witcher (Season 2)’ (Netflix)
Henry Cavill returns for the second season of Netflix’s hit series The Witcher, based on the popular fantasy franchise. Whereas the first season acted as a prequel to the main Witcher saga and was told in a nonlinear narrative, this one will both be more streamlined as be based on the first two original novels, ‘Blood of Elves’ and ‘Time of Contempt’. It will consist of eight episodes, all of which are now available to stream.
Writer and director Dash Shaw airs out his grievances with late capitalism and neoliberalism with a colorful globe-trotting adventure set in a world full of mystical and magical creatures known as cryptids; everything from unicorns to Sasquatch to dragons are here, with many of them living in a supposed sanctuary known as the Cryptozoo. The film stars Lake Bell as Lauren Gray, an adventurer who has dedicated her life to the rescue and protection of cryptids. They’re routinely captured and sold on black markets, and once the U.S. government gets their hands on a particularly powerful one, it’s up to Lauren and a gorgon named Phoebe (Angeliki Papoulia) to stop them. Cryptozoo features some astounding feats of hand drawn animation, and rather pointed commentary on commercialization versus conservation.
‘My Heart Can’t Beat Unless You Tell It To’ (Shudder)
Dwight (Patrick Fugit) and his sister Jessie (Ingrid Sophie Schram) reach a crossroads over what to do about their younger brother Thomas’ (Owen Campbell) mysterious illness. The increasingly dangerous task of keeping him alive weighs heavy on sensitive Dwight, and as a fiercely private and close-knit family unit, Thomas and Jessie depend on him and the rituals they’ve learned in order to keep their secret. Dwight yearns for another life, but Jessie will stop at nothing to keep her family together.
‘Swan Song’ (AppleTV+)
Set in the near future, Swan Song is a powerful, emotional journey told through the eyes of Cameron (Mahershala Ali), a loving husband and father diagnosed with a terminal illness who is presented with an alternative solution by his doctor (Glenn Close) to shield his family from grief. As Cam grapples with whether or not to alter his family’s fate, he learns more about life and love than he ever imagined. Swan Song explores how far we will go, and how much we’re willing to sacrifice, to make a happier life for the people we love.
‘The Hand of God’ (Netflix)
From Academy Award-winning writer and director Paolo Sorrentino comes the story of a boy, Fabietto Schisa (Filippo Scotti), in the tumultuous Naples of the 1980s. The Hand of God is a story full of unexpected joys, such as the arrival of football legend Diego Maradona, and an equally unexpected tragedy. Fate plays its part, joy and tragedy intertwine, and Fabietto’s future is set in motion. Sorrentino returns to his hometown to tell his most personal story, a tale of fate and family, sports and cinema, love and loss. The film is Italy’s official submission for International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards.
A young woman (Chloe Grace Moretz) and her boyfriend (Algee Smith) go on a treacherous journey of escape as their country is caught in an unexpected war with artificial intelligence. Days away from the arrival of their first child, they must cross a stronghold of the android uprising, in hopes of reaching safety before giving birth.
‘Fast Color’ (Netflix)
Hunted by mysterious forces, a young woman (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) with supernatural abilities must go on the run when her powers are discovered. With nowhere else to go, she flees back to her family and the farmhouse she abandoned long ago. There, while being pursued by the local sheriff (David Strathairn), she begins to mend the broken relationships with her mother (Lorraine Toussaint) and daughter (Saniyya Sidney), and unearths the depths of the power within her.
‘Dead Asleep’ (Hulu)
From the award-winning director of Abducted in Plain Sight, Dead Asleep will take you through the true story of when a case of sleepwalking turned to murder. The documentary explores the case of a young man convicted of murdering his roommate… while sleepwalking.
‘All the Colors of Giallo’ (Shudder)
‘Giallo’ is Italian for ‘yellow’, the color of the lurid pulp novels that inspired one of the most intense, extreme and influential genres in movie history. Once you start going down the blood-slicked giallo rabbit hole, you may become dangerously obsessed. This documentary is a celebration of the horror genre and includes interviews by many of the genre’s greatest contributors.
‘Aggretsuko (Season 4)’ (Netflix)
The Aggretsuko series depicts the daily life of office worker Retsuko, who copes with her frustrations with her boss and co-workers by belting out death metal. In this new season, will Retsuko and Haida’s relationship finally move forward?
CONTINUED WEEKLY EPISODES:
‘Succession’ (HBO Max)
HBO has knocked it out of the park once again with Succession, a show that tracks the lives of the Roy family as they contemplate their future once their aging father (Brian Cox) begins to step back from the media and entertainment conglomerate they control. The first two seasons of the series quickly garnered praise for being one of the best new shows on television and has been showered with awards. The third miraculously looks like it’s only getting better as the Roys continue to vie for their father’s assets. All three seasons are now streaming in full.
Former Avenger Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) has a seemingly simple mission: get back to his family for Christmas. Possible? Maybe with the help of Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), a 22-year-old archer with dreams of becoming a superhero. The two are forced to work together when a presence from Barton’s past threatens to derail far more than the festive spirit. The first five episodes are now streaming with the finale coming next week.
Also streaming now:
Netflix – ‘Eye in the Sky’, ‘The Giver’, ‘The Hand of God’, ‘Darkest Hour’, ‘The Guardian’
Hulu – ‘Rising Wolf’, ‘Dead Asleep’, ‘Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman’, ‘The Nowhere Inn’
Shudder – ‘Joe Bob Ruins Christmas’, ‘Orgasmo’, ‘Knife of Ice’, ‘So Sweet So Perverse’, ‘A Quiet Place to Kill’, ‘All the Creatures Were Stirring’, ‘Rose Plays Julie’
HBO Max – ‘The Murders at Starved Rock’
Disney+ – ‘Ron’s Gone Wrong’
COMING NEXT WEEK:
Netflix – ‘Bulgasal: Immortal Souls’, ‘Oldboy’, ‘Don’t Look Up’, ‘The Silent Sea’, ‘Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous’
Hulu – ‘Dragons: The Nine Realms’
Shudder – ‘Etheria (Season 2)’
HBO Max – ‘The Matrix Resurrections’, ‘After the Sunset’, ‘Black Jesus’, ‘The Suicide Squad’
Amazon Prime Video – ‘Being the Ricardos’
Disney+ – ‘Encanto’, ‘King Tut in Color’, ‘Lost Tombs of the Pyramids’