A new take on a classic Disney villain arrives on Disney+, a throwback slasher from Brazil hits Shudder, a pair of acclaimed Netflix series return and more in this week’s streaming guide
‘Cruella’ (Disney+ Premier Access)
While Disney has certainly begun to wear out their live-action remake money-making scheme, Cruella is one of their more interesting ideas. For one, the titular Cruella de Vil from the animated classic 101 Dalmatians has already received the live-action makeover from Glenn Close in the late 90s remake and its sequel. Close serves as executive producer for this latest film alongside the new Cruella, Emma Stone. One of the writers for the film has worked with Stone before, in the 2018 Yorgos Lanthimos film The Favourite, which, if you haven’t seen, you really need to.
Cruella will follow the future puppy-stealing criminal during her early days when she dreamed of being a fashion designer, filled with ambition and determination. The film has earned itself a PG-13 rating, which is rare for a Disney film. In fact, it’s only the second live-action remake to receive one following last year’s Mulan.
‘Skull: The Mask’ (Shudder)
A throwback to slasher flicks of the 80s, Skull: The Mask is a blood splattering gorefest that has gruesome kills and one horrifying monster at the center of it.
The movie comes from Brazil, and it follows the destruction caused by an ancient and possessed mask that’s unearthed in the Amazon rainforest. The artifact is brought to São Paulo, where it takes control of anyone foolish enough to wear it, and sends them on a violent rampage. The only people that can stop it are a detective with a checkered past, a priest, and a member of a secret society tasked with keeping the mask’s evil at bay.
‘Ragnarok (Season 2)’ (Netflix)
A small Norwegian town experiencing warm winters and violent downpours seems to be headed for another Ragnarok — unless somebody intervenes in time.
The acclaimed Netflix series is back for its second series, following the adventures of a young man named Magne (David Stakston) who learns that he is the reincarnation of Thor himself. Magne must stop some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in Norway to save his town from irreversible disaster.
‘The Vigil’ (Hulu)
The Vigil takes place over the course of a single night as Yavok Ronen (Dave Davis) keeps watch over the body of a deceased community member. As the lights flicker and the shadows ebb and flow on the walls of the dilapidated house he’s staying in, the film settles into familiar but strong scare tactics to tell the tale of a haunted house and religious guilt.
The film marks the directorial debut for writer and director Keith Thomas and has received high praise for its successful scares and unique inspiration from Orthodox Judaism and demonology.
‘American Woman’ (Netflix)
Based on the 2003 novel of the same name by Susan Choi, American Woman is a fictitious take on the story of Patty Hearst, who became famous in the 70s following her kidnapping and supposed embrace of her captors’ ideology.
The film focuses on a young radical named Jenny Shimada (Hong Chau), a woman who acts against the government and is tasked with caring for three fellow fugitives and keeping them in hiding. One of them is Pauline (Sarah Gadon), the granddaughter of a wealthy newspaper tycoon.
2018’s Werewolf is heavy, both in terms of content, themes, and emotional weight. The movie follows eight children in the 1940s who have recently been liberated from the Nazi concentration camp they’ve been trapped in.
Orphaned and alone, the children only have each other, and must overcome hunger, thirst, and a ferocious pack of dogs that are roaming the forest. Their only refuge is a decrepit and abandoned mansion that they come across, and as they struggle to survive the harshness of the world, they’ll also fight to retain what’s left of their humanity.
Japanese animator and director Yasuhiro Irie has worked on beloved anime for decades now, contributing to series like Mobile Fighter G Gundam, Cowboy Bebop, Fullmetal Alchemist and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, among many others. His newest project for Netflix, Eden, is a four episode CGI anime about found family.
Thousands of years in the future, a city known as Eden is inhabited solely by artificially intelligent robots whose former masters vanished long ago. On a routine assignment, within the depths of the city, two maintenance robots accidentally awaken a human baby girl from stasis, questioning their belief that humans were a forbidden ancient myth. Together, the two robots secretly raise the child in a safe haven outside Eden.
‘The Machine’ (Shudder)
Set in a near future, The Machine sees the UK in a tense war with China, leading the Ministry of Defense to try and make AI robotic soldiers. But the scientists surpass their goals, creating a truly sentient life form that may not want to follow the government’s directives.
The newly birthed AI quickly stages a lethal takeover of the research facility, and recruits a group of cyborg veterans to assist it. The film has striking visuals and is filled with lofty ideas, making it one story about the follies of man and ever-advancing technology not to miss.
‘Cinderella Man’ (HBO Max)
There’s something about the dramas and triumphs of boxing movies that continues to resonate with us – how else could the Rocky / Creed franchise still be churning out hits? 2005’s Cinderella Man is based on the real life story of James J. Braddock, who once held the title of heavyweight boxing champion.
Directed by Ron Howard and starring Russel Crowe is one of his very best performances, the film goes through the darkest moments in Braddock’s life. At the onset of the Great Depression, the boxer suffered from chronic injuries that forced him out of the sport, and had to collect social assistance while working on the docks. It’s a powerful underdog story of resilience.
‘Lucifer (Season 5 Part 2)’ (Netflix)
Lucifer is one of the most powerful beings in the universe of DC comics, first appearing in Neil Gaiman’s iconic comic The Sandman before receiving his own spin-off. Originally premiering on Fox before moving to Netflix for its fourth season, the television series stars Tom Ellis in the titular role.
Lucifer has grown bored of his role serving as master of Hell, and decides to live on Earth in the city of Los Angeles. He runs a nightclub and also becomes a local detective, solving crimes and fighting off otherworldly threats that arrive to bother him in his newfound home.
CONTINUED WEEKLY EPISODES:
‘Star Wars: The Bad Batch’ (Disney+)
The Bad Batch is the latest of Star Wars’ various animated series, and the first to premiere on Disney+. Originally introduced in the prior series, The Clone Wars, the Bad Batch are a squad of clone troopers that had genetic mutations occur during the cloning process. This has given them unique abilities that other clones do not, and together they form an elite squadron to battle on the front lines of the war.
The series begins with the squad dealing with the galaxy-shattering events of Order 66 and the end of the Clone Wars. It will certainly be interesting to see what happened to the clone army in between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, and the series also introduces a new female clone named Omega (Michelle Ang) who joins the Bad Batch on their missions. The first five episodes are now streaming.
Also streaming now:
Netflix – ‘Home’, ‘Ghost Lab’, ‘Nail Bomber: Manhunt’
Hulu – ‘Neat: The Story of Bourbon’, ‘Plan B’
Shudder – ‘The Windmill’
COMING THIS WEEK:
Netflix – ‘Bo Burnham: Inside’, ‘Abduction’, ‘Bad Teacher’, ‘Cradle 2 the Grave’, ‘Million Dollar Baby’, ‘Love Jones’, ‘Ninja Assassin’, ‘Stand by Me’, ‘The Big Lebowski’, ‘The Wedding Guest’, ‘The Wind’, ‘Welcome Home’, ‘The Woman and the Gun’, ‘Sweet Tooth’, ‘Xtreme’
Hulu – ‘50/50’, ‘A Most Wanted Man’, ‘A Prayer for the Dying’, ‘The Adventures of Tintin’, ‘Alive’, ‘Across the Universe’, ‘Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid’, ‘Arachnophobia’, ‘Batman Begins’, ‘The Birdcage’, ‘The Blair Witch Project’, ‘Bloody Sunday’, ‘The Dark Knight’, ‘Face/Off’, ‘The Forbidden Kingdom’, ‘Jennifer’s Body’, ‘Kick-Ass’, ‘Kung Pow: Enter the Fist’, ‘The Last House on the Left’, ‘Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street’, ‘Wayne’s World 2’, ‘A Glitch in the Matrix’, ‘Night of the Kings’
Shudder – ‘Caveat’, ‘Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed’, ‘Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning’, ‘An American Werewolf in London’, ‘Eve’s Bayou’, ‘Burn, Witch, Burn!’, ‘Islands’, ‘Terror, Sisters!’, ‘Der Samurai’, ‘Thirst’, ‘Rift’
HBO Max – ‘The Aviator’, ‘Bangkok Dangerous’, ‘Black Rain’, ‘Bless the Child’, ‘The Conjuring 2’, ‘Doctor Sleep’, ‘Dr. Strangelove’, ‘Eyes Wide Shut’, ‘The Green Mile’, ‘The Harry Potter Series’, ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, ‘Kajillionare’, ‘Kung Fu Hustle’, ‘The Manhattan Project’, ‘Matchstick Men’, ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’, ‘Shazam!’, ‘Sherlock Holmes’, ‘Stoker’, ‘Three Days of the Condor’, ‘Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride’, ‘Wedding Crashers’, ‘The Wedding Singer’
Amazon Prime Video – ‘Burn After Reading’, ‘Chicken Run’, ‘Colombiana’, ‘Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story’, ‘Fight Club’, ‘Signs’, ‘Step Brothers’, ‘Take Shelter’, ‘The Wrestler’, ‘This Means War’, ‘We Own the Night’
Disney+ – ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’, ‘Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs’, ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’