Both Shudder and Netflix serve up two separate homages to the glory days of slashers, Prime Video launches a new sci-fi action epic with leading man Chris Pratt, and much more in this week’s streaming guide
‘Vicious Fun’ (Shudder)
Shudder’s latest original lives up to its name. A bloody and amusing tribute to the golden era of slasher movies, Vicious Fun is about a horror movie critic named Joel (Evan Marsh) who ends up getting trapped in a self-help group for serial killers. Joel has try and blend in with this deadly bunch and survive the night. Needless to say, things get wild and violent rather quickly. Horror fans would be wise to check this one out, it’s a good and pretty funny time.
‘The Tomorrow War’ (Amazon Prime Video)
Filmmaker Chris McKay, who directed The Lego Batman Movie (one of the best to ever star the Dark Knight), makes his live-action debut with The Tomorrow War, a sci-fi action epic starring Chris Pratt. Pratt plays a veteran turned family man who’s struggling to find purpose in his life when one day, a time portal opens up and soldiers from the future come rushing out. The future is overrun by vicious alien monsters, and in a desperate attempt to save the world, soldiers from the past must be drafted to assist in the future war. It’s Independence Day with some time travel, basically.
‘Fear Street: 1994’ (Netflix)
While R.L. Stine is best known for his children’s horror series Goosebumps, his Fear Street books aimed at teenagers has also been immensely successful. Netflix is releasing an entire trilogy of movies based on the series all in one month, with Part One: 1994 premiering this week and the following chapters -1978 and 1666 – coming out in the following two weeks. Taking place in the town of Shadyside, where violent rampages by bizarre killers are morbidly commonplace, a group of teenagers are forced to fight for their lives when they unleash the town’s ancient curse. 1994 is a fun start to the trilogy and has some absolute bangers in it. Nine Inch Nails, The Prodigy, White Zombie…ah, good times.
‘Summer of Soul’ (Hulu)
Directed by Questlove, Summer of Soul is a documentary about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. The festival, which lasted for a whopping six weeks and featured legendary performers like Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Sly and the Family Stone, The 5th Dimension, and more, was relatively unknown to pop culture for decades. With beautiful and historical footage from the festival shown for the first time, the documentary is a moving portrait of a landmark moment for music.
‘America: The Motion Picture’ (Netflix)
Check the voice cast on this thing: Channing Tatum, Jason Mantzoukas, Olivia Munn, Judy Greer, Bobby Moynihan, Raoul Max Trujillo, Killer Mike, Andy Samberg, Will Forte, Simon Pegg and more. America: The Motion Picture is a wildly profane and action-packed retelling of the Founding Fathers and the American Revolution. Just don’t expect any kind of historical accuracy, this ain’t that. The movie comes from Matt Thompson, who is best known for his work directing A LOT of episodes of Archer. It’s written by David Callaham who also has quite the resume – The Expendables, Godzilla, Ant-Man, and the upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. It’s gonna be tough to top this one in terms of ridiculousness.
‘Near Dark’ (Shudder)
1987’s Near Dark is Academy award winning filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow’s debut feature. Before Point Break, The Hurt Locker, and Zero Dark Thirty, Bigelow made a movie about a young man (played by Adrian Pasdar) who falls in love with what turns out to be a vampire (Jenny Wright) and becomes entangled in her undead family. It’s gained a cult following for its creepy and poetic mashup of different genres like horror, Westerns, and family dramas.
‘Bill & Ted Face the Music’ (Hulu)
Bill & Ted Face the Music reunites Alex Winters and Keanu Reeves for a third hilarious film in the series. In this one, the dynamic duo must write a song to unify humanity before all of space-time falls apart. But instead of writing it, they decide to travel through time to steal it from their older selves. The film is a very worthy sequel, and features another badass soundtrack that includes Big Black Delta, Mastodon, Weezer, Lamb of God, and more.
‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ (HBO Max)
Judas and the Black Messiah is a biographical film that details the life of Fred Hampton, an often unsung figure of the civil rights movement. Hampton was chairman of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s, and when his activism led to the formation of the Rainbow Coalition – which joined various street gangs together to end violence and work for social change – he was assassinated by the FBI. He was only 21 years old. If you missed the Oscar winning film’s initial month-long engagement on HBO Max, the film is finally back on the streaming service.
Written and directed by Michael Mann and based on the novel Red Dragon by Thomas Harris, Manhunter follows an FBI profiler named Will Graham (William Peterson). Graham is forced out of retirement to help track down a serial killer known as the Tooth Fairy. An incredibly stylish psychological thriller, it focuses on the forensic work carried out by the FBI to track down killers and shows the long-term effects that cases like this have on profilers such as Graham.
‘Killing Them Softly’ (Netflix)
Killing Them Softly is an incredibly underrated crime thriller with a wicked sense of humor. Directed by Andrew Dominik, the film kicks off with a trio of dumb small-time crooks who successfully rob a card game being run by the Mob. The crooks are then promptly pursued by a deadly efficient pair of hitmen, Jackie (Brad Pitt) and Mickey (James Gandolfini). Darkly entertaining with some smart and challenging themes, this is not one to continue to sleep on.
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 ten episodes are now streaming.
The latest Marvel series to launch on Disney+ following WandaVision and The Falcon & the Winter Soldier, Loki puts the god of mischief front and center. Tom Hiddleston has been stealing scenes since appearing as the character in the first Thor movie, and while Loki did die at the hands of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, a new one from an alternate timeline was created during the time travel hijinks of Avengers: Endgame.
The six episode series has Loki captured by the Time Variance Authority, an organization that maintains the timeline. They give the trickster god a choice: face being erased from existence due to being a “time variant”, or help fix the timeline and stop a greater threat. Micheal Waldron serves as head writer for the show, who is best known for his work on Community and Rick and Morty, and will also co-write the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The first four episodes are now streaming.
Also streaming now:
Netflix – ‘Lying and Stealing’, ‘Prime Time’, ‘Audible’, ‘Dynasty Warriors’, ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’, ‘Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway’, ‘Ophelia’, ‘Underworld: Awakening’
Hulu – ‘Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters’, ‘Jack Reacher’, ‘127 Hours’, ‘28 Days Later’, ‘28 Weeks Later’, ‘68 Kill’, ‘78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene’, ‘Australia’, ‘Bad Teacher’, ‘Band Aid’, ‘Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest’, ‘Beetlejuice’, ‘Big Fish’, ‘Blue Sky’, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘Breakdown’, ‘Caddyshack’, ‘Carnage Park’, ‘The Condemned’, ‘The Cured’, ‘Enemy at the Gates’, ‘Fargo’, ‘Galaxy Quest’, ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’, ‘The House That Jack Built’, ‘Knowing’, ‘The Mask’, ‘Open Water’, ‘Robocop’, ‘Stand by Me’, ‘Taken’, ‘The Terminator’, ‘Underworld’
Shudder – ‘Burnt Offerings’, ‘Creepshow’, ‘Thirteen Ghosts’
HBO Max – ‘8 Mile’, ‘Blackhat’, ‘Demolition Man’, ‘Disturbia’, ‘Firestarter’, ‘House on Haunted Hill’, ‘Planet of the Apes’, ‘The Punisher’, ‘Rambo’, ‘Reservoir Dogs’, ‘Scream’, ‘Trick ‘R Treat’, ‘Westworld’
Amazon Prime Video – ‘30 Days of Night’, ‘Alien’, ‘30 Minutes or Less’, ‘Absence of Malice’, ‘Crimson Tide’, ‘Frozen River’, ‘Hellboy’, ‘I, Robot’, ‘Marie Antoinette’, ‘Money Train’, ‘On the Waterfront’, ‘Patton’, ‘Phone Booth’, ‘Premonition’, ‘Rear Window’, ‘Snatch’, ‘The International’, ‘The Last King of Scotland’, ‘The Mask of Zorro’, ‘The Messengers’, ‘Vertigo’
Disney+ – ‘The Sandlot’
COMING THIS WEEK:
Netflix – ‘Fear Street: 1978’, ‘I Think You Should Leave (Season 2)’, ‘Brick Mansions’, ‘Elize Matsunaga: Once Upon A Crime’, ‘Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness’
Hulu – ‘Dreamcatcher’, ‘Leave No Trace’, ‘In a World…’, ‘Moffie’, ‘Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar’
Shudder – ‘Son’, ‘The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane’, ‘Terror Train’, Death Ship’, ‘Pledge Night’, ‘Sorority House Massacre’, ‘Day of the Dead’, ‘Horsehead’
HBO Max – ‘Let Him Go’, ‘Shiva Baby’, ‘Human Capital’, ‘The Hunt’
Amazon Prime Video – ‘Surf’s Up’, ‘Our Friend’
Disney+ – ‘Black Widow’