Disney+ launches its first animated series from Marvel Studios, Netflix releases some solid and unpredictable thrillers, and more in this week’s streaming guide
‘What If…?’ (Disney+)
The very first animated series from Marvel Studios, What If…? runs wild and plays loose with the sprawling cinematic universe that everyone knows. The series dives into the multiverse to show a variety of different timelines where major moments from the MCU play out differently, such as Agent Carter receiving the super soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers, Killmonger rescuing Tony Stark before he’s ever kidnapped by terrorists, and even an episode that involves superhero zombies. With a gorgeous cel-shaded animation style and an infinite amount of exciting and weird directions the show can go in, it’s sure to be a hit for Marvel fans.
‘Bleed With Me’ (Shudder)
Rowan (Lee Marshall), a vulnerable outsider, is thrilled when the seemingly perfect Emily (Lauren Beatty) invites her on a winter getaway to an isolated cabin in the woods. Trust soon turns to paranoia when Rowan wakes up with mysterious incisions on her arm. Haunted by dream-like visions, Rowan starts to suspect that her friend is drugging her and stealing her blood. She’s paralyzed by the fear of losing Emily, but she must fight back before she loses her mind. Bleed With Me is a psychological horror that juxtaposes tenderness and violence in an investigation of female intimacy and dangerous codependency.
‘The Paper Tigers’ (Netflix)
Written and directed by Quoc Bao Tran, who based this film on his personal experiences learning martial arts alongside his friends, The Paper Tigers follows three kung fu prodigies who have grown into washed-up, middle-aged men, now one kick away from pulling their hamstrings. But when their master is murdered, they must juggle their dead-end jobs, dad duties, and old grudges to avenge his death. Starring Alain Uy, Ron Yuan, and Mykel Shannon Jenkins, the film is full of heart and laughs and impressive action.
‘Reservation Dogs’ (Hulu)
Created by Taika Waititi and Sterlin Harjo, Reservation Dogs details the lives of four Indigenous teenagers – played by D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Deverey Jacobs, Paulina Alexis, and Lane Factor – in rural Oklahoma. The kids steal, rob, and save in order to get to the exotic, mysterious, and faraway land of California, where they hope to find better lives. Consistently hilarious, moving, and eye-opening, the series will premiere new episodes weekly on Hulu.
‘Shaman King’ (Netflix)
Shaman King follows the adventures of a 13-year-old shaman named Yoh Asakura and his teammate, a samurai warrior spirit, who traverse the world fighting evil spirits and misguided shamans on their journey to be the next Shaman King. The original manga series ran from 1998 to 2004 in Japan, and its popularity launched an anime adaptation back in 2001. While that series helped the franchise gain an even wider audience, it arguably didn’t honor the source material quite as well as it could have. This new series follows the manga much more closely that its predecessor, being outlined by Shaman King creator Hiroyuki Takei himself, and will consist of 52 episodes.
‘The Dead Pit’ (Shudder)
One of those so-bad-it’s-good movies, 1989’s The Dead Pit goes for gory and psychological scares in its story of a mental patient (Cheryl Lawson) forced to take on an undead serial killer (Danny Gochnauer). Some work, others not so much. But its consistently entertaining as hell, and an interesting premise for a slasher flick. Definitely a relatively unknown horror gem.
‘The Force’ (Hulu)
Peter Nick’s 2017 documentary The Force takes place at a powderkeg moment in American policing. The film goes deep inside the embattled Oakland Police Department as it struggles to confront federal demands for reform, the rise of Black Lives Matter and an explosive scandal within its ranks. Winner of the Documentary Directing Award at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, Nicks embedded with the department over the course of two years to follow its serial efforts to recast itself. The film focuses on the new chief brought in to effect reform at the very moment the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO sparks a popular uprising to demand police accountability and racial justice both in Oakland and across the nation. While far more dramatic things have happened in regards to American policing in the years since The Force‘s release, the film still serves as an incredible look into everything that led up recent events.
John David Washington stars in this new thriller from Italian filmmaker Ferdinando Cito Filomarino, playing the titular character of an American tourist vacationing in Greece. After a devastating accident, Beckett suddenly becomes the target of a deadly manhunt. He must find a way to reach the embassy in Athens while avoiding his captors, but only falls deeper into a conspiracy as political unrest continues to mount.
‘Slasher: Flesh & Blood’ (Shudder)
The anthology horror series Slasher – obviously inspired by the genre it takes its name from – has been all over the place. The original first season aired on the now defunct Chiller television network, its second and third season premiered on Netflix, and now its fourth iteration, Slasher: Flesh & Blood, is exclusively streaming on Shudder. This new season follows a wealthy, dysfunctional family that gathers for a reunion on a secluded island only to learn they’ll be pitted against one another in a cruel game of life and death, all while being stalked by a mysterious masked killer. Nothing is what it seems and no one is safe as the tension – and body count – ratchets up.
‘Brand New Cherry Flavor’ (Netflix)
A filmmaker heads to Hollywood in the early ‘90s to make her movie but tumbles down a hallucinatory rabbit hole of sex, magic, revenge – and kittens. Brand New Cherry Flavor – a new limited series coming to Netflix and starring Rosa Salazar, Catherine Keener, Eric Lange, Jeff Ward and Manny Jacinto – isn’t your average revenge story. It’s weird, terrifying, disgusting, and completely captivating. Might be the most unexpected thing you watch this year.
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. All sixteen episodes are now streaming and a second season has been announced.
Also streaming now:
Netflix – ‘Misha and the Wolves’, ‘Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild’, ‘Gone for Good’
Hulu – ‘The Party’, ‘Together Together’, ‘Homeroom’, ‘Held’, ‘The Virtuoso’, ‘The Waiting Room’
Shudder – ‘Bloodthirsty’
HBO Max – ‘A Different World’
Amazon Prime Video – ‘Evangelion: 3.0+1.01 Thrice Upon a Time’
COMING NEXT WEEK:
Netflix – ‘UNTOLD: Deal With the Devil’, ‘Black Island’, ‘Memories of a Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes’, ‘Nneka the Pretty Serpent’, ‘Gunshot’, ‘Sweet Girl’, ‘The Chair’, ‘The Loud House Movie’
Hulu – ‘The Hate U Give’, ‘Silo’, ‘The Skeleton Twins’, ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’, ‘The Marijuana Conspiracy’, ‘Unsane’, ‘Blast Beat’, ‘Jungleland’
Shudder – ‘Jakob’s Wife’, ‘A Field in England’, ‘Borgman’, ‘Dave Made a Maze’, ‘Anguish’
HBO Max – ‘Jurassic Park Trilogy’, ‘Godzilla vs Kong’, ‘Eyes on the Prize: Hallowed Ground’, ‘Reefa’, Half Brothers’, ‘Reminiscence’
Amazon Prime Video – ‘In Bruges’, ‘Annette’, ‘Killer Among Us’
Disney+ – ‘Eragon’