James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad explodes onto HBO Max, Shudder releases a fresh werewolf flick, and the latest and best from Nicolas Cage hits video on demand
‘The Suicide Squad’ (HBO Max)
2016’s Suicide Squad introduced audiences to several memorable characters from the DC roster and was a considerable box office success, but that didn’t stop a severe backlash from critics and fans alike towards the film’s quality. This new iteration will be a standalone sequel, and replacing original director David Ayer is none other than James Gunn, the man behind Guardians of the Galaxy. Several characters from the first film return but the cast is largely new blood, including John Cena as Peacemaker, Idris Elba as Bloodsport, and Sylvester Stallone as a literal anthropomorphic shark named King Shark. Just like the first film, the plot features a team of imprisoned supervillains who are sent by the government on covert missions that will likely end in their deaths. Gunn’s style of humor, action, and heart just may shine its brightest here.
Twenty-something Teddy (Anthony Bajon) lives in a foster home and works as a temp in a massage parlor. A scorching hot summer begins and Teddy is scratched by a beast in the woods: the wolf that local angry farmers have been hunting for months. As weeks go by, animal impulses soon start to overcome the young man. It’s a sort of werewolf tale that deals with coming-of-age anxieties and features some exceedingly vibrant body horror that’s sure to make you squirm. It’s also darkly funny.
Nicolas Cage delivers one of the most moving and inspired performances of his vast and eclectic career in Michael Sarnoski’s Pig. Cage plays a quiet hermit named Rob who spends his days with his beloved pig out alone in the forest. The two search for truffles together, which Cage sells to a young entrepreneur called Amir (Alex Wolff) who arrives every week from the city to pick them up. One fateful and terrifying night, someone breaks into Rob’s remote cabin and kidnaps his pig, forcing the solitary man to venture into the city – dragging Amir with him – and hunt down whoever took his companion. What might seem like a revenge thriller along the lines of John Wick eventually gives way to a genuinely beautiful and poignant exploration of loss and what matters in life. The film constantly veers off in completely different directions than you’re expecting and is one of the very best movies of the year so far.
‘The Final Girls’ (Hulu)
When Max (Taissa Farmiga) and her friends reluctantly attend a screening of “Camp Bloodbath,” an infamous ‘80s cult horror film that starred Max’s late mother (Malin Akerman), they are accidentally sucked into the silver screen. They soon realize they’re trapped inside the movie and must team up with the horny, Reagan-era idiot “Camp Bloodbath” counselors – including Max’s mom as the shy scream queen – to battle the film’s machete-wielding killer, Billy Murphy (Daniel Norris). Face to face with her mother for the first time in years, Max has a second chance not only to see her, but to save her, and with the help of her friends, get back home before Billy kills them all. The Final Girls also stars Adam DeVine, Thomas Middleditch, Alia Shawkat, Angela Trimbur, Alexander Ludwig and Nina Dobrev, and is a unique and funny take on classic slashers.
‘Hit & Run’ (Netflix)
In this new action thriller from Isreal, the life of a happily married man (Lior Raz) is turned upside down when his wife is killed in a mysterious hit and run accident in Tel Aviv. Grief-stricken and confused, he searches for his wife’s killers. With the help of an ex-lover (Sanaa Lathan), he uncovers disturbing truths about his beloved wife and the secrets she kept from him. The nine episode series comes from Raz and Avi Issacharoff, the duo behind Fauda, which is currently streaming on Netflix and is one of the biggest successes in Israeli television.
‘Nurse 3D’ (HBO Max)
By day Abby Russell (Paz de la Huerta) is a dedicated nurse, someone you wouldn’t hesitate to trust your life with. But by night, her real work begins…using her smoldering sexuality she lures cheating men to their brutal deaths and exposes them for who they really are. When a younger nurse named Danni (Katrina Bowden) starts to suspect Abby’s actions and compromises her master plan, Abby must find a way to outsmart her long enough to bring a certain man to justice to justice. This 2013 erotic horror thriller is just trashy enough to be good and gruesome fun.
‘Knowing’ (Amazon Prime Video)
This underrated Nicolas Cage flick comes from director Alex Proyas (The Crow, I, Robot) and is an impressively intense apocalyptic tale. Fifty years after it was buried in a time capsule, a cryptic document falls into the hands of Caleb Koestler (Chandler Canterbury), the son of professor John Koestler (Nicolas Cage). John figures out that the encoded message accurately lists every major disaster from the past five decades, and predicts three future calamities – one a global cataclysm. When his warnings fall on deaf ears, John enlists the help of the prophetic author’s daughter (Rose Byrne) and granddaughter (Lara Robinson) to try to avert the ultimate disaster.
‘Cocaine Cowboys: The Kings of Miami’ (Netflix)
Fifteen years after the release of his original cult classic film comes director Billy Corben’s Cocaine Cowboys: The Kings of Miami – a six-part saga on the South Florida traffickers indicted in one of the largest drug cases in U.S. history. Alleged to be the chief U.S. distributors for two of Colombia’s biggest cartels, Cuban exiles Augusto “Willy” Falcon and Salvador “Sal” Magluta were accused of smuggling over 75 tons of cocaine into the U.S. in the 1980s. The high school friends built a reputed $2 billion empire that made Willy and Sal, aka “Los Muchachos,” two of Miami’s biggest celebrities. While law enforcement plotted their takedown, the world champion powerboat racers managed to skillfully outrun and outmaneuver prosecution for decades before the chase finally came to an end. Featuring colorful interviews with those closest to them, their defense team, and the Feds tasked with taking them down, the series paints a vivid portrait of the last of Miami’s “Cocaine Cowboys”.
‘The Swarm’ (Netflix)
Virginie (Suliane Brahim) lives on a farm with her children Laura (Marie Narbonne) and Gaston (Raphael Romand) and raises locusts as a high-protein crop. Life is hard: money worries and practical problems are piling up, tensions with her kids and neighbors are running high. But everything changes when she discovers the locusts have a taste for blood. Mixing elements of fantasy, horror and family drama, The Swarm is a powerful slowburn that leads to a thrilling conclusion.
1988’s cult classic Pumpkinhead marked the directorial debut of special effects legend Stan Winston and despite a poor reception at the box office, the story of giant revenge demon still managed to gain enough of a following to launch its own horror franchise. A reboot of this overlooked gem is set to be produced by Peter Block, best known for his work on the Saw franchise.
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 fifteen episodes are now streaming with the finale premiering next week.
Also streaming now:
Netflix – ‘The Vault’, ‘30 Rock’, ‘Beowulf’, ‘Catch Me If You Can’, ‘Darwin’s Game’, ‘Deep Blue Sea’, ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’, ‘Friday Night Lights’, ‘Hunter X Hunter (Season 6)’, ‘Inception’, ‘Magnolia’, ‘Pineapple Express’, ‘Space Cowboys’, ‘The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia’, ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’, ‘The Losers’, ‘The Machinist’, ‘The Net’, ‘Top Secret UFO Projects: Declassified’, ‘Aftermath’, ‘Vivo’
Hulu – ‘21’, ‘30 Days of Night’, ‘30 Minutes or Less’, ‘Attack the Block’, ‘The Beast Within’, ‘Black Swan’, ‘Blood Games’, ‘The Blood on Satan’s Claw’, ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’, ‘Christina’s House’, ‘Contagion’, ‘First Knight’, ‘The Grudge’, ‘Gunfight at the O.K. Corral’, ‘Heart of Midnight’, ‘Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party’, ‘Henry V’, ‘Hondo’, ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’, ‘It’s Kind Of a Funny Story’, ‘Mad Max’, ‘Miami Blues’, ‘Mud’, ‘My Bloody Valentine’, ‘Naz & Maalik’, ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’, ‘Roadhouse 66’, ‘Rudy’, ‘Shane’, ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’, ‘The Sons of Katie Elder’, ‘Special Effects’, ‘Spellbinder’, ‘Thelma & Louise’, ‘The Thin Red Line’, ‘Transcendence’, ‘Watchmen’, ‘Princess Cyd’
Shudder – ‘Dolls’, ‘Witchfinder General (aka The Conqueror Worm)’, ‘Dead Calm’, ‘Good Manners’
HBO Max – ‘2 Days in the Valley’, ‘A Mighty Wind’, ‘A Walk Among the Tombstones’, ‘Basic Instinct’, ‘Best in Show’, ‘Betrayal at Attica’, ‘The Birdcage’, ‘Black Death’, ‘Blue Ruin’, ‘Changeling’, ‘Chasing Mavericks’, ‘Collateral’, ‘Constantine’, ‘Deep Cover’, ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’, ‘The Double’, ‘Empire of the Sun’, ‘The Fugitive’, ‘The Great Gatsby’, ‘Heaven Can Wait’, ‘Hitchcock’, ‘Horror of Dracula’, ‘Humpday’, ‘Imperium’, ‘Joe’, ‘Julia’, ‘Last Action Hero’, ‘Malcolm X’, ‘Mean Streets’, ‘Mr. Soul!’, ‘One Hour Photo’, ‘Popeye’, ‘The Pope of Greenwich Village’, ‘Red’, ‘Requiem for a Dream’, ‘Scary Movie’, ‘The Score’, ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, ‘Spawn’, ‘The Spirit’, ‘The Square’, ‘Stand and Deliver’, ‘Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo’, ‘Vice’, ‘Woodstock (Director’s Cut)’
Amazon Prime Video – ‘Aliens’, ‘Anaconda’, ‘Borat’, ‘Die Hard 2: Die Harder’, ‘Escape from Alcatraz’, ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’, ‘Hook’, ‘In Her Shoes’, ‘Jaws (All 4 films)’, ‘La Bamba’, ‘Machete’, ‘Moneyball’, ‘Patriot Games’, ‘Predator’, ‘Predator 2’, ‘Secret Window’, ‘Sideways’, ‘Slither’, ‘The Insider’, ‘The Natural’, ‘The Taking of Pelham 123’, ‘Val’
Disney+ – ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’
COMING NEXT WEEK:
Netflix – ‘The Paper Tigers’, ‘Shaman King’, ‘Misha and the Wolves’, ‘Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild’, ‘Beckett’, ‘Brand New Cherry Flavor’, ‘Gone for Good’
Hulu – ‘The Party’, ‘Reservation Dogs’, ‘Together Together’, ‘Homeroom’, ‘The Force’, ‘Held’, ‘The Virtuoso’, ‘The Waiting Room’
Shudder – ‘Bleed With Me’, ‘The Dead Pit’, ‘Bloodthirsty’
HBO Max – ‘A Different World’
Amazon Prime Video – ‘Evangelion: 3.0+1.01 Thrice Upon a Time’
Disney+ – ‘What If…?’