If you cannot find something you want to watch today, you probably should not be watching television as there’s innovative animation (along with the return of an underrated traditional animated series), so many new streaming movies — including new ones from Spike Lee and Kenneth Branagh, the usual slate of Video on Demand led by Pete Davidson’s starring debut, and even a surprise new special from Dave Chappelle. So, in the immortal words of the Wang Chung Top 10 hit no one remembers, Let’s Go!
Crossing Swords [Hulu]
This Hulu series follows a good-hearted peasant dreaming of knighthood. When he becomes a squire at the royal castle, he learns his dream job isn’t everything he’d hoped it would be.
Dave Chappelle: 8:46 [Netflix]
A hallmark of the legendary comic’s career has been keeping us guessing. As with his penchant for dropping into comedy clubs for pop-up stints, his new Netflix special sneaked onto Netflix in the dead of night without promotion. In this case, it probably was genuine spontaneity because he has something to say about the country’s ingrained racism that has bubbled over between the murder of George Floyd, the police brutality following, and the president stoking the flames. Chappelle always has a unique take on our social contract, so this should be required viewing. That said, he still owes the trans community a better apology. [Correction: Although it’s on the Netflix YouTube page, this appears to currently only be available there]
F Is For Family [Netflix]
Netflix has had a big push in the animated world and it looks like now it will payoff. Season 4 of the premier streaming service’s 2nd longest running animated original series returns with all the family drama and cursing we’ve grown to love from Bill Burr. This season revolves around the birth of the newest Murphy member and how that will affect the dynamics of an already strained family life.
Harley Quinn [DC Universe]
Will Harley and Joker free the justice league in time to save the world from Dr. Psycho and Darkside? Will Ivy and Kitman salvage their wedding in the midst of a parademon attack? Granted those questions make this show seem like your standard superhero story, but trust me, there’s a lot going on here.
ALSO ON TAP TONIGHT:
- If you had asked us where the next Spike Lee joint would take us, we would have been hard-pressed to say the jungles of Vietnam, mid-quagmire. In Da 5 Bloods, four African American soldiers return to the war, each facing a different variety of human horrors. Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee, oh, Mr. Lee can be very-hit-or-very-miss, but early buzz on this one is that it’s quite great.
- Another powerful (and polarizing) director, Kenneth Branagh (aka the only Woody Allen who was more punch-worthy than the real Woody Allen), checks in with a flick that was supposed to be on screens courtesy of Disney, but has wound up on our smaller screens courtesy of its Plus service is Artemis Fowl. Its based on an Eoin Colfer novel about the scion of a criminal family who finds himself in an underground labyrinth of fairy tales.
- Half of the fun of Into The Dark movies is figuring out exactly what holiday it is that they are “celebrating” with their quirky horror. With the canine-gone-wild installment Into The Dark: Good Boy, we’ll be honest, we’re at a loss. It’s not Memorial Day, Father’s Day, or Flag Day. There is a Best Friend Day on June 8th, but it’s not about man’s best friend. It’s certainly not for National Peanut Butter Cookie Day. In any case, this one could be good as the incomparable Judy Greer plays a single gal afraid of turning 40 who adopts a small dog for companionship. But things take a turn when her rivals and enemies start turning up dead with tiny bite marks.
- Give that face, Shea Coulee, as you are one of the nine remaining queens on this interstitial RDR, Rupaul’s Drag Race All-Stars 5. It’s a great bunch and the twist that there’s one champ who has to battle a guest queen “assassin” in a lip sync battle to determine if they get to send a rival in the bottom two home seemed dumb at first, but drummed up some genuine drama as we awaited to see what former favorite was behind the screen as well as seeing what elements motivated the choices of who to send home. Also, it was fun to see last year’s champ, Yvie Oddly, again.
- We also see the return of Netflix’s first dating show, the one where in every episode one ready-for-anything single goes on five outings, Dating Around. This year’s “contestants” are Justin, Ben, Deva, Heather, Brandon, and Demi.
- Joseph Herbert has been making the comedy rounds for over a quarter of the century, but you may know him better as Jo Koy. While he’s never had a major movie or minor TV show, he’s one of the funnier standups working and has many specials on Netflix to prove it. His latest is Jo Koy: In His Elements.
- We’re always up for a thriller based on a Harlan Coben — and he writes a novel a year so there are many options. The Woods hails from Poland and is about four people who disappear into, well, it’s helpfully in the title.
- There’s always that moment when a channel with a specific purpose — be it MTV and music, Bravo with high culture, or The Learning Channel for learning — begins to stray away from that original plan. Reelz was created as a station dedicated to movies. However, their original series America’s Most Evil Killers, now going into its third season, is simply an ID-style examination of what makes deviant and violent men tick. Well, evil killers ARE a often found in movies, we suppose. As a long, black haired philosopher in the funny pages once said, ACK!
- And here we are at Lifetime again. Tonight’s tasty offering of original-movie-goodness is Dying For Motherhood. Welp, it’s Mother’s Day somewhere.
The VoD Trailer Round-Up
- Aviva – A gender-bending love story told mostly in dance and directed by Boaz Yakin. Hurrah! Quick warning: the trailer is super pretentious.
- Darkness Falls – Shawn Ashmore is a cop whose wife’s murder has him spiraling out of control (movie releasers, read the room!). The character’s name is Jeff Anderson, and while it’s not the Comic Book Guy, imagine the movie if it was.
- The Departure – Before embarking on a cross-country move, Nate enlists a friend to test his girlfriend’s love. Based on the trailer, it looks like the character chemistry of Birdemic meets the relatable lead of The Room.
- Exit Plan – Jamie Lannister (well, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is Max, a detective faced with an existential dilemma. Lucky for him, he lives in a dystopian land right out of Black Mirror, so there is an institute available to grant him access to suicide fantasies.
- For They Know Not What They Do – Donald Karslake’s documentary explores that treacherous intersection of religion and homophobia, focusing on young people who had to make the impossible choices between their family, their religion, and living life as the person they truly are.
- Infamous – Ariel & Dean go on a crime spree, which is normal fodder for thrillers, but the twist is the couple are Instagram influencer types, so millions are following along on social media.
- The King of Staten Island – Pete Davidson plays the role he was always meant to play. In the latest Judd Apatow flick, he portrays Scott Carlin, but for all intents and purposes, it’s Pete. Believe it or not, it’s not even the first film co-written by a current SNL‘er based on their childhood with Staten Island in its title.
- Marona’s Fantastic Tale – An artsy, beautiful French animated film about a labrador who brightens a number of people’s lives. We’ll can the sarcasm and just be honest — this sounds amazing.
- Pioneers of Queer Cinema – When we think of LGBTQ movie history, we might hearken back to the 1960s and the days of Stonewall, but this collection shines a light on movies from the Silent and Golden ages.
- Sometimes Always Never – How is this the second film in less than a month to throw together a bunch of adverbs AND have both “always” and “never” in the title? That seems deliberately confusing and now is JUST not the time, movie people! This one is from the UK and features Bill Nighy in a quirky dramedy about family.
- The Soul Collector – This slow burn thriller takes place on a farm and features a family who meet a seemingly gentle former owner, but of course, said owner has a dark secret in a soul-eating child. Given the race of the family and that of the attacker, this is another film that maaaaaaybe could not have been released just now.
- The Surrogate – A Brooklyn graphic designer bears the child of her best friend and his husband. Unfortunately a few months in, they find something out about the child that devastates but also builds the friendship. Thankfully, it’s (probably) not a soul-eating demon. The early reviews are very, very good.