Every week, highly anticipated and totally unexpected gems appear on the major streaming services. We comb the “recently added” lists on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant, Crackle, and Spotify, so you don’t have to.
The Iceman (Netflix)
No, this isn’t a spin off of Val Kilmer’s character in Top Gun. This is the true story of Robert Kuklinski, who killed over a hundred people for the mob – with a lot less homoerotic tension. Weirdly, there are still a lot of oiled up volleyball scenes. No there aren’t.
A true story, Tom Hardy plays a guy that robs a post office and gets seven years in prison. When he ends up in solitary for 30 years his personality is taken over by an alter ego, that of Charles Bronson. Sounds like someone has a Death Wish.
Red Dawn – 2012 remake (Netflix)
North Korea invades American soil? Seriously? When the original was made the U.S.S.R. was a legitimate threat. But North Korea? They’re tiny. Plus, Dennis Rodman’s their Secretary of State. Not buying it.
Jim Norton: American Degenerate (Netflix)
This is the perfect antidote to whoever it is at your Thanksgiving table that just won’t quit with the jokes. Just telling him or her that they aren’t funny might hurt feelings, but Jim Norton is indisputably funnier than they are. So throw this on, and shut your family holiday jokester right up.
World’s Greatest Dad (Netflix)
When Robin Williams’ son dies in a freak accident, he writes a suicide note to spare his son embarrassment. Directed by Bobcat Goldthwait, thee of Shakes the Clown fame, this is another darkly funny movie that you’ll feel a little bad about laughing at. But you’ll still probably laugh.
Simon Amstell: Numb Live (Hulu)
Simon Amstell is a very funny British comedian. But this is Thanksgiving. In America. So screw that noise. Not this weekend, Amstell! USA! USA!
Spring Breakers (Amazon Instant)
James Franco plays a drug dealer who takes the girls from the Disney channel under his wing as they rob a bunch of people and have a bunch of sex. Much like actual Spring Break, you’ll need a shower after and will regret a lot of it, but you’ll also enjoy it.
Despicable Me 2 (Amazon Instant)
Steve Carell is back and so are the minions. Perfect for Thanksgiving, it’s a kids’ movie the adults can enjoy.
I would like to tell you more about Anonymous, but I haven’t been able to pin down any details. One might even call it … incognito. Just kidding! This is an odd turn by Mega-Director Rolan Emmerich, who is best known for gigantic blockbusters like White House Down and The Day After Tomorrow. Anonymous is a quiet little conspiracy flick based on the idea that William Shakespeare never existed. With huge explosions. Just kidding!
Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Netflix)
Mystery Science Theater 3000 made ripping on movies an art form. They’re always hilarious. If you haven’t seen them before you owe it to yourself. You are my Rosebud MST3K.
Killing Season (Netflix)
John Travolta and Robert De Niro are both vets of the Bosnian War who aim to settle a score in the Appalachian Mountains. Remember when either of them would say no to a script? They’ve been in some real stinkers lately. Say it with me Bobby: “Noooo. Noooo.” Good.
Joan Rivers: Don’t Start With Me (Hulu)
Joan Rivers is a comedy icon. Sure she tried to screw over the writers on her show, and she’s had more plastic surgery than all the Real Housewives combined. That doesn’t change the fact that she proved to be funnier and tougher than the guys before Sarah Silverman’s and Kathy Griffin’s balls dropped.
The Chosen One (Crackle)
Rob Schneider plays a man chosen by god to save mankind from it’s own destruction, kind of like a modern Noah. I don’t know about you, but he’s kind of the last guy I’d pick if I were god. Just saying “infallible” might be a stretch. We all make mistakes. The film is surprisingly heartfelt considering Schneider’s involvement, who, let’s face it – Daniel Day-Lewis he ain’t.
Against All Odds (Crackle)
An 80’s classic. A skinny Jeff Bridges plays an ex-professional football player hired to find a gangster’s girlfriend, then falls in love with her. And she’s the only one who ever really knew him at all.
Jagged Edge (Crackle)
Another 80’s classic starring Jeff Bridges. He plays a wealthy San Francisco businessman accused of killing his wife. He hires Glenn Close as his lawyer and a love affair grows. I remember seeing this movie as a kid. It scared the bejeezus out of me, so much so that I took a bat with me to the bathroom. They don’t make suspenseful whodunits like this anymore. So now I just take my mitt.
Fast & Furious 6 (Amazon Instant)
Faster and more furious. The whole gang returns as – ya know what? Do you really need to know the plot? There’s a bunch of car chases and ridiculous stunts. If you’d like to turn your brain off for two hours here’s your chance.
The Wolverine (Amazon Instant)
Hugh Jackman plays the real man of steel yet again. The latest version is less a sequel to the 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine and more a reboot. Gone is director Gavin Hood, replaced by James Mangold, director of Walk the Line. Don’t worry, Wolverine doesn’t sing.
Dirty Business (Netflix)
Apparently the coal industry is bad for the environment. Huh. Not gonna lie. Did not see that coming. But thanks to Rolling Stone’s Jeff Goodell and Peter Bull’s documentary I now know the facts. Maybe I should stop buying soap from Kingsford.
Only God Forgives (Netflix)
This action-thriller about a drug-smuggler in the Bangkok underwold who seeks revenge after his brother’s killed, pairs sir handsomeness, Ryan Gosling back together with Nicolas Winding Refn, the director of Drive. Bad news: It’s not as good. Good news: Drive is also available on Netflix.
The latest Bond film starring Daniel Craig as a less debonair, more brutish Bond has him fighting a wild and dangerous ex-MI6 agent, played by Javier Bardem, who wreaks havoc on the agency. We learn more about Bond’s childhood, which is surprisingly derivative of Bruce Wayne’s, but we also get all the cool stuff we expect in a Bond movie – explosions, car chases, and a stunning romantic lead. But all that is secondary; see this movie for Bardem, who redefines creepy with his performance.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (Netflix)
While the Pirates series has lost its way and the 47th sequel, Dead Men Tell No Tales is expected in 2015, if you haven’t seen the movie that started it all, you should. Johnny Depp is incredible as Jack Sparrow, the effects are great, and it’s a thousand times more interesting than the Disneyland ride that the franchise is somehow based on. Plus, no lines!
What are Danny Glover and Sean Astin doing in this movie? One of Crackle’s first original feature films, it’s about a U.S. Black Ops soldier who has to fight his way out of a Chechen prison filled with terrorists. It looks and feels much like one of those soft-core B-movies you catch on Showtime late at night, yet without all of the boobs. And if there are no boobs, don’t the terrorists win?
You Don’t Mess with the Zohan (Crackle)
Israel’s most dangerous Mossad agent, played by Adam Sandler, fakes his own death in order to follow his true passion: being a hairdresser. He moves to New York and wackiness ensues. It’s not Billy Madison or Happy Gilmore of course, but fans of Sandler should appreciate one of the few times he doesn’t play a man-child.
Man of Steel (Amazon Instant)
Anyone who saw director Zack Snyder’s 300 knows what to expect from his reimagining of Superman: the film looks amazing, and the trailer is totally awesome. As for the rest of the movie … Look, people of a certain age know that Christopher Reeve is the one and only son of Jor-El. There’s no way Snyder was going to make a version that had the humor or charm of Richard Donner’s 1978 classic. But if you’re a fan of Synder’s, that’s probably not what you’re looking for anyway.
Red 2 (Amazon Instant)
Bruce Willis and his group of ‘long in the tooth’ ex-spies, find themselves back in action as they search the globe for a missing nuke. This is the sequel to Red, which became a surprise hit due to its perfect mix of humor and action. It’s the thinking man’s The Expendables, which, ironically, also stars Willis.
13 Assassins (Amazon Instant)
A small group of assassins come together to kill a really bad guy, from director Takashi Miike. There’s lots of swordplay, martial arts, and general kicking of ass. If this kind of stuff interests you, 13 Assassins will not disappoint. If it doesn’t, well, I think you need to reevaluate where and how you find joy, because … swordplay! Come on.
The TV movie starring Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, and a cast of a thousand sharks, took the Twitter-verse by storm with an Ed Wood-like embrace of its terribleness. Watching sharks fly through the air and terrorize LA is absolutely worth watching despite the fact that you won’t get through the whole movie. This is the online streaming version of channel surfing; watch it for 20 minutes, then switch it to the Aziz Ansari special. But my favorite thing about Sharknado might be the fact it’s really about a hurricane.
Bobcat Goldthwait: You Don’t Look the Same Either (Hulu)
It’s kind of a strange realization, but Bobcat Goldthwait is the breakout star from the Police Academy movies. Back then I would’ve bet on Michael Winslow. Goldthwait, who you likely think of as just the poor man’s Sam Kinison, is actually much more. Besides being a great stand up, he’s an even better director with TV credits like Maron, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and Chappelle’s Show. Plus, he directed the “Citizen Kane of alcoholic clown movies.”
Groundhog Day (Crackle)
The story of Phil Connors, a weatherman who keeps reliving the same day over and over again, is some of Bill Murray’s finest work and a comedy classic even if director Harold Ramis and Murray haven’t spoken since. If you haven’t already seen it … you make me sad. Do it now, with a Sweet Vermouth on the rocks with a twist.
The Karate Kid (Crackle)
This is the good one, with Ralph Macchio as Danny Larusso and Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi. Sure, Elizabeth Shue looks ten years older than Macchio, but if you prefer the Jaden Smith version you’re either a child or have the mind of a child. Either way, you’re wrong. Put him in a body bag, Johnny!
Flight (Amazon Instant)
The role of an alcoholic airline pilot led to an Oscar nomination for Denzel Washington. Good on you, Denzel, but despite what Hollywood thinks, the film is disjointed and melodramatic. It feels like an afterschool special. Hey kids, don’t drink. I will say, director Robert Zemeckis really does know how to film a plane crash scene, but haven’t we seen him do that before?
Abduction (Amazon Instant)
Taylor Lautner in an action movie directed by the ghost of John Singleton? Man, you Twihards will watch anything, won’t you? Well, a few minutes of this thing will have you joining Team Edward in a flash.
Road House (Amazon Instant)
Patrick Swayze plays James Dalton, the world’s best bouncer, who comes into the small town of Jasper, Missouri with the goal of turning around a little saloon. He soon discovers that the town’s run by a corrupt businessman with his hands in everyone’s pocket. When Swayze refuses to play ball with the guy, it ignites a war in town that is absurdly violent and completely unnecessary. There’s lots of kicking ass, Sam Elliott plays Sam Elliott, and Kelly Lynch is incredible looking. Basically, it’s a perfect movie.
Aziz Ansari: Buried Alive (Netflix)
Another example of a popular comedian usurping the traditional broadcast networks, Aziz’s brand spanking new comedy special is now on Netflix. The guy that brought us Randy in Funny People, told us stories about his fat little cousin, and loves Kanye almost as much as Kanye, rarely disappoints. If you’re not familiar, watch him kill at the roast of James Franco.
Not to be confused with Slacker, which opened the door for the Independent Film movement in the 90’s, this movie came out in the wake of American Pie, when everyone was trying to make comedies for high school boys with raging hormones. While no dick goes in a pie, and it has little of that film’s charm, it does star Jason Schwartzman (Orange Is The New Black) and Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother), so if you’ve seen every other movie they’ve been in then, well… go outside for Christ’s sake.
Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah (Crackle)
Godzilla, the iconic Kaiju monster/anti-hero, was a Japanese allegory for the dangers of nuclear power post-WWII. You should really familiarize yourself with Ishirō Honda’s 1954 original (which is conveniently available over on Netflix), or, for that matter, the original Godzilla Vs. Mothra or Ghidora: The Three Headed Monster before you see this 2001 update, or the new one due out in theaters next year. But that will require a Netflix subscription, so if you’re really cheap, sit back and enjoy for the low low price of nuthin’ on Crackle.
Pacific Rim (Amazon Instant)
Speaking of giant sea monsters, this past summer’s sorta-hit from Guillermo del Toro features plenty of those, doing battle with robots so badass they’d make a Transformer blush. If you need me to explain why you should watch this then you’re a lost soul.
Monsters University (Amazon Instant)
The original, Monsters Inc., is one of the greatest animated features ever. I have no problem making that claim. While not as great as its predecessor, if you liked the first one, this sequel delivers. If you didn’t like the first one… why do you hate joy and happiness?
We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks (Netflix)
The documentary about how Julian Assange and Wikileaks pulled off the largest security breach in U.S. history was a hit at Sundance. That’s good for them, but honestly, no one cares about Wikileaks. Don’t believe me? Ask Benedict Cumberbatch and the good people at Dreamworks, who recently released their thrilling “The Fifth Estate” to a whopping $1.7 million opening weekend at the box office. If you live in Los Angeles, it’s still in one theater. Meet you there? Didn’t think so.