Online streaming is bigger than ever, and with so many streaming services adding new shows and movies every week, it can be nearly impossible to sort through the good and the bad. If you need something to watch and don’t want to wade through the digital muck that washes up on the internet’s shores, follow our picks below for the best new shows and movies to stream on Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon, and other services.
On the list this week: An incredible Adam Sandler performance, a stylish action sequel, and more.
‘The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)’
Noah Baumbach’s latest film centers on a timeless premise — the dysfunctional family. For the Meyerowitz family, that dysfunction stems, in large part, from elderly father Harold (Dustin Hoffman). A renowned sculptor, now long past his prime, Harold’s cantankerous personality and obsession with his art weigh on eldest son, Danny (Adam Sandler, in a stellar dramatic performance), a musician who hung up his six-string to raise his daughter, Eliza (Grace Van Patten). Danny and Eliza move in with Harold following the collapse of Danny’s marriage, and Harold’s other children, daughter Jean (Elizabeth Marvel) and favored son Matthew (Ben Stiller), enter the story. As the family reconnects, old tensions bubble up. The Meyerowitz Stories is a superb exploration of a family in distress, and how emotional traumas carry over through the decades.
‘Patton Oswalt: Annihilation’
As one of the 21st century’s most prominent comedians, Patton Oswalt mixes observational humor about pop culture and life’s mundane routines with undercurrents of anger and sadness at the state of the world. It’s heavy stuff coated in a veneer of silliness, and Oswalt finds plenty of material to work with in recent events, including every comedian’s favorite subject of late, President Donald Trump. Oswalt’s own grief is one of Annihilation’s most important topics, however; in 2016, his wife, Michelle McNamara, died, and Oswalt dedicates a significant portion of Annihilation to reflecting on life after tragedy.
‘John Wick: Chapter 2’
John Wick was one of the most surprising action movies of recent years, a slick, pulsing revenge thriller about a retired hit man who takes up his guns once again after some cocky mobsters kill his dog. Chapter 2 doesn’t reinvent the bloody, absurd fun of the franchise, but it does build upon the first film’s solid foundation. The film opens as John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is once again pulled into the criminal underworld when Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) cashes in a debt, demanding Wick assassinate his sister, Gianna (Claudia Gerini), who is set to inherit the family crime business. John ventures to Rome, and Chapter 2 delves into the world of international assassins, which, it turns out, is ridiculously glamorous. The film is a bit more polished than the original.
‘Song to Song’
Since returning to cinema with 2011’s The Tree of Life, Terrence Malick has been in a distinct phase of his career, making films that resemble flowing rivers of imagery, dotted with branches of poetic dialogue. This recent string of films has been divisive, and if you found The Tree of Life or To the Wonder ponderous rather than brilliant, you will probably hate Song to Song. Those who enjoy Malick’s recent output will find much to like in the film, which follows a pair of musicians, Faye (Rooney Mara) and BV (Ryan Gosling), and the record mogul Cook (Michael Fassbender), who is trying to make them stars. Faye has romantic entanglements with both men, and their love triangle — and the conflicts it spurs — is the emotional core of the film. Song to Song is a dizzying drama, gorgeously shot.
Pedro Almodóvar is perhaps Spain’s most celebrated director, and Volver ranks among his finest films. The movie follows Raimunda (Penélope Cruz) and her sister, Soledad (Lola Dueñas), who return to the village of their youth following the death of their aunt. A local woman, Agustina (Blanca Portillo), claims to have seen the ghost of their mother, who died years earlier, and Soledad soon sees it, too. Raimunda’s problems increase when she must dispose of a body, but despite the film’s preoccupation with death and the dead, it’s hardly macabre. Almodóvar’s film luxuriates in vivid colors, and his characters have a delightful liveliness to them.