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: The latest from the creator of The Wire, a modern-day musical, and more.
‘The Deuce’ premiere
Given its pedigree, HBO’s The Deuce — the new show from The Wire creator David Simon — has a high bar to reach. And in its feature length premiere, at least, the show rises to the challenge. Set in 1970s New York City, The Deuce follows a vast cast of characters involved in crime and the sex trade, with the rise of the porn industry at its center. Like The Wire, The Deuce focuses on how a subject — in this case, sex — can be turned into a product, and the impact that has on society. The show’s main characters are Vinnie (James Franco), a bartender down on his luck, his brother Frankie (also Franco), an insatiable gambler who doesn’t pay his debts, and Candy (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a prostitute working for herself on the grimy streets of NYC. The premiere takes its time introducing the characters and fleshing out its world, establishing a fascinating, sometimes disturbing setting.
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‘La La Land’
After the breakthrough success of Whiplash, director Damien Chazelle could have played things safe. Instead, he chose to resurrect a genre long dormant in Hollywood: The musical. La La Land tells the story of two aspiring artists, actress Mia Dolan (Emma Stone) and jazz pianist Sebastian Wilder (Ryan Gosling), who meet in Los Angeles as each is struggling to build a career while maintaining their artistic credibility. Their romance is a beautiful fantasy, until reality intrudes. On a visual level, La La Land is audacious, with bright, varied color palettes and kinetic dance sequences. The music, ranging from extravagant to somber, is a pitch perfect homage to the classics. Although La La Land isn’t nearly good enough to dethrone the legends that inspired it — The Umbrellas of Cherbourg comes to mind — it should please anybody who has longed for a splash of color and song in their films.
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‘Victoria’ season 1
One of Britain’s longest-reigning monarchs, Queen Victoria oversaw the rapid expansion of the empire worldwide, managing conflicts both within and outside the government. She led a life that was perfect for a dramatic adaptation, and Victoria tells her story in superb fashion. The first season follows Victoria (Jenna Coleman), who ascends to the throne at a young age, as she navigates the treacherous labyrinth of politics. In the process, she must manage the egos and agendas of her country’s politicians, and her responsibility to marry and establish a dynasty. With strong performances and the natural gravitas of history, Victoria is a solid addition to the growing trend of historical dramas.
‘An American Werewolf in London’
This classic horror movie begins with two Americans, David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne), backpacking across the moors, where they are attacked by a werewolf. The creature kills Jack and wounds David before local townsfolk slay it. As David recovers from his injuries, visions of Jack appear, warning him that he will now become a werewolf upon the next full moon. Directed by John Landis (Animal House), An American Werewolf in London has plenty of humor for a movie about a rampaging monster slaughtering the people of London. Alternately charming and frightening, it’s a great movie for any horror fan.
‘First They Killed My Father’
Based on the memoir of the same name by Loung Ung, First They Killed My Father tells the story of Loung’s (Sareum Srey Moch) childhood living under the oppressive Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. During her time in the countryside, under the eyes of government enforcers, Loung endures the deaths of family members, and the cruel machinations of one of history’s most vile regimes. First They Killed My Father is the latest war movie from Angelina Jolie, and the director improves on her previous such projects, which often felt bloated and uninspired.
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