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 Fog (Netflix)
Just when you thought it was safe to go outside, inclement weather shows up! A small town in Oregon is haunted by ghosts in the form of a … fog. Dumdum dum! I hear a sequel, “Mild and Sunny” is in the works.
Blast Vegas (Netflix)
Some frat brothers go to Vegas for spring break. Think you’ve seen this movie before? Late at night on your computer when you’re alone? Well no! What happens is that one of the “bros” steals an ancient relic and unleashes unholy hell! The film stars Frankie Muniz, but give the guy a break. Not everyone from “Malcolm in the Middle” gets the plum roles.
Stand Up Guys (Netflix)
Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin star in a film about aging gangsters that set out on “one last job” before they retire. It’s like Red except instead of spies they’re gangsters, and instead of being funny it’s, well, you know. This one’s perfect for the person that desperately wanted to see “Grudge Match” this weekend, but it was all sold out. Like there’s a chance of that.
George of the Jungle 2 (Netflix)
Finally, all your unanswered questions from George of the Jungle will be answered!
Food, Inc. (Amazon Instant)
The holidays are over and you’ve eaten yourself sick. Wanna feel even worse about yourself? Well, have we got the film for you. This documentary covers all the ways that ham you ate last week was even more disgusting. Good times.
Don Jon (Amazon Instant)
The directorial debut for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, this film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Scarlett Johansson in a romantic comedy about a blue collar New Jersey guy whose relationship is threatened by his addiction to online porn.
The Spectacular Now (Amazon Instant)
The life of the party in high school finally graduates, and his drinking problem is no longer funny. Deep inside this coming-of-age story styled like an afterschool special is a romance that makes this film better than it sounds. It doesn’t totally redeem it though. More like The Satisfactory Now.
The 47 Ronin, Part I (Hulu)
This one’s a classic. Chushingura, the Japanese word for the story of the 47 Ronin, is one of Japan’s most beloved true tales. During the shogun period in the early 18th century, Asano Naganori, Daimyo of the Ako Domain, was forced to commit suicide by the corrupt regime. The 47 Ronin then wait a year to plan their revenge for Naganori’s death, launching an attack on a snowy December night. The Ronin are considered cultural heroes in Japan and the night of the attack is a national holiday. At least it was before Keanu Reeves ruined everything.
Not Fade Away (Netflix)
David Chase, creator of the “The Sopranos”, directs his personal story of starting a rock band in New Jersey. The pic stars the late great James Gandolfini in one of his last rolls. The film is very Eddi and the Cruisers-esque, and if that reference means nothing to you you’re probably too young to appreciate this one.
This documentary about Sea World’s poor treatment of its killer whales was eye-opening to a lot of people, galvanizing to a lot of animal rights activists, and the final nail in the coffin in my pursuit of a whale for Christmas.
Prince Avalanche (Netflix)
This weekend is all about “Anchorman 2”, but if you’ve already seen it, and just need some more Paul Rudd, check out “Prince Avalanche” about two guys that spend the summer painting traffic lines on streets in the middle of nowhere. So yeah, it’s a slight tonal shift.
Devil’s Pass (Netflix)
Directed by Renny Harlin of “Die Hard 2”, “Cliffhanger”, and “Burn Notice”. Seriously though, what is “Burn Notice”? What “Devil’s Pass” is, is another found footage horror film through the wilderness. But on a grander scale.
The Tower (Netflix)
In the Korean thriller, “The Tower,” a Christmas Eve party in a luxury high rise is ruined by a fire. So it’s “Die Hard.” Well, it’s trying to be “Die Hard”. Just watch “Die Hard.” It’s a great Christmas movie.
Bounty Killer (Netflix)
This tongue-in-cheek action film features a bunch of bounty hunters that go around killing the principals of corporate greed that turned the world to shit. Occupy Wall Street meets “Mad Max.”
Bottle Rocket (Crackle, cxpires 1/1/14)
“Bottle Rocket” is about to go off Crackle, and if you haven’t seen it yet, well, you’re a bad person. There’s just no getting around that. But not to worry, there’s still time to watch it before Santa skips your house for being a douche. This is the film that gave us Wes Anderson, and Owen and Luke Wilson, and besides “Rushmore” and maybe “The Royal Tenenbaums,” it’s his best.
The Family (Amazon Instant)
Sick of your family already this Christmas break? Well, it could be worse. At least your dad didn’t rat out on the mob and put you all in the witness protection program in Europe. This is a fish out of water story where the water is France and the fish is Robert DeNiro, directed by Luc Besson.
Prisoners (Amazon Instant)
The holiday season is the perfect time to sit the family down together and watch this unsettling tale of a missing child and her father that is willing to torture a mentally disturbed boy in order to find her. Ho ho ho!
The Smurfs 2 (Amazon Instant)
Fa la lala la la. La lala lala. Gargamel creates the Naughties to tempt Smurfette away from Smurf village. What a bastard, huh? Don’t worry. Something tells me it will all turn out Smurfy in the end.
Bad Boys (Crackle)
You’ve got ‘till the end of the year to catch this buddy cop action comedy online on Crackle. And why wouldn’t you? This mid-90’s blockbuster showcased Will Smith and Martin Lawrence at the top of their game, before Lawrence dressed up like a fat old lady and Smith spawned the person who ruined The Karate Kid.
Vanilla Sky (Amazon Instant)
Cameron Crowe takes a stab at the odd and slightly avant-garde. Not exactly a strong suit from the guy who brought us Jerry McGuire and Almost Famous, but certainly worth watching. Cruise is always good, and oh man, Penelope Cruz is perfection. Just don’t expect any “You had me at hello” cuteness.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Amazon Instant)
Again, Penelope Cruz. Nice. Two American post-graduates spend time in Europe and fall for an artist played by Javier Bardem, not Woody, thank god. To me, this is the beginning of Woody’s recent string of great films including Midnight in Paris and Blue Jasmine.
The biopic of the famous porn star, Linda Lovelace is a story of a woman that got used and abused by the adult film industry, only to come out of it a stronger person. It’s an inspiring tale of a woman that took control of her own life. Also, there’s boobies!!
Based on David Sedaris’ story of growing up, a young, somewhat stuck-up Sedaris works as a laborer on an apple orchard and learns more than he could’ve expected about life and himself. In other words, it’s like Transformers meets NPR.
You can thank this surprisingly good kids movie about a juvenile delinquent sent to a facility in the desert for Shia LaBeouf. This was his first major role and he’s great in it. Who knew he’d turn out to be such a dick?
The Short Game (Netflix)
Now that Netflix has proven it can create Emmy-worthy TV shows with Orange Is The New Black and House Of Cards, the company is moving into original documentaries. The Short Game is the first, and it focuses on the best 7 year-old golfers in the world. That should end well. Apparently, Tiger Woods isn’t a cautionary tale at all, huh?
Hey, Friday is the 13th. Ooh. Know what’s scarier than one 13? Three! That’s what you get with 13/13/13. Where the devil is coming to get you and your calendar! Damn leap years! Sick of all the Christmas spirit? Wish it was Halloween still? Well, this one’s for you. Also, go outside. Build a snowman or something. You’re scaring your relatives.
A Charlie Brown Christmas (Hulu)
This is as much a part of Christmas as Santa and Rudolph. If you don’t like this you don’t deserve to get any presents. Just watch 13/13/13 with the creepy guy and leave the Christmas season to the rest of us that enjoy fun.
Apocalypse Now (Netflix)
Maybe the greatest film ever made; certainly the greatest war movie ever. Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather, The Conversation, The Godfather: Part II, and Apocalypse Now is probably the greatest string of films back-to-back any director has ever had. Alfred Hitchock you say? Know what I say to that? Alfred don’t surf.
My Week With Marilyn (Netflix)
Michelle Williams stars as the buxom blonde in this film about a short-lived romance between the star and a young production assistant on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl. Williams does a pretty good Marilyn, not too breathy, and she certainly looks the part, but don’t expect a bunch of laughs. Some Like It Hot this ain’t.
JOBS (Amazon Instant)
What do Steve Jobs and Ashton Kutcher have in common? Absolutely nothing. There’s no joke there. I just can’t get over the idea that they cast a guy that’s made a living playing idiots (see: Dude, Where’s My Car?, That 70’s Show) as the most renowned genius of our time. Judging by the box office, audiences didn’t buy it either.
Lars and the Real Girl (Amazon Instant)
Ryan “the Gos” Gosling stars as an emotionally stunted guy that falls in love with a “real doll,” one of the those very expensive sex dolls that used to frequently be featured on the Howard Stern Show. What could easily go off the rails of weirdness turns out to be a touching, sweetly funny movie, largely due to Gosling’s career-breaking performance.
Footloose (2011) (Amazon Instant)
Everybody cut, everybody cut. Everybody cut this crap out. Don’t remake 80’s classics. At least not yet. The Kevin Bacon version isn’t so outdated that a new audience can’t appreciate it as is. What’s next? A remake of the The Karate Kid? Oh right. Dammit. See what I mean?!
The Fisher King (Crackle)
Directed by Terry Gilliam, the film’s about a radio shock-jock played by Jeff Bridges whose words inspire a murder. Years later he comes across a mentally unstable, homeless man played by Robin Williams and learns how their lives remarkably intersect. It’s sad, dark and brilliant, and one of the first clues that Robin Williams wasn’t just an enormously hairy guy with a very reliable cocaine-dealer, but an actor with some serious chops, too.
American Psycho (Crackle)
Adapted from the Bret Easton Ellis book, Christian Bale plays a Wall Street executive who spends his days making money, and his night killing young women. Think of him as Axe Body Spray personified.
Jerry Maguire (Crackle)
The beauty of Cameron Crow’s third film is that it’s equal parts sports movie for the guys and romantic comedy for the girls. Seriously, have you ever met anyone that doesn’t like this movie? This film stands as proof that Tom Cruise is a great actor and not just an action star. Plus Cuba Gooding, Jr.’s Oscar-winning performance launched his career – Wait. Hold on. I’m being told that it didn’t help Cuba’s career at all.
Lobstermen (Amazon Instant)
Neil and Lanette Lobsterman, a lovely couple who run a charming B & B, welcome us into their lives. Each week we meet some of the new people that stay with them, wackiness ensues, and—Wait, I’m sorry. I’m thinking of the wrong show. I think this is about guys that catch lobsters. Which is good, too.
Mob Wives, Season 3 (Amazon Instant)
This show makes the Kardashians look like Downton Abbey. If you’re planning on visiting Staten Island during your upcoming tour of New York City, these women will make you rethink your plans.
New Girl – Season 2 (Netflix)
In Season 2, this series about a girl that moves in with three guys is really humming. The Halloween episode is an all-time classic. But catch it now folks because soon the sexual tension is lost, the best character in the show is turned into a sad sack that lives next door, they add yet another guy, and every episode ends with a lesson in relationships. Oh, right – spoiler alert!
Rescue Me – Season 5 (Crackle)
In the fifth season of Dennis Leary’s FX series, his alcoholic firefighter, Tommy Gavin, has to contend with his kids becoming sexually active and new troubling information about 9/11, but he does get to sleep with his ex-wife again, so things aren’t all bad.
Justin Bieber, Seven song from “Journals” (Spotify)
His film, “Believe” is a bomb. Now he says he’s retiring. Well, if that’s so, let “Journals”, released as seven individual singles on Spotify, just to be annoying, be his swan song. And by swan song, I mean rapid plunge to earth.
Oddisee , Tangible Dream (Spotify)
Philadelphia’s prolific producer/rapper is a throwback to the self-conscious, thoughtful hip hop from the nineties like De La Sol, Black Sheep, or Tribe Called Quest and is probably the best rapper you’re not listening to right now.
Frozen was a huge hit over Thanksgiving. And while most Christmas films this year are about adult subjects like Abscam, Wall Street decadence, the world’s greatest news team, or the war in Afghanistan, you can still play the “Frozen” soundtrack and relive those simpler times.
B.o.B., Underground Luxury
Carrying the torch for Atlanta hip-hop now that Outkast has split, B.o.B. brings that old dirty south sound with a more pop sensibility. You may know him from his hit “Airplanes” w/ Hayley Williams of Paramore. His latest album features duets with Future, T.I., Chris Brown, and 2 Chainz.
Spotify just announced that the band’s catalogue will finally be available on their platform. Now, I don’t want to Ramble On about it, but this is certainly a Celebration Day. Thank You, Spotify. You deserve a Whole Lotta Love. You said Your Time Is Gonna Come and you did Bring It On Home.
Childish Gambino, Because the Internet
Donald Glover, who was one of the stars of Community, is Childish Gambino. Since performing at last year’s Coachella festival, he’s become kind of an indie Kanye West. Minus the crazy. Well, minus most of the crazy. Also, minus the musical genius.
R. Kelly, Black Panties
Coming off a hit duet with Lady Gaga, R. Kelly has just released his latest album, Black Panties. For a guy who’s had some rather public issues surrounding his sex life, his metaphors leave little to the imagination. When he sings, “I love to lick the middle like an Oreo” in the song “Cookie,” I don’t think he’s actually talking about cookies.
Britney Spears, Britney Jean
The girl that years ago got the world’s attention by singing “Hit Me Baby One More Time” in a skimpy school girl outfit went through a bit of a rough time a few years ago. Now a bit old and wiser, Britney Jean is an attempt, I believe, at some self-reflection, showing off a more adult Britney. Much like The Truman Show, she has come through struggles to find that the world in which she lived was not real, but a slickly packaged product. But while Truman finds true love beyond his walls, Britney finds out that she’s actually not much of a singer.
The music industry is dying. Wanna know why? May I present you with Exhibit A: Your sign of the apocalypse just in time for Christmas. The worst part about this? It’s number 3! There were two others before this! Stop buying garbage people!
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Live from KCRW
The Australian rock band that NME called “the grand lord of gothic lushness” releases the live performance 2nd disc that was part of their “Push the Sky Away” release earlier this year as a standalone album. Beautifully dark and haunting as always, it’s a must listen for any fan. Unless you have “Push the Sky Away” though. ‘Cause you’ve already heard it.
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