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: a thrilling documentary, a cynical romcom, and more.
Icarus started out as Bryan Fogel’s attempt to make a documentary about doping, and how easy it is for athletes to fool drug tests. In the course of filming, he stumbled upon something much bigger: a Russian state-sponsored doping program, which called into question the validity of Olympic competition going back decades.
The result is a documentary that feels like a political thriller, with Fogel chasing leads down a rabbit hole of international corruption. The journey to the truth includes eccentric characters like Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, who once ran Russia’s anti-doping center, and tries to blow the whistle on the whole affair. Icarus is an unusually intense documentary, and a study in how investigations can go wildly off track.
Behind every tale of successful business is one of greed and betrayal. The latest example is The Founder, which tells the origin story of the world’s biggest fast-food chain: McDonald’s. The film focuses on Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton), a traveling milkshake maker salesman whose job leads him to a burger joint in San Bernardino, California, owned by brothers Mac (John Carroll Lynch) and Dick McDonald (Nick Offerman). The brothers run a tight operation, producing quality food quickly, and Ray offers to help them expand.
Disputes over the identity of the franchise lead to conflict, however, and soon Ray does his best to push the brothers out. The Founder is a gripping character study, a portrait of a man who will stop at nothing to win.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
In the age of the shared universe, franchises never die. After eight feature-length entries, the Harry Potter film franchise returns with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, based on a supplemental text by J.K. Rowling.
Set in New York City circa 1926, the film follows Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), a wizard who specializes in the study of magical creatures. A mix-up leaves his suitcase — containing a pocket universe full of strange and even dangerous beasts — in the hands of a No-Maj (Muggle, in British parlance) who accidentally unleashes some of the monsters within. Newt and American wizard Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) must team up to hunt down the escaped creatures.
Fans of the Harry Potter novels/films will appreciate this spectacular tale, which expands on the universe outside of Hogwarts.
One of the most influential horror movies of the last 20 years — one that essentially introduced Japanese horror to America — The Ring’s story concerns an urban legend, a cursed videotape containing seemingly random, disturbing images, whose viewers die seven days after watching it.
Journalist Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) begins investigating the tape. After she watches it, an anonymous caller tells her she has seven days to live, and she must analyze the tape to find out who created it and why. Although The Ring spawned an industry of lackluster imitators, it remains an effectively chilling film, with a pervasive atmosphere of dread.
You’re the Worst season 3
Although it at first appears to be a romcom (albeit a particularly snide strain), You’re the Worst quickly reveals itself to be one of the most intense examinations of codependency and emotional anxiety on television. It’s also frequently hilarious! The show focuses on two dysfunctional lovers, Jimmy (Chris Geere) and Gretchen (Aya Cash), two cynical, young professionals whose initially casual relationship becomes more intense as they get to know each other.
Season 3 delves even deeper into the protagonists’ interior lives, examining themes like death, grief, and chronic depression. You’re the Worst is a show whose sarcastic, often absurd humor masks a fascination with the difficulties of relationships, and it’s one of the better comedies on TV today.