Streaming entertainment 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: Apocalyptic futures, horror-comedy, and a tragic true story.
‘War for the Planet of the Apes’
The rebooted Planet of the Apes series may lack some of the iconic moments of the original film, but it has benefitted from great strides in special effects technology. The third film in the newer series, War for the Planet of the Apes, continues the story of Caesar (Andy Serkis), the ape who gained human-level intelligence and led his fellow apes in rebellion against humanity. The film begins years after the same virus that gave the apes intelligence also wiped out most of humanity. Caesar and his tribe must struggle to find a new home while staving off attacks from a human paramilitary group led by a genocidal man known as The Colonel (Woody Harrelson). Despite the title, War for the Planet of the Apes isn’t an epic war movie — it’s a somber film, reflecting on the inhumanity of man and Caesar’s struggle to lead his people while maintaining his morality.
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People will do seemingly anything to get attention on social media: Pay for followers, stage stupid (and obviously fake) pranks, even munch on Tide Pods. The next step, according to Tragedy Girls, might be murder. The dark comedy follows McKayla (Alexandra Shipp) and Sadie (Brianna Hildebrand), two high schoolers struggling to get their true crime blog off the ground. Their solution is to commit a series of murders, establishing themselves as authorities on Rosedale’s new killer. Tragedy Girls isn’t high art, but it does offer pulpy fun and grotesque comedy.
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Mark Raso’s Kodachrome follows father and son Ben (Ed Harris) and Matt Ryder (Jason Sudeikis), two men who, despite long being estranged, aren’t so different. Ben is an acclaimed photographer who prefers to work with nearly extinct Kodachrome film. Matt is a music executive whose career and marriage have both fallen apart. The two haven’t spoken in years — that is until Ben’s assistant, Zooey (Elizabeth Olsen), unexpectedly shows up in Matt’s life to tell him that Ben is dying, and he’d like his son to accompany him on a trip to the last town with a photo shop that develops Kodachrome. Although the premise isn’t anything bold, Kodachrome gets a lot of mileage out of its performances, particularly from Sudeikis and Harris.
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‘Escape from New York’
In a bleak future, the United States has suffered an eruption of crime, and the government has converted the island of Manhattan into a prison. When Air Force One crashes in Manhattan, the inmates take the president hostage, and the government knows of only one man badass enough to rescue him: Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), an eyepatch-wearing ex-Special Forces soldier imprisoned for robbing the Federal Reserve. The government is giving Snake a day to find the president and get him out. If he succeeds, he’ll get a full pardon; if he fails, nanomachines will destroy his body from the inside. Escape from New York is a superb example of ‘80s action films, with an apocalyptic vision of America, atmospheric synth soundtrack, and a hero who doesn’t give a damn about the rules.
‘The Looming Tower’
The Looming Tower is an incisive look into the events leading up to the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and the ways in which bureaucratic and personal failings stifled attempts to stop them. Adapted from the book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower tells the true story of John O’Neill (Jeff Daniels), an FBI counterterrorism expert who believes that the terrorist group Al Qaeda is plotting an attack on the United States. The show follows his collaboration with agent Ali Soufan (Tahir Rahim) as they try to uncover al-Qaida’s plans. They encounter resistance from other branches of the government, however, and O’Neill runs up against CIA counterterrorism officer Martin Schmidt (Peter Sarsgaard), who wants to take out al-Qaida himself.
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