Best new shows and movies to stream: The Coen brothers ride again and more

best new shows and movies to stream ballad of buster scruggs header

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: An anthology of Western stories from the Coen brothers, a new start for Narcos, and more.

‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’

best new shows and movies to stream buster scruggs

The Coen brothers are among the greatest American directors — living or dead. Subtract 2004’s The Ladykillers from their body of work, and you have an unbroken streak of quality stretching more than 30 years. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, an anthology film now on Netflix, is the latest addition to that sterling oeuvre, telling six short stories set in the Wild West. The plots vary: In one, a sharpshooting bard (Tim Blake Nelson) travels the frontier, performing a song about his exploits. In another, a group of people take an infernal carriage ride, passing the time with philosophical conversation. Expect the hallmarks of a Coen brothers film: Impactful violence, beautiful cinematography, and a cruel sense of humor.

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‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’

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Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim wasn’t a great film, but it was a labor of love, an idiosyncratic director’s homage to kaiju and mecha stories, a big budget B-movie that wasn’t afraid to buck trends. Steven S. DeKnight’s sequel, Pacific Rim: Uprising, loses a lot of the first film’s quirks, opting for a slicker, faster film more in line with the usual blockbusters. Set 10 years after the first film, Uprising finds the world having recovered somewhat from the giant-monster invasion that nearly destroyed it. Jake Pentecost (John Boyega), son of Idris Elba’s tough-guy commander, has stepped out of his father’s footsteps, quitting his role as a Jaeger pilot (Jaegers being the giant robots built to combat the monstrous Kaiju) to live life as a smuggler. After Jake ends up in jail, Jaeger veteran Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) offers him a pardon if he’ll rejoin the Jaeger corps. Good timing, it turns out, as the Kaiju make a dramatic return to Earth. Uprising’s action scenes are fast, eschewing the weighty movements and heavy blows of the original. Though it lacks the first film’s atmosphere, it should still suffice as a weekend popcorn film.

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‘The Wolfpack’

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Crystal Moselle’s 2015 documentary The Wolfpack tells a story so strange that it hardly seems real. The film’s subjects are a group of seven siblings, the Angulo children. For most of their childhood, their father kept them confined to an apartment, forbidding them from contact with the outside world. Their only window into society was cinema — a collection of films that shaped their development. Moselle follows them as they venture outside of their confines, exploring Manhattan.

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‘Narcos: Mexico’

best new shows and movies to stream narcos mexico

After three seasons set in Colombia, Netflix’s Narcos gets a fresh start in a new locale. Narcos: Mexico follows the growth of the Guadalajara Cartel in the 1980s, as kingpin Félix Gallardo (Diego Luna) expands his influence in the drug trade. On the hunt for Gallardo is DEA agent Kiki Camarena (Michael Peña), whose mission will bring him into immense danger. Although Mexico features a new cast and setting, its timeline overlaps in some ways with the rise of the Colombian drug trade depicted in the first three seasons, making it both a fine starting place for new viewers or a fulfilling companion piece for fans of the old show.

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‘The Gymkhana Files’

best new shows and movies to stream gymkhana files

Racing fans may recognize the name Ken Block. He’s an accomplished rally driver, particularly well-known for his series of “gymkhana” videos. Gymkhana is a breed of racing where drivers want to finish the course in the fastest time possible, dodging obstacles and drifting around corners to shave precious seconds off their time. The Gymkhana Files documents Block and his team of collaborators as they work on their most audacious video yet. For those who want to see the colossal amount of work that goes into making the gymkhana videos, or those who simply love seeing cars pull off wild stunts, The Gymkhana Files is a thrilling series.

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