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 endless sea of digital muck that washes up on the internet’s shores, follow our picks below for the best new shows and movies worth a watch.
This week, a returning sitcom, a new political thriller, and an Academy Award-nominee are among our picks for what to watch.
Grace and Frankie (season 2)
Netflix sitcom Grace and Frankie, from one of the creators of Friends, has returned for a second season. The show follows Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin), two women whose lives are disrupted when their husbands (Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston, respectively) announce that they are secretly lovers and want to get married. Grace and Frankie, now facing an uncertain future, end up living together in a dynamic that many will find familiar: Grace is a prim businesswoman, Frankie a free-spirited art teacher. What elevates Grace and Frankie above its rote premise is its cast. Fonda and Tomlin have a bubbly chemistry, and together with Sheen and Waterston (here playing much funnier roles than they are usually know for) they bring a confident charm to the show.
Marseille (season 1)
The political thriller House of Cards was Netflix’s first great hit, so it’s no surprise they might want to go back to that well again. Like Card, Marseille offers slick production and melodrama, and even features an acclaimed actor in the lead role. The French production is spearheaded by Gérard Depardieu, France’s most notorious actor, here playing Robert Taro, coke-fiend mayor of Marseille. Taro is caught off guard when his protege, Lucas Barres (Benoît Magimel), turns against him, sparking a vicious struggle for control of the government. Depardieu is a formidable presence with his bulky frame and swagger, a wild man for an even wilder city.
To Catch a Thief
There are few premises for a thriller more compelling than a man on the run, a formula Alfred Hitchcock perfected in the golden age of Hollywood. Case in point: the 1955 thriller To Catch a Thief, which follows John Robie (Cary Grant), a retired thief known as “The Cat.” Robie is living a quiet life in the French Riviera, until a string of robberies occur bearing his modus operandi. The police suspect Robie, and he sets out to catch the copycat and prove his innocence. To do so, he looks for the owners of the most valuable jewels in France, falling in love in the process with socialite Frances Stevens (Grace Kelly), who finds the life of a jewel thief alluring. Grant and Kelly remain legends of cinema, and their charisma crackles in every scene.
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah
The 1985 film Shoah, a roughly ten-hour examination of the Holocaust in Poland, is one of the most famous documentaries ever made, and suffice to say the production was harrowing. In the Oscar-nominated Spectres of the Shoah, journalist Adam Benzine interviews Shoah director Claude Lanzmann, examining the controversial production of the film (among other things, Lanzmann often had to film former SS officers illegally) as well as Lanzmann’s own history. Lanzmann himself proves as interesting as his opus, recalling his time as a member of the French Resistance and relationships with figures like Beauvoir and Sartre. Spectres of the Shoah is a fascinating look into the mind of an auteur.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
In an age of interchangeable superhero films, Guy Ritchie’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E. stands out as an action film with style. Set in the ’60s, the film follows a pair of unlikely allies, CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and KGB spy Illya Kurayakin (Armie Hammer), who are ordered to team up when Nazi remnants acquire a nuclear weapon. The film embraces the period aesthetics, with its slick protagonists bouncing between glamorous settings and cartoonish action scenes. 60s spy films often leaned towards absurd, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a fitting tribute to that era, with car chases, aristocratic villains, and well placed moments of humor. This slick, globetrotting caper never takes itself too seriously, and is all the more entertaining for it.