Five shows to stream this week: ‘Black Mirror,’ ‘Before Sunset,’ and more

five shows to stream black mirror before sunset trollhunter header image
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 worth a watch.

This week: a chilling sci-fi series is back on Netflix, a great director investigates the life and death of a bear enthusiast, and two of cinema’s great lovers get a little older.

Black Mirror season 3

black-mirror-image-1

The Information Age has brought so many revolutions in the way people think, work, and communicate, it is hard to see how one can be pessimistic without being a luddite. Watch a few episodes of Black Mirror though, and you may find yourself tempted to throw your electronics on the bonfire. The show is an anthology series in the vein of The Twilight Zone, with most episodes falling into science-fiction territory. Many episodes are set in a not-too-distant future, exploring issues related to technology and societal changes, and they are often terrifyingly prescient.

True to its name, Black Mirror offers up horrific reflections of current trends, such as the rampages of social media mobs or the dangers of gamification. Even at its most satirical, it is a bleak show. Black Mirror never falls into nihilism, however; even in its ugliest depictions of the world, it keeps an eye on the human elements, and the emotional impact that emerging technologies can have. As with all anthologies, the quality varies with each episode, but even the weakest episodes are some of the most provocative sci-fi on television. Season 3, from BBC’s Charlie Brooker, premieres on Netflix with six more episodes of awesome.

Watch now on:

Netflix

Trollhunter

trollhunter-image-shows-to-stream

Few filmmaking techniques have worn out their welcome as quickly as “found-footage.” Once an effective tool for horror films to unsettle audiences through first-person perspective and the power of suggestion, the technique has become a way for studios to crank out low-risk, high-reward projects with little thought for artistry. Occasionally, however, a film comes along that breathes new life into tired tropes. For found-footage, that film is Trollhunter, a Norwegian movie that reimagines classic folktales in a modern setting.

The film begins with three students, Thomas (Glenn Erland Tosterud), Johanna (Johanna Mørck), and Kalle (Tomas Alf Larsen), investigating an alleged poacher. After a long search, they find their target, Hans (Otto Jespersen), as well as the creature he is actually hunting: a troll. Astounded by the existence of a mythological creature, they join Hans on his patrols, hoping to document more of the beasts. However absurd the premise may sound, Trollhunter is anchored by impressive creature designs; rooted in folklore, the trolls are bizarre and fearsome, and they are animated well. This is a singular film, blending fantasy, horror, and even some political satire.

Watch now on:

Amazon

Grizzly Man

grizzly-man-shows-to-stream

“Is it gonna happen, that one day we read a news article about you being eaten by one of these bears?” That is the question David Letterman laughingly put to naturalist Timothy Treadwell, who spent more than a decade documenting and interacting with bears in Katmai National Park. A dark moment in hindsight, as a bear ultimately killed and ate Treadwell and his girlfriend. Treadwell is the subject of Werner Herzog’s documentary Grizzly Man, in which the director examines hundreds of hours of the man’s footage and interviewing those close to and critical of him, trying to gain an understanding of his motives and man’s relationship with nature.

The portrait that emerges is one of a man destroyed by his tragic passion; some would reasonably call him mentally ill. For Herzog, whose films like Aguirre, the Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo followed protagonists driven by fanatical desires, Treadwell is a fitting subject. While Herzog is consistent in his apt criticism that Treadwell foolishly crossed the boundaries separating man from beasts, there is an undercurrent of admiration; here was a young filmmaker with an eye for beauty, one who occasionally captured the sublime. Grizzly Man is tragically compelling documentary, and a sobering warning to viewers that nature is not friendly, but ravenous and indifferent.

Watch now on:

Amazon Netflix

Venus in Fur

venus-in-fur-shows-to-stream

Adapted from a stage play by David Ives (which, in turn, is inspired by a 19th century novel), Venus in Fur examines power dynamics between men and women through lengthy conversations between two people. Thomas (Mathieu Amalric) is a playwright, preparing a stage adaption of the novel Venus in Furs, in which a man convinces a woman he is smitten with to engage in some sadomasochistic role play. One night, as he is lamenting the terrible auditions he saw that day for the role of Wanda von Dunayev, a woman named Vanda (Emmanuelle Seigner) appears, eager to audition. They do a reading, her as the dominatrix, him as the infatuated submissive.

It becomes clear very soon that the attraction is more than show, as the two slip into their characters with a little too much gusto. The power struggle goes beyond the page; Thomas views the play as a story of love, Vanda sees it as a misogynistic fantasy, and their clash of ideas manifests physically. Nearly the entirety of the film takes place in a cramped theater, the camera trapping them in frame. Given its roots as a stage play, Venus in Fur leans heavily on its cast to deliver stunning performances, and Amalric and Seigner rise to the occasion. The film is titillating, to be sure, but has enough going on beneath the surface to stimulate the mind as well.

Watch now on:

Amazon Hulu

Before Sunset

before-sunset-image-shows-to-stream

Released and set nine years after Before Sunrise, this film by Richard Linklater reunites the star-crossed lovers from that film, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy), for the first time since they parted ways in Vienna. Jesse, having turned their story into a successful novel, is in Paris for his book tour; Celine drops in to see him. With only an hour before Jesse must leave to catch his plane, the two of them walk the streets of Paris, talking and taking in the sights.

Whereas Before Sunrise captured the ephemeral beauty of youth and lust, Before Sunset evokes the sweet pangs of running into an old friend. As in the first film, this outing is largely driven by dialogue; Jesse and Celine about their time in Vienna, why they never returned, how their lives have changed since then. The midday sun hangs overhead, bathing the city in a warm glow. Linklater films them in long, uninterrupted takes as they stroll, giving the film a natural look. The interactions feel authentic, with dialogue interrupted by pauses and filler. Before Sunset, like its protagonists, is a more mature version of its younger self: recognizably the same, but a little wearier, a little wiser.

Watch now on:

Amazon

Business

‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ breaks records, ‘Mortal Engines’ sputters

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse webbed up a winning weekend as the top movie in theaters, earning $35.4 million and setting a new record for animated features premiering in December.
Deals

Today’s best Amazon deals: Instant Pot, Dyson, and Ring

Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be over, but for retail giants like Amazon, the savings are only getting started. We've scoured the depths of Amazon to find you the very best deals going on right now.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: Alfonso Cuaron’s ‘Roma, ‘Sabrina’ special

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: Alfonso Cuaron's new film Roma, Jim Henson's classic fantasy The Dark Crystal, and more.
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: ‘Godzilla,’ Brightburn,’ ‘Triple Frontier,’ and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's the first trailers for Brightburn and Triple Frontier, among other previews.
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater sound as good as they look

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in every genre for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.
Deals

Amazon Fire Deals: Tablets, TVs, and TV controllers in stock and ready to ship

Last-minute shoppers, and anyone seeking good deals on Amazon Fire products, are in luck. There's still time to order Fire Tablets, Fire TVs, and Fire media players, Fire CVRs, and Alexa-voice-compatible Fire remotes for Christmas delivery.
Movies & TV

Move over Superman, Aquaman is here to save DC's live-action cinema universe

DC Comics' aquatic superhero Aquaman finally gets his solo feature with Jason Momoa in the title role, and director James Wan's adventure manages to avoid feeling waterlogged while offering up some amazing visuals and intense action.
Home Theater

What’s new on Amazon Prime Video (January 2019)

Amazon Prime Video adds new titles each month that are available for free to all Prime members. Check out our list to find all the content hitting Amazon Prime Video in December 2018 and January 2019, from new original series to classic…
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to endangered cats

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Movies & TV

Out of movies to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Killing Eve'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (December 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.