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: television’s best romantic comedy, a double shot of Philip Seymour Hoffman, and street racing in Japan.
You’re the Worst season 2
Every human is an individual, carrying their own goals and their own demons, and these things often carry conflict when you put two of them in a relationship. Yet all the same, people cannot help but seek out others. You’re the Worst explores the tensions that underlie all romance, focusing on two especially difficult people: Jimmy (Chris Geere), a cantankerous author finding little success, and Gretchen (Aya Cash), a PR rep afflicted by depression. Meeting at a wedding, the two sleep together, and reluctantly grow closer. Despite the frequently absurd plots, You’re the Worst is willing to explore the tragic consequences its characters create both for themselves and others. Sharp writing and dynamic performances (particularly from Cash, who gives one of the most authentic depictions of depression on television) elevate You’re the Worst far above the typical romantic-comedies.
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
The endurance of the Fast and Furious franchise is mindboggling. What began with a fun but forgettable racing film in 2001 has become the biggest action movie series not to feature men in capes. One of the most interesting things about these films is how each one has a unique feel, playing with aesthetics and genre, and this is particularly evident in the third film, Tokyo Drift, which abandons the characters of the first two and moves the action to Tokyo. The film opens with Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) being sent to Japan to live with his navy officer father after Boswell is caught street-racing. Although the stay in Japan is meant to correct Sean’s behavior, he discovers that Tokyo has its own racing scene, and quickly immerses himself in the dangerous game of drifting. Tokyo Drift is not a good movie by many metrics, but it is entertaining. Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin’s first outing with the franchise shows his chops, as his camera captures the velocity of the cars against the neon-streaked streets of Tokyo.
Charlie Wilson’s War
Few screenwriters have Aaron Sorkin’s mastery of dialogue. He not only crafts some of the most witty one-liners around, but his scripts also have a furious rhythm, as if every conversation is a duel. That verbal sparring is on display in Charlie Wilson’s War, a movie which examines the United States’ program to arm mujahideen fighters in the Soviet-Afghan war. The program in question is spearheaded by Rep. Charlie Wilson, D-Texas (Tom Hanks), a heavy-drinking, shrewd political operative who takes an interest in Afghanistan’s resistance against the Soviets. Working with socialite Joanne Herring (Julia Roberts) and CIA agent Gust Avrakotos (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Wilson makes moves to provide military aid. The excellent performances heighten Sorkin’s writing, particularly Hoffman’s, whose bouncing between casual disdain and righteous indignation makes Avrakotos one of his finest roles.
Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, about the murder of a family in Kansas, is effectively responsible for the true crime novel as we know it today, and made its author one of the most famous scribes in America. The 2005 film Capote follows the author (Philip Seymour Hoffman) as he researches the murders, from the moment he reads a blurb about them in the New York Times to the eventual execution of the perpetrators. Unlike many biopics, Capote does not glamorize its subject. Instead, the film examines Capote’s obsession with the case, particularly the intimate bond he forms with one of the killers, Perry Smith (Clifton Collins, Jr.). The film is a character study, anchored by Hoffman’s incredible performance; speaking with a high, constrained squawk, Hoffman conveys Capote’s vanity and self-doubt in equal measures.
The Little Prince
One of the most famous children’s books of all time, The Little Prince seems to defy the medium of film; the novel is more a philosophical treatise than a narrative, examining human relationships through the eyes of an alien child. Mark Osborne’s film avoids the difficulties of adapting such a work by not entirely adapting it. Instead, the film uses the novel as a story within a story, presented to young girl, Violet (Mackenzie Foy), by her eccentric neighbor, a retired aviator (Jeff Bridges). Violet lives with her obsessive mother (Rachel McAdams), whose strict plans for Violet to get into a prestigious school leave little time for play. Bonding with her neighbor over the tale of The Little Prince, however, Violet learns the richness of human experience. The most commendable thing about the film is its visual style. Violet’s story is presented in the standard CGI aesthetic of Pixar, but when the film switches to the story of The Little Prince, it uses rich stop-motion animation, with lovely pastel colors that resemble the illustrations of the book.