With so much content available to stream, here’s a quick and detailed guide of the “Best-Of” streaming right now in July 2017. So instead of endlessly and aimlessly scrolling through the pages and scanning titles that seem vaguely familiar to you, here is a list of recommendations of movies and TV shows available right now!
Hot Fuzz: Following up on this site’s look at the Great TV show Spaced, this Edgar Wright-directed, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost-starring satire of police buddy action films hits its target in every scene. When uptight London-based cop Nicholas Angel (Pegg) is forcibly transferred to a quaint English village in the countryside, he begins to suspect not all is what meets the eye. While striking up a friendship with the goofy son of the local police chief (and fellow officer) Danny Butterman, Angel also begins to suspect the local Neighborhood Watch Alliance (NWA for short) is meting out their own vicious brand of justice. A hilarious, light, but surprisingly action-heavy comedy, Hot Fuzz is exactly the kind of fun you’d expect from this creative team.
Abstract: The Art of Design: A fascinating look into how the things we use and see in our everyday lives are designed, and why they’re designed the way they are, this documentary is a fascinating look at the creative and practical sides of design and how the things we use in everyday life have a lot more thought put behind them than it first appears.
Oldboy:A high point in the violent output of South Korean cinema, Park Chan-Wook’s Oldboy [written as Old Boy on Netflix] is a highly influential and visually stunning tale of revenge with some gut-wrenching twists. After being kidnapped and imprisoned for a decade for no apparent reason, a salary man trains for his escape and eventual revenge to whoever did this, unknowingly following a breadcrumb trail of clues that leads to tragedy. Gripping, emotional, and featuring some remarkable cinematography, for those unfamiliar with South Korea’s excellent cinematic output over the past 15 years, this is a good place to start. Warning: not for the faint-hearted
Across the Universe: Look: its story is maybe flimsy at best, but for the musical sequences alone–brilliantly realized by Julie Taymor and are comprised of excellent covers of songs from some obscure band called The Beatles–Across the Universe is a visually stunning must-see for fans of the Lads From Liverpool and for musical fans in general. Maybe skip over the story parts.
The Birthday Boys: For fans of Kids in the Hall and Mr. Show, here’s a 21st-century rendition of the classic sketch comedy format. The Birthday Boys are a comedy troupe from Los Angeles who, with the guidance of comedy legend Bob Odenkirk (who’s featured heavily throughout the series), made some of the funniest televised sketch comedy of the past decade. Only lasting for two seasons, The Birthday Boys is a hidden comic gem that’s just waiting for comedy fans to discover.
The Wraith: After being murdered by a gang of local lunatic drag racers, a young man comes back in a badass car covered head-to-toe in leather and wearing a helmet to take his violent revenge. This cult classic is fondly remembered by people of a certain age but has fallen into a bit of obscurity over the years. But this 1980’s time capsule will be appreciated by modern audiences for its retro score, retro look, and completely insane portrayal of bad guys. A must-watch for action fans and people who want to enjoy the good old mindless films of the 80’s.
The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: Are you an adult? That’s OK: you can still watch cartoons, even ones that weren’t from when you were a kid. And The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack is a very silly, funny cartoon that even adults can enjoy. Following the marvelous misadventures of a boy named Flapjack who’s being raised by a whale named Bubble and whose best pal and mentor is a gruff old sea pirate named Captain K’nuckles, this Cartoon Network series was created by Thurop Van Orman, who had previously worked on The Powerpuff Girls and Adventure Time. Bringing the same irreverent brand of humor to this weird little show, The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack is a great palate cleanser for when adulting begins to wear you down.
Moscow on the Hudson: Starring Robin Williams as a Russian defector during the 1980’s who lands in Manhattan and struggles to adapt to life in the land of the free, Moscow on the Hudson is now a quaint period piece of sorts that provides a glimpse at social attitudes and political stances of America during the last days of the Cold War. Williams delivers his trademark warm and funny delivery as the lead character, who’s a Russian fish out of water in New York City.
Shivers: This early David Cronenberg film–just his third feature film–is part and parcel of his characteristic body horror. In it, a scientist injects his promiscuous teenage mistress with a parasite he had developed that works as a sexually transmitted disease, giving the infected an uncontrollable sexual desire that leads to its further spreading. Meanwhile, the parasite externally escapes and seeks to independently infect people as it goes along. It’s a bloody, grotesque movie that will appeal to fans of horror films from the 1970’s and Cronenberg fans who will find in this early entry in his oeuvre traces of common themes that will emerge in his later work.
Hot Package: Hulu has a lot of Cartoon Network’s bizarre [adult swim] shows available, but one that has gotten little attention is Hot Package. A ridiculous satire of half-hour entertainment shows like Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood, this show repurposes insane clips from old entertainment B-reel and repurposes low budget movies to promote them as high-budget blockbusters they gush over. Oh, and there’s plenty of running gag weirdness, as well, including the eventual death and resurrection of Mark McGrath. It’s an [adult swim] show, after all, and one that fans of that programming block’s signature brand of sideways comedy will appreciate.
The Professional: If you haven’t seen this Luc Besson film, you should. Not only does it feature stellar performances from Jean Reno and a 12-year-old Natalie Portman(!), but it’s an affecting mixture of violent action and sentimental drama. When a neglected young girl (Portman) finds her family murdered, the professional assassin who lives in her apartment building (Reno) takes her under his wing, eventually beginning to teach her the tricks of his trade. To say any more would be to spoil the movie, but it’s worth your time to watch this well-regarded crime-action film with a twist.
Captain Fantastic: A man (Viggo Mortensen) has raised his unconventional family separate from society since their births, and while his children are brilliant and athletic, they are also poorly prepared to function in mainstream society. When his depressed wife commits suicide while being treated in a hospital, he must take his family out of the woods to attend her funeral–of which he is not welcome by her father. An interesting comedy-drama with strong performances and a fairly balanced look at the strengths and weaknesses of living outside of society, Captain Fantastic is for intellectuals and individualists who dream of living out in the woods and finding a separate peace–and the pitfalls this may entail.
Winter’s Bone: In the methamphetamine-soaked rural Ozarks, a young woman (Jennifer Lawrence) must find her way through a wilderness marred by poverty, vicious gossip, distant and hostile relatives, and a violent drug-related underworld to find her drug addict father to prevent her family’s eviction from their home. Featuring a strong, star-making performance from Lawrence, Winter’s Bone is an unflinching, dramatic look at a world often unseen but oft remarked-upon by mainstream Americans.
The Witch: In case you missed it, this contemporary horror film set in 17th-century America is horror minimalism at its finest. Following the increasingly disturbing events of a family whose father put them into self-exile from their village, The Witch is an unusual horror film that is set in a time period that most horror films don’t consider and is far spookier for it. Isolated, with no technology or means of escape or support, this family descends into a series of horrifying setbacks–particularly when it becomes clear that a witch leaves nearby in the woods. For a unique horror film, there are few better than The Witch.
Amy: With an incredible voice and undeniable charisma, Amy Winehouse rocketed to mainstream success and multiple accolades. Her troubled life–which at first came across as part of her act but soon became apparent as actual and dangerous–brought her close to the edge numerous times until finally claiming her life at 27. This documentary examines the singer’s brilliant career and harrowing plunge into anorexia, alcoholism, and drug addiction and will leave the viewer mourning the loss of a great talent that had so much potential ahead of her.