Each week our staff of film and TV experts surveys the entertainment landscape to select the ten best new/newish movies available for you to stream at home. We put a lot of thought into our selections, and our debates on what to include and what not to include can sometimes get a little heated and feelings may get hurt, but so be it, this is an important service for you, our readers. With that said, here are our selections for this week.
10. (tie) Tick, Tick… Boom (Netflix)
Andrew Garfield is giving theater-kids everywhere a musical-thirst-trap performance in this Lin-Manuel Miranda-directed biopic that pays tribute to Jonathan Larson, the artistic genius who changed Broadway with his seminal musical Rent. This film examines Larson’s life before fans were belting out Season of Love though, with Garfield giving an award-worthy turn as a restless visionary who feels the suffocating deadline of turning 30 without having produced a great show. The supporting cast is terrific, Garfield is doing his best work, and Miranda infuses everything with a genuine sense of love and admiration that makes it hard not to root for this one. Watch it on Netflix.
10. (tie) Bruised (Netflix)
Halle Berry’s MMA movie made a deal with Netflix and now Halle Berry’s MMA movie is on Netflix. Yes, that sentence said “Halle Berry’s MMA movie twice but, to be fair, it’s a phrase it takes a little bit of time to wrap your head around. Berry makes her directorial debut and stars as a disgraced fighter named Jackie Justice (Jackie Justice!) who is back in the cage to deal with various personal demons. It’s Halle Berry’s MMA movie! The reviews are pretty good! Watch it on Netflix.
10. (tie) King Richard (HBO Max)
As odd as it is to have a movie about two of the greatest athletes of all time told centered on, not the women winning Grand Slams and Olympic gold medals, but their determined, driven father – King Richard works. It works because Will Smith exudes charisma and charm but he also brings a believable grit and weary defiance to the role of Richard Williams, the man who gave tennis not one, but two female legends. This is Serena and Venus’ story, told from the perspective of the man who believed in them when no one else did so, yeah, grab a box of tissues before you sit down to watch. Watch it on HBO Max.
10. (tie) Encounter (Amazon Prime)
Oscar-nominee Riz Ahmed likes to make the kind of movies you wouldn’t expect him to. In 2019, he played a rock n roll drummer slowly losing his hearing and having to upend his life because of it. This year, well … he’s surviving an alien invasion. Sort of. Encounter is one of those streaming movies that quietly sneak onto a platform – this time it’s Amazon Prime Video – and usually stay buried under all the other content the algorithm prioritizes. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen here though because Ahmed is a force on screen, playing a disturbed man and desperate father who believes he’s saving his two sons from an extra-terrestrial invasion that no one else knows is happening. It’s a mindf*ck, in the best way possible. Watch it on Amazon Prime.
9. The Power of the Dog (Netflix)
Benedict Cumberbatch gives a villainous performance for the ages in The Power of the Dog, the first film in 12 years from director Jane Campion. The western is expected (and deserves) to be an Oscars frontrunner, so hop on the horse-drawn bandwagon now. Watch it on Netflix.
8. Swan Song (Apple TV+)
Set in the near future, Swan Song stars two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali as a husband and father who’s dying from a terminal illness. To spare his family from unimaginable grief, he secretly agrees to undergo an experimental treatment where his memories will be transported into an exact healthy duplicate. Swan Song examines how far we’re willing to go to protect the ones we love. It’s science-fiction at its most melancholy. Watch it on Apple TV+.
7. Being the Ricardos (Amazon Prime)
Aaron Sorkin is back with a movie about I Love Lucy and its stars, with Nicole Kidman playing Lucille Ball, and a whole bunch of other stuff. You know what to expect here, probably, if you’ve seen a Sorkin movie or television show in the past. The dialogue will be snappy, the villains and heroes will be clearly defined, all of it. The important thing here is that we all agree that Lucille Ball was pretty impressive. Watch it on Amazon Prime.
6. South Park: Post-COVID: The Return of COVID (Paramount Plus)
It’s the follow-up to the first COVID special and things are still weird. There are experiments and mental asylum escapes and marijuana farming and pretty much everything you’ve come to expect from South Park at this stage of the game. There are worse ways to spend a few hours this weekend. Watch it on Paramount Plus.
5. Reno 911: The Hunt for Qanon (Paramount Plus)
This one is pretty straightforward: the delightfully incompetent police department from the long-running Comedy Central series is now, for some beautiful reason, on the hunt for the mysterious political conspiracy theorist Qanon, and their mission takes them from the desert of Nevada to, for other beautiful reasons, the open seas. Maybe straightforward wasn’t the right word. It’s probably best to avoid asking questions. Let’s just roll with it and be glad it exists. Watch it on Paramount Plus.
4. Don’t Look Up (Netflix)
Jennifer Lawrence is back in Don’t Look Up, Adam McKay’s apocalyptic satire about two low-level astronomers (J-Law and Leonardo DiCaprio) who try to warn everyone on Earth about an approaching comet — but no one seems to care. The ensemble cast also includes Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill, Ariana Grande, Timothée Chalamet, Cate Blanchett, and Tyler Perry. Maybe that’s why no one cares about the comet. They’re too busy looking at all those stars. Watch it on Netflix.
3. The Tender Bar (Amazon Prime)
What we have here: George Clooney directing Ben Affleck in a film adaptation of a best-selling memoir about a writer who learns a number of life lessons while working as a bartender. The star power here is undeniable and makes it worth at least a snoop at some point, but it does make us wish — at least a little bit — that Clooney and Affleck had teamed up to make a movie about two handsome guys in tuxedos who team up to steal… oh, let’s say the Liberty Bell. This is probably fine, too, though. Watch it on Amazon Prime.
The gang is all back. Mostly. They’re mostly all back. Keanu is there as Neo, with the John Wick beard. Carrie Ann Moss is back as Trinity even though Trinity kind of… died. It’s a whole thing. And it’s fun. This all could have gone a lot worse, really, which isn’t exactly the highest praise but is still important. Let’s do it all again in another 20 years. Let’s make it a thing. Watch it on HBO Max.
1. Encanto (Disney Plus)
The standout cut from the Encanto soundtrack, “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” is the latest addition to the Maddeningly Catchy Disney Song canon, along with recent inductees “Let It Go” and “You’re Welcome.” (Lin-Manuel Miranda apparently knows a thing or two about songwriting, who knew?) The rest of the movie is fun, colorful, and teaches an important lesson about family and community, and you get to hear Rosa from Brooklyn Nine-Nine belt it out. But the best reason to watch Encanto is to learn firsthand why “Bruno” is one of the most popular songs in the country right now. Should you skip Encanto? Bruno-no-no-no. Watch it on Disney Plus.