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) Pinocchio (Disney Plus)
Disney continues its efforts to remake its iconic back catalog of animated treasures, bringing them to new audiences through live-action, big-budget adaptations. Thus far, the results have been mixed, but also highly profitable, so here we go again with Pinocchio. In their favor, a lead performance from Tom Hanks as Geppetto and the guiding hand of Robert Zemeckis as director and co-writer (with Chris Weitz). Zemeckis is, of course, a trailblazer when it comes to storytelling through a heavily CG-influenced lens, which is required here to bring the tale of a marionette turned real live boy to life. But the challenge is in doing that while maintaining the soul of a fable that is imprinted on so many of us from previous adaptations and, of course, Disney’s 1940-made gem which still looks fantastic despite being more than 80 years old. Basically, the degree of difficulty is high here and audiences are likely to be unforgiving if this impressive creative team either veers too far from the much-beloved classic or feels too much like a carbon copy. Watch it on Disney Plus.
10. (tie) Elvis (HBO Max)
Baz Lurhman’s Elvis biopic is trash. Beautiful, glorious trash. The kind you leave out on your front porch for your neighbors to marvel at in grotesque disbelief. It’s hip-gyrating, finger-thrusting, sweat-pouring theatrics packaged in lush cinematography, contained in a classic underdog story that reaffirms everything you thought you knew about the King of Rock and Roll, and then adds some weird personal fodder that makes you question everything you thought you knew about the King of Rock and Roll. Austin Butler is mesmerizing, and so is whatever the hell Tom Hanks is doing in this thing. Enjoy it for what it is – a beautifully-shot fever dream filled with some great tunes. Watch it on HBO Max.
10. Thor: Love and Thunder (Disney Plus)
Thor is back once again and he brought some new friends with him. Natalie Portman, to be specific. Which is fun. This follow-up to the also-fun Ragnarok has made the move from theaters to streaming and into your living rooms. That’s another fun thing. It is almost unreasonable how good Chris Hemsworth is in these movies. You should not be allowed to look like that and be that funny. Someone should make a rule about it. Until then… watch it on Disney Plus.
9. Meet Cute (Peacock)
What do we have here? Well, Kaley Cuoco, for one, in a Groundhog Day-style situation that sees her living the same date over and over again, in a good way, thanks to a magical tanning booth. We’ve also got Pete Davidson doing his whole thing and tiny rips in the space-time continuum and little changes in the past causing big ripples in the future, kind of like if you crossed Back to the Future with Palm Springs. That’s a good place to start from. Watch it on Peacock.
8. Hocus Pocus 2 (Disney Plus)
Oh look! Another glorious sequel. Fans have been clamoring for a followup to this spooky childhood classic for so long that, now that it’s finally here, there’s some understandable apprehension. Can it capture the magic (pun intended) of its predecessor? Will the surprise musical numbers go as hard? Will Disney allow more tongue-in-cheek one liners about Satanic worship and child cannibalism to flourish (because we really need to hear Sarah Jessica Parker confirm she smells children, just one more time)? We don’t have all the answers but it’s never a bad thing when Bette Midler, Parker, and Kathy Najimy get together on screen. And we wouldn’t be caught dead talking smack about the Sanderson sisters. Watch it on Disney Plus.
7. Do Revenge (Netflix)
A revenge fantasy set in an impossibly luxurious school where impossibly rich kids trade impossibly sharp and smart barbs, Do Revenge is not to be believed as a real slice of teenage life, but it is to be enjoyed. A lot. Led by Maya Hawke and Camila Mendes, Do Revenge is the perfect mean-teen movie, giving us all the fun and fierce cross of Mean Girls, Clueless, Heathers, 10 Things I Hate About You, Cruel Intentions, and Throw Momma From The Train (!?) that we didn’t know we needed, but we so, so did. Watch it on Netflix.
6. Luckiest Girl Alive (Netflix)
Mila Kunis stars in this adaptation of Jessica Knoll’s bestselling novel that will remind people of a glossier version of Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places. The story follows a writer (Ani) who happened to survive a mass killing at her high school. Naturally, some PTSD is involved, and a documentary filmmaker surfaces some memories that would best be forgotten. In the end, some dark truths might shake up her whole world even more, and here’s a bonus: Scoot McNairy’s along for the horrific ride. Watch it on Netflix.
5. The Redeem Team (Netflix)
So here’s what happened. The Dream Team took the world by storm at the 1992 Olympics, with Magic and Michael and Larry and a slew of other Hall of Famers coming together to win gold in almost hilariously dominant fashion. Then, over the next 15 years, playing for USA Basketball became less appealing and things all got weird. Until, that is, 2008, when everyone from LeBron James to Dwyane Wade to Kobe Bryant had enough and got the band together for what became known as The Redeem Team. Now, 14 years after that, there’s a documentary about it. Feels like a must-watch for hoops fans. At least a should-watch. So… watch it on Netflix.
4. Hellraiser (Hulu)
You are probably at least a little familiar with Hellraiser, the 1987 horror classic directed by Clive Barker. It’s been depicted on the screen in one way or another 11 times now, so that feels like a pretty safe assumption. The 11th and most recent version comes to Hulu and stars Odessa A’zion and Jamie Clayton. The official description goes something like this: “A young woman struggling with addiction comes into possession of an ancient puzzle box, unaware that its purpose is to summon the Cenobites, a group of sadistic supernatural beings from another dimension.” It is always a bummer when that happens. Watch it on Hulu.
3. Rosaline (Hulu)
Hulu is continuing its tradition of taking dusty old romance classics and reimagining them for our more modern, thumb-swiping times (see Fire Island) by tackling, who else, Shakespeare. If you’ve ever heard the tale of two teenagers from warring families who off-ed themselves instead of, I don’t know, giving group therapy a try and thought to yourself, “Huh, this is really messed up,” then this rom-com is for you. Booksmart’s Kaitlyn Dever plays Rosaline, the girl Romeo drops like a hot potato soon after meeting his Juliet. Jilted and craving revenge, she enacts a plan to keep the lovers apart and … well, you know how things go. Sharply smart and wickedly funny, it’s the kind of Shakespeare re-telling no one knew to ask for but you’ll be happy it exists anyway. Watch it on Hulu.
2. I Love You, You Hate Me (Peacock)
To many, Barney The Dinosaur was a foundational and positive part of their childhood, filling their days with song and love, but the icon also found himself caught in the middle of a still-raging war between snark and sentimentality, sparking hate from hate groups of the early internet era that, in I Love You, You Hate Me, get credit for helping to unlock the culture of grievance and rage that feels more prevalent and caustic now. Throw in side stories about a tantric sex guru, a shooting, and some Blues Clues Steve wisdom on the uncomplicated positivity of Barney and you get a pretty rich and compelling 2-part docuseries. Watch it on Peacock.
1. Halloween Ends (Peacock)
The Halloween franchise is back for one last ride. Probably. The word “ends” is right there in the title so it’s a decent assumption, at least. For now. Jamie Lee Curtis is running around with a gun and there will be spooky music and ominous shots of Michael Myers and tons of callbacks to all the previous installments in the series. The bigger issue here is that Michael Myers has been terrorizing these poor people for almost 50 years now. Leave it alone, buddy. Move on. Watch it on Peacock.