Director: Terry Zwigoff
Screenplay: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac
Just in time for Christmas in August, Bad Santa returns to streaming. It’s a shame that the sequel was so terrible because the original is a pitch-black comedy masterpiece. Maybe they’ll right the ship with Bad Santa 3.
Director: The Wachowskis
Screenplay: The Wachowskis
Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry
Wachowski movies are always big, bombastic set pieces with lots of half-baked theories and Cloud Atlas is no different. But, like many of their other movies, it’s also “visually sumptuous” and Tom Hanks gives “tour de force” performances as, not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, but six different characters!
Funny Games (US)
Director: Michael Haneke
Screenplay: Michael Haneke
Starring: Naomi Watts, Tim Roth
Michael Haneke is one of the world’s most celebrated directors even if he hasn’t seen much success stateside. Funny Games is a note-for-note redo of his Austrian original with a handful of big name actors. American critics didn’t exactly love this meditation on the perception of violence and the role of the media but y’know, we shouldn’t expect too much from them anyway.
Director: Joe Dante
Screenplay: Jeffrey Boam
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Martin Short, Meg Ryan
A hapless store clerk who’s been injected with the crew of small submersible (stay with us here) must outwit criminals who are trying to gain access to the miniaturization technology.
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson
Quentin Tarantino’s ode to the Blaxploitation films of the 60’s and 70’s.
Lord Of War
Director: Andrew Niccol
Screenplay: Andrew Niccol
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Ethan Hawke
Nicolas Cage has decided that his legacy doesn’t mean much to him anymore. We get it. Legacies don’t buy houses but making ten questionable movies a year certainly can. Lord of War, which finds him playing an arms dealer dealing with an existential crisis, might have been one of his last really good films.
The Addams Family
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Screenplay: Caroline Thompson, Larry Wilson
Starring: Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia
The Addams Family is a reminder of simpler times when every movie needed a rap song at the end to tie it all together.
The Astronaut’s Wife
Director: Rand Ravich
Screenplay: Rand Ravich
Starring: Charlize Theron, Johnny Depp
They were definitely trying to do a sci-fi version of Rosemary’s Baby with this film (strange pregnancies and Charlize Theron’s haircut are dead giveaways) but didn’t quite accomplish that. Instead, conjuring more of a predictable M. Night Shyamalan copycat.
The Number 23
Director: Joel Schumacher
Screenplay: Fernley Phillips
Starring: Jim Carrey, Virginia Madsen
In the wake of his incredible performance in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, studios were eager to see the breadth of Jim Carrey’s dramatic chops. The Number 23 summarily put an end to that.
Director: John Lee Hancock
Screenplay: Robert D. Siegel
Starring: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman
In perhaps one of the best movies from last year that nobody saw, The Founder tells the story of the guy who turned the McDonald’s brand, and their Golden Arches, into a ubiquitous symbol of American gluttony.
Icarus (Netflix Original)
Director: Bryan Fogel
Screenplay: Jon Bertain, Bryan Fogel, et al.
Starring: Bryan Fogel
As Americans, we seriously cannot get enough of Russia. Flip around the stations and we guarantee that Rocky IV is playing on some channel, right now. Anyway, this documentary centers on the Russian state-sponsored doping during the Olympics.
Atypical: Season 1 (Netflix Original)
Creator: Robia Rashid
Starring: Nik Dodani, Jennifer Jason Leigh
A teen on the autism spectrum decides he wants to date in this new Netflix original series. You can bet that his whole family is going to learn something about themselves, love and life in the process.
Naked (Netflix Original)
Director: Michael Tiddes
Screenplay: Rick Alvarez, Marlon Wayans, et al.
Starring: Marlon Wayans
Like an all-nude reboot of Groundhog Day, Naked features a nude man caught in a time loop on the day of his wedding. Based on the Swedish film of the same name and inexplicably starring Marlon Wayans.
Director: Stephen Gaghan
Screenplay: Patrick Massett, John Zinman
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Edgar Ramírez
There’s very little Matthew McConaughey can’t do as an actor but apparently critics drew the line at the bald cap and excess of gut. The movie is about gold and capitalism run amok. Enjoy.
I Am Sam
Director: Jessie Nelson
Screenplay: Kristine Johnson, Jessie Nelson
Starring: Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer
There’s a quote from the movie Tropic Thunder that accurately describes Sean Penn’s performance in I Am Sam but we won’t get into that here. This is the kind of movie your mom recommends to you.
Marvel’s The Defenders: Season 1(Netflix Original)
Creators: Douglas Petrie, Marco Ramirez
Starring: Charlie Cox, Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, Finn Jones, Élodie Yung
It’s incredible that we haven’t yet reached the superhero saturation point but it has to be coming, right? This is the big crossover event Marvel fans have been waiting for—the joining forces of Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Luke Cage and the guy with the ramen noodles on his head.
What Happened To Monday? (Netflix Original)
Director: Tommy Wirkola
Screenplay: Max Botkin, Kerry Williamson
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Willen Dafoe, Glenn Close
In this dystopian thriller set in a world with a strict one-child policy (honestly, what’s the fuss?), a set of septuplets must search for their missing sister (presumably named “Monday”).
Disjointed: Part 1(Netflix Original)
Creators: David Javerbaum, Chuck Lorre
Starring: Kathy Bates, Aaron Moten
Kathy Bates stars as the owner of a dispensary and she and her son are constantly high. Get it? Disjointed.
Death Note (Netflix Original)
Director: Adam Wingard
Screenplay: Charley Parlapanides, Vlas Parlapanides
Starring: Lakeith Stanfield, Margaret Qualley
The mega-popular manga finally comes to the small screen. The plot is loosely based on the original—a young man finds a book, which has the power to kill with the simple scrawling of a name. He uses it to dispatch criminals but an enigmatic detective is on his trail.
Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later (Netflix Original)
Director: David Wain
Screenplay: Michael Showalter, David Wain
Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black
Wet Hot American Summer might be one of the greatest comedy films of all time. The prequel (starring the original cast albeit fifteen years older) was just as hilarious. Now they’re back for a proper reunion set in the early 90s. This will be binge worthy.