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.
1. In the Heights (HBO Max)
After months trapped indoors, we deserve In the Heights. It’s a sticky, sweaty musical filled with memorable songs from Lin Manuel-Miranda, vibrant direction from Jon M. Chu, and a reassuring message about the importance of community. Who cares if summer doesn’t officially begin until June 20 — it’s summer the day In the Heights comes out. Watch it on HBO Max starting June 11.
Terrific news for all of you, provided all of you want to hang out inside on a weekend in June and watch spooky stuff on one of the various screens at your disposal: The Conjuring is back and it’s coming straight to HBO Max. In this go-round, Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga investigate the case of a confused and blood-soaked young man who says the devil possessed him and made him commit murder. You’d think the devil would have bigger fish to fry than forcing random guys to commit single murders but, hey, we’re not the paranormal investigators here. Watch it on HBO Max.
Epic in its emotional depth and scale (for a comedy special filmed within the space of one room during lockdown), this year-long voyeuristic musical voyage into Bo Burnham’s fraying mind seems at once deeply personal and stunningly relatable. It’s also a hilarious reclamation of satire that takes particular aim at tech and how it has impacted how we interact and live. Stunning and unlike anything you’ve seen before. Did we mention that it’s as funny as it is powerful? Watch it on Netflix.
4. Infinite (Paramount Plus)
It feels like it’s been a long time since we had a great dumb guy movie, and in Antoine Fuqua’s Infinite, Mark Wahlberg plays a reincarnated samurai. He’s part of a faction of “infinites” who remember all their past lives, called “The Believers,” trying to keep Chiwetel Ejiofor, who just wants to die, from killing everyone on Earth (so that he, a guy cursed with constant reincarnation, can finally die). At one point Mark Wahlberg jumps his motorcycle off a cliff onto the back of a plane and stabs it in the wing with a samurai sword. How could you not want to watch? Watch it on Paramount Plus.
Yes, Cruella de Vil is finally getting her origin story. Even if you don’t agree that she needed one, no one can argue that Emma Stone is the actress who could deliver a damn good time in this role. Granted, the film starts out slow (the runtime’s over two hours) with a protracted childhood era that doesn’t illustrate much about why she villained out and murdered puppies. Yet it does speed up, with lots of mayhem and a cackling Emma hanging off a truck in a billowing dress. Fashion can be evil! Also, the soundtrack feels like a character in its own right. Watch it on Disney+ Premium.
Plan B is a raunchy teen sex comedy from director — and former Parks and Recreation actress — Natalie Morales, and it looks pretty fun. Kind of a cross between a 90s throwback like Can’t Hardly Wait and a modern version like Booksmart with a little A24 arthouse thrown in. It’s a lot of things, basically, which is not something we are complaining about. Flip it on and give it a go if you’re in the mood for what appears to be, on paper, “Superbad but if the main characters were looking for next-day contraception instead of the kind of wild night that might require it.” This is also by no means a complaint. Watch it on Hulu.
7. Army of the Dead (Netflix)
Zack Snyder’s latest project hits Netflix this weekend and it brings with it a slew of zombies and Dave Bautista carrying big guns and Tig Notaro looking cool as hell. It has other things, too, one presumes, but it probably won’t take more to sell you on it than that, so let’s leave it there. Okay, fine. One more thing. This is not just a zombie movie. It is a zombie heist movie. It is a zombie heist movie that features Dave Bautista carrying big guns and Tig Notaro looking cool as hell. In Vegas. This is some quality Saturday business right here. Watch it on Netflix.
8. The Mitchells Vs. The Machines (Netflix)
Well well well, do you want to see a star-studded and fun animated film from the production team behind Into the Spiderverse? We have pondered this question for days and have yet to uncover a valid reason why you wouldn’t. It’s got everything you could want: an oddball family trying to put down a robot uprising; voice work from Abbi Jacobson and Danny McBride and Maya Rudolph and a slew of other people you probably like; and an ending that might tug your heartstrings a little bit. Sounds like a decent Saturday afternoon to us. Watch it on Netflix.
In his review of the film last year, our Mike Ryan wrote, “there’s a scene in Nomaldland so beautiful I gasped as it whisked my brain to some of Terrence Malick’s early work.” That pretty much sums it up well — Nomadland is one of the most beautiful and touching movies we’ve seen in a while. And now it’s a full-on Oscar winner. There has never been a better time to check it out, except for every other weekend before this one. Still! Watch it on Hulu
10. Street Gang: How We Got To Sesame Street (VOD)
This documentary lit up Sundance and is now finally available on VOD as of May 7. Is it cute nostalgia-bait? Maybe. Will you probably love watching a touching story about immensely talented creative-types making a thing that has shaped childhoods for decades now, including your own. Uh, yes. Of course. Track it down and be prepared to cry a little.