The streaming services, as a whole, did not falter throughout this pandemic, and in fact, some new and already successful ones popped up (HBO Max, Peacock), and another contender, Paramount+, launched earlier this week. As a result, Netflix is no longer always king of the streaming weekends, and this week, movies start to come back in a bigger way with Coming 2 America bringing us Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Wesley Snipes, and so much more incredible talent in a long-awaited sequel. More than any other gathering of selections, this solitary entry wins the weekend for Amazon Prime, but the game’s not over yet.
Netflix is bringing the quantity, but there’s a lot of quality out there elsewhere. Hulu’s got a new Frank Grillo action picture and the latest Snowfall episode; and Disney+ is bringing the WandaVision finale, along with an eye-popping adventure film that’s good for the whole family. Peacock isn’t sitting down and twiddling its fingers; instead, it’ll scare the pants off you with more Mr. Mercedes, and HBO Max has some fresh offerings as well. With that said, here’s the best of the best of this weekend’s streaming picks, and no matter what, you won’t be bored this weekend with TV.
Coming 2 America (Amazon Prime film) — The much-anticipated sequel is (according to our own Vince Mancini) a rare example of a comedy that lives up to the original with a bang-up job in the costume department to boot. The followup also, naturally, celebrates the much-heralded return of Eddie Murphy as King Akeem, who’s definitely got Arsenio Hall around as confidante while they travel from Zaumda to Queens, New York, to take things back to basics. More good news: James Earl Jones is back, and the film co-stars Wesley Snipes, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, Louis Anderson, Jermaine Fowler, Bella Murphy, Rotimi, KiKi Layne, Nomzamo Mbatha, and Teyana Taylor.
Boss Level (FX film) — Underappreciated action hero Frank Grillo stars as a former special forces agent who’s trapped in a not-so-wacky version of a Groundhog Day-esque time loop and forced to continuously relive his own murder. Sounds like a good time! Mel Gibson plays the government agent that Grillo’s hunting down in a race against the time loop, and the film also co-stars Naomi Watts, Ken Jeong, and Annabelle Wallis. The film’s one of many upcoming projects from Grillo and director Joe Carnahan’s War Party production company.
Snowfall: Season 4 Premiere (FX on Hulu) — The John Singleton-co-created series sees Franklin’s troubles move past the gang warfare and toward Cissy while revenge is the name of the game for Teddy and Gustavo. Franklin’s still aiming to regain control over his empire resisting an all-out war of drug violence in the mid 1980s, Reagan-era streets of America.
Wandavision: Season Finale (Disney+ series) — Phase Four’s first official MCU entry is skillfully careening to a close after an emotional penultimate episode that promises a showdown between two powerful witches and some sort of cameo that’s been teased by (the possibly trolling) Paul Bettany. After this week, it’s all eyes forward to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, so get your wings and vibranium-arm cosplay ready.
Raya and the Last Dragon (Disney+ film) — Kelly Marie Tran stars in this ambitious fantasy film with striking visuals about Kumandra, yet another world where humans and dragons coexisted together until the dragons sacrificed themselves to save the humans. Oh, this one’s gonna be a tear-jerker but sounds like it’s entirely worth it, especially after reemerging monsters inspire a warrior to find the last living dragon and repeat the path to victory. The film integrates mythologies from many Southeast Asian cultures and promises to be a soaring ride for all ages.
Paramount+ (Launching on Thursday, March 4)
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run (Paramount+ movie) — Look for Keanu Reeves’ cameo in this irreverent animated adventure, which follows SpongeBob and Patrick, his starfish pal, looking to vindicate Mr. Krabs after he’s been framed for heisting King Neptune’s crown. In doing so, they must leave their Bikini Bottom refuge and make their way to Shell City in a journey that illuminates the power of friendship. In addition to the actual movie goodness, check out our “Rapid Fire” video with rapper 2KBaby as he looks to beat the buzzer in a quiz.
Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years: Season 1 (Paramount+ series) — This accompanying prequel series (which landed on the Paramount+ launch day) follows 10-year-old Spongebob at his summer Kamp Koral, which really shakes up the kelp forest as underwater campfires are all the rage near Lake Yuckymuck.
Biggie: I Got A Story To Tell (Netflix documentary): The Notorious B.I.G. gets the celebratory spotlight in this documentary that charts his journey from hustler to rap king. It’s an origin story fit for a legend, and although his lyrics were often autobiographical, this film’s rare footage, testimonies, and in-depth interviews will teach you plenty that you didn’t know about the Hip-Hop icon before hitting play. The documentary arrives in collaboration with Biggie Smalls’ estate while looking ahead to what would have been his 50th birthday and as a followup to his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. Sean Combs executive produces alongside Biggie’s mother, Voletta Wallace, and the film promises to reveal a side Christopher George Latore Wallace that’s never before been revealed to the public.
Pacific Rim: The Black (Netflix series): This animated series is as bonkers as the live action-ish films. There’s massive robots and Kaiju overrunning Australia, which renders the whole continent inhabitable. Amid the mayhem, two siblings search for their missing parents and basically embark upon their search by piloting a Jaeger, which is their only shot at survival. The only thing that’s missing here is an obvious ingredient: Charlie Hunnam.
Moxie (Netflix film): The streaming service is cranking out the movies (at least one per week) this year, and this series co-stars Amy Poehler as a mom with a rebellious past. That past ends up inspiring her daughter, Vivian (Hadley Robinson), to anonymously publish an underground zine (called Moxie) to expose wrongdoers at her high school. In the process, she inspires a full-on movement and revolution, which leads to a shift and power from the cliques and clubs to a better environment for all at the school. The film also stars Lauren Tsai, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Nico Hiraga, Sydney Park, Josephine Langford, Clark Gregg, Josie Totah, Anjelika Washington, Charlie Hall, Sabrina Haskett, Ike Barinholtz, and Marcia Gay Harden.
Murder Among The Mormons (Netflix limited series): Salt Lake City is struck by a series of fatal pipe bombs in 1985, and it’s easily one of the most shocking happenings in the history of the Mormon community. A criminal mastermind is to blame, and clues spring from early Mormon documents and diaries found scattered amid a rare document collection that’s in possession of one of the victims. This is a three-part miniseries and a true-crime documentary that digs into territory seldom seen for a genre that tends to focus on spooks and serial killers. Here, the main crimes in question went down in broad daylight, but as the episodes unfold, the darkness of what sparked these stunning killings slowly rises to the surface.
Mr. Mercedes: Season 3 (Peacock series) — The crime-thriller series that’s based upon Stephen King’s best-selling Bill Hodges Trilogy continues from executive producer David E. Kelley and director Jack Bender. Viewers know that this series brings us a very different Holly Gibney (as portrayed by Justine Lupe) than the one we witnessed on HBO’s The Outsider (as played by Cynthia Erivo), and this season was co-written by Kelley and King. Settle in as the murder of a beloved local author (and American icon) becomes the focus of Hodges, Holly, and Jerome, who find that this case is much more complex than mere cold-blooded killing.
Persona: The Dark Truth Behind Personality Tests (HBO Max documentary) — Personality tests can be insightful, sure, but they can also reflect into doing more harm than good when they’re essentially applied out of context. Americans are obsessed with these things, so please enjoy this opinion-altering documentary.
Allen V. Farrow (HBO documentary series, HBO Max on Sunday) — This four part documentary series continues this weekend while digging into a notorious and still-raging scandal of what, exactly, happened with Woody Allen and his family. That includes daughter Dylan Farrow’s allegations of sexual abuse against her father along with Allen’s relationship with Farrow’s daughter, Soon-Yi, and the custody trial that grew especially ugly. In the aftermath, a sprawling family fractured, and that divide continues to this day with continuing disputes that revolve around the allegations.
Last Week Tonight: Season 8 Premiere (HBO Series, Sunday On HBO Max) — Everyone’s favorite sarcastic and satiric late-night host finally returned a few weeks ago (after blowing up 2020 and getting weird with sweet Adam Driver), and not a moment too soon. John Oliver will break down exactly what’s wrong with our society in a way that only he can do, and let’s hope that he brings back that award-winning hoodie, so we can all get fancy with him.