What to Watch
A charming BBC show now on Amazon Prime
The big bad news in streaming this week is that HBO Max might be going under. Even after it ranked first among services, produced great original shows, and built an enviable library of titles, it’s in the process of an odd streamlining that strips it off of all the things that made it watchable. Which is a shame! And potentially the start of the streaming bubble bursting. But here’s hoping digital media gets a better future than this content dumping that’s going on.
I hope you have a good weekend.
OUR TOP TV SHOW OF THE WEEK
Season 2 is new on Amazon Prime 🍅 rating: 79%
The Outlaws is an enjoyable BBC miniseries that centers on the lives and misadventures of seven lawbreakers sentenced to 120 hours of community service. The felons can’t be more different from each other, but as they gather every day to serve, they slowly bond in the process.
It’s a bit like The Breakfast Club and The Good Place in that sense, although subplots of crime and heist also make it a dash more thrilling. Stephen Merchant (co-creator of The Office UK) stars in, writes, and directs the series.
OUR TOP MOVIE OF THE WEEK
New on Amazon Prime 🍅 rating: 91%
Also new on Amazon Prime is Licorice Pizza, a delightful period comedy from Paul Thomas Anderson. It follows 25-year-old Alana Kane (Alana Haim) and 15-year-old Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman, son of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman), who strike an unexpected but lovely friendship after meeting at a photoshoot one day. They learn a lot about growing up in the San Fernando Valley.
I admit I’m not the biggest Paul Thomas Anderson fan, but Licorice Pizza surprised me by being very captivating very quick, and I think I have the strong leads to thank. There is an ease and naturalism to both their chemistry and onscreen performances that’s hard not to love. Which is impressive, considering they’re both making their film debut here. The thick and wistful patina of the ‘70s also helps paint an overall charming picture.
Top picks outside of Netflix and Amazon Prime
Belle, the anime that first dazzled audiences at last year’s Cannes, is now streaming on HBO Max. It’s set in a not-so-far-off world where people can create virtual personas. When the mysterious Belle captures people’s hearts with her beautiful songs, the person behind the voice is forced to confront painful truths about fame and identity.
Another great title arriving on streaming is season 2 of Reservation Dogs. The series, which follows a group of indigenous teens committing petty crimes to fund their escape to California, is a tender and funny coming-of-age story at heart. The first two episodes are now on Hulu.
New titles worth your time
New on Netflix is the wonderful but sadly underrated romance Love & Basketball, which follows two childhood friends as they navigate their relationship and the sport they adore. Also new on the platform are the Eminem-starring drama 8 Mile, the mystery/erotica Eyes Wide Shut, and the smart crime thriller The Town.
For series fans, the Portuguese crime drama Good Morning, Verônica and the highly-anticipated Neil Gaiman adaptation The Sandman are now both available on Netflix.
The survival biopic Thirteen Lives is making its streaming debut on Amazon Prime today. It covers the real-life events of the 2018 Tham Luang cave rescue, which saw the entrapment of a junior soccer team. The Ron Howard picture is headlined by Colin Farrell and Viggo Mortensen.
Also new on Amazon Prime are the romantic drama Before Midnight, the British comedy The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and the ‘80s heist comedy A Fish Called Wanda.
Great titles that will soon expire
No notable titles are leaving Netflix, but over at Amazon Prime, the sci-fi comedy Robot & Frank expires on August 8th. It follows an aging man who first refuses any help from his AI assistant—that is until he trains it to aid him in his burglaries. Robot & Frank stars many a-listers, including Susan Sarandon and Peter Sarsgaard. If you’re a fan, you’ll also be delighted to spot a young, pre-Succession Jeremy Strong in the cast.
That’s all for this week. This edition of the newsletter will be back on Friday, August 12.
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