Steamy Streaming – May
Sexy, Dangerous, and Everything in Between
Every month, the streaming services update their offerings to include a suite of new content for viewers to consume, in the form of both original programming and timeless classics. Here’s PROVOKR‘s picks for the best new additions to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime!
Picnic at Hanging Rock (Amazon)
Picnic at Hanging Rock is widely considered to be one of Australia’s most revered works of art. The 1967 novel about the mysterious disappearance of school girls and their teacher was previously adapted for film in the ’70s, and now a new version is making its way to television. An Australian production, the series will debut in America as an Amazon Prime exclusive. Starring Game of Thrones‘ Natalie Dormer, this new version of Picnic promises a unique mix of period aesthetics, psychedelic imagery, and surreal themes. The six-episode series debuts May 25 on Amazon.
Only God Forgives (Netflix)
Nicholas Winding Refn takes great joy in acknowledging the audience’s expectations before stomping on them with his heavy boot. A spiritual successor to his earlier films, Valhalla Rising and Drive, Only God Forgives is a disturbingly violent film about criminals, revenge, and justice, with an unhealthy dose of uncomfortable sexuality and serious Oedipal issues. To say any more would spoil the myriad surprises in the film, so you’ll just have to trust us on this one. It’s got some of the most provocative visuals ever put to film and the score, by Cliff Martinez, is just incredible. Simply put, Only God Forgives, starring Ryan Gosling, is one of the best movies of 2013, and now it’s on Netflix, starting on May 15.
In 2013, Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke directed the short film, Cargo. The story of a man seeking refuge for his baby daughter before he inevitably turns into a flesh-eating zombie hit all the right emotional notes and scored an astounding fourteen million views on YouTube. Now, the directors have expanded their seven-minute film into a full-length feature, and Netflix acquired it, the latest feather in their increasingly prestigious cap. Martin Freeman stars as the infected and desperate father looking to secure a future for his baby girl, even it will most likely be the last thing he ever does. Cargo debuts on May 18.
Untamed Heart (Hulu)
This 1993 romantic drama might be too sappy for the cold and joyless, but it holds a large place in our own untamed hearts. The chemistry between Marisa Tomei and Christian Slater is pure magic, and it’s great to see these two young stars at the top of their game, flashing their pretty eyes at each other and falling in love. Our knees grow weak just thinking about it! Minneapolis, Minnesota is not traditionally the setting for romantic films, but it’s hard to imagine Untamed Heart being set anywhere else. It’s something of a forgotten classic, but now’s the perfect time for audiences to give it another shot.
To call Amélie a romantic comedy would be terribly reductive, but it would also be absolutely accurate. A whimsical and surreal tale of loving life and everything in it, while searching for someone with whom to share the adventure, Amélie was a breakthrough hit for director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, as well as the beautiful and talented Audrey Tautou, who played the title character. The movie has been on Amazon Prime for a few months, but now it joins Netflix‘s roster of cult classics!
The Kissing Booth (Netflix)
Based on the YA novel by Beth Reekles, The Kissing Booth eschews the sci-fi and fantasy aesthetics of popular Young Adult fare like Twilight and Divergent in favor of the classic John Hughes approach. Think less Hunger Games, more Pretty in Pink. The Kissing Booth wears its 1980s influence on its sleeve with the casting of The Breakfast Club star Molly Ringwald in a lead role. Still, the real star of the film is young Joey King (FX’s Fargo, The Conjuring), who aims to use a kissing booth to overcome her unrequited crush on a boy in school. Basically, it looks like the most adorable, kind-hearted, saccharine movie for teenagers from every generation. A Netflix Original, The Kissing Booth debuts on May 11.
Cameron Crowe has earned a degree of well-deserved flak for duds like Aloha and We Bought a Zoo, but it’s important to remember that he wrote and directed some truly astounding films. Regardless of what he’s done lately, movies like Say Anything, Almost Famous, and Jerry Maguire will always be fondly remembered as the classics they are. In today’s culture of uninformed memes over actual analysis, Elizabethtown is remembered more for being responsible for the derisive term “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” than for being an infectiously energetic romance between Orland Bloom and Kirsten Dunst, with bittersweet drama and doses of honest comedy. Now that it’s out on Amazon Prime, give it another shot, without the baggage of memetic criticism, and we bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
One of ABC‘s most critically-acclaimed series, Scandal recently ended its seven-year run on the highest of notes. Now that the dust has settled on the Shonda Rhimes series, it’s the perfect time to look back on the political intrigue of Washington fixer Olivia Pope. The increasingly over-the-top soap opera spirals out of control in later seasons, but in a good way, one which is perfect for binge-watchers like us; it’s like everybody is Joan Collins in Dynasty, and the subsequent insanity is damn fine television! The all-star cast includes Kerry Washington, Bellamy Young, Joe Morton, Portia de Rossi, and Khandi Alexander, just to name a few.
Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story (Netflix)
Hedy Lamarr was one of the most beautiful actors who ever lived, but there’s so much more to her life than tight dresses and red carpets. Bombshell dives in to her surprisingly complex life and sordid relationships with various powerful men, from Nazi arms barons to Hollywood bigshots, and even Howard Hughes. She was also a scientist and inventor. Long story short, technology she developed led to the creation of modern utilities like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Yeah. She wasn’t just a pretty face and Hollywood legend, but a straight-up genius, a secret badass, and a woman generations ahead of her time. See for yourself when Bombshell hits Netflix on May 31.
When it first released in 1995, Sabrina was kind of overlooked by critics and audiences. Despite charismatic turns from Harrison Ford, Julia Ormond, and a then-unknown Greg Kinnear (to say nothing of legends Angie Dickinson and Richard Crenna) the remake could not escape the shadow of the iconic 1954 original, starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, and William Holden. Now that it’s over twenty years later, both films can stand on their own merits and be seen as separate entities. They’re both great, and the remake has enough differences to not feel redundant, a problem which arises when a remake or adaptation is too faithful to its source material.