No matter what’s going on outside, staying safer at home is always a good idea. Our weekly roundup of what to stream has the shows and movies that will keep you entertained while you flip on the platform of your choice and chill.
What to Stream This Week
We Don’t Deserve Dogs
This documentary from Matthew Salleh and Rose Tucker travels the world, beautifully capturing the connection between humans and our faithful dog companions. The pair meets up with shepherds in Romania who depend on their dogs to help tend their flocks, former child soldiers in Uganda who rehabilitate street dogs as a form of trauma-healing, and more. Vimeo On-Demand, Google Play, Apple TV, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Vudu.
Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer star in this superhero buddy film. The two women use technology that can give ordinary humans special powers, and then set out to–somewhat awkwardly–fight crime. Netflix.
A Black family is terrorized after moving into an all-white Los Angeles neighborhood in this 1950s-set horror-drama. THEM, created by Little Marvin and executive produced by Lena Waithe, is envisioned as an anthology series, of which Covenant will be the the first, self-contained chapter. (Note: The series features graphic depictions of violence and racial trauma, which critics have noted may be difficult for some viewers.) Amazon Prime.
Other recent recommendations…
Mapplethorpe: The Director’s Cut
This new edition of Mapplethorpe attempts to address criticisms levied about the original 2019 release, when the Matt Smith-starring biopic was labeled bland and hesitant about the more controversial elements of the photographer’s life. Director Ondi Timoner has added in a number of scenes, as well as overhauling the film’s score, and reframing the iconic photographer’s early life. Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, GooglePlay.
The Last Cruise
In January, 2020, the Diamond Princess embarked on what would become a far longer, stranger, and more harrowing journey than anybody expected. The ship became home to the first large COVID-19 outbreak outside China, with hundreds of infected passengers and crew. This new documentary covers what it was like on board. HBO Max.
Shudder’s anthology series returns from a second season of creepy, campy vignettes. An episode featuring Marilyn Manson—who’s been accused of sexual assault—was pulled from the series by director Greg Nicotero, but keep an eye out for appearances by horror legends Barbara Crampton (Castle Freak, etc.) and Keith David (The Thing). Shudder.
Minari star Steven Yeun voices Mark Grayson, the lead character in this adult-oriented animated series from The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman. Grayson a teenager with developing superpowers, inherited from his superhero dad. Sandra Oh voices his non-superhero mother. Amazon Prime.
Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil
In 2018, pop star Demi Lovato was preparing to go on a triumphant world tour, with a documentary crew in tow to capture the spectacle. But in July of that year, the tour–and documentary–were scrapped when Lovato was hospitalized due to a near-fatal drug overdose. YouTube.
The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers
The long-rumored follow-up to the 1990s film franchise brings back star Emilio Estevez along with several of the then-child, now-adult actors who played members of the hockey team (but, so far, no Joshua Jackson). Disney+.
This rom-com pairs Jean Smart and William Shatner (who, despite his real-life age of 90, plays a character of a youthful 72), driving vintage sports cars with Christopher Lloyd and falling in love in Palm Springs. Apple TV.
Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admission Scandal
It was perhaps inevitable that the college scandal of 2019 would become some kind of movie (it was named after one, after all). Ostensibly a documentary, this movie, from makers of Fyre: The Greatest Party that Never Happened and Tiger King, features extensive dramatic reenactment scenes starring actor Matthew Modine as scammer Rick Singer. Netflix.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Marvel-lovers feeling a void after the this month’s season finale of WandaVision have a new series to sate their hunger for Avengers-adjacent content. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier focuses on Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), who has been tapped to replace a retiring Captain America, and his not-quite-rival, Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan). Disney+.
Decider says this Gen Z high school series is “teeming with tension and promise.” Genera+ion‘s co-creator Zelda Barnz actually is just 19 years old; she began writing the screenplay two years ago, with help from mentor Lena Dunham, who also serves as the series’ executive producer. HBO Max.
Released late last year, but enjoying a new wave of attention following a Best Documentary Feature Oscar nomination, TIME is an intimate portrait of a woman’s love and resilience while her husband and the father of her children is incarcerated. Amazon Prime.
In 1990, actress Soleil Moon Frye (known for her role as TV’s Punky Brewster) began making home videos of her teenage life and teenage friends–who happened to be a squad of other teen stars. This documentary centers those tapes, along with interviews with her ’90s pop culture circle (Mark Paul Gosselaar, David Arquette, and others) to recall the ups and downs of growing up in the spotlight. Hulu.
Quo Vadis, Aida?
This tense historical drama is set in 1995, amid the war in Bosnia. Aida is a translator working for the United Nations, hoping to save her family as Serbian troops descend on Srebrenica. Laemmle Virtual Cinema.
Last Chance U: Basketball
From the same team as Cheer and a previous Last Chance U series about a football team, this docuseries spends a season with the East Los Angeles College Huskies–a group of community college students holding onto hope that sports could get them a university scholarship, or even NBA deal–and their ambitious coach. Netflix.
The United States vs. Billie Holiday
Starring Andra Day and directed by Lee Daniels, The United States vs. Billie Holiday focuses particular attention on a campaign waged against the troubled Holiday for performing anti-lynching anthem “Strange Fruit.” Hulu.
Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry
Go inside the world of Billie Eilish and her family, as the teen superstar created and promoted her breakthrough album, When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go? See our conversation with documentary director R.J. Cutler here. Apple TV+.
Top Class: The Life & Times of the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers
The private Sierra Canyon School in Chatsworth has become something of a sensation for its high school basketball team, a team with a roster that includes Bronny James, Zaire Wade, and Shy Odom, among others. If those names look familiar, it’s because they’re the sons of NBA stars LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Lamar Odom–and that’s just a few of the celeb kids involved. This docuseries co-produced by the elder James follows the unusual team. Amazon Prime.
Auteur Chloé Zhao’s awards buzz-generating drama arrives on streaming this week. The period piece, set in the wake of the 2008 recession, finds Frances McDormand among a group of people who travel middle America, hoping to scrape by. (Nomadland is also on at several drive-in series around town, if you prefer to see it on the big screen.) Hulu.
Billed as a dark comedy, Body Brokers tells the tale of two drug addicted young people in Ohio who find themselves diverted to a Malibu rehab clinic–and then swept up in a scheme to profit off people with substance abuse problems under the guise of treating them. Apple TV, Amazon Prime.
“The first blockbuster Korean space opera,” according to Polygon, Space Sweepers is a live action film inspired by Cowboy Bebop, with a little sprinkle of Blade Runner 2049. At the center of the film are a crew of people unable to afford the comfort and peace available to their future society’s wealthy class. Netflix.
To All the Boys: Always and Forever
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, To All the Boys: Always and Forever wraps up the mega-hit teen trilogy starring Lana Condor as lovelorn Lara Jean Covey. This time she’s navigating promosals, graduation, picking a college and–maybe–planning a future with boyfriend Peter. Netflix.
Crime Scene: The Vanishing at Cecil Hotel
One of the most infamous buildings in Los Angeles is the setting of this documentary. The mysterious disappearance of Elisa Lam is the focus, but you’ll also learn about the hotel’s strange and dark history. Netflix.
Based on the same premise as a 1980s TV series and two 2010s films, this reboot of The Equalizer finds Queen Latifah stepping into the role previously played on the big screen by Denzel Washington. Latifah–giving a performance the AV Club says is “a joy to watch”–is a former CIA agent turned feminist vigilante with a heart of gold. CBS All Access.
Strip Down, Rise Up
Oscar-nominated filmmaker Michèle Ohayon (Colors Straight Up, Cristina) directs this documentary about a diverse group of woman who sign up for an intensive pole dancing workshop, which will challenge them athletically, but also challenge them to connect with their bodies, confront trauma, and reject the patriarchal gaze. Netflix.
Malcolm & Marie
Perhaps the most anticipated film to come out of the lockdown era, Malcolm & Marie was quietly bubble-produced in Carmel last summer. The drama, from Euphoria creator Sam Levison, finds lovers, played by Zendaya and John David Washington, addressing personal and professional struggles. Netflix.
Son of the South
Produced by Spike Lee and edited by longtime Lee collaborator Barry Alexander Brown, Son of the South is based on the memoirs of Bob Zellner, a white man who became a Civil Rights activist in 1960s Alabama. Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Vudu.
Framing Britney Spears
An in-depth look at the troubled pop icon, this documentary is one of the first to delve into her legal struggles and conservatorship. We spoke with the film’s director, Samantha Stark, earlier this month. FX, Hulu
In 1939, in a Britain on the brink of war, a wealthy woman (Carey Mulligan) brings on the help of an amateur archeologist (Ralph Fiennes) to excavate the grounds of her estate, and happen upon a historic discovery. Some truly magnificent tweed is worn. Netflix.
In this psychological-horror film that Consequence of Sound calls a “terrifying twist on The Shining,” a couple check into an L.A. hotel (the real-life Hotel Normandie in Koreatown, but a creep-ified version), and dark secrets come out at night. The film, mostly in Farsi and primarily starring and made by Iranians and Iranian-Americans, is the first U.S. production to secure a theatrical release license in Iran since 1979. IFC Midnight, Vudu, Apple TV
Blown Away: Season 2
The first season of one of the most improbable reality show concepts ever attempted–a competition show about glass blowing–became a surprise hit in 2019. Now the quirky Canadian series in back with an entirely new crew of artists, really making one wonder how many high-level glass blowers will be left if they make a season three. Netflix.
Search Party: Season 4
When the new season of thriller-comedy-satire Search Party starts, Dory Sief (Alia Shawkat) is being held hostage–but her friends are initially a bit too distracted with their own lives and social media accounts to notice. Eventually they catch on and go searching for her. HBO Max.
Euphoria: Part Two, Jules
The conclusion of a dramatic mini-arc in between seasons one and two of super-hit series Euphoria finds Jules (Hunter Schafer) on her own, having run away from her family and suburban life, and separated from her girlfriend, Rue (Zendaya), who is struggling with substance abuse. HBO Max.
A new documentary series focuses on the world of real-life espionage and, in particular, the high-tech gadgets that have helped intelligence agents around the world. Netflix.
The White Tiger
Based on the award-winning novel of the same title, The White Tiger is a “crime-tinged rags-to-riches parable,” according to The New York Times. The story centers a chauffeur (Adarsh Gourav) who makes his up out of poverty in a complex and often cruel environment. The film is produced by Ava DuVernay, Priynka Chopra Jonas, and Mukul Deora. Netflix.
Produced entirely during the pandemic, and taking London’s COVID-19 lockdown as its setting, this jewel heist rom-com stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Anne (sorry, that’s Annie) Hathaway as a troubled couple who attempt to sneak some bling out of an empty Harrods. HBO Max.
Night Hunter: The Hunt for a Serial Killer
The story of Richard Ramirez terrorizing California during the sweltering summer of 1985 may be familiar to many Angelenos who lived through it. For those that weren’t around, or anyone hooked on true-crime docs, this Netflix series may have you checking the locks on your doors. Netflix.
This new series starts where the blockbuster Avengers: Endgame concluded, and finds Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) dropped into a Nick-at-Nite-era retro sitcom setting with a superhero twist. Disney+.
Some Kind of Heaven
Co-produced by The New York Times and filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, this impressionistic documentary visits with the residents of the largest retirement home in the U.S., The Villages. Billed as “Disneyland for retirees,” the 30-square-mile complex outside of Orlando is home to hundreds of unusual residents. FandangoNow, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon Prime.
This two-part documentary from Alex Gibney–the Oscar-winning filmmaker behind Going Clear–promises a “revealing look” into the life, family, and career of golf phenom Tiger Woods. HBO Max.
A swoony mid-20th-century period piece, Sylvie’s Love follows the romance of woman striving to build a career and live for herself as individual first, and her jazz musician lover. Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha star. Amazon Prime.
One Night in Miami
Directed by Regina King and riding a wave of awards buzz, One Night in Miami is a fictional story based on a real historical event: the February, 1964 evening when Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.), Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), and football player Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge) met up to celebrate an Ali win. Amazon Prime.
I’m Your Woman
Set in the 1970s, filmmaker Julia Hart’s mafia drama focuses the attention on a character who is often a side-note in the genre: the mobster’s wife. Here, that wife is played by Rachel Brosnahan (Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), a woman on the run after a betrayal. Amazon Prime.
It’s been a big season for youth ballet content: Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, the new Tiny Pretty Things debuting on Netflix this week, and this original documentary series landing on Disney+. On Pointe‘s six episodes follow students at the elite School of American Ballet in New York City, as they prepare to dance The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center. Disney +
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Adapted from the August Wilson play about real-life blues legend Ma Rainey, the story grapples with the friction between Black artists and white capitalists who seek to control them. This lush Netflix original features Viola Davis in the title role, and Chadwick Boseman giving his final performance as an ambitious trumpet player in the band. Netflix.
A Suitable Boy
The first primetime drama from the BBC to ever feature a primarily Indian cast, this adaptation of a 1993 novel about India in the 1950s was helmed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Mira Nair (Salaam Bombay, Monsoon Wedding). It sparked some controversy when it aired in the UK; members of India’s ruling Hindu nationalist party even called for a boycott because an interfaith love story. Acorn TV.
While you’re waiting to watch Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, dive into August Wilson’s other works with this documentary, which captures talented young actors as they prepare for a monologue competition based on the playwright’s powerful work, and catches up with stars who have played his iconic characters, including Viola Davis and Denzel Washington. Netflix.
Let Them All Talk
Largely improvised, the Steven Soderbergh-directed Let Them All Talk puts the audience aboard a luxury cruise (for real: the film was largely shot aboard a Cunard Lines passage across the Atlantic), spending time with bantering frenemies played by Meryl Streep, Candice Bergen, and Dianne Wiest. HBO Max.
Selena: The Series
The life of Selena Quintanilla continues to fascinate, decades after her tragic death. This long-anticipated original series tells her story with greater depth and detail than the iconic 1997 biopic that we’ve all seen hundreds of times. Netflix.
Sound of Metal
The New York Times declares that “Riz Ahmed gives one of 2020’s best performances” in this intimate indie film about a musician who descends into panic when he discovers he is losing his ability to hear–and eventually finds himself forced to adapt to a new reality. Amazon Prime.
Great British Baking Show: Holidays
A third mini-season of Great British Baking Show‘s festive spin-off hits Netflix on December 4. This edition, aired last year in the U.K. but just now getting a U.S. release, features a guest appearance by the cast of Derry Girls. Netflix.
The Hardy Boys
Poised to be this year’s Riverdale, this original series based on the classic teen brother detectives finds the titular boys hunting down a dark mystery in their new suburban town. Hulu.
Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker
This new documentary captures choreographer Debbie Allen as she prepares the young dancers at her Los Angeles conservatory for their annual Hot Chocolate Nutcracker holiday show. “She was one of the women, one of the female forces in the world out there who made me feel like I could be whatever I wanted to be,” producer Shonda Rhimes told People. “I hope that when people watch the documentary, they will see the power and the force and the magic that is Debbie.” Netflix.
This holiday rom-com is packed with star power, including Kristen Stewart, Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, and Dan Levy. The plot centers on Stewart’s character planning to propose while visiting her girlfriend’s parents for Christmas–only to find out her girlfriend hasn’t come out to her conservative family, causing hijinks to ensue. Hulu.
Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates’s 2015 best-seller is structured a kind of long-form letter to his own son about his lived experience as a Black man in contemporary America. This film version, filmed over the summer of 2020, incorporates dozens of voices, Angela Bassett, Mahershala Ali, Phylicia Rashad, Mj Rodriguez, Angela Davis, and Oprah Winfrey. HBO will make the film available for free to non-subscribers November 25 to 30. HBO Max.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
A Charlie Brown Christmas might be the iconic Peanuts movie of the season, but before you go full-steam into Vince Guaraldi territory, take a moment to enjoy this charming chestnut from 1973. Amazon, PBS SoCal.
Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square
If there is one person who can bring this country together, it’s Dolly Parton. The musical icon, theme park mogul, philanthropist, and biotech investor (she’s a financial backer of promising COVID-19 vaccine research!) will drop her first holiday album in 30 years for this strange season, and is accompanying the release with this all-new movie musical, choreographed by Debbie Allen. Netflix
No Man’s Land
In this eight-episode drama co-created by Ron Leshem of Euphoria, a French man travels to Syria to search for his sister, whom he believes has joined the YPJ, an all-female, mostly Kurdish paramilitary organization. Hulu
Originally produced for the BBC, this anthology series from artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen highlights “little known stories of Black pride and resilience” from British history, particularly the West Indian community in London. The ensemble cast includes John Boyega (Star Wars), Letitia Wright (Black Panther), and Robbie Gee (Snatch). Amazon Prime
The Right Stuff
Based on the same 1979 nonfiction book by Tom Wolfe about the early days of the U.S. Space Program that inspired a 1983 film of the same title, this new version spins the Mercury 7 mission out into an eight-part series. Disney+
This 2019 film about the inner workings of Fox News in the era of Roger Ailes earned Oscar noms for Charlize Theron and Margot Robbie, playing two of the three women–Megyn Kelly, Gretchen Carlson, and a fictional female producer–at the center of the story. Amazon Prime
Season four of The Crown picks up with the British royal family in the late 1970s. Gillian Anderson appears as Margaret Thatcher and Emma Corrin as Princess Di in what some critics are calling the best season of the show so far. Netflix