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The Best New Stuff On Netflix

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Ready to check out the new hot titles on Netflix in May? There are new seasons of an animated science fiction adaptation series, an acclaimed comedy/drama featuring Lena Waithe this year, and a Spanish crime thriller where the suspect pool got bigger and the dark secrets nastier. Zack Snyder fans who don’t want to go into a movie theatre just yet can check out his new Oreo sandwich of a genre film. Get ready to say goodbye to a certain animated video game adaptation involving vampires and Michael Douglas starring in a rueful comedy series about aging. And if you’re saying hi to Tony Montana’s little friend, maybe wear a bulletproof vest first.  

Now Available

Framing John De Lorean–Part documentary, part dramatic re-enactment, this film recounts the rise and fall of auto magnate John De Lorean.  Once a General Motors engineer responsible for creating the Pontiac GTO, he would show himself over the years to be a visionary even if the more conservative decision-makers at General Motors didn’t appreciate his insights.  De Lorean’s arrogance and flashy lifestyle also didn’t win him many friends at GM’s 14th floor.  When De Lorean got canned by GM, he decided to seek revenge by creating a sports car for the masses.  But the process of trying to realize this dream would eventually be a mix of genius and nuttiness.  Alec Baldwin plays De Lorean in the reenactments. 

Jupiter’s Legacy

Jupiter’s Legacy–This Netflix show adapts the original comic series by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely.  The multi-generational superhero saga begins in the late 1920s when a trip to a mysterious island leads to Sheldon Sampson and five friends being endowed with superpowers.  They decide to form an organization called the Union of Justice and use their powers for good.  But as the decades pass, several of these superheroes have become estranged from Sampson’s moral code.  And Sampson’s own children are buckling under the pressure to uphold his legacy.

Scarface–Director Brian de Palma, with a script by Oliver Stone, created one of the 1980s’ great pop culture anti-heroes in Al Pacino’s Tony Montana.  Starting as a Cuban criminal released into America, Montana’s determined to work his way into south Florida’s illegal drug trade.  His success eventually makes him wealthy and powerful enough to own a mansion and have beautiful women at his beck and call.  However, that success soon feels hollow, which has its own consequences.  Catch the original before Luca Gudagino’s remake comes out, and remember to say hello to Montana’s little friend.

Selena: The Series Part 2–The second half of this biographical drama about famed Mexican-American singer Selena Quintanilla follows her years of work to become the most successful Mexican-American singer ever.  Selena’s father and manager may have fired guitarist Chris Perez to prevent his daughter from losing her career focus  But that firing is not the end of Selena and Chris’ love story.  Also waiting in the wings is Selena’s fateful encounter with Yolanda Saldivar, the Selena Fan Club president and the self-styled Number 1 Selena Fan.

The Sons Of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness–From July 1976 to July 1977, David Berkowitz terrorized New Yorkers with a murder spree that claimed six lives.  The self-proclaimed Son Of Sam confessed to the murders.  However, he also claimed he had the assistance of a Satanic cult in performing the killings.  While the NYPD never bothered investigating this claim, journalist Maury Terry became obsessed with finding out the truth of Berkowitz’ assertion.  This docuseries is the result.

Dance Of The 41

Zombieland–The zombie apocalypse provides the backdrop for this horror comedy whose slogan Is “Nut up or shut up.”  Nerdy Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) has survived this long thanks to his zombie survival rule list.  Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) loves killing zombies, Twinkies, and Bill Murray.  The duo become reluctant travel companions as Columbus just wants to get home to Los Angeles.  They’re eventually joined by con woman Wichita (Emma Stone) and her sister Little Rock (Abigail Breslin).  Along the way lots of zombies get dispatched in sometimes hilarious ways and Bill Murray (playing himself, sort of) makes a cameo appearance.  

May 11

Money, Explained–Tiffany Haddish and others narrate this docuseries that will interest more than a few Broke-Ass readers.  It’s an examination of the relationship between the American consumer and such financial institutions as banks and credit card companies.  Learn why the financial game was designed so that the ordinary person struggles with debt.  Also, see how credit card companies look for new ways to extract the most money from its customers.

May 12

Dance of the 41–In 1901, Mexico City police raided a private home.  Inside, they discovered prominent society men wearing drag, including Mexican President Porfirio Diaz’s son-in-law.  Government attempts to suppress news of the Ball Of The 41 scandal would backfire.  The media would give the scandal heavy play, leading to the country’s first open discussion of homosexuality…for good and ill.  

Oxygen

Oxygen–Director Alexandre Aja (“High Tension,” “Crawl”) branches out into science fiction-based suspense.  Amnesiac Elizabeth Hansen (Melanie Laurent) wakes up to find herself in a cryogenic unit.  According to the Medical Interface Liaison Operator (M.I.L.O.), her arousal came about through a mechanical systems failure which has left her unit with 35% oxygen…and dropping.  Can she figure out who she is and how to escape from what might become her tomb?  Complicating Hansen’s desperate struggle is both contradictory information about her identity and cryo unit defense systems trying to prevent her compromising the unit’s integrity.

The Upshaws–In this sitcom, Bennie Upshaw (Mike Epps) is a car mechanic who owns his own Indianapolis shop.  However, his personal life is a mess.  He’s having trouble being a good husband to wife Regina (Tasha Fields).  He’s also finding it hard to be a good father to the son he produced via an extramarital affair with a woman named Tasha (Gabrielle Dennis).  Regina’s sister Lucretia (Wanda Sykes) doesn’t help matters thanks to her intolerance of Bennie’s consequence-free life.

May 13

Castlevania Season 4–The animated adaptation of Konami’s video game comes to an end this season.  The central monster-hunting trio of Trevor, Sypha, and Alucard have parted ways.  However, Dracula’s former lieutenants are finally making their moves.  Isaac has built up a demon army and is looking for vengeance against a former ally.  The Council of Styria’s power-building has reached a head.  And if the vampires aren’t stopped, the result will be trouble for Wallachia and the world.

May 14 

Ferry–Viewers who have seen “Undercover” will recognize Ferry Bouman as the biggest ecstasy producer in the Netherlands and Belgium.  This prequel film takes viewers back to 2006 Amsterdam, when Ferry worked for drug lord and mentor Frank Brink.  When an attack on Brink’s gang leaves Brink’s son severely injured, the trail leads Ferry to Brabant, which Ferry fled many years ago.  But touching base with the people he left behind will eventually lead to Ferry’s loyalties being tested.

Love Death And Robots

Love, Death & Robots Season 2–It’s the return of the David Fincher and Tim Miller-helmed series of animated adaptations of science fiction stories.  Each episode does feature love, death, and robots.  However, the types of stories told using these elements have ranged from cyberpunk to body horror.  The new season sees half as many episodes as the first season.  On the other hand, the story lengths are generally twice as long.  Expect to see work from returning animators such as Robert Valley and Miller’s Blur Studio.  New animators for this season include Swiss animator Simon Otto and the animation collective known as Meat Dept.

Move To Heaven–This Korean family drama is set at the titular family operation.  “Move To Heaven” is a trauma cleaning business which arranges items left behind by the recently deceased.  Young Geu Roo, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, runs the business with his father.  But when the older man dies, he becomes the ward of his cold uncle Sang Koo.  The uncle is a martial artist who did prison time for one particular underground fight.  But as Geu Roo and Sang Koo try to keep Move To Heaven going, the work might melt the older man’s heart.

May 15

The Woman In The Window–On one hand, we’ve got an update on the “Rear Window” scenario.  This time it’s an agoraphobic child psychologist Dr. Anna Fox (Amy Adams) who’s stuck in her brownstone.  Her voyeurism involves the picture perfect family in an apartment across the street.  And she might have seen the murder of her neighbor Jane (Julianne Moore).  On the other hand, is this film cursed to be a turkey?  Its release has been delayed for over a year.  It’s been heavily rewritten after bad audience screenings.  The author of the novel the film’s based on was recently revealed to be a serial liar.  Oh yes, notorious toxic boss Scott Rudin produced the film.

May 16

Sleight–Bo’s supporting his sister on the streets of Los Angeles means putting his dreams of becoming an electrical engineer on hold.  By day, he performs card and coin tricks to impress the tourists.  By night, he works as a gofer for big time drug dealer wannabe Angelo (Dule Hill, “The West Wing”).  But when somebody starts openly muscling in on Angelo’s turf, the drug dealer wants even his reluctant gofer to use violence against the intruders.

May 18

Sardar Ka Grandson–This family comedy is one of the most hotly anticipated Indian films of the year.   Arjun Kapoor plays a young man who has returned to India from America because his adorable grandmother Sardar (Neena Gupta) is dying.  The old woman’s last wish is for her grandson to take her back to her ancestral home in Lahore.  But when the authorities refuse to let Sardar go to Lahore, the grandson decides to move the ancestral home to Amritsar…or do whatever else it takes to fulfill the old lady’s dying wish.

May 19

Who Killed Sara?

Who Killed Sara Season 2–One of Netflix’s hottest crime thriller series returns for a shocking second season.  18 years ago, the supposed parasailing accident which killed Sara turned out to be murder.  The rich and powerful Lazcano family framed Sara’s brother Alex for the crime to save their own reputation.  However, an early prison release means Alex is out and now free to take revenge against the Lazcanos.  As the new season begins, Alex’s search for Sara’s real killer has been complicated by an increasingly bigger suspect pool.  And the series’ truism about everybody having dark secrets means there are revelations about Sara’s self-harm incidents as well as her deliberately pushing someone down a staircase.

May 20

Hating Peter Tatchell–Sir Elton John serves as one of the executive producers of this documentary portrait while Sir Ian Mc Kellen provides the narration.  LGBT human rights activist Peter Tatchell’s approach to fighting for gay rights definitely can’t be called the “please sir, will you consider me equal” approach.  Whether it’s committing acts of civil disobedience or waging David vs. Goliath fights, Tatchell’s in-your-face efforts for LGBT human rights have been vindicated by time and changing social attitudes.  This film follows Tatchell on his riskiest crusade yet: disrupting the Moscow FIFA World Cup to draw world attention to Chechnya’s persecution of LGBTs.

Special Season 2–This semi-autobiographical comedy series follows Ryan Hayes, a gay man with mild cerebral palsy, who tries to move from a life of dead-end internships towards the chic adult life he wants.  The new (and unfortunately final) season begins two months after Season 1’s end.  Ryan’s trying to get around his writer’s block, and he’s still ducking his mother.  Meanwhile, his friend Kim Laghari tries to regain control of her life.

May 21

Army Of The Dead–Did the four hour cut of “Justice League” leave you wanting more cinematic goodness from director Zack Snyder?  Then try this film, which mixes a big stakes heist with zombies.  Thanks to a zombie outbreak, Las Vegas is in ruins and walled off from the rest of the world.  Former zombie war hero Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) gets approached by casino owner Bly Tanaka with a proposition: Break into Las Vegas and recover $200 million sitting in a notoriously impenetrable bank vault located beneath the city’s famed strip.  The catch: the US government plans to nuke Las Vegas in 32 hours…and faster Alpha zombies are running loose in the city.  Ward assembles a ragtag team of experts for a heist whose success will depend on who survives to the end.

May 23       

Master Of None Presents Moments Of Love

Master Of None Presents: Moments Of Love–After a hiatus of several years brought on in part by #MeToo allegations, Aziz Ansari’s acclaimed comedy drama returns with a new season.  Instead of focusing on Ansari’s Dev Shah, Dev’s friend Denise (Lena Waithe) and her partner Alicia (Naomi Ackie) take the spotlight.  The new series will follow the highs and lows of their marriage, including such problems as trying to have children.

May 26

Baggio:  The Divine Ponytail–This biofilm tells the life story of the Italian soccer great Roberto Baggio.  Over his 22-year career, he would become a sports legend who inspired a generation of children to take up soccer.  This film recounts both his triumphs and defeats both on and off the field, including the 1994 World Cup final shootout incident that landed him in the public doghouse for four years.

High On The Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America–This four-part docuseries follows food writer Stephen Satterfield on a culinary journey that takes him from America’s Deep South to Africa.  During this journey, the viewer will meet the chefs, food writers, and activists keeping centuries-old food traditions alive in everything from West African stews to barbecue.  Viewers will also see how the shadow of such historical events as slavery, the Civil War, and Juneteenth influenced how African-American cuisine would be shaped.  

Nail Bomber: Manhunt–In 1999, London was terrorized by far-right extremist David Copeland.  His method of attack: three improvised bombs, each loaded with over 1,000 four-inch nails.  His targets: London’s Black, Bangladeshi, and gay communities.  Copeland’s bombs would kill 3 people and injure 140 more.  This documentary recounts both Copeland’s terror spree and how London’s communities came together to reject the hate he was trying to foment. 

May 28

The Kominsky Method Season 3—It’s the final season for this Chuck Lorre-created comedy.  For newbies, Sandy Kominsky (Michael Douglas) is an actor and acting coach who has navigated the headaches of aging alongside his good friend Norman (Alan Arkin).  However, the new season sees Sandy having to deal with money, love, and the other usual things without Norman’s presence.  Add into the mix heightened tensions with Sandy’s ex-wife Roz Volander (Kathleen Turner).  She’s spending time in L.A. with daughter Mindy and her boyfriend Martin.  Sandy and Roz have always had a fiery relationship, but this is going to be gasoline on fire time.

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Peter Wong

Peter Wong

I've been reviewing films for quite a few years now, principally for the online publication Beyond Chron. My search for unique cinematic experiences and genre dips have taken me everywhere from old S.F. Chinatown movie theaters showing first-run Jackie Chan movies to the chilly slopes of Park City. Movies having cat pron instantly ping my radar.

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