All The Cool Stuff Coming To Netflix In May 2023

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What, we can’t just say “the new season of Tim Robinson’s hilariously weird series ‘I Think You Should Leave’ arrives this month, that’s all you need to know about Netflix this May?”  Oh, all right.  Robinson’s off-kilter humor might not amuse everyone.  Fortunately, this month is packed with other entertaining goodies.   

What are we talking about?  Fans of “Bridgerton” will want to bingewatch the new prequel series focused on Queen Charlotte’s backstory.  Hannah Gadsby returns with her newest stand-up comedy special.  South Korea action film fans get to see what happens when you mash together “Mad Max” with a UPS delivery driver.  See people who’ve made a career out of professional mermaiding.  Fans of older films can check out a semi-autobiographical classic from George Lucas or the Luc Besson actioner starring a very young Natalie Portman as a hitman’s protege.

If that’s not enough excitement for you, see why the hate-watchers and the IMDB review-bombers will have their knives sharpened for Jada Pinkett-Smith’s docudrama about a certain legendary Queen of the Nile.

I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson – on Netflix in May

May 1

American Graffiti–George Lucas’ semi-autobiographical classic takes place in 1962 Modesto over the course of the last evening of summer vacation.  High school graduates and good friends Curt Henderson (Richard Dreyfuss) and Steve Bolander (Ron Howard) are heading back East in the morning to start college.  But before the new day arrives, the friends are joined for a final night together with Curt’s sister Laurie (Cindy Williams), drag racing king John Milner (Paul Le Mat) and well-meaning but unpopular Terry Fields.  Over the course of this long night, Curt will become obsessed with a mysterious blonde woman.  Terry attempts to impress a hitchhiker named Debbie (Candy Clark).  Steve accidentally endangers his relationship with Laurie.  And John is being sought out by skilled racer Bob Falfa (Harrison Ford) for a challenge to his crown.      

Chicken Run—One of the best Claymation collaborations between Aardman Animations and DreamWorks Pictures sees what Collider describes as a prison escape movie grafted onto an anti-capitalist satire.  In 1950s England, Ginger and her fellow chickens live a life of exploitation on the Tweedys’ chicken farm.  When a chicken fails to meet the daily egg quota, they get killed.  Rebellious Ginger has repeatedly tried and failed to escape the Tweedys’ farm.  Enter Rocky (Mel Gibson), a fugitive circus rooster, who might help the Tweedys’ chickens successfully escape by teaching them to fly.  The desperate plan takes on a far greater urgency when the chickens learn Mrs. Tweedy (Miranda Richardson) has taken a strong interest in a machine that can increase her farm’s profits by turning chickens into pies.  (Yes, this premiere is intended to gin up viewer interest for this film’s upcoming sequel.)

Leon: The Professional–Leon (Jean Reno) is an Italian immigrant who becomes a hitman for Mafia boss Tony (Danny Aiello).  12 year old Mathilda Lando (Natalie Portman in her first big role) lives with her dysfunctional family in a cramped New York City apartment.  These two people are strangers to each other despite their being neighbors in the same apartment building.  But when dirty DEA agent Norman Stansfield (Gary Oldman in slimeball mode) murders Mathilda’s family, the child turns for help to the only familiar adult face she barely knows: Leon’s.  The hitman winds up adopting Mathilda and starts teaching her the ways of the assassin.  While Luc Besson’s 1994 film is rightly considered an action classic, it’s unclear whether Netflix will be showing the International Version of the film, which shows Mathilda’s growing love for Leon being that of a child for a father figure.     

Soft & Quiet–One of 2022’s best horror films inventively makes its central monster white nationalism.  Emily is a small town elementary school teacher who’s organized the hate group Daughters For Aryan Unity.  The membership of the group consists of otherwise “respectable” women, including a liquor shop owner named Kim.  When two non-white customers get openly denied service by Kim, the incident triggers a series of events leading to a horrific act of racist violence.  The events of this film occur in real time.

Soft And Quiet on Netflix in May

When The Weather Is Fine–Hye-won has played the cello since she was a child and has used that talent as an entree to meet people.  But repeated emotional bruising has led her to distrust others and close her heart to them.  Finally disgusted, she ups stakes from Seoul and returns to her home village of Bookhyun.  There, the cello player meets Goodnight Bookstore owner Eun-seob.  He leads a simple life of drinking coffee, reading a book, and writing on his blog.  But his life soon becomes a lot less simple after he meets the Seoul refugee.  

May 4

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story–Wonder how the racially integrated nobility seen in “Bridgerton” came to be?  This prequel series answers that question.  It’s the story of how a young German noble named Charlotte searches for love, and finds that fulfillment in her attraction to the young King George III.  Their marriage and Charlotte’s rise to power will bring about a profound societal shift in England’s noble classes.  In addition, viewers will get the younger days of Violet Bridgerton and Lady Danbury.

Sanctuary Season 1–This Japanese drama takes viewers into the secretive world of sumo wrestling.  A mixture of indebtedness and family dysfunction pushes delinquent Kiyoshi Oze to try making money in the wrestling ring as the wannabe sumo wrestler Enno.  However, the odds of Oze achieving success start shrinking quickly, given his unwillingness to train or practice and his defiance of senior sumo wrestlers.  Yet despite himself, this supposedly hopeless wannabe is slowly getting immersed in the world of the dohyo (the ring where sumo matches are fought).   

May 9

Documentary Now! Season 4–This documentary parody series comes from the twisted minds of Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, and Seth Meyers.  For newbies, the title refers to a fictional TV show hosted by Helen Mirren which re-broadcasts supposedly famous documentaries.  However, the “documentaries” spoof either particularly well-known non-fiction films or even a particular documentary genre or auteur.  The new season includes parodies of documentary filmmakers Werner Herzog and Agnes Varda as well as the classic sports film “When We Were Kings.”

Hannah Gadsby: Something Special–The third comedy special from the creator of “Nanette” draws from Gadsby’s Sydney Opera House performances on her “Body Of Work” tour.  The subjects of this “feel-good” set include Gadsby’s wedding to producer Jenney Shamash (including a novelty wedding cake) and more than one traumatic encounter with a bunny, 

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story – on Netflix in May

May 10

Queen Cleopatra–The newest installment of Jada Pinkett-Smith’s “African Queens” series offers a 21st century take on the legendary Queen of the Nile.  However, it has drawn a spectacular amount of public outrage because director Tina Gharavi has chosen a Black actress to portray the titular ruler.  Does historical accuracy and portraying Cleopatra’s power as extending beyond sexuality matter?  Viewers should judge for themselves whether Gharavi’s work deserves to be this month’s magnet for hate-watching and IMDB review-bombing.

May 11

St. Vincent–Sorry, this isn’t a feature film about musician Anne Clark.  Instead, it’s the dramedy where Bill Murray plays a misanthropic alcoholic Vietnam vet named Vincent MacKenna.  His somewhat isolated life changes when he accidentally meets new neighbors Maggie Bronstein (Melissa McCarthy) and her 12-year-old son Oliver.  Because Maggie works late hours as a radiology tech and she’s also in the middle of an acrimonious divorce, Vincent becomes the significant responsible adult in the boy’s life.  But with Vincent’s regular drinking and betting on horses, what sort of role model can he become for Oliver?

May 12

Black Knight Season 1–What if your UPS delivery driver was also a hardcore ass-kicker?  That’s the setup for this Korean science fiction action drama taking place in the year 2071.  Thanks to toxic air pollution ravaging Earth, humanity’s numbers have shrunk from billions to 1% of the present world population.   The human survivors rarely leave their homes and gas mask-wearing is essential for any outside trips.  Providing necessary supplies and protection to these survivors are the Delivery Knights, a group of specialized delivery drivers.  Refugee Sa-Wol admires legendary Knight 5-8, a skilled fighter, and dreams of eventually becoming a Knight as well.  

Mulligan Season 1–In this new adult animated comedy executive produced by Tina Fey, an alien attack on Earth has resulted in only 1,132 human survivors left to try rebuilding civilization.  Matty Mulligan gets appointed President of (what’s left of) the United States.  But it’s clear he can’t do the job alone or that he will avoid screwups.  Adding to Mulligan’s problems is the reality that the aliens haven’t stopped trying to cause havoc on Earth.

Queer Eye Season 7–Jonathan Van Ness and the rest of the Fab Five bring their expertise in such areas as food and wine, grooming, and culture to give a much-needed glow up to some lucky residents of New Orleans.

Queen Cleopatra on Netflix in May

May 16

Anna Nicole Smith: You Don’t Know Me–This new documentary about the tragically short life of the former Playboy model and host of “The Anna Nicole Show” chronicles the existence of its titular subject from her humble Houston beginnings to her eventually achieving celebrity notoriety.  A particular asset of this film is its reliance on previously unseen footage, video interviews, and even personal phone calls to tell the story of the former Vickie Lynn Hogan’s life in her own words.

La Reina del Sur Season 3–-At last, American audiences can see the third (and probably last) season of this telenovela based on Arturo Perez-Reverte’s best-selling novel.  The series traces the rise of Teresa Mendoza (Kate del Castillo) from very humble beginnings to her becoming a very big name in drug trafficking circles.  The new season starts up four years after the end of the second season.  Teresa’s serving time in a US prison for her complicity in the murders of three DEA agents.  If things couldn’t get any lower for her, she’s once again separated from her beloved daughter Sofia. But a dramatic jailbreak springs Teresa from prison and back into the covert world of secret deals and betrayals.  Can this more mature Teresa somehow get reunited with Sofia and escape the life of a fugitive?

May 18

Yakitori – Soldiers Of Misfortune–This anime series is set in a future where Earth has become a colony of a superior alien civilization.  Young Akira chafes at living in an incredibly restrictive Japan.  Could joining an interplanetary trade federation’s orbital drop infantry unit lead to a better life?  Not really.  He’s now become a “yakitori,” an expendable soldier in a service notorious for having a 70% casualty rate. 

May 19

Muted Season 1–In this Spanish psychological thriller series, Sergio Cascar has just been released from prison after six years.  Publicly known as the “Balcony Murderer,” Cascar earned prison time for killing his parents when he was a minor.  However, since his parents’ deaths, he’s never said a word to anyone and his motivations for the killings remain a mystery.  Young psychiatrist Ana and her team have the job of monitoring Cascar’s daily behavior and movements to determine what sort of threat he poses to the community.  When a young woman named Marta becomes involved in Cascar’s life, the possibility exists that she could get the ex-convict to finally open up.  But will Marta wind up becoming the known killer’s next murder victim?

Victim/Suspect on Netflix in May

May 22

The Batman Seasons 1-5–This Daytime Emmy Award-winning animated adaptation of the Dark Knight’s adventures focuses on his early crime fighting days.  The Gotham City police do not acknowledge the Caped Crusader’s existence until Police Commissioner Angel Rojas orders that Batman be hunted down.  However, police detectives Ethan Bennett and Ellen Yin aren’t convinced the vigilante is the force for chaos Commissioner Rojas claims he is.  This is especially true given the appearances in Gotham City of such criminals as Mr. Freeze, Rag Doll, and Cluemaster.

May 23

MerPeople–-Did you know professional mermaiding is an actual career path?  This docuseries from the creators of “Queer Eye” introduces viewers to people who’ve turned their love for mermaids into positions at the Weeki Wachee Springs State Park or the creation of a society for fat mermaids.  And for those who know nothing of the growing mermaid subculture in America, prepare to be enlightened.

Victim/Suspect—The month’s most infuriating film is this documentary from Nancy Schwartzman (“Roll Red Roll”).  It follows Center for Investigative Reporting journalist Rae de Leon’s disturbing investigation into police handling of sexual assault claims.  She finds that nationwide, defective U.S. policing practices regularly lead to women who’ve reported their sexual assaults to the police winding up being arrested, charged, and even convicted of “false reporting.”  

Wanda Sykes: I’m An Entertainer–Comedian Wanda Sykes returns with her second Netflix standup comedy special, filmed this time at Philadelphia’s Miller Theater.  Her topics include the challenges of raising Gen Z teens, the perils of public bathrooms, and her getting tired of going high when others happily go low.

Black Knight on Netflix in May

May 26

Barbecue Showdown Season 2–It’s the return of the reality cooking competition previously known as “The Great American Barbecue Showdown.”  Aside from the title change, the show has a new host in the form of comedian Michelle Buteau.  However, barbecue restaurateur Kevin Bludso and seven-time barbecue champion Melissa Cookston will still serve as the main judges who will share their knowledge and expertise with the contestants (and the audience).  This time around, the eight contestants from across America will have to work their cooking magic on a flame in an open fire playground.  Expect these contestants to try their best with exotic proteins, small time limits, and some unexpected curveballs.

May 30

I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson Season 3–It’s the return of Tim Robinson and Zach Kanin’s bizarre sketch comedy show on Netflix in May.  All show newbies need to know is that the sketches capture the comic chaos resulting from the collision between its mundane setting (e.g. an office meeting, a dinner party) and the environment getting badly upset by an oddball interloper (e.g. a guy in a hot dog suit, a music snob who loves spectacularly obscure musicians).  Yes, all these interlopers are assholes but each of them is an individual species of asshole.  Will there be something as insane as “A Christmas Carol” morphing into a CGI shoot-em-up in this new season?  There’s only one way to find out.

May 31

Mixed By Erry–This new Italian crime comedy is likely to appeal to Broke-Ass Stuart readers.  In 1970s Naples, Enrico Frattasio wants to be a DJ, but instead he’s a cleaner in a record shop.  However, the fad of creating mixtapes of favorite songs as gifts for potential sweethearts presents an opportunity to Enrico.  He uses the store’s resources to make mix tapes for his friends.  But when these cassettes become sought-after objects, Enrico feels it’s time to go bigger with the help of his brothers Peppe and Angelo.  Producing pirated record albums to scale and distributing them utilizing the same network employed by cigarette smugglers brings the three brothers success.  But their still streetlegal operation draws the stink eye from gang bosses and the very unamused Finance Police… Based on a true story.    









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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.