A recent study of our lives during quarantine has purported that the average American streams about eight hours a day. That’s a lot of content! Do you feel like you’ve seen everything on Netflix already? Are you looking for something new to stream, or weighing which other service to add and then cancel after your 30-day trial? Here are a few suggestions to get you through the next month or so of safer-at-home orders.
Cooped up with kids? How about the new animated feature “The Willoughbys” that landed on Netflix this week. Featuring an all-star vocal cast and punchy animation, the tale is based on a children’s book by author Lois Lowry. Selfish parents are sent on a vacation as the kids go on an adventure with a helpless nanny in tow. Watch out for a gross credit sequence.
Looking for romance? Add Hulu to watch “Portrait of a Lady on Fire.” This sumptuous tale set on an island is full of lustful glances and furtive clinches. Beautiful cinematography and lovely leading ladies fight against the constraints of their times and sex. It was one of my favorite soundtracks from last year, as well as my favorite film.
Need a little supernatural with your star-crossed lovers? How about a witch and a vampire in “The Discovery of Witches,” which is available on Sundance Now. This series based on the novels of Deborah Harkness is an old-fashioned romance with a twist. Season two is streaming now.
Do you need to be reassured that there’s goodness in this world? Watch “Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution” for an empowering documentary about a life-changing summer camp for teens with disabilities. This camp helped change disability access in America, and it’s funny and heart-warming. Stream the movie on Netflix.
Need a feminist film to get your blood boiling? Learn about the roadblocks to the Equal Rights Movement with a fabulous roster of talent. Cate Blanchett stars as Phyllis Schlafly in the series “Mrs, America” on Hulu. You’ll come to understand how this country can still justify limiting woman’s rights.
Perhaps you like to see new films that have a little controversy? Go to Michael Moore’s YouTube Channel and watch “Planet of the Humans.” The Daily Beast ran an article April 20 by Mike Pearl titled “Michael Moore Just Declared War on the Climate Movement.” Filmmaker Jeff Gibbs examines climate change, fossil fuels, pollution and the green energy movement. Moore is the executive producer.
If you’re holding on for films in the theater … well, be patient. There are still films on the slate to be released this year. Whether Americans will be willing to sit in theaters with social distancing and eat popcorn under a mask is to be seen. Singapore opened its movie theaters, but had to close them again when there was an uptick in COVID-19 cases. There are still open theaters in some states that haven’t issued any restrictive orders, but they’ve been playing the same films on steady rotation. Now that the Oscars will consider nominating films that streamed online and not require a movie to play in a theater, if only for this year, many films will consider sales to online platforms. “Trolls World Tour” had remarkable success as a rental on Amazon, Apple TV and Google Play.
The most likely film to herald a return to theaters is Christopher Nolan tentpole “Tenet” (scheduled to be released July 17 by Warner Bros.), followed by Disney’s “Mulan” (July 24) and Warner Bros.’ “Wonder Woman 1984.” If that happens, these titles could claim virtually every open screen in North America.
Still on the summer 2020 schedule are Twentieth Century supernatural thriller “The Empty Man” (Aug. 7), Disney’s talking-animal film “The One and Only Ivan” (Aug. 14, ), Orion’s “Bill & Ted Face the Music” (Aug. 21) and Lionsgate’s “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” (Aug. 28). Any or all of these titles could fit the parameters for a home premiere.
Similarly, September contains four more movies that could be prime streaming or VOD candidates, including Screen Gems’ “Monster Hunter” (Sept. 4), Disney’s “The Beatles: Get Back” (Sept. 4), Warner Bros.’ horror sequel “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” (Sept. 11) and Twentieth Century’s Matthew Vaughn sequel “The King’s Man” (Sept. 18).
More theatrically inclined are October releases such as Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch,” Twentieth Century’s Hercule Poirot mystery “Death on the Nile” (Oct. 9), Robert Zemeckis’ adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “The Witches” from Warner Bros. (Oct. 9), and Universal’s “BIOS” starring Tom Hanks (Oct. 2) and “Halloween Kills” starring Jamie Lee Curtis (Oct. 16).
Other October titles are more likely VOD candidates, including Paramount’s Tom Clancy action thriller “Without Remorse” (Oct. 2) and G.I Joe’s “Snake Eyes” (Oct. 23); Sony’s animated family film “Connected” (Oct. 23) and Twentieth Century’s drag musical “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” (Oct. 23).
Almost certain to keep their dates (excepting any theater closings) are MGM’s “No Time to Die” (Nov. 25); Disney’s “Free Guy” (Dec, 11), “Soul” (Nov. 20) and “Black Widow” (Nov. 6); and Twentieth Century’s Steven Spielberg musical “West Side Story” (Dec. 18). Warner Bros. is opening “Godzilla vs. Kong” (Nov. 20), Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi spectacular “Dune” (Dec. 18) and Tim Story’s animated “Tom and Jerry” (Dec. 23), while Paramount is banking on two sequels, Eddie Murphy’s “Coming to America 2” (Dec. 18) and Tom Cruise’s “Top Gun: Maverick” (Dec. 23). Less assured are Disney’s erotic thriller from Adrian Lyne, “Deep Water” (Nov. 13), and Ridley Scott’s adventure “The Last Duel,” which has a Dec. 25 release date but still hasn’t begun production. Hoping for Oscar attention is MGM’s Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect,” starring Jennifer Hudson (Dec. 25). That’s the plan for now, at least. I just hope we’ll all be able to see movies in theaters before the end of this year.