The Best New Movies to Stream This Week

If you’re looking for a great movie to watch this weekend, I have you covered. There weren’t a ton of original-to-streaming flicks released in the last week—reverberations from the writers and actors strikes—but every movie is new if you’ve never seen it before, right? Whether you’re in the mood for a thoughtful political documentary, an inspirational movie about tennis, or a retro horror-comedy about clowns from outer space, there’s sure to be something out there for you.

King Richard (2021)

In this sports biopic, Will Smith plays Richard Williams, father of tennis phenoms Venus and Serena Williams. Smith turns in one of the best performances of his career (and earned an Academy Award for Best Actor) as his daughters’ coach in this inspirational story that examines family, dedication, and the sacrifices that come from the pursuit of excellence.

Where to stream: Hulu

The Imitation Game (2014) 

In a role he was practically born for, Benedict Cumberbatch plays pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing in this historical thriller. Turing, along with a cadre of other cryptology nerds and outcasts, legit saved the world by cracking the Enigma Code during World War 2, and was rewarded with years of post-war persecution and abuse for being gay. The Imitation Game mostly sticks to the more exciting “we’ve gotta break the code!” part of Turing’s life story as opposed to his depressing later days.

Where to stream: Hulu

Astro Kid (2019)

Astro Kid proves that great CGI films can come from places other than Pixar or Illumination. This charming film comes from France, and its quieter style is nice contrast to over-amped American animation. The titular Astro Kid is Willy, a resourceful 10-year-old who is marooned on a distant planet with only a robot to keep him company. While it’s aimed at kids, parents will be delighted (or at least entertained) as well.

Where to stream: Prime (FreeVee)

The Other Zoey (2023)

A romantic comedy doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel, and The Other Zoey doesn’t try to. Instead, it focuses on hitting beats that have worked since Shakespeare did them (a meet-cute, mistaken identity, nothing-in-common-lovers, etc.) especially well. Genuinely witty dialogue, charismatic performances, and a breezy plot add up to a better-than-average rom-com.

Where to stream: Prime Video

Train to Busan (2016)

Train to Busan sets itself apart from the horde of zombie movies through its breakneck-pace, interesting setting—it takes place almost entirely on a train—and its surprisingly heartfelt emotional core. Busan uses the dead rising to explore capitalism, class, and the price of modernity, but you can ignore that if you want to simply enjoy a rip-roaring undead explosion instead.

Where to stream: Netflix

Shoplifters (2018)

Shoplifters examines the petty-criminal underworld of Japan through a family that survives via five-finger-discount, stealing what they need to get by in a cold world. Shoplifters’ life-on-the-margin characters are portrayed with rare compassion and humanity, leading to a conclusion that will stay with you long after the credits. 

Where to stream: Hulu

The Fight (2020)

The American Civil Liberties Union was busy during the Trump years. This documentary details some of the battles the ACLU fought during that time, following four overworked, idealistic attorneys on the forefront of protecting immigrants rights, trans rights, election integrity, and even the rights of white supremacists to hold rallies (the ACLU knife cuts both ways). It’s a fascinating look at the frontline of the fight for rights that you’ll find fascinating if you can deal with reliving those tumultuous days.

Where to stream: Hulu

Hail Satan? (2019)

If you’re into documentaries about civil rights, why not make it a double feature and check out Hail Satan? This film explores the activities of The Satanic Temple, who use confrontational tactics to fight assaults on freedom of speech and the separation of Church and State. They also have a good time, because protecting our rights is way more fun with Satan.

Where to stream: Max

The King of Comedy (1983)

If you haven’t seen Martin Scorsese’s 1982 masterpiece The King of Comedy in a few years, revisit it tonight; it’s even better on the second or twelfth viewing. An obvious inspiration for The Joker, The King of Comedy eviscerates celebrity culture and the American myth of “making it” through ingenuity and pluck. It’s not an uplifting movie, but it’s unforgettable.

Where to stream: Hulu

Baby Driver (2017)

Baby Driver features car chases and heists that are twice as exciting as anything in any Fast and Furious movie and it’s smart and stylish, too. The Baby of the title is a savant at one thing: Driving. He works as the getaway driver for a gang of thieves, but Baby wants out. All that stands behind him and freedom is one last job. Spoiler: it doesn’t go smoothly.

Where to stream: Prime (FreeVee)

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

Forget Stephen King’s It; Killer Klowns from Outer Space is the best murderous clown movie ever made. This made-for-the-cult-section horror comedy still holds up after all these years thanks to its over-the-top production design, inventive effects, and nutty story. If you’re a fan of movies that don’t take themselves too seriously, check out Killer Klowns.

Where to stream: Prime

Return to Seoul (2023)

Cambodian-French director Davy Chou explores and explodes widespread myths about identity and culture through main character Frédérique Benoît’s journey to Korea. Freddie (as she’s called) was born in Korea and adopted by a French family, and now she’s a 25-year-old traveler who casually ends up in a “homeland” she has little connection to. If you’re hoping for a standard “finding cultural and personal identity” story, this isn’t it; it’s way more nuanced and complex than that. 

Where to stream: Prime

Last week’s picks

The Kitchen (2024)

This British production combines social commentary and science fiction by setting its story in the gritty public housing estates of a-few-years-from-now England. In the “future,” the British government has largely stopped providing state services to poor residents of The Kitchen, a sprawling project in London. The British government still provides police to oppress people, though. Izi sells funeral plans to his neighbors in The Kitchen, and has saved enough to finally move out of the slums, but his escape is complicated when he meets a teenage boy mourning his dead mother.

Where to stream: Netflix

Sixty Minutes (2024)

This German-made MMA action flick doesn’t have a complicated plot, but it doesn’t need one. Octavia, a mixed martial artist, has only 60 minutes to travel across Berlin to his daughter’s birthday party, but a large chunk of the criminal underworld is trying to stop him. Octavia, as you’d expect, has to fight basically everyone in the city if he hopes to arrive home on time. That’s enough story for me to be totally in on this pulse-pounding adrenaline-fest.

Where to stream: Netflix

Cats (2019)

A list of movies you might watch this weekend doesn’t necessarily mean good movies. Cats is definitely not a good movie. Cats, as Roger Ebert once described God Told Me To, “isn’t the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn’t below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels.” You should watch Cats anyway (and God Told me To), because it’s instructive and fascinating. Wondering how hundreds of talented professionals spent millions of dollars and ended up making this cynical piece of garbage is a fascinating mental exercise. Every scene in Cats will have you asking, “who thought this was a good idea? How is it possible?”

Where to stream: Netflix

Mr. Organ (2023)

This unsettling documentary has been kicking around Netflix for a couple months, but it’s the kind of oddball movie that can get lost in the streaming shuffle. Director/journalist David Farrier (Tickled) set out to investigate “clamping,” the only-in-New Zealand practice of shady businesses holding customers’ cars for ransom in their private parking lots. His lightweight story led to the title character, who is not only the king of clamping, but also a yacht thief, a lawyer, royalty, a Satanist, and a million other things, depending on who’s telling the story. Mr. Organ’s constant dissembling, conning, and conniving seems quirky at first, but peeling back the layers of his noxious personality ultimately reveals a person who seems willfully, consciously, and entirely evil. 

Where to stream: Netflix

Freaks (2018)

Not enough people saw 2018’s Freaks. Despite a Rotten Tomato score of 88%, the movie made less than a million dollars in its initial run. This science fiction/horror movie details a world going mad through the eyes of a seven-year-old child. Chloe’s dad keeps her prisoner in their home, but not because he’s a cruel man, but because there’s something so special about Chloe that she needs to be protected from the world. Or maybe the world needs to be protected from her.

Where to stream: Netflix

Mi Soledad Tiene Alas (2023)

Mi Soledad Tiene Alas (“My Loneliness Has Wings” in English) is a made-in-Spain drama about a graffiti artist and petty criminal whose small crew screws up a robbery so badly they have to flee Barcelona. The directorial debut of Spanish heartthrob actor Mario Casas, critics called Mi Soledad an “organic, tumultuous and energetic film, intuitive in its essence.” And who am I to argue?

Where to stream: Netflix

Annie (1982)

If you’re in the mood for an old-school musical, 1984’s Annie should be viewed at once. It wasn’t well-received by critics when it was released in 1982, but John Huston’s over-the-top production has grown in esteem, and deserves its new reputation. Annie is filled with great performances, and it doesn’t shy away from the depression-era misery of its setting, nor is it afraid to be too cheesy. Plus the music is amazing. “Hard Knock Life” is a banger forever.

Where to stream: Netflix


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