Are you looking for a Saturday night movie? A show that will consume your entire weekend? Regardless of what streaming service you subscribe to, we’re here to help. We’ve gone through Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus to find the best movies and TV shows on each service.
The fates of two families — one white and one black, connected by a plot of land one owns and the other sharecrops — are inextricably intertwined in this powerful adaptation by the director Dee Rees of the novel by Hillary Jordan. Rees gracefully tells both stories (and the larger tale of postwar America) without veering into didacticism, and her ensemble cast brings every moment of text and subtext into sharp focus. Our critic called it a work of “disquieting, illuminating force.”
“The Midnight Gospel” pairs trippy visuals with interviews from the podcast “The Duncan Trussell Family Hour.”Netflix
‘The Midnight Gospel’
The animator Pendleton Ward follows up his cult favorite kids’ series “Adventure Time” with something very different: a cartoon that combines surrealism and docu-realism, pitched to broad-minded grown-ups. The comedian Duncan Trussell provides the voice of the hero, Clancy Gilroy, a podcaster who travels across dimensions and through the universe, interviewing strange creatures in dangerous places. The illustrations are trippy, influenced by pulp science-fiction; but the dialogue is mostly casual and earnestly philosophical. The result is a show that on the surface looks like a mature animated fantasy but is actually a sweet and strange inquiry into what it means to be alive. Our critic called it “expansive and full-hearted and cathartic.”
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A scene from “Apollo 11.”CNN Films
The first manned voyage to the moon is a subject not exactly avoided by filmmakers, nonfiction and otherwise; the particulars of that 1969 mission have been so exhaustively documented and dramatized, it seemed impossible that Todd Douglas Miller’s 50th anniversary feature would offer anything new. But it did, and then some; drawing on a treasure trove of previously unseen (and painstakingly restored) archival footage, inventive graphics and unexpected juxtapositions, Miller eschews contemporary interviews and voice-of-God narration to create a thrilling sense of the present tense —creating suspense and tension out of a story whose outcome is common knowledge. The results, our critic wrote, are “entirely awe-inspiring.”
Amazon Prime Video doesn’t make it easy to find stuff. Luckily, we have done the work for you.
Antonio Salvador in “Embrace of the Serpent.”Andres Barrientos/Oscilloscope Laboratories
‘Embrace of the Serpent’
The director Ciro Guerra tells the “majestic, spellbinding” story of two expeditions down the Amazon, separated by 40 years, fascinated as much by their reflections of each other as by their eventual, and remarkable, intersection. It’s a film with much to say about a vanishing civilization and the people who wish to either understand it or exploit it (or both), yet it’s short on soapboxing and didacticism – Guerra lets the pictures tell the stories, and they’re more than up to the task. The feverishly haunting “Embrace” is alternately anthropological and surrealistic.
Disney Plus is full of many lesser-known TV shows and movies. Like this one.
Mr. Fox (voiced by George Clooney) in “Fantastic Mr. Fox.”Twentieth Century Fox
‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’
Wes Anderson’s first foray into animation applies the visual precision, melancholy and wit of his live-action features to a Roald Dahl novel about a sophisticated fox (voiced by George Clooney) who nonetheless taps his primitive nature to raid the poultry farms of Boggis, Bunce and Bean. If he and his family were humans, they could exist comfortably in the world of Anderson’s “The Royal Tenenbaums.” A.O. Scott called it “in some ways Anderson’s most fully realized and satisfying film.”