When HBO Max drops May 27 as an option to stream, you may just see the whole streaming game change. Imagine it. Think of all HBO offers plus thousands of hours of the most celebrated classics from WarnerMedia and throw in the other brands under the media conglomerate’s umbrella, such as TNT, TBS and Adult Swim. Think “Game of Thrones,” “Casablanca,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and, oh yes, this is where you will be able to watch the beloved and super popular “Friends.” With such a deep catalog reservoir, HBO Max enters the streaming arena as a media behemoth that will compete with the biggest and best, including Disney+, Apple TV+, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and more.
“Our number one goal is having extraordinary content for everyone in the family, and the HBO Max programming mix we are so excited to unveil on May 27 will bear that out,” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of Warner Media Entertainment and Direct-To-Consumer. You can sign up for updates on the streaming service’s upcoming program at hbomax.com. In addition to its library of classics, HBO Max is also offering some brand new original content that looks pretty awesome (listed below). Check it out, as well as some other programs fresh to streaming on other platforms, here.
A musical remake of the 1980s Nicolas Cage classic, “Valley Girl” follows Julie, played by Jessica Rothe, who gets the attention of Sunset Strip rocker Randy, played by Josh Whitehouse, back in her days as the ultimate Valley Girl. Powered by colorful scrunchie fashions from decades ago and with pop music hits like “We Got the Beat,” the story is set for all generations as the youngsters defy their parents while dancing and singing their hearts out. Directed by Rachel Lee Goldenberg and also starring Alicia Silverstone, Chloe Bennet and Peyton List, the film is set to stream May 8. PG- 13 1h 44m.
“Speed of Life”
When David Bowie dies, it rocks the lives of June and Edward’s relationship — especially because Edward falls into a wormhole and disappears. Fast forward to 2040. An older June is visited by her once partner back from the wormhole, unchanged and back in her life just as he was in 2016. So how do you hang on to a moment? This film gets us to think about that. Starring Ann Dowd and directed and produced by Liz Manashil, “Speed of Life” is set to stream May 10. 1h 16m.
“How to Build a Girl”
With its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in 2019, “How to Build a Girl” tells the story of Johana Morrigan, a geeky teenager played by Beanie Feldstein, who hopes to become a cool music critic by answering a magazine’s call for new writers. Her persistence leads her to gigging, getting reviews and forever changing her life. Based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Caitlin Moran and directed by Coky Giedroyc, the film is about self-discovery and finding your way in unique environments. Also starring Emma Thompson, Gemma Arterton, Michael Sheen and Chris O’Dowd, the IFC Films production is fresh to stream May 12. R 1h 42m.
Scooby and his gang reemerge May 15 into the animated world with reveals, like how Scooby and Shaggy met and how they joined their friends Fred, Velma and Daphne to form Mystery Inc. This time, when a plot to unleash a ghost dog named Cerberus pops up, long-time pals Scoob and Shaggy get way more than a Scooby snack. Follow all the meddling kids as they uncover mysteries surrounding a strange disappearance and race to stop a dogpocalypse. Scoob and his gang are voiced by superstars Will Forte, Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried, Mark Wahlberg, Tracy Morgan and more. PG.
This film played the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2019, where it won a special jury award, and is set to stream starting May 21. Raised in the Netherlands, Alma, played by Sara Luna Zoric, travels back to visit her sick father, whom she has never met. Staying with her cousin, who is busy with shady deals, she develops relationships and finds herself along the way. This foreign language film by Ena Sendijarevic offers a minimalist plot with weird twists and interesting cinematography. 1h 31m.
“On the Record”
The documentary — which premiered at Sundance earlier this year and details sexual misconduct allegations against hip-hop legend Russell Simmons — prompted backlash from his supporters, as well as headlines of Oprah pulling out of the production. It tells the story of Drew Dixon, the first woman of color to go on the record with such allegations against Simmons. The story, first reported in the New York Times, is presented in the wake of the #MeToo movement, as borne out by multi award-winning Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, known for “The Invisible War,” a story about rape in the military, and “Hunting Ground,” about sexual assault on college campuses. The film is streaming on the new HBO Max, which launches May 27 and includes other new and lighter content pieces, including “Looney Tunes Cartoons,” “The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo” and “Love Life,” as well as thousands of hours of classics from the vault of WarnerMedia. 1h 35m.
From the creators of “The Office” and starring Steve Carell, “Space Force” definitely jabs at the newly created division of the U.S. Armed Forces in this new Netflix streaming series to hit May 29. Also starring John Malkovich, Diana Silvers, Tawny Newsome and Ben Schwartz, we get to follow four-star general Mark R. Naird, played by Carrell, whose team’s task is to figure out just what exactly they are supposed to be doing with their new jobs. Maybe defending the U.S. from satellites or other space-related attacks? Tune in. ¦
— Eric Raddatz is the P resentation Editor at Florida Weekly, host of the indie film series T. G. I. M. and the founder of Fort Myers and Naples Film Festivals. Know of a great film coming out soon? Email him.