Our access to streaming content has never been greater. Following this trend, many movies and series once set to premiere at film festivals or in big red carpet public theaters are taking other routes. Even as Hollywood and production companies are looking at different approaches to content and production, more and more streaming services are giving us fresh options right now. Here are a few new ones for your consideration.
Michelle Obama is a powerful force with humble beginnings, the details of which she bears out in her book “Becoming,” now 73 weeks on New York Times bestseller list. From growing up on the south side of Chicago, getting accepted to Princeton and meeting a young Barack Obama, falling in love and having a family, she went on to serve two terms as First Lady. She shares her life, hopes and documented moments with others during a 2019 book tour. The documentary offers intimate behind-the-scenes moments of her life as she does the press circuit, visiting 34 cities and offering insights on the power of communities to bridge divides and connect when they openly share stories together. Streaming on Netflix since May 6.
The Netflix documentary series, by executive producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov, looks at how the media have contributed to the public opinion during modern real courtroom dramas. How much was real and how much fed the entertainment ratings? And how much influenced the trials? From several including Jenny Jones’ talk show murder trials, the fall of Rod Blagojevich and the case of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed African immigrant who was shot 41 times by police in New York City, the series offers compelling moments that show how media storytelling within the legal system has reshaped the courtroom and viewers interest. Series one streams May 11.
Stars be tripping in this documentary by Donick Cary, originally to have played at SXSW before it was canceled this year. That’s right, a look at the pros, cons and history of hallucinogens with an attempt to find out if they can treat depression, addiction as well as other things. With well-knowns such as Adam Scott, Nick Offerman, Sarah Silverman, Ad-Rock, Rosie Perez and Nick Kroll, be prepared to take a trip out May 11.
Netflix’s deal with David Spade, much like their deal with Adam Sandler, has created new movie content from the legendary stars from Saturday Night Live. The latest global premiere features Spade, (“Joe Dirt,” “Tommy Boy,” “Roadies”) who plays Tim Morris, a guy who has finally met his gorgeous dream girl, Missy, and decides to take it to the next level. So he texts her, to ask if she’d like to join him on a company corporate retreat in Hawaii. For some reason they agree to meet on the plane, where he then realizes that he accidentally texted a woman who he once had a blind date with, also named Missy. The weekend getaway goes an entirely different direction than what he was planning in this silly mix-up movie. Also starring Lauren Lapkus, Rob Schneider and Sarah Chalke the film releases on Netflix May 13. 1h 29m.
The film which premiered at SXSW in 2019 and was subsequently acquired by IFC Films, focuses on Alexi Pappas, a Greek-American long-distance Olympic athlete, as she develops a friendship in the Olympic Athlete Village in Seoul, South Korea, with a volunteer dentist, played by Nick Kroll. Originally created after getting a grant to make a film during the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, Kroll took a team of three into access that only Olympians usually are afforded, putting together something truly unique with cameos from many legitimate athletes from the games, which contributes to the piece. Set to stream on platforms May 19. PG- 13. Ih 25m.
In this Focus Features film, Grace Davis plays Tracee Ellis Ross, a famous middle-aged singer in the LA music scene. Maggie, played by Dakota Johnson, is her assistant with ambitions to become a music producer. They are presented with a choice that could alter both of their careers forever in this comedy also starring Ice Cube, June Diane Raphael and Bill Pullman. With a world premiere streaming on-demand May 29. PG- 13. 1h 53m.
If you love Elmo you will be tickled red to know he is hitting the late-night talk show scene on May 27. But not too late, so don’t worry Jimmy Fallon or John Oliver. The brand new family-friendly primetime series will offer familiar Sesame Street friends including Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch, as well as the aforementioned talk show hosts joining as guests. Other stars and musicians, like most late-night shows include, are Blake Lively, John Mulaney, Lil Nas X, Jonas Brothers and more. It is part of the big HBO Max explosive streaming service rollout that also will include other original content, including “On The Record,” “Looney Tunes Cartoons” and “Love Life” as well as a huge library of classics from WarnerMedia TNT, TBS and Adult Swim. The service, which will likely change the streaming game altogether, will include popular titles such as “Game of Thrones,” “Casablanca,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” and oh yes, the super popular “Friends.” ¦
— Eric Raddatz is the Presentation 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.