Every month, streaming services in Australia add a new batch of movies and TV shows to its library. Here are our picks for May.
‘The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness’
In the late 1970s, New York was terrorized by a serial killer who dubbed himself “the Son of Sam,” later revealed to be David Berkowitz — an emotionally disturbed man who had dabbled in the occult and claimed he heard voices. The investigative reporter Maury Terry didn’t fully accept the story that Berkowitz acted alone, and in this four-part docu-series, the director Joshua Zeman looks back at what Terry (voiced by Paul Giamatti) uncovered during his years of researching the case. “The Sons of Sam” is about the original Berkowitz spree, but it also documents some chilling patterns of satanic cult activity.
Like a lot of recent superhero TV series (like “Invincible” and “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”), “Jupiter’s Legacy” combines dynamic, violent action with thoughtful contemplation about what it means to be a hero. Based on a comic book by the writer Mark Millar and the artist Frank Quitely, the show is about a team of world-saving champions and their children. Some of the super offspring are carrying on the family tradition of fighting crime, while others have been deeply warped by growing up in the public eye. Josh Duhamel and Leslie Bibb play two members of the original generation of supers, who worry that the next generation won’t live up to their ideals.
The French genre filmmaker Alexandre Aja’s best movies — including “Haute Tension,” “Piranha 3-D” and “Crawl” — defy action and horror conventions in sly ways, by adding surprise twists and humor to familiar premises, or by setting their stories in unusual places. Aja’s science fiction thriller “Oxygen” (written by Christie LeBlanc) takes place almost entirely inside a futuristic life-support pod, inhabited by an amnesiac named Elizabeth (Mélanie Laurent), who is trying to contact the outside world for help before she runs out of air. The movie is a kind of mystery, where the ultimate aim is for the heroine to figure out what’s happening to her.
One of the most beloved and controversial films to emerge from cinema’s Australian New Wave, the director Bruce Beresford’s 1981 movie “Puberty Blues” is based on Gabrielle Caret and Kathy Lette’s novel about two teenage girls, drawn to the sometimes violent, often sexually charged, frequently drug- and drink-fueled world of Sydney surfers. Adapted to the screen by the writer Margaret Kelly, the film has Nell Schofield and Jad Capelja playing the girls, who try to establish their place in a male-dominated subculture without being reduced to sex objects.
‘The Woman in the Window’
The accomplished British director Joe Wright (whose “Pride and Prejudice,” “Atonement” and “Darkest Hour” have all been Oscar-nominated) brings his expressive and overtly theatrical visual style to the “The Woman in the Window.” The thriller is based on an A.J. Finn novel and adapted by the screenwriter Tracy Letts. Amy Adams stars as an agoraphobe named Anna who sees what she believes to be a murder, but then can’t get her neighbors or the police to believe her. The supporting cast includes Gary Oldman, Julianne Moore, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Wyatt Russell.
‘Army of the Dead’
The director Zack Snyder has moved on from making DC Comics movies like “Man of Steel” and “Justice League” and has returned to the action and horror roots of his hits “300” and “Dawn of the Dead.” The offbeat heist picture “Army of the Dead” stars Dave Bautista as the leader of a crew of fearless specialists (played by Garret Dillahunt, Tig Notaro and Matthias Schweighöfer, among others), attempting to pull off a big job in a Las Vegas that’s overrun by superintelligent zombies. The film is the first installment of what Snyder and Netflix hope will be a franchise, with a mythology that’ll be explored in prequels, sequels and spinoff series.
‘High on the Hog: How African-American Cuisine Transformed America’
In this four-part series, the Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Roger Ross Williams (known for “Life, Animated,” “God Loves Uganda” and “The Apollo”) tackles the complicated history of cooking and eating in the African-American community. Adapted from a book by the James Beard Award-winning culinary historian Jessica B. Harris — and hosted by Stephen Satterfield, the founder of the Whetstone multimedia company — “High on the Hog” features chefs and academics from across the United States, talking about how Black culture has been inextricably intertwined with recipes that originated in Africa and were developed across centuries.
Also arriving: “Selena: The Series” Part 2 (May 4), “And Tomorrow the Entire World” (May 6), “Girl from Nowhere” Season 2 (May 7), “Milestone” (May 7), “Monster” (May 7), “Mine” (May 8), “Super Me” (May 9), “Money Explained” (May 11), “Dance of the 41” (May 12), “The Upshaws” (May 12), “Castlevania” Season 4 (May 13), “Ferry” (May 14), “Haunted” Season 3 (May 14), “I Am All Girls” (May 14), “Love, Death & Robots” Volume 2 (May 14), “Move to Heaven” (May 14), “The Strange House” (May 14), “The Real Housewives of New York City” Season 4 (May 15), “Who Killed Sara?” Season 2 (May 19), “Special” Season 2 (May 20), “Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous” Season 3 (May 21), “The Neighbor” Season 2 (May 21), “Baggio: The Divine Ponytail” (May 26), “Nail Bomber: Manhunt” (May 26), “Blank Space” (May 27), “Blue Miracle” (May 27), “Eden” (May 27), “Ragnarok” Season 2 (May 27), “The Kominsky Method” Season 3 (May 28), “Lucifer” Season 5, Part 2 (May 28), “The Parisian Agency: Exclusive Properties” (May 31).
‘I Am Greta’
The “Greta” in the title of Nathan Grossman’s documentary “I Am Greta” is the climate activist Greta Thunberg, but if you watch this film — and you should — don’t expect a 90-minute lecture on the environment. Instead, “I Am Greta” is an at-times heart-rending character sketch, following the young Swede from the start of her campaign as she overcomes her social awkwardness and anxieties to sound the alarm on global warming. Grossman’s remarkable behind-the-scenes access allows him to show just what a personal toll it has taken on this remarkable teenager to try and change the world.
In this action-packed science fiction series, Savannah Steyn plays Ash Harper, an ace pilot for a futuristic peacekeeping force. After being wrongly convicted of a crime, she finds herself embedded with a group of dangerous convicts who’ve seized control of a prison ship. Created by Julie Gearey (a writer on “Secret Diary of a Call Girl” and the creator of “Prisoners Wives”), “Intergalactic” has some visual and thematic echoes of “Star Trek,” although the focus is less on the controlling authorities and more on the people who feel stifled by them.
‘RuPaul’s Drag Race: Down Under’
RuPaul’s popular reality competition series makes a stop in Australia and New Zealand for this special edition, shot mostly in Auckland earlier this year. The format will be similar to the show’s American version, complete with cheeky challenges that require the contestants to behave outrageously while the drag legend RuPaul and the guest judges look on. Given the rich history of drag clubs and performers in and around Sydney, this round of “Drag Race” should also be a little different from the others, encompassing Australia’s unique L.G.B.T.Q. culture.
‘The Girlfriend Experience’ Season 3
The first two seasons of this sexually explicit adult drama — inspired by a lesser-known Steven Soderbergh movie — looked at the experiences of high-end escorts, using art-film techniques to tell stories about women leading double lives. For season three, the show’s creators Lodge Kerrigan and Amy Seimetz have handed control over to the writer-director Anja Marquardt, whose new main character is a brilliant young neuroscience student named Iris (Julia Goldani Telles), who works for a tech start-up by day and does sex work at night.
Produced by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock and created by Meredith Scardino — a team that has collaborated before on “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “Mr. Mayor” and “Saturday Night Live” — the sitcom “Girls5eva” is about a formerly popular 1990s girl group that attempts a comeback. The band is played by a mix of real-life comedians and musicians: Sara Bareilles, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Paula Pell and Busy Philipps. Expect plenty of jokes about ageism and sexism in the music industry, cushioned by the kind of goofy absurdism common to Fey and Carlock’s comedy.
Whether or not you’re a fan of Formula One auto racing, you can learn a lot from this gripping 2010 documentary about Ayrton Senna, a Brazilian driver who fought against an establishment that resisted his more aggressive, daring approach. The director Asif Kapadia (who later won an Oscar for his equally thorough and compelling Amy Winehouse documentary, “Amy”) here combines exciting archival footage with some fascinating history lessons, detailing the ways that traditionalists and bureaucrats sometimes suppress innovation and stifle competition.
‘The Bold Type’ Season 5
The final season of this soapy drama will wrap up the sometimes triumphant and sometimes troubling stories of three millennial ladies: the soul-baring journalist Jane Sloan (Katie Stevens), the social media influencer Kat Edison (Aisha Dee) and the aspiring fashion designer Sutton Brady (Meghann Fahy). It might also reveal the fate of the once-indomitable women’s magazine they’ve all worked for. Over the course of its first four years, “The Bold Type” evolved from being a portrait of a generation to becoming an unusually plugged-in (if somewhat fantastical) commentary on the state of modern media. It has also featured fantastic performances from its three leads, whose powerful presence in these roles will be missed.
Also arriving: “My War on Drugs” (May 3), “Basketball: A Love Story” Season 1 (May 5), “Belushi” (May 6),“Bloods” (May 6), “The Flood” (May 6), “Lassie” (May 6), “Pinocchio” (May 11), “Domina” (May 15), “The Lost Kingdom of the Black Pharaohs” (May 12), “Liar” Season 2 (May 15), “Generation Gifted” Seasons 1-3 (May 19), “Battle of the Sexes” (May 22), “Fighters” (May 23), “Black Monday” Season 3 (May 24), “You Cannot Kill David Arquette” (May 25), “Deep Water” Season 1 (May 26), “Endangered Wildlife Sanctuary” (May 27), “Madagascar: A Little Wild” (May 28), “Venus and Serena” (May 29).
‘The Underground Railroad’
Based on Colson Whitehead’s award-winning novel, “The Underground Railroad” is an intense and dreamy reimagining of 19th century American history, set mostly in southern states where different plantation communities have different cultural traditions and norms. Thuso Mbedu plays Cora, who escapes her captors and takes a ride on a literal subterranean train, rolling through a surreal and violent landscape. The series was directed by Barry Jenkins, best-known for his Oscar-winning film “Moonlight,” and it features his usual impressionistic, immersive style.
Set in a struggling working class town, the suspense series “Panic” is about a graduating high school senior named Heather (Olivia Welch), who figures the only way to leave home and start a better life is to participate in an annual contest where teens subject themselves to dangerous stunts and dares for money. Based on a young adult novel by Lauren Oliver, the show combines sensationalistic scenes of young people risking their lives with a more nuanced and righteously outraged depiction of an economically stratified culture that fails its youth.
Also arriving: “The Boy from Medellín” (May 7), “Pink: All I Know So Far” (May 21), “Solos” (May 21), “Toofaan” (May 21).
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