10 New Netflix Original Movies To Watch in May 2021

Every month there are a slew of new movies available to watch on Netflix. This month there are reportedly 65 new movies coming to the streaming giant, but of course those include older movies that Netflix just acquired rights to, such as Back to The Future (including Part II and III), The Land Before Time, State of Play, The Pelican Brief, etc. Glad to see Notting Hill will be coming to Netflix, so I know I’ll be rewatching that! I’m also curious to check out older films I’ve missed, like Zombieland, The Lovely Bones, Mystic River, maybe even Scarface!

Now, for this post I’m only posting 10 brand new films that haven’t been released on streaming previously, even if some of them have actually premiered at film festivals. I’m glad to see a few of female-led films and those directed by women. A bunch of these are international films from South Africa, Mexico, Germany, Netherlands, China, and Italy. There are something for everyone here, so here we go:

The Woman in the Window

An agoraphobic woman living alone in New York begins spying on her new neighbors, only to witness a disturbing act of violence.

Release Date: May 14th
Running Time: 1hr 40min

It’s been ages since I saw Amy Adams in something (her brief appearance in #TheSnyderCut of Justice League doesn’t count! Love a good mystery. This one looks really intriguing, it’s got a heavy Hitchcock vibe, esp. Rear Window. Great ensemble cast too with Gary Oldman, Julianne Moore and Anthony Mackie.

OXYGEN

A woman wakes in a cryogenic chamber with no recollection of how she got there, and must find a way out before running out of air.

Release Date: May 12th
Running Time: 1hr 40min

This looks like an intense survivalist sci-fi drama. I like Melanie Laurent so she’s the reason I’ll watch this one, though even watching the trailer makes me feel a bit claustrophobic.

I Am All Girls

A special crimes investigator forms an unlikely bond with a serial killer to bring down a global child sex trafficking syndicate.

Release Date: May 14th
Running Time: 1hr 47min

Per Deadline, this film is based on real events that happened in South Africa in the 1980s. A detective forming an unlikely bond with a serial killer to bring down a notorious human trafficking ring involving powerful politicians is quite a story. The trailer is pretty intense, definitely not for the faint of heart.

 

Army of the Dead

Following a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries take the ultimate gamble, venturing into the quarantine zone to pull off the greatest heist ever attempted.

Release Date: May 21st
Running Time: 2hr 28min

So Netflix apparently took over this Zack Snyder project from Warner Bros. I actually haven’t seen Snyder’s directorial debut Dawn of the Dead (2004) but this one is NOT a follow up of that movie. Instead of being a global zombie outbreak, this one is contained in Vegas. It’s also not based on any of George A. Romero’s work.

Monster

A smart, likable, 17-year-old film student from Harlem sees his world turned upside down when he’s charged with a murder. We follow his dramatic journey through a complex legal battle.

Release Date: May 7th
Running Time: 1hr 38min

Boy, this film took a long time to get distribution! It won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance back in 2018. It has a good ensemble cast: John David Washington, Jennifer Ehle, Jeffrey Wright and Kelvin Harrison Jr. who’s been in Luce, Waves, The Trial of the Chicago 7, etc. I’m curious if this one offers something different from the run-of-the-mill legal drama.

Blue Miracle

The incredible true story of Casa Hogar, the Mexican boys home that entered the world’s biggest fishing tournament to save their orphanage.

Release Date: May 27th
Running Time: 1hr 35min

Seems that Dennis Quaid is drawn to feel-good, inspirational family flicks. This one is inspired by true events and star mostly Mexican cast. Sounds like a good one to watch with the whole family.

And Tomorrow the Entire World
(Und morgen die ganze Welt)

How far one is willing to go for the sake of one’s political commitment.

Release Date: May 6th
Running Time: 1hr 51min

A politically-charged drama involving young students in Germany trying to counter the rise of the political right. This film was Germany’s Official submission for Oscar’s ‘Best International Feature Film’ category this year. Per IMDb, the title’s taken from the national-socialist propaganda song Es zittern die morschen Knochen, specifically the line that says “Today Germany belongs to us, tomorrow the entire world.” Eerily enough, Nazi sympathizers are still relevant to this day even in the United States.

 

Ferry

A ruthless Ferry Bouman is sent to his native region of Brabant by his boss Brink to avenge an attack on their gang. When he meets the lovely Danielle and old family feuds resurface, Brabant starts to pierce his steel armor.

Release Date: May 14th
Running Time: 1hr 46min

A Dutch gangster thriller set in 2006 that looks quite violent from the trailer. Starring acclaimed Dutch actor Frank Lammers looks like the splitting image of Oliver Platt. This film explores the early years of Ferry Bouman, the drug lord character in the hit Belgian-Dutch crime thriller Undercover.

 

Super Me
(Qi Huan Zhi Lv)

SANG Yu is so exhausted from trying to stay awake. Every time he closes his eyes, a demon chases and kills him in his dreams. One night SANG realizes he has a special power: he can bring treasures from his dreams into reality. Almost overnight, he becomes a rich man. But his wealth also attracts the attention of a ruthless gangster.

Release Date: May 9th
Running Time: 1hr 42min

The trailer for this fantasy Chinese movie looks like a lot of fun, featuring some gorgeous neon-lit cinematography. Nice to see an action comedy for a change, and this looks pretty darn entertaining!

 

Baggio: The Divine Ponytail

Biographical film about Italian footballer Roberto Baggio, a man who inspired entire generations to play football. A unique footballer, capable of thrilling fans all over the world.

Release Date: May 26th
Running Time: 1hr 31min

I’ve never heard of Robert Baggio before but apparently he’s an Italian football icon. Per Britannica, widely considered one of the greatest forwards in his country’s storied football history. Ever since Ted Lasso, I’m actually more open-minded about sports-themed movies now, ahah.


Which of these Netflix movie(s) are you most excited about?

Guest Post @ Digital Shortbread Blog – My review of Night Train to Lisbon (2013)

This review is my contribution to Bite Sized Reviews over at @ Digital Shortbread Blog

NightTrainToLisbonPoster

Night Train To Lisbon is a historical-tinged drama where a chance meeting leads a Swiss Professor to embark on an adventure of a lifetime. Based on a best-selling novel by Pascal Mercier and directed by Danish director Bille August, the film stars Jeremy Irons in an understated yet engaging performance.

JeremyIrons_NightTrainToLisbonJackHuston_NightTrainToLisbon

Though Iron’s Raimund is the protagonist, it’s Jack Huston who’s also a standout in the film. He’s fantastic as the young doctor Amadeu as there’s a mysterious quality about him, and there’s quite an alluring chemistry between him and Mélanie Laurent. The always enchanting Charlotte Rampling is marvelous as a woman who’s personally connected to Amadeu and fiercely protective of their past.


Check out my full review by clicking the image below

BiteSizedReviews

FlixChatter Review: Inglourious Basterds

InglouriousBasterdsPoster
Ok, 2 down, 10 more to go. As I mentioned in my Oscar nom musings, I’ve got twelve movies to catch up on by Oscar time (both nominated for Best Picture and those that feature Oscar-nominated performances). In the past 2 weeks, I finally caught this one and The Hurt Locker, here’s what I generally think of it.

Since the movie is divided into five chapters, I thought I’d break down my review into five main parts just for the heck of it. Now, I’m not hugely familiar with Tarantino’s work, nor did I know much about his movie influences as this LA Times article pointed out. I have no qualms with him ‘borrowing’ certain aspects from obscure or foreign movies, as long as he’s able to make those scenes his own with his own actors and approach/style, which is exactly what he did in this movie.

Before I continue, here’s the plot:

In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a group of Jewish-American soldiers known as “The Basterds”, led by Lt. Aldo Raine, are chosen specifically to spread fear throughout the Third Reich by scalping and brutally killing Nazis.

PART I: The Story

Before I saw this I expected it to be an ultra-violent anti-Nazi flick, a revenge fantasy with Tarantino’s brand of panache and style. Well it was all that indeed, but it’s also so much more. The Basterds are absolutely hell-bent on revenge, but there’s more to the story than what Lt. Aldo (Brad Pitt) and the gang are up to. Their mission is cleverly interwoven with the story of Soshana Dreyfuss (Melanie Laurent), the sole survivor when his family was ambushed early on. There are many layers to the story, one knotty predicament after another — thanks to the shrewdness of Col. Landa (Christoph Waltz) — keeps on unfolding until it builds to a gratifying climax.

PART 2: Direction

It’s quite obvious that Tarantino must’ve paid homage to old-school film-making style in the opening sequence. It’s a long continuous shot of just two people – a French farmer and Col. Landa – conversing. That scene runs for a good 10-15 minutes with the camera focusing between the two characters and not much else, yet the dialogue (switching from French to foreign-accented English) and the expression of the French farmer  is immensely tense. This is one of the three segments of the movie where I literally had to get away from the room and distract myself in order to calm my nerves. Of course after my husband assured me it wasn’t “that bad” that I came back and he re-wound the scene for me to watch. It’s an absolutely brilliant opening sequence that pretty much establish Christoph Waltz as one extraordinary actor. I was in for a surprise how much dialog-centric the script was, not so much a gore-fest merely to satisfy fans of the Saw franchise, despite Hostel director Eli Roth’s involvement. Yet, even the more talky scenes are so charged with suspense that my every nerve was stretched to its snapping point.

PART 3: Acting

The marvelous Christoph Waltz

There’s no doubt that Christoph Waltz is a revelation in this movie. He practically steals every single scene he’s in, he’s got that delicate combination of being comical yet deranged, a Nazi Patrick Bateman, but with less affinity for business cards surely. Many times during the movie I actually stopped and marveled how good his performance was, and the Austrian actor’s  knack for languages is even more mind-boggling, such a talent that’s as potent a weapon as any rifle. I could write an entire post on him the way I did for District 9‘s Sharlto Copley, he really is that good! According to NY Times, the Tarantino admitted “I knew Landa was one of the best characters I’ve ever written and probably one of the best characters I will ever write” and  thus “I literally had to consider I might have written an unplayable part.” Without Waltz, Tarantino might’ve given up making this movie and I agree, under less capable hands, Col. Landa would’ve been nothing more than a sadistic caricature villain. No wonder he’s nabbed just about every award given out this year, with last night’s BAFTA being the latest, and he’s definitely a shoo-in for Oscar.

Besides Waltz, the rest of the cast is also terrific. It’s no secret that I’m not a Brad Pitt fan, but he actually suited his character perfectly. Just like Ben Affleck, he’s got a real gift in comedy as I liked him more here than his more serious roles. Diane Krueger proves she’s more than a pretty face here, but it’s French actress Melanie Laurent that truly stands out to to me. Her scenes at the restaurant is such an exquisitely-controlled and affecting performance, her expression as Col. Landa finally leaves the room is one that stayed with me for a long time. She’s definitely overlooked in this year’s award season. Major eye candy Michael Fassbender is fantastic here and his bar scene is soooo full of suspense. LOVE a man in uniform and he definitely looks great in one. German actor Til Schweiger is quite good as one of Basterds’ allies, oh, even Mike Myers has a pretty memorable cameo.

Diane Kruger and Michael Fassbender

PART 4: Accent, accent, accent

If I wrote this post about movie accents after seeing this movie, I’d have listed it as one of the best examples of using subtitles. The way a person speak is an integral plot point here so naturally the actors have to pull off the various accents believably. I really enjoyed listening to the different languages spoken here (most notably by Mr. Waltz who speaks French, German, English and Italian fluently), it makes the movie all the more richer and adds a tinge of ‘foreign film’ flavor to it. Accent truly becomes a matter of life and death during the meeting point of “Operation Kino” at the basement of a French tavern, it’s one of the most nerve-racking and violent scenes in the movie, but the dialogue is absolutely to-die-for. Best movie sequence I’ve seen in a long time!

PART 5: Other observations: music and costumes

1940s costume is utterly fabulous!

The music is as quirky as the film itself. It doesn’t exactly fit the period but it certainly fits the scene and when put together, it just works. I mean, you’d never think of pairing renowned composer like Ennio Morricone (Cinema Paradiso) with cuts from David Bowie, that’s exactly what Tarantino did. This L.A. Times blog wrote about the method of how the Tennessee native went about choosing the right song for a particular scene, and how unlike other directors, he doesn’t work with a songwriter to custom-made a song for his movies, “… he handpicks each song and painstakingly injects them into scenes instead of simply hiring a music composer to do the work.”

Tarantino also pays careful attention to the beautiful costumes in his first period film, as costume designer Anna Sheppard said in this interview. The fabulous 1940s fashion provides a nice distraction from all the violent scalping and shooting scenes, there’s almost a Cinderella moment (with a nasty twist of course) with Col. Landa slipping on her pump on Bridget von Hammersmark’s delicate foot. The red dress that Melanie Laurent wore at the pivotal night at the cinema is almost as memorable as her iconic performance.

All in all Inglourious Basterds is a glorious film that truly exceeds my expectation in many levels. If you have reservations about this as you’re not really a ‘Tarantino fan’, give it a chance. Trust me, you’d be glad you did.


What are your thoughts of this film?