In a rare break from tradition, this week’s streaming arrivals are not the sort to set the internet alight. That might read as a criticism, but it’s genuinely refreshing to go a weekend without the pressure of needing to tune into the latest Stranger Things-level movie or TV show for fear of missing out.
Instead, today’s recommendations are made up of lesser-known projects that, despite still boasting some major Hollywood A-listers, haven’t been plastered across every billboard and theater screen from sea to shining sea. The Chris Hemsworth-starring Netflix thriller Spiderhead is the most notable arrival, while The Old Man, Cha Cha Real Smooth and Good Luck to You, Leo Grande count among the more understated of the bunch.
Below, then, we’ve rounded up seven of the biggest new movies and TV shows available to stream on Netflix, Prime Video, HBO Max and more this weekend.
One of the most interesting new Netflix movies on the streamer’s 2022 release calendar is Spiderhead, a big screen adaptation of George Saunders’ 2010 dystopian short story (opens in new tab).
Starring Marvel movie regular Chris Hemsworth, Top Gun: Maverick’s Miles Teller and DCEU newcomer Jurnee Smollett, this psychological thriller follows the plight of two inmates in a state-of-the-art penitentiary – run by Hemsworth’s mysterious visionary – where prisoners can choose to reduce their sentences by volunteering for experiments involving emotion-altering drugs.
Teller reunited with Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski for this trippy escape movie, which Hemsworth also co-produced (as he did with another recent Netflix movie, Interceptor). Early criticism for Spiderhead has been generally positive, with most viewers describing it as a slick and enjoyable adventure that doesn’t reinvent the thriller genre (our own reviewer did, however, label the movie as “something of a square peg in a round hole”).
Now available to stream on Netflix.
The Old Man (Hulu, Disney Plus Star)
Do not be fooled by the title: The Old Man is not about an old man. Okay, it is, but Jeff Bridges’ Dan Chase is not a grandfather you want to mess with.
An adaptation of Thomas Perry’s novel of the same name, this FX-produced series sees Bridges starring as a former CIA agent who, after surviving an unexpected assassination attempt, comes out of retirement to reckon with his troubled past. That all sounds very Liam-Neeson-action-movie to us, but with Black Sails creators Jonathan E. Steinberg and Robert Levine in tow as showrunners – not to mention the involvement of Spider-Man: No Way Home director Jon Watts – The Old Man has the makings of a stellar production.
The seven-episode series, which also stars John Lithgow and Amy Brenneman, is streaming on Hulu in the US and Disney Plus Star in the UK.
Now available to stream on Hulu in the US and Disney Plus Star in the UK.
Cha Cha Real Smooth (Apple TV Plus)
Keen to watch something a little more uplifting this weekend? Apple TV Plus’ Cha Cha Real Smooth may be for you.
This coming-of-age movie stars its writer and director, Cooper Raif, as a recent college graduate whose job as a bar mitzvah host leads to an unexpected friendship with a mother (Dakota Johnson) and her teenage daughter (Vanessa Burghardt).
In our review, we described this one as “more of an annoyance than [an] iconic cultural moment,” but Cha Cha Real Smooth did scoop the prestigious Audience Award at this year’s Sundance film festival – a prize bagged by Best Picture winner CODA in 2021.
Now available to stream on Apple TV Plus.
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (Hulu)
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande has been described by critics as a career-high for Emma Thompson – which should already be enough to pique your interest.
Unfolding mostly as a conversation between two people in a single room, this small-scale drama from director Sophie Hyde (52 Tuesdays, Animals) follows Nancy (Thompson), a retired schoolteacher and widow who books a hotel room and hires a sex worker (Daryl McCormack) in the hope of discovering a form of pleasure she never had during marriage.
Offering a refreshing change of pace from the action-heavy fare so often found elsewhere on streamers, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande sounds like a sweet and nuanced comedy boasting a pair of knockout performances from its two leads. Those in the US can stream it on Hulu, while UK viewers will have to head to their nearest theater to watch it.
Now available to stream on Hulu.
God’s Favorite Idiot (Netflix)
Regular comedy duo (and real-life married couple) Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone return to the screen for God’s Favorite Idiot on Netflix.
This eight-episode sitcom centers on an unremarkable tech-support employee, Clark (Falcone), who, having found himself an unsuspecting messenger of God, becomes charged with saving mankind (rather like Evan Baxter in Evan Almighty). McCarthy stars as his co-worker and love interest, Amily, who adds yet more chaos to Clark’s newly upended life.
Unfortunately, God’s Favorite Idiot has been lambasted by critics – one called it a “low point” for the on and off-screen couple – but it still looks like it’ll provide a few laughs here and there.
Now available to stream on Netflix.
Father of the Bride (HBO Max)
This wouldn’t be a proper weekly roundup if it didn’t include an unnecessary remake – but luckily, Father of the Bride on HBO Max is here to oblige.
In fairness, this classic story of an overbearing father who struggles to come to terms with his daughter’s marriage was originally a novel, and has already been adapted into a feature film on multiple occasions (first in 1950, then again in 1991). This latest version follows a Cuban-American family and stars Andy Garcia and Gloria Estefan in the lead roles.
What more can we say? If you like your cheesy rom-coms, Father of the Bride will deliver saccharine charm in spades – just don’t expect it to win any Oscars.
Now available to stream on HBO Max.
Paul Pogba: The Pogmentary (Prime Video)
It’s official: Paul Pogba: The Pogmentary is the worst documentary name in history.
This five-part series puts the microscope to France and Manchester United soccer star Paul Pogba in a bid to reveal the man behind the mystique – at least, that’s what its official synopsis would say.
Judging by critics’ reactions, though, the reality is a little different. Given that Pogba was, at the time of making The Pogmentary, seeking a new club to call home, his two-and-a-half-hour behind-the-scenes feature supposedly plays less like a meaningful exposé and more like an advertisement for Paul Pogba the brand. In any case, general sports fans may still get a slither of enjoyment from this one.
Now available to stream on Prime Video.