HBO Max Pick: Ad Astra (2019)
It wasn't as heralded as Brad Pitt's other 2019 film "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," but "Ad Astra" is an incredible sci-fi slow burn that details the mission of Pitt's astronaut to the outer edges of the galaxy to confront his long-assumed dead father. The action comes in bursts, but the film's real impact is the navigation of Pitt's psyche, his identity, his regrets and his humanity.
Thriller / 2019 / PG-13
Synopsis: Thirty years ago, Clifford McBride led a voyage into deep space, but the ship and crew were never heard from again. Now his son -- a fearless astronaut -- must embark on a daring mission to Neptune to uncover the truth about his missing father and a mysterious power surge that threatens the stability of the universe.
Da 5 Bloods
Netflix Pick: Da 5 Bloods (2020)
Filmmaker Spike Lee returns with an impassioned, incendiary and highly emotional tale about black Vietnam veterans who return to the country to retrieve their fallen comrade and a hidden cache of gold. It's an epic tour-de-force and one of Spike's very best films. The entire cast is phenomenal, but viewers will be blown away by underrated actor Delroy Lindo's performance as a severely traumatized vet. It's a must-watch film that should be viewed asap by Netflix subscribers, and perfect for Juneteenth viewing.
Da 5 Bloods
War / 2020 / R
Synopsis: Four African American vets battle the forces of man and nature when they return to Vietnam seeking the remains of their fallen squad leader and the gold fortune he helped them hide.
Amazon Prime Video Pick: Crawl (2019)
This modest horror thriller was a bit of a surprise at last summer's box office. Directed with maximum efficiency by genre maestro Alexandre Aja ("The Hills Have Eyes," "Piranha 3D"), it's a big or small screen roller coaster ride that follows a resourceful millennial's attempts to locate her missing dad in the middle of a Florida hurricane. Causing all sorts of complications are some nasty, over-sized, man-eating alligators. It's "Jaws" for the 21st century, and a fun way to ring in the summer.
Horror / 2019 / R
Synopsis: When a massive hurricane hits her Florida town, young Haley ignores the evacuation orders to search for her missing father, Dave. After finding him gravely injured in their family home, the two of them become trapped by the rapidly encroaching floodwaters. With the storm strengthening, Haley and Dave discover an even greater threat than the rising water level -- a relentless attack from a pack of gigantic alligators.
Out of Sight
Hulu Pick: Out of Sight (1998)
As far as cinematic J-Lo offerings go, this one's right at the top, above the glorious B-movie "Anaconda" and on par with "Hustlers" and "Selena." She stars here as a federal agent kidnapped by George Clooney's ever-charming and just-escaped inmate/bank robber. Stuck together in the trunk of a car, they begin an unlikely flirtation that leads to further romantic hijinks. Still, they've both got a job to do, on opposites sides of the law. This late '90s sly crime caper comedy is one of the best efforts from all-around filmmaking genius Steven Soderbergh.
Out of Sight
Crime Drama / 1998 / R
Synopsis: Meet Jack Foley (George Clooney), the most successful bank robber in the country. On the day he busts out of jail, he finds himself stealing something far more precious than money ... Karen Sisco's (Jennifer Lopez) heart. She's smart. She's sexy, and unfortunately for Jack, she's a Federal Marshal. Now, they're willing to risk it all to find out if there's more between them than just the law.
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