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.
3Da 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.
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.
1Out 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.
About the Author
Chuck is an editor/writer who's worked for NCM, Fandango, Movies.com, MediaTrip, Hollywood.com and Newsweek. His favorite movie is "Jaws." He's definitely a dog guy.