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Captain America’s Solo Trilogy: 5 Things It Did Right (& 5 It Did Wrong)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe began as Tony Stark’s franchise. The other heroes each had a chance to shine, but Stark was the anchor pulling the whole thing together. However, as soon as the Russo brothers took over the Captain America movies, Steve Rogers became just as important as Stark.

RELATED: The Avengers: 10 Best Candidates to Replace Captain America as Leader

It is the dichotomy between these two characters that has formed the backbone of the MCU for a good few years. It all began when the Russos showed up to get Cap’s solo franchise into shape. Here are 5 Things Captain America’s Solo Trilogy Did Right (And 5 It Did Wrong).

10 Wrong: Generic origin story

While Captain America: The First Avenger isn’t a terrible movie – it’s actually, all things considered, a pretty good one – there’s no denying that it follows the MCU’s set-menu origin story formula.

We meet Steve Rogers as a young man searching for his purpose. He has an older, wiser mentor figure who offers him the chance to fulfill his destiny. The mentor figure dies, which pushes him to fulfill that destiny. Everything’s going great until a villain shows up with similar powers to Steve and he’s finally met his match. The only non-generic thing about it is the fact that the hero is catapulted into the future at the end.

9 Right: Cap’s character arc

Captain America’s character arc as a whole lasted until Avengers: Endgame, but there is an internal one in his solo trilogy and it’s terrific. In The First Avenger, Steve is willing to do anything for his government. In The Winter Soldier, that government betrays him and he realizes he can only trust himself.

In Civil War, he actively fights against the government’s attempts to regulate his actions. The final moments of Civil War see Steve arriving at the Raft to break his allies out of prison. There’s no way we could imagine the Steve we first met doing that, yet it doesn’t feel out of character when we see it. That’s what character development looks like.

8 Wrong: Villains

The Captain America trilogy has never had particularly good villains. Despite Red Skull being Cap’s primary villain in the comics, he just came off as lame in The First Avenger.

It was an intriguing turning of the tables to have Cap’s best friend become the villain in The Winter Soldier, but ultimately, Bucky wasn’t the real villain of that movie; Alexander Pierce was, and he was another generic MCU villain with vague motivations for evil. Finally, Helmut Zemo was woefully underused in Civil War, since the focus was on the Avengers’ animosity towards each other, while his “getting caught was all a part of my plan” schtick has been done a thousand times before.

7 Right: Steve’s friendship with Sam

When we catch up with Steve Rogers in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we truly see him as a man out of his time. He’s trying to get by, but it’s not easy, because all of his friends and family are dead and he doesn’t recognize the world. And then he meets Sam Wilson, a fellow vet who is similarly struggling to fit in.

RELATED: 10 Things We Want To See From Sam Wilson’s Captain America

Sam wasn’t frozen for 70 years, but he did go to war and return home to find that he had no place, so the two can relate to each other. Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie have fantastic chemistry and Cap’s solo movies have used this well.

6 Wrong: Steve’s romance with Sharon

In the years between Cap going into the ice and missing his date with Peggy and his trip back to the ‘40s to spend his whole life with her, Marvel didn’t really know what to do with his romantic arc. So, they put him in a weird, kind of creepy, pseudo-incestuous relationship with Peggy’s great-niece, Sharon.

Fans were never on board with this pairing, and it seems right that the MCU just sort of forgot about it. It’s even worse in retrospect, since we now know that Steve would eventually go back in time, marry Peggy, and technically become Sharon’s great uncle.

5 Right: Upping the stakes in the second movie

All these years later, Captain America: The Winter Soldier still stands as one of the best movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

It suitably upped the stakes following The First Avenger, with Steve Rogers adjusting to life in the modern world, losing his trust in the government he served (the only thing he had left), and coming face-to-face with the ultimate villain: his childhood best friend who he thought had died 70 years earlier and had been brainwashed by Nazi scientists to assassinate him. The Winter Soldier solidified Cap’s place as one of the MCU’s most well-defined and interesting characters.

4 Wrong: Third acts (except for Civil War)

The third act of Civil War is spectacular, with the conflict of the movie being stripped down to its essential elements: Tony finding out Bucky killed his parents, Tony wanting revenge, and Cap standing in his way as he’s torn between his best friend and his closest ally.

RELATED: 10 MCU Moments That Prove Captain America Was Always Worthy Of Mjolnir

But the third act of The First Avenger feels rushed in order to get Cap in the ice and send him into the modern day, while the third act of The Winter Soldier takes the paranoid political thriller build-up and tosses it out in favor of an all-too-familiar CGI smash-‘em-up for the final battle.

3 Right: Final lines of dialogue

The final line of dialogue in a movie is incredibly important, because they’re the words stuck in your head as you leave the theater and head home. The MCU understands this, and it’s never been on finer display than in the Captain America movies. At the end of The First Avenger, Steve finds himself hopelessly confused in 21st century New York and Nick Fury asks him if he’s going to be okay. Steve responds, “Yeah, I just…I had a date.”

His first thought is that he’s missed his chance with Peggy. At the end of The Winter Soldier, Steve tells Sam he doesn’t have to help him look for Bucky and Sam says, “I know. When do we start?” And at the end of Civil War, Steve sends Tony a letter that concludes, “No matter what, I promise you, if you need us, if you need me…I’ll be there.” Powerful stuff.

2 Wrong: Making Civil War pretty much an Avengers movie

Captain America: Civil War is often referred to as Avengers 2.5, because Iron Man, Black Panther, Hawkeye, Spider-Man, Black Widow, and Scarlet Witch are as much a part of the plot as Cap is. While Civil War is, at heart, still a Captain America movie, it doesn’t feel like a true solo movie in the sense that The Winter Soldier does. Civil War is bigger than Captain America, and that’s its biggest problem.

That story needed to be told – the Avengers had to break up before Thanos showed up, because that’s how Thanos won – but maybe it shouldn’t have been a Cap solo movie. Cap deserved a true closer to his solo trilogy.

1 Right: Completing the Cap/Bucky arc

The MCU as a whole gives us a rounded portrait of Steve Rogers and a complete, fleshed-out character arc, but the Captain America solo trilogy focused more specifically on his friendship with Bucky.

In the first one, they fought in World War II together and Bucky “died,” spurring Cap on to sacrifice himself. In the second one, Bucky returns as a brainwashed assassin out to kill Cap. In the third one, the Avengers are torn apart and the UN pokes around in superheroes’ business. But despite the epic scale, it still didn’t lose sight of the focus on the Cap/Bucky arc and gave it some closure, which is pretty admirable.

NEXT: Captain America: 8 Ways Chris Evans Can Still Play Steve Rogers In Another MCU Movie


2019-07-13 11:07:27

Ben Sherlock

Thor’s Solo Trilogy: 5 Things It Did Right (& 5 It Did Wrong)

Out of all the MCU’s solo franchises, it’s arguable that the Thor trilogy was the one that struggled the most. Marvel fans have always loved the character and the way Chris Hemsworth plays him, but from Kenneth Branagh’s Shakespearean tragedy to Alan Taylor’s GoT-style medieval fantasy to Taika Waititi’s nutty slapstick comedy, the Thor trilogy has bounced around a few different styles, genres, and tones to see what fit.

RELATED: 10 Things The MCU’s Fantastic Four Reboot Needs

As it turns out, they didn’t really figure it out until the third one and even then, some fans are skeptical. Here are 5 Things Thor’s Solo Trilogy Did Right (And 5 It Did Wrong).

10 Wrong: Love interest

By the laws of Hollywood filmmaking, every MCU solo movie needs a love interest. But where some of those movies have developed complicated and interesting relationships that fans have enjoyed following, like Peter Quill and Gamora or Tony Stark and Pepper Potts, others have given us banal romantic interests played by actors who have no chemistry with the lead, like Christine Palmer, or Jane Foster.

Natalie Portman is a terrific actor – one of the best working today, some would say – so she could’ve given the MCU a brilliant character if she was given any interesting material to work with in the scripts.

9 Right: Thor’s relationship with Loki

What makes Thor’s solo franchise unique is that it’s not just about him. Since the beginning, it’s been about his relationship with his brother, Loki, who continues to deceive and betray him.

Their relationship is a little like Jimmy and Chuck in Better Call Saul; you know that one brother is constantly screwing over the other brother and the other brother should just cut them out of their lives, but since they’re brothers, you know they can’t do that. The on-screen chemistry shared by Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston is an integral part of this – if they didn’t have chemistry, it wouldn’t work.

8 Wrong: An uninspired second chapter

MCU fans are pretty much unanimous in the opinion that Thor: The Dark World is the worst movie in the franchise (or, at the very least, that it’s very near the bottom). TV director Alan Taylor was brought in and he churned out a very bland and by-the-numbers take on the character. Loki’s fake-out death is predictable, the battle scenes don’t come close to matching Taylor’s work on Game of Thrones, and Jane Foster is given both her biggest role and her least substantial material.

Being the second chapter (the one that is usually the best: The Empire Strikes Back, Spider-Man 2, The Dark Knight, The Godfather Part II), The Dark World really drags down the trilogy. The third Thor movie had to be out-and-out bananas just to make up for how uninspired the second one was.

7 Right: Family themes

The strength of the Thor saga has always been its focus on family. Since he’s royalty, family has always been an important part of the God of Thunder’s life, and it’s the key to understanding him as a character.

Thor’s relationships with his brother, father, and mother have always been at the forefront of his stories – or, at least, they’ve been at the forefront in the first and third movies, which worked better than the second. A big part of the reason why The Dark World failed is that, even with moments like Frigga’s death, it lost sight of the family themes.

6 Wrong: Pre-Ragnarok comic relief

It’s often said that Thor: Ragnarok fixed the Thor trilogy by making it funny. The problem before was not a lack of humor, just a lack of good humor. The first two movies made attempts at comedy, and aside from a couple of fish-out-of-water gags involving Thor adjusting to life on Earth in the first one, it simply wasn’t that funny.

RELATED: Thor’s 10 Funniest Quotes In The MCU

Kat Dennings and Chris O’Dowd gave it their all, but The Dark World’s moments of humor just didn’t land. They were completely mishandled. Of course, as soon as the brilliant mind of Taika Waititi was hired to tackle the third Thor movie, this issue was under control.

5 Right: Anthony Hopkins as Odin

A lot of the casting in the Thor franchise is spot-on, Hemsworth and Hiddleston being the most obvious examples, but since they’re players in the wider MCU, that’s not really a point in favor of Thor’s solo series, but rather the franchise as a whole.

Anthony Hopkins as Odin, however, is very much a product of Thor’s solo movies, and he did a fantastic job. In a lot of his blockbuster roles, Hopkins seems to phone it in, like in the mind-numbing Transformers: The Last Knight, but in the Thor movies, he always brought his A-game. Whether he was stripping Thor of his powers or dying, Hopkins always sold the weight of Odin’s scenes.

4 Wrong: World-building

Although we know what Asgard looks like from afar with ample sweeping crane shots (plus, we’ve seen various locations close up), the world-building in the Thor movies has left a lot to be desired. Asgard is a fascinating place in the comics, and yet none of the movies have managed to convey that. We don’t get a sense of Asgard the way we get a sense of Hogwarts or the Death Star and that’s a huge disappointment.

It meant that we didn’t really care when Asgard was destroyed in Ragnarok. The Russos have done a better job of establishing New Asgard, the small Norwegian fishing town that the Asgardians have relocated to, in just one movie than three directors did with three movies set largely in the original Asgard.

3 Right: Villains

Apart from Malekith, the primary villain of The Dark World who felt underdeveloped and, as a result, boring, the villains in the Thor trilogy have all been pretty awesome. Loki proved to be such a strong villain that he was brought back as the main villain in The Avengers (as a side-note, there should be more recurring villains in the MCU, because the one-villain-per-movie system is getting to be a drag).

Even the Destroyer felt like a real threat. And in Ragnarok, we got not one, not two, but three great villains: Cate Blanchett’s delightfully flamboyant Hela, Jeff Goldblum’s hysterically unhinged Grandmaster, and a suitably formidable Surtur.

2 Wrong: No narrative consistency

While each Thor movie technically follows on from the previous one’s narrative developments, his solo franchise doesn’t feel like a consistent three-part story in the way that Iron Man and Captain America’s solo trilogies do. Instead, it feels like it was constantly trying to “fix” itself.

RELATED: Despite Ragnarok, Thor Is The Weakest Marvel Trilogy

Kenneth Branagh’s Thor was too light, so Marvel hired Alan Taylor to take the sequel to darker places. The Dark World was too serious, so Marvel hired Taika Waititi to take the threequel to brighter and sillier places. The Thor trilogy doesn’t feel like a trilogy as much as two write-offs followed by the first installment in a proper Thor trilogy.

1 Right: Finishing strong

The hardest movie in a trilogy to pull off is the third one, since it has the obligation of wrapping up the story and topping the first two. In the Thor trilogy’s case, the latter wasn’t too difficult, but the third movie, Ragnarok, was still faced with a difficult challenge.

Marvel made a wise decision bringing in Taika Waititi to direct the movie as a bright, colorful, zany comedy, because it differentiated Ragnarok from the previous two installments (neither of which are MCU classics) and felt like a breath of fresh air. As it turns out, all the Thor movies were missing was humor.

NEXT: Thor: 10 Possibilities For The God Of Thunder’s MCU Future


2019-07-13 09:07:15

Ben Sherlock

Iron Man’s Solo Trilogy: 5 Things It Did Right (& 5 It Did Wrong)

The Iron Man trilogy is arguably the most important solo franchise in the MCU, because it was the first one. In 2008, the first Iron Man movie kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Tony Stark announcing to the world that he was the metal-clad superhero that had been spotted in the skies of Los Angeles and Nick Fury telling him he wasn’t the only superhero. It was then followed by two sequels, both of which received mixed reviews from critics and irked a lot of fans.

RELATED: Iron Man Movie Writers React to Tony Stark’s Death In Avengers: Endgame

10 Wrong: The Mandarin twist

There was a way to make the Mandarin twist work – it makes a good point about feared terrorist leaders in the public conscious being controlled by unseen puppet-masters and it’s a totally unexpected plot turn – but Iron Man 3 went about it all wrong. For starters, Ben Kingsley’s portrayal of Trevor Slattery was far too zany and over-the-top for the impact of the twist to really set in. Plus, the marketing of the movie got fans excited to see the real Mandarin, the iconic and terrifying villain from the comics, in the film. The Mandarin twist might be the MCU’s biggest missed opportunity.

9 Right: Tony Stark’s character development

Although the Avengers movies developed Tony Stark to an extent, his solo trilogy did most of the legwork. He arguably developed more in the first movie than in his entire character arc, as he realized selling weapons is wrong (after a near-death experience with a Stark Industries bomb) and decided to help others rather than himself. And as much as Marvel fans might rag on Iron Man 3, Shane Black arguably understood the Tony Stark character better than any other MCU director. By taking away his tech and forcing him to face the villains without it, Black showed us that Tony really is a hero.

8 Wrong: Unfocused second movie

There’s a lot in Iron Man 2 that fans were disappointed with, like its generic villains, but its most egregious crime is its lack of focus. As the arc reactor in Tony’s chest began to fail him, there was an opportunity for some real character development, but the sequel got too bogged down in setting up the wider MCU.

RELATED: 10 MCU Phase 1 Moments That Foreshadowed Endgame

Black Widow was crammed into it instead of getting her own solo movie and Nick Fury spent the whole movie harping on about the “Avengers Initiative.” Iron Man 2 was too preoccupied with setting the stage for The Avengers that it failed to be a great movie on its own.

7 Right: Working the events of The Avengers into the plot

All throughout Iron Man 3, Tony suffers from PTSD following his trip through a wormhole during the Battle of New York. People do suffer psychological damage after near-death experiences and it would’ve been disingenuous if Iron Man 3 ignored what had just happened to Tony in a wider plot of the MCU. The ongoing threat of the Mandarin in the early scenes of Iron Man 3 is deftly woven into his post-traumatic stress. Even though it was the very first case of a solo movie following on from a team-up movie, it still stands as one of the most effective.

6 Wrong: Recasting James Rhodes

After the first Iron Man movie, there was a contract dispute between Marvel and Terrence Howard, so the studio replaced him with Don Cheadle in Iron Man 2 onwards. This was a terrible mistake, because with Howard’s smooth charisma and genuine coolness, he was much better for the part than Cheadle. Also, being real-life friends with Robert Downey, Jr., Howard’s Rhodey had much stronger on-screen chemistry with Tony than Cheadle’s. Going back and rewatching Howard’s performance in Iron Man after nine years of Cheadle as Rhodey, it’s easy to see that the role should’ve never been recast and Howard was ideal for it.

5 Right: Origin story

The MCU’s origin stories are often criticized for following a rigid formula, but 2008’s Iron Man feels fresh. This is partly because it was the first ever MCU movie and therefore had no formula to follow yet, but partly because it’s just brilliantly made. It has a nonlinear structure, ordered perfectly to give us a pointed portrayal of Tony Stark. First, we see him get captured by terrorists. Then, we go back to see the life of excess and luxury he leads. Then, we return to his captivity as he builds a weaponized suit instead of the bomb the terrorists want him to build. As far as superhero origin stories go, this is as good as it gets.

4 Wrong: Finishing too early

Producer Kevin Feige is a huge fan of the trilogy as a narrative technique. To be fair, there is a rich history of brilliant trilogies, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The problem with that is that Iron Man’s solo franchise ended way too early. Since he had two solo movies in Phase 1 whereas everyone else had just one, Iron Man didn’t have the luxury of a solo movie at each stage of the MCU. His character arc only reached a certain stage by the end of his own trilogy and the rest of it spilled into other people’s movies. It would’ve been interesting to see an Iron Man movie in Phase 3.

3 Right: Blending action and humor

Tony Stark is one of the funniest characters in the MCU. He has a pop culture-inspired nickname for everyone and he has the perfect quip for every situation. But he’s also a superhero who flies through the sky and blows up bad guys. It can be tough to reconcile the two.

RELATED: The 12 Best Tony Stark Quotes From The Marvel Cinematic Universe

A lot of MCU movies struggle to walk the fine line between humor and action, often letting the humor distract from the action or vice versa. But the Iron Man movies nail the action/humor combo, and it’s almost entirely thanks to Robert Downey, Jr.’s mesmerizing performance in the role of Stark.

2 Wrong: Villains

Despite adhering to the cliché of the father figure who turns out to be evil, Obadiah Stane was a pretty great villain, but he was also the last great villain in the Iron Man trilogy. Iron Man 2 had two villains – Whiplash and Justin Hammer – and they were both boring and unnecessary. The true villain in that movie was the U.S. government, so they could’ve both been cut without compromising the film at all. The big twist in Iron Man 3 was that the Mandarin was a fake all along, and the real guy pulling the strings was Aldrich Killian, who was disappointing, to put it nicely. Killian was set up as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, which could’ve been interesting and led to an actually engaging twist if Guy Pearce hadn’t played the character as a mustache-twirling villain.

1 Right: The perfect ending

While the real ending to Iron Man’s character arc would come six years later in Avengers: Endgame, involving the Infinity Stones and a timeless callback, he got a sort of ending in Iron Man 3. In one of his only genuine shows of affection to Pepper – one that wasn’t simply an expensive “Aw, shucks!” gesture – he decides to undergo a surgical procedure to have the shrapnel removed from around his heart. Then, he drives down to the shore and tosses his now-useless arc reactor into the ocean. If Tony Stark’s story had ended there, perhaps it still would’ve been satisfying.

NEXT: Tony Stark: Iron Man’s Journey Through The MCU


2019-07-13 01:07:18

Ben Sherlock

No One Should Buy The Xbox One S All-Digital Right Now

Microsoft pulled back the curtain on one of gaming’s worst secrets yesterday in the Xbox One S All-Digital, a console that amusingly—and perhaps prophetically—abbreviates to the Xbox One SAD. While we’ve long known a Microsoft console that didn’t have a disc drive was a likelihood, little could prepare the industry for the reveal and the subsequent complete lack of excitement that it generated out of the video game consumer base.

The idea seems interesting in theory, but when it was first floated around, the landscape of the gaming scene was significantly different. Now, we have Google Stadia, a powerful streaming platform that takes discless gaming to the next step and transcends console-owning all together. The idea of an all-digital console that needs a physical purchase and location to function seems much less enticing with that knowledge available, and the Xbox One S All-Digital might have struggled to gain traction as a result if that were the only influencing factory.

Related: Discless Xbox One S All-Digital Edition Officially Unveiled

Unfortunately for Microsoft and Xbox fans, it isn’t. The biggest knock against the Xbox One S All-Digital is that its price tag of $250 USD makes no sense in any way. The Xbox One S All-Digital is the same price at most American retailers as the much more capable Xbox One S, which features the same specs but has a disc drive to play both previously owned Xbox One S games as well as backward compatible titles and movie discs as well. Essentially, Microsoft is offering players the choice between paying the exact same amount for less features—not exactly an appealing marketing ploy.

It gets worse, though, as there are currently some incredibly good deals to be had on the Xbox One S thanks to this console generation winding down. An Xbox One S with the highly-touted The Division 2 is the same price as the Xbox One S All-Digital at BestBuy and other retailers in the US. The Xbox One S All-Digital features three games that come pre-downloaded on it, but those games—Forza Horizon 3Minecraft, and Sea of Thieves—are all available on the Xbox Game Pass service that has recently been offered as Xbox Game Pass Ultimate as well.

The current iteration of the Xbox One S All-Digital also seems lacking in a key feature: hard drive space. The model comes with a 1TB hard drive, which is sizeable by gaming standards but seems like it could quickly become an issue when a console is only able to play games that it has stored on it. If All-Digital was really a selling point, Microsoft should have leaned harder into it, offering a massive hard drive to help sell potential customers on the sustainability of the console moving forward.

Finally, there’s also an argument against the Xbox One S All-Digital that states its entire business model is worse and less appealing to consumers simply because it can’t play used games. Any game purchased on the Xbox One S All-Digital will be online, which means there aren’t used copies for significantly cheaper prices. Many of the platform’s biggest hits maintain pretty steep prices digitally as their life span continues or are added to the Games Pass offering, the latter of which can be had on regular Xbox One S as well.

Ultimately, it doesn’t seem like the Xbox One S All-Digital is really for anyone at this point. It’s hard to imagine what Microsoft was expecting from a console that costs as much as a more functional version of itself, has severe restrictions on how it can access and maintain its content, and doesn’t offer any real savings in terms of game collecting, either. For now, it appears that literally no one should buy the Xbox One S All-Digital right now, and that Microsoft will need to severely drop the console’s price to remain competitive with not just other consoles, but Microsoft’s own offerings as well.

Next: Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and E3 2019 Plans Revealed

Source: ArsTechnica


2019-04-17 10:04:47

Cody Gravelle

The Best Musicals On Netflix Right Now (April 2019)

Musicals are a genre of storytelling that can be used to tell many kinds of stories. While many musicals are fun and lighthearted, some can tell important stories with deep themes. No matter what kind of musical you like, Netflix offers a decent selection of options that are available to stream right now.

RELATED: 10 Musicals for Fans of A Star is Born

From Disney musicals to classics, here are ten of the best musicals to stream on Netflix at this very moment.

10 HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR

High School Musical 3 was the third and last installment of the series that started on the Disney Channel. The film stars Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron and is really how these two got their big start. The last of the trilogy is all about the fears and fun that the group of characters has during the last year of high school. When the school throws a spring musical, the characters are able to express their feelings about graduation.

This is a fun, lighthearted musical to watch when you just want to enjoy yourself.

9 SHREK THE MUSICAL

Shrek the Musical might have seemed like a strange idea to create, but it’s been quite successful. The musical ran on Broadway for a couple of years starting in 2008. The Broadway show was filmed and released on DVD, and now you can watch this high-quality recording of the Broadway cast on Netflix.

RELATED: The Most Hilarious Shrek Memes The Internet Has Given Us

If you want a musical that will make you laugh and that’s a little bit silly and fun, this is a good choice for you. You’ll enjoy reliving all of the best and most hilarious moments from Shrek but with a new twist.

8 JERSEY BOYS

Jersey Boys was a popular Broadway musical for a time and it was eventually turned into a film directed by Clint Eastwood. This musical is the ideal choice for people who enjoy music from the 50s and 60s.

This musical follows the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons as they get their career off the ground and struggle with obstacles such as problems with the mob. The high points of this movie are the songs, as they are really good and keep the story moving forward. If you’re looking to watch a musical that’s not geared for kids, Jersey Boys could be the right choice for you to watch tonight.

7 HERCULES

Disney has made a variety of musicals over the years. Many of their animated films are musicals and some of these films have even been turned into Broadway adaptations. While Hercules isn’t one of the movies that Disney has made into a Broadway show, it is definitely a fun musical film. The song “I Can Go the Distance” is an inspiring song that people of all ages can enjoy.

RELATED: Aladdin Full Trailer Reveals More Genie, Teases Classic Musical Numbers

Sometimes, a Disney film is just what you’re in the mood for, and this is a musical that people of all ages can enjoy.

6 WEST SIDE STORY

West Side Story is one of the more classic musicals on this list. This is an iconic classic that won 10 Oscars when it was released in 1961. The story is a re-telling of Romeo and Juliet but is instead set in New York City in the 1950s.

The story follows two gangs, the Puerto Rican Sharks and the American Jets. When Tony from the Jets falls in love with Maria, played by Natalie Wood, from the Sharks, their love meets many obstacles. The music was created by Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein, making this a true classic. If you love romances and dramas, this is the perfect musical for you.

5 ACROSS THE UNIVERSE

This isn’t the most well-known or influential musical on the list, but it is definitely a compelling, romantic movie. Released in 2007, this musical features music by The Beatles. It tells the story of a working-class man, Jude, and a girl from the midwest named Lucy who is played by Evan Rachel Wood. The movie is set in the 1960s and deals with issues from the time such as the Vietnam War.

Across the Universe is colorful and dynamic and a little different than what you might expect from a musical, making it worth a watch.

4 MULAN

Mulan is another Disney movie on this list, but it’s one of the more well-made and stunning Disney animated films from the last 20 years.

The songs from Mulan are also extremely catchy and all easy to remember and sing. You’ll be singing “Reflections” and “Girl Worth Fighting For” over and over again after you rewatch this Disney classic.

3 MAMMA MIA!

Mamma Mia! is another one of the classic musicals on this list. While this movie adaptation might not have been the most successful, it’s still a fun ride. Plus, you can watch this movie on Netflix and then watch the sequel that came out last year.

The best part about the Mamma Mia! movie is the star-studded cast which includes Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried.

2 HAIRSPRAY

Hairspray will have you singing the phrase “Good morning, Baltimore!” loudly and at the top of your lungs for the next few days.

This movie is an adaptation of the musical that won many Tony awards in 2003. The story is about Tracy Turnblad, a high school student who struggles with her weight who ends up being a star on her favorite TV show, The Corny Collins Show. This movie features music in the 1960s style, and it also deals with issues such as civil rights and feminism.

1 WHITE CHRISTMAS

White Christmas is another classic musical on this list and it’s definitely an enjoyable movie to watch if you like classic films. The movie stars Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney and features amazing dance numbers as well as memorable and lovely songs.

This is a soft, romantic musical that’s perfect for the holiday season or anytime you just need an escape. While it might not be close to Christmas, this musical is worth watching right now while it’s still available to stream.

NEXT: 12 Best Christmas Movies of All Time


2019-04-17 05:04:55

Amanda Steele

10 Animal Documentaries You Can Stream On Netflix Right Now

There are a variety of animal documentaries out there that are perfect for animal and nature lovers to enjoy. From soothing nature documentaries to more political ones about how humans impact animals, there are many animal documentaries to choose from. For fans who love to learn about animals and are fascinated by them, these 10 documentaries are perfect to add to that Netflix watchlist.

Here are 10 of the best animal documentaries that you can stream right now on Netflix.

RELATED: 10 Best Documentaries On Netflix

10 BBC EARTH: LIFE

There are a variety of fascinating and beautifully shot BBC Earth specials available to stream on Netflix, and Life is one of the most interesting. This documentary focuses on many different kinds of life forms and how they are all connected. 

RELATED: 10 Movie Animals Scarier Than Church From Pet Sematary

Life specifically focuses on adaptations different species have had to survive, and the documentary focuses on strange and bizarre behaviors that different species have adapted to live and thrive. This series has 11 episodes and focuses on life forms all across the world. This is an ideal documentary to watch for those who like to learn about the oddities of the natural world.

9 72 DANGEROUS ANIMALS

This series of documentaries didn’t start as a Netflix original series, but Netflix then took it up. The first in the series is set in Australia and goes over the most deadly and frightening animals to be found on that continent. Netflix has also made two more versions of the show, one set in Latin America and one set in Asia.

RELATED: 10 Best Documentaries on HBO, Ranked

If you love strange, creepy, and deadly animals, you’ll love the 72 Dangerous Animals series. Learn about species you’ve likely never even heard of before and be amazed/horrified at how dangerous nature can truly be.

8 FROZEN PLANET

Frozen Planet is another BBC documentary that you can stream on Netflix right now. This is a broad, sweeping, and stunning documentary that looks at the coldest regions on earth. Focusing on animals such as killer whales, wolves, and polar bears, fans will love seeing these species up close and in high definition. This documentary is extremely informative and also looks at how global warming is impacting the frozen areas of our earth, and how this is impacting all life on earth. Frozen Planet focuses on the Arctic and Antartic and took 2,300 days to make.

7 72 CUTEST ANIMALS

Similar to the 72 Dangerous Animals series, but without the desire to scare the viewer, this documentary gives details about many animal species. However, if you’re not so into the scary parts of nature, this is the perfect choice for you. So many animals are really adorable, and this doc is all about the cutest animals out there. 72 Cutest Animals is a count-down style list that gives facts about many animal species including penguins, koalas, and ducks. This is a great animal documentary to watch with the whole family.

6 BORN IN CHINA

Born in China was a documentary created by Disneynature, and it’s now available to stream on Netflix. Born in China was filmed by Lu Chuan who follows three different animal families in China. This documentary also shows the beautiful, diverse landscapes that can be found in China.

RELATED: A Ranking Of The Saddest Animal Movies Of All Time

The animals featured are the giant panda, golden monkey, and snow leopard. These beautiful animals are shown in HD, and you’ll love seeing these families and the different ways they have adapted to survive in their environments.

5 SWIMMING WITH KILLER WHALES

Orcas are one of the most compelling animals in the seas. They are fierce predators but have been known to be extremely friendly to humans. While most people wouldn’t just jump into the water to swim with them, this documentary tells the story of a woman who does just that. Dr. Ingrid Vasser swims with killer whales, and after watching this documentary, you’ll be jealous that you don’t get to, too. The cinematography in this documentary gets you up close and personal with these stunning cetaceans.

4 ROTTEN

Rotten isn’t solely an animal documentary, and it’s different than any of the other films on this list. Rotten is a Netflix documentary that explores where our food comes from.

RELATED: 10 Documentaries More Messed Up Than Fyre Festival On Netflix

It looks at some of the less desirable aspects of making food. Some of the episodes in this documentary focus on animals such as chickens at factory farms and fish that are caught for food. This documentary is an insightful look at food and the animals we use for food.

3 BLUE PLANET I AND II

Blue Planet and the sequel, Blue Planet II, are two of the most fascinating as well as soothing documentaries about animals and nature out there. The series were both made by BBC earth, and the production value is very high. This documentary looks at many different species across the world’s oceans from seahorses to dolphins to sharks. Seeing the mysteries and wonders of the oceans and the creatures that live there is a major treat.

2 BLACKFISH

Blackfish is a more political documentary as opposed to an in-depth nature doc. This influential documentary is all about SeaWorld’s killer whales and their cruel treatment. The documentary also focuses on all of the orca attacks on humans that have happened at SeaWorld, a strange phenomenon as orca attacks on humans don’t really happen in the wild. Blackfish is really well made, and it was so influential that it caused SeaWorld to end their shows that put trainers in the water with the orcas.

1 OUR PLANET

Our Planet is the most recent animal documentary to make some major waves online. Our Planet was a series made for Netflix that released this month, and people can’t stop talking about it. The documentary specifically focuses on how humans are connected to the natural world and how our actions have an impact. The episodes focus on different habitats such as forests, oceans, and jungles. Our Planet shows the stark reality of how climate change is impacting our world and the animal species we share the planet with.

NEXT: Netflix Warns Animal Lovers to Skip Certain Our Planet Scenes


2019-04-16 03:04:56

Amanda Steele

The 25 Best Movies On Amazon Prime Right Now

In the world of streaming subscription services, there’s what’s become known as the “big three.” Netflix is still the biggest kahuna in the game, but Hulu and Amazon Prime are hot on its heels. Each service offers its own large selection of movies, with thousands of titles of various calibers included. Currently, Amazon Prime actually boasts the largest movie library of the three, but it could be argued that quantity isn’t nearly as important as quality.

25 of the very best movie titles offered on Amazon Prime can be found below, featuring a mix of blockbuster hits, award-winning critical darlings, hilarious comedies, bone-chilling horror movies, and more. The list below attempts to include something for everyone, and thankfully, Amazon Prime’s selection houses quite the robust grouping of worthwhile streaming choices.

Related: What Prime Original Series You Should Watch Based On Your Myers-Briggs® Type

Before the list begins proper, there are some important notes to be made. First the movies below are available to stream on Amazon Prime at the time of this writing. As movies expire, the list will be updated, and new great options will be added. Also, the 25 films below, while numbered for convenience, are not ranked. So the movie marked number one is not meant to necessarily be seen as superior to the movie at number 25.

Last updated: April 13, 2019

25 Beetlejuice

Tim Burton has produced and/or directed many films that could be considered cult hits, but right up there near the top is 1988’s Beetlejuice, now available on Amazon Prime. Michael Keaton stars as the titular ghost, a rather disgusting fellow that’s summoned at one’s own risk. However, that’s exactly what recently deceased couple Adam and Barbara Maitland (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) decide to do, once the mostly obnoxious Deetz family moves in to their home. Winona Ryder also stars as the Deetz’ goth daughter Lydia, who befriends the Maitlands.

24 Hereditary

Most horror films are full of obvious supernatural threats, whether they be vampires, ghosts, demons. or even the occasional sadistic leprechaun. Sometimes though, a horror effort comes along to reinforce that at the end of the day, the fear of losing a loved one is one that audiences can’t escape, even after the latest scary movie stops playing. One recent example of that type is 2018’s critically lauded (89% on Rotten Tomatoes) Hereditary, directed by Ari Aster, and starring Toni Collette as Annie, an emotionally scarred mom who finds her life spinning more and more out of control following the death of her own mother. Hereditary has become a bit divisive in horror circles, but it’s worth watching on Amazon Prime and judging for oneself.

23 Interview with the Vampire

Over a decade before Twilight dominated the box office, Anne Rice’s smoldering undead were sparking fantasies in moviegoers. 1994’s Interview with the Vampire adapts Rice’s 1976 novel of the same name, from her Vampire Chronicles series. Tom Cruise stars as charismatic but selfish bloodsucker Lestat, alongside Brad Pitt’s Louis, who’s turned by Lestat in 1791. The duo’s life together is the primary focus of the film, including Lestat’s eventual turning of 10-year-old Claudia (Kirsten Dunst). Rice’s vampire tale is a devilishly inviting Amazon Prime pick.

Related: Where Are They Now? The Cast Of Interview With The Vampire

22 The Game

One of the earlier films to emerge from the endlessly creative mind of director David Fincher, 1997’s The Game might not be Fincher’s most awarded or money-making effort, but it’s still a terrific little thriller in its own right. Michael Douglas stars as Nicholas Van Orton, a successful investment banker that’s still haunted by his father’s suicide. Nicholas’ life gets dangerously interesting when his brother Conrad (Sean Penn) offers him an invitation to play the titular game. Nicholas agrees, but quickly wishes he hadn’t, as things get crazy in short order. There’s never been a better time for Amazon Prime users to discover this gem.

21 Eighth Grade

The feature writing and directing debut of comedian Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade wowed many in 2018 with its very relatable, and often very frank depiction of what it’s like to be transitioning into one’s teenage years. Most movies and TV shows tend to depict childhood and young adulthood as this time full of nothing but fun and carefree idealism, but in reality, many people spend their youths battling social awkwardness, dealing with anxiety, and struggling to fit in. Fronted by a great lead performance from Elsie Fisher, and bolstered by one of the best speeches ever given from a parent to their child onscreen, Eighth Grade isn’t always easy to sit through, but it’s consistently rewarding. Another impressive offering from Amazon Prime.

20 Some Like It Hot

Those looking to watch a classic comedy on Amazon Prime need look no further than 1951’s Some Like It Hot, directed by Hollywood icon Billy Wilder, helmer of other golden age hits like Double Indemnity and Sunset Boulevard. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon star as two Chicago musicians forced to assume female identities to get out of town after witnessing a gangland murder. Both quickly notice the singer of their new all-female band, played by Marilyn Monroe near the height of her stardom. Some Like It Hot includes some moments that are problematic by today’s standards, but those willing to view it through a historical lens will still find plenty to enjoy.

Related: 22 Best Romantic Comedies, According To Rotten Tomatoes (And 3 Stuck With 0%)

19 Wayne’s World

Based on a popular Saturday Night Live sketch, 1992’s Wayne’s World was never going to be an Oscar-winner, and it certainly wasn’t designed to be a critical darling. Yet, critics did love it, as did audiences, leading to a huge gross of nearly $200 million worldwide on a budget of $20 million. To those who came of age in the 1990s, Wayne’s World remains a cultural touchstone, and appreciation of the film is by no means limited to just that generation. The scene of Wayne (Mike Myers) and Garth (Dana Carvey) headbanging to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” is absolutely iconic. The not as good but still quite funny sequel, Wayne’s World 2, is also available on Amazon Prime.

18 The Shawshank Redemption

Based on Stephen King’s novella, director Frank Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption is considered by some to be the greatest film of all time. While that’s probably an overblown sentiment, the 91% Rotten Tomatoes score-holding prison drama is definitely quite amazing, anchored by the great lead performances of Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. For Amazon Prime members who haven’t seen it, it’s time to get busy streamin’ and possibly get busy cryin’.

17 My Girl

Movies can evoke a wide range of emotional reactions from audiences. One such possible reaction is sadness, and for those who grew up in the 1990s, few movies provided a more soul-crushing moment than 1991’s My Girl. Despite mixed reviews from critics, director Howard Zieff’s coming-of-age dramedy is now fondly remembered by many, and is worth catching up with on Amazon Prime. Be ready though to witness the infamously heartbreaking death of lead Vada (Anna Chlumsky)’s best friend Thomas J. (Macaulay Culkin), fresh off his Home Alone stardom. My Girl’s upbeat marketing campaign certainly didn’t prepare viewers for that kick straight to the gut.

Related: The 17 Saddest Deaths In Movie History

16 12 Angry Men

Hollywood loves itself a good courtroom drama, and the movie that solidified just how worthwhile they could be was 1957’s 12 Angry Men, ready to stream anytime on Amazon Prime. Directed by Sidney Lumet, 12 Angry Men’s story is simple, yet compelling. A group of jurors, forced to deliberate together for hours in the same room, must come to a unanimous verdict about the guilt or innocence of an 18-year-old accused of murder. Such classic film heavyweights as Henry Fonda, Martin Balsam, Jack Klugman, E.G. Marshall, and Lee J. Cobb star.

15 Blade

While Marvel Studios’ Black Panther might be the first superhero film starring an African-American lead to become a massive blockbuster hit, one shouldn’t discount the impact made by Wesley Snipes’ Blade in 1998, which definitely paved the way for a black cinematic superhero like T’Challa. Director Stephen Norrington’s film wasn’t exactly a box office smash (although it did perform quite respectably), but Snipes fit the Blade role so well that many fans still wish he’d play it in the MCU. Blade II – a sequel some believe tops the original – is on Amazon Prime also.

14 The Machinist

While Oscar-winner Christian Bale has become well-known for his ability to transform himself physically for roles in acclaimed films like The Fighter and Vice, one of Bale’s earliest transformations occurred for a film that didn’t even receive a wide theatrical release. However, that doesn’t mean 2004’s The Machinist isn’t worth watching on Amazon Prime. Directed by Brad Anderson, The Machinist stars Bale as Trevor Reznik, a man whose chronic insomnia issues have caused him to become horrifyingly emaciated. After Trevor causes an accident at work and loses his job, his mental state spirals downward fast. Jennifer Jason Leigh and Michael Ironside also star.

Related: 10 of the Most Extreme Measures Taken By Actors

13 Ginger Snaps

The werewolf is one of horror’s oldest monsters, dating back to the Universal classic The Wolf Man starring Lon Chaney Jr. One of the most creative spins on the werewolf story is 2000’s Ginger Snaps, a Canadian indie from director John Fawcett that’s gone on to cultivate a large cult fanbase. Goth sisters Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) and Brigitte (Emily Perkins) are obsessed with death, that is until death comes knocking via an attack by a werewolf on Ginger. Before long, Ginger becomes a murderous beast, and it’s ultimately up to Brigitte to try and stop her reign of terror. This coming-of-age horror tale is well worth howling at on Amazon Prime.

12 Angel Heart

For those who love a good neo-noir mystery – and don’t mind it being infused with some psychological horror – 1987’s Angel Heart could be a great choice to give a spin on Amazon Prime. Director Alan Parker’s film stars Mickey Rourke as Harry Angel, a private detective in 1955 tasked by the mysterious Louis Cyphre (Robert De Niro) with tracking down a man called Johnny Favorite. The search leads to New Orleans, and as things progress, Harry’s world spirals downward. Lisa Bonet also stars, in a role that famously got her kicked off The Cosby Show.

11 The Stepfather

While the two sequels – also available on Amazon Prime – quickly degenerated into the realm of campy slashers, 1987’s The Stepfather is a movie best not overlooked by those who enjoy a good mix of suspense and horror. Directed by Joseph Ruben, The Stepfather sports a healthy 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, and no doubt a lot of that is due to Terry O’Quinn’s (long before Lost made him a household name) terrific lead performance as “Jerry Blake,” a man obsessed with achieving the idealized American family life seen on shows like Leave It to Beaver. When Jerry’s various attempts inevitably fail, nobody in his path is safe.

Related: The Cast of Lost: Where Are They Now?

10 Platoon

While director Oliver Stone is most closely associated nowadays with his penchant for conspiracy theories and being outspoken politically, that doesn’t mean his films aren’t still by and large brilliant, and worth checking out on Amazon Prime. One of the best is 1986’s Platoon, which is based on Stone’s own experiences serving in the Vietnam War. The cast is loaded with talent, including Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, Keith David, Forest Whitaker, and even Johnny Depp in an early role. War truly is hell, and Platoon presents that reality more vividly than the vast majority of movies.

9 The Addams Family

With a new animated Addams Family movie on the horizon, there’s never been a better time to revisit director Barry Sonnenfeld’s live-action film adaptation from 1991. The titular family was perfectly cast, especially the late Raul Julia as patriarch Gomez and Anjelica Huston as his equally macabre love Morticia. A young Christina Ricci also shines as death-obsessed daughter Wednesday, while Christopher Lloyd completes the family as Uncle Fester. Well, eventually. Sonnenfeld’s quite funny 1993 sequel Addams Family Values is also available on Amazon Prime.

8 Moonlight

Directed by Barry Jenkins, 2016’s coming-of-age drama Moonlight will – for better or worse – probably always be known as the movie that won Best Picture only after the award had been mistakenly given to La La Land. That aside, Moonlight deserved the awards love, and is definitely in the top tier of Amazon Prime’s movie selection. The film follows three stages in the life of Chiron Harris (Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes), a young black man trying to both make his way in the world and come to terms with his sexuality, despite dealing with homophobia and his drug-addicted mother. Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Janelle Monae, and Andre Holland also star.

Related: Where Does Moonlight Rank Among Recent Best Picture Winners?

7 The Disaster Artist

Every consummate film fan knows that sometimes a movie can be so bad that it’s entertaining. An incredibly inept production can still be a work of art that came from good intentions and a passion for the project, and sometimes that shines through the screen, even if the movie in question objectively stinks. One such film is 2003’s The Room, directed by and starring the notoriously eccentric Tommy Wiseau. Tommy is quite a character, so much so that 2017’s acclaimed The Disaster Artist turned his story into a genuinely good film, and a great Amazon Prime pick. James Franco stars as Wiseau, and appropriately, directed The Disaster Artist as well.

6 Child’s Play

In theory, a killer doll should be an easy villain to defeat. After all, it’s tiny, and made of plastic. The wrinkle 1988’s Child’s Play adds into the mix is that Chucky has been possessed by the spirit of a dead serial killer via voodoo, and is thus supernaturally indestructible. Director Tom Holland’s (no, not that one) film earned praise from both critics and audiences, and would go on to spawn a still ongoing franchise starring Chucky, voiced by Brad Dourif. A remake is coming soon, but the original remains a terror tale worth watching on Amazon Prime.

5 Chinatown

While Chinatown comes with the baggage of being directed by disgraced filmmaker Roman Polanski, any true film buff shouldn’t be discouraged from watching it on Amazon Prime, despite that black cloud. Widely considered one of the greatest American films in history, Chinatown is a 1974 neo-noir mystery starring Jack Nicholson as hard-boiled detective Jake “J.J.” Gittes, a man who at first believes he’s simply been hired by a wife to follow her husband. What unfolds from there is a web of backstabbing and deceit, leaving Jake unsure who to trust. Faye Dunaway and John Huston also star.

Related: The 10 Best Film Noir Movies Of All-Time

4 Bone Tomahawk

Horror crosses over with many other genres, the most common being sci-fi and comedy. Less common is the horror/western mashup, but one of the best example of that combo is 2015’s Bone Tomahawk, directed by S. Craig Zahler. Sporting an impressive 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, Bone Tomahawk never got a wide release in theaters, making its streaming run on Amazon Prime the first opportunity many will have had to see it. Like, From Dusk Till Dawn, Bone Tomahawk makes a sharp left turn into horror country, and exactly how it does so is best left unspoiled. The terrific cast includes names like Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, and Richard Jenkins.

3 Mad Max

While 2015’s Tom Hardy-fronted Mad Max: Fury Road is now pretty clearly regarded as the height of director George Miller’s franchise, Max Rockatansky’s story began back in 1979 in the original Mad Max film, played by Mel Gibson. Set in a dystopian future Australia, this Mad Max isn’t quite the lonely wanderer he would become, still employed as a cop and still surrounded by his family. Unfortunately, Max’s life would only get worse as the film and franchise went on, but his debut is essential viewing for sci-fi/action fans that have Amazon Prime.

2 It’s a Wonderful Life

There are certain movies that just about everybody associates with Christmas. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Home Alone. The Santa Clause. For the less jolly out there, Silent Night, Deadly Night. Arguably the most iconic Christmas movie in history though is director Frank Capra’s 1946 classic It’s a Wonderful Life. Quite possibly the most uplifting film about suicide ever made, It’s a Wonderful Life stars Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, a man whose attempted death is foiled by his guardian angel. George is then shown just how much worse the lives of those around him would be if he was never born, a premise that’s since been ripped off endlessly. Christmas might be many months away, but it’s always a wonderful time to watch It’s a Wonderful Life on Amazon Prime.

1 Star Trek

What’s left to say about Star Trek, one of the most famous sci-fi franchises in entertainment history. Created by Gene Roddenberry in 1966, Star Trek has been exploring where no man has gone before for over half a century, and shows no signs of stopping. After a long line of movies featuring first the original TV crew and then the crew from Star Trek: The Next Generation, director J.J. Abrams rebooted the Star Trek movie series in 2009, focusing on a younger version of the crew led by Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto). Many of the other Star Trek shows and movies are also available to stream on Amazon Prime.

More: The 25 Best Films on Netflix Right Now


2019-04-13 12:04:03

Michael Kennedy

10 Best Medical Dramas Airing Right Now

Just like cops and lawyers, doctors have been prescribing entertainment for years. The medical drama is a staple of TV. Viewers have been tuning in for heart-stopping emergencies almost as long as there has been television. Ranging from procedural drama (House), to soap opera (General Hospital), and even sitcom (Scrubs), hospitals and doctor’s offices have played host to some of the most gripping and memorable television moments in history.

Today’s crop of medical melodramas are carrying the banner for the genre and there’s no shortage of organ donors on screens right this minute. In fact, the following crop of medical dramas might be one of the strongest ever. Here’s 10 medical dramas under the knife right now.

RELATED: 10 Medical Dramas For Fans Of Grey’s Anatomy

10 GENERAL HOSPITAL

Not only the longest running medical drama on the list, General Hospital is also one of the longest running American soap operas ever. Day time viewers have been checking in since 1963 when the show began and are still watching today.

RELATED: The 10 Biggest Guest Stars on General Hospital, Ranked

Over the years hundreds of patients have come and gone, including some famous faces. James Franco and Elizabeth Taylor are just a couple of the more notable names.

GH might not be the freshest show on the list but it sure deserves some praise for longevity.

9 CASUALTY

This long running medical soap comes from across the pond. Much like General Hospital, this show has been on the air for sometime and is still saving lives to this day. Casualty first appeared on US screens in 1998, although it’s been running in the UK since 1986, and has spawned numerous spin-offs.

Casualty rates a mention here simply for its longevity, at least if any of the cast need a new hip they won’t be too far from medical assistance.

8 9-1-1

Not strictly a medical drama, 9-1-1 follows the lives of first responders. Exploring the drama and experiences of paramedics, along with police and firefighters as they balance their lives and careers. A procedural drama from creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Tim Minear and starring Angela Basset, this show has the clout and the medical jargon to be included in the top 10.

RELATED: Ryan Murphy’s 9-1-1 TV Series Renewed For Season 2

9-1-1 premiered in January 2018 and has just been renewed for a third season.

7 THE NIGHT SHIFT

Originally running from 2014-2017, before its untimely cancellation, The Night Shift has been picked up and can now be found streaming on NetflixSet in the Memorial Hospital in San Antonio, the premise of The Night Shift is somewhat self-explanatory. The show follows the lives of the staff of a late night emergency room, portraying their experiences with all kinds of night life. But takes a more interesting turn as we learn the three central characters all have a connected past.  They were all in the military. Now, these midnight medics are not only contending with the heightened levels of crazy that come with working at the E.R. during the small hours of the morning, they’re also dealing with PTSD and past traumas. It’s also nice to see Scott Wolf back in action.

6 CHICAGO MED

The third instalment in creator Dick Wolf’s Chicago franchise, Chicago Med, takes a close look at the lives of Gaffney Chicago Medical Center’s finest doctors and nurses. Of course, the majority of the action happens in the emergency room, while the majority of the drama is derived from their intertwined personal connections.

The most exciting element of CM is the possibility for cross overs with Wolf’s other Chicago ventures: Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D, and Chicago Justice. That’s a lot of procedural drama for one city.

5 NEW AMSTERDAM

Based on a the novel Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital by Eric Manheimer, New Amsterdam sees recently instated medical director Dr. Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold) trying to resuscitate a faded and fading public hospital, in order to rejuvinetae and provide excellent care for patients. Premiering in September of 2018, it was just recently renewed for a second season on NBC.

RELATED: NBC Fall 2018 TV Series Trailers: Manifest, New Amsterdam & More

While according to critics, the show has struggled to break new ground in the genre, it’s refreshing to see new faces and new stories from the medical profession.

4 THE GOOD DOCTOR

After spending some time at the Bates motel, Freddie Highmore has slipped on a white jacket and stethoscope, to play an autistic, savant in The Good Doctor. Recently renewed for a third season, TGD is set in San Jose and sees Highmore’s Dr. Shawn Murphy struggling to hold onto his surgical residency as he contents with issues from his past and his autism. He does however, have a photographic memory which I’m sure is helpful when cramming for those medical exams or performing complicated surgery.

RELATED: 20 Things Only True Fans Know About The Good Doctor

The Good Doctor has a fresh and intriguing premise, adding a layer of mental health awareness to the usual medical proceedings.

3 THE RESIDENT

The Resident takes a more bureaucratic look at the medical world, seen through the staff at Chastain Park Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Tackling issues such as medical ethics and malpractice, The Resident gives an insight into what goes one beyond the emergency room.

Premiering in January 2018 and renewed for a third season in March, The Resident is a welcome addition with a fresh twist.

2 GREY’S ANATOMY

No medical drama in recent years has quite captured the public’s attention or held a space in the pop culture landscape quite like Grey’s Anatomy. As of February this year Grey’s will be the longest running American prime time medical drama, at 15 seasons and no signs of slowing down, and since its premier in 2005 has remained critically acclaimed and a ratings juggernaut.

RELATED: 10 Medical Dramas For Fans of Grey’s Anatomy

The show follows Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and the staff at Seattle Grace Hospital as they deal with their lives and careers as medical professionals.  The show has launched the careers of Pompeo, Katherine Heigl and Sandra Oh and is notable for its diverse cast of characters.

1 E.R.

Yes, this is a cheeky entry as E.R. officially finished up in 2009. However, after years of absence, in January of 2018 the award winning show finally landing on streaming platform Hulu and is available for bingeing right now. And honestly, let’s hope it remains available forever.

E.R. was created by Michael Crichton and made names like George Clooney, Noah Wylde, Maura Tierney, and Julianna Margulies household names. Over its 15 year run the show won 116 awards in total and will live on as an example of what medical dramas can and ought to be.

NEXT: 10 Biggest Guest Stars On General Hospital, Ranked


2019-04-07 11:04:51

Joshua Dean Perry

Pet Sematary 2019’s IT Reference: How To Do Stephen King’s Universe Right

Pet Sematary 2019 has a reference to Derry, the fictional Maine town that appears across Stephen King’s writing but made famous by IT. Far from just a wink to one of the author’s most famous works, this sees movies based on King begin to properly embrace the shared universe aspect of his books.

A readaptation of King’s 1983 novel (the previous movie released in 1989), Pet Sematary is set on the outskirts of Ludlow, Maine and presents a lot of classic elements of the author, from articulated trucks to century-spanning spirits. The film follows the Creed family who gets ensnared with the Wendigo after the death of their cat Church, then daughter Ellie (toddler Gage in the book). It’s a rather self-contained story – the new movie doesn’t even go that far into Ludlow itself – although has some big universe teases.

Related: Every Stephen King Movie Ranked, From Worst To Best

On the way back to Ludlow, Rachel (Amy Seimetz) gets stuck in a traffic jam on the outskirts, at which point a road sign for Derry can be seen. Derry is best known as the town menaced every 27 years by IT in the form of Pennywise the Clown, but predates that 1986 novel by a few years, with references in stories as diverse as The Body (the inspiration for Stand By Me) to The Running Man (nothing like the movie) and appearances in subsequent books.

The IT reference in Pet Sematary comes from the source, but that it happens so innocuously is a key step in the evolution of Stephen King on film. There have been almost 50 movies based on his books (depending on how you count) that have managed to translate much of what makes the writing so popular, defining New England horror as a legitimate genre. But one thing that most Stephen King movies have avoided is how everything is supposed to exist in a proper, connected universe; places and sometimes people intersect in surprising ways that reward King superfans with a tapestry of stories to explore (that doesn’t get in the way for newcomers).

2017’s The Dark Tower did attempt to introduce this idea similar to how the book series connected various threads together, but that wound up being a marketing ploy using photos of The Overlook than it was anything of substance in the hastily-edited film itself. Last year’s Castle Rock TV show on Hulu managed to tie things together much more successfully, with a mixture of meta casting and sharp writing constructing a world teeming with references, but that was still very much targeted at the King faithful.

Pet Sematary‘s IT reference takes this to a much bigger scale. Pennywise is a true cultural icon after IT made $700 million at the box office, and Pet Sematary is similarly poised for impressive returns. Of course, the reference doesn’t go much further than that: a reference. It’s not indicative of a connection between the new movie and IT: Chapter Two due out later this year, mainly thanks to book rights, with different studios owning different stories: Pet Sematary is a Paramount release, IT a New Line production for Warner Bros.

Related: How The IT Franchise Can Continue After Chapter Two

But that isn’t the point. There should be no expectation for IT and the Wendigo to cross paths – their similar modus operandi never yields a direct connection. In contrast to how every Easter egg in a Marvel movie is deemed to tease something big in the future, in Stephen King’s mythology it’s fun background. To see Derry get a casual namedrop in Pet Sematary, a film totally unrelated, is the big deal.

Next: What To Expect From A Pet Sematary 2


2019-04-05 08:04:13

Alex Leadbeater

The 25 Best Movies on Hulu Right Now

Hulu has a lot of great movies – here are the 25 best films on the streaming service. In an age of options, less feels like more. While Netflix has an ever-expanding library, Hulu offers a more focused collection of great movies. Because volume isn’t the objective, Hulu succeeds in curating a batch of excellent films.

There are the Academy Awards classics like Apollo 13 and Chinatown, the arthouse darlings like Sorry to Bother You and The Hunt, and the pure entertainment gems like Raiders of the Lost Ark and Terminator 2. Hulu keeps it simple and offers something for everybody. Here are the 25 best movies that you can watch on Hulu right now.

Related: The 25 Best Films on Netflix Right Now

Before we start, first a disclaimer. modern streaming libraries are like carousels, always moving and always changing. The films in this list are available on Hulu at the time of writing. We’ll be updating this top 25 list frequently, so keep an eye out for Hulu’s latest and greatest offerings. Also, the list isn’t ranked from worst to best, so a lower number is not meant to denote higher quality. It’s just a list of 25 great movies.

Last updated: April 5, 2019

While it slipped through awards season without much hype, Detroit remains one of 2017’s best films. Rotten Tomatoes awarded it an 84% for its “gut-wrenching dramatization of a tragic chapter” in American history. Director Kathryn Bigelow tackles the 1967 incident in Motor City with aplomb, deftly guiding a sprawling cast (led by John Boyega and Will Poulter) through a maze of tension, bigotry, and survival. Detroit streams exclusively on Hulu.

The story of a newly orphaned Bruce Wayne’s transformation into Batman has been told multiple times, whether it be in movies, TV shows, or animated projects. It’s a tale any superhero fan is very familiar with, but arguably its greatest telling to date came in 2005’s Batman Begins, the first entry into Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Christian Bale stars as The Caped Crusader, backed by an excellent supporting cast, including Liam Neeson, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and Cillian Murphy. Katie Holmes also appears as Bruce’s love interest Rachel Dawes, although Maggie Gyllenhaal would take over for the sequel. Comic book fans have every reason to answer Hulu’s Bat-Signal, and stream this terrific film.

Director Denis Villeneuve solidified his reputation with Arrival, perhaps the most intimate science fiction movie in recent years. Critics awarded it a 94% Rotten Tomatoes score, and domestic fans boosted its box office to over $100 million, making it one of the most acclaimed films on Hulu. Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker help ground this mind-bending adventure. Should you have any questions about that ending, we’ve got you covered.

Read More: The New Golden Age of Cerebral Sci-Fi Movies

While Tim Burton’s reputation as a director has waned in recent years, there was a time when he was putting out cult classic after cult classic, and perhaps none of his classics are more cult than 1990’s Edward Scissorhands. Johnny Depp plays the titular character, an artificial man created by a kindly inventor (Vincent Price). When his creator dies, Edward has no choice but to meet the outside world, which isn’t easy, due to his titular condition. Winona Ryder, Anthony Michael Hall, and Dianne Wiest co-star in this gem, perfect for a Hulu streaming session.

Jack Nicholson played many memorable roles over the course of his long career, but few proved quite as iconic as The Shining’s Jack Torrance, a recovering alcoholic writer who found himself pushed over the edge of madness by the malevolent spirits residing inside the remote Overlook Hotel. Based on Stephen King’s classic novel of the same name, director Stanley Kubrick’s film was never a favorite of the author, but audiences couldn’t disagree more. There are few horror films even on the level of The Shining, and it’s a must watch for Hulu subscribers.

The workplace comedy is a long-term staple of pop culture, but few of them have even come close to capturing the frustration, boredom, and general malaise often involved in getting through the standard 9-5 office workday as well as Office Space. Ron Livingston leads writer/director Mike Judge’s hilarious ensemble cast as Peter Gibbons, a programmer at a company called Initech that has just about had enough of his daily routine. Gary Cole plays his infamously annoying boss Bill Lumbergh, a man with zero regard for his employees’ wants and needs. Jennifer Aniston, Stephen Root, Diedrich Bader, and John C. McGinley also star in this top Hulu pick.

Read More: The 10 Best Quotes From Office Space

While it took director Martin Scorsese 25 years to make Silence, his commitment and passion are fully evident in every frame of the movie. As the title suggests, this is a quiet and interior film, a study of faith and persecution set in 17th Century Japan. Silence is a deeply transporting experience fueled by actors Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, and Adam Driver. Though largely ignored by the Oscars, Silence garnered an 84% Rotten Tomatoes score, and is very much worth checking out on Hulu.

If one’s only exposure to director David Lynch is through the TV series Twin Peaks, they owe it to themselves to check out what may be Lynch’s best movie, now on Hulu. Also starring Kyle MacLachlan, Blue Velvet in many ways inspired Twin Peaks’ colorful aesthetic, and its setting of a seemingly idyllic small town with horrors bubbling not far under the surface. The biggest of those horrors is violent madman Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper), a villain always seen taking hits off of a container of an unidentified gas. Like any Lynch film, it’s surreal, but it’s also more accessible than much of the director’s work.

Page 2: More Great Movies On Hulu

Any dedicated horror fan has surely had their soul torn apart multiple times by Hellraiser’s Pinhead (Doug Bradley) by this point. Director Clive Barker (adapting his own novella) crafted one of the most enduring tales of terror to come out of the 1980s, spawning one of the longest-running horror franchises out there as well. Hellraiser may only have a 68% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but it’s a certified classic of the genre, and needs to be watched by anyone who enjoys a good fright flick. Direct sequel Hellbound: Hellraiser II is also part of Hulu’s roster.

Read More: The Real Life Inspirations Behind 11 Horror Movie Icons

To some, Michael Fassbender is a young Magneto. To others, he’s a two-time Academy Award nominee. To a select few, he’s the gonzo pop musician and eponymous hero in Frank, the offbeat artist who became more famous for his oversized paper-mâché mask than his music. Directed by Lenny Abrahamson (Room), Frank earned a 92% Rotten Tomatoes score and remains a cult classic to adventurous Hulu viewers looking for a changeup in their visual diet.

One of Screen Rant’s favorite movies of 2018, Annihilation is a visionary sci-fi film written and directed by Alex Garland, who previously made his directing debut with the equally arresting Ex Machina. Natalie Portman stars as Lena, one of the only survivors of an expedition into a realm called “The Shimmer,” which serves as home to places and creatures beyond anything known to the natural world. Sporting an 89% RT score, Annihilation just arrived on Hulu, and also stars Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, and Oscar Isaac.

Foreign films are in short supply on Hulu, but director Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt closes the gap. Mads Mikkelsen stars in the haunting drama that earned him the Best Actor Award at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival (and a 94% Rotten Tomatoes score for the movie). The Hunt is perhaps more relevant than ever, asking questions about the power of accusation and mass hysteria.

Read More: The Hannibal Revival May Be Closer Than Previously Thought

While many of the sequels are of questionable value, that doesn’t mean lovers of a good scare should hesitate to stream 2007’s Paranormal Activity on Hulu. Directed by Oren Peli, the extremely low-budget film tells a rather simple story about a young couple (Katie Featherston, and Micah Sloat) that’s haunted by a terrifying supernatural force in their home. While many people have grown to hate the found-footage sub-genre of horror films, Paranormal Activity is an example of the form done right.

While John Krasinski might always be best known for playing Jim on iconic sitcom The Office, 2018’s acclaimed sci-fi/horror film A Quiet Place demonstrated that he has just as much talent behind the camera. Directed, co-written by, and starring Krasinski, A Quiet Place centers on a family living in the aftermath of an apocalyptic alien invasion. The invading creatures are deadly, and hunt by sound, meaning that the Abbott clan has to spend most of their life in silence. Unfortunately, things eventually go wrong, and the monsters come calling. Krasinkski’s real-life wife Emily Blunt co-stars in this prime Hulu pick.

2006 dramedy Little Miss Sunshine – directed by married couple Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris – tends to be kind of forgotten now, which is odd, as the film drew massive acclaim upon release. Sporting a 91% Rotten Tomatoes score and multiple Oscar nominations – including for Best Picture – this tale of a dysfunctional yet ultimately loving family traveling across country for Olive’s (Abigail Breslin) beauty pageant remains totally worth watching on Hulu. The star-studded main cast also includes Steve Carell, Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Alan Arkin, and Paul Dano.

Read More: 15 Best Picture Nominees Everyone Forgets – But You Still Need To See

One of director Ridley Scott’s most highly acclaimed films – and that’s saying a lot – is 1991’s Thelma & Louise, which earned six Oscar nominations and won for Best Original Screenplay. Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon star as the titular duo, two bored best friends who set out on a road trip to have some fun. Unfortunately, things go south when an attempt is made to rape Thelma, and Louise ends up shooting her attacker. The two then go on the lamb, all the while being pursued by a not entirely unsympathetic detective (Harvey Keitel). Those who haven’t seen this gem owe it to themselves to do so on Hulu.

One of the most successful superhero movies of all time – and arguably one of the greatest – director Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight has arrived on Hulu. The late Heath Ledger won an Oscar for his work as chaotic villain The Joker, but he’s surrounded by an incredible cast, including Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and of course Christian Bale as Batman. The Dark Knight was a phenomenon back in 2008, but it holds up just as well today, and remains a triumph for Nolan and company.

Page 3: Even More Great Movies On Hulu

While 1995’s Jumanji was never going to be an awards season darling, there’s no question that it’s an immensely fun watch, and a film that many who came of age in that decade look back on with fondness. The main reason for that is no doubt the late, great Robin Williams, who stars as Alan Parrish, a man whose spent decades trapped inside the titular board game after a turn gone wrong. Directed by Joe Johnston, Jumanji is a game still very much worth playing on Hulu, and also lives on via the current video game-based sequels starring The Rock.

Read More: Where Are They Now? The Original Cast Of Jumanji

The film that put Dreamworks Animation on the map, 2001’s Shrek stars Mike Myers as the titular ogre, a creature gruff on the outside but caring on the inside. Despite not wanting to do anything but hang out in his swamp, Shrek is compelled to go on a quest to rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) by the villainous Lord Farquad (John Lithgow). By his side is Donkey (Eddie Murphy), a fast-talking animal who can’t help annoying Shrek with his constant chatter. Shrek spawned a franchise of three sequels and multiple specials, and is worth checking out on Hulu.

If you build it, he will come.” That’s the signature line from director Phil Alden Robinson’s Field of Dreams, perhaps the most beloved sports movie ever made, and a Hulu home run. Kevin Costner stars as Ray Kinsella, an Iowa farmer compelled by mysterious voices and visions to build a baseball diamond in his cornfield. Holding an 86% on RT, Field of Dreams is cherished by critics as well as audiences, and also stars Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones, Burt Lancaster, and Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe Jackson.

One of the lesser-known movies on this list, 2010’s Tucker & Dale vs. Evil only received a limited theatrical release, but that doesn’t make it any less a great option for a night of Hulu viewing. Directed by Eli Craig, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil stars Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine as the titular duo, mild-mannered hillbillies living in West Virginia. Tucker and Dale are nice people, but resemble the type of backwoods villains seen in many a horror movie, and a series of comic misunderstandings lead a group of young friends to believe the two capable of murder. A lesson in not judging a book by its cover, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is a great blend of slasher and comedy.

Read More: 15 Funniest Ever Horror Comedies

While not exactly a critical darling, 1986’s Highlander is most definitely a cult classic, and has gone on to spawn an enduring franchise of both films and TV shows. In director Russell Mulcahy’s original film, Christopher Lambert stars as Connor MacLeod, the titular immortal warrior. Trained to fight by the extravagantly named Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez (Sean Connery), MacLeod knows he’ll eventually have to participate in “The Gathering,” in which all immortals fight to the death, only being killed by decapitation. Opposing Connor is The Kurgan (Clancy Brown). Boasting a rocking theme song by Queen, Highlander is a great addition to the Hulu library.

One of the most uniquely creative movies of 2018, director Boots Riley’s debut is a thought-provoking look at American race relations, framed through a dystopian comedic lens. Sorry to Bother You stars Lakeith Stanfield as Cassius “Cash” Green, who gets a job as a telemarketer, only to discover that putting on his “white voice” is what gets the money rolling in. Sorry to Bother You is a film not really suited to being summed up in a paragraph, but its 93% Rotten Tomatoes score kind of speaks for itself. Check it out on Hulu.

A darker than dark comedy, Heathers was written by Daniel Waters and directed by Michael Lehmann, and sports a huge cult following, which is sure to only get bigger via Hulu. Winona Ryder stars as Veronica Sawyer, a high school student who runs afoul of former friends the Heathers, a trio of rich, popular girls that rule teen society with an iron fist. After being wronged by them, Veronica makes the mistake of teaming up with outcast bad boy J.D. (Christian Slater) in order to get revenge. Sadly, J.D.’s idea of revenge is straight up murdering his enemies.

Released in a decade where vampire cinema was dominated by the sparkly Twilight, director Tomas Alfredson’s Swedish hit Let the Right One In was exactly what the classic creature needed to remind audiences that despite their affliction, vampire movies don’t have to suck. Lina Leandersson stars as Eli, an ageless vampire with the appearance of a child, and Kare Hedebrant plays Oskar, the bullied young boy she enters into an unexpectedly sweet relationship with. The film was later adapted stateside by Matt Reeves, with Chloe Grace Moretz in the Eli role. That version is sadly not available via Hulu.

Next: 10 Best Shows You Didn’t Know Were On Hulu


2019-04-04 09:04:05

Jared Canfield