Reservation Dogs; Prey.
Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos Courtesy of Hulu
Another week, another handful of TV and movie picks for y’all. It’s a light one, but we’ll just call it quality > quantity. The picks below may range from excellence to trashy fun, but that’s just how we like to spend our weekends, no? There’s David Leitch’s Bullet Train, and, to be fair, I’m mostly recommending this because Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Brian Tyree Henry’s beautifully funny chemistry is a surprising treat to behold. Oh, and I cannot forget that it’s Bad Bunny’s sexy and poised film debut. (You know that’ll get some butts in the theater seats.) And there are even more fresh and exciting selections, like a new season of Reservation Dogs (woo!) and the debut of a new Predator film. Here are the picks:
Bullet Train has everything: a huge action set piece, fun cameos, Tarantino-esque flashbacks, quippy dialogue, great music, and a stacked cast with Brad Pitt at the center. It doesn’t necessarily all come together into a tight, top-tier flick, but Bullet Train is still a fun ride.
Why Prey isn’t being released in theaters is beyond me, but hey, it means Hulu subscribers get a raucous new film release in their living rooms this weekend. A prequel to the Predator films, Prey follows the arrival of the feared alien to Earth in the 1700s, meaning no tech or guns to combat the advanced being. That simply fascinating premise alone is enough to ignite a watch, but pair it with Amber Midthunder’s performance as Naru, a young Comanche woman fighting to be seen as more in her community, and director Dan Trachtenberg, of the absolutely tense 10 Cloverfield Lane, and we’re set. Hulu even provides a Comanche dub of the film.
The movie that inspired many Twitter takes and introduced Alana Haim to the general population as an actress is hitting Amazon Prime Video (the film was previously available only on VOD platforms). Haim stars as Alana Kane, a directionless 20-something who crosses paths with young Gary Valentine (played by a charming Cooper Hoffman), an enthusiastic business teen, in the ’70s San Fernando Valley. It’s one of Paul Thomas Anderson’s more tender films, as it plays with Alana’s desire to reclaim the bright-eyed feeling of childhood and Gary’s desperate need for grown-up independence.
There’s a level of comfort in Reservation Dogs that makes it enticing to just sit down and forget about everything else around you. The story of four young rez kids striving for something more is touching, flat-out hilarious, and, at times, melancholic. After the events of season one, in which the self-proclaimed reservation dogs lose one of their friends, Elora (Devery Jacobs), to a rival gang member when she hits the road to beguiling California, the rest of the kids are left to pick up the pieces back in Oklahoma.
Ohhh, The Sandman. Based on Neil Gaiman’s epic graphic novel, Netflix’s latest attempt at a franchise-building series is an intriguing one. Has Gaiman’s work ever been translated properly for the screen (aside from Coraline, that is)? Now, I don’t know if I found The Sandman necessarily gripping, but I didn’t not like it. (I know, a low bar). I also know devout fans will want to check it out for themselves. So will The Sandman be a Witcher-like hit, or will it be lost in the dark void of Netflix’s endless queue. Only time will tell.
Also! Read our streaming recommendations from the weekend of July 29. Vulture’s next list of weekend streaming picks goes online on Friday, August 12.