Do you feel like you’re drowning … but you haven’t even left your couch? Welcome to the Great Content Overload Era. To help you navigate the choppy digital waves, here are The Globe’s best bets for weekend streaming.
The Menu (Disney+)
Even though it’s still one of the top 10 highest-grossing movies at the North American box office, Mark Mylod’s satire The Menu is now available to be dished out at home. But this bad news for theatres is good news for audiences, as the eat-the-rich comedy is fun but ephemeral, ideal for lazy home viewing. An Agatha Christie story for the Michelin Guide set, The Menu follows a group of well-heeled jerks gathered for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to dine at Hawthorne, a farm-to-table restaurant located on a remote island that recalls celebrated Copenhagen establishment Noma, but with a gothic dash of Midsommar and a head chef (Ralph Fiennes) straight out of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Bon appetite.
White Noise (Netflix)
Taking the approach that any cinematic version of author Don DeLillo’s work needs to go as big as the author’s metaphors – the opposite tack that David Cronenberg took with 2012′s Cosmopolis – Noah Baumbach reaches for near-Spielbergian heights with his new film, adapted from the postmodern classic. But there is a distinct, and welcome, lack of sentimentality in this film, too, with Baumbach able to swerve the tone into a more cerebral version of National Lampoon’s Vacation franchise, of all things. Imagine if Clark Griswold studied fascism and carried around a teeny-tiny pistol, and you’ll start to get the idea about what to expect from this electric, messy, fascinating concoction.
Bullet Train (Prime Video)
There are an awful lot of weapons stashed onboard Bullet Train, the high-speed thrill-ride that is hoping to prove that there is still room for movies that go boom – and that don’t involve superheroes. Guns, grenades, knives, bombs, samurai swords, even briefcases and soda-pop bottles: In the skilled hands of the many eccentric assassins sharing the film’s Tokyo-to-Kyoto journey, anything can be used to maim and murder. But Bullet Train’s biggest weapon, of the secretly funny variety, rests in the chiselled form of star Brad Pitt, who once again proves that he is as charming a buff-and-tough movie god as he is a wry, self-deprecating comedy star.
Falling (CBC Gem)
Written and directed by Viggo Mortensen, Falling focuses on a proud man named Willis (Lance Henriksen) fighting both the inevitable ravages of time and the wishes of his grown children. For some audiences, the man’s arc – including flashback scenes in which he’s played by Sverrir Gudnason, a dead-ringer for Mortensen himself – might be unbearably gruelling. Mortensen, in his first ever directorial outing, is clearly not interested in easy characters or Hallmark-level emotion. As he traces Willis’s doomed first marriage to his push-pull relationship with his son (played by Mortensen), the filmmaker creates a tense, even courageous look at the ugly reality of family, of trying to reconcile who you are with from where you came. There are hard truths here, and Mortensen has no time for those unwilling to swallow down.
The Firm (Netflix)
In my months-long preparation for the release of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning: Part I – the most exciting and long-winded title of the year – I’ve been steadily revisiting the Tom Cruise canon. Including this dated but immensely fun legal thriller from 1993, when the star was at his sweatiest and filmmakers were at their most casually sexist (it’s truly a wonder to behold what used to be considered okay in major-studio films). As a young law student getting way in over his head at a sinister Memphis firm, Cruise has charisma to burn, which helps the big, head-slapping twists of John Grisham’s novel go down smooth.