They say that April showers bring May flowers, but this month is bringing a veritable downpour of excellent things to stream. The eagerly anticipated second seasons of Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Amazon’s Catastrophe top the list of new arrivals; on the film front, we’ve got a high-school thriller for the ages and a gangster saga worthy of The Godfather. Here are our picks for the 10 best things to queue from your couch this month.
Breathe (Netflix, 4/1)
American viewers might know her best as the girl who burned down the Third Reich in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, but the multi-talented Mélanie Laurent is one of contemporary French cinema’s most boundless young talents. Her second film as director, this 2014 Sapphic high school saga — about a dangerous friendship that percolates between two dispossessed teenage girls — unfolds like a Brian De Palma remake of Blue Is the Warmest Color (albeit one that’s mercifully divorced from the male gaze).
Bad Boys II (Hulu, 4/1)
Easily the most Michael-Bay–iest Michael Bay film ever made, this sun-soaked opera of testosterone and pyrotechnics has everything: epic car crashes, exploding corpses, gay panic on steroids, animatronic rats humping each other in a dilapidated mansion … the list goes on. Reprising the roles they originated in the director’s comparatively sedate debut, Will Smith (at the peak of his fame) and Martin Lawrence (at the peak of Will Smith’s fame) are back in action as a pair of Miami cops who destroy the city’s infrastructure like it insulted their wives. Juvenile, brain-dead, and beautiful in its own way, this sequel is the deranged magnum opus of a reckless cinematic visionary. You’ve been warned.
Carlos (Hulu, Amazon Prime 4/1)
Guaranteed to be the shortest five-and-a-half-hours you ever spend watching a movie, Olivier Assayas’ hyper-ambitious epic is the definitive portrait of the criminal mastermind known as Carlos the Jackal (played to perfection by Édgar Ramírez). Following the Venezuelan terrorist from his glory days in Seventies London to his pathetic capture in Syria some 20 years later, Carlos combines the rib-cracking pace of The Bourne Ultimatum with the historical immensity of The Godfather. It’s captivating stuff from start to finish, highlighted by the unforgettable middle chapter in which Assayas breathlessly devotes 100 minutes to the OPEC hostage crisis in 1975.
Catastrophe Season 2 (Amazon Prime, 4/8)
Twitter celebrity Rob Delaney made his first real break into acting with this hilarious British sitcom about an American businessman who impregnates a British lady (Sharon Horgan) during a work trip to the UK; he then moves across the Atlantic to help with the kid. The first season followed the circumstantial lovebirds as they fumbled their way towards marriage, but the show really finds its stride in this new batch of episodes as they settle into something resembling a proper — and properly stressed-out, overburdened — family.
Crimes and Misdemeanors (Amazon Prime, 4/1)
The darkest film that Woody Allen has ever made — and, in some perverse ways, also the most optimistic — this 1989 riff on Crime and Punishment follows parallel stories about a single documentarian (Allen) with a crush and a married ophthalmologist (Martin Landau) with a problem. Savage in its assessment of the world as an inherently unfair place (think of it as a funny precursor to Match Point),the movie uses Jewish guilt as a crystal clear lens into the human soul. A lot of Allen’s films end with him finding some light in all the darkness, but this is one of the few where it feels like he really saw it for himself.
Cube (Hulu, Amazon Prime 4/1)
The film that put Splice director Vincenzo Natali on the map, this gloriously gory Canadian horror story sticks a group of people in an infinite series of lethal escape room and watches with twisted glee as they get torn apart by insidious traps — and eventually by each other. Why are they in this sadistic prison? Will it be possible to escape? Like Saw meets The Twilight Zone, Natali’s breakthrough will have you hooked from its (very) cold open, and it only gets better as the players come to realize that all roads lead to death.
Deep Impact (Netflix, 4/1)
There were any number of disaster movies in the Nineties (such as Armageddon, with which this one will always be twinned), but none crashed down with the emotional force of Mimi Leder’s surprisingly sober spectacle. While the initial buzz was reserved for the giant tidal wave that levels New York in the trailer, this 1998 blockbuster still resonates because of how sensitively it draws its characters — and how wantonly it murders them. Who could forget President Morgan Freeman’s resigned speech from the Oval Office? Or newscaster Téa Leoni’s last minute trip to the beach? Welcome to the human cost of global devastation.
Risky Business (4/1)
One of the greatest American teen sex comedy ever made, Paul Brickman’s masterpiece tells the timeless story of horny high school kid Joel Goodson (Tom Cruise at his baby-fat best) who inadvertently starts a brothel in his living room when his parents go on vacation. Who among us didn’t spend the last semester of senior year having sex with a young Rebecca De Mornay and being chased at gunpoint by a guy named Guido the Killer Pimp? Filled with quaotable lines and immortal moments (forget the iconic underwear electric slide; the Tangerine Dream-scored climax on the Chicago “L” is the money shot), Risky Business is one of those rare Eighties classics that’s actually better than you remember. Time of your life, huh kid?
The Right Stuff (Netflix, 4/1)
Don’t be deterred by the fact that Philip Kaufman’s 1983 masterpiece feels way too big to watch on your computer screen — even on IMAX, this movie would feel like it was spilling over the screen. A monumental portrait of the American test pilots who obsessively raced the Russians into outer space, this loose adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s 1979 book is an ode to the maniacs who had the courage to reach a hand into the unknown. It would probably be a miniseries if it were made today, but Kaufman’s gripping time capsule turns brevity into a virtue, the (192-minute) film so densely layering human ambitions with historical advancements that it becomes impossible to separate the two.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 2 (Netflix, 4/15)
They (still) alive, dammit! Starring the irrepressible Ellie Kemper as a guileless cult survivor, the first season of Tina Fey and Robert Carlock’s 30 Rock follow-up quickly established itself as one of Netflix’s most beloved original comedies. And now, just when it felt like you could only watch “Pinot Noir” two or three hundred more times, Kimmy is finally coming back for a blast of new episodes. It’s hard to predict what sort of shenanigans our favorite mole woman will get herself into this year, but you can safely expect series favorites Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess) and the brilliantly named Jacqueline Voorhees (30 Rock alum Jane Krakowski) to be along for the ride.