With winter finally beginning to thaw and temperatures climbing back into clemency, it may be tempting to venture back into the outdoors and feel the sun on your skin. Resist this urge, for it is nothing more than a trap designed to distract you from all the important viewing you’ve got to do this month. Netflix unveils a Sundance-approved sci-fi thought experiment, a marvelous new children’s program and their latest co-production with the Marvel universe. Meanwhile, Amazon Prime has laid claim to a couple under-the-radar standouts from last year, and Hulu presents an grimy English period piece to rival Peaky Blinders. Here’s what you’ll be streaming this month.
Burning Sands (Mar. 10, Netflix)
Last fall’s indie release Goat investigated the hazing culture at one university frat; this drama takes a similar approach but shifts focus to the black side of Greek life, where the pressure of brotherhood and tradition may be even greater. Former American Crime star Trevor Jackson plays the freshman undergoing a rough initiation into this insular and violent world, and muscle-bound Moonlight breakout Trevante Rhodes also appears as one of the merciless older members tormenting the fresh meat. At last, a look at the dark underbelly concealed by Stomp the Yard.
The Discovery (Mar. 31st, Netflix)
If you knew for certain that beyond death lies paradise in the afterlife, would you cut to the chase and commit suicide just to get there? That’s the core question of the latest sci-fi head-scratcher from Charlie McDowell, last seen directing the doppelganger-infested romantic drama The One I Love. A scientist (Robert Redford) has conclusive proof of something like heaven waiting beyond, and a pair of lovers (Jason Segel and Rooney Mara) have a difference of opinion over whether leaving this plane would be worth it. Indie favorites Riley Keough and Jesse Plemons fill out the cast in this well-reviewed festival favorite, where death has become the easy way out. (Count us as slightly jealous.)
Everybody Wants Some!! (Mar. 17th, Amazon Prime)
Because every decade deserves its own Dazed and Confused, and Richard Linklater was nice enough to give us one for the 1980s. The filmmaker tracks a couple free-living, hard-partying days in the lives of the varsity baseball team before the new semester starts at an unnamed Texan university at the dawn of the Reagan era. Between merciless shit-talking, testosterone-fueled tests of strength and enough brew-chugging to put down an ox, the guys bond with one another. Like its Seventies counterpart, this college movie mixes archetypes, hedonistic pursuits and the director’s patented intellectual fat-chewing. There will be beer busts, and also meaningful conversations, and some more beer busts after that.
Gimme Danger (Mar. 23rd, Amazon Prime)
In the late Sixties, young James Osterberg was gathered some of his hooligan friends to make spitting, yowling, hot-blooded rock and roll capable of blowing the doors off garages. A few short years later, he was Iggy Pop, they were the Stooges, and the nascent genre of “punk” would never be the same. Dedicated rock history student Jim Jarmusch tells the story of the Stooges’ rapid rise and enduring legacy with this documentary, weaving in alternately amusing and revealing anecdotes from Iggy himself and a cast of collaborators. It’s like hearing “I Wanna Be Your Dog” for the first time, all over again.
Hannibal (Mar. 1st, Amazon Prime)
After Jonathan Demme – but before the brilliant, batshit, baroque NBC show – took on Thomas Harris’ famous intellectual psychopath, Ridley Scott took a crack at the gourmet cannibal back in 2001. No, his film didn’t get the critical acclaim or awards gold of The Silence of the Lambs; yes, it’s a marvelously gory piece of work in its own right. Anthony Hopkins reprises his role as urbane serial killer Hannibal Lecter, while Julianne Moore takes over as FBI agent Clarice Starling, tracking him down before his only surviving victim (Gary Oldman, deliciously deranged) preps a dish best served cold. Those with weak stomachs can safely pass on this one, but for viewers in search of the exotically gruesome, it’s simply to die for. And do try the liver.
Harlots (Mar. 29th, Hulu)
It’s another dirt-caked crime saga set a few hundred years ago, but Hulu’s latest sets itself apart from the likes of Peaky Blinders, Taboo or Deadwood by virtue of its woman’s-eye-view. Samantha Morton plays the proprietor of the best little whorehouse in 18th-century London, struggling to keep her illegitimate business afloat while protecting her charges and dealing with criminal rivals. To muddle her morals even further, she’s got to hide her misdeeds from her own daughters while trying to carve out a better life for them. Violence and elaborate production design have paired well in recent years; here, a generous helping of early proto-feminism ends up as the secret ingredient.
Iron Fist (Mar. 17th, Netflix)
Netflix has already found success with Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage – now they’ll round out their upcoming Defenders series’ roster with this solo project about New York’s premier kung fu master. Danny Rand (Finn Jones) abandons his family of billionaire industrialists to join a Buddhist monastery, where he learns the ancient secrets of martial arts. The series joins him as he returns home for the first time in 15 years, grappling with his conflicted identity while taking up the crimefighting mantle of Iron Fist. One flying-spin-kick at a time, he’s cleaning up the streets of Hell’s Kitchen.
Julie’s Greenroom (Mar. 17th, Netflix)
At the intersection of Broadway and Sesame Street is this new children’s program, in which estimable thespian Julie Andrews teaches kids about the joys of the performing arts. With a rotating cast of stage-friendly guests including Alec Baldwin, Ellie Kemper and Josh Groban, the living legend will give a diverse gaggle of felt-puppet youngsters the best entry-level acting workshop on the web. Your living room will be aliiiive, with the sound of music ….
Love, Season 2 (Mar. 10th, Netflix)
Everyone knows a Gus (Paul Rust) and a a Mickey (Gillian Jacobs): the couple that seems completely mismatched, but through some alchemy of romance, fits together perfectly. The second season of Netflix’s cringe–rom-com finds our nebbishy homebody and our flagrantly dysfunctional fem-slacker still making it work, as well as wrestling with sex addictions and trying their best to loosen up, anxious-Angeleno style. The trailer suggests there will be no shortage of Apatow-ian shenanigans as well.
National Treasure (Mar. 1st, Hulu)
No, not the popular historical adventure franchise in which Nicolas Cage elopes with the Declaration of Independence. This U.K. import has more serious ambitions, exploring the fallout from the revelation that a well-loved comedian (Robbie Coltrane) had been sexually abusing women under the radar for years. Echoes of the BBC’s Jimmy Savile-related scandal and Cosbygate are loud and clear, as women coming forward suffer character assassination and the perpetrator scrambles to salvage what’s left of his profile. The privilege of celebrity and imbalanced gender power dynamics are always a recipe for tragedy.