Header image courtesy of Wilson Webb (CTMG)
With cinemas around Hong Kong slowly returning to action with blockbuster re-runs, we’re paying attention to the big screen in our living rooms for the latest and greatest that Netflix has to offer. Paul Hsiao, chart maker and film enthusiast at Movieconomist, lists his most-anticipated releases arriving on Netflix Hong Kong in July.
When I think about mysteries, my preference is for the “unsolved” kind rather than the “solved” kind. Apparently, filmmakers from Netflix agree with me, as the powers that be revived the long-running 1980s show to capture new stories taking place in modern-day settings. The first season of the docuseries features unexplained disappearances, grisly murders, and paranormal encounters. Available 1 July
Like this? Try Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich for engrossing and gross documentary series on Netflix featuring real-life horrors.
Okay, Netflix, I’ll bite. The title alone makes me reminisce about the analogue days of walking through a video rental shop and waiting to be surprised by the crazy amount of B-movies out there that centre around a goofy premise. In this case, the goofy premise is an American teenager endowed with superpowers getting caught in-between the forces of heaven and hell. Rad. This Netflix original series blends sci-fi, teenage drama, and religious imagery in a series that clearly doesn’t take itself too seriously. Available 2 July
Like this? Consider Wu Assassin, a series about Kai Jin, a Chinatown chef who uses kung fu against triad members.
After losing his television show, raunchy Australian comic Jim Jeffries risks it all in a new Netflix comedy special to joke about cheese (he is lactose intolerant, hence the name of the special), political correctness, and bad dates. Available 7 July
Like this? Consider Joe Rogan: Strange Times for another bro-comedy stand-up special.
Too soon? The anime, based on a 1973 novel, asks what would happen if a cataclysm hit Japan in 2020. Director Masaaki Yuasa from Devilman Crybaby adopts a unique hand-drawn style in a tale that follows an ordinary Japanese family forced to make impossible decisions as they discover that Japan is literally sinking beneath their feet. Available 9 July
Like this? Consider Coronavirus 2020, a global pandemic that’s no fun for anyone. Wear a mask, save lives.
One of the best movies of 2019 is headed to the small screen in its Netflix debut. Based on the book we had to read in high school, Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson (where has she been?), Eliza Scanlen, and Florence Pugh play the March sisters, who manage love, money, and social attitudes in late-nineteenth-century America. Beautifully shot and lovingly produced, the film is a real gem and a modern taking on a classic novel. Available 9 July
Like this? Consider Lady Bird, also starring Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet as modern-day California teens on the verge of adulthood.
I don’t think having a Netflix documentary and camera crew is the best way to stay “down to earth” but you do you, Zac Efron. The former High School Musical star fulfils the ultimate coronavirus fantasy by getting paid to travel the world while seeking new ways of healthy living in this new docuseries. Available 10 July
Like this? Consider Breakfast Lunch & Dinner, another celebrity-based food and travel show hosted by Momofuku chef David Chang.
Part Aeon Flux and part Atomic Blonde, The Old Guard is a good old-fashioned action film wrapped under the superhero genre. Charlize Theron leads a band of seemingly immortal super-soldiers with the ability to heal extremely quickly. Expect fast actions, creative set-pieces, and another steely-eyed performance from Charlize Theron. Available 10 July
Like this? Consider Extraction from Marvel alum Chris Hemsworth for another pulse-pounding action thriller.
Based on a true story about a high school student who sells drugs to win the attention and affection of the love of his life, this quirky German coming-of-age teen comedy was a surprise hit when it debuted on Netflix last year. The second season ups the ante with increased scrutiny and competition on lead character Moritz, while keeping its bite-sized episode length. Available 21 July
Like this? Consider End of the F***ing World, a British coming-of-age drama about a teenager who believes he’s a psychopath and then goes on a road trip with his rebel high school friend.
With a cliffhanger involving the moon, fans of the acclaimed first season had to wait an excruciatingly long year to find out what happened to the Hargreeves children and the advent of a seemingly new supervillain. This new season promises more twists on the superhero genre and a deeper dive into the mythology of the series, based on a comic book written by Gerard Way, the lead vocalist for My Chemical Romance! Available 31 July
Like this? Consider Stranger Things, the Netflix smash that is also an unconventional take on the superhero genre.
When a group of teenagers pledge to have sex on prom night, their parents—led by John Cena, a.k.a. white Dwayne Johnson—band together stop them. While the premise seems regressive, the comedy actually is a somewhat raunchy take on double-standards and the silliness of cultural mores. Plus, the movie stars Geraldine Viswanathan, a young woman of colour—now that’s a rare sight in the Hollywood comedy scene. Available 1 June
Like this? Try Easy A on Netflix, a modern update on The Scarlett Letter that propelled Emma Stone to the Hollywood A-list (ha!).
A princess from a European land with a hidden past expresses her emotions through musical numbers. No, I’m not talking about Elsa, but you’d be forgiven to think that the 1997 film Anastasia comes from the House of Mouse since it contains all the tropes of a Disney Princess movie. In any case, the 1990s classic comes to Netflix after a successful Broadway adaption in 2016. Definitely one to keep the kids entertained while they wait for Frozen 3. Available 1 June
Like this? Consider Hayao Miyazaki’s Kiki’s Delivery Service, for a whimsical tale of an entrepreneurial young witch.
With many of us coming out of the lockdown period, it can be easy to forget how awkward and stressful social situations can be. To wit, the folks behind My Shy Boss, a comedic South Korean television series, capture the minutiae of social anxiety through the eyes of Eun Hwan Ki, the CEO of a public relations company who collides with Chae Ro Woon, an extremely energic extrovert. Available 1 June
Like this? Try What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim for more workplace K-drama.
Do you have what it takes to spell “koinonia,” never mind even know what it means? Well, these Indian-Americans featured in the Netflix original documentary probably do. This documentary takes a deeper look at the Indian-American cultural experience and how this subsection of the American population came to dominate the Scripps National Spelling bee for the last 12 years straight. Available 3 June
Like this? Consider Cheer, another documentary on Netflix that features competitive highschoolers this time in the realm of cheerleading.
The Fab 5 are back with ten episodes of the hit makeover show that now takes place in Philadelphia after a stint in Japan and Georgia. For those in lockdown like myself, the show promises to be a much-needed look at how people should dress since sweatpants and a t-shirt were my daily go-to. Available 5 June
Like this? Consider The Godfather, the 1970s classic that reinvented the gangster genre. Not really, just checking if you were reading.
Do you miss the 1990s? Take a walk and strike a pose (see what I did there) with the second season of Pose, the critically acclaimed television show centred around the LGBTQ culture scene in pre-Bloomberg New York City. Starring Kate Mara, James Van Der Beek (as a riff of Donald Trump), and Emmy Award-winning Billy Porter, the hit series chronicles the rise of ballroom culture during the times of AIDS. Available 11 June
Like this? Consider Hollywood, another period drama series with the same showrunner, Ryan Murphy.
Spike Lee, the director of BlacKkKlansman, The Inside Man, and Malcolm X, is back with a new historical epic starring Black Panther himself: Chadwick Boseman. In Da 5 Bloods, five Vietnam War veterans return to the Asian country after the war to recover buried gold they left behind. Available 12 June
Like this? Consider literally any other Spike Lee movie, or Triple Frontier, another film about soldiers-for-hire starring Ben Affleck.
The appropriately-named Filipino-American funnyman is back with his third Netflix comedy special that takes place in the Philippines. Brace yourself for biting takes on cultural differences and on-point impersonations. Available 12 June
Like this? Consider Jo Koy’s other stand-up specials on Netflix.
A surprisingly captivating satire of American politics, the first season of The Politician answered the question: “What if House of Cards was set in high school and starred Benjamin Platt and Gwyneth Paltrow?” The latest season picks up several years later, moving from sunny California to hustle and bustle of New York City, where Payton Hobart has moved on from high school politics to lead a statewide campaign against a wily incumbent. Available 19 June
Like this? Consider Ben Platt Live from Radio City Music Hall, also on Netflix.
Knowing nothing except the title, one would be forgiven for thinking that this Netflix original is a strange cultural mistranslation from Europe. However, this musical comedy stars Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams as a Nordic musical duo alongside 1990s James Bond Pierce Brosnan, Demi Lovato, and BBC host Graham Norton! Sure to be the sleeper comedy hit on the summer. Available 26 June
Like this? Consider Game Night, a surprisingly smart comedy starring Rachel McAdams that’s also on Netflix.