HBO Max is home, but before that 4-hour novelty arrives in mid-March, let’s take a look at what other movies the premium streamer is offering. From recent flips involving a lock, to a sweet comedy about great-grandparents preserved in pickle jars, HBO Max has an eclectic bag of original stars streaked with stars.
Whether you like this or not probably depends on how much you like Seth Rogen. You get a lot of it – he plays two roles in American Pickle, first playing Herschel Greenbaum, a combative Jewish worker who emigrates to America in 1919. He finds a job at a pickle factory – and that’s where things get weird – he falls into a bowl of pickles that keeps him 100 years. He wakes up in 2019 in Brooklyn and hangs out with his great-grandson Ben, also played by Seth Rogen. If you accept this creative premise, then this is a great small screen comedy with impressive chemistry between Rogen and Rogen.
This is a cute little gem on HBO Max. Unpregnant stars Haley Lu Richardson and Barbie Ferreira as a friendly duo move to a place where pregnant teenager Veronica (Richardson) can have an abortion. Yes, it’s a matter of choice, because Veronica’s parents refuse to give her permission to have an abortion. But it also goes into the key speed of all travel movies, showing a beautiful friendship between two potential clients.
Charm City Kings
The drama of coming of age with motorcycles. Charm City Kings plays a fresh young cast, including Jahi Di’Allo Winston as Mouse, a 14-year-old overwhelmed by the cycling world of Baltimore, to the regret of his mother. The strength of the film lies in the impressive young talent and strong directing of scenes that involve motorcycle action. Plus, WandaVision fans will see Teyonah Parris in the supporting role. It’s not perfect, but it has a lot to admire.
This is a bit of a novelty. See what Robert Zemeckis (director of Back to the Future) and Anne Hathaway did with their retelling of Roald Dahl’s classics. Jahzir Kadeem Bruno is a Hero Boy, a young man whom Hathaway’s occasional CGI’d Grand High Witch turns into a mouse. Nobody says that it is close to the original from 1990, Anjelica Huston, but it is intriguing enough to take a look at it.
Let them all talk
Meryl Streep plays an eccentric author in Steven Soderbergh’s comedy. What else do you need to know? If you want to know more: Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Hughes (Streep) struggles to complete her next book, haunted by her literary agent (Gemma Chan). She embarks on a cruise ship with old friends, who inspired her most famous work. Tensions are strong. It looks great – Soderbergh uses sharp, natural light – and much of the dialogue is improvised. See how Dianne Wiest, Candice Bergen, Lucas Hedges and the rest of the impeccable cast are having fun with it.
Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor star in this surprising rom-com robbery film by Doug Liman (Bourne’s identity). The film was written and shot during the lock, and the pandemic actually appears in the background of the film. Hathaway and Ejiofor play a couple who plan to rob a goldsmith in London while most of the shops are closed. Their relationship struggled in locking and they reevaluate a thing or two in the middle of their crazy caper. It’s not the sweetest move, but you’re mostly in it because of the charisma of Hathaway and Ejiofor. Involving a pandemic will either intrigue or repel you.
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