Wondering what to watch this weekend? Summer is around the corner and many summer movies have arrived on streaming, as there's a bounty of large scale movies across various genres and moods.
Take the ever-ridiculous, forever sincere Fast & Furious movies: a vast collection of petrolhead blockbusters that strongly insist that they’re just as much about the concept of chosen family as they are about cars breaking the laws of physics.
Marvel at the wild, silly and gory Malignant on Prime Video, another demented American horror mainstay springing from the imagination of James Wan and screenwriter Akela Cooper, taking a wilfully camp approach that feels like it was inherited from Wan’s brief time on the Fast & Furious movies with Furious 7.
Read more: Everything new on Disney+ in June
And of course, you can always simply reminisce, with a collection of the Indiana Jones movies on Disney+, action adventure classics that even Harrison Ford is openly sentimental about, Spielberg’s pulpy, globe-trotting treasure hunts remaining immensely entertaining even through the series’s rougher patches.
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Fast & Furious 9 | Netflix (pick of the week)
Moments before watching Ludacris and Tyrese Gibsons’ characters get launched into Earth’s orbit with a car tied to a rocket, many longtime viewers of the Fast & Furious franchise will reminisce about when the story was simply a Point Break knockoff about street racers boosting combination TV and VCR players. But that was 22 years ago, and this series has some sharks that need jumping over.
Read more: Everything new on Netflix in June
In the absence of Paul Walker the Fast & Furious family have undoubtedly lost something, and every subsequent entry following the ridiculous but surprisingly heartfelt Fast & Furious 7 (Walker's final film before his untimely death) has felt like the writers just spinning their wheels.
After an ill-advised Hobbs & Shaw spinoff with The Rock and Jason Statham (that was too self aware for its own good) Justin Lin’s return to La Familia with F9 felt promising, a return to some of that infectious sincerity. This turned out mostly true, even as the characters began to reflect on their imperviousness to death and the number of ridiculous things that they’ve done with cars along this incredibly long road.
Introducing John Cena as Dominic Toretto’s long lost brother with a grudge, F9 does hold on to that soap-operatic, family-first mentality and capably combine it with its decades-long escalation. It’s a shame that even as Lin suggested that a lot of the stunts are done in-camera that it feels like uncanny digital sludge in a lot of cases, it’s easy to get swept up in the winking absurdity of it all.
F9 is dangerously in on the joke this time around, but that doesn’t mean the joke isn’t funny.
Also new on Netflix: Paw Patrol: The Movie (2021), A Beautiful Life (2023)
Malignant (2021) | Prime Video
Take this as a ringing endorsement: watching Malignant in the cinema made me pass out, and I still had a good time. (Typically I am fine with horror — I don’t jump scare easily, gore used to be fine, seems to be less so nowadays). James Wan (of Furious 7, Aquaman, Saw and The Conjuring fame) is back with another wild horror hit in Malignant and perhaps his wildest yet.
Read more: Everything new on Prime Video in June
Taking a slow but bloody build in its investigation of the nightmares plaguing Madison, whose altercation with an abusive husband triggers strange dreams, and visions of people being killed in home invasions that later turn out to be real events.
Watch a trailer for Malignant
The reveal of what exactly is happening — though you think you might know the actual answer — is utterly jaw-dropping. Up to that point the film is a campy delight, with some rather off-kilter line readings and hilarious dramatic emphasis, one revelation that in any other context is rather mundane, is dramatically scored to a cue that sounds reminiscent of Pixies’ “Where is My Mind”.
It all culminates in an action sequence for the ages, with Wan putting his action chops to work in the confines of a police station. It was at this point where the gore became a little too much, I’ll admit. But before that moment, I was cackling with disbelief at how far Wan and screenwriter Akela Cooper took their concept for their unique slasher.
Malignant is probably more manageable for the faint of heart on a smaller screen, and, I imagine, no less audacious.
Also new on Prime: The Covenant (2023)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) | Disney+
Even as the quality of the movies themselves vary, there’s a timeless appeal in watching Steven Spielberg and George Lucas’s treasure-hunting, whip-wielding, snake-fearing and Nazi-beating hero Indiana Jones do his thing.
The unimpeachable blockbuster classic Raiders of the Lost Ark (though elements of it of course show their age) is as rousing as action adventure stories come, following Harrison Ford’s impossibly handsome professor in pursuit of the Ark of the Covenant itself, hoping to put it in a museum before the Nazis can wield it for more nefarious purposes.
Read more: The Indiana Jones movies ranked
It’s hard to say anything additive about Spielberg’s work as director here. Much has been noted about how satisfying almost every narrative beat is, from its oft-parodied opening to the fabled stories about how Harrison Ford was tired one day, so he decided to have Indy just shoot the guy with the sword. For pretty much every millennial, and anyone with parents raised on it, it’s all enshrined in memory.
It’s a little more difficult to make a case for the even-numbered entries, though Temple of Doom is memorable for its historic stretching of the age-rating system, it rivals the more recent Kingdom of the Crystal Skull for being the series’s rockiest entry.
But even so, Spielberg always proves a compelling guiding hand behind the camera. For every wrong-headed story beat there’s something that’s simply irresistible around the corner.
Also new on Disney+: White Men Can’t Jump (2023), Avatar (2009)