While local rep theaters are out of commission, we'll be putting together weekly watchlists of films readily available to stream. This week, we highlight the action genre in honor of the streaming debut of what is easily the year's best blockbuster (so far): Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.
Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey (2020)
A refreshing departure from the male gaze of Suicide Squad, director Cathy Yan's take on the misunderstood antiheroine Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) finds her carving out a new identity after a messy breakup with the Joker. Now she teams up with an all-lady crew to take down a sadistic club owner (Ewan McGregor, hamming it up in the best possible way). Amazon Prime, Google Play, HBO Go, Hulu, Vudu, YouTube.
John Wick: Chapter 3–Parabellum (2019)
Keanu Reeves stars as the titular John Wick, an excommunicado assassin on the run from a bevy of bounty hunters. Coordinated by the director's own stunt company (the same one hired for Birds of Prey), the high-octane action is relentlessly satisfying, relying on respectable martial arts instead of repetitious explosions and lazily choreographed gunfights. Amazon Prime, Google Play, HBO Go, HBO Max, Hulu, Vudu, YouTube.
Mission: Impossible–Fallout (2018)
In the most critically acclaimed installment in the seven-film (and counting!) franchise, our hero Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and the IMF team engage in a race against time to stop a dangerous extremist from acquiring nuclear weapons. Worth watching for Cruise's trademark frenzied running, the unbelievable stunt work, and Henry Cavill reloading his arms. Amazon Prime, Google Play, Hulu, Sling TV, Vudu, YouTube.
Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)
Quentin Tarantino's slick homage to samurai cinema centers on a deadly assassin (Uma Thurman) who, after awakening from a four-year coma, swears bloody vengeance against her former team who put her there. Volume 1's main antagonist is not Bill but O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), and it all culminates in one of the most unforgettable showdowns in cinema history. Amazon Prime, Google Play, HBO Max, Hulu, Showtime, Sling TV, Vudu, YouTube.
Saoirse Ronan can do it all: serious period pieces, contemporary romcoms and even artsy action. Here, she plays an isolated 16-year-old trained from birth to be the perfect assassin. Now ready to enter the real world, she sets out on a cat-and-mouse journey across Europe to take down a malevolent FBI agent (Cate Blanchett) and her mercenary (underrated character actor Tom Hollander). Amazon Prime, Google Play, HBO Go, HBO Max, Hulu, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.