HBO Max’s new additions to its library this week have — to no surprise — exceeded expectations. Among the best new movies and shows of May on the streaming platform are Hacks, The Time Traveler’s Wife and the controversial release of The Matrix Resurrections. There’s so much to choose from, but only two days to relish it all. Thankfully, CBR has suggestions to make it easy to narrow it down. Kick-off the weekend by sitting back and enjoying these standouts movies and TV shows, from supernatural horror twists to DC’s attempt at an anime feature.
The Matrix Resurrections Is a Cyber-Savvy Imperfect Sequel
There was once a time when it seemed impossible that another Matrix movie would ever grace the big screen, but 2021 proved otherwise. After 18 years, Keanu Reeves returned as the protagonist Neo in The Matrix Resurrections. While Lilly Wachowski didn’t return to direct the film, Lana Wachowski independently directed the fourth installment of the Matrix film franchise, as well as producing and co-writing. Other key cast members, such as Carrie-Anne Moss, Jada Pinkett Smith and Lambert Wilson, also returned to the sequel.
The film is set 60 years after the events of The Matrix Revolutions, and Neo is once again Thomas Anderson, now a programmer who created a video game called “The Matrix” based on his faint memories as Neo. The Matrix Resurrections is a trip down memory lane but also doesn’t overstay its place as — let’s face it — a fan service reboot. It doesn’t feel like a repeat of what’s been seen in previous Matrix films, but it reminds viewers of what made the franchise so meaningful and fascinating.
Hacks Has a Smart Way With Comedy
Hacks is comedy at its finest, especially when it’s fueled by the mean stabs the two protagonists, Deborah Vance and Ava, throw at each other. It’s not mean in that it crosses inappropriate lines that disguise itself as “comedy,” but mean in the sense that sometimes people just don’t like each other, and that’s okay. Hacks Season 2 picks up where the Season 1 finale left off — Deborah and Ava hit the road after Ava discovers she emailed producers embarrassing stories about Deborah.
The concept of two people hating each other but being stuck in a confined space for a lengthy period is a staple in will-they-won’t-they love stories. Hacks isn’t a love story, but it’s very much a story of two people from different generations struggling to become friends. Deborah is older and has a much-outdated view of feminism but knows the comedy world by heart. Ava is younger and quite progressive but also a hot mess. The creatives behind Hacks effectively use their differences to create something unique and smart about the relationship between these two polar opposites, and it works for the better.
M. Night Shyamalan Puts the “Old” in Bold
If there’s one thing M. Night Shyamalan will do, it’s give viewers some interesting ideas that will turn enough heads. Old is fascinating enough as a concept, and even if it falls through sometimes, there’s no turning back after starting the movie. Starring an ensemble cast of Gael García Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Alex Wolff, Thomasin McKenzie and Eliza Scanlen, Old follows a family who finds themselves rapidly aging on a secluded beach.
Without getting into spoiler territory, Old has a twist ending that has received polarizing responses. But honestly, what did people expect going into an M. Night Shyamalan film? The writer and director is famous for his twist endings, so it’s best to go into Old with no expectations and an open mind. By far, the best aspect of the film is Thomasin McKenzie’s performance, who is undeniably becoming a staple scream queen in this next era of horror films. Capturing the essence of Old‘s supernatural and terrifying elements, McKenzie pulls the film in the right direction when everyone else seems to be forgetting they’re actually in a horror film.
Catwoman: Hunted Combines Anime With DC
Continuing everyone’s obsession with the revamped and improved version of Catwoman after Zoë Kravitz stepped into the iconic role, HBO Max has released DC’s newest animated film about the antihero, Catwoman: Hunted. It stars Elizabeth Gillies as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, who might continue to voice the comic book character since Dynasty has been canceled on the CW. In addition, big-name stars such as Stephanie Beatriz, Jonathan Banks, and Lauren Cohan join the cast in supporting roles. A bonus for the film is that OLM, the Japanese studio behind the Pokémon anime series, provided the animation for the film, giving it an anime style.
In classic Catwoman fashion, the animated film follows Selina Kyle as she tries to steal a priceless jewel. Her venture pulls her into the world of criminals and villains alike, along with the hero Batwoman (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz). Among these villains is Jonathan Banks’ Black Mask, who was recently portrayed by Ewan McGregor in the live-action movie Birds of Prey. While there are dozens of DC animated films to choose from in HBO Max’s library, Catwoman: Hunted has been praised for being a fun, anime-style take on the character, especially as DC is opening the door to telling stories about its female characters beyond Wonder Woman.
Does The Time Traveler’s Wife Struggle to Move Forward?
On Sunday, May 15, The Time Traveler’s Wife is finally coming back to the screen — this time as a television series. The Time Traveler’s Wife is a little rocky and maybe a little confusing at times, but it’s always been that way. The HBO series is based on the 2009 major motion picture, which was also based on the 2003 novel of the same name. The crux of the story is that a man time travels unwillingly at the most random moments in his life, and his poor wife bears the brunt of it.
Time travel and multiverses are all the rage right now, and for fans who love Stephen Strange’s undying, multiverse-spanning love for Christine (Rachel McAdams) in Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness, this is another love story to latch onto. Coincidentally, McAdams also played Clare in the 2009 Time Traveler’s Wife, so maybe the multiverse is real. 2022’s The Time Traveler’s Wife is expected to be a lovey-dovey, exposition-filled pile of pretentiousness, but how is that any different from Marvel’s obsession with the multiverse? The least The Time Traveler’s Wife can do to be a massive improvement is address the grooming aspect that has loomed over its story for decades.
The Staircase, Crazy Rich Asians and Other Movies & TV Shows on HBO Max This Weekend