7 Best New Movies on Hulu in May 2021
Hulu is a go-to destination for watching your favorite TV shows, but the streaming service has also built out quite an impressive film library over the years, from breakout Hulu Originals like Palm Springs and Happiest Season to some of the most recent awards contenders and a whole bunch of old favorites. And this month has a fittingly impressive selection of new movies streaming on Hulu that run the gamut, from the latest A24 horror gem to one of the most beloved animated films of all time.
In fact, this month is so jam-packed with good movies, it was pretty dang difficult to cull the down to just seven must-watch movies, so be sure to check out the full list of all the new movies and shows on Hulu in May if you don’t find what you’re looking for here.
The Iron Giant
Image via Warner Bros.
Available: May 1
Director: Brad Bird
Writers: Tim McCanlies and Brad Bird
Cast: Eli Marienthal, Vin Diesel, Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr., James Gammon, Cloris Leachman, John Mahoney, Christopher McDonald, M. Emmet Walsh
The thing about The Iron Giant is that it will make you cry, but you’ll probably walk out of feeling somehow revived and optimistic, even if it takes a while for those sniffles to go away. Brad Bird‘s 1999 animated adventure isn’t afraid to get deep (and deep up in your feels), using the backdrop of Cold War paranoia, the wow-factor of a giant robot from space, and the earnest innocence of a sweet young boy named Hogarth (Marienthal) to explore what it means to kill, what it means to save a life, and what makes a hero. It all starts when Hogarth stumbles upon and sparks up a lovely friendship with the Iron Giant – an awe-inspiring space robot who eats metal, possesses a swiss army knife-style array of incredible gadgets, and has an extraordinary ability to fix himself – and it’s all just swell until his newfound friend catches the eye of the American military. The Iron Giant asks how weapons might feel about the horrible things we do with them and comes up with some pretty devastating answers, but it also, essentially, never loses sight of hope. It’s also just a downright stunning piece of hand-drawn animation, with sequences so stunning they had me asking why we don’t give out awards for lighting in animation.
Image via Well Go USA
Available: May 1
Director: Lee Chang-dong
Writers: Oh Jung-mi and Lee Chang-dong
Cast: Yoo Ah-in, Steven Yeun, Jeon Jong-seo
Burning is one of those movies that’s best when you just let it wash over you and let yourself drift with the tides of its strange tale, so I’ll keep this one short. Lee Chang-dong‘s 2018 film follows Jong-su (Yoo Ah-in), an aspiring novelist who has a chance encounter with his childhood classmate Shin Hae-mi (Jeon Jong-seo) just before she takes a trip to Africa. When she returns, she has a handsome and mysterious new stranger on her arm (Steven Yeun), who strikes up his own strange bong with Jon-su. A bit of a love triangle, a bit of a thriller, Burning is a gorgeous mystery, but not quite in the conventional whodunnit sense (though there is a bit of that too) – instead, everything in Burning is up for investigation. It’s a film that’s all about reading between the lines, things unsaid and forces unseen, and the socio-economic circumstances that keep it that way. It’s fascinating in its slow-burn approach to evading easy answers, languid but never lazy, and ultimately consuming in the questions it leaves you with.
Blast from the Past
Image via New Line Cinema
Available: May 1
Director: Hugh Wilson
Writers: Hugh Wilson and Bill Kelly
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Alicia Silverstone, Christopher Walken, Sissy Spacek, Dave Foley
One of the more forgotten and overlooked rom-coms from the height of the peak Brendan Fraser Era (ever may he reign), Blast From the Past is a sweet, silly, sometimes very funny take on the familiar fish-out-of-water comedy that Fraser was so utterly triumphant in. This time Fraser stars as Adam, the son of an eccentric scientist (Christopher Walken) who locked himself and his wife (Sissy Spacek) in their idyllic, impeccably stocked bunker for 30 years after he became convinced of a nuclear bomb strike. But it wasn’t a bomb that struck their home, just a crashed plane. So when Adam returns to the surface a decade later, he arrives in 1990s Los Angeles, dashing and (ahem) clueless when he meets Alicia Silverstone‘s Eve and, of course, falls in love.
It’s very silly and very sweet (though there are a few yikes-worthy dated jokes in the mix, they’re the product of characters who are clueless rather than cruel); a refreshing spin on the man out-of-time trope that’s elevated by Fraser’s singular knack for endearing oddity and the magnetic chemistry he shares with Silverstone.
Image via Gramercy Pictures
Available: May 1
Directors/Writers: Lana and Lilly Wachowski
Cast: Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, Joe Pantoliano, Christopher Meloni
Do you like your thrillers super sexy and stylish as hell? Well, friends, then you really can’t do much better than Bound. The feature debut from Lana and Lilly Wachowski premiered three years before they would change action cinema forever with The Matrix, and while it may not have the pioneering set-pieces or mult-reality existential scale of their subsequent works, it’s a knockout showcase for their command of frame, inspired use of aesthetic, and investigation of identity, presented in the packaging of a puzzle box neo-noir. And its just declious in every way; seductive, sensual, funny, relentless, and full of twists that pay off with one bloody turn after the next. It even has Christopher Meloni going full ham as a sadistic mafioso. What more could you want? Well, how about a great love story?
Jennifer Tilly stars as Violet, a subversion of the mob doll femme fatale, alongside Gina Gershon as Corky, a hardened ex-con. The two lock eyes in an elevator and it’s immediately electric, leading to a steamy love affair, and eventually, a plan to steal $1 million of mob money from Violet’s money-laundering boyfriend Caesar (Joe Pantoliano) and make a clean break. Tilly and Gershon have all-timer chemistry and their yearning is palpable, giving the audience an immediate emotional hook into all the hyperviolent hijinks that are about to unfold. Ultimately, Bound is one of the best films ever made about desire. Desire for your lover, sure, but also the desire for more, the desire for a better life, and the desire to be your truest self, out in the open, without fear.
Image via Fox International
Available: May 1
Writer/Director: Na Hong-jin Cast: Kwak Do-won, Hwang Jung-min, Chun Woo-hee Watching The Waling is a bit like catching sight of something humanity was never meant to see. It’s peeking behind a rickety curtain that was left intentionally askew and immediately wishing you never saw through the cracks because there’s definitely something sinister as hell back there. The South Korean crime thriller-meets-demonic nightmare centers on Kwak Do-Wan‘s everyman detective Jong-Goo, who is drawn into the nasty realm of demons and spirits when his job leads him to a string of horrifying murders. Each crime is committed by a dazed perpetrator fallen ill with a severe rash, and when he wakes up to find his daughter in the same condition, his life rapidly spins out of control as he desperately tries to uncover the source of the scourge. Director Hong-jin Na keeps the pace pounding and the surprises coming (including one of the best on-screen uses of lightning of all time) and he’s seemingly incapable of backing down from the grim or the grisly. I won’t lie, The Wailing is also pretty cryptic and fairly confusing on a first watch, especially to viewers who might not be familiar with the film’s cultural mythology, but that perspective allows you the opportunity to go hunting for answers, and like a mirror of the film itself, investigating its meaning only draws out further horrors.
Image via A24
Available: May 13
Director/Writer: Rose Glass
Cast: Morfydd Clark and Jennifer Ehle
A24 is known for a lot of things; phenomenal marketing, atmospheric horror movies we’re apparently gonna argue about forever, outrageously priced merch you can’t help but want – but for me, their most impressive emerging hallmark is their directorial debuts. From newcomers like Ari Aster and Robert Eggers to familiar names like Greta Gerwig and Bo Burnham, A24 has become a home for first-time filmmakers with striking vision. Rose Glass is the latest filmmaker to enter the ranks, with her striking, disquieting horror debut Saint Maud.
Morfydd Clark stars as Maud, a devout young caretaker in the throes of an unknown trauma that sparked her newfound piousness and passionate devotion to god. When she’s assigned to a dying woman (a stunning Jennifer Ehle) who wants nothing to do with religion, Maud becomes determined to save her soul whether she wants it or not, sparking a contentious camaraderie and mutual fascination that plays out in toxic, visceral games of will. Both actresses are outstanding, and Glass delivers a brutal descent into grief, mortality, and the dangers of all-consuming evangelism. Coming off of steady festival buzz and a great marketing campaign, Saint Maud should have been A24’s next big, buzzy horror breakout, but unfortunately got tangled up in the chaos of pandemic reshuffling. So be sure to do yourself a favor and watch it now that it’s on streaming.
Available: May 18
Director/Writer: Harry Macqueen
Cast: Colin Firth, Stanley Tucci, Pippa Haywood, Peter MacQueen, James Dreyfus
Bring a tissue – actually, you should probably just bring the whole box because the 2020 drama Supernova is a lean, focused character drama that tackles a heartbreaking subject and commits to it, without much in the way of feel-good distractions or balmy platitudes. The film follows longtime couple Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci), a quiet, steady pair of artists in a loving relationship who are attempting to contend with Tusker’s early-onset dementia. As Sam navigates the complicated process of grieving a loved one who’s still with you, Tusker faces the daily challenge of casual forward-looking conversation and the wrenching question of whether or not he’ll still be here – or even if it is, will his mind still really be his?
It is every bit as devastating as it sounds, but it’s also beautiful. Because at its core, Supernova is about the love between these two men, the steady and enduring partnership they’ve built together and how they continue to build it to withstand even this tragedy; and of course, Firth and Tucci are every bit as phenomenal as you’d expect. Their performances – the tangible, lived-in sense of shared history they create – are the real selling point here, and the duo absolutely delivers. At just 93 minutes, Supernova falls a little short in investigating some of its most challenging final conflicts, but it’s still a beautiful story about love, and not just the hazy swooning days of falling in love, but the long-term, putting-in-the-work love of life partners.
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About The Author
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Haleigh Foutch is a writer, editor, host, actor, and cat enthusiast based in Los Angeles. She’s currently Senior Editor of Content Strategy and Analytics at Collider, where she’s been climbing the ranks and screaming about the unsung genius of Grosse Pointe Blank for nearly a decade. She also oversees Collider’s horror content and co-created The Witching Hour podcast, previously appeared as a regular panelist on Movie Talk, and has written for Rotten Tomatoes, Complex, Birth.Movies.Death., and more. You can usually find her sharing Buffy the Vampire Slayer memes on Instagram, rehearsing the Five Movements from The OA, and asking people about their pets.
From Haleigh Foutch