The Best Movies and TV Shows New on Netflix Canada in May

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ImageClockwise from top left: Scenes from “Space Force,” “The Big Flower Fight,” “Hannah Gadsby: Douglas” and “All Day and a Night.”
Credit…Netflix

Every month, Netflix Canada adds a new batch of TV shows and movies to its library. Here are the titles we think are most interesting for May, broken down by release date. Netflix occasionally changes schedules without giving notice.

Movies

‘All Day and a Night’

Starts streaming: May 1

As a screenwriter, Joe Robert Cole has quickly established himself in Hollywood, with his two credited episodes of “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” leading to a gig co-writing “Black Panther” with Ryan Coogler. Now Cole steps behind the camera for his directorial debut, “All Day and a Night,” the story of a young African-American man trying to break a multigenerational cycle of crime and incarceration. Ashton Sanders stars as the lead character in the present day, beginning a prison stint that inspires him to look back on the events leading up to his conviction, particularly his difficult relationship with his father, played by Jeffrey Wright.

‘The Half of It’

Starts streaming: May 1

It’s been 15 years since writer-director Alice Wu made “Saving Face,” an influential L.G.B.T. indie set in a Chinese-American community. She’s finally returned with another story with similar themes. In “The Half of It,” Leah Lewis stars as a lonely straight-A student in a backwater town called Squahamish who helps an amiable jock (Daniel Diemer) find the words to woo a pretty classmate (Alexxis Lemire). But this Cyrano de Bergerac situation takes a turn when Lewis develops feelings for the same girl. Their love triangle, with its fluid borders of attraction, challenges the conservative strictures of the town and of Lewis’s single father.

‘Thoroughbreds’

Starts streaming: May 1

With director Cory Finley earning acclaim for his excellent new HBO movie “Bad Education,” the true story of an embezzlement scandal at a Long Island high school, it’s worth returning to his 2017 debut feature “Thoroughbreds,” which takes an even darker view of privileged suburbanites. Shot in an impeccably formal style that serves its deadpan comic tone, the film stars Anya Taylor-Joy and Olivia Cooke as upper-class teenagers who rekindle their friendship after years of estrangement. When one discovers the other has been paid to hang out with her, the fallout from that revelation leads to a tenuous bond and the hatching of a diabolical plot.

‘Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics’

Starts streaming: May 11

Is it ever fun for a sober person to listen to someone describe what it’s like to be high? The comic documentary “Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics” may be the one time the answer to that question is yes, given the who’s-who of alt-comedy stars who appear in it. Hosted by Nick Offerman, the film uses animation and re-enactments to visualize the drugged-out experiences of various funny people, including Adam Scott, Sarah Silverman, Paul Scheer, Rosie Perez, Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, A$AP Rocky and many others.

‘The Lovebirds’

Starts streaming: May 22

Originally scheduled for an early April release through Paramount Pictures, this Issa Rae-Kumail Nanjiani romantic comedy is coming straight to Netflix instead, which isn’t the most promising sign, given how well the Paramount-to-Netflix castaway “The Cloverfield Paradox” went over after the 2018 Super Bowl. Still, there’s reason to hope that Nanjiani’s reunion with Michael Showalter, the director of his breakthrough comedy, “The Big Sick,” might be worth a look. In “The Lovebirds,” Rae and Nanjiani star as a couple whose plans to break up are interrupted by a murder mystery that sends them off into the night, fleeing the authorities while working to prove their innocence.

TV

‘Hollywood’

Starts streaming: May 1

The prolific writer/producer Ryan Murphy tends to be pretty hit or miss —for every triumph like “Pose” or “American Crime Story,” there’s a dud like “The New Normal” or “The Politician” — but he always takes a big swing. Returning to the Golden Age setting of his Bette Davis/Joan Crawford series “Feud,” Murphy and co-creator Ian Brennan attempt an alternate history of post-World War II Tinseltown in “Hollywood,” a series about the impossible aspirations of a racially and sexually diverse group of dreamers. Their efforts to break down social barriers decades before history would actually budge naturally meets with resistance, though Murphy and Brennan still pay homage to the glamour and excitement of the age.

‘Into the Night’

Starts streaming: May 1

There are respectable reasons to sample a TV show — a reliable creator, a great cast, a thoughtful hook. But sometimes a premise is so absolutely bananas that it cannot be denied. The Belgian TV series “Into the Night,” based on Jacek Dukaj’s best seller “The Old Axolotl,” starts with the wild notion that the sun itself, due to some unexplained cosmic event, is killing everything in its path. And so the passengers on a flight out of Brussels are heading west to outrun the sunset. It’s a little like “Snowpiercer” on a plane, with a cross-section of humanity bunkered in against the apocalypse outside their windows, but presumably their fuel supplies are finite.

‘Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours to Kill’

Starts streaming: May 5

A month full of big-name stand-up specials on Netflix kicks off with a new hour from Jerry Seinfeld at the Beacon Theater in New York City. The preperformance opening riffs on James Bond, but once Seinfeld gets onstage, it’s safe to expect that assortment of everyday observational comedy and petty gripes that have long been his stock in trade. Though his “Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David has enjoyed a much livelier creative career since the show went off the air, Seinfeld has been packing houses as a stand-up for decades and still knows how to deliver a polished set.

‘Dead to Me: Season 2’

Starts streaming: May 8

In the first season of “Dead to Me,” Christina Applegate starred as a recently widowed housewife whose friendship with a woman (Linda Cardellini) at her grief support group developed far more quickly than normal. By the time dark secrets were revealed about her new buddy, their lives were already so deeply intertwined that she couldn’t untangle them easily, especially after a late-season incident in the backyard pool that made them partners in crime. The second season picks up with the two women dodging a local detective (Diana-Maria Riva) and welcoming more chaos into their lives, but plot aside, the appeal of the show is watching these two seasoned comic actresses bounce off each other.

‘The Eddy’

Starts streaming: May 8

Jazz music was a central component of Damien Chazelle’s first two movies, “Guy and Madeline one a Park Bench” and “Whiplash,” and even his third movie, the throwback musical “La La Land,” has a scene where Ryan Gosling jazz-splains the form to Emma Stone. So there’s reason to be excited for Chazelle’s involvement in “The Eddy,” a French musical drama series from the British creator Jack Thorne, who recently wrote the stage play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” Chazelle directed the first two episodes of the show, which follows a club owner (André Holland) who struggles to manage the ups and downs of operating a jazz venue in Paris.

‘Trial By Media’

Starts streaming: May 11

Some hugely talented documentary filmmakers, including Garrett Bradley (“Time”) and Yance Ford (“Strong Island”), have contributed their time to this ambitious six-part doc series about how certain high-profile trials have been transformed by public attention — and rarely to just ends. The court of public opinion can render judgments powerful enough to penetrate actual courtrooms, stoked by intense media presence. Among the cases re-examined here are Jenny Jones’s various Court TV murder trials, Rod Blagojevich’s political fall from grace and the police shooting of the African immigrant Amadou Diallo.

‘The Big Flower Fight’

Starts streaming: May 18

With Covid-19 delaying the shooting of the next season of “The Great British Baking Show,” fans desperate for the polite craftsmanship of domestic artisans have reason to panic. Well, panic no more! It seems crazy that Netflix produced a Canadian glassblowing competition (“Blown Away”) before a reality competition show as obviously appealing as floral arrangements, but “The Big Flower Fight” comes along at just the right time. Over eight episodes, 10 teams compete to produce the prettiest, most elaborate garden installations, with an emphasis on conservation and environmental sustainability.

‘Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything’

Starts streaming: May 19

In his third special for Netflix, following 2016’s “Talking for Clapping” and 2017’s “Annihilation,” the brilliant stand-up Patton Oswalt returns with an hour that focuses on his domestic life, with bits about crossing the 50-year threshold, raising a mischievous daughter and the follies of buying a new house. No doubt “Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything” will also be speckled with political japes and pop-culture references, too, shot through with the vivid wordplay that sets him apart from other humorists. As a bonus, Oswalt has included an hourlong tribute to the veteran comic Robert Rubin.

‘Hannah Gadsby: Douglas’

Starts streaming: May 26

When Hannah Gadsby’s one-woman show “Nanette” arrived on Netflix in 2018, she set the culture pages ablaze with a brazen act of anti-comedy in which she announced her retirement from stand-up mid-show and spent the majority of the special unpacking the uglier aspects of the form. Though “Nanette” mostly enjoyed an excellent reception, including a Peabody Award, the show had some vocal detractors, mostly from the straight white men who were the target of her ire. In her new special “Douglas,” Gadsby fires back with another work of serio-comic destruction, taking aim at the patriarchy and comedians like Louis C.K. while putting her own vulnerabilities on the line.

‘Space Force’

Starts streaming: May 29

With “The Office” finally leaving Netflix at the end of the year for the NBC streaming site Peacock, subscribers have lost a comedy that’s been reliable living-room background noise for years. But the service has responded by reuniting creator Greg Daniels and star (and co-creator here) Steve Carell for “Space Force,” which brings the workplace dynamic of “The Office” to the latest branch of the U.S. military. Carell, John Malkovich, Ben Schwartz, Diana Silvers and Tawny Newsome star as the professionals tasked with building Space Force from the ground up, even though it’s never clear exactly what they’re supposed to do.

Also of interest: “Back to the Future” (May 1), “Das Boot: Director’s Cut” (May 1), “Warrior” (May 1), “Iron Man 3” (May 7), “Valeria” (May 8), “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy Vs. the Reverend” (May 12), “The Wrong Missy” (May 13), “White Lines” (May 15), “I’m No Longer Here” (May 27) and “Somebody Feed Phil: Season 3” (May 29).

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