From music to war to Jewish identity, this month sees a number of excellent films releasing to streaming services. With “Always Woodstock,” director and writer Rita Merson takes us on a tale that’s usually told about a man — a down-on-their-luck musician — and centers it around the character of Catherine Brown. With an all-star cast (Brittany Snow, Jason Ritter), the film is a dramedy about finding — and staying true to — yourself. Producer Nancy Spielberg brings us “Above and Beyond,” a chronicle of Jewish American fighter pilots with a woman director (Roberta Grossman) and writer (Sophie Sartain) in the cockpit, so to speak.
On the webseries front, we’ve got two very different comedies. “Bounty Hunters” is a low-fi action series filled with cheesy stunts and great one-liners, while “Pursuit of Sexiness” is an examination of the absurdity of what’s considered “sexy.”
Here are a few new titles for you to look forward to or catch up on this month on streaming services and online.
Always Woodstock – Written & Directed by Rita Merson (Available April 28)
“Always Woodstock” is the story of Catherine Brown (Allison Miller), a once starry-eyed singer turned label management to a difficult diva (Brittany Snow). After a series of events turn her life upside down, Catherine retreats to her hometown of Woodstock and picks up her music again. Catherine takes a journey into herself, falls out of love and back into it, and comes out stronger for it in the end.
Above and Beyond – Directed by Roberta Grossman; Written by Sophie Sartain (Available April 28)
“Above and Beyond” follows a group of Jewish American pilots who volunteer their services for the Israeli War of Independence. Their journey takes them to many unexpected places, from smuggling aircraft out of the United States to training in secret behind the Iron Curtain. These pilots helped shape the war effort in ways they could not have predicted, and changed their own lives as well. The film is produced by Nancy Spielberg and features a score from Hans Zimmer.
“Bounty Hunters” is a spin on the traditional tropes of the buddy-cop action genre. Created by Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, the three-part webseries packs on the funny moments and the kitschy action shots. There’s a definite feminist bent, especially in the final act (no spoilers here!).
Katz, who co-wrote the series, spoke to us about its inception, saying, “We knew we wanted to take on a genre that’s not usually portrayed by women, which led us to do an action series. But we were also trying to be creative with limited resources and flip the script by embracing our limited budget and fold it in as an element of the humor — the bad special effects, the VHS quality, and overall kitschiness. We also just really wanted to dress like Dog the Bounty Hunter.”
“Pursuit of Sexiness” is an absurdist take on our cultural obsession with “sexy.” Co-created by and starring Sasheer Zamata (“SNL”) and Nicole Byer, the series is currently releasing an installment every other Tuesday. The most recent episode was centered around the inherent sexiness of apples, and trust us, it’s hysterical.