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Welcome to Heat Vision Download, a monthly column from The Hollywood Reporter looking at upcoming movies, TV shows, books and games in the genre space.
From an overload of Star Wars and Marvel offerings (Disney+’s Bad Batch and Hulu’s M.O.D.O.K. to name a few) to Mass Effect: Legendary Edition arriving for fans of the sci-fi gaming franchise, May is not holding back. For the comics crew, a new noir by Pornsak Pichetshote titled The Good Asian arrives, following a haunted detective who is on the trail of a killer in 1936 Chinatown. A Quiet Place II also hits theaters this month, following the Abott family (Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe and Millicent Simmonds) as they venture further into their post-apocalyptic world than in the first movie.
Check out more of Heat Vision’s recommendations for what you can stream, play and read in May below.
WHAT TO WATCH
Star Wars: The Bad Batch (May 4 – Disney+)
Timed perfectly to Star Wars Day, the next Star Wars animated series arrives on Disney+. The series follows the elite and experimental troopers of Clone Force 99 (first introduced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars) as they find their way in a rapidly changing galaxy in the immediate aftermath of the Clone War. Members of Bad Batch, as they prefer to be called — a unique squad of clones who vary genetically from their brothers in the Clone Army — each possess a singular exceptional skill, which makes them extraordinarily effective soldiers and a formidable crew. The second episode premieres on Friday, May 7 and subsequent episodes will premiere on Fridays.
Army of the Dead (May 14 – Netflix)
Zack Snyder’s latest film features a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas and a group of mercenaries that take the ultimate gamble by venturing into the quarantine zone for the greatest heist ever. Dave Bautista stars in the action-horror film along with Ana de la Reguera, Omari Hardwick, Hiroyuki Sanada, Garret Dillahunt, Raúl Castillo, Nora Arnezeder, Matthias Schweighöfer, Samantha Win and Rich Cetrone.
Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. (May 19 – Hulu)
The animated stop motion streaming television series created by Jordan Blum and Patton Oswalt is based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Oswalt stars as M.O.D.O.K., a supervillain struggling to handle his company and family. M.O.D.O.K. will also feature voice acting by Ben Schwartz, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Melissa Fumero, and Beck Bennet.
Cruella (May 28 – Disney+)
Emma Stone stars as the dog-despising Disney villain who rose to fame with 1961’s 101 Dalmations. The 1980s-set origin story is from I, Tonya filmmaker Craig Gillespie, and fellow castmembers include Emma Thompson, Mark Strong and Paul Walter Hauser.
John Krasinski’s follow-up to his 2018 film set in a post-apocalyptic world where blind creatures hunt humans based on sound arrives late May. The Abbott family is set to venture further afield than in the first movie, which took place primarily in and around their homestead and neighboring town. They soon learn that the creatures they are familiar with at home aren’t the only terrors that lurk outside their doorstep. The film will be available on Paramount+ after 45 days in theaters.
WHAT TO PLAY
It Takes Two (Hazelight Studio)
This playful action-adventure platformer from Swedish developer Hazelight Studios released March 26, but games sometimes take a minute to ramp up steam — it is by far the buzziest game of the current moment and well worth exploring if you haven’t already. The game is director Josef Fares’ follow-up to 2018’s co-op prison-break adventure A Way Out, which won best multiplayer at the BAFTAs in 2019. It Takes Two is more whimsical than its predecessor, involving a narrative of marriage, divorce and relationship building, and puzzles that require players to really work together and talk about what their approach is going to be. And then there’s the Book of Love… which, if you don’t already know what that refers to, we’ll let it be a discovery.
MLB the Show 21 (Xbox, PlayStation)
This baseball game — the 16th entry in the franchise — hails from San Diego Studio and Sony Interactive Entertainment and arrived on Xbox Game Pass at launch on April 20, as well as PlayStation consoles. Even for non-baseball fans, or those who know little about sports in general, the cinematic qualities of the game and ease of getting into the “swing of things” may just be enough to welcome newcomers.
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition (May 14 – PC, Xbox One and PS4, PS5 and Xbox Series X and S)
Developer Bioware and publisher Electronic Arts are releasing this compilation of games from the legendary (for lack of a better word) sci-fi third-person, role-playing shooter trilogy Mass Effect, remastered and optimized for 4K Ultra HD.
WHAT TO READ
Project Hail Mary (May 4 – Random House)
The best-selling author of The Martian is back with a new science-based thriller. In Project Hail, Weir tells the story of Ryland Grace, the sole surviving astronaut of a desperate mission to save humanity and Earth — only he doesn’t know it. After losing his memory including his name and his assignment, Ryland awakens far from home and is hurtling through space on a tiny ship. With his crewmates gone, Ryland must learn to carry out his mission before the clock runs out. The story is described as “an irresistible interstellar adventure” and “a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian — while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.”
The Good Asian (May 5 – Image Comics)
Pornsak Pichetshote’s The Good Asian follows Edison Hark, a haunted, self-loathing Chinese American detective on the trail of a killer in 1936 Chinatown. The nine-issue noir explores race through a genre lens and will hit shelves in time for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters (May 5 – Marvel)
The Marvel Comics crossover Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters will see Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Doctor Aphra, Boba Fett, the galaxy’s deadliest bounty hunters, and more on a collision course for the greatest prize of all: Han Solo. The epic series begins with War of the Bounty Hunters Alpha No. 1 on May 5.
How to Mars (May 25 – Tachyon Publications)
Described as a story that “follows the tradition of Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles, with a dash of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and a hint of The Real World,” comes a sci-fi adventure from author David Eberbach. The story centers on six scientists who are selected by the Destination Mars! Corporation and given a one-way ticket to Mars — however, they must conduct a lifetime of research and be filmed while doing so for a reality show back on Earth. While on the surface it seems like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the scientists soon experience troubles as tempers flare and good equipment fails leaving them to ignore restrictions and discover new things about Mars.