Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi bring funny vampires to FX. And Reinaldo Marcus Green’s “Monsters and Men” is streaming on Hulu.
What’s on TV
WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS 10 p.m. on FX. Are Staten Island vampires any different than New Zealand vampires? Fans of the 2015 mockumentary “What We Do in the Shadows” are about to find out. The funny Kiwis Jemaine Clement (of Flight of the Conchords) and Taika Waititi (the director of “Thor: Ragnarok”) have taken that movie, which they directed, and turned it into a TV series of the same name. The series trades the Wellington vampire roommates of the film for a group of ancient bloodsuckers struggling to adjust to life on Staten Island. But its laughs tend to come from the same source as the film’s: mainly, the vampires’ tendency toward human folly. “Humans are so [expletive] stupid and boring and lazy that given the gift of immortality, you’d never get around to doing anything,” Waititi recently told The New York Times. “You’d just put off everything. People that have been alive for 5,000 years, going: ‘I’ve got forever to learn how to play violin. Why start now?’”
MONSTERS AND MEN (2018) Stream on Hulu; Rent on Amazon, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube. John David Washington may have been most visible in 2018 as a Ku Klux Klan-infiltrating police officer in Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman,” but that wasn’t his only leading role last year. In this debut feature from the writer and director Reinaldo Marcus Green, Washington plays Dennis, an African-American officer in New York who struggles with knowledge of his squad’s racism. He makes up about a third of the narrative here, alongside the “Hamilton” actor Anthony Ramos as a Brooklyn father who witnesses a police shooting and Kelvin Harrison Jr., who plays a teenage baseball star turned activist. As their stories play off one another and the political heat rises, Jeannette Catsoulis wrote in her review for The Times, “the movie stays cool, its smooth, smart climax in keeping with its levelheaded tone.”
GET OUT (2017) Rent on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube. When Jordan Peele came out with this searing freakout comedy, audiences still knew him best as half of the sketch comedy duo Key & Peele — not as an auteur of socially attuned horror films. That side of Peele, evident in his new blockbuster, “Us,” first blossomed with this tale of Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), a young black photographer who goes on a weekend trip to the hometown of his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams).
MEEK’S CUTOFF (2011) Stream on Amazon, Hulu and Kanopy; Rent on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube. Michelle Williams stars in this slow burning, pre-Civil War western. Directed by the indie filmmaker Kelly Reichardt (“Wendy and Lucy”), it follows a group of wagon-riding settlers traveling through the Oregon desert. In his review for The Times, A. O. Scott called the film “a bracingly original foray into territory that remains, in every sense, unsettled.”