‘The Trip to Greece,’ ‘Moonwalkers’ and More Streaming Gems

There are laughs aplenty in this month’s off-the-grid suggestions for your subscription streaming services, along with a trio of wildly different but equally thrilling action pictures.

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By Jason Bailey

‘The Trip to Greece’ (2020)

Stream it on Hulu.

The most unlikely film franchise this side of Richard Linklater’s “Before” trilogy, the decade-long “Trip” series began as a feature film recut from a six-part BBC2 television series, with the British comic actors Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon taking a road trip to review restaurants in northern England. As subsequent installments spread across the continent, ambitions expanded as well; what began as, essentially, a foodie tourism show became a meditation on celebrity, aging and friendship. This most recent (and reportedly final) installment finds the duo retracing the steps of Odysseus, but this time around, it’s not just about pretty scenery and funny imitations. We’ve grown attached to these slightly fictionalized versions of the actors, and the pathos of the closing sections are both unexpected and genuine.

‘Moonwalkers’ (2016)

Stream it on Amazon Prime Video.

Rupert Grint has kept a fairly low profile since the “Harry Potter” series came to its conclusion, but his starring turn in this ’60s-set, what-if comedy-thriller indicates his capacity for a strong second act. As a small-time rock promoter who gets pulled into a scheme to hire Stanley Kubrick to help fake the moon landing, Grint conveys a hilariously sweaty desperation and up-for-anything spirit, while Ron Perlman is nicely matched as the hard-nosed C.I.A. man coordinating the operation.

‘Beatriz at Dinner’ (2017)

Stream it on HBO Max.

A question for the good liberals: What would you do if you found yourself invited to your employers’ dinner table, and, by pure accident, seated across from Donald Trump? That’s the provocative hypothetical for this comedy of manners directed by Miguel Arteta and written by Mike White, who would follow up this feature with similarly pointed questions of class as the creator of “The White Lotus.” Salma Hayek plays the title character, a massage therapist whose last-minute invite to dinner with regular clients puts her in proximity to a Trump-esque real estate developer (John Lithgow), and seething at his every affable insult. Running a trim 82 minutes, this is a compact hypothetical whose plot twists are genuinely eyebrow-raising.

‘Official Competition’ (2022)

Stream it on Hulu.

Films about filmmakers, especially in recent years, tend to lean into self-congratulation — misty-eyed valentines to the magic of moviemaking, and to the noble if flawed souls who strive to put their art onscreen. This wildly funny and unapologetically cynical satire from the Argentine duo Gastón Duprat and Mariano Cohn is a welcome antidote to all of that. Penélope Cruz (in perhaps her loosest and looniest performance to date) is an eccentric filmmaker hired by a multimillionaire to helm a film adaptation of his favorite book; her reputedly uncompromising artistic integrity proves flexible for the right price. She uses that financial leverage to bring in Spain’s biggest movie star (Antonio Banderas, of course) and its most respected actor (Oscar Martínez), setting up a heady battle of celebrity vs. talent. All three actors clearly have a ball biting the hand that feeds them, and their fun is infectious.

‘Hit & Run’ (2012)

Stream it on HBO Max.

The character actor Dax Shepard stars, writes, and co-directs (with David Palmer) this cheekily silly and undeniably entertaining throwback to the car-chase comedies of his youth. (Who’d have thought blockbusters would become so dire that we’d one day long for the pleasures of “Smokey and the Bandit”?) Shepard is all charm as a one-time criminal whose stint in witness protection comes to an abrupt end, sending him gunning for the hills with his current girlfriend (Kristen Bell) in tow. Shepard stages his chases and crashes with élan, fills his supporting cast with colorful characters and generates genuine stakes and chemistry with Bell — unsurprising, since they’re longtime, offscreen partners.

‘The Last Stand’ (2013)

Stream it on Netflix or Hulu.

The (comparative) box office indifference to Arnold Schwarzenegger over the past decade or so has been a real bummer, since he’s doing some of his most challenging and surprising work to date. In this energetic and entertaining barnburner from the director Kim Jee-woon (“The Good, The Bad, The Weird”), Schwarzenegger stars as an aging sheriff whose small border town is the last line of defense against a drug lord on the run; Luis Guzmán, Johnny Knoxville, Peter Stormare and Forest Whitaker are among the stellar supporting cast. Kim cooks up a flavorful stew of influences, blending the “Rio Bravo”-style neo-Western narrative with the action pyrotechnics of vintage Schwarzenegger and Kim’s batty, comic, postmodern style.

‘Coriolanus’ (2011)

Stream it on Amazon Prime Video.

Ralph Fiennes stars in and (for the first time) directs this muscular take on one of Shakespeare’s lesser-known tragedies, adapted with wit and grace by the screenwriter John Logan. Fiennes reunites with his “Hurt Locker” cinematographer Barry Ackroyd, and the choice makes sense; Fiennes and Logan update Shakespeare’s tale to the contemporary military theater, and the parallels between this bloody tale of civil unrest and endless war (shot in Serbia and Montenegro) and U.S. actions in Afghanistan and Iraq are impossible to ignore. Fiennes is ferocious in the title role, making a meal of every rich soliloquy, while marshaling an impressive supporting cast, including Gerard Butler, Jessica Chastain, Vanessa Redgrave and a pre-“Succession” Brian Cox.

‘Dragged Across Concrete’ (2019)

Stream it on Netflix.

The writer and director S. Craig Zahler is carving out something of a niche as an old-school exploitation filmmaker, with unapologetically grim and blood-soaked riffs on the western (“Bone Tomahawk”), prison picture (“Brawl in Cell Block 99”) and, here, the cop-and-criminal flick. Vince Vaughn and Mel Gibson star as police detective partners suspended in a high-profile brutality scandal whose need for income makes them step to the other side of the law. Zahler’s skill at staging a bang-up set piece is undeniable, and he displays a welcomely nuanced interest in the blurry, gray lines that separate good and evil.

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