Who is the king of the jungle, man or beast? Idris Elba finds out the hard way in the unnerving new action thriller, “Beast.” A widower doctor takes his estranged teenage girls to Africa to visit a wildlife preserve. They encounter an enraged lion out to kill all humans after his pride is wiped out by poachers. It’s understandable if you have flashbacks to movies like “Cujo” or “The Grey.” While formulaic, “Beast” benefits from a strong cast and convincing special effects.
New on Netflix, the high-concept comic drama “Look Both Ways” involves an intriguing premise. A young woman, played by Lili Reinhart, is about to graduate from a Texas college. One night she takes a pregnancy test. At that point the plot splits into two parallel stories, one in which she’s in the family way and abandons her career goals and the other in which she’s not pregnant and goes off to LA to pursue her dreams. It doesn’t completely fulfill its promise, but the “what if” scenario and a likable cast make “Look Both Ways” worth a look.
“Prey,” the fifth installment in the “Predator” franchise, is a surprise sleeper hit on Hulu. But the biggest surprise is that it’s probably the best film in the series. This prequel is set in North America in the 1700s where a young Comanche woman, beautifully played by Amber Midthunder, tries to prove herself as a hunter. Unfortunately, she becomes the hunted as the alien Predator stalks both animal and human quarry. The visuals are first rate, as are the direction and editing. The action is impeccably staged and the tension mounts as the filmmakers skillfully find ways to make this bizarre story seem plausible. “Prey” is one sci-fi opus worth tracking down.