socially distanced times.
This weekend is packed with high-profile projects. Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall reprise their 1980s characters for a long-anticipated comedy sequel coming to Amazon Prime, Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina voice a young warrior and her dragon pal in a Disney+ fantasy adventure and SpongeBob SquarePants and Co. are back in a goofy animated comedy premiering on the newly launched Paramount+ streaming service.
If you’re feeling the itch to get back to the movies in person, and there’s a drive-in or it’s safe enough to return to your local theater, there are a few fresh new flicks. “Chaos Walking” is a young adult sci-fi adventure starring Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley, “Boogie” is a coming-of-age film about a hoops phenom directed by Eddie Huang (“Fresh Off the Boat”) and the documentary “The Truffle Hunters” chronicles old Italian men and their cute dogs who sniff out valuable truffles.
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But if you’d rather stick closer to home, here’s a rundown of new movies hitting streaming and on-demand platforms this weekend, for every cinematic taste:
Murphy returns as soul singer Randy Watson, witty barber Clarence, old Jewish guy Saul and most importantly Akeem in the anticipated sequel to his 1988 classic comedy. The follow-up, unfortunately, doesn’t do the original justice, with Akeem taking on the kingship of fictional Zamunda, learning he sired a son (played by Jermaine Fowler) back in Queens, New York, and having to deal with a pesky military foe (Wesley Snipes). It’s not a complete disaster but there’s enough good stuff wasted here to be irksome.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime
Disney Animation has its best movie since “Moana” introducing Raya (Tran), a young nomadic warrior who seeks out a mythical water dragon named Sisu (Awkwafina) and a bunch of gem pieces to save her world from monsters that turn people into stone. Raya is the cornerstone of some surprisingly intense fight scenes, her travel partner Sisu is a hilarious yet thoughtful creature, and although it hits familiar story beats, “Last Dragon” satisfies as an immersive, fiery fantasy for all ages.
Where to watch: Disney+
Whether you’re a SpongeBob SquarePants super fan or are just learning the idiosyncrasies of Bikini Bottom regulars, there’s something to enjoy. SpongeBob (voiced by Tom Kenny) and BFF Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke) venture to the Vegas-like Lost City Of Atlantic City to find SpongeBob’s beloved sea snail Gary when he goes missing. Though it mostly acts as a 90-minute trailer for the kid-friendly new “Kamp Koral” TV series, you have to respect any movie that casts Keanu Reeves as a wise tumbleweed.
Where to watch: Paramount+
Like “The Cannonball Run” meets “Groundhog Day,” director Joe Carnahan’s ultra-bloody, bullet-riddled film stars charismatic and musclebound Frank Grillo as a former special forces agent targeted by assassins who’s living the day of his murder – by various gory means – over and over again, which might have something to do with his scientist ex-wife (Naomi Watts) and her military boss (Mel Gibson). Come for a nice balance of clever and goofy popcorn-movie fun, stay for cameos from Ken Jeong and Rob Gronkowski.
Where to watch: Hulu
Directed by Amy Poehler, the teen dramedy centers on a high schooler named Vivian (Hadley Robinson) who, tired of seeing rampant misogyny, slut-shaming and marginalization around her, decides to take on the patriarchy. Inspired by her mom (Poehler), a former revolutionary back in her day, Vivian anonymously publishes a zine that galvanizes her peers in a solidly told narrative with the occasional teen movie cliches but with a healthy amount of positive messaging for young girls and boys alike.
Where to watch: Netflix
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While Armie Hammer’s career is in crisis after recent allegations, at least he’s opposite some sizable names in his new drama. That said, with three not-quite-intertwining stories about the country’s current drug problems, it’s an all-star mess. Hammer’s plotline is fairly interesting as he’s cast as an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agent trying to break up a Canadian fentanyl ring, and his path crosses with a vengeful mom and former addict (Evangeline Lily). The most superfluous tale centers on Gary Oldman, who plays a college professor testing for a nonaddictive painkiller that’s too good to be true.
Based on Simon Mawer’s book “The Glass Room,” the historical melodrama is laid on thick with two friends, Liesel (Hanna Alström) and Hana (Carice van Houten), who hide their growing love for each other amid life-altering strife. The movie begins in the 1930s when Liesel and her wealthy Jewish husband (Claes Bang) commission an exquisite minimalist house in Czechoslovakia, and Liesel and Hana pine for each other from afar as their lives are torn apart by Nazis and Soviets but also circumstance. While the movie meanders through the decades, “Affair” at least gets it together for a satisfying ending.