socially distanced times.
This weekend, Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer team up as powerful best buds in a Netflix superhero comedy, Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker try to solve Biggie Smalls’ murder in a cop thriller, and a bunch of furry friends is chronicled in a dog-filled documentary.
If you’re planning to return to your local theater, “Voyagers” stars Lily-Rose Depp, Tye Sheridan and Colin Farrell in a sci-fi thriller about 30 genetically engineered young adults sent into space to save humanity on a mission that turns into an intergalactic “Lord of the Flies”-type situation.
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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:
The best comedy directed by Ben Falcone (aka McCarthy’s husband) so far – which isn’t a very high bar – imagines a world full of supervillains with no heroes to beat them down. A construction worker (McCarthy) reconnects with her childhood best friend (Spencer), who’s unlocked a way to give normal folks extraordinary abilities, and the dynamic duo starts busting heads. It’s an overly earnest take on the superhero genre that’s best when leaning into its goofier side – i.e., Jason Bateman’s charismatic crook with crab arms.
Where to watch: Netflix
Johnny Depp’s troubled off-screen life has taken over the headlines, but this immersive drama proves the dude’s still got it acting-wise, especially alongside another top-notch performer like Whitaker. Wanting to fix his reputation, a journalist (Whitaker) looks into the 1997 unsolved murder of rapper Notorious B.I.G., and in seeking out the truth, he dives in deep with a former LAPD detective (Depp) whose theories and probable suspects got him in trouble with his bosses back in the day.
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Matthew Salleh and Rose Tucker’s documentary looks at human/dog dynamics across the world, from pub pooches in Scotland to pets in Uganda who help former child soldiers deal with past trauma. There’s some tonal whiplash – an extremely disturbing but honest account about dogs being used as food in Vietnam segues right into furry friends semi-worshipped and given rice snacks in Nepal – but it’s a fascinating, surprising watch that’ll have you doling out extra puppy hugs by the end.
Cruel basic-training scenes a la “Full Metal Jacket” and “An Officer and a Gentleman” are seen with a new perspective in this movie, titled after a gay slur in Afrikaans. Set in 1981 South Africa, Nick (Kai Luke Brummer) is a closeted young man ordered to serve his compulsory military service and defend the Apartheid regime. Surrounded by racist and homophobic peers, he discovers feelings for a fellow soldier (Ryan de Villiers). It’s a moving film about both sexual identity and the psychological wounds of battle.
With her marriage on the rocks, a woman (Jill Awbrey) travels to a high-tech house in the middle of nowhere for an anniversary getaway with her husband (Bart Johnson). As soon as he gets there, though, the invasion horror film kicks into freaky gear as they’re held hostage inside by a strange masked man with a penchant for old-fashioned manners and misogyny. The core conceit and twisty reveal are neat even if the execution’s a bit rough.
The acting’s overdone and the action’s only a little better in this bland revenge thriller. When a powerful gangster (a miscast Jay Mohr) kills the wife and young daughter of a college professor (Dilan Jay), the teacher takes a shot at him, misses and gets a jail sentence for the effort. He teaches himself self-defense and meets a pro bono lawyer (Luke Goss), who helps free the grieving man and introduces him to his band of secret masked avengers.
Be prepared for melodrama, schmaltz and an ending you can see coming most of the movie with this teen flick. Angie (Emma Kennedy) is a butterfly-loving 17-year-old who runs away after a heinous car accident and decides to save the world – plus reconnect with her estranged dad (Darri Ingolfsson) – while those affected by the crash work out issues in their own lives looking for the missing girl. Even though the emotional manipulation is laid on thick, there’s too many random subplots for it to actually sink in.