Most theaters are still closed, but new streaming movies are coming to entertain you and your family during socially distanced times.
This weekend is chock-full of fresh flicks: It’s a BOGO Seth Rogen situation with the comedian in dual roles for a new HBO Max comedy; director Amy Seimetz unleashes a contagion thriller unlike most; a teen dance movie arrives on Netflix (and it’s not bad!); Val Kilmer fights the good fight in a crime drama; Colin Firth is a hunchback in the latest adaptation of a children’s book favorite; and Liam Neeson heads to Italy in a father-son tale.
If that’s not enough to get you online and watching movies, the smartphone-loving streaming service Quibi has resurrected an old property with “The Fugitive,” an action thriller debuting new chapters daily that stars Boyd Holbrook as the innocent man on the lam and Kiefer Sutherland as the dogged cop in hot pursuit.
‘She Dies Tomorrow’:A freaky horror movie made more contagious thanks to COVID-19
Here’s a rundown of new movies hitting streaming and on-demand platforms this week, for every cinematic taste:
Rogen’s bread-and-butter humor is fleeting in this film that centers on an Eastern European man (Rogen) who falls in a vat of pickle brine and wakes up 100 years later, when he meets his great-grandson (also Rogen). What could have been a really interesting fish-out-of-water tale is instead a quasi-social satire that lacks any real focus.
Where to watch: HBO Max
Written and directed by Seimetz, the horror film – one of the most thought-provoking and haunting movies of the year – goes from fearful dread to absurdist comedy as it follows a woman (Kate Lyn Sheil) with an unshaking belief she’s going to die tomorrow, and she “spreads” that doomsaying to others. A great flick given extra depth by COVID-19.
Sabrina Carpenter stars as a brainy high school senior whose best chance to attend Duke involves starting her own winning dance team – even though she can’t dance – in a teen comedy that leaves no underdog trope behind, but the central band of pop-and-locking misfits is crazy charming, even if way familiar.
Where to watch: Netflix
The life of Oscar-winning lyricist Howard Ashman, who died at age 40 from AIDS, is the subject of this touching documentary. The best stuff comes digging into the creation of songs for “Little Shop of Horrors” as well as Disney classics “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin,” behind-the-scenes clashes with collaborators, and dedication to his work on “Beauty and the Beast” up until his final days.
Where to watch: Disney+
“Community” alum Gillian Jacobs stars as a writer who, fresh off her debut book release and a broken engagement, heads back to her alma mater to reconnect with her old university professor (Jemaine Clement). Along the way, she relives her glory days and gets involved in the various dramas of a young crew of creative writers in a solid tweak on a well-trod film subgenre.
These days, it’s plain weird to see Neeson not killing people in a movie. This dramedy is a pleasant detour from his recent fare: Neeson plays a widowed London artist who returns with his estranged son (Neeson’s real-life offspring Micheál Richardson) to a ramshackle Tuscan getaway he inherited from his wife. They find romance, redemption and picturesque views while trying to sell the place.
Where to watch: Apple TV, Google Play, Fandango Now
A follow-up to the fantastic “Red Army,” Gabe Polsky’s new documentary follows the involvement of an American marketing guru and various investors (including the Pittsburgh Penguins, Disney and Michael J. Fox!) in the post-Soviet Russian puck squad. It’s a wild affair that gets plenty grim by the end, but you can’t beat stories of beer-swilling bears, strippers and Zambonis.
It’s criminal how much acting talent is wasted in this unimpressive adaptation of J.M. Coetzee’s acclaimed book. Mark Rylance does what he can as a magistrate at an imperial frontier settlement keeping peace with Indigenous tribes, Depp is a ruthless colonel who arrives and viciously tortures the “barbarians,” and Robert Pattinson, as a third-act goon, should have sat this one out.
OK, so the crime drama about a British ex-con (Luke Goss) getting his crew back together to find lost millions is severely lacking. But it’s worth it just to see Kilmer, who had a tracheotomy as a result of throat cancer, still working, laying down the law as a dogged sheriff and co-starring with daughter Mercedes. (The old “Top Gun” star had his lines dubbed by a voiceover actor.)
Chelsea Peretti (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) brings her deadpan humor to this decent anti-romantic comedy of sorts. She plays the owner of a catering business nearing 40 who, after a breakup, faces her fears of forever being alone and works on figuring out a life sans love and fulfilling professional dreams.
David Ayer’s latest LA crime story isn’t his best (that’s “End of Watch”) and Shia LaBeouf’s turn as a gang enforcer maybe wasn’t worth getting a permanent chest tattoo. But “Tax Collector” makes for a solid breakthrough – with a harrowing third act – for Bobby Soto as a profit-collecting criminal who has to protect his family when a Mexican cartel makes a power move on his boss.
The latest adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beloved novel is dull and nowhere near magical. This time around, Dixie Egerickx plays the young orphaned girl sent from India to England to live with her reclusive uncle (Firth) and comes upon a wondrous, otherworldly garden. Unkempt and hunchbacked, Firth at least gets a transformative role, though not a good one.
Ex-“Saturday Night Live” regular Jay Pharoah plays a Kanye-esque global pop star so determined to win a Nobel Prize and do a concert for peace that he orders his British publicist (Katherine Parkinson) to stoke tension between warring Eastern European forces. It’s no “Wag the Dog,” that’s for sure.
Where to watch: Apple TV, Vudu, Fandango Now