No Time to Die, the 25th installment in the long-running James Bond series, and Daniel Craig’s final turn as the iconic M16 superspy, finally makes its way to theaters this week. A24’s supernatural horror film Lamb, starring Noomi Rapace and Hilmir Snaer Gudnason, also releases in theaters this weekend. If you’re not feeling up for either explosive car chases and shoot outs through exotic locales or nail-biting suspense set in picturesque Icelandic landscapes, there are still tons of great new movies new to VOD and streaming this weekend to watch from home..
Black Widow, the swan song for a different superspy, finally comes to Disney Plus following its US theatrical premiere this past July, while M. Night Shyamalan’s Old comes to VOD this weekend months after its theatrical debut — almost like a traditional movie release!
To help you get a handle on what’s new and available, here our guide to the movies you can watch on video on demand and streaming this weekend.
Where to watch: Available to stream on Disney Plus.
Set between the events of 2015’s Captain America: Civil War and 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, Black Widow finds Natasha Romanoff alone and on the run after siding with Steve Rogers in the wake of the Sokovia Accords. Pursued by a mysterious assassin known as the Taskmaster, Natasha turns to old allies and confronts her sordid history to find answers and possible redemption for the sins of her past. From our review:
Black Widow mostly feels like an apology. It arrives as the 24th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, two years (one of them a pandemic mulligan) after the 22nd film, Avengers: Endgame, featured an emotional scene that in no uncertain terms killed off Black Widow’s main character, Natasha Romanoff. Black Widow had been a consistent presence in the MCU since 2010’s Iron Man 2, and she was one of the key connective figures that helped all of these movies actually feel like a universe. She also seemed to be one of the only women of consequence in the entire franchise. And after coming and going, she’s only getting her own stand-alone movie now, which makes Black Widow feel like an afterthought. It’s only the second MCU film to star a female character, and that character isn’t even alive to take us somewhere new.
The premise of Old, the latest horror thriller from director M. Night Shyamalan, is as terrifying and cockamamie as you’d expect from the title alone. Following a family vacationing at a tropical resort, the premise takes a dark turn when they and other fellow guests at the resort find themselves trapped on a mysterious beach with no way to escape. Even worse, their bodies are rapidly growing and deteriorating at an alarming rate, forcing the group to search for a way to safety before their bodies crumble into dust. One of the people trapped on the beach, played by The Underground Railroad’s Aaron Pierre, is a rapper named Mid-sized Sedan. Really. From our review,
Old has been marketed and constructed as a thriller — the opening act is steeped in dread, and its horror comes from the whittling down of its small cast, both psychologically and mortally. But it’s also a surprisingly sentimental film. While its title and premise presume a focus on an adult fear of aging and death, Shyamalan’s script and staging is overwhelmingly concerned with children. The few scenes before the beach are almost entirely from their perspective, as Trent, precocious and smart, rattles off facts and makes friends, and his older sister Maddox looks out for him. The nightmare of the beach isn’t what happens to the adults, who ought to know better, but the children, who, mere feet away from their parents, are thrust into adulthood without any guidance at all, getting a lifetime’s worth of regret compressed into a few moments.
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
The sequel to 2019’s Escape Room sees returning stars Taylor Russell and Logan Miller joining an all-new cast of characters as they are once again thrust into a deadly series of challenges orchestrated by the mysterious Puzzle Maker. Does it manage to tap into the same characteristic charm that made the first film a surprise hit? From our review,
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions, seemed like the perfect opportunity for smarter contestants and more devious traps. Instead, the sequel abandons clever mysteries in favor of more straightforward action-horror, losing some of what made the original special in the process.
Where to watch: Available to stream on Shudder
The fourth installment in the long-running found footage horror anthology series takes it all the way back to 1994, following a SWAT team who uncovers a series of videotapes depicting the interconnected crimes and rituals of a sinister and elusive cult. Featuring returning directors Simon Barrett (You’re Next) and Timo Tjahjanto (The Night Comes For Us) as well as new contributors Jennifer Reeder (Knives and Skin), Ryan Prows (Lowlife), and Chloe Okuno, V/H/S/94 looks like another stunning, grotesque hodgepodge of anthology horror.
If you’re up for a brightly colored and frantically paced sci-fi body horror comedy that exists equidistant between 2018’s Mandy and 2017’s Good Time, then Fried Barry will probably be your jam. Actor-director Ryan Kruger’s feature debut stars Gary Green as Barry, a drug-addled vagrant wandering the streets of Cape Town before being abducted — and subsequently possessed — by an invasive alien lifeform. Taking his body for a joyride, the now feral Barry wanders through city tripping into one misadventure after another, forced to take ever more copious amounts of drugs, fornicate, beat the living daylights out of people, and in general just be a menace to anyone and everyone who has the misfortune of crossing his path. The trailer looks lurid, intense, and all types of weird. Fried Barry’s been available to stream on Shudder since it first premiered earlier this year, but now you can rent it on VOD, too.
There’s Someone Inside Your House
Where to watch: Streaming on Netflix
Creep director Patrick Brice’s slasher film There’s Someone Inside Your House stars Sydney Park (The Walking Dead) as Makani Young, a teenager who moves from Hawaii to a quiet town in Nebraska to finish high school. All is not well however, as a mysterious killer has taken to stalking and viciously murdering her classmates, all while wearing masks patterned after their own likeness. Produced by Shawn Levy (Free Guy) and James Wan (Malignant), Brice’s film is latest in Netflix’s recent string of exclusive horror movies. From our review,
The originality of Netflix’s recent horror offerings is questionable, which is to say that these movies often stand on the shoulders of their genre predecessors. The Fear Street series nods so often at Scream, Friday the 13th, and The Witch that it fell short in developing an identity of its own. No One Gets Out Alive noticeably overlaps with His House in terms of reimagining a haunted house as a source of socially fraught terror and tension. And the streaming service’s latest, There’s Someone Inside Your House, is similarly indebted to films like Black Christmas, Haze, and I Know What You Did Last Summer, which it explicitly references. There is one creepy conceit in There’s Someone Inside Your House, but that one genuinely spooky detail can’t counter the overall familiarity. There’s Someone Inside Your House is intermittently effective, but ultimately unremarkable, and it feels like a product of its time in disappointing ways.
And here’s what dropped last Friday:
Ryan Reynolds stars in Shawn Levy’s sci-fi action comedy Free Guy as Guy, an NPC working as a bank teller in a massive open-world video game filled with chaos and mayhem. Seemingly unaware of both of the nature of the world and his own, Guy is perfectly content with his life until he crosses paths with a mysterious player named Millie (Jodie Comer) on a personal mission inside the game. Donning a pair of special glasses that allows him to see the game for what it is, Guy attempts to help Millie and discover more about himself in the process. From our review,
The first half of Free Guy is solid, with several great gags and subtle background nods to popular game franchises like Halo or Megaman, which won’t necessarily stand out, except to the most eagle-eyed viewers. But in the the film’s latter half, and especially its final act, Free Guy starts dabbling with a whole mess of ideas, including, but not limited to, performative online personas, collective action as a catalyst for systemic change, gun violence in America, a rebuke of toxic online behavior, and regrettably, a deus ex machina resolution powered entirely by highly recognizable licensed IP.
The Many Saints of Newark
Where to watch: In theaters and available to stream on HBO Max
Set many years before events of The Sopranos, Alan Taylor’s The Many Saints of Newark follows a young Tony Soprano (Michael Gandolfini) who is taken under the wing of his uncle Richard “Dickie” Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola) and shown the up-and-coming gangster the family trade. As the DiMeo crime family’s hold over the divided city of Newark begins to wane, the Sopranos and other competing crime families make their move to secure power, wealth, and respect in a bid to become the new reigning family. From our review:
[David] Chase provides plenty of Sopranos fan service. The younger versions of most of the show’s major characters appear, played by actors essentially imitating the originals. (Most successful: Corey Stoll as Junior Soprano, capturing the essence of Dominic Chianese’s Junior performance, playing a man who manipulates people from the sidelines by constantly complaining.) The movie is also littered with Sopranos Easter eggs, most notably in the choice of New Jersey locations, many of which are incredibly important on the TV series.
Really, The Many Saints of Newark is more like two Sopranos flashback episodes yoked together than it is a proper motion picture. But what ultimately matters most is that they’re good flashback episodes.
The Forever Purge
Set eight years after the events of 2016’s The Purge: Election Year, The Forever Purge opens with the New Founding Fathers of America having reassumed control of the US government and re-instituting the annual Purge. Following the Purge’s resolution, a band of lawless marauders decide to prolong the Purge indefinitely, wrecking a wave of havoc as survivors attempt to protect themselves. From our review,
While the Purge franchise’s lack of subtlety is a big part of its charm, The Forever Purge is probably the biggest test of these movies’ unsubtle methods. There’s the delicious irony of a scenario where Americans desperately want to get into Mexico, but it’s burdened with a condescending execution. While Adela and Juan are ostensibly the protagonists, the Tucker family get all the actual character arcs. An overwhelming chunk of The Forever Purge’s brisk 103 minutes is devoted to the film’s Mexican immigrants saving the Tuckers’ lives, helping them survive, and furthering their moral development. It is, frankly, an insulting running thread that sours an otherwise deft horror-thriller.
The Card Counter
Paul Schrader follows his 2018 spiritual drama First Reformed with a moody vehicle for Oscar Isaac. The actor plays William Tell, an ex-military interrogator-turned-gambler who makes it his personal mission to reform a troubled young man (Tye Sheridan) out for revenge against Major John Gordo (Willem Dafoe). With the backing of La Linda (Tiffany Haddish), Tell and his protege set out on the road with their sights set on winning the World Series of poker in Las Vegas. Having screened out of festivals, early word is that Schrader has once again delivered a gnarly human drama. Vulture critic Alison Wilmore wrote in her review:
William recognizes the puerility of Cirk’s dead-end mission, and without acknowledging the degree it’s also his, dedicates himself to helping the young man move on. The Card Counter takes place in a punishing world of windowless casinos, hotel ballrooms, and highways devoid of scenery — a vision of the America used to justify the actions that now so traumatize William, that is intentionally bereft of poetry until La Linda takes William to a park illuminated by Christmas lights. If it’s not a country worth losing your soul for, it’s also not one that will pay any mind to a life spent wallowing in angst over it, either.
Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix
Jake Gyllenhaal stars in Antoine Fuqua’s The Guilty as Joe Baylor, a LAPD officer-turned-emergency call operator trying desperately to a save the life of a caller as the city is wracked by a deadly forest fire. Not everything is as it seems however, as Joe must turn to unconventional means in order to come to his caller’s aid and uncover the truth behind their encounter. Gyllenhaal’s role is far cry from the unhinged derangement of his performance in 2014’s Nightcrawler, but the tone of trailer feels remarkable similar in its implicit insidiousness. Written by True Detective writer-creator Nic Pizzolatto, The Guilty looks as engrossing and exciting as anything Fuqua and Gyllenhaal have done in the past. From our review:
Though Fuqua’s films haven’t shied away from the misdeeds of law enforcement — recall the showy, malevolent character that won Washington his Training Day Oscar — they’re usually juxtaposed with innocent, honest police. The Guilty only really has one “real” cop on screen at all; the rest are voices on the other end of the phone, or officers who aren’t irritated about their full-time work at the call center. The phone-only cast is impressive: Peter Sarsgaard, Riley Keough, Ethan Hawke, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, and Paul Dano all call in, as if this were a supersized episode of Frasier.
Hugh Jackman (Logan) stars in Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy’s feature directorial debut Reminiscence as Nick Bannister, a private investigator who alongside his assistant Watts (Thandiwe Newton) specializes in navigating the minds of his clients in search of answers. Think Inception, but less emphasis on corporate espionage and impossible architecture. After crossing paths with a mysterious client (Rebecca Ferguson), Nick’s quest to solve her disappearance morphs into an obsessive odyssey that blurs the lines between past, present, reality, and fiction. From our review,
As a noir mystery, Reminiscence is certainly solid, with a series of complications and surprising reveals, and a genre-friendly helping of double-crossings and double-dealings, of slimy mobsters and rich monsters. It mostly fails through its character dynamics, especially for anyone who isn’t swooning over Nick’s monomania. Nick’s soppy voiceover not only steers the audience toward maudlin self-pity, it overexplains things better left subtle and up to interpretation, and it prevents viewers from just quietly soaking in the movie’s elaborate dystopian spectacle. It’s an irritating, intrusive drag, constantly trying to steer the audience and tell them what to think or how to feel. Joy’s symbolism can be equally heavy-handed: a bit of business with a recurring lost queen from a deck of cards is a ridiculously gratuitous bit of stagecraft in a story about a missing woman.
The Addams Family 2
The sequel to 2019’s The Addams Family finds Gomez (Oscar Isaac) and Morticia (Charlize Theron) desperate to rekindle their waning bond with their children Wednesday (Chloe Grace Moretz) and Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard). Packing into their haunted camper, the family hit the road to travel across the country for one last family vacation. As someone who never saw the original, the trailer for the The Addams Family 2 didn’t do much to move the needle for me, but if you’re a longtime fan of Charles Addams comics, the 1964 sitcom, either of the live-action movies from the early ’90s, or are just looking for something funny and spooky to watch this weekend, The Addams Family 2 sounds like a good enough choice.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers stars in the neo-noir thriller American Night as John Kaplan, an art forger-turned-dealer looking to turn his ill-gotten gains into a lucrative career and open his own gallery. When a highly coveted Andy Warhol paining comes into his possession, John sees the opportunity he needs to enter into the big league. However, the painting in question is sought after by Michael Rubino (Emile Hirsch), the ruthless new head of the New York Mafia, who will stop at nothing — not even murder — to reclaim what he believes is rightfully his. Working alongside Sarah (Paz Vega), an ambitious museum conservator and Vincent, a wannabe ninja stuntman, John will have to stay one step ahead of Michael and the threat of death if he ever hopes to make it in the cutthroat world of art dealing. The trailer looks interesting, with eccentric characters, bold colors, and a genuinely offbeat premise.