This weekend, the long-awaited Spider-Man: No Way Home finally swings on to theater screens, in addition to Guillermo del Toro’s psychological thriller Nightmare Alley starring Bradley Cooper and Cate Blanchett. Not feeling up to going out this weekend? No problem, there’s still tons of great movies and no shortage of superheroics to enjoy on VOD and streaming from the comfort of your home.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage finally lands on VOD this weekend along with Wes Anderson’s latest comedy anthology The French Dispatch. There’s plenty more in the way of streaming releases as Netflix’s The Hand of God, Hulu’s Mother/Android, and Apple TV Plus’ Swan Song all premiere this weekend as well.
To help you get a handle on what’s new and available, here are the new movies you can watch with the click of a button this weekend.
The French Dispatch
Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch is a self-proclaimed “love letter to journalists,” and a comedy anthology following the misadventures of a group of hapless columnists working for the eccentric editor of an American newspaper in the fictional French city of Ennui-sur-Blasé (Boredom-upon-Apathy). Anderson’s proclivity for fastidiously detailed set, bright colors, irreverent deadpan humor, and quirky characters has won him both acclaim and criticism throughout his career. How does The French Dispatch compare to his previous work? From our review,
The film is divided into five separate vignettes, each a reported column belonging to a specific newspaper section, written by one of the journalists. As is often the case with anthology-style films, some sections work better than others. Anderson’s penchant for dry comedy used to explain grief, the inner workings of dysfunctional people, and children experiencing the loss of innocence comes to the forefront once again. And yet this is the director’s least digestible work. It’s supposedly a love letter to the New Yorker of yore, but while The French Dispatch features Anderson’s familiar aesthetic style, it’s often a distant omnibus that might appeal only to his most ardent fans.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Andy Serkis’ follow-up to 2018’s antihero action comedy Venom follows Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), investigative journalist-turned-human-host of the alien symbiote Venom, as he attempts to rejuvenate his career by interviewing Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson), a psychotic serial killer with an infatuation for Venom. When Kasady becomes the host of another symbiote named Carnage, Eddie and Venom will have to work together to defeat this new threat and resolve their strained relationship. From our review,
At a lean 97 minutes, Venom: Let There Be Carnage doesn’t suffer from the kind of slack mid-section that weighs down so many action-forward superhero movies. In fact, the second act is when Venom gets to really shine as a character. He’s fed up with living in a host that doesn’t appreciate what he does for him and won’t let him eat the criminals they stop, so he decides to take his gifts elsewhere. Full of self-righteous anger, Venom digs his claws into the side of Eddie’s pretty little souped-up two-wheel drive and explores the city on his own, jumping from body to body and presumably killing each new host along the way.
The Hand of God
Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix
The Young Pope director Paolo Sorrentino’s 2021 drama The Hand of God follows the story of Fabietto Schisa (Filippo Scotti), a young boy coming of age in Naples amid the tumultous 1980s. With few friends and no lover to call his own, Fabietto’s maturation into young adulthood is punctuated by both serendipitous joys and startling tragedies, culminating in a story that’s as achingly poignant as it is deeply relatable.
Where to watch: Available to stream on Hulu
Chloë Grace Moretz (Let Me In) and Algee Smith (The Hate U Give) star in the sci-fi thriller Mother/Android as Georgia and Sam, expectant parents who find themselves on a desperate journey for survival in a post-apocalyptic world where androids have rebelled against their human masters. Just days way from the birth of their first child, the couple must trek through dangerous territory in order to find a human enclave where they can safely raise their child. The trailer looks exciting and oddly reminiscent of the modern Planet of the Apes trilogy, albeit with androids that resemble the robots in 2018’s Detroit: Become Human.
Where to watch: Available to stream on Apple TV Plus
Mahershala Ali (True Detective) stars in the sci-fi drama Swan Song as Cameron Turner, a loving husband and father who discovers that he has been diagnosed with a terminal disease. Wracked with despair at the thought of leaving his wife Poppy (Naomie Harris) as widow and his child without a father, Cameron is presented with an alternative experimental solution by his doctor (Glenn Close): create a carbon copy clone of himself to live on in his stead. As Cameron struggles with the emotional toll of his decision, he’ll come to learn more about life, love, grief, and happiness than he had ever imagined.
Imagine Whiplash or Black Swan, but instead of jazz drumming or ballet, if it was a film about a queer college freshman’s arduous physical and psychological ordeal to become the best novice rower on her school’s varsity boat team. The trailer for The Novice feels claustrophobic and appropriately unnerving, with Isabelle Fuhrman (Orphan) delivering an intense performance as the obsessively perfectionist Alex Dall.
And here’s what dropped last Friday:
Dear Evan Hansen
Adapted from the Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical of the same name, Stephen Chbosky’s coming-of-age musical film Dear Evan Hansen stars Ben Platt as a high school senior with Social Anxiety disorder who embarks on a journey of self-discovery in the wake of the death of a classmate. There’s been a lot of chatter about the film since it first came out, not the least of which directed at Platt’s, uh, questionable portrayal of an adolescent youth. Is this a “so bad it’s good” kind of musical, or just plain bad? From our review,
Platt’s technically accomplished, otherwise disastrous performance starts to make more sense as an act of compensation. His veiny, strangulated delivery while singing is the only way he can convey his inner turmoil, working against the wooden inertia of his posture and blocking. Director Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) similarly struggles to create a scale sufficient to fill the silver screen. At his corniest, he illustrates that Evan has gone viral by flinging a flurry of smartphone video responses through a black vacuum until they coalesce and form an Instagram photo. As Evan searches for hints of beauty in his school’s everyday drabness — Chbosky’s aesthetic could be fairly described as “the ‘before’ part of a commercial for mood-altering medication” — the film gets stuck in the banality he’s trying to escape.
Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix
Based on Sally Wainwright’s 2009 British miniseries Unforgiven, Sandra Bullock stars in The Unforgivable as Ruth Slater, a former convict who attempts to rebuild her life in the aftermath of a brutal crime. As she struggles to acclimate back to a life in a place that no longer feels like home, Ruth will have to confront those who aren’t willing to forgive her for what’s she done and will stop at nothing until her sins are repaid in blood. From our review,
Despite a deep ensemble led by a transformative Bullock, Unforgivable moves at a turgid pace, lacking the urgency and pathos required in a redemption narrative with any hopes that the audience will pull for its damaged protagonist. Similar to Kidman in Destroyer, Bullock’s appearance oscillates from strained and ragged in present-day scenes, to bright, in-full-make-up in sequences set in the past. Bullock portrays Slater as terse, strained at the jaw, and always at the edge of eruption. Slater tries to keep a low profile. She’s often guarded — she’s served her time, but her reputation as a cop-killer will always follow her around. It’s why when a coworker at the fish-packing plant, the kind, generous Blake (Jon Bernthal, still sporting his King Richard mustache) falls for her, she initially seems hesitant to pursue the first tiny shred of kindness given to her. Slater doesn’t believe she deserves redemption.
Where to watch: Available to stream on Amazon Prime
Following his soul-stirring performances in 2019’s Sound of Metal and 2020’s Mogul Mowgli, Riz Ahmed returns with another rousing turn in the sci-fi thriller Encounter as Malik, a dishonorably discharge Marine who believes that alien parasites have taken over humanity. On the run with his two young sons following a deadly encounter with law enforcement, Malik attempts to raise and protect his family as best as he can in the wake of this alien threat. But are Malik’s fears real, or a fabrication of a distressed mind? The trailer bears a resemblance to the premise and tone of 2016’s Midnight Special, with Octavia Spencer playing an equivalent role to Adam Driver’s in that film as Malik’s Parole officer.
The Hating Game
Based on Sally Thorne’s novel of the same name, The Hating Game stars Lucy Hale (Scream 4) and Austin Stowell (Bridge of Spies) as Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman, two co-workers who hate each other’s guts. When a highly coveted position opens up at their company, the two professional rivals vie to one-up the other, only to realize that there may be something more between them than simple workplace animosity.
Agnes stars Hayley McFarland (The Conjuring) as a young nun who finds herself seized by violent and disturbing visions that cause her to behave erratically. Concerned for her well-being, as well as the safety of the convent, her fellow Sisters seek the aid of Father Donaghue (Ben Hall), a veteran priest and a young aspiring priest named Benjamin (Jake Horowitz) to perform an exorcism on Agnes and rid of the the demons that have taken refuge in her body. If you’re looking for a psychological horror thriller in the vein of Saint Maud or an alternative to the nunsploitation du jour Benedetta, Agnes is the perfect watch.
The Last Son
Funny Face and Dark Night director Tim Sutton’s Western action-revenge drama The Last Son stars Sam Worthington as Isaac LeMay, a notorious outlaw haunted by the prophecy that he will be killed by one of his own children. Taking a page out of the playbook of the Greek titan Cronus, LeMay sets out to murder his estranged progeny, including his long-lost son Cal (Colson Baker aka “Machine Gun Kelly”). Hunted by Sheriff Solomon (Sam Worthington) and his own son, LeMay must find a way to either end the curse or surrender to his inevitable fate.
Copshop, the latest action thriller from Smokin’ Aces and The A-Team (2010) director Joe Carnahan, stars Frank Grillo (Boss Level) as Teddy Murretto, a resourceful con artists who gets himself locked up in order to escape the grasp of Bob VIddick (Gerard Butler), a ruthless assassin hellbent on collecting his bounty. Unfortunately for Teddy, Bob finds a way to get locked up in the same police station as him, and on top of that, he’s not the only one gunning for his head. The trailer looks as stylish, explosive, and eccentric as you would expect from Carnahan’s previous work, with Toby Huss (King of the Hill) co-starring as deranged elderly hitman named Tony.