In the big movie news of the week, the new Pixar movie Soul will follow in Mulan’s footsteps, skipping a theatrical release and arriving directly on Disney Plus on Dec. 25. Soul, however, won’t be behind a Premier Access paywall — anyone with a Disney Plus subscription will be able to watch it as soon as it debuts without having to pay an extra fee. Warner Bros.’ Dune, however, has just been pushed to October of 2021 rather than going to streaming.
Other blockbusters, however, are still going into production, with Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange added to the upcoming Spider-Man movie, reportedly as a new mentor for Peter Parker. The new Resident Evil movie is also still chugging along, with several announcements as to its cast: Kaya Scodelario (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) will star as Claire Redfield and Hannah John-Kamen (Ant-Man and the Wasp) as Jill Valentine.
Meanwhile, there’s good news and bad news on the Netflix front. The good news is that Bee and Puppycat will debut its second season on Netflix. The bad news is that GLOW has been cancelled despite having been previously renewed. To help the loss sting a little less, here are the new movies you can watch on VOD this weekend.
American Pie Presents: Girls’ Rules
The latest entry into the American Pie franchise centers on four high school seniors, all young women, who are determined to go after what they want. Their deadline for making their dreams come true is homecoming. However, their plans become more complicated when a new boy (Darren Barnet) arrives at school and becomes the object of all four friends’ affections.
Where to watch it: Streaming on Amazon
Black Box, one of the films included in Amazon’s new film series Welcome to the Blumhouse, stars Mamoudou Athie as a man who loses his wife and his memory in a car accident. To try to get his life back, he undergoes an experimental treatment. From our overview:
Black Box is about how domestic bonds can be confining. Directed by Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour Jr. (who also co-wrote the script with Stephen Herman, who had the original idea), Black Box stars Mamoudou Athie as Nolan, whose mind has been foggy ever since a traumatic incident. Every morning when he wakes up, Nolan relies on sticky notes around his house and the attentiveness of his preteen daughter Ava to remind himself of what he still has and what he’s lost. But when he begins to struggle with his job and his other relationships, Nolan sees a doctor named Lilian (Phylicia Rashad), who hooks him up to a device that lets him re-experience his missing memories.
Where to watch it: Streaming on Amazon
The Lie, also part of Welcome to the Blumhouse, stars Joey King as a teenage girl who confesses to killing her best friend, and the resulting fallout. Peter Sarsgaard and Mireille Enos co-star as her desperate parents. From our overview:
Director Veena Sud and star Mireille Enos previously collaborated on Sud’s TV series The Killing, another adaptation of a European crime drama — and another one that’s muted and chilly, more focused on human behavior than on sensationalism. The violence in The Lie is limited to a couple of non-explicit scenes. The tension derives more from the complicated dynamic between Rebecca, Jay, and Kayla, and from Sud’s understanding of how some children of divorce manipulate their parents’ feelings of guilt. Sud also emphasizes how Rebecca’s friendly relationship with the cops affects how aggressively they investigate Kayla, and how Sam’s subtle exoticism — he’s Palestinian — makes him seem more suspect to the authorities.
Books of Blood
Where to watch it: Streaming on Hulu
Clive Barker’s Books of Blood gets a film adaptation on Hulu, starring Anna Friel, Yul Vazquez, and Britt Robertson as the leads in different horror stories. From our review:
At times, it feels like two and a half episodes of a horror show remixed into a super-sized pilot — appropriate for a feature-length film produced by multiple TV companies. Its unusual structure makes it both novel and ungainly. [...] This project, apparently once intended as a full TV series, most closely resembles a 1980s horror anthology like Cat’s Eye, only with more narrative ambition and less overall spooky-story satisfaction. Braga has made a watchable facsimile of a few TV episodes, which seems vaguely designed to inspire some sequels or a series spinoff, but doesn’t exactly demand them, either. Instead, Books of Blood floats around in that mysterious netherworld between television and film.
Charm City Kings
Where to watch it: Streaming on HBO Max
This new coming-of-age drama centers on a group of Baltimore dirt-bike riders known as the Midnight Clique, and a 14-year-old boy, Mouse (Jahi Di’Allo Winston), who longs to join them. Part of Mouse’s fixation stems from the fact that his late older brother used to be the Midnight Clique’s best rider, but as he comes closer to achieving his goal of joining the clique, he also drifts further from his mother (Teyonah Parris) and mentor (William Catlett).
Spontaneous stars Katherine Langford and Charlie Plummer as high school students whose lives are thrown into chaos when people begin inexplicably blowing up around them. Will the thought that they might also explode at any moment be enough to bring them together?
New on Netflix this weekend
- Adam Sandler takes on Halloween in Hubie Halloween
- The new documentary David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet
- The Forty-Year-Old Version, about a 40-year-old woman who reinvents herself as a rapper
- The follow-up to The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor
And here’s what dropped last Friday:
Where to watch it: Streaming on Shudder
Scare Me stars Josh Ruben (who also wrote and directed the film) as an aspiring horror writer who ends up cooped up in a cabin with Fanny (Aya Cash), an acclaimed horror novelist. They decide to tell scary stories to pass the time, though the gap in success between the two of them becomes a sticking point as the hours go by. Chris Redd co-stars as a pizza deliveryman and horror fan who sticks around as a third wheel. From our review:
The budget constraints and the indie-movie feeling of some raw talents pushing for professionalism are nakedly obvious. While the film isn’t as grim as the Duplass brothers’ Baghead (also about aspiring actors trying to write a horror screenplay in an isolated cabin), or as manic and silly as Brett Simmons’ You Might Be the Killer (an indie that heads even further toward camp), it shares their amateurish rough edges. But Ruben does take advantage of his cast’s extreme expressiveness, as they contort their faces, bodies, and voices to take on increasingly creepy roles. Whenever they’re fully in the moment and into the stories they’re crafting, it’s easy to get swept up in the ride, if not the scares.
Sally Hawkins stars in Eternal Beauty as Jane, a woman who struggles with mental illness exacerbated by a past tragedy. From our review:
Eternal Beauty’s success ultimately comes down to the strength of the film’s cast. Hawkins is masterly, as always, in a role that demands she calibrate her energy differently in almost every scene. When she suffers a particularly bad emotional blow and collapses to the floor, clutching her chest and repeatedly wailing, “Ow,” the idea that emotional pain could be so physically felt goes without question. And Morfydd Clark, as Hawkins’ younger self, doesn’t bear much physical resemblance to Hawkins, but nails her tremulous energy. Penelope Wilton, Billie Piper, and Alice Lowe play off of that fragility skillfully, building out a coherent family unit.
12 Hour Shift
A double shift goes from bad to worse in 12 Hour Shift, which stars Angela Bettis as Mandy, a nurse whose addiction to drugs and involvement in a black market organ-trading scheme derail a particularly bad night. When a kidney delivery goes missing, it’s up to Mandy to scramble to replace it, as well as deal with an injured convict (David Arquette) who gets brought into the mix.
A Call to Spy
The historical drama A Call to Spy takes place at the beginning of World War II, and focuses on the recruitment of women to act as spies in Winston Churchill’s spy agency and undermine Nazi rule in France. Stana Katic stars as the agency’s “spymistress,” with Sarah Megan Thomas and Radhika Atpe as her new recruits.
Death of Me
Maggie Q and Luke Hemsworth star as Christine and Neil, a couple whose vacation takes a turn for the worse when they wake up one morning with no memory of what happened the night before. When they check Neil’s phone, they discover a video of Neil appearing to murder Christine. In the 24 hours that remain until the next ferry arrives, and with a typhoon threatening the island, they attempt to figure out what’s going on.