Movie theaters are still closed, and there’s no word on when they’ll safely reopen, but the movie industry continues to chug along. Taika Waititi is set to direct a new Star Wars film, Tom Cruise is going to shoot a movie in space, and Bright 2 is in the works. Even though titles are still getting pushed back — A24’s The Green Knight is no longer set for the end of May — there are even more new movies waiting at the end of the tunnel.
Some movies set for summer theatrical releases will now come directly to VOD, like Pete Davidson’s The King of Staten Island, which will arrive to digital in June. As for what you can watch right now, the horror movie The Lodge is newly streaming, along with the unbelievable documentary Spaceship Earth, the romantic drama Hope Gap, the semi-autobiographical film How to Build a Girl, and the satire Greed.
Here are the new movies you can watch this weekend, including some of the bigger titles that are new on Netflix in May, and where to find them.
The Lodge stars Riley Keough as a young woman stranded with her new boyfriend’s two young children, both of whom mistrust her and blame her for their mother’s suicide. As time passes, stranger things start occurring, and it becomes less and less clear if they’re experiencing something supernatural or losing their minds in isolation. Here’s a rundown from our review:
Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala’s horror movie/psychological thriller The Lodge attempts a magic trick. It’s easiest to understand in terms of how Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige explains stage magic in three acts: In the first act, “the pledge,” the audience is presented with something ordinary. In the second, “the turn,” that ordinary thing becomes extraordinary. In the third, “the prestige,” a bigger reveal or flourish occurs. The Lodge only nails the first two acts.
A 1991 research experiment called “Biosphere 2” aimed to see if humans could colonize space by sealing a group of researchers inside a biosphere that mimicked ecosystems on Earth. As the experiment continued, controversies and accidents began cropping up. The documentary Spaceship Earth digs through them to find a larger truth. From our review out of the Sundance Film Festival, where the movie opened to loads of praise:
In almost a true-crime-documentary mode, Wolf rips a stranger-than-fiction moment from historical headlines, then peels back the surface to get to the bottom of the debacle. Even Spaceship Earth’s opening, a salvo of talking-head interviews that introduce John through the mesmerized young women and men who followed his lead, has an air of cultiness that could be mistaken for the intro to Wild Wild County season 2. But the twist is that there’s nothing nefarious about Synergia: a few wayward souls discovered one another, finding faith in their shared ambition. The artists and the art are inspiring.
Annette Bening stars in this family drama, which begins as her husband (Bill Nighy) tells her he’s leaving her for another woman after 29 years of marriage. She comes to rely upon her son (Josh O’Connor) for emotional support as the two of them try to rebuild their family. The film, written and directed by William Nicholson, is based on Nicholson’s play The Retreat from Moscow.
How to Build a Girl
How to Build a Girl, based on Caitlin Moran’s semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, stars Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart) as Johanna Morrigan, a teenage girl who sees music journalism as her ticket out of her humdrum life. As her fame grows, however, so does the complexity of the world she’s found herself in, especially as she comes up with a new persona for herself (“Dolly Wilde”) and gets involved with drugs, sex, and rock and roll.
Director Michael Winterbottom (The Trip, Tristram Shandy) and Steve Coogan reunite for Greed, in which Coogan plays self-made British billionaire Sir Richard McCreadie, loosely based on real-life Arcadia Group chairman Philip Green. When McCreadie’s retail empire goes into crisis and a public inquiry threatens to ruin his reputation, McCreadie decides that the best course of action is to throw the most lavish 60th birthday party ever.
New on Netflix this weekend
- Jerry Seinfeld’s first original special in 22 years: Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours To Kill
- The second season of Dead to Me, starring Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini
- La La Land director Damien Chazelle’s new series The Eddy
And here’s what dropped last Friday:
Kitty Green’s follow-up to the Netflix documentary Casting JonBenét — and her first foray into narrative features — is The Assistant, a portrait of abuse in the film industry and what made such corruption of power possible. It’s a stunning film, as we wrote in our review here:
When the #MeToo movement began inviting women to share their stories of sexual harassment and abuse, the sheer number and scope of the stories seemed unfathomable. It was hard to accept that the misconduct and coverups being recounted could have gone on for so long. Kitty Green’s feature film The Assistant tugs on that thread by focusing on a film-production assistant who begins to chafe against the toxic behavior surrounding her. Unlike Bombshell, which took a glossier look at the sexual-harassment allegations against Fox News’ Roger Ailes, The Assistant is played entirely straight. By focusing on the events of a single day and a single character’s experience of them, Green perfectly captures the horror of working in such an abusive environment. No embellishment is necessary.
Daniel Radcliffe continues his as-far-from-Harry-Potter-as-possible post-Harry Potter career with Guns Akimbo, in which he plays a computer programmer who is forced to compete in an underground fight club. The catch? He has guns bolted to both of his hands, and is being pitted against the game’s most vicious entrant. Though the film’s director stirred up controversy in February, the movie arrives to VOD this week to fill a midnight-movie-sized hole.
Sparks fly between Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield in this romantic drama from director Stella Meghie (The Weekend). The death of a famed photographer brings her estranged daughter Mae (Rae) to town, and as she tries to reconcile herself with the loss, she begins to fall for the journalist (Stanfield) investigating her mother’s death.
Where to watch it: Available through local theaters’ virtual cinema partnerships
The French black comedy Deerskin, starring The Artist’s Jean Dujardin, is one of the strangest films in recent memory. Here’s what our review out of Cannes last year said:
To get a sense of just how strange the French film Deerskin is, take a look at the official synopsis: “Georges, 44 years old, and his jacket, 100% deerskin, have a plan.” The mystifying logline is perfect for the new black comedy from Quentin Dupieux (Reality, Rubber aka the killer tire movie), which stars The Artist’s Jean Dujardin as Georges. The film is slim in all senses of the word — in runtime (it clocks in at 77 minutes), in cast (Dujardin and Adèle Haenel play the only significant characters), and in concept (the jacket really is the thing) — and manages to escalate to a magnificent level of bizarreness nevertheless. It’s telling that Deerskin is screening as a part of the 2019 Cannes Film Festival’s Directors’ Fortnight selection, which screens off the to the side from the more “prestigious” competition slate, and played home to Mandy and Climax last year.
Black and Blue
Black and Blue stars Naomie Harris as an army veteran who returns to her hometown as a cop, and is drawn into a web of corruption when she captures the murder of a young drug dealer on her body cam. When Maya Phillips wrote about police brutality in film for Polygon, she touched on the scenes and themes of Black and Blue:
In Black and Blue, Alicia is framed for a police murder of a black boy, then tracked down by both the police and members of the black community. The movie doesn’t go for subtlety; Alicia’s tiresome, 108-minute ordeal is framed with characters who try to forcefully pigeonhole her into one camp or the other. Other black characters call her an Uncle Tom, and one cop asks her, “You think they your people? … You’re blue now.” The nexus of Alicia’s conflict isn’t that she witnessed a crime, but that she refuses to choose between her identity as a black woman and her position with the police. In the end, her dedication to the truth saves her, so she doesn’t have to choose. She can remain a part of her community while also retaining her honor as a cop.