This week, Warner Bros.’ struck a deal with Regal Cinemas to put their movies back in theaters following the unprecedented (and controversial) decision to premiere 2021 releases day-and-date on HBO Max. The deal will see the release of these forthcoming films on streaming after a 45-day window, a significantly shorter amount of time from the 70- to 90-day window that was the industry standard before COVID-19.
But what’s available to watch at home this weekend? The long-delayed Punk’d riff Bad Trip starring Eric Andre and Lil Rel Howery finally makes its way to release on Netflix. Florian Zeller’s The Father, which scored a number of Oscar nominations and stars Sir Anthony Hopkins opposite The Crown’s Olivia Colman, releases this weekend on VOD alongside Stephen Kijak’s pseudo-historical drama Shoplifters of the World and Justin P. Lange’s supernatural horror thriller The Seventh Day. To help you get a handle on what’s new and available to watch, here are the movies you can watch on VOD this weekend.
Where to watch it: Stream on Netflix
“What if Punk’d was a feature-length comedy, but instead of Ashton Kutcher, it starred comedian Eric Andre and Lil Rel Howery (Get Out)?” That’s the short and sweet description of Bad Trip, the new dark comedy drama from director Kitao Sakurai (The Eric Andre Show) about two lifelong best friends who embark on a road trip from Florida to New York City so that one of them can confess their love to their high school sweetheart. Although originally slated to release in theaters last year via Orion Pictures, the film was one of the many indefinitely delayed with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Since then, Netflix has picked it up and it’s finally available to watch via streaming.
Olivia Colman (The Crown) stars in director Florian Zeller’s drama The Father as Anne, a woman attempting to care for her father Anthony, played by Sir Anthony Hopkins, as his experiences with the onset of dementia have caused him to become more belligerent, disoriented, and distrustful. Based on Zeller’s critically acclaimed 2012 play of the same name and scored by virtuosic composer Ludovico Einaudi, the film has already earned Hopkins and Colman Oscar nominations for Best Actor and Supporting Actor respectively for this year’s 93rd Academy Awards.
Shoplifters of the World
How much do you love your favorite band? Enough to hold a radio station DJ at gunpoint and force him to play that band’s entire discography for your entire boring hometown to listen to? That’s what happens in Stephen Kijak’s Shoplifters of the World, “based on true intentions” of a now-debunked urban legend of a young Smiths fan who purportedly attempted such an act of brazen youthful stupidity in 1987, but who in reality lost his nerve and turned himself into the police. Kijak’s film takes this premise and transforms it into a young adult drama of a rebellious group of four friends who chafe under the stultifying boredom of their sleepy British hometown. Aside from its cast of performers including Joe Manganiello (Magic Mike), Ellar Coltrane (Boyhood), Helena Howard (Madeline’s Madeline), and Elena Kampouris (Before I Fall), what’s got most audiences and critics talking about Shoplifters of the World is its soundtrack boasting over 20 tracks by of The Smiths.
The Seventh Day
Guy Pearce stars as Father Peter, a renowned exorcist who mentors a young priest (Vadhir Derbez) in the dangerous art of exorcising demons in Justin P. Lange’s supernatural horror thriller The Seventh Day. As they match wits with an evil unlike anything Peter has ever faced before, the lines between good and evil are blurred and the pair are forced to confront their own inner demons in their battle to vanquish another’s. Think The Conjuring series meets 2005’s Constantine, except not “based on a true story” or a beloved cult Vertigo comic book series.
And here’s what dropped last Friday:
Zack Snyder’s Justice League
Where to watch it: Stream on HBO Max
It’s finally here. It’s four hours long, and Batman finally says, “f***k!” After a eternal campaign driven by zealous fans, over $70 million worth of reshoots, the fabled “Snyder Cut” of 2007’s Justice League is finally here. But is it any good? From our gigantic review:
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is most interesting when it’s approached as a work of art restoration, with the theatrical cut fresh in mind. Walking through the parts that were scrapped and repurposed in the first film, and noting how they look in their original context, is a terrible way to enjoy a movie, but it isn’t the worst way to spend a rainy afternoon: playing movie archaeologist and contemplating, for example, the way Snyder’s version seems to have a very different take on Wonder Woman’s powers, making her appear more Superman-esque than either the theatrical version or Patty Jenkins’ films. It’s hard to imagine anyone choosing to watch this version cold, without any prior familiarity or an overwhelming feeling of curiosity. It’s too roughly hewn together, an assembly cut with finished visual effects. This is the beginning of a movie, still lacking a narrative spine.
SAS: Red Notice
Sam Heughan (Bloodshot) stars in SAS: Red Notice as Tom Buckingham, a Special Forces officer taking his girlfriend Dr. Sophie Hart (Hannah John-Kamen) on a train ride from London to Paris with the intent to propose. His grand romantic gesture however is soon derailed however when their train is hijacked and held for ransom inside the Channel Tunnel by mercenary commander Grace Lewis (Ruby Rose) and a cadre of heavily armed war criminals. Unarmed and cut off from his counter terror team, Tom must wage an asymmetric war against Grace’s forces in order to make it out alive and save the woman he loves. If you’re looking for a military spy action thriller in the vein of Jack Ryan or Mission Impossible, SAS: Red Notice will be right up your alley.
The Never List
After the sudden death of her closest friend, teenage overachiever Eva (Fivel Stewart) sets out on a quest of self-actualization and discovery by completing the pair’s “Never List,” a list of all the outrageous act they wish they had done but never did. What begins as a personal journey of romance and adventure however soon sours into a series of actions that threaten to endanger her present and derail her carefully planned future.
Noémie Merlant (Portrait of a Lady on Fire) stars in Zoé Wittock’s magical realist romance fantasy that follows the story of Jeanne, a shy young woman and amusement park worker, who becomes infatuated with the park’s newest attraction: a seemingly sentient carousel ride she nicknames “Jumbo.” The film looks dreamy and beautiful and absolutely bonkers— the perfect film to settle into for the weekend.
Joel McHale (Community) and Kerry Bishé (Argo) star in director BenDavid Grabinski’s dark romantic comedy as Tom and Janet, an abnormally happy married couple who awaken to the strange (and implicitly sinister) nature of their relationship after a unsettling visit from a mysterious stranger. And that’s really just the beginning, as life gets even loopier when they join their friends for a weekend retreat. From our review,
Happily is the kind of film that gleefully spits in the face of puzzle-solving-as-story. Instead of unraveling these seeming clues, it uses them as maps to the characters’ anxieties. Setups which would amount to answers in a whodunnit are cheekily discarded once they’ve served their emotional purpose. The surveillance glitches may or may not have a literal explanation, but they’re centered on characters who constantly perform their romance and domesticity, like they’re always being watched. It’s romance for the Instagram age. The paired-up chairs are an obvious specter of couples’ group therapy; Janet’s dreams seem to hint at what feels inevitable deep down, rather than what’s already come to pass. (The film’s various “flashes” follow suit.)
Jeremy Piven stars in Last Call as Mick, a “success story” real estate developer who returns to visit his old Philly neighborhood, only to end up obligated to aid his family’s ailing business back to success. Playing alongside a cast including Taryn Manning, Bruce Dern, Zach McGowan, Jamie Kennedy, and Jack McGee, Piven’s Mick must is forced to face and ask pressing questions about the future — both for his family’s bar and for himself.