This weekend is packed with movie releases primed for watching at home. On top of an early rental release for one of our favorites, The Green Knight, there’s the theatrical/HBO Max premiere of Reminiscence, Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy’s sci-fi feature debut, the avantgarde musical drama Annette starring Adam Driver, the G.I. Joe reboot Snake Eyes, Jason Momoa’s first big Netflix movie, the summer’s other Ryan Reynolds, movie The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, plus many more.
To help you get a handle on what’s new and available, here’s our guide to the movies you can watch on video on demand and streaming this weekend.
The Green Knight
David Lowery’s medieval fantasy epic stars Dev Patel as Sir Gawain, the headstrong nephew of King Arthur who yearns for a great adventure through which to assert his chivalric greatness. After being challenged by the otherworldly Green Knight, Gawain venture forth on a quest that will bring him face to face with ghosts, giants, thieves, and more as he is forced to confront the question of what it means to be great, or simply even good, in the first place. From our review,
You could pause The Green Knight at any moment and discover an image worth praising. The film is a showcase for director of photography Andrew Droz Palermo (A Ghost Story), allowing him to storytell through lighting in ways both deeply effective and breathtakingly immersive. Sometimes it’s both in a single scene, such as the Green Knight’s first appearance at Arthur’s court, where the camera cuts between Arthur bathed in celestial light, Gawain in low light, and Guinevere, soaked in darkness. At other junctions in the movie, shadows overtake the frame, allowing for sharp chiaroscuro shots, while jaw-dropping environments filled with rust-colored fog are frightening as much as they are astounding.
Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins
Robert Schwentke’s soft-reboot spin-off of the G.I. Joe franchise stars Henry Golding as Snake Eyes in an origin story that pits the fan-favorite ninja character on a quest for revenge. From our review,
Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins is largely a success in that it does a decent job of making viewers forget that cynicism for two hours, while also embracing the absurdity of a narrative universe spun out of action figures. This film isn’t going to sell anyone on a new G.I. Joe movie franchise, but it’s maybe the best possible version of a movie designed to test those waters.
Where to watch: In theaters and available to stream on HBO Max
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. For a primer, read our interview with Lisa Joy.
Where to watch: Available to stream on Amazon Prime Video
Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) stars in Leos Carax’s opera drama film Annette as Henry McHenry, a fierce stand-up comedian who falls in love with a world-famous soprano named Ann (Marion Cotillard). The couple give birth to a daughter named Annette, represented by a wooden marionette puppet, and the movie only gets weirder from there. Featuring a screenplay and score penned by Ron and Russel Mael of the band Sparks, Annette has divided critics in a way that sounds absolutely in tune with Carax’s career. From our review:
At two hours and 20 minutes, this musical rambles into curious tangents, few of which pay off in satisfying ways. But the film is never boring, because Carax brings the primal imagination that made his film Holy Motors astounding, and turns it toward the expectations of Hollywood romance. The result is a twisted love child that refuses to sing a sensible song. Perhaps that was the point. Maybe Annette is less a movie and more a mood. Perhaps the bookends that serve to introduce the cast and orchestra intend to urge us to enjoy the experience, and not fret on what it meant. Or maybe Carax’s latest is accidentally indecipherable.
Riders of Justice
Riders of Justice stars Mads Mikkelsen (Another Round) as Markus, a veteran soldier who returns home to care for his daughter after his wife dies in a tragic train accident. When one of the survivors of the accident, a mathematics geek named Otto (Nikolaj Lie Kaas), comes to him claiming there was foul play behind the tragedy, Markus embarks on a vengeful campaign to seek answers and deliver justice to those involved in his wife’s death.
Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix
Jason Momoa (Aquaman) stars in Brian Andrew Mendoza’s action thriller Sweet Girl as Ray Cooper, the father of a young daughter (Isabela Merced) struggling to keep his family together in the wake of his wife’s death. Ray is targeted by assassins after attempting to speak out against the pharmaceutical monopoly responsible for his family’s loss, forcing him and his daughter to go on the run as he attempts to bring justice to those who have wronged him.
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard
Ryan Reynolds (Free Guy) and Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction) reprise their roles as professional bodyguard Michael Bryce and professional assassin Darius Kincaid in the follow-up to 2017’s The Hitman’s Bodyguard. Joined this time by a cast of supporting performances courtesy of Tom Hopper, Morgan Freeman, and Antonio Banderas, the sequel finds Bryce returning to his life as a bodyguard once again, this time for Darius’ equally homicidal wife Sonia (Salma Hayek).
The Water Man
Actor-director David Oyelowo’s directorial debut The Water Man stars Lonnie Chavis as Gunner, the preadolescent son of a Navy veteran (Oyelowo) who embarks on a journey to find a mythic figure with the key to immortality to save his ailing mother (Rosario Dawson). From our review,
If not for the uptempo rhythm, The Water Man’s thin plotting would make it a slog. If not for Oyelowo’s handsomely mounted camera capturing the forest in supernatural blues and reds, the audience’s attention might wander to their phones. Thankfully, the well-executed components support the fairy tale when the tale itself runs short. And so do the endearing performances the new director pulls from the young Chavis and Miller. In the energetically adventurous The Water Man, Oyelowo takes the route less traveled by actors-turned-directors to fashion a highly flawed but promising lesson for dealing with mortality — a moral that will hit very close to home for an unfortunate number of families.
The Girl Who Got Away
The Girl Who Got Away stars Lexi Johnson (The Nice Guys) as Christina, a woman who as a child was was kidnapped with four other girls by serial killer Elizabeth Caufield. 20 years later Lexi is the sole survivor of the four, but when Elizabeth escapes from prison, she’ll have to summon all her strength to protect both herself and her loved ones from the evil to come.
And here’s what dropped last Friday:
Evangelion 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon a Time
Where to watch: Available to stream on Amazon Prime Video
The long-awaited final installment of the Rebuild of Evangelion film tetralogy is finally here! Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time finds Shinji still emotionally adrift following the harrowing conclusion of Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo. Will he, Asuka, Rei, and the WILLE resistance be able to band together and stop NERV from initiating the Fourth Impact and destroying humanity, and will Hideaki Anno finally put an end to the Evangelion series itself? From our review,
Twenty-six years after the TV premiere of Neon Genesis Evangelion (and 24 years after its theatrical alternate ending, The End of Evangelion), Hideaki Anno’s seemingly never-ending saga has finally come to a close. The much-awaited, long-delayed fourth installment in the Rebuild of Evangelion film series that retells the original TV series’ story, Evangelion 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon a Time scales the steep emotional walls built by its predecessors, and bloodies its fingers during the climb. But it also features unusually quiet stretches, which allow for moving reflections involving the film’s lead characters, young mecha pilots Ikari Shinji (Ogata Megumi), Shikinami Asuka Langley (Miyamura Yūko) and Ayanami Rei (Hayashibara Megumi). It’s bold, dazzling, introspective, and occasionally disturbing, which makes it a fitting capper to not only the new film series, but to the Evangelion story as a whole.
After a stint on Disney Plus Premier Access and in theaters, the latest Marvel movie is available to pick up on VOD services. 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.
Where to watch: Available to stream on Apple TV Plus
As her senior year comes to an end, Ruby (Emilia Jones), the only hearing person in her Deaf family, is torn between studying music at college and remaining at home to help — and maybe save — the family fishing business. Costarring Deaf actors Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur, Daniel Durant, Coda is one of those down-to-earth family dramas that’s actually touching and genuine at every step. Here’s a bit from our Sundance review from earlier this year:
[Director Siân] Heder finds her way into tension and tougher questions. The family’s fear of the unknown is compounded by the possibilities on the horizon: Ruby has a fabulous voice, a skill her parents will never be able to comprehend as a viable future for their daughter. The anxiety arrives just as Frank’s own career path is thrown out of whack; he’s been fishing all of his life, but the extortion of fisherman by dock bigwigs turns his life into a mini Elia Kazan drama. It isn’t as grim as On the Waterfront, but Frank, Leo, Jackie, and eventually Ruby all wind up in a fight to take hold of their business and livelihoods. There’s a lot on the line, and Heder strings it all together in a mainstream package that recalls everything from Ordinary People to Save the Last Dance and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. And while the drama is immediate and timely like those films, it also feels like it has a past and present. This is to say: Yes, I would watch five seasons of the Parenthood version of CODA.
If you’re a fan of computer screen thrillers like 2018’s Searching or Unfriended: Dark Web, you’ll want to check out Profile. Valene Kane (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Gangs of London) stars as Amy, a British investigative journalist who goes undercover to infiltrate an online Islamic State recruitment program. As she finds herself seduced by her recruiter Biel (Shazad Latif), it’s not long before Amy finds herself dangerously close to not only exposing her identity but imperiling both her life and the lives of those closest to her.
John Boyega (Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker) stars in Chase Palmer’s Naked Singularity as Casi, an promising young NYC public defender who becomes increasingly unnerved by the glaring inequities of the very justice system he finds himself a part of. As his disillusionment leads him to question the stability of the very fabric of the universe, Casi approached with a dangerous proposition by a former client (Olivia Cooke) to beat the system at its own game via a high-stakes drug heist. If that sounds like, well, a lot; that’s because it is. From our review,
Palmer’s high-concept sci-fi isn’t as thought-provoking as its references to Voltaire’s Candide would indicate. The philosophical beats groan under the narrative’s overburdened weight. The heist component falls flat because Casi and Dave’s plan is intelligible. Without a big-name case to center viewers’ attention, the courtroom drama lacks, well, drama. And the film’s primary focus — how can Casi fix a stacked system? — isn’t approached with any intelligence. Considering the bold premise outlined by Palmer, which invited the chance for bolder choices, the lackluster ending leaves one wanting. Palmer’s Naked Similarity is a dilettante movie, raising plenty of important questions while providing little intellectual rigor, and even less action-packed excitement.
Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix
John David Washington (Tenet) stars in the Netflix suspense-thriller Beckett as an American tourist vacationing in Greece with his girlfriend April (Alicia Vikander). Following a tragic car accident, Beckett finds himself the inadvertent target of a manhunt related to a vast and lethal political conspiracy. With no-one and nowhere else to turn to, Beckett must evade capture and trek across the country to the American embassy if he has any hope of clearing his name, making it back home, and most importantly, survive.