This week, Pixar’s new coming-of-age movie Turning Red comes straight to Disney Plus. It’s one of our best movies of 2022, so far, draws inspiration from some classic anime, and is well worth your time.
There’s also Netflix’s latest Ryan Reynolds vehicle The Adam Project, the return of Dune to HBO Max, a dazzling Chinese action-adventure fantasy epic, and plenty more new stuff for you to watch at home.
To help you get a handle on what’s new and available, here are the new movies you can watch on streaming and VOD this weekend.
Where to watch: Available to stream on Disney Plus
Pixar’s latest animated adventure is a coming-of-age story about Mei Lee, a 13-year-old Chinese-Canadian girl who awakes one morning from uneasy dreams to find herself transformed into a gigantic red panda. When it turns out this is the case for all the women in her family, Mei finds herself torn between tradition and forging her own path as she figures out who she is in this world.
From our review,
Domee Shi, who directed Pixar’s short film Bao in 2018, creates something special with this project, a deeply personal film that speaks to universal themes. With Turning Red, Shi gleefully celebrates early adolescence, a time of life often portrayed as awkward and cringey, and she revels in extensive cultural specificities that enrich the story. With a bright visual style and specific, evocative storytelling, Turning Red is an incredibly special addition to the Pixar canon, and one of its best films.
The Adam Project
Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix
Ryan Reynolds teams up again with Free Guy director Shawn Levy in The Adam Project, Netflix’s new sci-fi family adventure. Reynolds stars as Adam, a time-traveling pilot who accidentally crash-lands in the year 2022 and has to team up with his nerdy 12-year-old self to save the future. Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Garner play young Adam’s parents, Zoe Saldana plays the older Adam’s wife, and Catherine Keener rounds out the cast as the time-traveling villain.
From our review,
One major factor behind the film’s rat-a-tat energy is star Ryan Reynolds: He’s Deadpool, for God’s sake. Rapid-fire sarcasm is a cornerstone of his brand. Writer-director Shawn Levy has already collaborated with Reynolds (on 2021’s Free Guy) and shot eight episodes of Stranger Things, so combining the two is a logical next step. When Levy and Reynolds — both co-producers on the film — play to their strengths, The Adam Project is zippy, agreeable sci-fi fun that produces a few good chuckles. But in moments where undiluted sweetness is required, the film’s glib writing stands out in a negative way.
Channing Tatum stars as Jackson Briggs, a U.S. Army Ranger tasked with bringing Lulu, a sometimes temperamental military working dog, from Washington to Arizona in time for a funeral. A road trip movie explicitly about PTSD, Dog is the directorial debut of Tatum and co-director Reid Carolin (writer of the Magic Mike movies).
Where to watch: Available to stream on Paramount Plus
The fifth installment in the venerable slasher meta-comedy horror series comes from Ready or Not directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett. The franchise returns to Woodsboro more than 10 years after the events of Scream 4 and nearly a quarter of a century after the original Scream, with a new generation of survivors joined by Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), and Dewey Riley (David Arquette) as they face off against yet another crazed murderer who has donned the ghastly visage of the Ghostface killer. From our review,
This Scream attempts something like The Matrix Resurrections, pushing self-referentiality to its limit in order to goof on its status as a potential decades-later cash-in, while still brokering a satisfying reunion with its beloved original characters. But the Matrix comparison doesn’t always flatter the 2022 Scream. Campbell, Cox, and Arquette all have chances to shine, and Campbell’s rueful confidence even approaches something vaguely touching. But this is a crowded movie where the body count sometimes inspires relief rather than dread: Finally, some of these extra characters are being cleared out!
Where to watch: Available to stream on HBO Max
Denis Villenueve’s adaptation of the celebrated Frank Herbert sci-fi epic stars Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides, son and heir to the powerful Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac), who is forced to leave the planet of his birth to become the newly appointed steward of Arrakis, a desert planet home to a coveted resource. There are sword fights, politics, intrigue, betrayal, drama, and oh — these colossal creatures called sandworms that burst out of the ground before devouring people. Honestly, there’s way too much to explain about Dune than can fit in a single paragraph (or a single movie), which is why we so lovingly put together this handy-dandy guide to explain its vast and strange universe. But enough of all that, let’s home in on the biggest question: should you set aside time this weekend to watch Villeneuve’s latest, hulking sci-fi extravaganza? From our review,
If you can get lost in the cocoon of production, costume, and art-design opulence, and sink into the Big Event angle of it all — which is why people go to the movies, isn’t it? — the film, styled as Dune: Part One, can be overwhelmingly evocative. The problem, though, is the film’s pervasive emotional emptiness. Villeneuve and his co-writers, Jon Spaihts (of Passengers and Prometheus) and Eric Roth, rush through character journeys, and shortchange ostensible hero Paul Atreides (wild-hair-haver Timothée Chalamet). They skip over explaining most of the dense mythology of this world, instead collapsing entire communities into thinly rendered versions of other recognizable pop-culture figures. (The Fremen more or less become Tusken Raiders; the Bene Gesserit are Macbeth’s witches.) And the result of all that streamlining is that the connective thread linking all these disparate elements into a cohesive whole is nowhere to be found. The film is a splendid, threadbare tapestry that unravels as you’re watching it.
The new Cyrano de Bergerac adaptation is by all accounts a gorgeous musical. Directed by Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride & Prejudice), the movie features a stirring lead performance from Peter Dinklage, and nabbed an Oscar nomination for Costume Design.
From our review,
Wright’s Cyrano [...] is visually attuned and balletically sumptuous — a musical geared toward teenagers, the kind of project that’s been missing from multiplexes for a long time now. Wright’s epic romance is a reminder of how much musicals are geared for grand designs and even grander emotions.
The director takes great pleasure in the poetic movements of the human body: The bakery scene, set to the urgent notes of “Your Name,” is a sensuous arrangement of flesh and food. Black and white arms cover each other around dough. Pastry chefs lyrically pirouette to Cyrano’s ardent verses. Unlike in other recent movie musicals like In the Heights, Tick, Tick… Boom!, and Dear Evan Hansen), Cyrano’s richly framed compositions (by longtime Wright DP Seamus McGarvey) never uncut the intended majesty of the song and dance sequences.
Where to watch: Available to stream on Shudder
When three friends take in a historic meteor shower together with the hopes of getting good footage for their social media accounts, they instead get a whole lot more than they bargained for. When one of the “meteors” lands in the pool and hatches an alien baby, the girls differ on how to handle the situation. In what looks like an unnerving horror-comedy from Shudder with potential apocalyptic consequences, The Seed stars Lucy Martin (Vikings), Sophie Vavasseur (Resident Evil: Apocalypse), and Chelsea Edge (I Hate Suzie).
A Writer’s Odyssey
When a man looking for his kidnapped daughter is hired to kill a young novelist, things get complicated when it appears the novel is impacting the real world. This Chinese action-adventure fantasy movie falls in the category of “movies about people writing books that are coming to life.” From our list of the best action movie scenes of 2021,
A Writer’s Odyssey is an unbridled, grand-scale fantasy action film with a strong emotional core and just enough cheeky subversion to get past Chinese censors. The story is split between two worlds, and while the real-world plot is interesting enough, the film reaches astronomical heights when it enters the fantasy universe, culminating with several dizzyingly stimulating action sequences. That’s a lot of words just to say something is great, but given the current state of Chinese blockbusters, the very existence of this film is a small miracle in and of itself.
India Sweets and Spices
Where to watch: Available to watch on Hulu
This coming-of-age story follows a UCLA student (Sophia Ali) who returns home to her well-off family in New Jersey over summer vacation. While there, she encounters a new potential love interest and a heaping dose of family secrets. If you’re interested in movies about the new person you (and your loved ones) become when you first move away from home, this could be the choice for you.
Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix
Based on a true story, The Bombardment is a World War II-set Danish drama about a British Royal Air Force bombing mission that accidentally targeted a Danish school instead of the Gestapo’s headquarters in Copenhagen. Originally titled The Shadow in My Eye during its October 2021 theatrical release in Denmark, The Bombardment stars Alex Høgh Andersen (Vikings).