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Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, Netflix’s Chicken Run 2, Barbie, and every new movie to watch at home this weekend

Also: Justice for Jules

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An older man and two older woman stand behind a white alien wearing a t-shirt with an Earth on it in Jules
This image is from the movie Jules, not The Eras Tour, just FYI
Photo: Bleeker Street
Matt Patches is an executive editor at Polygon. He has over 15 years of experience reporting on movies and TV, and reviewing pop culture.

You know it’s the holiday season when there are a million things to watch in theaters and at home. Forget Christmas carols: The halls are ringing with Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour. Who’s under the tree and on your TV? That’s right: Barbie. And for the gamers, Santa has a stocking stuff: the Gran Turismo movie you did not ask for. It’s unclear if you were on the naughty or nice list this year...

There are so many movies to watch before we call it a year, and this weekend has plenty of films you definitely heard of or may have overlooked over the past few months. Across Netflix, Max, Hulu, and rentals, there’s something for everyone. Let’s dive in.

New on Netflix

Gran Turismo

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

Archie Madekwe as Jann Mardenborough leans on the roof of his racing car in the Gran Turismo movie Photo: Gordon Timpen/Sony Pictures

Genre: Sports drama
Run time: 2h 15m
Director: Neill Blomkamp (District 9)
Cast: Archie Madekwe, David Harbour, Orlando Bloom, Darren Barnet

Neill Blomkamp, usually a sci-fi guy, takes a hard swerve into real-life drama with Gran Turismo, which is actually based on the life of a kid who built up enough skillz on his PlayStation to become a competitive racer. The movie didn’t fare well at the box office this past August, maybe because it’s the kind of intriguing twist on an adaptation that still feels like a corporate cash-in. Based on our review there’s a lot of drama here, but Sony was fully ready to pat itself on the back.

Gamers aren’t an oppressed minority anymore — if they ever were in any venue outside of their own heads and the media reflecting their fantasies. This kind of aggrieved posturing isn’t a good look in 2023. Geek culture won. Mardenborough’s story is real, and has a much more significant dimension than victory in some imagined gaming culture war. Games gave this kid from a low-income family a viable and affordable route into one of the world’s most elitist sports. Gran Turismo could have used this inspiring true story to show how video games open up possibilities and remove barriers in the real world. Instead, it just uses it to score points.

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

Genre: Animated adventure
Run time: 1h 41m
Director: Sam Fell (ParaNorman)
Cast: Thandiwe Newton, Zachary Levi, Bella Ramsey, Imelda Staunton

If you love animation, you love Aardman. At the stop-motion storytelling game for over 50 years, the company returns this year with a long-desired sequel to its 2000 feature Chicken Run. With an updated, recognizable cast but an old soul that cherishes hijinks, Dawn of the Nugget finds original heroes Ginger and Rocky as parents to a young chick, having their lives upended yet again as a new threat against chickenkind emerges from the shadows. We caught it at the London Film Festival earlier this year and were appropriately tickled. From our preview:

As usual for Aardman projects, the movie is gorgeously polished, but it’s also slow to find its rhythm, and as a sequel arriving 23 years after the original, it sometimes feels more like an obligation than a film the studio really needed, or wanted, to make. The first half is smoothly rote, but once the action moves fully inside the surreal world of Fun-Land Farms, the energy picks up and the ideas begin to flow.

New on Hulu

Blue Jean

Where to watch: Available to stream on Hulu

Genre: Drama
Run time: 1h 37m
Director: Georgia Oakley
Cast: Rosy McEwen, Kerrie Hayes, Lucy Halliday

Speaking of the Brits, Blue Jean earned rave reviews from across the pond when it made the festival rounds, but it took all year for it to find its place on U.S. streaming services. Here’s our friends at Vulture with the rundown, from their well-curated best of 2023 list:

Georgia Oakley’s feature debut is an anguished look at life in the closet set in Northeast England in 1988 — the year the Thatcher administration introduced a set of laws banning the “promotion of homosexuality” in the name of protecting children. Jean, played by a terrific Rosy McEwen in her first leading role, has painstakingly compartmentalized her existence. At night, she hangs out at a lesbian bar with her girlfriend, Viv (Kerrie Hayes), a part of herself she keeps secret from her co-workers and students at the school where she works as a gym teacher in the day. Blue Jean is a moody, delicately wrought film about how Jean, damaged from past experiences and her own internalized homophobia, is unable to feel like she belongs in either of the worlds she created for herself. The justification for the impending legislation in the background of the film may sound all too familiar, but Blue Jean’s real power comes from its examination of the human costs of living in fear.

The Retirement Plan

Where to watch: Available to stream on Hulu

Genre: Comedy thriller
Run time: 1h 43m
Director: Tim Brown
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Ashley Greene, Jackie Earle Haley

If you have heard about a great Nic Cage movie in theaters right now, uh, this is not it. (That would be Dream Scenario.) But good news: This off-the-radar Cage action comedy aims to be somewhere between Taken and The Big Lebowski, and based on reviews, is pretty solid. Disposable, but apparently Good Dumb, according to The Guardian.

New on Max


Where to watch: Available to stream on Max

Barbie (Margot Robbie), in a silver spangly jumpsuit, grins at Ken (Ryan Gosling), in an all-white outfit, lying on a shiny pink dance floor with other dancing Barbies and Kens in the background in Greta Gerwig’s live-action 2023 movie Barbie Photo: Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros. Pictures

Genre: Comedy
Run time: 1h 54m
Director: Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird)
Cast: Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, America Ferrera, Will Ferrell

If you haven’t seen Barbie yet, you might be an obstinate A-hole. Look, I know people are busy, but it was the thing this year. Stop trying to impress people. Just watch Barbie.

If you have seen Barbie, good news: You can watch Barbie over and over from home now. Then you can go read Polygon’s excellent issue on all things Barbie from earlier this year.

New on Apple TV Plus

The Family Plan

Where to watch: Available to stream on Apple TV Plus

Genre: Family comedy
Run time: 1h 59m
Director: Simon Cellan Jones (The Trial of Tony Blair)
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Monaghan, Maggie Q

With The Family Plan, Mark Wahlberg gets into the “guy who could kill you who is also wearing a BabyBjörn” genre that was mostly a staple of pro wrestlers turned actors. Wahlberg plays a family man with a family plan whose previous life as an assassin catches up with him mid-vacation. This road trip be trippin’! Polygon did not review this film as of publication, but I wish it the best.

New on Paramount Plus


Where to watch: Available to stream on Paramount Plus

Genre: Heartwarming sci-fi
Run time: 1h 27m
Director: Marc Turtletaub (Puzzle)
Cast: Ben Kingsley, Harriet Sansom Harris, Jade Quon, Jane Curtin

Jules looks like if E.T. was an uplifting Hallmark movie starring Ben Kingsley, but you know what, trustworthy people think this is one of the underseen gems of 2023. Katie Walsh of the Tribune papers says it’s a “simple tale, simply told, but with a lot of heart and humanity at the center of it all”! Bob Mondello of NPR argues it’s “as much about being allowed to grow old with dignity as it is about an extraterrestrial”! Matt Zoller Seitz of claims it’s “sensitive, intelligent, sweet, and presented with considerable integrity, right down to the direction, which is scrupulous in not showing anything that doesn’t actually need to be seen”! We all failed this poor little white alien by not seeing Jules this summer, and we owe it to all involved to give the movie a hug.

New on MGM Plus

Dark Harvest

Where to watch: Available to stream on MGM Plus

Genre: Horror
Run time: 1h 33m
Director: David Slade (30 Days of Night)
Cast: Casey Likes, E’myri Crutchfield, Elizabeth Reaser, Jeremy Davies

The reductive pitch for Dark Harvest, a completely overlooked horror flick dumped this past October, is that it’s Stan Winston’s Pumpkinhead meets The Purge with a little Twilight Zone thrown in. But the creature feature finds David Slade back in horror mode and delivering, with the obvious social commentary of a 1960s rural community terrorized by a so-called harvest demon punctuated with vicious kills. We never get a good monster in a movie these days, but here’s one just waiting for you to discover!

New to rent

Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour

Where to watch: Available to rent on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

Genre: Concert movie
Run time: 2h 49m
Director: Sam Wrench

Taylor Swift would love Jules.


Where to watch: Available to rent on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

Genre: Biographical drama
Run time: 1h 53m
Director: Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation)
Cast: Cailee Spaeny, Jacob Elordi, Dagmara Domińczyk, Ari Cohen

If you love Sofia Coppola movies (Lost in Translation, The Virgin Suicides, Marie Antoinette) or did not much care for Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis last year, you probably want to seek out Priscilla, which finds the director extremely in her lane exploring the life of Priscilla Presley and the glossed-over romance in last year’s zany biopic. Like in her previous films, Coppola’s great swing comes in the form of casting: Based on Polygon’s review, few could do what Cailee Spaeny shows up to do as Priscilla.

Spaeny’s performance is a vital dramatic linchpin. She strikes a careful balance between desire and trepidation. In Coppola’s wide shots of the couple in bed, Spaeny puts on a clinic of performance. Her gaze is enticing, as though her romantic and sexual motions come from the ways she imagines, or has been taught to think about, the adult world. But her hesitant body language creates a livewire tension in each intimate moment. Everything Spaeny does with her hands and feet serves a distinct emotional purpose, from nervous fidgeting to playful teasing.

In the Court of the Crimson King: King Crimson at 50

Where to watch: Available to rent on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

Robert Fripp, wearing a vest, has his back to the camera and is surrounded by empty red audience chairs in In the Court of the Crimson King: King Crimson at 50. Image: Monoduo Films

Genre: Documentary
Run time: 1h 26m
Director: Toby Amies

The prog rock band King Crimson has been around since the late 1960s. It’s gone through many dramatic reinventions, both in terms of style and members, and the only constant has been leader Robert Fripp. This doc takes a look at the band 50 years later, but it’s more a character study of the enigmatic Fripp than anything else. A strict man who demands perfection from his fellow band members and would far rather be practicing than taking part in this documentary, Fripp is one of the most fascinating characters in any movie released this year. In the Court of the Crimson King benefits greatly by focusing on the dynamic between Fripp, the band, and the fans, rather than solely on the music.

The Smell of Money

Where to watch: Available to rent on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

Genre: Documentary
Run time: 1h 24m
Director: Shawn Bannon

Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara were so committed to people seeing their new documentary about animal rights and environmental activism that they offered to reimburse 500 people for rentals. Even if you missed the bargain deal from its two producers, The Smell of Money, which documents a North Carolina woman’s fight against corporate hog farms, is still worth seeking out. Spoiler: The money smells like pig poop!

Fast Charlie

Where to watch: Available to rent on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

Pierce Brosnan, wearing a suit and shades, leans against a car with an open door in Fast Charlie Image: Vertical Entertainment

Genre: Action thriller
Run time: 1h 30m
Director: Phillip Noyce (Clear and Present Danger)
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, James Caan, Morena Baccarin, Toby Huss

Every critic seems to agree Fast Charlie is, like The Retirement Plan, good enough for people looking for a huff of action thriller nonsense starring extremely charismatic actors who are no longer booking the A-list gigs. Former Bond and Mamma Mia! daddy Pierce Brosnan plays former hitman Charlie Swift and something something friends killed something something revenge plot something something Morena Baccarin also gets to shoot guns. At least we know director Phillip Noyce, whose CV includes Jack Ryan movies, thrillers like The Bone Collector, and the Angelina Jolie run-and-gun assassin movie Salt, knows what we came to see.

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