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The Black Phone, Orphan: First Kill, and every other new movie you can stream from home this weekend

Lots of new horror, two exciting new action movies, and the latest Jurassic World

Ethan Hawke in his demon mask as the serial child-murderer The Grabber in The Black Phone Image: Universal Pictures

This week is relatively light on the new movie slate.

Sure, Netflix has its usual slate of seven new movies, but beyond that, it’s the dry season of August in the yearly movie calendar. Even still, there are some intriguing new releases to check out at home, and a light week still means 15 new movies for you to choose from.

Leading the way are new horror movies: the Orphan prequel First Kill on Paramount Plus sees Isabelle Fuhrman return to the franchise more than a decade later, and Scott Derrickson’s new horror movie The Black Phone with Ethan Hawke quietly dropped on Peacock.

One of the year’s best action thrillers also makes its streaming debut: Vikram, the highest-grossing Tamil-language movie of 2022. It’s the follow-up to the 2019 thriller Kaithi, and I for one can not wait to watch it this weekend.

There’s also Jurassic World Dominion, an animated adaptation of Blazing Saddles, and B.J. Novak’s podcast mystery thriller Vengeance available for digital rental or purchase, and among the many new Netflix releases, there’s a coming-of-age movie with Riverdale star Lili Reinhart, and an intriguing Malaysian action movie from the director of Wira.

Let’s get into it!


Orphan: First Kill

Where to watch: Available to stream on Paramount Plus

Isabelle Fuhrman as “Esther” in Orphan: First Kill Photo: Steve Ackerman/Paramount Pictures

Isabelle Fuhrman returns to the role of Esther in a prequel to Orphan. When your lead character is a woman posing as a child, you can do unusual things like make a prequel with the same actor 13 years later!

The Black Phone

Where to watch: Available to stream on Peacock

Ethan Hawke wearing a horned devil mask in The Black Phone (2022). Image: Universal Pictures

Scott Derrickson’s first movie since Doctor Strange sees him return to his horror roots, teaming up with Ethan Hawke for this adaptation of Joe Hill’s short story. In it, Hawke plays a masked man who abducts and murders children. The latest abduction victim (Mason Thames) comes from a family who may have supernatural abilities, and he is able to talk to the killer’s past victims on a disconnected phone in the basement where he is being held prisoner.

From our review:

Outside of the feeling of morbid inevitability, however, The Black Phone is a mess. The main issue is the performances, which range from puzzling to outright cringeworthy. Jeremy Davies is especially bad as Finney and Gwen’s drunk dad, whose slurring and screaming doesn’t register as authentically pathetic or threatening. Hawke is also too all over the place to read as credibly frightening: When we first see The Grabber, his face is painted white and he speaks in a high, affected voice that recalls Atlanta’s Teddy Perkins. Weird, right? What’s he trying to signify, and how does it fit into his psychosis? Doesn’t matter — that’s the first and last time that character detail will crop up in the film.

Vikram

Where to watch: Available to stream on Hulu

Vijay Sethupathi snarls in Vikram Image: Red Giant Movies

One of the most highly acclaimed action thrillers of the year got added suddenly to Hulu without an announcement this week. Now you know!

Vikram takes place after the events of Kaithi in the Lokesh Cinematic Universe, but doesn’t involve all the same characters. In Kaithi, a cop, an ex-con, and a catering company employee work together to transport dozens of drugged policeman in a truck, to escape from a group of gangsters who want to kill them. In Vikram, we follow the leader of a black ops team who must hunt down a group of dangerous criminals, with Vijay Sethupathi (seen above, snarling) co-starring as a leader of the criminal group. Vikram is the highest-grossing Tamil-language film this year.

Jurassic World Dominion

Where to watch: Available to rental or purchase for $19.99 on Google Play, Amazon, Apple

A raptor chases Chris Whatshisname on a motorcycle in Jurassic World: Dominion Image: Universal Pictures

With the last movie in the Jurassic World trilogy, Colin Trevorrow returns to the director’s chair after merely co-writing the second entry. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return in their leading roles from the World franchise, but so do even more people from the original Jurassic movies. Jeff Goldblum (who appeared in the second entry) is back, but making their exciting returns to the series are Laura Dern and Sam Neill.

From our review:

In Dominion, Grant, Dern, and Goldblum skulk around yet another high-tech facility adjacent to yet another dino-filled refuge. Colin Trevorrow, who co-wrote and directed the first Jurassic World, co-wrote the second, and returns to direct here, has too much reverence for the original Jurassic Park to resist a return trip to the jungle, even if it’s a different jungle. Maybe he has too much reverence for the original, full stop. Dominion is full of callbacks and curtain calls, and he eventually becomes so consumed with showcasing a combination of old-favorite dinosaurs (animal and human) alongside brand-new threats that he starts running out of space to build actual setpieces. Which is too bad, because the ones he does assemble are mostly great fun, full of special-effects work that doesn’t feel green-screened into the Uncanny Valley.

Vengeance

Where to watch: Available to rent for $19.99 on Amazon, Apple, Vudu

B.J. Novak holds a phone out to record Boyd Holbrook’s voice in Vengeance Photo: Patti Perret/Focus Features

B.J. Novak directs and stars in this movie about a writer who tries to solve the murder of a girl he knew... podcast-style.

From our review:

At first, it seems like the movie might treat podcasting as a sour punchline — a stand-in for Ben’s empty, self-impressed striving. By the end, the movie addresses bigger ideas than mere podcasting. At times, Vengeance appears to be aiming for omnidirectional satire with a dash of empathy, like the films of Alexander Payne. More often, though, it resembles a hall of mirrors, with a bunch of culture-clash illusions waving at each other in self-aware acknowledgment.

Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank

Where to watch: Available to rent for $19.99 on Amazon, Apple, Vudu

Two animated cats smirk and scheme in Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank Image: Nickelodeon Movies

This movie is an animated adaptation of Mel Brooks’ classic comedy Blazing Saddles, with a samurai bent instead of strictly Western. Yes, really!

From our review:

Yet there is value in a silly kids’ cartoon that cares enough to string together a series of gags. So many big-studio cartoons just engineer busy, noisy set-pieces, with slapstick blown up to a blockbuster scale. But in Paws of Fury, most of the jokes feel like mischievous throwaways, training kids’ ears for comedy rather than numbing them with junior-level spectacle. There are ridiculous cat puns galore. There’s some knowingly absurd, anachronistic dialogue. (When one character lists “cars and curiosity” as prominent killers of cats, another asks, “What are cars?” prompting an inevitable scolding for his curiosity.) And the characters repeatedly reference how the movie needs to run “85 minutes, not including end credits.”

Look Both Ways

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

Lili Reinhart as Natalie and David Corenswet as Jake in Look Both Ways Photo: Felicia Graham/Netflix

Lili Reinhart (Riverdale) plays a young woman about to graduate from college with a big decision ahead of her — does she stay in her hometown and embrace life as a stay-at-home mom, or move to LA and pursue her dreams? The movie plays out both possibilities!

The Next 365 Days

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

The couple in The Next 365 Days — the man sits in a chair with a glass of dark liquor, the woman walks behind him with her hand on his shoulder. Image: Netflix

Netflix’s Polish erotic thriller franchise returns with this sequel. The movies are adapted from a series of novels by Blanka Lipińska, who was inspired by Fifty Shades of Grey.

Learn to Swim

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

Thomas Antony Olajide as Dezi plays the saxophone in Learn to Swim. Image: Array Releasing

Canadian director Thyrone Tommy’s feature debut is a romantic drama set in the world of jazz. Dezi (Thomas Antony Olajide) is a quiet and talented saxophonist, and Selma (Emma Ferreira) is a young singer filled with energy. They are drawn to each other, but their different personalities and love for jazz could prove to be obstacles. Learn to Swim also features music by Canadian jazz group BadBadNotGood.

Inside the Mind of a Cat

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

A white cat jumps in Inside the Mind of a Cat Image: Netflix

We know a lot about dogs and less about cats. At least, that’s the point of view of this Netflix documentary, which interviews cat experts to deepen our knowledge of our feline friends.

Royalteen

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

Mathias Storhøi and Ines Høysæter Asserson in Royalteen Photo: Håvard Byrkjeland/Netflix

This Norwegian romance follows a literal prince (Mathias Storhøi) and a former gossip writer (Ines Høysæter Asserson) who fall for each other despite their enormous differences in life and work.

The Assistant

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

Hairul Azeen points a gun in The Assistant Image: Sony Pictures Malaysia

An action thriller from Malaysia, director Adrian Teh (Wira) tells this story about a man imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, and his quest for vengeance on his release.

Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

Manti Te’O in Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist Image: Netflix

Netflix’s documentary series tackles the story of Manti Te’o, a former star college football player who was famously and publicly catfished by a person who then faked the catfish character’s death. It’s a rough story, and frankly, not at all untold!

Glorious

Where to watch: Available to stream on Shudder

Ryan Kwanten screams in a shattered mirror in Glorious Image: Shudder

J.K. Simmons voices an evil glory hole in this 79-minute thriller from director Rebekah McKendry. With that sentence, you are either in or you are out.

When I Consume You

Where to watch: Available to rent for $3.99 on Amazon and Apple

Libby Ewing in When I Consume You Image: Shudder

Perry Blackshear (They Look Like People, The Siren) garnered awards and acclaim for his first two features. This third one is about a pair of siblings who realize their bad luck is more than that, and they find the darkness that seems to follow their family is quite real after all.

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