In a week that began with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s strangely polite albeit damning two-hour interview with Oprah Winfrey and ended with President Biden giving his first prime-time White House address, there was no shortage of remarkable, strange, and buzzworthy things to watch or talk about this week.
In terms of this week’s slate of films, Anthony and Joe Russo of Avengers: Endgame fame released their latest crime drama Cherry starring Tom Holland exclusively on Apple TV+, Our House and Holidays director Anthony Scott Burns’ sci-fi horror film Come True, the Bruce Willis-led sci-fi action flick Cosmic Sin, and the Miguel Arteta-directed family comedy Yes Day are among the latest VOD and streaming releases available to watch this week. To help you get a lay of the land, here are the new movies you can watch on VOD this weekend.
Where to watch it: Stream on Apple TV Plus
MCU star Tom Holland (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Endgame) plays an Iraq War veteran and former medic-turned-serial bank robber in Anthony and Joe Russo’s film adaptation of Nico Walker’s 2018 novel Cherry. Holland delivers on the monumental ask, but reactions may vary to the two-hour-20-minute film. From our review,
The story is a personal one to the Russos, who evidently jumped at the chance to adapt Walker’s acclaimed book as a way of grappling with the self-destruction they witnessed growing up in Cleveland. But there’s nothing personal to find at the end of Cherry’s episodic saga. To entangle the viewer with the young veteran’s manic psychology, and to emulate Walker’s ferocious, unromanticized written-from-prison narrative, the directing duo exaggerate every cinematic element, from relentless camera motion to fourth-wall-breaking dialogue and action set-pieces better fit for Captain America. The Russos can’t shake their MCU influences, which turn Cherry into a cringey, über-serious version of Thor’s Endgame arc.
The Killing’s Julia Sarah Stone stars as Sarah, an errant high school who participates in an experimental sleep study only to be plagued by visions of malicious unknown forces in writer-director-cinematographer Anthony Scott Burns’ Come True. From our review,
Come True has some bone-chilling passages, like an epic sleepwalking sequence that feels eerily untethered from reality. Yet some chunks of it feel informed by the sleep-study scenes that unfold by the sickly glow of monitors: too clinical for pure-horror scares while lacking in convincing science fiction specifics. True to form, this is an impressively dreamlike movie: half vivid, half inexplicable.
Where to watch it: Stream on Netflix
Looking like a family-comedy hybrid of Peyton Reed’s Yes Man and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, Yes Day follows Allison (Jennifer Garner) and Carlos (Edgar Ramirez), two parents looking to shed their frumpy “no fun allowed” reputation in an attempt to bring their family closer together. To do so, they decide to give their three rambunctious and lovable children a “Yes Day,” where for 24 hours all crime, including murder, is lega— whoops, sorry wrong movie; the kids actually just get to do whatever they want. Shenanigans ensue!
Bruce Willis is too old for this shit ... in spaaaaaaace! In Cosmic Sin, the Die Hard superstar and Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Boss Level actor Frank Grillo play leaders of a band of rogue soldiers who launch a preemptive strike against an alien civilization in a bid to “save” humanity. From our review,
Cosmic Sin is a movie measurable by its withouts. Without any sense of humor, adventure, or irony. Without any devotion to imagining an Earth that is tangibly different in 2524, the year the film is set. Without any effort at all exhibited by costar Bruce Willis, whose customary late-career lack of interest in his own film work reaches a new zenith here. And without nearly enough Frank Grillo! Our current B-movie king is the second floating head on this film’s poster, but that’s an unfortunate clue for how Grillo spends most of Cosmic Sin, which is isolated in space, away from all the other characters. Among an array of indeterminable filmmaking choices made by director Edward Drake, sidelining Grillo in favor of Willis might be the worst one.
And here’s what dropped last Friday:
Raya and the Last Dragon
Where to watch it: Rent for $29.99 on Disney Plus with Premier Access.
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ newest computer-animated action fantasy adventure Raya and the Last Dragon follows the titular warrior princess Raya, voiced by Star Wars: The Last Jedi star Kelly Marie Tran, as she embarks on a journey to find the mythical last dragon Sisu ( Awkwafina) and rescue her shattered homeland of Kumandra from a dark malevolent threat. Co-directed by Don Hall (Big Hero 6) and Carlos López Estrada (Blindspotting), the film is the first of Disney’s major animated features to premiere simultaneously in theaters and via streaming on Disney Plus’ Premier Access.
Coming 2 America
Where to watch it: Stream on Amazon Prime
Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall reprise their roles as King Akeem and his trusted confidante Semmi in the highly anticipated follow-up to John Landis’ 1988 comedy classic (which you can stream on Amazon Prime as well!). From our review,
In every sense, this is a silly dad movie, but it sharply charts the ways we assume our parents’ worst qualities as we age. The once-independent prince who traveled to America for love in spite of his father’s protests has grown up to be institutionally conservative, routinely bowing to Zamunda’s sexist laws, and disappointing both Meeka and his wife Lisa (who thankfully has so much more personality in this movie than in the original Coming to America). A mature Murphy, in some ways, makes the audience feel as though Akeem’s soul-searching mirrors Murphy’s. That sentiment probably stems from our familiarity with his career. We’ve seen Murphy rise from a young comedian with a childish, uproarious wit into a venerated performer and actor. We know the highs and lows of his career at the box office. We know he’s back, and we know he seems especially happy here.
The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge On the Run, the third film based on the long-running animated television series SpongeBob SquarePants, follows everyone’s favorite amphibious fry cook and his best friend Patrick Star as he embarks on an adventure to the Lost City of Atlantic City rescue his beloved pet snail Gary. From our review,
Like the two films before it, Sponge On the Run sends SpongeBob on a mission outside his comfort zone and far from his hometown of Bikini Bottom. Again, the scope of a film gives him a chance at an adventure more challenging and grandiose than those seen on TV — think of the relationship between classic Star Trek films and shows. But even though the movie recycles the setup of a wildly popular SpongeBob TV episode (2005’s “Have You Seen This Snail?”, which had a massive audience of almost 8 million), the film sidelines the heart and sincerity that defined not only those early seasons of the show, but the infinitely rewatchable 2004 film The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, and the blast of creative optimism that was the recent Broadway musical.
Armie Hammer has ... well, he’s been in something of a predicament lately. Jake Kelly, his character in the Nicholas Jarecki’s latest opiod crisis crime thriller Crisis, also finds himself ensnared in his own crisis as an undercover DEA agent infiltrating a insidious ring of Fentanyl traffickers. Kelly’s story intersects with that of Dr. Tyrone Brower (Gary Oldman), a university professor who uncovers the dark truth behind his employer’s new “non-addictive” painkiller, and Clair Reimann (Evangeline Lilly), an architect and recovering oxycodone addict searching for her son.
Luis Gerardo Méndez and Connor Del Rio play the eponymous half-siblings of director Luke Greenfield’s (The Girl Next Door) new family comedy drama. Méndez plays Renato, a wealthy Mexican aviation exec who, after reconnecting with his estranged father on his deathbed, is introduced to his layabout American half-brother Asher. Tasked with embarking on a road trip to retrace their father’s route from Mexico to the US, hijinks ensue and the brothers inevitably bond and grow closer for the experience. The film writes itself!
Femme fatale criminal Pixie (Olivia Cooke) masterminds an elaborate heist as part of a plot to avenge her mother’s death. but when her plans go awry and a cadre of drug gangsters and killer priests led by Father Hector McGrath (Alec Baldwin), she’ll have to use every once of her wits, guile, and aptitude for violence to come out on top and set things right again.
Where to watch it: Available to stream on Hulu
Frank Grillo of Zero Dark Thirty and Captain America: Winter Soldier fame stars as Roy Pulver, an ex-soldier who finds himself living the same day over and over again, in Smokin’ Aces director Joe Carnahan’s Groundhog Day-meets-Hardcore Henry action flick Boss Level. From our review,
One of the worst feelings to have when watching an action movie is the sinking realization that the first fight scene on offer is the best one in store. Boss Level desperately needs that kind of novelty, because it’s so familiar. There have been many time-loop movies at this point, with several new ones hitting streaming services over the course of the last calendar year, including the YA drama The Map of Tiny Perfect Things, the romantic comedy Palm Springs, and the micro-indie The Obituary of Tunde Johnson. It’s becoming an overly familiar conceit in general. The best ones layer another genre twist on top of the central time loop, using the repetition to examine ideas and characters from all angles. Boss Level doesn’t really have that. It’s mostly a movie with designs on over-the-top action that are undercut by the actual action.
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