This week’s been pretty wild, what with the announcement of the 2021 Oscar nominees and the continued deluge of major feature releases across Netflix, Amazon, Disney Plus, and more. The MCU’s slate of streaming television shows continues with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier having picked up the baton passed down by Jac Schaeffer’s WandaVision, and the U.S. theatrical release of Demon Slayer: Mugen Train finally has a release date!
As for this week’s VOD offerings, the long-awaited release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League is finally upon us. If you’re not too busy poring through that four-hour titan of superhero cinema, there’s a ton of other cool and interesting new films to watch like SAS: Red Notice, Jumbo, Happily, and The Never List. To help you get a handle on what’s new and available to watch, here are the movies you can watch on VOD this weekend.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League
Where to watch it: Stream on HBO Max
It’s finally here. It’s four hours long, and Batman finally says, “f***k!” After a eternal campaign driven by zealous fans, over $70 million worth of reshoots, the fabled “Snyder Cut” of 2007’s Justice League is finally here. But is it any good? From our gigantic review:
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is most interesting when it’s approached as a work of art restoration, with the theatrical cut fresh in mind. Walking through the parts that were scrapped and repurposed in the first film, and noting how they look in their original context, is a terrible way to enjoy a movie, but it isn’t the worst way to spend a rainy afternoon: playing movie archaeologist and contemplating, for example, the way Snyder’s version seems to have a very different take on Wonder Woman’s powers, making her appear more Superman-esque than either the theatrical version or Patty Jenkins’ films. It’s hard to imagine anyone choosing to watch this version cold, without any prior familiarity or an overwhelming feeling of curiosity. It’s too roughly hewn together, an assembly cut with finished visual effects. This is the beginning of a movie, still lacking a narrative spine.
SAS: Red Notice
Sam Heughan (Bloodshot) stars in SAS: Red Notice as Tom Buckingham, a Special Forces officer taking his girlfriend Dr. Sophie Hart (Hannah John-Kamen) on a train ride from London to Paris with the intent to propose. His grand romantic gesture however is soon derailed however when their train is hijacked and held for ransom inside the Channel Tunnel by mercenary commander Grace Lewis (Ruby Rose) and a cadre of heavily armed war criminals. Unarmed and cut off from his counter terror team, Tom must wage an asymmetric war against Grace’s forces in order to make it out alive and save the woman he loves. If you’re looking for a military spy action thriller in the vein of Jack Ryan or Mission Impossible, SAS: Red Notice will be right up your alley.
The Never List
After the sudden death of her closest friend, teenage overachiever Eva (Fivel Stewart) sets out on a quest of self-actualization and discovery by completing the pair’s “Never List,” a list of all the outrageous act they wish they had done but never did. What begins as a personal journey of romance and adventure however soon sours into a series of actions that threaten to endanger her present and derail her carefully planned future.
Noémie Merlant (Portrait of a Lady on Fire) stars in Zoé Wittock’s magical realist romance fantasy that follows the story of Jeanne, a shy young woman and amusement park worker, who becomes infatuated with the park’s newest attraction: a seemingly sentient carousel ride she nicknames “Jumbo.” The film looks dreamy and beautiful and absolutely bonkers— the perfect film to settle into for the weekend.
Joel McHale (Community) and Kerry Bishé (Argo) star in director BenDavid Grabinski’s dark romantic comedy as Tom and Janet, an abnormally happy married couple who awaken to the strange (and implicitly sinister) nature of their relationship after a unsettling visit from a mysterious stranger. And that’s really just the beginning, as life gets even loopier when they join their friends for a weekend retreat. From our review,
Happily is the kind of film that gleefully spits in the face of puzzle-solving-as-story. Instead of unraveling these seeming clues, it uses them as maps to the characters’ anxieties. Setups which would amount to answers in a whodunnit are cheekily discarded once they’ve served their emotional purpose. The surveillance glitches may or may not have a literal explanation, but they’re centered on characters who constantly perform their romance and domesticity, like they’re always being watched. It’s romance for the Instagram age. The paired-up chairs are an obvious specter of couples’ group therapy; Janet’s dreams seem to hint at what feels inevitable deep down, rather than what’s already come to pass. (The film’s various “flashes” follow suit.)
Jeremy Piven stars in Last Call as Mick, a “success story” real estate developer who returns to visit his old Philly neighborhood, only to end up obligated to aid his family’s ailing business back to success. Playing alongside a cast including Taryn Manning, Bruce Dern, Zach McGowan, Jamie Kennedy, and Jack McGee, Piven’s Mick must is forced to face and ask pressing questions about the future — both for his family’s bar and for himself.
And here’s what dropped last Friday:
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.