This week saw two high-profile acquisition announcements that will rock the landscape of streaming media for years to come. First came the news that AT&T had struck a deal with Discovery to spin off its media business including HBO and CNN to merge into a new streaming entity to rival Netflix and Disney, followed by reports that Amazon Studios is eyeing to purchase MGM for an estimated $9 billion. The networks and streamers’ upfronts also announced a slew of new shows like Batman: Caped Crusader, My Adventures With Superman, and a Rick and Morty superhero spinoff.
The streaming releases this weekend are nothing to scoff at either. Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead arrives on Netflix after a brief theatrical run, the cult horror film Psycho Goreman finally makes its way to Shudder, plus you’ll see tons of other films to rent and purchase, like Riders of Justice starring Mads Mikkelsen.
To help you get a handle on what’s new and available, here are the movies you can watch with the click of a button this weekend.
Army of the Dead
Where to watch it: In theaters and available to stream on Netflix
Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy), Ella Purnell (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children), Omari Hardwick (Sorry to Bother You), Ana de la Reguera (Narcos), Theo Rossi (Sons of Anarchy), Hiroyuki Sanada (Mortal Kombat), Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) and more star in Justice League director Zack Snyder’s zombie apocalypse heist thriller Army of the Dead. Set in the aftermath of a mysterious viral outbreak that reanimates the dead into carnivorous predators, a group of mercenaries are recruited to venture into an overrun Las Vegas casino to pull off the greatest heist of their lives. From our review,
Snyder understands the tonality of a modern zombie film. Like Dawn of the Dead, it’s where his trademark snark shines best. One laugh-out-loud moment involves a newscaster quoting the president on his decision to bomb Vegas on the 4th of July: “Really cool, and the ultimate fireworks show. Actually kind of patriotic, if you think about it.” If Army of the Dead were only darkly comedic, however, it’d become tiresome quickly. Since his first film, Snyder has certainly added a heartfelt tenor to his overembellished storytelling: The failed father-daughter relationship between Scott and Kate undergirds all the outsized gun fights, supplying the film with real-world heartache. Snyder also has Bautista, whose advanced sense of physicality is further translated into his quiet forlornness. More than a few scenes here are reminiscent of his stellar work as a soulful replicant in Blade Runner 2049.
The Little Things
John Lee Hancock’s neo-noir crime thriller The Little Things, which premiered then disappeared from HBO Max earlier this year, stars Academy Award winners Denzel Washington and Rami Malek as Joe “Deke” Deacon and Jim Baxter, a veteran sheriff and Los Angeles detective pursuing a lead on a mysterious string of murders. When their investigation brings them to a potential suspect in the form of loner Albert Sparma (Jared Leto), the two are embroiled in a frantic all-consuming quest for answers and justice. From our review,
The Little Things is a fascinating cat-and-mouse game that the experienced Deke is all too familiar with, but one that exposes Jimmy for prey. The detectives’ insecurities lead them to bond over their shared obsession, and Washington deftly balances that fine line between controllable neuroticism and irrepressible compulsion. While he initially plays Deke as though he were a tentative recovering addict, a man who went cold turkey from his obsession of solving cases only to find this new hit, he later takes command and transforms into the swaggering Denzel that audiences are used to. The confidence he projects, however, isn’t without fail. Deke is carrying mountains of baggage. And at night, when he’s alone, that baggage opens up to flashbacks to his final failed case. The managed image he projects to Jimmy versus his fractured inner self provides a deeply psychological film its sturdy base.
Based on Jane Harper’s 2016 novel of the same name, director Robert Connolly’s mystery drama thriller The Dry stars Eric Bana (Munich), who really deserves more than being the eighth-billed actor in Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur (although he was good in that). Bana stars as Aaron Falk, an Australian fed who learns that his childhood friend allegedly murdered his own family, then took his home life. The grisly act prompts Aaron to go back to his hometown after 20 years to investigate his friend’s death. From critic Bilge Ebiri’s excellent review over at our sister site Vulture,
The new Australian thriller The Dry is filled with such an overwhelming sense of grief, of regret and grim foreboding, that you may lose sight of the central mystery for stretches of the movie. That’s not to suggest that Robert Connolly’s film can’t function as genre entertainment; on the contrary, it’s a gripping, grisly piece of work. But its emotional emphasis lies elsewhere, beyond the mere ins and outs of who did what where and to whom.
If you’re a fan of Coralie Fargeat’s 2017 rape revenge thriller (aptly titled) Revenge, Vincent Paronnaud’s latest film Hunted will probably be up your alley. Starring Lucie Debay, Ciaran O’Brien, and Arieh Worthalter, Hunted follows the story of Eve, a young woman who is abducted by a pair of men following a raucous night out. Escaping into the woods following a sudden accident, Eve must resort to all her wits and guile in order to defeat her would-be captors and escape to safety.
Riders of Justice
Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, Death Stranding) stars in Anders Thomas Jensen’s Riders of Justice as Markus, an ex-military man returns home to care for his teenage daughter following his wife’s tragic death. Suspecting that the accident may have been murder, Markus embarks on a mission to flush out the conspirators behind the plot and exact justice.
Blair Witch and You’re Next Director Simon Barrett’s horror mystery thriller Seance stars Suki Waterhouse as Camille Meadows, a recently matriculated student at the prestigious Edelvine Academy for Girls. After taking part in a late-night séance ritual that conjures the spirit of a former student that haunts the school, the participants in the ritual find themselves stalked by malevolent forces that seek to claim their lives. It’s up to Camille to uncover the true circumstances behind the specter’s passing in order to survive.
Where to watch it: Available to stream on Shudder
What if the kids from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial befriended Ivan Ooze from Power Rangers: The Movie? That’s pretty much the elevator pitch for Psycho Goreman in a nutshell. Written and directed by The Void co-director Steven Kostanski, the film stars Nita-Josee Hanna as Mimi, a young girl who along with her brother Luke (Owen Myre) unwittingly resurrects an ancient alien overlord. Using a magical amulet, the pair manipulate the monster to concoct their own childish schemes, all while accidentally attracting the attention of a group of intergalactic assassins who quickly descend upon their small suburban town.
Sound of Violence
The horror crime thriller Sound of Violence stars Jasmin Savoy Brown (Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, The Leftovers) as Alexis, a young woman who, years after having recovered her lost hearing while witnessing the brutal murder of her family, discovers she possesses long dormant psychic-synesthetic abilities that respond to music. Alexis’ quest to realize the perfect sound — much like Jean-Baptiste Grenouille did for smell in 2006’s Perfume: The Story of a Murderer — slowly builds into one bordering on obsession, as her sound experiment become increasingly more gruesome in their scope and design.
And here’s what dropped last Friday:
Those Who Wish Me Dead
Where to watch it: In theaters and available to stream on HBO Max
Academy Award winner Angelina Jolie stars in director Taylor Sheridan’s neo-Western action thriller Those Who Wish Me Dead as Hannah Faber, a veteran survival expert and fire warden who takes a young boy named Connor (Finn Little) into her care after he witnesses his father’s murder. When the assassins set fire to the forest to smoke out the boy, it’s up to Hannah to deliver him to safety while outwitting their pursuers at every turn. From our review:
Angelina Jolie’s charisma can counteract an awful lot of filmmaking flaws. She’s a dynamo in films like 1998’s Gia and 1999’s Girl, Interrupted, where her mixture of simmering anger and coy sensuality announced her cinematic arrival. Her smirking grin is practically its own character in Hackers, the Tomb Raider duo, and Disney’s live-action Maleficent franchise. During her romantic and cinematic partnership with Brad Pitt, we watched the white-hot flame of their relationship in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and then its downslope in By the Sea. Through it all, Jolie has always been uncontainably herself. Her very Jolie-ness — risk-taking, tenacious, motherly — is Taylor Sheridan’s saving grace in Those Who Wish Me Dead. Amid the paper-thin plot, stilted script, inartful editing, and imbalanced character development, Jolie stands unblemished. She isn’t the only good thing about the otherwise rote Those Who Wish Me Dead, but she doesn’t have much competition, either.
Writer-director Rose Glass’ religious psychological horror drama Saint Maud stars Morfydd Clark as the eponymous Maud, a newly devout hospice nurse whose concern for the immortal soul of her dying patient morphs into obsession as malevolent forces, and the mounting consequences of her own troubled past, engulf the pair into a tumult of madness and sin. From our review:
By most reasonable standards, Saint Maud is a good horror movie. It has a strong sense of character and mood. It’s convincingly acted, both by Morfydd Clark as Maud, a private nurse losing herself to religious fanaticism, and Jennifer Ehle, as Maud’s patient Amanda, an atheist grappling with her terminal cancer diagnosis. Its score roils with tension, then recedes into silence when necessary. In spite of these strengths, though, it’s sometimes eerily, unavoidably familiar.
Where to watch it: Stream on Netflix
Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds) stars in Alexandre Aja’s sci-fi survival thriller Oxygen as Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Hansen, a young woman who wakes up to find herself encased in a cryogenic pod with no memory of how she ended up there. With no one to aid her apart from an AI named MILO (Medical Interface Liaison Operator), Liz must recover her memories in order to escape before her oxygen supply runs out. Think that one scene from Kill Bill Vol. 2 where Beatrix Kiddo gets buried alive, only with less punching and more LED lights. From our review:
Oxygen is a cheesy exploitation thriller, to some degree, with the catch that Aja has become skilled at locating both human interest and immediacy within the confines of cheesy exploitation thrillers. As in Crawl, he knows when to lean on his central performer, and tells a lot of his story through Laurent’s acting, which balances intelligence and resourcefulness with what the MTV Movie Awards have sometimes referred to as the “scared as shit” performance. Oxygen isn’t a horror film, but Aja’s horror background seems to goad him into tightening the suspense, even flirting with moments of body horror when Lauren has to fiddle with the tubes that have kept her character in cryo, and now threaten to override her decisions if she can’t take control of the computer.
The Woman in the Window
Where to watch it: Stream on Netflix
Pride & Prejudice and Darkest Hour director Joe Wright’s psychological thriller The Woman in the Window stars two-time Golden Globe winner Amy Adams as Anna Fox, an agoraphobic who occupies her time by keeping tabs on the new family that has moved in the house across the street from her. After witnessing a brutal crime, Anna’s life spirals out of control as the lines between reality and delusion blur and become indiscernible. Did Anna really witness a murder, or was it all just in her head? You’ll have to watch to find out. Gary Oldman, Brian Tyree Henry, Julianne Moore, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s Wyatt Russell and Anthony Mackie round out the cast. From our review:
The film’s plot is a bit dense on the mystery, though that’s expected, considering the book it’s adaptating. Finn wrote The Woman in the Window in first person, which leaves more room to explain the intricacies of the plot. Instead of adding narration, the trick many book-to-film adaptations use, all the exposition and world-building in the film takes place through conversation, in Anna’s phone calls with her husband Ed (Anthony Mackie) or in her therapy sessions. The slow unraveling of details mixed with the hallucinatory elements make the fine details of the plot a bit hard to follow, but the main mystery runs its course smoothly. The film’s reshoots were prompted by confused audience reactions to initial test screenings, and it’s easy to understand why they might have struggled to follow the story.
Director David Charbonier and Justin Powell’s supernatural horror thriller The Djinn stars Criminal Minds regular Ezra Dewey as Dylan Jacobs, a mute boy who finds himself trapped in his parents’ new apartment with a malevolent creature after he makes a wish to fulfill his greatest desire. The trailer looks intense and the Djinn itself looks like Truth from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, so count me in!
Patti Harrison and Ed Helms star in writer-director Nikole Beckwith’s comedy Together Together as Anna, a woman who agrees to become a gestational surrogate for Matt, a single man in his 40s who wants a child. As the pregnancy progresses, Anna and Matt’s unexpected relationship matures as their perceptions of connection, boundaries, and love are challenged and redefined.
Based on real-life events, Philip Noyce’s biographical crime drama Above Suspicion chronicles the story of a young FBI agent (Jack Huston) who, working alongside a local informant (Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke) in the beleaguered Kentuckian mining town of Pikeville, attempts to nab the members of an illicit chop-shop ring and a host of other conspirators. As the relationship between the two grows closer, tensions escalate until the town is rocked by a tremendous and tragic event that will upend the lives of everyone in Pikeville for years to come.
And here’s what dropped last Friday: