Thanksgiving weekend is a big time to watch, but a quieter period for major new releases. This week’s new theatrical releases include a new Resident Evil movie and a wild true-crime romp in the form of House of Gucci.
But good news: If you’re stuck at home with tons of family, reeling from the Thanksgiving holiday overloaded, there are a ton of new movies premiering on streaming and rental platforms for you to watch at home. Pickings include Halle Berry’s directorial debut Bruised on Netflix, Peter Jackson’s big Beatles documentary on Disney Plus, a movie that might just win Kirsten Stewart an Oscar, plus a ton of genre fare for those who aren’t quite ready for the holiday season. Here’s what to watch this week.
Where to look: Available to stream Netflix
Photo by John Baer / Netflix
Bruised stars Halle Berry and is directed by Basil Iwanyk (John Wick and Sicario). It tells the story about Jackie Justice, a disgraced MMA fighter, who agrees to a brutal underground bout in order to regain her spotlight. She also tries to reconcile with Manny, her son, who she left years ago. The trailer shows Berry, battered and bloodied as she struggles to get off the mat following a devastating defeat. According to one report, Berry threw herself into the role — and broke two ribs in the process. “[It was] kind of a crazy injury,”Eric Brown, stunt coordinator, told Entertainment WeeklyAugust “But that was just her intensity … Halle’s a special case. I’ve worked with tons of actors, and almost none of them have that kind of work ethic.”
Image by Well Go USA Entertainment
If you’re looking for an explosive, action-packed, exquisitely well-shot Hong Kong crime drama to watch this holiday weekend, you may want to turn to Raging Fire. Donnie Yen (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) stars as Cheung Sung-bon, an officer of the Regional Crime Unit who finds himself at odds with Yau Kong-ngo (Nicholas Tse), a former protégé who embarks on a bloody mission of revenge for his mentor’s betrayal. Do you enjoy fast chases and intense interrogations, gun fights and stylish explosions? Raging Fire is sure to please!
Image by Screen Media Films
If you don’t want to enter the battleground of Black Friday shopping, consider checking out this new horror comedy headlined by Devon Sawa, Ivana Baquero, Michael Jai White, and Bruce Campbell. When an alien goop turns some employees into frothing undead, the horrors of seasonal shopping season escalate at a big-box toys store. While anyone who’s worked retail already knows the feeling, director Casey Tebo looks to have put enough of a genre spin on it to make this one a treat.
The Beatles: Get Back
Where to look:Available to stream Disney Plus
Image courtesy Walt Disney Studios
The latest film from The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson is gong straight to the Extended Edition: After planning to release a two-hour version of the documentary, the filmmaker decided to chop up the film — which draws from more than 60 hours of unseen footage shot in 1969 by the director Michael Lindsay-Hogg, and 150 hours of unheard audio — into a multi-part Disney Plus special. But we’re still putting it on our list of the week’s movie offerings because of Jackson’s original vision and inevitable, cinematic touch. That’s it!
Photo by Neon
Pablo Larraín’s psychological drama Spencer centers on the life of Diana, Princess of Wales who, while struggling with her mental health and the corrosive influence of the royal family, decides to end her decade-long marriage to Prince Charles. Kristen Stewart has received significant praise for her portrayal of the late princess, and the film as a whole has been heralded by several critics as one of the year’s best. From our review
This is a biopic acutely concerned with parsing Diana’s psychology, and specifically, her many demons. But not in a sexual way. While heading to Sandringham Estate, she sees a scarecrow standing in the middle of a field, wearing her father’s red coat. (In real life, John Spencer, her father, died three months later of a heart attack. She returns to the outerwear in hopes of having it cleaned. Diana grew up on the Queen’s estate in Park House, making her journey to the Christmas festivities both a heartening homecoming and an unfortunate duty, causing a wellspring of grief to affect her in varying fashions.
Where to look: Available to stream HBO Max
Image: Warner Bros. Pictures
Based on the book of the same name by Kevin Jakubowski, 8-Bit Christmas is yet another consumerist-driven holiday children’s comedy à la A Christmas Story or Jingle All The Way, following the story of young boy named Jake Doyle growing up in the suburbs of Chicago who yearns for his very own Nintendo Entertainment System. Narrated by Neil Patrick Harris, who plays an older version of Jake recounting the story to his young daughter in the present-day, the trailer looks charming and outrageous — the perfect kind of movie to get in the mood for the winter holidays.
Photo: Ben Rothstein/Warner Bros. Pictures
Hugh Jackman (Logan) stars in Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy’s feature directorial debut Reminiscence as Nick Bannister, a private investigator who alongside his assistant Watts (Thandiwe Newton) specializes in navigating the minds of his clients in search of answers. Think Inception with less emphasis on corporate spying and impossible architecture. After crossing paths with a mysterious client (Rebecca Ferguson), Nick’s quest to solve her disappearance morphs into an obsessive odyssey that blurs the lines between past, present, reality, and fiction. From our review
Reminiscence is a solid noir mystery. It has a lot of complications and surprising reveals. There are also double-crossings and double dealings, slimy mobsters, and rich monsters. It mostly fails through its character dynamics, especially for anyone who isn’t swooning over Nick’s monomania. Nick’s soppy voiceover not only steers the audience toward maudlin self-pity, it overexplains things better left subtle and up to interpretation, and it prevents viewers from just quietly soaking in the movie’s elaborate dystopian spectacle. It’s an irritating, intrusive drag, constantly trying to steer the audience and tell them what to think or how to feel. Joy’s symbolism can be equally heavy-handed: a bit of business with a recurring lost queen from a deck of cards is a ridiculously gratuitous bit of stagecraft in a story about a missing woman.
Where to look: Shudder streaming available
Photo by Shudder
Do you need to freak out your entire family who gathered for the holidays. In Shudder’s new release, Catherine, a budding musician, heads to a remote cottage to work on new material in solitude. But according to Shudder’s description, “Soon after, strange and seemingly supernatural occurrences begin to manifest at the cottage, escalating each night and dangerously eroding Catherine’s sense of reality.”
And here’s what dropped last Friday:
Tick, Tick… Boom!
Where to look:Available to stream Netflix
Photo by Macall Polay/Netflix
Based on the autobiographical musical of the same name by Rent creator Jonathan Larson, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tick, Tick… Boom! Andrew Garfield plays Jon, a promising theater director who struggles to make his mark in the world. Anxious about his upcoming 30th, Jon is frustrated with his lackluster success and anxious about the future. He continues to work tirelessly to create something great, but he is oblivious of the life-threatening medical condition. Our review shows that
But from moment to moment, this version of Tick, Tick… Boom! It’s heartfelt, moving, and deeply felt. It’s a generous two-hour thank-you note from Miranda to the man who helped make his career possible. Many of the songs, including the ballad, are standouts. “Why” (a touching reflection on Jon’s lifelong friendship with Michael), the jaunty ditty “Boho Days”The comedy (which is like Rent condensed into three minutes). “Therapy”(A dissection and analysis of a broken relationship in the style Kander & Ebb musicals Chicago and Cabaret). “Sunday”(a Sondheim-inspired ode brunch with a impressive list of cameos Netflix has asked not to reveal). Music-theater fans will want to watch this film on repeat. There are many of them.
Where to look:Available to stream HBO Max
Photo by Warner Bros.
King Richard is a 2021 biopic that stars Will Smith as Richard Williams. He is the father to future tennis stars Venus (Saniya Sidney) & Serena Williams (Demi Soloton). He tries to both raise and coach the young prodigies. Our review:
The Williams family approved this film without it being explicitly stated. That leads to friction between the glossy, wholesome triumphs common to most sports biopics, and the uneasy interrogation needed for a character like Williams, a vain leader who’s guiding his daughters toward tremendous triumphsThey are fed disturbing and sometimes even offensive messages. That push and pull between frankness and a spin that flatters Williams keeps Green’s King Richard from being a truly great film. But it doesn’t inhibit it from being enjoyable. It’s tonally conflicted, but it’s an oddly compelling piece about an unlikely Black family succeeding in a white-dominated space.
Last Night in Soho
Photo by Focus Features
Edgar Wright’s giallo-inspired psychological horror thriller Last Night in Soho stars Thomasin McKenzie (Old, Jojo Rabbit) as Ellie, a timid aspiring fashionDesigner who romanticizes 1960s glamour. After moving to London to attend college, Ellie begins to experience vivid dreams of living in ’60s Soho through the eyes of Sandie (The Witch’s Anya Taylor-Joy), a wannabe singer whisked into a whirlwind relationship with a charming manager named Jack (Matt Smith). These dreams lead to some amazing effects, but they soon take a darker turn and bleed into her conscious reality, haunting her at every corner. Ellie must track down a brutal killer to reconcile her past without becoming a victim. Our review shows:
Soho feels like Wright’s most explicit interrogation of his own sentimental impulses, and simultaneously, his most stylistically grandiose work. This story is also centered on the brutal and lurid exploiting of women. This is certainly Edgar Wright at his Edgar Wright-iest, but even as he’s arguing against celebrating the past in Last Night in Soho, he’s celebrating it himself, in ways that are hard to escape, and at times, harder still to enjoy.
Zeros and ones
Set over the course of one night, Abel Ferrara’s gritty political-thriller Zeros and Ones stars Ethan Hawke in the dual role of J.J., an American soldier stationed in Rome, and Justin, his militant twin brother. J.J must race to find his brother’s information about the attack on the Vatican and stop it from causing chaos. The trailer looks exciting, and the premise alone sounds eerily similar to Hawke’s previous performance in the 2014 sci-fi action thriller Predestination crossed with Ang Lee’s 2019 film Gemini Man. So if you’re a fan of either one of those movies, you should absolutely give this one a shot.
Image: Walt Disney Pictures
Choo choo, all aboard Jungle Cruise! The latest effort in Disney’s ongoing effort to spin every one of its notable theme-park rides into a sustainable theatrical franchise, Jungle Cruise stars Dwayne “The Rock”Johnson as Frank “Skipper”Wolff is a riverboat captain who was hired to take Dr. Lily Houghton, Emily Blunt, into the heart of an exotic jungle in search of The Tree of Life. It’s not exactly Fitzcarraldo or The Lost City of Z, but it does have zombie snake-men and CG-animated leopards, plus Jesse Plemons as a German aristocrat in a submarine. Our review:
Jungle Cruise isn’t just bound to the antiquated tropes Films of archaeological adventure, but also the ride’s own problematic legacy. The filmmakers try to change that legacy, which is to their credit. The choice to make the treasure part of nature, rather than the ruins of an old civilization, is a smart one. But the best adaptation is that the indigenous people of the jungle are civilized, and they’re Frank’s buddies — they only attack the tourists because they have an agreement where he pays them to scare the travelers for extra thrills. The leader of the tribe — the infamous Trader Sam, originally An old park character — is a woman in the movie. She doesn’t get a lot of screen time, and is more of an Easter Egg than a woman of color with a story of her own, but at least the filmmakers are acknowledging the ride’s past and considering how to modernize their thinking.
Prisoners in the Ghostland
Where to look:Shudder is available to stream
Image: RLJE Films
As anyone familiar with Nicolas Cage’s work knows, there’s no such thing as “over-the-top”Oscar-winning actor. So when it comes to Prisoners of the Ghostland, a neo-noir Western action movie starring Cage as a criminal mercenary named Hero sent to a parallel dimension to rescue a warlord’s granddaughter, it’s really just par for the course for Cage at this point. There’s samurai action, gore, and testicle-mounted explosives galore, and it absolutely, unequivocally whips. Our review shows that
Prisoners of the Ghostland are primed for the midnight-movie-showcase, packed-house and few-drinks slot. Presented in the less-than-ideal at-home venue, by nature of virtual Sundance, it’s a delightful love letter to action-movie excess. Like The Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending or, more literally, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Sono embraces cartoon nonsense logic in order to whisk Cage to each of the film’s unexpected mile markers. The Governor is American and walks out in all whites with a cowboy hat. The samurai warriors might as well be RPG NPCs engaging in a sword battle set to Jim Croce’s “Time in a Bottle.”A sequence showing the accident that transformed the countryside into a decrepit shade of its former self flips across a screen like a manga. Star who has perfected the mouth-agape and raised-eyebrow. “Wut?”Face is the glue that holds the pieces together.
Photo by Universal Pictures
DaCosta’s 2021 sequel to the 1992 horror classic Candyman recontextualizes the original film in surprising (and critically divisive) ways, imagining the phantom serial killer Candyman less as a singular specter, and more as a generational trauma conjured by the sacrifice of Black people victimized by systemic violence. While the creative ambitions of DaCosta’s film are admirable, the film itself might leave something to be desired for some viewers. Our review shows that
Like Anthony, DaCosta seems to be determined to make her work meaningful. Her Candyman makes broad metaphorical strokes about the larger urban Black experience, but it’s aimed at an oblivious audience that needs didactic storytelling to understand racial politics. The film’s end is particularly muddled, doing more to set up a sequel than to smartly bind together Candyman’s varied, nascent themes. The film is missing out on a cohesive vision, to the point where the audience will spend the entire film waiting for the flashbacks and summaries to end, and for DaCosta’s movie to finally begin. But by the end, she’s only offered a visually stunning homage to the original film. For a director of her talent, that isn’t enough.
Image: Saban Films
Do you like 2004’s Primer? Do you like watching actors argue with themselves, but don’t feel like watching Zeros and Ones or 1998’s Dead Ringers? Multiverse might be right up your alley. The sci-fi thriller follows Loretta Kwiatkowski (Paloma Kawiatkowski), Danny Naylor (Robert Naylor), Amy Sandra Mae Frank (Sandra Mae Frank) and Gerry Munro Chambers (Munro Chambers), four young scientists who are on the brink of proving multiverse theory. After a terrible tragedy, the group becomes more focused on their goal of finding a way into another universe. Their actions could endanger not only the lives of their loved ones but all universes that have ever existed.