The past week has been a whirlwind of news for the entertainment world, and that’s on top of this year’s online E3 convention. With all the assorted buzz of new television shows, movies, anime, games, and what-have-you releasing over the course of the next year and beyond, it’s worth remembering that there are plenty of cool new things to watch that are available right now.
This week sees the release of Luca, Pixar’s latest animated comedy following the misadventures of two young sea monsters who assume human identities in the idyllic seaside town of Portorosso. We’ve got the video-on-demand release of Godzilla vs. Kong, the release of Netflix’s comedy drama Fatherhood starring Kevin Hart, the Pierce Brosnan-led heist thriller The Misfits, and more!
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.
Where to watch it: Available to stream on Disney Plus
Pixar’s fantasy coming-of-age adventure Luca follows Luca Paguro (Room’s Jacob Tremblay) and his friend Alberto Scorfano (Shazam’s Jack Dylan Grazer), two young sea monsters who assume the forms of a pair of human children as they explore the idyllic Italian Riviera town of Portorosso. From our review,
In Luca, the magic is in the tiny details that flesh out the human world. The undersea setting is gorgeous, certainly, but the seaside town of Portorosso is what really shines. Through Luca and Alberto’s eyes, it makes sense that the human setting should be so lovingly augmented. All the little details — the laundry hanging between the streets, the uneven cobblestones, the posters on the walls — create a gorgeous rendition of the real world. It isn’t photorealistic, but it makes the town a little warmer, a little brighter, and a little more golden, almost like a rosy-tinged memory. The stylization bolsters this blissful summer shared by three friends.
Where to watch it: Available to stream on Netflix
In Fatherhood Kevin Hart stars as Matt, a recent widower who must raise his new baby son alone as a single parent. As a comedian by trade, it’s seldom if outright unprecedented for audiences to see Hart tackling a more serious and emotionally charged role, but from the looks of the trailer, Fatherhood is shaping up to be an heartwarming and emotional story with a few classic gags thrown in for good measure.
The Space Between
Golden Globe winner Kelsey Grammer stars in Rachel Winter’s comedy drama The Space Between as Micky Adams, an eccentric has-been rock musician who loses his grip on reality after a late career slump defined by creative misfires and abysmal critical reception. In enters Charlie Porter (Jackson White), a young man sent by Adams’ label to force him out of his contract who harbors his own dreams of success. Together, the two form an unlikely friendship as Micky imparts on Charlie his own hard-earned lessons about music, love, and life.
Godzilla vs. Kong
The capstone of Legendary Entertainment’s Monsterverse reimagining of Toho’s most famous Kaiju is finally here in Adam Wingard’s Godzilla vs. Kong. In a fight between an ancient behemoth lizard that emits radiation and big ol’ ape with a heart of gold and palm full of sign language, who wins? The answer’s obvious: we do! From our review,
Godzilla vs. Kong is a 113-minute argument for movies projected on giant screens in front of crowds of people. It’s a smooth-brained good time. Depending on local pandemic recovery progress and restrictions, it will either triumphantly welcome moviegoers back into theaters with tremendous spectacle, or make the wait hurt that much more, as they watch it on HBO Max instead. I watched it at home, on my 55-inch TV, absolutely furious that I couldn’t see it in a theater, or at the very least, project it on the side of my apartment building. But I couldn’t stay mad for long, because I was too busy cheering out loud at the spectacle in front of me.
Pierce Brosnan (Golden Eye) stars in director Renny Harlin’s heist caper The Misfits as Richard Pace, a notorious confidence man and criminal who is recruited into an international band of vigilante thieves calling themselves, you guessed it, the Misfits. The group’s latest heist is their most daring: a cache of millions of gold bars locked beneath one of the world’s harshest and most remote prisons. With a cast rounded out by stars such as Nick Cannon (Wild ‘n Out), Tim Roth (Pulp Fiction), Rami Jaber, and Jamie Chung (Lovecraft Country), Brosnan is the obvious star powering this film’s entire appeal. If you’ve ever wondered what would it be like if a former James Bond led an Ocean’s Eleven-esque heist movie, you should consider giving The Misfits a shot.
And here’s what dropped last Friday:
In the Heights
Where to watch it: In theaters and available to stream via HBO Max
Before he broke through the stratosphere with Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote and starred in the celebrated 2008 musical, In the Heights. This summer’s movie version, directed by Jon M. Chu and starring Anthony Ramos, Corey Hawkins, Melissa Barrera, Leslie Grace, Olga Merediz, and more, seems poised for a similar reception. Set over the course of three days, the film follows a close-knit community in Washington Heights, New York as they navigate the trials and tribulations of day-to-day life in the city. From our review,
The 2021 film version, helmed by Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu, is a triumphant adaptation, confidently reworking the stage show into a gorgeous, vibrant film that captures both the bigness of musical theater and the intimacy that comes with telling a story about a specific culture. In its joyous excess, In the Heights makes a case for adapting Broadway musicals into Hollywood cinema. The musical numbers are freed from the boundaries of the stage, and they don’t waste that freedom. The dance routines feel like gorgeous action-movie set-pieces, thanks to Alice Brooks’ cinematography. And the film cast is a constellation of Latinx legends and up-and-comers alike, from Daphne Rubin-Vega to Leslie Grace and Jimmy Smits. Every summer should have a movie like this one.
Where to watch it: Available to stream on Netflix
Netflix’s American-Chinese animated fantasy comedy Wish Dragon stars Jimmy Wong (John Dies at the End, Mulan) as the voice of Din, a working-class college student unlucky in love with his lost childhood friend Li Na (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), now a famous debutante. Things quickly take a turn in his favor when he unleashes a magic wish-granting dragon named Long (John Cho) who aids him in his transformation into a suave moneyed man about town. Along the way, Din is forced to face the hard decision of what really matters in life, and whether affection born out of deception can ever fully mature into love. From our review,
Netflix’s animated film Wish Dragon starts with that rags-to-riches Aladdin formula, then transports the story to modern-day Shanghai. It actually isn’t as a direct copycat as it might seem, though drawing from a similar fairytale formula means it’s bound to mimic certain tropes. But when Wish Dragon doesn’t directly lean on those familiar elements, director Chris Appelhans (illustrator on Laika’s Coraline) manages to tell an updated, modern fantasy story with unique and specific humor. A lot of the plot elements feel overly familiar, but in the few moments where the movie transcends those trappings, it’s a fun, memorable romp.
Poet-musician-actor Saul Williams stars in Jamaican-Canadian director Charles Officer’s crime drama Akilla’s Escape as a 40 year old marijuana dealer working for a shadowy drug outfit. One year after government approved legalization, Akilla makes plans to cash out and retire — that is, until he witnesses an attempted robbery of one of his clients by a group of masked youths. Upon capturing one of thieves, a mute boy by the name of Sheppard, and learning they belong to a Jamaican crime syndicate with ties to his own past, Akilla is forced to reckon with the sins of his past while deciding the fate of both the boy and himself. Trailers for the film look tense and alluring, placing Williams in a role not unlike Barkhad Abdi’s in last year’s Beneath a Sea of Lights. The score sounds appropriately ominous and intriguing too, composed by Massive Attack’s Robert “3D” Del Naja and Williams himself.
Jessica Barden (The End of the F***ing World) stars in Nicole Riegel’s Holler as Ruth Avery, a young woman growing up in a neglected pocket of Southern Ohio where American manufacturing has all but dried up. After being accepted to college, Ruth joins an illicit scrap metal crew with her brother in order to pay her way. Salvaging precious metals by day and stealing materials from derelict factories by night, Ruth soon finds herself within striking distance of her goal. But when the full cost of escaping her dying hometown dawns on her, she’ll have to make the choice between the promise of a future and the family she would have to leave behind.
Looking for a new schlocky sci-fi action flick à la Skyline, Cosmic Sin, or Netflix’s Tribes of Europa? Well, feast your eyes on Occupation: Rainfall! Set two years after an alien invasion of Earth, the film stars Dan Ewig as Matt Simmons, one of a handful of survivors fighting a desperate guerilla ground war in Sydney, Australia in the an attempt to save humanity. As the death toll climbs, the resistance stumbles across a secret that might be able to finally turn the tide of the war in their favor. Featuring an eclectic who’s who of supporting actors in the way of Temuera Morrison (The Mandolorian, The Book of Boba Fett) and Ken Jeong (The Hangover, Crazy Rich Asians), Occupation: Rainfall will certainly satisfy your appetite for bright lasers and stern-faced military men shouting hammy lines of dialogue.
Where to watch it: Available to stream on Netflix
The premise of Skater Girl is more or less self-explanatory, albeit for a few key details. Manjari Makijany’s film stars Rachel Saanchita Gupta as Prerna, a teenage girl growing up in rural India who discovers a newfound passion in the form of skateboarding. When her passion for the sport motivates her to compete in India’s national skateboarding championship, she faces opposition from both her family and society. With the support of her teacher, Prerna fights the odds to pursue her dream of taking home the trophy.