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Each week our staff of film and TV experts surveys the entertainment landscape to select the ten best new/newish movies available for you to stream at home. We put a lot of thought into our selections, and our debates on what to include and what not to include can sometimes get a little heated and feelings may get hurt, but so be it, this is an important service for you, our readers. With that said, here are our selections for this week.
10. (tie) Day Shift (Netflix)
Day Shift is like a strange foil for a lot of movies lately, in that all the ingredients are in place for a lackluster stinker, but thanks to some surprisingly solid joke writing (in contrast to a lot of “funny” action movie writing today which is merely non-funny things delivered in the rough shape of jokes) and inspired action choreography, it ends up being weirdly watchable. Jamie Foxx plays a San Fernando Valley vampire hunter named Bud Jablonski (Foxx is always getting typecast as a Polish man, isn’t he?) who gets involuntarily partnered with a persnickety union rep (oh yeah, the vampire hunters have a union) played by Dave Franco. This odd couple joins forces for a rush to kill enough vampires to afford Jablonski’s daughter’s school tuition before his ex-wife can move her out of state. Meanwhile there’s a vampire who has invented a new type of sunscreen that could change everything. Admittedly it all sounds pretty stupid, but introducing a supernatural angle ends up being exactly what the action choreographers needed to break their slavish bonds to realism. Turns out, gruesome vampire murder is a lot more entertaining than the usual choppy dance fighting. Watch it on Netflix.
10. (tie) Honk For Jesus, Save Your Soul (Peacock)
Bless us all because we have Sterling K. Brown and Regina Hall starring in a razor-sharp religious satire as leaders of a megachurch that faces a huge scandal and sends them on the comeback trail. That should be enough to sell you on this one. Well, that and the image above. Look at those two! Yes, this will do just fine. Watch it on Peacock.
9. Samaritan (Amazon Prime)
Samaritan isn’t necessarily a good movie, but it does benefit from two things: One, Sylvester Stallone seems to be having a nice time and is really going for it and, two, the studio that owns Samaritan didn’t delete the movie from its server and you can actually watch it on Amazon Prime if you so choose to do this. Stallone plays an old salt named Joe who works as a garbage man, but also may or may not be a former superhero vigilante named Samaritan who disappeared years and years ago and is presumed dead. After Joe saves a kid, Sam, from some bullies, Sam is convinced Joe is the long-lost Samaritan. This is a movie with some really mixed messaging about the good and evil in everyone, to the point this movie might not have realized it had a message to begin with. But in the end, Stallone is having a nice time, which makes it, at times, entertaining. Watch it on Amazon Prime.
8. Pinocchio (Disney Plus)
Disney continues its efforts to remake its iconic back catalog of animated treasures, bringing them to new audiences through live-action, big-budget adaptations. Thus far, the results have been mixed, but also highly profitable, so here we go again with Pinocchio. In their favor, a lead performance from Tom Hanks as Geppetto and the guiding hand of Robert Zemeckis as director and co-writer (with Chris Weitz). Zemeckis is, of course, a trailblazer when it comes to storytelling through a heavily CG-influenced lens, which is required here to bring the tale of a marionette turned real live boy to life. But the challenge is in doing that while maintaining the soul of a fable that is imprinted on so many of us from previous adaptations and, of course, Disney’s 1940-made gem which still looks fantastic despite being more than 80 years old. Basically, the degree of difficulty is high here and audiences are likely to be unforgiving if this impressive creative team either veers too far from the much-beloved classic or feels too much like a carbon copy. Watch it on Disney Plus.
7. Confess, Fletch (VOD)
For years, the mythical list of failed reboot attempts stood out as the most interesting thing about the Fletch franchise, but here comes Jon Hamm to wash it all away in his highest-profile bet since Mad Men. Does it work? It all depends on your expectations. If you’re expecting a film in the same key as the Chevy Chase-starring original, you may be (slightly) disappointed, but for fans of the novels, Hamm will deliver as a breezily sarcastic former investigative journalist on the trail of some stolen art while trying to beat a murder rap. This is especially true when playing with other funny people such as Barb & Star‘s Annie Mumolo, former Mad Men co-star John Slattery, and Daily Show correspondent Roy Wood Jr, who finally gets an opportunity worthy of his talents. Watch it on your VOD outlet of choice.
6. Elvis (HBO Max)
Baz Lurhman’s Elvis biopic is trash. Beautiful, glorious trash. The kind you leave out on your front porch for your neighbors to marvel at in grotesque disbelief. It’s hip-gyrating, finger-thrusting, sweat-pouring theatrics packaged in lush cinematography, contained in a classic underdog story that reaffirms everything you thought you knew about the King of Rock and Roll, and then adds some weird personal fodder that makes you question everything you thought you knew about the King of Rock and Roll. Austin Butler is mesmerizing, and so is whatever the hell Tom Hanks is doing in this thing. Enjoy it for what it is – a beautifully-shot fever dream filled with some great tunes. Watch it on HBO Max.
5. Vengeance (Peacock)
B.J. Novak writes and directs and stars in this dark comedy about a big fancy New York podcaster who heads to a redder state to investigate a disappearance and death and a bunch of other things that may or may not be worth investigating at all, actually. The cast is stacked, too, with everyone from Issa Rae to Boyd Holbrook to Ashton Kutcher to freaking Gerri from Succession herself, J. Smith-Cameron. It’s all very intriguing. Watch it on Peacock.
4. Thor: Love and Thunder (Disney Plus)
Thor is back once again and he brought some new friends with him. Natalie Portman, to be specific. Which is fun. This follow-up to the also-fun Ragnarok has made the move from theaters to streaming and into your living rooms. That’s another fun thing. It is almost unreasonable how good Chris Hemsworth is in these movies. You should not be allowed to look like that and be that funny. Someone should make a rule about it. Until then… watch it on Disney Plus.
3. Top Gun: Maverick (VOD)
We feel the need. The need to watch Top Gun: Maverick over and over and over again now that it’s streaming on demand. This sequel has everything a summer blockbuster should – trash staches, Tom Cruise doing his wild little stunts, bar sing-a-longs, Jon Hamm being an absolute twat, fighter jets, aviators, fake tans, and a shirtless beach football scene that will live in meme-famy (meme infamy). The movies are back, baby! Watch it on your VOD outlet of choice.
2. Meet Cute (Peacock)
What do we have here? Well, Kaley Cuoco, for one, in a Groundhog Day-style situation that sees her living the same date over and over again, in a good way, thanks to a magical tanning booth. We’ve also got Pete Davidson doing his whole thing and tiny rips in the space-time continuum and little changes in the past causing big ripples in the future, kind of like if you crossed Back to the Future with Palm Springs. That’s a good place to start from. Watch it on Peacock.
1. Do Revenge (Netflix)
A revenge fantasy set in an impossibly luxurious school where impossibly rich kids trade impossibly sharp and smart barbs, Do Revenge is not to be believed as a real slice of teenage life, but it is to be enjoyed. A lot. Led by Maya Hawke and Camila Mendes, Do Revenge is the perfect mean-teen movie, giving us all the fun and fierce cross of Mean Girls, Clueless, Heathers, 10 Things I Hate About You, Cruel Intentions, and Throw Momma From The Train (!?) that we didn’t know we needed, but we so, so did. Watch it on Netflix.