March 28, 2023

Eclipse Festival

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Knock at the Cabin, M3GAN, and every new movie to watch at home this week

This week Knock at the Cabin, M. Night Shyamalan’s latest biblically inspired horror drama starring Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Jonathan Groff (The Matrix Resurrections), arrives on VOD. If watching a close-knit family reckon with an impossible decision posited by the emissaries of an inscrutable force is a little too heavy for you right now, not to worry — there’s plenty of other great new movies to watch on VOD and streaming.

We Have a Ghost, the new comedy-horror film starring David Harbour (Stranger Things) as a balding, mute ghost named Ernest, materializes on Netflix this weekend. Babylon, Damien Chazelle’s bacchanalian love letter to Hollywood excess, comes to streaming on Paramount Plus, the coming-of-age drama Bruiser starring Trevante Rhodes (Moonlight) premieres on Hulu, and the highly anticipated uncut version of M3GAN finally comes to Peacock as well. There’s tons of other films available to rent and purchase on VOD this week, including the Mennonite drama Women Talking starring Rooney Mara (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) and the new psychological drama from Darren Aronofsky (mother!) starring Brendan Fraser (The Mummy) and Sadie Sink (Stranger Things).

There’s lots to choose from when it comes to what to watch this weekend. Here are our top picks for this week’s new releases.


New on Netflix

We Have a Ghost

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

Image: Netflix

Genre: Horror/comedy
Run time: 2h 6m
Director: Christopher Landon
Cast: David Harbour, Jahi Di’Allo Winston, Anthony Mackie

Based on Geoff Manaugh’s 2017 short story “Ernest,” this new comedy-horror centers on Kevin (Jahi Di’Allo Winston), a teenager who discovers a ghost named Ernest (David Harbour) living in the old house that his family has recently moved into. Naturally, he does what any savvy teenager would do — he puts Ernest on YouTube and he becomes a media sensation. With the government now breathing down their necks to experiment on him, Kevin must help Ernest escape capture and solve the mystery of why his spirit still haunts this Earth.

Glass Onion: Director’s Commentary

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

Billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) stands in front of the Mona Lisa with his hands folded in Glass Onion

Image: Netflix

Genre: Mystery/comedy
Run time: 2h 20m
Director: Rian Johnson
Cast: Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Dave Bautista

Rian Johnson’s sequel to his 2019 ensemble mystery now finds itself as a part of a franchise, and now it sports a director’s commentary. The once upstart, non-IP genre piece is now a Netflix tentpole, released first in theaters and now with extra features after the streaming release.

Daniel Craig reprises his role as the detective Benoit Blanc, now faced with a new group of wealthy people played by very famous people, as he attempts to solve a new murder. This time it’s in Greece, when a tech billionaire (Edward Norton) invites his friends for a party and one of them ends up dead.

From our review:

Glass Onion is a brighter, louder, more extroverted movie than the first Knives Out. Its themes and fashion flirt with brazen, cartoony silliness. This time around, Johnson aims for big ideas and big laughs — this is a funnier movie, almost an outright comedy at times, and a broad one at that. Where Knives Out targets the defensive pretension of inherited wealth, Glass Onion mocks the desperate peacocking of new money, in a world of tech billionaires, influencers, and flash-in-the-pan politicians. As before, though, the gentlemanly Benoit Blanc is here to strip these people’s illusions away with comic courtesy.

New on Hulu

Bruiser

Where to watch: Available to stream on Hulu

A teenage boy (Jalyn Hall) wearing a helmet rides on the back of a motorcycle driven by a man with long flowing dreadlocks (Trevante Rhodes).

Image: Hulu

Genre: Drama
Run time: 1h 37m
Director: Miles Warren
Cast: Jalyn Hall, Trevante Rhodes, Shamier Anderson

This new drama follows the story of Darious (Jalyn Hall), an African American teen who struggles to fit in at the private school he attends, where he is frequently preyed upon by his more privileged classmates. Seeking guidance and an example for how to move through life, he finds himself between two role models who inflict violence in their own ways — his strict disciplinarian father (Shamier Anderson) who insists that Darious “take his lumps” and keep focused on his studies, and Porter (Trevante Rhodes), a mysterious drifter offering mentorship in the form of boxing lessons.

New on Paramount Plus

Babylon

Where to watch: Available to stream on Paramount Plus

Nellie and Manny dance close enough to kiss in the opening party from the film Babylon

Photo: Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures

Genre: Drama
Run time: 3h 9m
Director: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Diego Calva, Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt

Director Damien Chazelle’s ode to his complicated love of the movies was one of the more polarizing releases of 2022, and not just because of the wild elephant poop scene. A no-holds-barred passion project about the high highs and low lows of the history of the movie industry, it was nominated for three Oscars, for costume design, production design, and score.

From our review:

It is easy to get caught up in the magic of movies and only see Jack Conrad, or Damien Chazelle — and if that’s all you see in Babylon, revulsion may come naturally. But Babylon is also concerned with what happens in the periphery of Hollywood’s white heroes. Chazelle shoots his stars with a lens wide enough that it’s not hard to see who lingers in the periphery, and the parts they have to play. Keep an eye on those people as they come and go, and Babylon becomes a cacophonous dirge for them, weeping for their anonymity in all the beauty that came at their expense. Their nitrate went up in flames and left us with lovely little lies of living forever.

New on Peacock

M3GAN (The Unrated Cut)

Where to watch: Available to stream on Peacock

M3gan from M3GAN reading Cady (Violet McGraw) a book

Image: Universal Pictures

Genre: Sci-fi/horror comedy
Run time: 1h 42m
Director: Gerard Johnstone
Cast: Allison Williams, Jenna Davis, Violet McGraw

The latest horror film from Housebound director Gerard Johnstone and Malignant screenwriter Akela Cooper follows Gemma (Allison Williams), a roboticist for a Seattle toy company who creates an artificially intelligent doll to look after her orphaned niece, Cady (Violet McGraw). But when the doll, at first unbeknownst to either Gemma or Cady, begins to commit a series of violent murders ostensibly in service of its prime directive, Gemma will have to fight to protect her niece and the world from what she has created.

From our review:

The graveyard of awful horror comedies is among the saddest and most boring in all of film. It’s filled with hundreds of bad-taste parodies, laughless messes, silly garbage, and probably a few unfortunate movies that weren’t deliberately designed to be laughed at. The worst movies in the subgenre feel like tightrope acts that try too hard to balance what the creators seem to think are two opposite extremes, hoping the audience laughs one moment and screams the next. But following in the footsteps of classics like the original Chucky movie Child’s Play, director Gerard Johnstone and the team behind the new horror comedy M3GAN realize that laughing and screaming aren’t actually that different — and most importantly, that either one can be the key to a great time.

New on Prime Video

Die Hart: The Movie

Where to watch: Available to stream on Prime Video

(L-R) John Travolta, Kevin Hart and Nathalie Emmanuel in a scene from Die Hart: The Movie.

Image: Quibi

Genre: Action/comedy
Run time:
Director: Eric Appel
Cast: Kevin Hart, John Travolta, Nathalie Emmanuel

Remember last year when Nicolas Cage played a fictionalized version of himself opposite Pedro Pascal (The Last of Us, The Mandalorian) in the satirical action-comedy The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent? Well, Die Hart: The Movie is a satirical action-comedy where comedian Kevin Hart plays a fictionalized version of himself who is trying to become a big-budget action movie star.

It’s not plagiarism, though, I swear — this movie is essentially a condensed reedited version of a 2020 comedy series that originally premiered on Quibi (remember Quibi?). So essentially Die Hart: The Movie is like, the 21st-century live-action comedy equivalent of a ’80s anime OVA series.

Smile

Where to watch: Available to stream on Prime Video

A character in the movie Smile with a wide grin and a shard of glass

Image: Paramount Pictures

Genre: Horror
Run time: 1h 55m
Director: Parker Finn
Cast: Sosie Bacon, Jessie T. Usher, Kyle Gallner

Sosie Bacon (Mare of Easttown) stars in this supernatural horror thriller as Dr. Rose Cotter, a therapist exposed to a bizarre, traumatic event involving the death of one of her patients. Afterward, Rose becomes increasingly more paranoid that a malicious spirit — the same entity responsible for her patient’s death and countless others — is haunting her at every turn, adopting the appearance of both strangers and loved ones alike while wearing an eerie, uncanny smile. The movie now moves to Prime after months on Paramount Plus.

From our review:

Smile is often a gimmicky, even corny horror movie, packed with so many jump-scares that the sheer pile-on borders on laughable. Finn uses abrupt, loud sound cues and brutally rapid cuts to get viewers yelping and flinching over things as mundane as Rose biting into a hamburger, or tearing off a hangnail. But no matter how excessively the legitimate scares pile up, they’re startling and convincing. The editing and music are impressively tuned for maximum impact whenever the slow-burning tension resolves with an abrupt, ugly surprise. All of which makes Smile an efficient ride, if an unusually unrelenting one.

New on Shudder

Nocebo

Where to watch: Available to stream on Shudder

A screaming woman (Eva Green) leans against a wall away from a red, fire-like glow off-screen.

Image: RLJE Films/Shudder

Genre: Horror
Run time: 1h 34m
Director: Lorcan Finnegan
Cast: Eva Green, Mark Strong, Chai Fonacier

Eva Green (Penny Dreadful) stars in this psychological horror thriller as Christine, a fashion designer plagued by a unknown illness who turns to Diana (Chai Fonacier), a caregiver versed in Filipino folk medicine, for help. When mysterious and disturbing visions and events begin to plague Christine, her husband, Felix (Mark Strong), will have to fight Diana in order to save his wife’s life.

New on Criterion Channel

EO

Where to watch: Available to stream on Criterion Channel; available to rent for $6.99 on Amazon, $5.99 on Vudu

A man sits opposite of a donkey in the back of a wagon.

Image: Skopia Film/Janus Films

Genre: Road drama
Run time: 1h 28m
Director: Jerzy Skolimowski
Cast: Sandra Drzymalska, Isabelle Huppert, Lorenzo Zurzolo

This road movie follows the life of a donkey born in a Polish circus who may or may not be traveling through the nine circles of hell. Hard to say, but hey — sounds like an interesting movie, right? The film itself is pretty short on words, as is this blurb.

New on MUBI

Alcarràs

Where to watch: Available to stream on Mubi

A group of adults, teenagers, and children standing in an orchard and looking off at something in the distance.

Image: MUBI

Genre: Drama
Run time: 2h
Director: Carla Simón
Cast: Josep Abad, Jordi Pujol Dolcet, Anna Otin

This drama follows the members of the Solé family, who for generations have worked as peach farmers in a small village in Catalonia. Following the death of the property’s owner, the family’s livelihood and way of life are threatened when the heir to the property decides to sell the land, forcing them to consider the life that they’ve built while bracing for an uncertain new future.

New on VOD

A House Made of Splinters

Where to watch: Available to rent for $3.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

two children sit beside one another against a wall with a green-leaf plant painted on it.

Image: Prime Video

Genre: Documentary
Run time: 1h 27m
Director: Simon Lereng Wilmont
Cast: Marharyta Burlutska, Anjelika Stolyarova, Olga Tronova

This documentary focuses on the lives of the social workers and the residents of the Lysychansk Center in eastern Ukraine, an orphanage for children of unfit parents who are provided shelter for up to nine months before their next home is decided. Set against the turmoil of the ongoing war in Ukraine, A House Made of Splinters is a testament to the endurance of hope and the will to create a space where life can continue.

Broker

Where to watch: Available to rent for $5.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

Genre: Comedic crime drama
Run time: 2h 9m
Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Cast: Song Kang-ho, Gang Dong-won, Bae Doona

Song Kang-ho (Parasite) and Gang Dong-won (Peninsula) star in Shoplifters director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s latest comedic crime drama as two scoundrels who steal babies from church drop boxes and sell them on the adoption black market to affluent couples who can’t have children of their own. After the mother of an infant returns to see that her child is delivered to a good home, the three embark on a journey to find the right family for the baby — all while unexpectedly forming one of their own.

Holy Spider

Where to watch: Available to rent for $6.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

A woman (Zar Amir Ebrahimi) wearing a head scarf and standing in a darkened alleyway at night.

Image: Utopia

Genre: Crime thriller
Run time: 1h 58m
Director: Ali Abbasi
Cast: Mehdi Bajestani, Zar Amir-Ebrahimi

Inspired by the true story of Iranian serial killer Saeed Hanaei, this crime thriller follows Arezoo Rahimi (Zar Amir-Ebrahimi), a journalist who descends into the underworld of Mashhad on a quest to hunt down a serial murderer targeting sex workers throughout the city. Holy Spider explores topics of sexual violence, cultural misogyny, and institutional incompetence.

Knock at the Cabin

Where to watch: Available to rent for $19.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

Dave Bautista standing in front of several other people in Knock at the Cabin

Image: Universal Pictures

Genre: Horror/thriller
Run time: 1h 40m
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, Rupert Grint

Jonathan Groff (The Matrix Resurrections) and Ben Aldridge (Our Girl) stars in M. Night Shyamalan’s latest horror-thriller as Eric and Andrew, a married couple whose quiet vacation getaway at a remote cabin with their adopted daughter (Kristen Cui) is interrupted by the intrusion of four armed strangers led by a bespectacled, soft-spoken, and intimidating man named Leonard (Dave Bautista). Their mission? To prevent the apocalypse. The catch? One member of Eric and Andrew’s family must die in order to prevent it — and the family themselves must choose who among them must be sacrificed.

From our review:

As uneven as Knock at the Cabin is, it’s the work of a more complete Shyamalan than even the director who made Old two years ago. It’s a film from a creator who’s interested in probing the ideas of his earlier work with the style and workmanlike rigor of his comeback era. In turning his gaze toward the apocalypse, a messy, complicated filmmaker finally turns to the most neglected aspect of his reputation: that of a believer. By the time the credits roll, there’s an argument to be made that M. Night Shyamalan seems to know where he stands, and it doesn’t really matter to him what anyone makes of it.

The Whale

Where to watch: Available to purchase for $19.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

a close-up of Brendan Fraser in his fat suit staring blankly off screen in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale

Image: A24

Genre: Psychological drama
Run time: 1h 57m
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Sadie Sink, Ty Simpkins

Brendan Fraser (The Mummy) stars in Darren Aronofsky’s latest psychological drama based on Samuel D. Hunter’s 2012 play of the same name as Charlie, a reclusive English teacher suffering from anxiety and struggling with obesity. Desperate for the chance to restore his relationship with his teenage daughter (Sadie Sink), Charlie offers her all the money in his bank account if she will agree to spend time with him without letting her mother know.

From our review:

A24’s The Whale drops all of Darren Aronofsky’s worst tendencies into a fat suit. It’s an exercise in abjection in the mode of Aronofsky’s torturous Requiem for a Dream, but it’s focused on an even more vulnerable target than Requiem’s addicts. It’s also full of the pet biblical wankery of Mother!, Noah, and The Fountain, but centered on a Christ figure whose masochistic superpower is to absorb the cruelty of everyone around him and store it safely inside his massive frame.

To be fair, some people enjoy this kind of miserabilism. But these viewers are also warned that not only is this film difficult to endure and likely to be actively harmful to some audiences, it’s also a self-serving reinforcement of the status quo — which is one of the most boring things a movie can be.

Women Talking

Where to watch: Available to purchase for $19.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

A man (Ben Whishaw), a woman (Rooney Mara), and another woman (Claire Foy) sit on a blanket overlooking a field of green grass.

Image: Michael Gibson/Orion

Genre: Drama
Run time: 1h 44m
Director: Sarah Polley
Cast: Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley

Inspired by real-life events, this drama follows a group of women and girls at an isolated, unnamed Mennonite colony who discover that certain men in the colony have been using cow tranquilizers to subdue and rape them for years. As the trial bears out in a nearby city, the women are faced with the individual and collective question of how to move forward, whether to move on, and what kind of future they want to build for themselves and their loved ones.