February 26, 2024

Eclipse Festival

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The Flash, Past Lives, and every new movie to watch at home

Happy Friday, Polygon readers!

Each week, we round up the most notable releases new to streaming and VOD, highlighting the biggest and best new movies for you to watch at home. This week we have the streaming debut of the new DC Universe superhero movie starring Ezra Miller, a beautiful romantic drama from director Celine Song, and much more.

Big George Foreman, the recent theatrical biopic based on the life of the former heavyweight boxing champion and grill entrepreneur, comes to Netflix this weekend. Vacation Friends 2, the sequel to the 2021 buddy comedy starring Lil Rel Howery (Get Out) and John Cena arrives on Hulu alongside the exhilarating eco-thriller How to Blow Up a Pipeline. That’s not even mentioning The Flash on Max, or the other exciting new releases on Criterion Channel, on AMC Plus, and available to rent or purchase on VOD services.

Here’s everything new to watch over the weekend!


New on Netflix

You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

(L to R) Ivory Baker as Megan Levy, Kasey Bella Suarez as Anya, Miya Cech as Kym Chang Cohen, Judd Goodstein as Aaron, Dylan Hoffman as Andy Goldfarb, Dean Scott Vazquez as Mateo, Samantha Lorraine as Lydia Rodriguez Katz, Director Sammi Cohen, Sunny Sandler as Stacy Friedman, Dylan Chloe Dash as Tara and Millie Thorpe as Nikki in You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah.

Image: Scott Yamano/Netflix

Genre: Comedy-drama
Run time: 1h 41m
Director: Sammi Cohen
Cast: Adam Sandler, Sunny Sandler, Idina Menzel

This coming-of-age teen comedy follows two best friends whose dreams of planning their own epic bat mitzvahs are thrown for a loop when the affections of their school’s most popular boy throw a wrench in their otherwise flawless friendship. Can they mend the rift in time to go to each other’s parties and celebrate this exciting new phase of their lives?

Big George Foreman

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

Photo: Alan Markfield/Sony Pictures

Genre: Biographical sports drama
Run time: 2h 9m
Director: George Tillman Jr.
Cast: Khris Davis, Jasmine Mathews, John Magaro

This 2023 biopic stars Khris Davis (Judas and the Black Messiah) as George Foreman, charting the life of the former heavyweight boxing champ from his humble beginnings to his late-career comeback. The film covers his time as an amateur boxer, his near-death experience in the ring, his period as a Baptist minister, and yes— his promotion of the George Foreman grill.

New on Hulu

How to Blow Up a Pipeline

Where to watch: Available to stream on Hulu

Two people wearing gas masks work with chemicals, while one points, in How to Blow Up a Pipeline.

Image: NEON

Genre: Eco-thriller
Run time: 1h 44m
Director: Daniel Goldhaber
Cast: Ariela Barer, Kristine Froseth, Lukas Gage

Director Daniel Goldhaber (Cam) adapts Andreas Malm’s incendiary 2021 nonfiction book into a fictional crime thriller. The movie follows a group of climate activists who, disillusioned by the ineffectiveness of divestment movements and the inaction of government regulation, band together to pull off a politically charged act of property damage as environmental protest: blowing up an oil pipeline in West Texas.

From our review:

How to Blow Up a Pipeline is the rare movie that effectively weaponizes a radical political message by marrying it to conventional genre storytelling. It feels like a game-changer: the kind of movie that will inspire artists and budding activists alike for generations to come. It’s exciting, tense entertainment with an explosive, memorable final line of dialogue. 2023 has been a great year in movies so far, but this one will be hard to beat.

Vacation Friends 2

Where to watch: Available to stream on Hulu

(L-R) Kyla (Meredith Hagner), Ron (John Cena), Marcus (Lil Rel Howery), and Emily (Yvonne Orji) in Vacation Friends 2.

Image: 20 Century Studios/Hulu

Genre: Buddy comedy
Run time: 1h 43m
Director: Clay Tarver
Cast: Lil Rel Howery, Yvonne Orji, John Cena

This sequel to the 2021 buddy comedy picks up a couple months after the original. New married couple Marcus (Lil Rel Howery) and Emily (Yvonne Orji) invite their friends Ron (John Cena) and Kyla (Meredith Hagner) along for their all-expenses-paid trip to a Caribbean resort. So far, so good — that is, until Kyla’s ex-con father Reese (Steve Buscemi) is unexpectedly released from prison and shows up at the resort, throwing the couples’ carefully laid plans into a tailspin.

New on Max

The Flash

Where to watch: Available to stream on Max

(L-R) Ezra Miller as Young Barry, Ezra Miller as Barry/The Flash and Sasha Calle as Supergirl standing in the Batcave in their costumes in The Flash.

Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

Genre: Superhero action
Run time: 2h 24m
Director: Andy Muschietti
Cast: Ezra Miller, Sasha Calle, Michael Shannon

Ezra Miller returns as the superheroic speed demon Barry Allen in The Flash, the first live-action superhero movie based on the character of the same name. Set sometime after the events of Justice League, Barry accidentally taps into the Speed Force and travels back in time. Seeing this as an opportunity to save the life of his mother and exonerate his father, Barry travels back in time again in order to set things right… only for them go very, very wrong. With time running out to save the multiverse, The Flash will have to rely on the aid of an alternate universe version of himself, the Kryptonian superhuman Kara Zor-El (Sasha Calle), and an alternate universe version of Batman (Michael Keaton).

From our review:

The Flash is a bright, colorful, imaginative film with enough verve to pop off the screen, even though it’s often nonsensical in its wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff. But as fun as its imagery can be, it also signals the same priorities Muschietti showed in the It movies. So much of The Flash gives way to computer-generated effects, not just for the depiction of super-people fighting to save the world — Sasha Calle puts in a rage-fueled performance as Supergirl, even though the film leaves her with frustratingly little to do — but for its longing glances at alternate possible pasts, as Barry travels through time and space to see what might have been.

New on Prime Video

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Michelle Rodriguez and Chris Pine look surprised while kneeling on the floor in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.

Photo: Aidan Monaghan/Paramount Pictures

Where to watch: Available to stream on Paramount Plus
Genre: Fantasy adventure
Run time: 2h 14m
Director: Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley
Cast: Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page

Chris Pine (Star Trek) stars as Edgin Darvis, a former bard-turned-thief who forms an unlikely troupe of adventurers on a quest to recover a powerful lost artifact. When the party runs afoul of a dangerous figure bent on world domination, Edgin and his allies will have to fight, run, and roll for initiative in order to save the day.

From our review,

The film is playful and earnest throughout, focusing on the fact that for the characters, these are serious situations. Rodriguez’s barbarian is still reeling from a broken relationship, and when her storyline pays off, it’s hilarious — but the audience is still invited to feel and empathize with her pain. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves doesn’t re-create game mechanics or a sense of improvisation as well as, say, The Legend of Vox Machina, but it is the best Dungeons & Dragons movie we could have hoped for. Not only is it a fun fantasy movie, it’s a great adaptation of a gaming session. And it’s an invitation into a new and more visual version of a world dedicated players already love — and that the filmmakers seem to love, too.

New on Criterion Channel

The Eight Mountains

Where to watch: Available to stream on Criterion Channel

(L-R) Luca Marinelli and Alessandro Borghi sitting on a mountain overlooking another larger mountain range in The Eight Mountains.

Image: Janus Films/The Criterion Channel

Genre: Drama
Run time: 2h 27m
Director: Felix van Groeningen, Charlotte Vandermeersch
Cast: Luca Marinelli, Alessandro Borghi

Luca Marinelli (The Old Guard) and Alessandro Borghi (The First King) star in this coming-of-age drama as two Italian boys who, after crossing paths with each other in a secluded alpine village, form a lifelong bond with one another exploring the peaks and valleys of their majestic childhood home. When their respective lives separate, the two men reunite later in life and reflect on their friendship with one another.

New on AMC Plus

Monica

Where to watch: Available to stream on AMC Plus

Trace Lysette as Monica standing in front of a gas pump station in Monica.

Image: IFC Films

Genre: Drama
Run time: 1h 46m
Director: Andrea Pallaoro
Cast: Trace Lysette, Patricia Clarkson, Emily Browning

Trace Lysette stars in this 2022 drama as Monica, a trans woman who returns home to care for her ailing mother after years of being estranged from her family. Upon her arrival, Monica is forced to reconcile the pain of her past and forge renewed connections in order to embrace the future.

New to rent

Past Lives

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

Nora and Hae Sung sit on a ferry, going to the Statue of Liberty.

Photo: Jon Pack

Genre: Romantic drama
Run time: 1h 46m
Director: Celine Song
Cast: Greta Lee, Teo Yoo, John Magaro

Greta Lee (Sisters) and Teo Yoo (Decision to Leave) star in director Celine Song’s romantic drama debut as Nora and Hae-sung, two childhood friends who are seperated when the former emigrates from South Korea to Toronto with her family. Reunited 12 years later, the pair find themselves unmistakably drawn together. As their respective lives and obligations pull them further and farther apart, Nora and Hae-sung must confront their feelings about the life they might have shared together had their past choices been different, and what to do with those feelings now in the present. Song spoke with Polygon about how the film is all about “the way that life reflects upon itself,” as well as her brief foray into Sims 4 theater production.

Meg 2: The Trench

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

A diver goes face to face with a gigantic megalodon shark in Meg 2: The Trench.

Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

Genre: Sci-fi action
Run time: 1h 56m
Director: Ben Wheatley
Cast: Jason Statham, Wu Jing, Sophia Cai

Remember The Meg, that movie about Jason Statham fighting a gigantic maneating Megalodon shark? Well, guess what: There’s plenty more fish in the sea, and they’re just as colossal and pissed off as the first one!

From our review:

Two movies in, the Meg series doesn’t seem to have much idea about what makes sharks scary, apart from the fact that they appeared that way in other, better movies. If too many movies have turned sharks into calculating forces of pure malevolence, at least those understand the primal, instinctive terror we may feel upon the realization that many parts of this planet do not belong to us. The trench of Meg 2 has no such terror attached, nor a sense of wonder. (More fantastical Warner movies like Aquaman or Godzilla vs. Kong do a better job on both counts.) Statham is an indomitable force the movie mostly understands; sharks, meanwhile, remain just another barely sketched bad guy.

The Dive

Where to watch: Available to rent for $14.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

(L-R) Sophie Lowe as May and Louisa Krause as Drew in The Dive.

Image: RLJE Films/Protagonist Pictures

Genre: Thriller
Run time: 1h 31m
Director: Maximilian Erlenwein
Cast: Louisa Krause, Sophie Lowe

Louisa Krause (The Heart Machine) and Sophie Lowe (Blow the Man Down) star in this new survival thriller as Drew and May, two sisters who find themselves in a life-threatening situation after a landslide strikes the latter during a deep-sea diving trip, trapping them 28 meters below the surface. With precious time and oxygen running out, Drew must devise a desperate plan to save her sister’s life.