Nightmare Alley, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and 8 new movies to watch at home8 min read
This weekend Nightmare Alley, Guillermo del Toro’s highly-anticipated follow-up to his 2017 Academy Award-winning romance The Shape of Water, finally comes to streaming following its theatrical release late last year. In addition to del Toro’s latest, there’s plenty of great new releases to watch on VOD and streaming this weekend like sports biopic King Richard starring Will Smith, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Cry Macho, and more.
To help you get a handle on what’s new and available, here are the new movies you can watch on streaming and VOD this weekend.
Where to watch: Available to stream on HBO Max and Hulu
Guillermo del Toro’s psychological noir Nightmare Alley stars Bradley Cooper as Stanton Carlisle, an ambitious carny with a flair for the theatrical and a natural talent for manipulating those around him. When Carisle’s schemes draw the attention of a sultry psychiatrist (Cate Blanchett) with plans of her own, his life quickly spirals out of control as he descends ever further into the depths of human depravity and desperation. From our review,
Nightmare Alley is a careful and lavish adaptation of a seminal work where its most interesting dimensions are the ones that emerge when the viewer asks “why tell this story now?” Its script, by del Toro and Kim Morgan, is not didactic nor is it a drastic departure from previous versions. And yet, few major studio films feel more acutely of this moment. Nightmare Alley spins a sordid drama about liars and what gets people to believe them, a cycle of exploitation where wealth and privilege are the only thin lines separating a swindler from a sucker from a geek. Crucially, the film spends very little time in the actual alley from which the movie gets its title, but it’s always there. There are countless Nightmare Alleys all across America, and the moment you think you’re above ending up in one is the moment you’re doomed to be trapped there.
Where to watch: Available to rent for $5.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu
The fourth Ghostbusters film (and third in the original franchise timeline), Afterlife is the latest example of a “torch-passing” franchise film. Two grandchildren (Finn Wolfhard, McKenna Grace) of original Ghostbuster Egon Spengler move to their grandfather’s haunted farmhouse and learn about his legacy (and bustin’ ghosts) in the process. If you are looking for a Ghostbusters-themed nostalgia ride, or a way to introduce the franchise to a younger generation, this may be the pick for you. From our review,
Even with its emphasis on its new young characters, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is still stuffed with references, inside jokes, and reverence for the original movies in the series. There are dozens of tiny moments openly designed to make die-hard Ghostbusters fans cheer. But the most exciting thing about the movie is how it looks to welcome a new generation of kids into the Ghostbusters world, both onscreen and off. With Afterlife’s endless string of callbacks, Jason Reitman lovingly pays homage to his father’s series, but the new characters are where Jason’s own intimate and personal style of filmmaking shines through. Because of that, it seems fitting that Ghostbusters: Afterlife is at its best when it’s about young characters finding their place in a pop-culture landscape their predecessors built.
Where to watch: Available to rent for $19.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu
Based on the true story of Richard Williams, the father of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams, King Richard portrays his aspiration and efforts to make them superstars in a sport that has historically been extraordinarily white. Will Smith has received plenty of awards attention for his role as Richard, while Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton co-star as the young tennis prodigies. From our review,
Multiple competing interests are pulling on this film: The need to sanitize Williams’ image, the desire to make an already inspirational story more mainstream. King Richard never delves into the grittier side of racial dynamics, instead remaining at arm’s length while quickly moving past references to Rodney King or the Jim Crow South. The more interesting movie would probably be told from Venus and Serena’s perspective.
But in spite of those shortcomings, the beguiling draw of this rags-to-riches story can’t be denied. Smith’s immense movie-star presence can’t be ignored. And the other crowd-pleasing performances, are delightful, complete with a bevy of open-hearted one-liners. Green’s King Richard isn’t a great movie, but it doesn’t need to be when the characters are this warm, and its message is so earnest.
Where to watch: Available to stream on HBO Max
Late-career Clint Eastwood has seen more and more of his sentimental, reflective side, and Cry Macho is a heartfelt addition to his legendary filmography. Eastwood plays a former rodeo star without much going on who is paid by his former employer to transport a young boy from Mexico to Texas. Things are not exactly how they seem, and what follows is a touching story of cross-generational and cross-cultural bonding, including 1) a rooster named Macho and 2) Eastwood working as an impromptu veterinarian for a small community.
And here’s what dropped last Friday:
The Matrix Resurrections
Where to watch: Available to rent for $24.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu
Eighteen years after the conclusion of the Matrix trilogy comes The Matrix Resurrections, a post-cyberpunk love story/heist movie/epilogue from series creator Lana Wachowski featuring returning stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss. An ambitious, strange, and deeply personal continuation of the original series that further complicates and interrogates the concept of the “chosen one,” The Matrix Resurrections is every bit as audacious and singular as the 1999 original. From our (excellent) review:
The Matrix Resurrections is about doing the impossible. On a very basic level, it’s about the insurmountable and inherently cynical task of making a follow-up to the Matrix trilogy, one that breaks technical and narrative ground the way the first film did. On a thematic one, it’s an agitprop romance, one of the most effective mass media diagnoses of the current moment that finds countless things to be angry about, and proposes fighting them all with radical, reckless love. On top of all that, it is also a kick-ass work of sci-fi action — propulsive, gorgeous, and yet still intimate — that revisits the familiar to show audiences something very new.
Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix
Loosely inspired by Sean Payton’s 2010 autobiography, the 2022 sports comedy Home Team stars Kevin James as the renowned NFL coach who led the New Orleans Saints to their lone Super Bowl victory. Suspended from coaching two years after his Super Bowl win, Payton returns to his hometown in an effort to reconnect with his 12-year-old son. With his son’s football team in desperate need of some coaching, Payton steps up to lead them to newfound heights of success and self-esteem. That might make it sound like Home Team is your typical inspirational sports drama, but not to worry: there’s also more than enough projectile vomit and crass humor to go around.
Where to watch: Available to stream on HBO Max
The Fallout stars Jenna Ortega (Scream) and Maddie Ziegler (West Side Story) as Vada Cavell and Mia Reed, two students who survive a school shooting. Bonded through their mutual experience, Vada and Mia grapple with the emotional and psychological fallout of their classmates’ deaths while trying to build a new life in the wake of tragedy. The Fallout garnered significant praise following its debut at 2021’s SXSW, with particular acclaim singling out Park’s direction and Ortega’s emotionally moving performance in particular.
What to watch: Available to rent for $6.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu
The 2021 crime drama Clean stars Adrien Brody (The Pianist) as a troubled man with a violent past pursuing a life of quiet repentance as a garbage collector. When a spur-of-the-moment decision places him in the crosshairs of a local crime boss (Glenn Fleshler), he’ll have to resume his life of violence in order to protect himself and those he holds dear.
Produced and co-written by Brody himself alongside director Paul Solet, Clean certainly isn’t going to win any accolades for originality. If you’re looking for yet another action film in the vein of 2021’s Nobody or John Wick to make the prolonged wait for John Wick 4 easier to bear, this might be enough to ease some of the wait in the meantime.
A Taste of Hunger
What to watch: Available to rent for $5.99 on Amazon; $6.99 on Vudu
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones) and Katrine Greis-Rosenthal star in the 2022 drama A Taste of Hunger as Carsten and Maggi, a culinary power couple who strive to make their mark on the Danish gourmet scene by opening their own popular restaurant in Copenhagen. Despite their relative happiness, the two become obsessed with the one thing they don’t have — a Michelin star. Willing to sacrifice everything, including possibly their own marriage, Carsten and Maggi are forced to face the consequences of their ambition and decide what truly matters to them: prestige, or each other. The trailer plays similarly to last year’s Another Round, so if you’re the type of viewer who considers watching a handsome Danish man going through a mid-life crisis to be an entertaining watch, you should definitely pop this one on.
The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild
What to watch: Available to stream on Disney Plus
The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild, the sixth installment in the wildly popular animated Ice Age series, has gone through quite a few ups and downs in its journey to the big (and little) screen. After more than four years of production and the closure of Blue Sky Studios following Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox, the television spinoff-turned-feature film has finally been released into the world on Disney Plus.
The new Ice Age movie stars Crash and Eddie, the mischievous thrill-seeking possum brothers first seen in 2006’s Ice Age: The Meltdown, who set out in search of adventure only to find themselves trapped in a hollow earth inhabited by mythical creatures that managed to survive extinction. Rescued by a daredevil weasel named Buck Wild, the trio must embark on a mission to save the Lost World and restore peace to the land.