New movies and box office hits to screen this week
A month into the new world order and it’s easy to start feeling like you’ve actually watched every single movie on Netflix. I bring good news for you, moviegoers: May is just around the corner and with it comes a host of new streaming options from box office hits to film festivals you can access for free.
Bring Austin to Your Home
The SXSW film festival was cancelled this year, but you can still enjoy the festival. Amazon is hosting a selection of films that were slated to appear at the festival, from short films to documentaries to narrative features, free to stream for everyone. Visit the SXSW hosting page for the lineup, which is available until May 6: www.amazon.com/adlp/sxsw
Support a Baltimore Landmark
An iconic location in Baltimore, The Senator Theatre has held premiers for films like Frida, Serial Mom, Ladder 49 and Diner. Featuring a cement walk of fame and classic architecture, this is a place that makes moviegoing an occasion. You can still support The Senator during the shutdown by visiting their virtual theater which is hosting a selection of independent films at discounted rates, with part of the proceeds going to the maintenance of the building. http://thesenatortheatre.com/movies/virtualtheatre/
Disney+: Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker
Just in time for Star Wars Day (May the Fourth), the final film in the Skywalker series and the finale of the latest Star Wars trilogy hits Disney+. The film finishes the story of Rey (Daisy Ridley) and her quest to defeat the fascist First Order which is oppressing the galaxy. Can she and her scrappy band of resistance fighters finally defeat Kylo Ren (Adam Driver)?
One of the more divisive Star Wars films, The Rise of Skywalker is a film you either love or hate. Personally, this reviewer fell into the latter category. With a storyline that was muddled at best, and character turns that seem unearned, this movie was a bit of a disappointment.
Still, with the full Star Wars series on Disney+ now is the perfect time for younger family members to learn the power of The Force by watching all nine films (plus some standalone flicks and a couple of great TV shows).
Fair Sci-Fi * PG-13 * 142 mins.
Prime: Fast Color
Ruth (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) has a unique medical problem: Whenever she has a seizure, it causes an earthquake. It’s always been a lifelong burden, but now, it’s a real problem as men chase her across the country hoping to lock her in a lab to study her. With nowhere else to go, Ruth returns to her childhood farm, where she abandoned her daughter with her mother years ago.
As Ruth lies low, she begins to heal the fraught relationship she has with her child. She also begins to see her medical problem as a power.
A slick, underseen sci-fi film, Fast Color is a fascinating movie that’s part superhero origin story and part psychological thriller. Filled with fascinating characters and a great leading performance from Mbatha-Raw, this is the type of indie film that streaming is meant for.
Great Sci-Fi * PG-13 * 100 mins.
Netflix: All Day and a Night
Jahkor (Ashton Sanders) doesn’t want to be anything like his violent gangster father JD (Jeffrey Wright). Growing up in Oakland, Jahkor wants to be a rapper and escape the despair he grew up around. But getting away from the environment he was raised in takes a toll and soon, Jahkor is in jail with his father. Can Jahkor break the cycle of violence and help his son avoid the mistakes he and his father made?
A meditative drama that examines the cyclical violence that occurs in families and the systemic problems that take options away from families in impoverished communities, All Day and a Night should be a moving experience. Wright is a superb actor and Sanders made a name for himself in the beautiful drama Moonlight, so be ready for moving performance.
Good Drama * R * 121 mins.
Hulu: The Lodge
Grace (Riley Keough) survived a cult, so she thinks nothing of surviving the weekend with her fiancé’s children. That changes when her fiancé has to leave and Grace finds herself snowed in with the children. Grace starts to hear and see things that make her fear the cult might be coming back to claim her.
From the demented minds behind Goodnight Mommy (available on Prime), The Lodge is another locked-in horror movie featuring creepy kids and perilous situations. Directors Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz are masters of building tension, so expect a lot of slow pans down dark abandoned hallways. Good Horror * R * 108 mins.
Kanopy: Leave No Trace
Will (Ben Foster) and his daughter Tom (Thomasin McKenzie) live in a state park, away from the world. Will has terrible PTSD and can’t seem to function in society. But in the woods, he and Tom have crafted a world they can thrive in. They hunt for food, they have stores of water, and Tom learns from books she keeps in her tent.
But when their camp is discovered and both are forced to rejoin the real world, things get tough. Tom finds she rather likes creature comforts and the company of others. Will, however, can’t seem to adjust.
A fantastic drama featuring outstanding lead performances, Leave No Trace is the perfect character study. Director Debra Granik (who’s brilliant Winter’s Bone made Jennifer Lawrence a star) crafts the film around Tom, who is stuck between the love of her father and the pull to the real world. It’s a wrenching film filled with quiet tender moments.
Fantastic Drama * PG * 109 mins.