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Black Adam, The Woman King, and every new movie to watch at home


Black Adam, the new DC superhero film starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the eponymous superhuman antihero, finally comes to VOD this weekend. It’s being released alongside several other new films to watch at home, including Gina Prince-Bythewood’s highly acclaimed historical epic The Woman King starring Viola Davis, James Gray’s coming-of-age drama Armageddon Time, the tragicomic satire Triangle of Sadness, and the wild children’s comedy Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, to name only a few.

There’s plenty more movies to choose from that are available on streaming as well, like The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, Everything Everywhere All at Once on Showtime, the Christmas rom-com The Noel Diary on Netflix, and the sci-fi dark comedy Dual on Hulu.

Here’s everything new to watch on VOD and streaming this weekend.


Black Adam

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

Black Adam opening scene with Dwayne JOhnson floating and electrified

Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

Genre: Superhero/action
Run time: 2h 5m
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Aldis Hodge, Noah Centineo

Finally — the film that promised to upend the hierarchy of power in the DC universe is now available to stream on VOD. How well did it accomplish that, though? The answer is a resounding “ehhhhhhhh.” Dwayne Johnson stars as the eponymous antihero demigod, newly awakened into the world after 5,000 years of slumber. After being shot at by some bad guys, Black Adam proceeds to do what he does best: beating up everything and everyone that so much as mildly irritates him.

From our review:

The best criticism of Black Adam might have been made by Johnson himself, well before the movie came out, in the post-credits sequence for DC League of Super-Pets. As Black Adam’s canine companion Anubis, Johnson notes that being an antihero is “basically exactly like a regular hero, except way cooler. You make up your own rules and then you break them. Also, you can ignore most moral and ethical conventions because no one can stop you.” Black Adam’s take on antiheroism never really contradicts that pointed takedown. The film is so focused on the idea of a black-clad mass murderer being cool that it doesn’t ever answer the questions it starts to raise about what code a hero should live by, or where the limits of redemption lie. In that regard, Black Adam is just like the many other mediocre superhero movies it plays at subverting: It’s more focused on spectacle than on critiquing the genre, or developing any of the deeper themes it feints at exploring.

The Woman King

Where to watch: Available for purchase on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu. Available for rental starting Friday

The warrior Izogie (Lashana Lynch) throws a male warrior to the ground during a battle in The Woman King

Image: Sony Pictures

Genre: Historical epic
Run time: 2h 15m
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Cast: Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch

Viola Davis (Widows) stars in Gina Prince-Bythewood’s historical epic as Nanisca, leader of the all-female army known as the Agojie who protected the West African kingdom of Dahomey for centuries. Intimidated by an enemy that threatens to destroy their way of life, Nanisca sets her mind to the task of training up a new generation of Agojie — including a rebellious young orphan named Nawi (Thuso Mbedu) — in order to protect their homeland and ready themselves for the fight of their lives.

From our review:

The Woman King is a more human type of blockbuster than most of what turns up on screen in the summer months. It’s burdened with many of the issues that typify big studio movies — overstretched CGI, an overstuffed plot — but it shrugs off those issues as easily as the Agojie flip enemy soldiers over their backs and into the dirt. This film has a fire in its belly. But more importantly, it also has a heart full of love: love of life, love of freedom, love of Black people and culture, and love for its ferocious, complicated, brave women.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

Where to watch: Available to stream on Disney Plus

Dave Bautista as Draxx smiles surrounded by Christmas lights while wearing a Christmas sweater depicting a cat with laser eyes.

Image: Disney

Genre: Action/adventure
Run time: 44m
Director: James Gunn
Cast: Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan

Concerned for Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) as he continues to mourn the loss of Gamora, Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) set out on a super-secret mission to Earth to kidnap Kevin Bacon (Kevin Bacon) and bring him back as a Christmas gift to raise Quill’s spirits. Solid plan, right?

Everything Everywhere All at Once

Where to watch: Available to stream on Showtime

A bloodied Michelle Yeoh with a googly eye pasted on her forehead strikes a martial-arts pose in Everything Everywhere All at Once

Image: A24

Genre: Sci-fi/comedy adventure
Run time: 2h 12m
Director: Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
Cast: Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan

Hong Kong screen legend Michelle Yeoh stars in directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s (aka “The Daniels”) follow-up to 2016’s Swiss Army Man as Evelyn, an overworked laundromat owner desperately trying to file her taxes. When her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) is possessed by an alternate version of himself from another universe who urges her to help save the multiverse, Evelyn will have to confront her disappointments and face her fears if she is to have any hope of rescuing all of existence, along with her relationship with her estranged daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu).

From our review:

Everything Everywhere’s multiverse is a remarkably flexible metaphor. It’s suitable for expressing some common frustrations the audience may relate to, about botched choices and wasted opportunity. But it’s just as suited for setting up a series of ridiculously kickass action sequences where literally anything is possible, because the characters aren’t bound by reality or causality. Kwan and Scheinert use that central idea of the multiverse to let their characters change bodies, costumes, skills, and settings on the fly, in ways that are visually dazzling and even overwhelming. But they set it all up with a clarity of thought and intention that make it surprisingly easy — and thrilling — to follow.

The Noel Diary

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix starting Thursday, November 24

A woman (Barrett Doss) smiles at a man (Justin Hartley) driving a snow-covered car with a dog in the backseat.

Photo: KC Bailey/Netflix

Genre: Holiday/rom-com
Run time: 1h 39m
Director: Charles Shyer
Cast: Justin Hartley, Barrett Doss, Bonnie Bedelia

Based on Richard Paul Evans’ 2017 book of the same name, this holiday rom-com follows Jacob Turner (Justin Hartley), a popular author who returns home on Christmas to settle the estate of his estranged mother. Upon discovering her diary and meeting Rachel (Barrett Doss), a mysterious woman whose past might be intertwined with his own, Jacob embarks on a search for his missing father that may in turn lead him to discovering something even more important than answers to his past.

Dual

Where to watch: Available to stream on Hulu

Aaron Paul has Karen Gillan, wielding a katana, face off against a cutout with a photo of her face attached to it, wielding nunchucks, in Dual

Photo: RLJE Films

Genre: Sci-fi/dark comedy
Run time: 1h 34m
Director: Riley Stearns
Cast: Karen Gillan, Beulah Koale, Theo James, Aaron Paul

Riley Stearns (The Art of Self-Defense) wrote and directed this science fiction movie about Sarah (Karen Gillan), a woman who, after being diagnosed with a terminal illness, chooses to clone herself in order to spare her loved ones from the grief of losing her. When she makes an unexpected recovery, Sarah attempts and fails to decommission her clone. With no other option, Sarah is forced to fight her clone in a court-mandated duel to the death to decide which of them will be allowed to exist.

From our review:

That premise is absurd on a thousand levels, but Stearns leans straight into the absurdity, particularly with that ad for the cloning service, which presents a deadpan scenario where a depressed man clones himself so he can commit suicide in peace without making any of his family members suffer. This kind of brutally caustic humor defines the film. Anyone who can’t see themselves chuckling at least a little bit at the bleak prospect of a new clone calmly coming across his progenitor’s corpse and taking his place would be advised to steer clear.

Cyrano

Where to watch: Available to stream on Prime Video

Haley Bennett as Roxanne smiles on the other side of a stone pillar from Peter Dinklage as Cyrano in Joe Wright’s Cyrano

Photo: Peter Mountain/MGM

Genre: Musical/romantic drama
Run time: 2h 3m
Director: Joe Wright
Cast: Peter Dinklage, Haley Bennett, Kelvin Harrison Jr.

Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) stars in Joe Wright’s 2021 adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s 1897 play as Cyrano de Bergerac, a man gifted with a talent for words and an aptitude for swordsmanship who harbors a deep-seated insecurity about his height.

Nursing an unrequited love for his friend Roxanne (Haley Bennett), Cyrano nonetheless agrees to help a young yet inarticulate soldier named Christian (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) by ghostwriting a series of love letters confessing his affection for her. Will Cyrano summon the courage to tell Roxanne the truth, or allow his chance for true love to slip away?

From our review:

It’s tempting to declare this film a cult classic in the making. But critics shouldn’t make such proclamations — audiences should. But Wright’s Cyrano, dropping on the edge of Oscar season, should deservedly find the kind of passionate fans who flocked to see the Best Picture-winning Shakespeare in Love. Because not only do Wright and Dinklage fashion an unrequited anguish worth crying over, again and again. Cyrano is the best movie musical of the last decade.

Good Night Oppy

Where to watch: Available to stream on Prime Video

A remote-controlled rover drone idling on the plains of a Martian dune.

Image: Amblin Television/Amazon Studios.

Genre: Documentary
Run time: 1h 45m
Director: Ryan White
Cast: Angela Bassett

This documentary follows the story of Opportunity, a Mars rover drone nicknamed “Oppy,” which was launched on the planet’s surface in 2003 and remained active for over 15 years. Composed of archival footage and interviews by the scientists and engineers behind the drone, as well as narration performed by Angela Bassett, Good Night Oppy is a surprisingly moving film about a little robot that defied the odds and in turn inspired its creators to dream of a life beyond Earth.

Armageddon Time

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

A young boy in a brown coat (Michael Banks Repta) sits on a bench in a park beside an older man (Anthony Hopkins), leaning into a hug.

Photo: Anne Joyce / Focus Features

Genre: Coming-of-age/drama
Run time: 1h 54m
Director: James Gray
Cast: Banks Repeta, Anne Hathaway, Jeremy Strong, Anthony Hopkins

Inspired by his own childhood, James Gray’s coming-of-age period drama follows Paul Graff (Repeta), a young Jewish American boy growing up in New York, who befriends Johnny (Jaylin Webb), an African American classmate, in the 1980s. Struggling to live up to the expectations of his family and his moral reckoning with the racial prejudices and injustices of his time, Paul grows to realize he’ll have to choose who exactly he wants to become before someone else makes that choice for him.

Till

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

A boy in a navy blue suit (Jalyn Hall) stands next to a woman in a yellow dress (Danielle Deadwyler) beside a locomotive.

Image: United Artists Releasing

Genre: Biographical drama
Run time: 2h 10m
Director: Chinonye Chukwu
Cast: Danielle Deadwyler, Jalyn Hall, Frankie Faison

Danielle Deadwyler stars in Chinonye Chukwu’s biopic drama of Mamie Till, the woman who campaigned for justice after the violent lynching of her son Emmett Till while visiting family in Mississippi.

Triangle of Sadness

Where to watch: Available to purchase on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu. Available for rental starting Friday

A smiling young woman in an orange bathing suit (Charlbi Dean) holds a cell phone and reclines on a white chair next to a bare-chested man (Harris Dickinson) in a bathing suit.

Image: Neon

Genre: Dark comedy
Run time: 2h 27m
Director: Ruben Östlund
Cast: Harris Dickinson, Charlbi Dean, Dolly de Leon

Ruben Östlund’s Palme d’Or-winning dark comedy follows Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean), a celebrity model couple who are invited aboard a luxury cruise for the uber-rich where anything and everything has a price. When the crew and passengers aboard the vessel find themselves stranded on a deserted island, the ship’s unhinged captain (Woody Harrelson) will have to muster enough sense and survival instinct in order to save everyone from the elements. So imagine the 2017 Fyre Festival fiasco, but on a cruise ship. Sounds fun!

Lyle, Lyle Crocodile

Where to watch: Available to purchase on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu. Available for rental starting Friday

Lyle rides on surrey with Constance Wu, Javier bardem, and some cheering brown-haired kid holding balloons through Central Park

Photo: Sarah Shatz/Sony Pictures

Genre: Comedy/musical
Run time: 1h 46m
Director: Will Speck, Josh Gordon
Cast: Javier Bardem, Constance Wu, Winslow Fegley, Shawn Mendes

Based on Bernard Waber’s bestselling children’s book series, this musical comedy follows the story of Josh (Winslow Fegley), an anxious young boy adjusting to his new life in New York City, who discovers a magical singing crocodile name Lyle in the attic of his new home. When Lyle is threatened by Mr. Grumps, the family’s ornery new neighbor, Josh will have to turn the flamboyant failed magician Hector P. Valenti (Javier Bardem) — Lyle’s former owner — for help.

From our review:

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is surprisingly confusing for a movie about the sweet-natured antics of a kid and a singing crocodile. At the center of that confusion is Bardem, playing a character imported directly from the books. The film begins with what is essentially a remake of the classic Looney Tunes short “One Froggy Evening,” only played for pathos instead of laughs. Valenti is first seen flim-flamming his way into an audition for a show that has already rejected him. He’s obviously desperate for some kind of showbiz success, so when he discovers Lyle, he sees a ticket to the big time. He trains the young croc in an elaborate song-and-dance number, which Bardem and the cutely animated Lyle perform with great gusto, and rents a theater to perform for the public. Lyle gets nervous and goes silent, just like that maddening cartoon frog, leading to Valenti’s financial ruin. So he goes on the road to earn some money (doing who knows what) and dig himself out of his debts, leaving Lyle in a Manhattan apartment to be discovered by Josh and his family.



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