This week, the news hit that Christopher Nolan’s Tenet will finally be available for home viewing in December. Americans have been a little salty about so much of the rest of the world getting Nolan’s latest mind-bending narrative experiment first, and getting a couple of extra months to parse through and discuss its complicated, difficult storytelling. But VOD and DVD/Blu-ray/4K are the great equalizer, and soon Americans will be able to join in on the endless arguing over whether Tenet’s muddy dialogue is a brilliantly deliberate story choice, a weird Nolan quirk, or just bad sound design.
December’s still a while off, though, and a lot of people may want to hold off and ask for Tenet for Christmas. So in the meantime, you’ll have to make due with these new movies on streaming services this weekend:
Tamara Lawrance stars in this psychological horror-thriller about a woman whose boyfriend dies in an accident, leaving her pregnant and in the care of his oppressive, controlling family, Killing Eve’s Fiona Shaw and Dunkirk’s Jack Lowden. She’s positive they have an agenda they aren’t sharing with her, but as she starts to have eerie visions, the usual question arises: will she figure out what’s going on before it’s too late?
The Informer’s plot is pretty complicated, as both the Polish mob and the FBI force embedded informant Pete Koslow (Joel Kinnaman) to return to prison — the mobsters because they want him to start a drug empire for them behind bars, the FBI so they’ll have a man on the inside. There are enough players with competing interests in this story — with roles played by Common, Clive Owen, Ana de Armas, and Rosamund Pike — that it winds up like a micro, jail-based Game of Thrones, with Pete in the middle, trying to figure out how to navigate his own survival.
The French movie Proxima explores some of the same ideas as Netflix’s recently canceled Hilary Swank astronaut series Away: both focus on women astronauts balancing family concerns with their ambitions and devotion to science, while also dealing with sexism and jockeying from other competitive crew. Eva Green plays an astronaut headed to the International Space Station, which involves leaving her 7-year-old daughter on Earth. From our review:
In Penny Dreadful, Green demonstrated an ability to alternate between seeming preternaturally confident and absolutely tortured, and that contrast is on full display in Proxima. She can stand tall and wryly smirk through a belittling conversation, but when exhaustion hits, she looks on the brink of breaking. Yet when she walks out of the water in her spacesuit like Aphrodite emerging from the surf, triumphant after completing a tough exercise, it’s clear that she’s driven to succeed not just by her own dreams, but for her potential to inspire her daughter, and countless other young women to come.
The Dark and the Wicked
As a man dies on a farm, something dark and dangerous begins to spread to his family — first to his wife, whose heavy grief is taking her over, then to his adult children, who’ve returned home to say goodbye. Bryan Bertino, director of The Strangers and The Monster, continues his series of films about evils that may be metaphorical, taking over the lives of people who’ve given their personal flaws too much free reign. It’s an oppressive horror film that may be out to punish the audience as much as the characters.
From the director of Trollhunter and Scary Stores to Tell In the Dark, this action-fantasy stars The Fault in Our Stars’ Nat Wolff as a young man who accidentally kills a teenager, and winds up on the run. A psychologist has to determine what version of reality is true — has he actually developed the power of a god out of Norwegian myth? If so, why, and what does it mean?
After a theatrical run back in October, the year’s goriest and possibly most-discussed horror movie is finally on VOD. (Just in time to miss Halloween? What’s that about?) The plot’s complicated, but it involves mind control, high-tech cyberpunk assassination, and a lot of blood. From our review:
With Possessor, Brandon Cronenberg (Antiviral) grabs the body-horror baton from his father, Videodrome director David Cronenberg, and rams it into the audience’s collective eye. The movie is relentless and artful exploitation, less concerned with blunt messaging than blunt-force trauma. There’s loads of literal gore — every stabbing in Possessor goes about 28 stabs longer than your typical slasher would stab — and the abstract battle staged in Colin’s mind. Sequences in which Colin grapples Tasya on the metaphysical plane blend the retro surrealism of movies like Mandy with monstrous prosthetics and liquifying visual effects.
New on Netflix this weekend
- A November full of holiday movies continues with the new movies Operation Christmas Drop and A New York Christmas Wedding, plus the 2018 movies A Christmas Catch and Christmas With A Prince
- The based-on-a-true-story drama Citation, about a Nigerian student navigating a rape attempt from a popular professor
- The series Paranormal, which pits a supernatural skeptic in the 1960s against an apparent ghost from his past
And here’s what dropped last Friday:
The Craft: Legacy
The 1996 cult hit The Craft gets updated for 2020 with The Craft: Legacy, which is equal parts reboot and continuation. As in the original, the new film centers on four young women who form a coven, and how they manage their newfound powers. From our review:
In Zoe Lister-Jones’ reboot, sisterhood exists for its own sake, rather than as a loyalty test, and toxic masculinity is as threatening as ever (sigh). But the witchy expression of karma is less about punishment and more about owning your mistakes. Fans expecting a faithful retread of a generational cult favorite may be surprised to see a wholly new story and a portrayal of witchcraft refashioned for the current generation.
Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula
The Train to Busan sequel takes place four years after the first film, with South Korea now quarantined and abandoned as a zombie wasteland. Jung-seok (Gang Dong-won) is wracked with guilt over the circumstances of his escape from Korea to Hong Kong, and leaps at the chance to start a new life — even though that chance involves going back to Korea to retrieve a truck full of cash. From our review:
Yeon Sang-ho’s 2016 film Train to Busan was a hit because it put a fresh spin on the zombie genre, limiting the characters’ freedom of movement — much of the film takes place on a train — and setting a timer by giving that train a destination, and an uncertain welcome on arrival. The sequel faces the usual question of whether it’s possible to capture lightning in the same bottle twice, but Yeon at least tries something completely different this time out.
The Donut King
Where to watch it: Available in virtual cinemas for $9.99
Alice Gu’s documentary The Donut King tells the story of Ted Ngoy, a Cambodian refugee who came to America and became the mastermind behind a donut empire. While his story sounds like a paragon of the American Dream, it winds up being a little more complicated than it looks on the surface, and Gu digs into the events that led to Ngoy’s downfall.
Omari Hardwick stars in this horror movie as a man who, after a plane crash, finds himself practically being held hostage by a woman (Loretta Devine) who claims she can heal his injuries through backwoods magic. As the blood moon rises, he struggles to break free, not just to save himself but his entire family.