Peter Pan and his sister Alice travel to Neverland and Wonderland in the new movie “Come Away.”
New streaming movies are coming to entertain you and your family during socially distanced times.
This weekend, Netflix delivers its weekly holiday jam – this time an extremely diverse fantasy musical extravaganza – as well as a drama with Sophia Loren‘s first starring role in a decade, Hulu debuts a documentary about a famous activist teenager, David Oyelowo and Angelina Jolie tackle a couple of fairy-tale icons and Alec Baldwin plays Malin Akerman’s Mr. Miyagi in a female-centric action comedy.
If you’re feeling the itch to get back to the movies in person, and there’s a drive-in or it’s safe enough to return to your local theater, the new horror comedy “Freaky” features a body swap between Vince Vaughn (as a serial killer) and Kathryn Newton (as a teen girl), plus Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan fall in love in the historical period romance “Ammonite.”
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But if you’d rather stick closer to home, here’s a rundown of new movies hitting streaming and on-demand platforms this week, for every cinematic taste:
If you’re not sick of political documentaries yet: ‘I Am Greta’
Environmental activist Greta Thunberg tossed Twitter fire at President Trump after the election, but flame-throwing adults is pretty much the teenager’s modus operandi. “I Am Greta” chronicles the influential youngster’s quest to educate the masses about climate change, from one-girl school strikes outside Sweden’s Parliament to scolding world leaders at global conferences. But it also touches on the toll of being an accidental international celebrity has taken.
Where to watch:Hulu
If you need a new holiday favorite: ‘Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey’
Writer/director David E. Talbert’s entertaining and big-hearted fantasy musical stars Forest Whitaker as a former famous toymaker who, years after a betrayal by an apprentice (Keegan-Michael Key), finds his mojo again thanks to his peculiar 10-year-old granddaughter (Madalen Mills). It’s got a “Greatest Showman” vibe, the songs (including one by producer John Legend) are top notch and there are some familiar elements, but the flick feels fresh with its focus on Black inventors and young female ingenuity.
Where to watch:Netflix
If you’re curious about what Sophia Loren’s been up to: ‘The Life Ahead’
The Oscar winner’s last major live-action role came in 2009’s “Nine,” and she’s back in award-worthy shape in this thoughtful Italian coming-of-age drama. Loren stars as Madame Rosa, a Holocaust survivor who runs a day-care center out of her home. Ibrahima Gueye plays her newest charge, a 12-year-old Senegalese Muslim immigrant named Momo who tries to rob her. Both are stubborn but find a deep bond, as Rosa’s health issues mean leaning on Momo for support.
Where to watch:Netflix
If you could use a boxing movie that’s not a boxing movie: ‘Jungleland’
Executive produced by Ridley Scott, the gritty drama centers on up-and-coming fighter Lion (Jack O’Connell) and his manager/hypeman brother Stan (Charlie Hunnam), who are trying to get out from under the thumb of a powerful crime boss (Jonathan Majors). To pay off a large debt, the siblings need to cross the country for a bare-knuckled competition in Nevada, transport a mysterious young woman (Jessica Barden) and work out a whole bunch of long-gestating issues and resentment along the way.
If you’re an Angelina Jolie completist: ‘Come Away’
Director Brenda Chapman (“Brave”) reimagines the origin stories of Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland with this surprisingly dark fantasy mashup. Jolie and Oyelowo play a British couple with three young children boasting big imaginations, including son Peter (Jordan Nash) and daughter Alice (Keira Chansa), but tragedy strikes and sends the household into turmoil. Weather the dull start to get to a flurry of cool visuals and referential Easter eggs that put a modern, diverse touch on a couple of classics.
If you yearn for the female equivalent of ‘Fight Club’: ‘Chick Fight’
While the film borrows liberally from the “Rocky” and “Karate Kid” playbooks, that at least makes it somewhat enjoyable and occasionally empowering. Akerman plays down-on-her-luck Anna, who’s recruited into a secret group of cage-fighting women that offers a missing piece of her own backstory. Dulcé Sloan’s a hoot as Anna’s lesbian best friend/fellow battler, Bella Thorne is the two-fisted mean-girl antagonist and Baldwin’s the drunk coach who gets Anna in shape for the big match.
If you dig coming-of-age films and Irish accents: ‘Dating Amber’
Eddie (Fionn O’Shea) is a closeted gay teen surrounded by toxic masculinity, from an Irish military dad who wants him to be a soldier to the kids at school bullying him into dating girls. He befriends Amber (Lola Petticrew), a girl picked on for being a lesbian by their peers, and to lessen the flak that comes their way, they pretend to be a straight couple. The uplifting film strikes a great balance of tones in its tale of kids struggling to find their identity and discovering an essential friendship.
If you’re down for a backwoods creep fest: ‘The Giant’
There’s a strong Gothic sensibility to go with some good ol’ Southern terror in writer/director David Raboy’s thriller. Odessa Young plays a Georgia teen who’s just graduated from high school and still mourning her mother’s death when her missing boyfriend (Ben Schnetzer) shows up after being gone for a year. Oh, and did we also mention a string of girls who wind up murdered once he reappears? The narrative is a head-scratcher, but the haunting visuals keep it watchable.
If you’d like to see another Schwarzenegger in action: ‘Echo Boomers’
In the so-so heist thriller, Patrick Schwarzenegger (son of Arnold) plays a recent grad with massive college debt and no job. He’s roped into a crew of masked millennial robbers by his cousin (Gilles Geary) to be the art-expert guy during their jobs stealing valuables from mansions and demolishing everything else in a politically charged purge. Their boss (Michael Shannon) doesn’t love the messages they leave for the establishment, and (of course) greed and jealousy turn the youngsters against each other.
If you want to be unnerved for a good while: ‘Sleepless Beauty’
This blood-soaked Russian horror film stars Polina Davydova as a woman kidnapped by the mysterious Recreation organization who is forced to endure a livestreamed schedule of torture, increasingly sinister tests, more torture and a virtual-reality headset of nonstop disturbing images (don’t worry, you get to see them, too), all so she can’t sleep. The why of it all goes to some interesting, real-world places, but man, buckle up for weirdness.
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