Theatrical releases are light, but it’s still a busy week in the world of entertainment. Detective Chinatown 3, the long-awaited third installment in director Chen Sicheng’s ongoing buddy comedy mystery series, earned over $424 million at the Chinese box office, and total that put it over $100 million more than Christopher Nolan’s Tenet worldwide and nearly triple Wonder Woman 1984 global box office. Meanwhile in Hollywood, this week saw the debut for both Disney’s upcoming live-action 101 Dalmatians spin-off Cruella and Warner Bros.’ long-awaited Mortal Kombat reboot!
As far as new films to watch right now though, audiences have plenty to choose from this week, from Paul W. S. Anderson’s Monster Hunter to Chloé Zhao’s critically acclaimed Nomadland, to Choi Jae-hoon’s scintillating period action film The Swordsman. To help you pick out what to watch, here are the new releases you can watch on VOD this weekend.
Paul W. S. Anderson returns for another go-for-broke sci-fi video game adaptation with Monster Hunter. Milla Jovovich stars as Lt. Natalie Artemis, a US Army Ranger who is transported along with her United Nations team to an alternate world populated by gigantic behemoth-like monsters. From our review:
The entire movie is light in the story and character department; Jovovich’s entire Ranger squad has names like “Axe,” “Marshall,” “Dash,” and “Linc.” Anderson seems aware — the tropes felt as deliciously campy as the action. Matched with a reverence for the games, Monster Hunter’s fan service-laden setpieces were the perfect, mindless salve for 2020. It’s hard to say if it’s comprehensible to someone who doesn’t love the series, but its bombastic action hardly lags during its hour-and-a-half run time. It’s a happy member of this new class of video game movies written with an obvious love of its lore, though possibly not able to stand up without a deep appreciation for the source material.
Where to watch it: Stream on Hulu
Chloé Zhao’s neo-Western drama starring Frances McDormand as an itinerant wanderer attempting to eke out a living in the harsh landscape of the contemporary American West leads the pack of potential contenders for this year’s Best Picture Oscar. It’s also an absolute must-watch. From our review:
The journey Zhao has crafted is marvelous, exploring literal peaks and valleys as well as emotional ones. Though Fern’s story is made up, the world through which she’s traveling is real, made all the more striking by the rest of the cast and the little, seemingly insignificant moments Zhao chooses to linger on. In one such moment, Strathairn’s character kneels to get the best possible shot he can of Fern standing in front of a giant dinosaur statue. There’s something joyfully tender about the scene: The light is fading, and he’s using a tiny flip phone, but it’s evident just how much he cares. That feeling of attentiveness and empathy runs throughout the entire film, easily distinguishing it as one of 2020’s best.
Jang Hyuk plays Tae-yul, a master swordsman blinded and disgraced in a coup attempt who returns from self-exile to save his daughter’s life in Choi Jae-hoon’s Korean action drama. The trailer for the film looks gorgeous and slick, with frenetic cinematography courtesy of Won-ho Son (#Alive on Netflix) and a cast featuring I Saw the Devil’s Choi Jin-ho and Joe Taslim of The Raid and The Night Comes for Us fame.
Where to watch it: Stream via Virtual Cinemas
Director Shatara Michelle Ford’s feature debut Test Pattern follows the story of Renesha (Brittany S. Hall) and Evan (Will Brill), an interracial couple whose relationship is irrevocably altered in the wake of a devastating sexual assault. Billed as one part psychological horror, one part realist drama, Ford’s film offers a bracing depiction of the myriad systemic injustices, social conditioning, and patriarchal obstacles that women are faced with while navigating the thorny topics of sex and consent in American society.
Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci star as a pair of 20-year-strong lovers in Harry Macqueen’s romance drama Supernova. When Tusker (Tucci) is diagnosed with dementia, he and Sam (Firth) take to the road to travel across England to meet and reminisce with friends and family. Macqueen’s film looks like a humorous and affecting story of enduring love in the wake of impeding loss and a stirring showcase of Firth and Tucci’s disarming on-screen chemistry.
Inspired by the true-life story of the convicted founder of the darknet drug market Silk Road, Tiller Russell’s pits Jurassic World star Nick Robinson as Ross Ulbricht in the early days of fledgling criminal enterprise under the pseudonym “the Dread Pirate Roberts.” As Silk Road grows both in exponential scope and notoriety, his path inevitably collides with Rick Bowden (Jason Clarke), a volatile DEA agent hell-bent on taking him down.