A.I

Monster, Mainstream, and every new movie you can now watch at home

It’s finally May. The sun is shining, flowers are blooming, and the full brunt of the Summer movie season is primed to descend upon us like a mighty avalanche of cinema. There are a ton of new films premiering exclusively in theaters this month, including this weekend’s Wrath of Man (which won’t be on demand), as the country continues to vaccinate and multiplexes reopen with varying safety standards. Still, there are plenty of great new movies premiering via streaming and day-one premiere services, too.

This week, there’s Monster, based on Walter Dean Myers’ 1999 novel of the same name, premieres on Netflix, plus Gia Coppola’s online celebrity drama Mainstream starring Andrew Garfield and Maya Hawke, a documentary on the history of Sesame Street, and a satirical Kung fu drama all hitting rental services. To help you get a handle on what’s new and available to watch, here are the movies you can watch with the click of a button this weekend.


Monster

Where to watch it: Stream on Netflix

Photo: Netflix

Monster follows Steve Harmon (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), a 17-year-old honor student whose life and future quickly unravel when he is charged with felony murder. From producer Nasir Jones and longtime music video director Anthony Mandler, the film follows Steve’s dramatic journey as he navigates a contentious legal battle that could lead to him potentially spending the rest of his life in prison.

Mainstream

Where to watch it: Available to rent for $5.99 on Amazon; $6.99 on Vudu

Maya Hawk stares at a giant screen of Andrew Garfield with his mouth agape in Mainstream

Photo: IFC Films

Andrew Garfield plays an Extremely Online sociopath in this satire of viral celebrity culture from Gia Coppola (Palo Alto). The Amazing Spider-Man alum stars as Mouse, a charismatic and masterfully manipulative “influencer” who takes a young and impressionable woman named Frankie (Maya Hawke) under his wing to school her in the art of crafting content. Things quickly take a turn for the worse when Frankie realizes that Mouse’s intentions are far from sincere and euphoria of overnight fame spirals into an unseemly obsession.

Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street

Where to watch it: Available to rent for $15.99 on Amazon

A young, bearded Jim Henson behind the scenes of a Sesame Street skit

Photo: Screen Media Films

Generations of children and adults have grown to know the names of Big Bird, Elmo, Ernie, Bert, and more in the more than half a century since Sesame Street first premiered on PBS. But about the men and women behind the phenomenon? Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street, the new documentary from director Marilyn Agrelo, promises to answer that question by delving into the history of one of the most significant works of educational children’s television. The doc pieces together the lives and stories of the creators who brought it to fruition.

The Paper Tigers

Where to watch it: Available to rent for $6.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

Monster, Mainstream, and every new movie you can now watch at home

Quoc Bao Tran’s Kung-fu action comedy stars Alain Uy, Ron Yuan (Mulan), and Mykel Shannon Jenkins as the eponymous Paper Tigers: three former martial arts prodigies who, after a lifetime of strenuous training and hard fighting, have grown into beleaguered middle-aged nobodies. But when their master is murdered, the three swear an oath to avenge his memory and bring the killer to justice.

The Columnist

Where to watch it: Available to rent for $4.99 on Amazon, Apple; $3.99 on Vudu

Katja Herbers as Femke Boot covered in blood in The Columnist

Photo: Film Movement

Remember the end of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back where the stoner duo use their royalties from the Bluntman and Chronic movie to fly across the country to beat the breaks off of everyone who ever talked shit about them online? The Columnist is essentially that, but for the Blue Checkmark generation. Katja Herbers (Evil, Westworld) stars as Femke Boot, an online journalist and author who goes on a revenge murder spree against her commenters in order to drum up publicity for her soon-to-be written book. An absolutely wild premise for a satire about internet hate culture, but maybe it’ll be … I don’t know, interesting?

Initiation

Where to watch it: Available to rent for $5.99 on Amazon; $6.99 on Apple, Vudu

Monster, Mainstream, and every new movie you can now watch at home

Photo: Saban Films

Garnering some strong reviews from the festival circuit, Initiation centers on a wave of targeted revenge killings aimed at a fraternity in the wake of a cyberbullying campaign. It’s on the students of Whiton University to uncover the motivations behind the murders and capture the culprit before it’s too late.

The Boy from Medellín

Where to watch it: Available to stream on Amazon Prime Video

Monster, Mainstream, and every new movie you can now watch at home

Matthew Heineman’s documentary The Boy from Medellín follows a week in the life of J Balvin, the Colombian “Prince of Reggaeton” who wrestles with the challenge that comes with being both a global celebrity and a representative of his people. Amid the turmoil of 2019 — with protests aimed against the government of President Duque and tumult in the wake of 18 year old boy’s death by a police projectile, Balvin prepares for a sold-out concert in his hometown of Medellín while reckoning with the question of what power his music and voice has to affect change. As Beatrice Loayza lays out in her review for the New York Times, “Similar recent mythmaking projects like Beyoncé’s Homecoming and Taylor Swift’s Miss Americana have generated their own publicity by giving access to curated versions of the personal lives of musicians, which makes them seem real and relatable. In The Boy from Medellín, this curation is obvious.”

And here’s what dropped last Friday:


Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse

Where to watch it: Available to stream on Amazon Prime Video

Michael B. Jordan holds a man by his throat while point a pistol off-screen.

Photo: Nadja Klier

Black Panther and Creed star Michael B. Jordan is the latest A-list actor to play a hyper-proficient state-sponsored assassin with a vendetta in Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse. Jordan plays John Kelly, an elite Navy SEAL (and a recurring character of the Jack Ryan series previously portrayed by Willem Dafoe and Liev Schreiber) who uncovers an insidious international conspiracy in the wake of his pregnant wife’s brutal murder at the hands of Russian soldiers. Emboldened by loss and fueled by rage, Clark embarks on campaign of revenge to uncover the conspirators behind the plot and bring them to justice. And he’s gonna do it (wait for it) … without remorse! (ayyyyye, he said the name of the movie!). As we get into in our full review, it’s without a few other things, too.

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Where to watch it: Stream on Netflix

Abbi Jacobson as “Katie Mitchell” in The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Photo: Netflix

Produced by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), The Mitchells vs. the Machines finds Katy (Abbi Jacobson) and her quirky, dysfunctional family on a cross-country roundtrip that lands them smack dab in the middle of a robot apocalypse. Lord and Miller have an amazing track record and the animation in the trailer looks impressive with some genuinely funny moments to boot. From our full review:

From the zany visuals to the wild plot and its genuinely sweet observations on family, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, originally set for a theatrical release by Sony before settling on Netflix, is a joy in every way. It’s a movie that commands attention, with everything going on across the screen and in the script. The action plot augments the family conflict and vice versa, with every moment of the story pushing those plots forward. It’s an utter delight from start to finish that brings the best of animation and the internet to life.

About Endlessness

Where to watch it: Available to rent for $6.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

An exhausted man with a crown of thorns carries a giant wooden cross down a narrow street as a crowd in blue jeans follows close behind.

Photo: Magnolia Pictures

Described as a “reflection on human life in all its beauty and cruelty […] its splendor and banality,” About Endlessness is the latest film from Swedish director Roy Andersson, best known for his previous works such as 1970’s A Swedish Love Story, 2000’s Songs from the Second Floor, and 2014’s A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence. As if the titles of his previous films and the above photo weren’t enough, poetic comedy features a vignette of Adolf Hitler hiding in his bunker on eve of the Allied Forces’ victory in Europe as well as several scenes of people watching flocks of birds. If you’re hankering for a tragicomic cinematic meditation on the stubborn perseverance of humanity in the face of unflinching absurdity à la Synecdoche, New York by way of Holy Motors (and honestly, who isn’t?), About Endlessness will be a must-see.

Things Heard & Seen

Where to watch it: Stream on Netflix

Monster, Mainstream, and every new movie you can now watch at home

Photo: Anna Kooris/Netflix

Based on Elizabeth Brundage’s novel All Things Cease to Appear, Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia!) and James Norton (Little Women) star in the new Netflix horror thriller Things Heard & Seen. When Manhattan couple Catherine and George Claire to a sleepy hamlet in the Hudson Valley, they come to discover that a dark and insidious history of secrets, lies, and horror underpins their new home … possibly even their own marriage.

The Outside Story

Where to watch it: Available to rent for $6.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

Monster, Mainstream, and every new movie you can now watch at home

Atlanta and If Beale Street Could Talk’s Brian Tyree Henry stars in Casimir Nozkowski’s The Outside Story, the story of an introverted video editor. Fresh off of a break-up with his long-time partner (Sonequea Martin-Green), Charles comfortable (see: complacent) living out life in his second-floor apartment, always working and perpetually in a rut. But when he accidentally locks himself out of his building, his tour across the city becomes a journey of self-discovery as he’s reminded of what matters most in life. At 85 minutes, this slice-of-life indie might go easily overlooked, but RogerEbert.com notes “Henry’s performance is rich enough to make this small film feel rather epic.”

Golden Arm

Where to watch it: Available to rent for $6.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

Monster, Mainstream, and every new movie you can now watch at home

Mary Holland (Happiest Season) and Betsy Sodaro (Hubie Halloween) star in Golden Arm, a road trip buddy comedy set in the high-stakes world of ladies arm wrestling. When Danny (Sodaro), a truck driver trains her girly best friend Melanie (Holland) to compete in the National Ladies Arm Wrestling Championship, they soon discover that meek and unassuming Melanie has an uncanny aptitude for the sport. As they travel across the country to compete, the two friends grow closer as Melanie grows more assertive and confident in her own self-worth.

Voyagers

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

Fionn Whitehead smirks rebelliously amid a crowd of blank-faced teenagers in Voyagers

Photo: Lionsgate

Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One), Lily-Rose Depp (The King), and Fionn Whitehead (Dunkirk, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch) star in Limitless director Neil Burger’s latest film Voyagers, a sci-fi adventure thriller about a crew of astronauts on a multi-generational mission across the universe who gradual descend into a spiral of paranoia and insanity. From our review,

Like the recent Cosmic Sin, Voyagers feints toward using its space setting as an opportunity for insight about the human condition, but its execution is as lackluster as that film’s sleepwalking version of Bruce Willis. Cosmic Sin tried and failed to make some kind of point about the cost of war and the sacrifices soldiers make to protect us. Voyagers tries and fails to make some kind of point about the cost of progress and the sacrifices explorers make to protect us. But Burger plays this story so straight, with no hint of humor or irony, that Voyagers also offers no surprises. The plot reveals all its beats within the first 10 or so minutes.

The Virtuoso

Where to watch it: Available to rent for $5.99 on Amazon and Apple

Monster, Mainstream, and every new movie you can now watch at home

Two-time Academy Award-winning actor Anthony Hopkins and Anson Mount star in director Nick Stagliano’s The Virtuoso. In the wake of a terrifying accident that frays the nerves of his apprentice, an aging professional assassin (Hopkins) offers his protégé (Mount) a new assignment: find and kill a rogue Hitman hiding in a rustic diner in a dying town, with no other distinguishing details to get the job done. As the young assassin begins to track down leads, including the town’s local sheriff, he finds himself unexpectedly entangled in an romance with a local woman working at the diner (Abbie Cornish). Sounds a bit paint-by-the-numbers with an obvious twist you could spot a mile away without a sniper scope, but the trailer looks interesting enough. It’s like a movie version of Spy Party but with Anthony Hopkins thrown into the mix, what’s not to like?

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