Twelve New Movies You Can Watch Right Now That Have Been Fast-Tracked From Cinemas to Streaming
Curl up on the couch with Baz Luhrmann's Elvis biopic, the latest 'Jurassic World' flick, stellar British dramas, a shark thriller and more.
August 26, 2022
Before the pandemic, when a new-release movie started playing in cinemas, audiences couldn't watch it on streaming, video on demand, DVD or blu-ray for a few months. But with the past few years forcing film industry to make quite a few changes — widespread movie theatre closures and plenty of people staying home in iso will do that — that's no longer always the case.
Maybe you've been under the weather. Perhaps you haven't had time to make it to your local cinema lately. Given the hefty amount of films now releasing each week, maybe you simply missed something. Film distributors have been fast-tracking some of their new releases from cinemas to streaming recently — movies that might still be playing in theatres in some parts of the country, too. In preparation for your next couch session, here are 12 that you can watch right now at home.
Making a biopic about the king of rock 'n' roll, trust Baz Luhrmann to take his subject's words to heart: a little less conversation, a little more action. The Australian filmmaker's Elvis, his first feature since 2013's The Great Gatsby, isn't short on chatter. It's even narrated by Tom Hanks (Finch) as Colonel Tom Parker, the carnival barker who thrust Presley to fame (and, as Luhrmann likes to say, the man who was never a Colonel, never a Tom and never a Parker). But this chronology of an icon's life is at its best when it's showing rather than telling. That's when it sparkles brighter than a rhinestone on all-white attire, and gleams with more shine than all the lights in Las Vegas. That's when Elvis is electrifying, due to its treasure trove of recreated concert scenes — where Austin Butler (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) slides into Presley's blue suede shoes and lifetime's supply of jumpsuits like he's the man himself.
Butler is that hypnotic as Presley. Elvis is his biggest role to-date after starting out on Hannah Montana, sliding through other TV shows including Sex and the City prequel The Carrie Diaries, and also featuring in Yoga Hosers and The Dead Don't Die — and he's exceptional. Thanks to his blistering on-stage performance, shaken hips and all, the movie's gig sequences feel like Elvis hasn't ever left the building. Close your eyes and you'll think you were listening to the real thing. (In some cases, you are: the film's songs span Butler's vocals, Presley's and sometimes a mix of both). And yet it's how the concert footage looks, feels, lives, breathes, and places viewers in those excited and seduced crowds that's Elvis' true gem. It's meant to make movie-goers understand what it was like to be there, and why Presley became such a sensation. Aided by dazzling cinematography, editing and just all-round visual choreography, these parts of the picture — of which there's many, understandably — leave audiences as all shook up as a 1950s teenager or 1970s Vegas visitor.
Is there anything more intimate than wandering around someone's home when they're not there, gently rifling through their things, and — literally or not, your choice — spending a few minutes standing in their shoes? Yes, but there's still an intoxicating sense of closeness that comes with the territory; moseying curiously in another's house without their company, after they've entrusted their most personal space to you alone, will understandably do that. In Mothering Sunday, Jane Fairchild (Odessa Young, The Staircase) finds herself in this very situation. She's naked, and as comfortable as she's ever been anywhere. After her lover Paul Sheringham (Josh O'Connor, Emma) leaves her in a state of postcoital bliss, she makes the most of his family's large abode in the English countryside, the paintings and books that fill its walls and shelves, and the pie and beer tempting her tastebuds in the kitchen. The result: some of this 1920s-set British drama's most evocative and remarkable moments.
In a page-to-screen affair adapted by screenwriter Alice Birch (Conversations with Friends) from Graham Swift's 2016 novel for French filmmaker Eva Husson (Girls of the Sun), Jane is used to such lofty spaces, but rarely as a carefree resident. As played with quiet potency and radiance by Young, she's an aspiring writer, an orphan and the help; he's firmly from money. She works as a maid for the Sheringhams' neighbours, the also-wealthy Godfrey (Colin Firth, Operation Mincemeat) and Clarrie Niven (Olivia Colman, Heartstopper), and she's ventured next door while everyone except Paul is out. This rare day off is the occasion that gives the stately but still highly moving film its name as well — Mother's Day, but initially designed to honour mother churches, aka where one was baptised — and the well-to-do crowd are all lunching to celebrate Paul's impending nuptials to fiancée Emma Hobday (Emma D'Arcy, Misbehaviour). He made excuses to arrive late, though, in order to steal some time with Jane, as they've both been doing for years. Of course, he can't completely shirk his own party. Also, the day won't end as joyfully as it started.
In the realm of franchise filmmaking, "to infinity and beyond" isn't just a catchphrase exclaimed by an animated plaything — it's how far and long Hollywood hopes every hit big-screen saga will extend. With that in mind, has a Pixar movie ever felt as inevitable as Lightyear? Given the main Toy Story plot wrapped up in 2019's Toy Story 4, and did so charmingly, keeping this series going by jumping backwards was always bound to happen. So it is that space ranger figurine Buzz Lightyear gets an origin story. That said, the trinket's history is covered immediately and quickly in this film's opening splash of text on-screen. Back in the OG Toy Story, Andy was excited to receive a new Buzz Lightyear action figure because — as this feature tells us — he'd just seen and loved a sci-fi movie featuring fictional character Buzz Lightyear. In this franchise's world, the likeable-enough Lightyear from director Angus MacLane (Finding Dory) is that picture.
Buzz the live-action film hero — flesh and blood to in-franchise viewers like Andy, that is, but animated to us — goes on an all-too-familiar journey in Lightyear. Voiced by Chris Evans (Knives Out) to distinguish the movie Buzz from toy Buzz (where he's voiced by Last Man Standing's Tim Allen), the Star Command space ranger is so convinced that he's the biggest hero there is, and him alone, that teamwork isn't anywhere near his strength. Then, as happens to the figurine version in Toy Story, that illusion gets a reality check. To survive being marooned on T'Kani Prime, a planet 4.2 million light-years from earth filled with attacking vines and giant flying insects, the egotistical and stubborn Buzz needs to learn to play nice with others. For someone who hates rookies, as well as using autopilot, realising he can only succeed with help takes time.
To write notable things, does someone need to live a notable life? No, but sometimes they do anyway. To truly capture the bone-chilling, soul-crushing, gut-wrenching atrocities of war, does someone need to experience it for themselves? In the case of Siegfried Sassoon, his anti-combat verse could've only sprung from someone who had been there, deep in the trenches of the Western Front during World War I, and witnessed its harrowing horrors. If you only know one thing about the Military Cross-winner and poet going into Benediction, you're likely already aware that he's famed for his biting work about his time in uniform. There's obviously more to his story and his life, though, as there is to the film that tells his tale. But British writer/director Terence Davies (Sunset Song) never forgets the traumatic ordeal, and the response to it, that frequently follows his subject's name as effortlessly as breathing. Indeed, being unable to ever banish it from one's memory, including Sassoon's own, is a crucial part of this precisely crafted, immensely affecting and deeply resonant movie.
If you only know two things about Sassoon before seeing Benediction, you may have also heard of the war hero-turned-conscientious objector's connection to fellow poet Wilfred Owen. Author of Anthem for Damned Youth, he fought in the same fray but didn't make it back. That too earns Davies' attention, with Jack Lowden (Slow Horses) as Sassoon and Matthew Tennyson (Making Noise Quietly) as his fellow wordsmith, soldier and patient at Craiglockhart War Hospital — both for shell shock. Benediction doesn't solely devote its frames to this chapter in its central figure's existence, either, but the film also knows that it couldn't be more pivotal in explaining who Sassoon was, and why, and how war forever changed him (as also seen in his later guise, when he's played by The Suicide Squad's Peter Capaldi). Sassoon and Owen were friends, and also shared a mutual infatuation. They were particularly inspired during their times at Craiglockhart as well. In fact, Sassoon mentored the younger Owen, and championed his work after he was killed in 1918, exactly one week before before Armistice Day.
JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION
When Jurassic World Dominion was being written, three words must've come up often. No, they're not Neill, Dern, Goldblum. Those beloved actors reunite here, the trio appearing in the same Jurassic Park flick for the first time since the 1993 original, but the crucial terms are actually "but with dinosaurs". Returning Jurassic World writer/director Colin Trevorrow mightn't have uttered that phrase aloud; however, when Dominion stalks into a dingy underground cantina populated by people and prehistoric creatures, Star Wars but with dinosaurs instantly springs to mind. The same proves true when the third entry in this Jurassic Park sequel trilogy also includes high-stakes flights in a rundown aircraft that's piloted by a no-nonsense maverick. These nods aren't only confined to a galaxy far, far away — a realm that Trevorrow was meant to join as a filmmaker after the first Jurassic World, only to be replaced on Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker — and, yes, they just keep on coming.
There's the speedy chase that zooms through alleys in Malta, giving the Bond franchise more than a few nods — but with dinosaurs, naturally. There's the plot about a kidnapped daughter, with Taken but with dinosaurs becoming a reality as well. That Trevorrow, co-scribe Emily Carmichael (Pacific Rim Uprising) and his usual writing collaborator Derek Connolly (Safety Not Guaranteed) have seen other big-name flicks is never in doubt. Indeed, as a Mark Zuckerberg-esque entrepreneur (Campbell Scott, WeCrashed) tries to take over all things dino, and ex-Jurassic World velociraptor whisperer Owen Grady (Chris Pratt, The Tomorrow War) and his boss-turned-girlfriend Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard, Rocketman) get drawn back into the creatures' realm, too much of Dominion feels like an attempt to actively make viewers wish they were watching other movies. Bourne but with dinosaurs rears its head via a rooftop chase involving, yes, dinos. Also, two different Stanley Kubrick masterpieces get cribbed so blatantly that royalties must be due, including when an ancient critter busts through a door as Jack Nicholson once did, and the exact same shot — but with dinosaurs — hits the screen.
THE KITCHEN BRIGADE
When a chef sticks to a tried-and-tested recipe, it can be for two reasons: ease and excellence. Whipping up an already-proven dish means cooking up something that you already know works — something sublime, perhaps — and giving yourself the opportunity to better it. That process isn't solely the domain of culinary maestros, though, as French filmmaker Louis-Julien Petit makes plain in his latest feature The Kitchen Brigade. The writer/director behind 2018's Invisibles returns to what he knows and does well, and to a formula that keeps enticing audiences on the big screen, too. With the former, he whisks together another socially conscious mix of drama and comedy centring on faces and folks that are often overlooked. With the latter, he bakes a feel-good affair about finding yourself, seizing opportunities and making a difference through food.
Returning from Invisibles as well, Audrey Lamy (Little Nicholas' Treasure) plays Cathy, a 40-year-old sous chef with big dreams and just as sizeable struggles. Instead of running her own restaurant, she's stuck in the shadow of TV-famous culinary celebrity Lyna Deletto (Chloé Astor, Delicious) — a boss hungry for not just fame but glory, including by dismissing Cathy's kitchen instincts or claiming her dishes as her own. Reaching boiling point early in the film, Cathy decides to finally go it alone, but cash makes that a problem. So, to make ends meet, she takes the only job she can find: overseeing the food in a shelter for migrants, where manager Lorenzo (François Cluzet, We'll End Up Together) and his assistant Sabine (Chantal Neuwirth, Patrick Melrose) have been understandably too busy with the day-to-day business of helping their residents to worry about putting on a fancy spread.
MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU
What's yellow, round, inescapably silly and also just flat-out inescapable? Since 2010, when the first Despicable Me film reached screens, Minions have been the answer. The golden-hued, nonsense-babbling critters were designed as the ultimate sidekicks. They've remained henchman to malevolent figures in all five of their movie outings so far, and in the 15 shorts that've also kept telling their tale. But, as much as super-villain Gru (Steve Carrell, Space Force) would disagree — he'd be immensely insulted at the idea, in fact — Minions have long been the true drawcards. Children haven't been spotted carrying around and obsessing over Gru toys in the same number. The saga's key evil-doer doesn't have people spouting the same gibberish, either. And his likeness hasn't become as ubiquitous as Santa, although Minions aren't considered a gift by everyone.
At their best, these lemon-coloured creatures are today's equivalent of slapstick silent film stars. At their worst, they're calculatingly cute vehicles for selling merchandise and movie tickets. In Minions: The Rise of Gru, Kevin, Stuart, Bob, Otto and company (all voiced by Pierre Coffin, also the director of the three Despicable Me features so far, as well as the first Minions) fall somewhere in the middle. Their Minion mayhem is the most entertaining and well-developed part of the flick, but as an 11-year-old Gru tries to live out his nefarious boyhood dreams in 1976, it's also pushed to the side by director Kyle Balda (Despicable Me 3), co-helmers Brad Ableson (Legends of Chamberlain Heights) and Jonathan del Val (The Secret Life of Pets 2), and screenwriter Matthew Fogel (The Lego Movie 2). There's a reason that this isn't just called Minions 2 — and another that it hasn't been badged Despicable Me: The Rise of Gru, although it should've. The Minion name gets wallets opening and young audiences excited, the Rise of Gru reflects the main focus of the story, and anyone who's older than ten can see the strings being pulled at the corporate level among the by-the-numbers slapstick hijinks.
AFTER BLUE (DIRTY PARADISE)
In his 2017 feature debut, French writer/director Bertrand Mandico took to the sea, following five teens who were punished for a crime by being sent to a mysterious island. Sensual and lurid at every turn, The Wild Boys was never as straightforward as any description might intimate, however — and it proved both a tempest of influences as varied as Jean Cocteau, John Carpenter and David Lynch, and an onslaught of surreal and subversive experimentation several times over. Much of the same traits shine through in the filmmaker's second feature After Blue (Dirty Paradise), including an erotic tone that's even more pivotal than the movie's narrative. Mandico makes features about bodies and flesh, about landscapes filled with the odd and alluring, and where feeling like you've tumbled into a dream most wonderful and strange is the instant response.
Tinted pink, teeming with glitter, scored by synth, as psychedelic as bathing in acid and gleefully queer, the fantastical realm that fills After Blue's frames is the titular planet, where humanity have fled after ruining earth. As teenager Roxy (debutant Paula-Luna Breitenfelder), who is nicknamed Toxic by her peers, tells the camera, only ovary-bearers can survive here — with men dying out thanks to their hair growing internally. In this brave new world, nationalities cling together in sparse communities, with roving around frowned upon. But that's what Roxy and her hairdresser mother Zora (Elina Löwensohn, Mandico's frequent star) are forced to do when the former meets and saves a criminal called Kate Bush (Agata Buzek, High Life), who she finds buried in sand, and are then tasked by their fellow French denizens with tracking her down and dispensing with her to fix that mistake.
In Sundown's holiday porn-style opening scenes, a clearly wealthy British family enjoys the most indulgent kind of Acapulco getaway that anyone possibly can. Beneath the blazing blue Mexican sky, at a resort that visibly costs a pretty penny, Alice Bennett (Charlotte Gainsbourg, The Snowman), her brother Neil (Tim Roth, Bergman Island), and her teenage children Alexa (Albertine Kotting McMillan, A Very British Scandal) and Colin (Samuel Bottomley, Everybody's Talking About Jamie) swim and lounge and sip, with margaritas, massages and moneyed bliss flowing freely. For many, it'd be a dream vacation. For Alice and her kids, it's routine, but they're still enjoying themselves. The look on Neil's passive face says everything, however. It's the picture of apathy — even though, as the film soon shows, he flat-out refuses to be anywhere else.
The last time that a Michel Franco-written and -directed movie reached screens, it came courtesy of the Mexican filmmaker's savage class warfare drama New Order, which didn't hold back in ripping into the vast chasm between the ridiculously rich and everyone else. Sundown is equally as brutal, but it isn't quite Franco's take on The White Lotus or Nine Perfect Strangers, either. Rather, it's primarily a slippery and sinewy character study about a man with everything as well as nothing. Much happens within the feature's brief 82-minute running time. Slowly, enough is unveiled about the Bennett family's background, and why their extravagant jaunt abroad couldn't be a more ordinary event in their lavish lives. Still, that indifferent expression adorning Neil's dial rarely falters, whether grief, violence, trauma, lust, love, wins or losses cast a shadow over or brighten up his poolside and seaside stints knocking back drinks in the sunshine.
THE REEF: STALKED
In the crowded waters of cinema's shark-attack genre, which first took a hefty bite out of the box office with mega hit Jaws and then spawned plenty of imitators since, a low-budget Australian effort held its own back in 2010. The second movie from writer/director Andrew Traucki after his crocodile-attack flick Black Water, The Reef wasn't ever going to rake in enough takings to threaten the larger fish, but the stripped-back survival-thriller was grippingly effective. As Black Water did with 2020's Black Water: Abyss, the creature-feature helmer's shark film has now be given a sequel — and like Traucki's other franchise, this followup is a routine splash. The filmmaker keeps most of the basics the same, casting out a remakequel, aka a movie about basically the same scenario but with different faces. No, Traucki isn't seeking a bigger boat, or even to rock the one he has.
The Reef: Stalked does make one curious new choice, however, stemming from its nine-months-earlier prologue. The film's opening sequences set up a harrowing source of trauma for protagonist Nic (Teressa Liane, The Vampire Diaries), and also clumsily equate domestic violence with the ocean's predators in the process. The aim is to show how Nic and her youngest sister Annie (debutant Saskia Archer) refuse to become victims after their other sibling Cathy (Bridget Burt, Camp-Off) is stalked and savaged in a different way, fatally so, at the hands of her partner Greg (Tim Ross, Dive Club). After finding Cathy herself, Nic is so understandably distressed that she heads as far away as she can, but returns from overseas for a big diving and kayaking trip that was important to her sister. With friends Jodie (Ann Truong, Cowboy Bebop) and Lisa (Kate Lister, Clickbait), plus Annie, they embark on a multi-day paddle — but it isn't long until a different sinister force terrorises their getaway, even if you don't already know what "the man in the grey suit" refers to in surfer slang.
Finding a moment or statement from The Princess to sum up The Princess is easy. Unlike the powerful documentary's subject in almost all aspects of her life from meeting the future King of England onwards, viewers have the luxury of choice. Working solely with archival materials, writer/director Ed Perkins (Tell Me Who I Am) doesn't lack in chances to demonstrate how distressing it was to be Diana, Princess of Wales — and the fact that his film can even exist also underscores that point. While both The Crown and Spencer have dramatised Diana's struggles with applauded results, The Princess tells the same tale as it was incessantly chronicled in the media between 1981–1997. The portrait that emanates from this collage of news footage, tabloid snaps and TV clips borders on dystopian. It's certainly disturbing. What kind tormented world gives rise to this type of treatment just because someone is famous? The one we all live in, sadly.
Perkins begins The Princess with shaky visuals from late in August 1997, in Paris, when Diana and Dodi Fayed were fleeing the paparazzi on what would be the pair's last evening. The random voice behind the camera is excited at the crowds and commotion, not knowing how fatefully the night would end. That's telling, haunting and unsettling, and so is the clip that immediately follows. The filmmaker jumps back to 1981, to a then 19-year-old Diana being accosted as she steps into the street. Reporters demand answers on whether an engagement will be announced, as though extracting private details from a teenager because she's dating Prince Charles is a right. The Princess continues in the same fashion, with editors Jinx Godfrey (Chernobyl) and Daniel Lapira (The Boat) stitching together example after example of a woman forced to be a commodity and expected to be a spectacle, all to be devoured and consumed.
Three friends, a huge music festival worth making a mega mission to get to and an essential bag of goon: if you didn't experience that exact combination growing up in Australia, did you really grow up in Australia? That's the mix that starts 6 Festivals, too, with the Aussie feature throwing in a few other instantly familiar inclusions to set the scene. Powderfinger sing-alongs, scenic surroundings and sun-dappled moments have all filled plenty of teenage fest trips, and so has an anything-it-takes mentality — and for the film's central trio of Maxie (Rasmus King, Barons), Summer (Yasmin Honeychurch, Back of the Net) and James (Rory Potter, Ruby's Choice), they're part of their trip to Utopia Valley. But amid dancing to Lime Cordiale and Running Touch, then missing out on Peking Duk's stroke-of-midnight New Year's Eve set after a run-in with security, a shattering piece of news drops. Suddenly these festival-loving friends have a new quest: catching as much live music as they can to help James cope with cancer.
The first narrative feature by Bra Boys and Fighting Fear director Macario De Souza, 6 Festivals follows Maxie, Summer and James' efforts to tour their way along the east coast festival circuit. No, there are no prizes for guessing how many gigs are on their list, with the Big Pineapple Music Festival, Yours and Owls and Lunar Electric among the events on their itinerary. Largely road-tripping between real fests, and also showcasing real sets by artists spanning Dune Rats, Bliss n Eso, G Flip, B Wise, Ruby Fields, Dope Lemon, Stace Cadet and more, 6 Festivals dances into the mud, sweat and buzz — the crowds, cheeky beers and dalliances with other substances that help form this coming-of-age rite-of-passage, aka cramming in as many festivals as you possibly can from the moment your parents will let you, as well. This is also a cancer drama, however, which makes for an unsurprisingly tricky balancing act, especially after fellow Aussie movie Babyteeth tackled the latter so devastatingly well so recently.
Looking for more at-home viewing options? Take a look at our monthly streaming recommendations across new straight-to-digital films and TV shows — and our best new TV shows, returning TV shows and straight-to-streaming movies from the first half of 2022.
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