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Ten New Movies You Can Watch in April That Have Been Fast-Tracked From Cinemas to Streaming

Including the latest Hercule Poirot flick, Jessica Chastain’s Oscar-winning performance and the new ‘Jackass’ movie.
By Sarah Ward
April 08, 2022
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By Sarah Ward
April 08, 2022
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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 had a close-contact run-in. 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 ten that you can watch right now at home.

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PARALLEL MOTHERS

Whatever Pedro Almodóvar and Penélope Cruz happen to be selling — and whenever, and in whichever films — audiences should always be buying. It isn't quite right to liken the acclaimed filmmaker's long-running collaboration with one of his favourite leading ladies to commerce, though, so another comparison fits better: whatever this duo birth into the world, viewers should embrace as a parent does a child. Across four decades now, the Spanish pair has gorgeously and soul-stirringly made cinematic art with the utmost understanding of how to make people feel. They know how people feel, too, and have the combined resumes best exemplified by Live Flesh, All About My Mother, Volver, Broken Embraces, Pain and Glory and now Parallel Mothers to prove it. Their shared filmography also constantly demonstrates another essential insight into human existence: that life is emotion, whether facing its beginning, end or both.

As the movie's moniker indicates, Janis, the almost-40 photographer that Cruz (The 355) inhabits with the quiet force and fragility that's second nature whenever she's directed by Almodóvar, is just one of Parallel Mothers' mums. Teenager Ana (Milena Smit, Cross the Line) is the other and, despite the feature's title, their stories keep converging. The two first meet in a Madrid hospital, where they share a room, give birth simultaneously, chat about how they're each going it alone with no father in the picture and quickly form a bond — as different as they otherwise appear, down to contrasting sources of support (Janis' brightly attired magazine-editor best friend Elena, which is where de Palma pops up, versus Ana's self-obsessed and distant actress mother Teresa, played by Estoy vivo's Aitana Sánchez-Gijón). Janis and Ana descend separately into motherhood afterwards, but twists of fate keep bringing them back together.

Parallel Mothers is available to stream via Google Play, YouTube Movies, iTunes and Prime Video. Read our full review.

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BELFAST

Warm, cosy, rosy, charming, feel-good: typically when a film spins its story during The Troubles in Northern Ireland, none of these words apply. But with Belfast, Kenneth Branagh has made a movie set in its eponymous city when the Protestant-versus-Catholic violence was a constant sight, and also helmed a feature that's about a childhood spent with that conflict as a backdrop. It's an approach that only works because Branagh draws from his own experiences — the film isn't a play-by-play memoir, but it's also clearly personal. Here, it's 1969, when the actor-turned-filmmaker would've been nine years old. The movie's protagonist, Buddy (first-timer Jude Hill), is that exact age, in fact. And with the beginnings of a three-decade-long sectarian fracas bubbling and boiling around him, he navigates the usual age-appropriate antics, such as school, crushes, doting grandparents with ailing health and a potential big move.

The Troubles are a constant sight in the largely monochrome-hued film, too, and the reason Buddy's that parents are contemplating relocating to England, something they wouldn't have dreamed of otherwise. Pa (Jamie Dornan, The Tourist) already spends most of his time working there as a joiner, leaving Ma (Caitríona Balfe, Outlander) at home with Buddy and his elder brother Will (Lewis McAskie, Here Before) — with assistance from the boys' Granny (Judi Dench, Six Minutes to Midnight) and Pop (Ciarán Hinds, The Man in the Hat) — and he's been offered a new job that comes with a house. The violence swirling through Belfast has already made it to the family's street, to their hounded Catholic neighbours and, when Pa refuses to join the fray, put them on their fellow Protestants' hit list. Shifting to London (or perhaps further, to Sydney or Vancouver) would provide a new start and a safer future, but leaving all they've ever known isn't a simple decision.

Belfast is available to stream via Google Play, YouTube Movies, iTunes and Prime Video. Read our full review.

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THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE

Not for the first time, the eyes have it, but then they always have with Tammy Faye Bakker. Not one but two films called The Eyes of Tammy Faye have told the 70s and 80s televangelist's tale — first a 2000 documentary and now this new Jessica Chastain-starring dramatisation — and both take their monikers from one of the real-life American figure's best-known attributes. In the opening to the latest movie, the spidery eyelashes that adorn Tammy Faye's peepers are dubbed her trademark by the woman herself. They're given ample focus in this biopic, as OTT and instantly eye-grabbing as they they are, but their prominence isn't just about aesthetics and recognition. This version of The Eyes of Tammy Faye hones in on perspective, resolutely sticking to its namesake's, even when it'd be a better film if it pondered what she truly saw, or didn't.

In the path leading to her celebrity heyday and the time she was a TV mainstay, Tammy Faye's life saw plenty. It began with an unhappy childhood stained by her stern mother Rachel's (Cherry Jones, Succession) refusal to be linked to her at church, lest it remind their god-fearing Minnesotan townsfolk about the latter's sinful divorce. But young Tammy Faye (Chandler Head, The Right Stuff) still finds solace in religion, the attention that speaking in tongues mid-service brings and also the puppets she starts using as a girl. Come 1960, at bible college, her fervour and quirkiness attract fellow student Jim Bakker (Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom!), with the pair soon married even though it gets them kicked out of school. Unperturbed, she keeps seeing their calling to the lord as their way forward, first with a travelling ministry — puppets included — and then with television shows and their own Praise the Lord network.

The Eyes of Tammy Faye is available to stream via Disney+, Google Play, YouTube Movies, iTunes and Prime Video. Read our full review.

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JACKASS FOREVER

Older men, same ol' tricks and dicks: that's Jackass Forever. The fifth film in the prank-fuelled TV-to-movie franchise isn't afraid of letting it show, either, just as it's never been afraid of flashing around male genitalia. No one in Jackass' crew of comic daredevils is scared of that much — or, if they are, they're more frightened of not challenging themselves alongside their buddies — so the proud and purposeful attitude flaunted in the flick's title and usual formula is thoroughly unsurprising. Twenty-two years have passed since Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Dave Englund, Wee Man, Danger Ehren and Preston Lacy first turned outlandish stunts and practical jokes into an MTV hit, but age hasn't wearied their passion or camaraderie. It also hasn't dampened the gang's fondness for showing their junk, but there's something sweet here among all the penises: the fact that time inescapably passes but doing stupid shit with your mates sparks immortal joy.

Jackass Forever is stupid, because the kinds of gags that Knoxville and company love are profoundly idiotic — including the film's opening gambit, where a green Godzilla-esque creature tramples a city but it's really Pontius' package painted like a monster. Also inherently silly: using the cast's bodies to prop up skateboarding ramps, a Knoxville-hosted game show that penalises wrong answers with a whack to the sack, exploding a port-a-potty while Steve-O is using it and a contraption made of harnesses that simultaneously gives three people wedgies. The ridiculous bits go on, including lighting farts underwater and drinking milk on a moving carousel to the point of vomiting. Another reason that Jackass is forever for this troupe: they're still as juvenile now, even though they're all over or approaching 50, as they ever were.

Jackass Forever is available to stream via Google Play, YouTube Movies, iTunes and Prime Video. Read our full review.

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DEATH ON THE NILE

Some folks just know how to rock a moustache. When Kenneth Branagh (Tenet) stepped into super-sleuth Hercule Poirot's shoes in 2017's Murder on the Orient Express, he clearly considered himself to be one of them. The actor and filmmaker didn't simply play Agatha Christie's famously moustachioed Belgian detective, but also directed the movie — and he didn't miss a chance to showcase his own performance, as well as that hair adorning his top lip. You don't need to be a world-renowned investigator to deduce that Branagh was always going to repeat the same tricks with sequel Death on the Nile, or to pick that stressing the character's distinctive look and accompanying bundle of personality quirks would again take centre stage. But giving Poirot's 'stache its own black-and-white origin story to start the new movie truly is the height of indulgence.

Here, it's 1937, three years after the events of Murder on the Orient Express, and Poirot is holidaying in Egypt. While drinking tea with a vantage out over the country's unconvincingly computer-generated towering wonders, he chances across his old pal Bouc (Tom Bateman, Behind Her Eyes) and his mother Euphemia (Annette Bening, Hope Gap), who invite him to join their own trip — which doubles as a honeymoon for just-married heiress Linnet Ridgeway (Gal Gadot, Red Notice) and her new husband Simon Doyle (Armie Hammer, Crisis). Poirot obliges, but he's also surprised by the happy couple. Six weeks earlier, he saw them get introduced by Linnet's now-former friend and Simon's now ex-fiancée Jacqueline de Bellefort (Emma Mackey, Sex Education). That awkward history isn't easily forgotten by the central duo, either, given that Jackie has followed them with a view to winning Simon back. Boating down the Nile is initially an escape plan, but then the obvious happens in a film that always plays that way: a murder.

Death on the Nile is available to stream via Disney+, Google Play, YouTube Movies, iTunes and Prime Video. Read our full review.

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MOONFALL

Does Roland Emmerich hate earth? Asking for not just a friend, but for the residents of an entire planet that the filmmaker just can't stop blowing up, devastating via CGI chaos and threatening with its end in his movies. Or, does he really love it, and has committed to the cinematic version of negging — tearing this pale blue dot down again and again so that his always paper-thin characters can swoop in to save the day, and also somehow seduce thankful viewers? Either way, Hollywood's go-to disaster-porn helmer is running out of moves, after a career spent blighting the globe in Independence Day, the terrible 1998 American Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012 and Independence Day: Resurgence. He does what he long has with Moonfall, of course, but with a space twist and while also noticeably ripping off elements of Alien and Prometheus.

Moonfall begins in 2011, on a Space Shuttle mission, when it seems as if astronauts Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It) and Jo Fowler (Halle Berry, Bruised) might first find themselves in a Gravity knockoff. Something dark, fast and strange swarms them while Harper is out in the inky nothingness working on a satellite, leading to a tragedy, but no one believes his version of events — including Fowler. Ten years later, he's considered a has-been, she's still at NASA and, when conspiracy theorist KC Houseman (John Bradley, Game of Thrones) learns that the moon has been knocked off its orbit, they're the only ones who can save the day. Harper is also one of the only people willing to listen to Houseman's wild claim that the moon is actually an artificial megastructure, which is linked to its sudden descent upon earth.

Moonfall is available to stream via Google Play, YouTube Movies and iTunes. Read our full review.

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INDIA SWEETS AND SPICES

India Sweets and Spices sports a clunky title, but a descriptive one. The saccharine and the zesty — the formulaic and spirited, too — combine in this coming-of-age comedy about an Indian American college freshman returning home from her no-holds-barred campus life for the summer, and being expected to slot back into her parents' and culture's expectations and traditions as if she'd never left. That quickly unhappy student is Alia Kapur (Sophia Ali, Uncharted), who has little on her agenda for her break except lazing by and in the pool; however, her prim-and-proper mother Sheila (Manisha Koirala, an Indian cinema mainstay) and doctor father Ranjit (Adil Hussain, Star Trek: Discovery) still demand that she do the rounds of their social circle's weekly Saturday-night party circuit. It's more her mum's doing than her significantly more laidback dad's, but it's also the done thing. What isn't usual: inviting the new proprietors of the local Indian store to these well-to-do shindigs.

Writer/director Geeta Malik (Troublemaker) could've called her sophomore feature Crazy Rich Indian Americans — or Snobby Rich Indian Americans — and the moniker would've stuck, with a clear class clash the obvious outcome when Varun Dutta (Rish Shah, To All the Boys: Always and Forever), his mother Bhairavi (Deepti Gupta, High School Musical: The Musical — The Series) and dad Kamlesh (Kamran Shaikh, Evil Eye) show up to the Kapurs' home as asked. The conceited judgement over their nice but not glitzy attire is immediate, and further awkwardness springs quickly when it turns out that Sheila and Bhairavi shared a past before they both emigrated to the US. Alia is outraged over the reaction, intrigued about her mum's history and, given that's the reason she invited the Duttas in the first place, interested in Varun — and all three swiftly shape her summer.

India Sweets and Spices is available to stream via Google Play, YouTube Movies, iTunes and Prime Video. Read our full review.

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THE LAST MOUNTAIN

In 1995, 33-year-old Alison Hargreaves aimed to scale the three highest mountains on the globe: Everest, K2 and Kangchenjunga, all without the help of bottled oxygen or Sherpas to transport her gear. She achieved the first in May, becoming the first woman to do so. Next, she attempted the second in August, but died on the descent. In the aftermath, to help process their grief, Hargreaves' husband Jim Ballard, seven-year-old son Tom and four-year-old daughter Kate made a pilgrimage to K2, a trip that unsurprisingly left an enormous imprint upon her children. Tom was in his mother's womb when she climbed the north face of the Eiger in Switzerland, so he was perhaps fated to love the pastime with the same passion. He became an acclaimed alpinist himself, until a February 2019 trip to Pakistan's Nanga Parbat, at the age of 30, to attempt the never-before-completed Mummery Spur.

Filmmaker Christopher Terrill (Britain's Biggest Warship) doesn't simply rely upon heartbreaking echoes, or the Hargreaves–Ballard family's personal plight, as bolstered with archival material and interviews both of Alison and Tom. (Given the passage of years and the change in technology since, there's more and better footage of Tom in action, and it's a spectacular sight to behold.) A lesser film would've been happy with all of the above and still proven gripping; however, Terrill also unpacks the intricacies around celebrating extreme alpine and rock-climbing feats, then looking for someone to blame when treks finish badly — even without examining how the media backlash that swelled around Alison for dying and leaving her kids behind more than a quarter-century ago. Indeed, the back and forth that steps through the events leading to Tom's death, after uncharacteristically taking on a climbing partner in Italian Mummery Spur fanatic Daniele Nardi, is as complicated as the emotions that visibly course through Kate every time that she's in front of the camera. The Last Mountain is a clear tribute, and another ode to humanity's pull to the mountains, but it's also willing to be as thematically complicated as the terrain that looms so large within its frames.

The Last Mountain is available to stream via Google Play, YouTube Movies, iTunes and Prime Video. Read our full review.

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ALINE

In a 1997 ballad that'll forever linked with the on-screen sinking of the world's most famous ship, Celine Dion told us that her heart would go on. Whether the Canadian singer's ticker will physically defy mortality is yet to be seen, but Aline, the fictionalised biography based on her rollercoaster ride of a life, certainly takes the idea to heart by overextending its running time. It's easy to see why the 'Because You Loved Me', 'The Power of Love' and 'Think Twice' crooner demands a lengthy feature. Also, compared to the big-budget superhero blockbuster standard, Aline's 128 minutes is positively concise. At every moment, however, this Valérie Lemercier (50 Is the New 30)-directed, -co-written and -starring film feels like it's going on and on and on. Near, far, wherever you are, it limps along despite packing plenty of ups and downs into its frames. A key reason: it primarily plays like the result of Lemercier simply opening up that door to Dion's Wikipedia page.

Dion's story has everything from childhood fame and enormous career achievements to relationship scandals and personal tragedies, and Lemercier and her co-scribe Brigitte Buc (who also co-penned the filmmaker's 2005 featured Palais royal!) don't overlook any of it. But Dion's immense success doesn't necessarily make her overly fascinating, and nor do the many twists and turns her path has taken since she was born into a large Quebec family — arriving as the youngest of 14 children — and then found fame as a teen. Or, in her defence, they don't make her particularly interesting in a movie that's content to tick through everything that life has thrown her way like it's marking off a checklist rather than fleshing her out as a person. Viewers glean all of the necessary biographical details from Aline, but little sense of its subject, especially buried under Lemercier's unconvincing blend of soapy comedy and loving affection.

Aline is available to stream via Google Play, YouTube Movies, iTunes and Prime Video. Read our full review.

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QUEEN BEES

Squandering veteran acting talent in insulting comedies about being senior citizens has to be one of cinema's most infuriating moves. It's a fate that's claimed too many stars  — Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, Diane Keaton and Pam Grier included in just the past few years — and, following the likes of Poms, Dirty Grandpa and The War with Grandpa, Queen Bees is the latest film to jump on the bandwagon. Where the also female-focused Poms endeavoured to bring Bring It On to older age, this Ellen Burstyn (Pieces of a Woman)-led effort does the same with Mean Girls. It knows it, too, with Donald Martin's (Christmas Town) script saddling Burstyn's Pine Grove Senior Community newcomer Helen Wilson with describing her cliquish fellow residents as "like mean girls, but with medical alert bracelets". That line alone is the extent of Queen Bees' self-awareness, however.

Widowed for three years and dwelling in the memories that her marital home still holds, Helen is fiercely independent, but also increasingly forgetful. Her doting grandson Peter (Matthew Barnes, Little Fires Everywhere) helps her laugh off the repeated times she locks herself out of the house, but when she accidentally starts a fire one night, it leads to her interfering daughter Laura (Elizabeth Mitchell, The Expanse) convincing Helen to spend the month it'll take to fix the place seeing what Pine Grove is like. The word 'temporary' gets bandied about constantly upon her arrival, and she's just as adamant about steering clear of the retirement community's locals. And the fact that the group of women who've gleefully adopted the movie's moniker — led by the sniping and stern Janet (Jane Curtin, The Good Fight), with Margot (Ann-Margret, Going in Style) and Sally (Loretta Devine, The Starling) always by her side — are instantly unwelcoming only solidifies Helen's resolve.

Queen Bees is available to stream via Google Play, YouTube Movies, iTunes and Prime Video. Read our full review.

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Looking for more at-home viewing options? Take a look at our monthly streaming recommendations across new straight-to-digital films and TV shows, or check out the movies that were fast-tracked to digital in January, February and March

Published on April 08, 2022 by Sarah Ward
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