Nine New Movies You Can Watch in July That Have Been Fast-Tracked From Cinemas to Streaming
Rug up on the couch with a new action-thriller starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans, a stunning Nick Cave documentary and an animated favourite's first movie.
July 25, 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 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's nine you can watch right now at home.
THE GRAY MAN
It's been four years since Ryan Gosling last graced screens, rocketing to the moon in First Man. No, Barbie set photos pored over on every internet-connected device don't count. Since he played Neil Armstrong, much has happened. There's the obvious off-screen, of course — but then there's Chris Evans farewelling Captain America, and also appearing in Knives Out with the scene-stealing Ana de Armas. After co-starring in Blade Runner 2049 with Gosling back in 2017, she leapt from that Evans-featuring whodunnit to palling around with 007 in No Time to Die. Also during that time, Bridgerton pushed Regé-Jean Page to fame, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood earmarked Julia Butters as a young talent to watch. This isn't just a history lesson on The Gray Man's cast — well, some of them, given that Billy Bob Thornton (Goliath), Jessica Henwick (The Matrix Resurrections), Dhanush (Maaran), Wagner Moura (Shining Girls) and Alfre Woodard (The Lion King) also pop up, plus Australia's own Callan Mulvey (Firebite) — for the hell of it, though.
Back in 2018, before all of the above played out, it's unlikely that this exact film with this exact cast would've eventuated. Making an action-thriller about attempting to snuff out hyper-competent assassins isn't new — both John Wick and Atomic Blonde have already been there and done that, and the Bourne and Bond movies — but the combination of this collection of current actors and that familiar setup isn't without its charms. Gosling plays Court Gentry, aka Sierra Six; "007 was taken," he jokes. Before he's given his codename and paid to do the CIA's dirty work, he's in prison for murder, then recruited by Donald Fitzroy (Thornton). Fast-forward 18 years and Six is a huge hit at two things: being a ghost, because he no longer officially exists; and covertly wreaking whatever havoc the government tells him to, including knocking off whichever nefarious figure they need gone. But one stint of the latter leaves him in possession of a USB drive that his arrogant new direct superior Carmichael (Page) will ruthlessly kill to destroy. Actually, to be precise, he'll pay Lloyd Hansen (Evans) of Hansen Government Services to do just that, and to do the dirty work that's too dirty for the criminals-turned-government hitmen in the Sierra program, with Six the number-one target.
THIS MUCH I KNOW TO BE TRUE
How do you make a concert film when no concerts can be held to film? Australian director Andrew Dominik (Chopper, Killing Them Softly) and his now two-time subjects Nick Cave and Warren Ellis have the answer. How do you create a personal documentary that cuts to the heart of these Aussie music icons when, whether stated or implied in their vibe, both are hardly enamoured with having their lives recorded? Again, see: Dominik's new Cave and Ellis-focused This Much I Know to Be True. Performances in cavernous empty British spaces fill the movie's frames but, via stunning lighting, staging and lensing, they're as dazzling as any IRL gig. The interludes between tunes are brief, and also intimate and revealing. The result: a phenomenal doco that's a portrait of expression, a musing on an exceptional collaboration and a rumination upon existence, as well as a piece of haunting cinematic heaven whether you're an existing Cave and Ellis devotee, a newcomer or something in-between.
Dominik, Cave and Ellis initially teamed up when the latter duo scored the former's The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Later this year, when upcoming Marilyn Monroe biopic Blonde hits screens, the same arrangement will provide its soundtrack. But in the middle sits 2016 doco One More Time with Feeling and now This Much I Know to Be True, as entrancing a pair as the music documentary genre has gifted viewers. The first factual flick found Cave and Ellis recording the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds album Skeleton Tree, as Cave also grappled with the death of one of his sons. Here, its follow-up is shaped by the first performances of Cave and Ellis' latest albums — the Bad Seeds 2019 release Ghosteen, and Cave and Ellis' 2021 record Carnage — plus the pandemic and the lingering effects of grief.
DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS
Somewhere in the multiverse, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is terrific. In a different realm, it's terrible. Here in our dimension, the 28th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe teeters and twirls in the middle. The second movie to focus on surgeon-turned-sorcerer Dr Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog), it's at its best when it embraces everything its director is known for. That said, it's also at its worst when it seems that harnessing Sam Raimi's trademarks — his visual style, bombast, comic tone and Evil Dead background, for instance — is merely another Marvel ploy. Multiverse of Madness is trippy, dark, sports a bleak sense of humour and is as close as the MCU has gotten to horror, all immensely appreciated traits in this sprawling, box office-courting, never-ending franchise. But it stands out for the wrong reasons, too, especially how brazenly it tries to appear as if it's twisting and fracturing the typical MCU template when it definitely isn't.
Welcomely weirder than the average superhero flick (although not by too much), but also bluntly calculating: that's Multiverse of Madness, and that's a messy combination. It's apt given its eponymous caped crusader has always hailed from Marvel's looser, goofier and, yes, stranger side since his MCU debut in 2016's plainly titled Doctor Strange; however, it's hard to believe that such formulaic chaos was truly the plan for this follow-up. The last time that audiences saw Stephen Strange, he reluctantly tinkered with things he shouldn't to help Peter Parker in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Those actions had consequences, and recalling Raimi's time with Spidey came with the territory. Strange's reality-bending trickery has repercussions here as well, because Wanda Maximoff (Elisabeth Olsen, Sorry for Your Loss) isn't thrilled about her fellow super-powered pal's exploits. Yes, Multiverse of Madness assumes viewers have not only watched all 27 past MCU movies, but also its small-screen offshoots — or WandaVision at least, where the enchantress that's also Scarlet Witch broke rules herself and wasn't still deemed a hero.
Since popping up over the last decade, the term 'elevated horror' has always been unnecessary. Used to describe The Babadook, It Follows, The Witch, Get Out, Hereditary, Us, Midsommar and more, it pointlessly claims that such unsettling flicks have risen above their genre. Each of these movies is excellent. They all boast weight and depth, trade in metaphors with smarts and savvy, and have style to go with their creeps and thrills. But thinking that's new in horror — that pairing unease with topical woes or societal fears is as well — is as misguided as dubbing Michael Myers a hero. With a name that makes its #MeToo-era point plain, Men has been badged 'elevated', too, yet it also does what horror has at its best and worst cases for decades. That the world can be a nightmare for women at the hands of men isn't a fresh observation, and it's long been a scary movie go-to. Still, Men stresses that fact in an inescapably blunt but also unforgettable manner.
Hailing from Ex Machina, Annihilation and Devs' Alex Garland, Men's setting is an English manor, where Harper Marlowe (Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter) hopes for a solo stint of rest, relaxation and recuperation. Processing a tragedy, shattering memories of which haunt the movie as much as its protagonist, she's seeking an escape and a way to start anew. The initial hint that she won't find bliss comes swiftly and obviously, and with a sledgehammer's subtlety. Arriving at an idyllic-looking British countryside estate, Harper is greeted by an apple tree. She plucks one from the abundant branches, then takes a bite. Soon, she's told by her host Geoffrey (Rory Kinnear, Our Flag Means Death) that it's forbidden fruit. He also says he's joking — but in this garden, a woman will again shoulder a society's blame and burdens.
THE BOB'S BURGERS MOVIE
Across its 12-season order to-date, the best episodes of Bob's Burgers have always resembled exactly what they should: a delicious serving of the meat-and-bread combination that shares the hit sitcom's name. There's a knack to a great burg — to a tastebud-thrilling, so-appetising-I-need-more-now example of this extremely accessible culinary art — and it's all about perfecting the absolute basics. No matter what else gets slotted in (and plenty of other ingredients can), every burger's staples should be the stars of the show. Indeed, a top-notch burg needn't be flashy. It definitely mustn't be overcomplicated, either. And, crucially, it should taste as comforting as wrapping your hands around its buns feels. On the small screen since 2011, Bob's Burgers has kept its version of that very recipe close to its animated, irreverent, gleefully offbeat heart.
Unsurprisingly, the show's creators whip up the same kind of dish for The Bob's Burgers Movie, too. It's a winning formula, and creator Loren Bouchard knows not to mess with it while taking his beloved characters to the big screen. As always, the action centres on the film's namesake — the diner where patriarch Bob (H Jon Benjamin, Archer) sizzles up punningly named burgs to both make a living and live out his dream. And, as the show has covered frequently, financial woes mean that Bob and his wife Linda (John Roberts, Gravity Falls) have more to worry about than cooking, serving customers, and their kids Tina (Dan Mintz, Veep), Gene (Eugene Mirman, Flight of the Conchords) and Louise (Kristen Schaal, What We Do in the Shadows). Their solution: a burger, of course. But their bank manager isn't munching when they try to use food to grease their pleas for an extension on their loan. That mortgage also involves their restaurant equipment, leaving them out of business if they can't pay up. As their seven-day time limit to stump up the cash ticks by, Bob sweats over the grill and Linda oozes her usual optimism — only for a sinkhole to form literally at their door.
With a savvily sinister-meets-satirical blend, Hatching begins by unpacking a fallacy as fractured as Humpty Dumpty after the nursery-rhyme character's fall — and that still keeps being lapped up anyway. In suburban Finland, among homes so identical that the song 'Little Boxes' instantly pops into your head, 12-year-old gymnast Tinja (debutant Siiri Solalinna), her younger brother Matias (fellow first-timer Oiva Ollila), and their mother (Sophia Heikkilä, Dual) and father Jani Volanen, Dogs Don't Wear Pants) are living their best lives. More than that, as the soft lensing and music that helps open the movie establishes, they're also beaming that picture of pink, white and pastel-hued domestic perfection to the world. Tinja's unnamed mum is a vlogger, and these scenes are being captured for her cloyingly named blog Lovely Everyday Life. Naturally, showing that this family of four's daily existence is anything but enchanting is one of Bergholm's first aims.
In Finnish writer/director Hanna Bergholm's bold and memorable body-horror, twisted fairy tale and dark coming-of-age thriller, the initial crack comes from outside, crashing through the window to ruin a posed shot alight with fake smiles and, of course, being filmed with a selfie stick. Soon, broken glass, vases and lamps are strewn throughout a lounge room so immaculately arranged that it looks straight out of a supermarket-shelf home-and-garden magazine — and the crowning glory, the chandelier, has descended from a luminous pièce de résistance to a shattered mess. A garden-variety crow is the culprit, which Tinja carefully captures. She hands it to her mother, thinking that they'll then release it outside. But her mum, placid but seething that anything could disrupt her manufactured picture of bliss, ignores that idea with a cruel snap and instructions to dispose of the animal in the organic waste. When Tinja disobeys that order, taking the egg into her care, nurturing it tenderly and placing it inside a teddy bear for safe keeping, she gains her own little universe to dote over. Then the egg keeps growing, and a human-sized chick emerges.
Thanks to his Oscar-nominated work co-penning The Worst Person in the World's screenplay, Eskil Vogt has already helped give the world one devastatingly accurate slice-of-life portrait in the past year. That applauded film is so insightful and relatable about being in your twenties, and also about weathering quarter-life malaise, uncertainty and crisis, that it feels inescapably lifted from reality — and it's sublime. The Innocents, the Norwegian filmmaker's latest movie, couldn't be more different in tone and narrative; however, it too bears the fingerprints of achingly perceptive and deep-seated truth. Perhaps that should be mindprints, though. Making his second feature as a director after 2014's exceptional Blind, Vogt hones in on childhood, and on the way that kids behave with each other when adults are absent or oblivious — and on tykes and preteens who can wreak havoc solely using their mental faculties.
Another riff on Firestarter, this thankfully isn't. The Innocents hasn't simply jumped on the Stranger Things bandwagon, either. Thanks to the latter, on-screen tales about young 'uns battling with the supernatural are one of Hollywood's current favourite trends — see also: the awful Ghostbusters: Afterlife — but all that this Nordic horror movie's group of kids are tussling with is themselves. Their fight starts when nine-year-old Ida (debutant Rakel Lenora Fløttum) and her 11-year-old sister Anna (fellow first-timer Alva Brynsmo Ramstad), who is on the autism spectrum, move to an apartment block in Romsås, Oslo with their mother (Blind's Ellen Dorrit Petersen) and father (Morten Svartveit, Ninjababy). It's summer, the days are long, and the two girls are largely left to their own devices outside in the complex's communal spaces. That's where Ida befriends Aisha (Mina Yasmin Bremseth Asheim) and Ben (Sam Ashraf), albeit not together, and starts to learn about their abilities.
DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA
The movies have come to Downton Abbey and Violet Crawley, the acid-tongued Dowager Countess of Grantham so delightfully played by Maggie Smith (The Lady in the Van) since 2010, is none too fussed about it. "Hard same," all but the most devoted fans of the upstairs-downstairs TV drama may find themselves thinking as she expresses that sentiment — at least where Downton Abbey: A New Era, an exercise in extending the series/raking in more box-office cash, is concerned. Violet, as only she can, declares she'd "rather eat pebbles" than watch a film crew at work within the extravagant walls of her family's home. The rest of us mightn't be quite so venomous, but that's not the same as being entertained. The storyline involving said film crew is actually one of the most engaging parts of A New Era; however, the fact that much of it is clearly ripped off from cinematic classic Singin' in the Rain speaks volumes, and gratingly.
A New Era begins with a wedding, picking up where its predecessor left off as former chauffeur Tom Branson (Allen Leech, Bohemian Rhapsody) marries Lucy Smith (Tuppence Middleton, Mank) with everyone expected — the well-to-do Crawleys and their relatives, plus their maids, butlers, cooks, footmen and other servants — in attendance. But the film really starts with two revelations that disrupt the Downton status quo. Firstly, Violet receives word that she's inherited a villa in the south of France from an ex-paramour, who has recently passed away. His surviving wife (Nathalie Baye, Call My Agent!) is displeased with the arrangement, threatening lawsuits, but his son (Jonathan Zaccaï, The White Crow) invites the Crawleys to visit to hash out the details. Secondly, a movie production wants to use Downton for a shoot, which the pragmatic Lady Mary Talbot (Michelle Dockery, Anatomy of a Scandal) talks the family into because — paralleling the powers-that-be behind A New Era itself — the aristocratic brood would like the money.
The last time that Mark Wahlberg played a real-life boxer, The Fighter was the end result. The last time that Mel Gibson played the burger-chain owner's father, the world was forced to suffer through Daddy's Home 2. Combine this mismatched pair and you don't quite get Father Stu, the former Marky Mark's first step into faith-based films — but even watching the latter, the second instalment in his woeful comedy franchise with Will Ferrell, is preferable to this mawkish true tale. Drawn from the IRL Stuart Long's life, it's meant to be an inspirational affair, covering the familiar religious-favourite beats about sinners being redeemed, wayward souls seizing second chances and learning to accept physical suffering as a chance to get closer to the divine. First-time feature writer/director Rosalind Ross is earnest about those messages, and her film visibly looks more competent than most sermon-delivering recent cinema releases, but what preaching-to-the-choir sentiments they are. How ableist they are as well.
When Wahlberg (Uncharted) first graces the screen as Long, he could've stepped in from plenty of his other movies. In his younger days, the titular future priest is a foul-mouthed amateur boxer from Montana, but he has big dreams — and when he hits Los Angeles with acting stars in his eyes, viewers can be forgiven for thinking of Boogie Nights. Porn isn't Long's calling, of course, although salacious propositions do come his way in the City of Angels, in one of the film's hardly subtle efforts to equate the secular and the sordid. It's actually lust that pushes the feature's protagonist on the path to the priesthood, however, after he spies volunteer Sunday school teacher Carmen (Teresa Ruiz, The Marksman) while he's working in a grocery store. To have a chance with her, he even gets baptised. Then, a drink-driving accident brings a vision of the Virgin Mary, sparking Long's determination to make Catholicism his calling. Next, a shock health diagnosis both tests and cements his faith.
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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