Nine New Movies You Can Watch in March That Have Been Fast-Tracked From Cinemas to Streaming
Get comfy on the couch with the latest 'Magic Mike', the robo-horror thrills (and laughs) of 'M3GAN' and a savage Palme d'Or-winning satire.
March 17, 2023
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 nine that you can watch right now at home.
THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN
In The Banshees of Inisherin, the rolling hills and clifftop fields look like they could stretch on forever, even on a fictional small island perched off the Irish mainland. For years, conversation between Padraic Súilleabháin (Colin Farrell, After Yang) and Colm Doherty (Brendan Gleeson, The Tragedy of Macbeth) has been similarly sprawling — and leisurely, too — especially during the pair's daily sojourn to the village pub for chats over pints. But when the latter calls time on their camaraderie suddenly, his demeanour turns brusque and his explanation, only given after much pestering, is curt. Uttered beneath a stern, no-nonsense stare by Gleeson to his In Bruges co-star Farrell, both reuniting with that darkly comic gem's writer/director Martin McDonagh for another black, contemplative and cracking comedy, Colm is as blunt as can be: "I just don't like you no more."
In the elder character's defence, he wanted to ghost his pal without hurtful words. Making an Irish exit from a lifelong friendship is a wee bit difficult on a tiny isle, though, as Colm quickly realises. It's even trickier when the mate he's trying to put behind him is understandably upset and confused, there's been no signs of feud or fray beforehand, and anything beyond the norm echoes through the town faster than a folk ballad. So springs McDonagh's smallest-scale and tightest feature since initially leaping from the stage to the screen, and a wonderful companion piece to that first effort. Following the hitman-focused In Bruges, he's gone broader with Seven Psychopaths, then guided Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell to Oscars with Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, but he's at his best when his lens is trained at Farrell and Gleeson as they bicker in close confines.
"Movies are dreams that you never forget," says Mitzi Fabelman (Michelle Williams, Venom: Let There Be Carnage) early in Steven Spielberg's The Fabelmans. Have truer words ever been spoken in any of the director's flicks? Uttered to her eight-year-old son Sammy (feature debutant Mateo Zoryon Francis-DeFord), Mitzi's statement lingers, providing the film's beating heart even when the coming-of-age tale it spins isn't always idyllic. Individual pictures can come and go, of course. Only some — only some on the Jaws, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park and West Side Story filmmaker's own resume, in fact — truly stand the test of time. But as former concert pianist Mitzi understands, and imparts to her wide-eyed on-screen Spielberg boyhood surrogate, movies as an art form are a dream that keeps shining in our heads. We return to theatres again and again for more. We glue our eyes to films at home, too. We lap up the worlds they visit, stories they relay and fantasies they inspire, and we also add our own.
To everyone that's ever stared at the silver screen in awe, The Fabelmans pays tribute far more than it basks in the glow of its director. Because everyone is crafting cinematic memoirs of late, Spielberg adds this tender yet clear-eyed look at his childhood to a growing list of self-reflective flicks; however, he's as fascinated with cinema as a dream-sparking and -making force as is he with fictionalising his own tale. Slot The Fabelmans in alongside James Gray's Armageddon Time, Kenneth Branagh's Belfast, Paul Thomas Anderson's Licorice Pizza and Alejandro González Iñárritu's Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths from the past year or so, then, but don't merely consider it Spielberg jumping on a trend. Focusing on Sammy's film fixation, including as a teen (played by Gabriel LaBelle, The Predator) and as his fragile family hops around the US following his computer-engineer dad Burt's (Paul Dano, The Batman) work, this is a heartfelt, perceptive and potent movie about how movies act as a mirror — a vividly shot and engagingly performed one, too, complete with a pitch-perfect late cameo — whether we're watching or creating them.
MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON
Every couple has in-jokes, a valuable currency in all relationships, but only Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp have turned a cute private gag into Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. The Parks and Recreation actor and the Fraud director are no longer together romantically, marrying and divorcing in the 13 years since they first gave the world the cutest talking shell anyone could've imagined; however, they've now reteamed professionally for an adorable film based on their 2010, 2011 and 2014 shorts. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On also gave rise to two best-selling children's picture books, unsurprisingly, following a familiar internet-stardom path from online sensation to print and now the big screen. Neither Slate and Fleischer-Camp's faded love nor their joint project's history are ignored by their footwear-sporting seashell's cinematic debut, either; in fact, acknowledging both, whether subtly or overtly, is one of the things that makes this sweet, endearing, happily silly, often hilarious and deeply insightful movie such an all-round gem.
That inside jest? A voice put on by Slate, which became the one-inch-high anthropomorphic Marcel's charming vocals. In Marcel the Shell with Shoes On's three initial mockumentary clips, the tiny critter chats to an unseen filmmaker chronicling his life, with earnestness dripping from every word. ("My name is Marcel and I'm partially a shell, as you can see on my body, but I also have shoes and a face. So I like that about myself, and I like myself and I have a lot of other great qualities as well," he advises in his self-introduction.) The same approach, tone and voice sits at the heart of Marcel the Shell with Shoes On's feature-length leap, of course, but so does a touching meditation upon loss, change and valuing what's truly important. Fleischer-Camp plays the movie's documentarian, mostly off-camera, who meets Marcel and his grandmother Connie (voiced by Isabella Rossellini, Julia) after moving into an Airbnb following a relationship breakup — and, yes, their work together becomes a viral phenomenon.
Exclaiming "I'm already a star. You don't become a star: you either are one or you aren't. I am!" to get into the hottest party in Los Angeles, aspiring 1920s actor Nellie LaRoy (Margot Robbie, Amsterdam) has ambition. Gracing the same Golden Age soirée after ending his latest marriage with an overplayed joke that could've sprung from Inglourious Basterds, veteran leading man Jack Conrad (Brad Pitt, Bullet Train) wouldn't have gotten where he is without the same drive and determination. And, helping the shindig be the only place to be, including wrangling an elephant for the night's entertainment (a pachyderm that empties its bowels on everyone pushing it up a hill no less), Manny Torres (Diego Calva, Narcos: Mexico) has the eagerness to do something — anything — in show business. Meet Babylon's zeal-dripping on-screen threesome, a trio matched only in their quest to rocket sky-high as the man conjuring them up: jazz-loving, La La Land Oscar-winning, Tinseltown-adoring writer/director Damien Chazelle.
As Babylon unfurls across its hefty 189-minute running time, it takes a colossal heap of ambition — perhaps as immense as the pile of cocaine that Nellie gravitates towards inside the party — to make it or even fake it in the film industry. For his fifth feature, and first since 2018's First Man, Chazelle waves around his own as enthusiastically as he possibly can. Even just considering his hefty list of conspicuous influences makes that clear, with the filmmaker unshackling his inner Baz Luhrmann, Martin Scorsese, Paul Thomas Anderson and David Lynch, to name a mere few overt nods. The Great Gatsby, Goodfellas, The Wolf of Wall Street, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Mulholland Drive: swirl them together with Kenneth Anger's 1959 publication Hollywood Babylon, plus everything from Sunset Boulevard to Hail, Caesar!, and that's just the beginning of Chazelle's plans. The end result also makes for a relentless and ravenous movie that's always a lot, not just in length, but is dazzling (and also very funny) when it clicks.
TRIANGLE OF SADNESS
Ruben Östlund isn't interested in keeping his viewers comfortable, no matter how cushy their cinema chair. To watch the Swedish filmmaker's features is to feel yourself reacting — emotionally, always, and sometimes physically as well. It was true of 2014's phenomenal Force Majeure, aka as clever and cringe-inducing a portrait of marriage and masculinity as the 21st century has provided. With dropped jaws over a divisive piece of art within a divisive piece of art, it was true of 2018's The Square, the writer/director's first Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or-winner, too. And, earning him that same prestigious prize again in 2022, it's also wholly accurate of Triangle of Sadness. Make a movie with a shape in its title, score one of the biggest filmmaking awards there is: that's been a nifty formula for Östlund of late. But even if he directs a flick called something like Hexagonal Dreaming soon, or anything else with a geometrical bent, and it too nabs that Cannes gong, beating Triangle of Sadness' vomit sequence is highly unlikely.
To remind audiences that responding to films and life alike is an involuntary reflex, Östlund shows plenty of his characters doing just that — to existence, and to a choppy luxury cruise. It makes for simply unforgettable cinema, but it's also just one part of Triangle of Sadness and its sublimely shot unpacking of wealth, privilege and social hierarchies. Appearing to be coasting through perfection is an ongoing quest for Carl (Harris Dickinson, See How They Run) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean, Black Lightning), well-known models-slash-influencers, and the movie's focal point. When they take to the sea among the uber rich, they're still working the requisite angles (and snapping everything for Instagram from every angle). But then, under the captain's (Woody Harrelson, Venom: Let There Be Carnage) watch, being stranded on an island becomes their fate — and the way that Östlund satirically carves into the resulting chaos is equally hilarious and and astute, even when his film is both obvious and hardly subtle.
Book in a date with 2 M3GAN 2 Furious now: even if it doesn't take that name, which it won't, a sequel to 2023's first guaranteed horror hit will come. Said follow-up also won't be called M3GAN 2: Electric Boogaloo, but that title would fit based on the first flick's TikTok-worthy dance sequence alone. Meme-starting fancy footwork is just one of the titular doll's skills. Earnestly singing 'Titanium' like this is Pitch Perfect, tickling the ivories with 80s classic 'Toy Soldiers', making these moments some of M3GAN's funniest: they're feats the robot achieves like it's designed to, too. Although unafraid to take wild tonal swings, and mining the established comedy-horror talents of New Zealand filmmaker Gerard Johnstone (Housebound) and screenwriter Akela Cooper (Malignant) as well, this killer-plaything flick does feel highly programmed itself, however. It's winking, knowing, silly, satirical, slick and highly engineered all at once, overtly pushing buttons and demanding a response — and, thankfully, mostly earning it.
Those Child's Play-meets-Annabelle-meets-The Terminator-meets-HAL 9000 thoughts that M3GAN's basic concept instantly brings to mind? They all prove true. The eponymous droid — a Model 3 Generative Android, to be specific — is a four-foot-tall artificially intelligent doll that takes the task of protecting pre-teen Cady (Violet McGraw, Black Widow) from emotional and physical harm deadly seriously, creeping out and/or causing carnage against everyone who gets in its way. Those Frankenstein-esque sparks, exploring what happens when humanity (or Girls and Get Out's Allison Williams here, as Cady's roboticist aunt Gemma) plays god by creating life? They're just as evident, as relevant to the digital age Ex Machina-style. M3GAN is more formulaic than it should be, though, and also never as thoughtful as it wants to be, but prolific horror figures Jason Blum and James Wan produce a film that's almost always entertaining.
MAGIC MIKE'S LAST DANCE
Ted Lasso fans, rejoice — the Magic Mike franchise is taking its lead from the hit sitcom now. Swap soccer for stripping, obviously. From there, the sports-themed favourite and Magic Mike's Last Dance both transport their namesakes to London, then give them jobs under wealthy women managing publicly beloved assets after bitter marriage breakdowns, all as those ladies try to spite their exes while also finding themselves and sorting out their lives. In the third film in the Channing Tatum (Bullet Train)-starring series, there's a team to oversee featuring players from around the globe, too, plus a gruff butler doing his best not-AI Roy Kent impression. And, it all climaxes with a showcase event demanding dedicated training. That said, only this exceptionally choreographed but never earth-shattering flick fills its final quarter with wall-to-wall gyrating, including a male-revue number soundtracked by 1998 Dandy Warhols' single 'Boys Better' that has to be seen to be believed.
New Magic Mike movie splashing glistening chiselled abs across the screen, same Magic Mike, though. Tatum and filmmaker Steven Soderbergh (Kimi) — the prolific creative force who helmed, shot and spliced the first instalment; then just lensed and cut the second with his regular assistant Gregory Jacobs (Wind Chill) directing; and now returns to his trio of OG roles (still credited as Peter Andrews for his cinematography and Mary Ann Bernard for his editing) — have Mike Lane living his own Groundhog Day in a way. The more things change, the more that plenty stays the same for the saga's hero. This series started out not just putting its star's ripped physique and knack for erotic dancing to eye-catching use, but drawing upon his own story thanks to Tatum's past onstage Florida. He isn't currently getting by stripping while striving to follow his passion, of course. Before Magic Mike was scorching the screen, he'd already made it big. But these films, all three of which are penned by Reid Carolin (Dog), understand that Tatum's reality isn't the way that this tale usually goes.
THE LOST KING
When King Richard III was killed in battle in the 15th century, did anyone wonder about a public holiday? Given the era and its working conditions, likely not. There's also the hardly minor fact that the monarch was slain by the forces of Henry Tudor, who promptly became England's ruler, so downing tools for a day of mourning probably wasn't a priority. The world has a frame of reference for grieving a British sovereign, though, and recently. When Queen Elizabeth II died in September 2022, pomp and ceremony reigned supreme. Dramatising the discovery of Richard III's remains, The Lost King wasn't made with the queen's passing in mind. Actually, it world-premiered a day afterwards. But the Stephen Frears (Victoria & Abdul)-directed, Steve Coogan- and Jeff Pope (Philomena)-scripted drama benefits from audiences knowing what's done now when whoever wears the crown is farewelled.
The Lost King isn't about chasing a parade, pageantry, and a day off work for the masses in Britain and further afield. Charting the true tale of Richard III's location and exhumation 527 years after he breathed his last breath, it follows a quest for recognition and respect. When the film opens, Philippa Langley (Sally Hawkins, The Phantom of the Open) wants it for herself, as a woman over 40 overlooked for a promotion at work in favour of a younger, less-experienced colleague — and as someone with a medical condition, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, who's too easily dismissed due to her health. She's also newly separated from her husband John (Coogan, This Time with Alan Partridge), adding to her unappreciated feelings. It's no wonder that Richard III's plight catches her interest thanks to a production of Shakespeare's Richard III, aka one of the reasons that the king was long seen as a hunchbacked villain. More surprising: that the film about all of this, while engaging enough and featuring stellar work by Hawkins, doesn't seem to trust that its real-life story can hold its own.
A MAN CALLED OTTO
In reality, cantankerous curmudgeons don't routinely possess hearts of gold. Genuine intentions don't always gleam behind petty folks with grudges spouting insults, either. Movies like A Man Called Otto keep claiming otherwise, though, because cinema is an empathy machine — and placing viewers in the shoes of characters different to them, whether in background, behaviour, situation or temperament, remains key among its functions. Tom Hanks, the silver screen's beloved everyman of more than four decades, knows this. Veteran filmmaker Marc Forster does as well. After getting villainous in Elvis and sweet with Christopher Robin, respectively, the actor and director join forces for a feature advocating for understanding, kindness and acceptance. Behind that cranky nitpicker, local annoyance or rude aggressor might just lurk a story worth appreciating and a person worth knowing, it sentimentally posits.
This Americanisation of A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman's Swedish 2012 novel that first hit the screen in its native language in 2015, did indeed come about exactly as expected. Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson saw the Oscar-nominated OG movie, contacted its producer Fredrik Wikström Nicastro (Borg vs McEnroe), then went about making a US-set, Hanks-starring iteration. Wilson is now also one of A Man Called Otto's producers. Truman Hanks, Tom's youngest son with Wilson, co-stars as the young Otto (nabbing just his second on-screen credit after popping up in his dad's News of the World). This flick's smooth path to cinemas and the easy family ties behind it speak volumes about the film that results; despite focusing on a man repeatedly trying to take his own life, attempts at which are constantly interrupted by his rule-breaking neighbours, openly and breezily warming hearts and pleasing crowds is this remake's aim.
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 fast-tracked highlights from January and February, too. You can also peruse our best new films, new TV shows, returning TV shows and straight-to-streaming movies, plus movies you might've missed and television standouts of 2022 you mightn't have gotten to.
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