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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

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

Including Hugh Jackman doing sci-fi, a supervillain caper, a fantastic music documentary and a Cannes award-winner.
By Sarah Ward
September 24, 2021
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By Sarah Ward
September 24, 2021
  shares

Under normal circumstances, when a new-release movie starts playing in cinemas, audiences can't watch it on streaming, video on demand, DVD or blu-ray for a few months. But with the pandemic forcing film industry to make quite a few changes over the past year — widespread movie theatre closures will do that — that's no longer always the case.

Maybe you're in lockdown. 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 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.

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THE SPARKS BROTHERS

"All I do now is dick around" is an exquisite song lyric and, in Sparks' 2006 single 'Dick Around', it's sung with the operatic enthusiasm it demands. It's also a line that resounds with both humour and truth when uttered by Russell Mael, who, with elder brother Ron, has been crafting art-pop ditties as irreverent and melodic as this wonderful track since 1969. Sparks haven't been dicking around over that lengthy period. They currently have 25 albums to their name, and they've taken on almost every genre of music there is in their highly acerbic fashion. That said, their tunes are clearly the biggest labour of love possible, especially as the enigmatic duo has always lingered outside the mainstream. They've had some chart success, including mid-70s hit 'This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us', Giorgio Moroder collaboration and disco standout 'The Number One Song in Heaven', and the supremely 80s 'Cool Places'. They're beloved by everyone from Beck and 'Weird Al' Yankovic to Jason Schwartzman and Mike Myers, too. They're the band that all your favourite bands, actors and comedians can't get enough of, but they're hardly a household name — and yet, decade after decade, the Maels have kept playing around to make the smart, hilarious and offbeat songs they obviously personally adore.

Everyone else should love Sparks' idiosyncratic earworms as well — and, even for those who've never heard of the band before, that's the outcome after watching The Sparks Brothers. Edgar Wright, one of the group's unabashed super fans, has turned his overflowing affection into an exceptional documentary. It's the Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Baby Driver's first factual effort, and it's even more charming and delightful than the films he's best known for. That said, it'd be hard to mess up a movie about Sparks, purely given how much material there is to work with. Russell and Ron, the former sporting shaggier hair and the latter donning a pencil-thin moustache rather than the Charlie Chaplin-style top lip he's brandished for much of his career, are also heavenly interviewees. That's the thing about these now-septuagenarian siblings, every Sparks tune they've ever blasted out into the world, and this comprehensive yet always accessible film that's instantly one of 2021's best: they're all joyously, fabulously, eccentrically fun to an infectious and buoyant degree. The world has always needed more Sparks on a bigger stage; now, to the benefit of everyone that's ever loved them and anyone just discovering them, it's stopped dicking around and is finally delivering

The Sparks Brothers is available to stream via Google Play, YouTube Movies, iTunes and Amazon Video. Read our full review.

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LITTLE JOE

Pipes blow gently. The camera swirls. Rows of plants fill the screen. Some are leafy and flowery as they reach for the sky; others are mere stems topped with closed buds. Both types of vegetation are lined up in boxes in an austere-looking laboratory greenhouse — and soon another shoot of green appears among them. Plant breeder Alice (Cruella's Emily Beecham, who won the Cannes Film Festival's Best Actress award for her work here) is cloaked in a lab coat far paler than any plant, but the symbolism is immediately evident. Audiences don't know it yet, but her shock of cropped red hair resembles the crimson flowers that'll blossom in her genetically engineered new type of flora, too. "The aim has been to create a plant with a scent that makes its owner happy," she tells a small audience. She explains that most research in her field, and in this lab, has revolved around cultivating greenery that requires less human interaction; however, her new breed does the opposite. This species needs more watering and more protection from the elements, and responds to touch and talk. In return, it emits a scent that kickstarts the human hormone oxytocin when inhaled. Linked to parenting and bonding, that response will make everyone "love this plant like your own child," beams Alice like a proud parent.

So starts Little Joe, which shares its name with the vegetation in question — a "mood-lifting, anti-depressant, happy plant," Alice's boss (David Wilmot, Calm with Horses) boasts. She's borrowed her own teenage son's (Kit Connor, Rocketman) moniker for her new baby, although she gives it more attention than her flesh-and-blood offspring, especially with the push to get it to market speeding up. The clinical gaze favoured by Austrian filmmaker Jessica Hausner (Amour fou) is telling, though. The eerie tone to the feature's Japanese-style, flute- and percussion-heavy score sets an uneasy mood as well. And, there's something not quite right in the overt eagerness of Alice's lab colleague Chris (Ben Whishaw, Fargo), and in the way that Planthouse Biotechnologies' other employees all instantly dismiss the concerns of the one naysayer, Bella (Kerry Fox, Top End Wedding), who has just returned to work after a mental health-induced sabbatical. Making her first English-language feature, Hausner helms a disquieting and anxious sci-fi/horror masterwork. Like many movies in the genre, this is a film about possibilities and consequences, creation and its costs, and happiness and its sacrifices — and about both daring to challenge and dutifully abiding by conformity — and yet it's always its own beast. There are aspects of Frankenstein at play, and The Day of the Triffids, and even Side Effects also. But as anyone familiar with Mary Shelley's iconic work knows, combining familiar elements can result in an intriguing new entity that's much more than just the sum of its parts.

Little Joe is available to stream via Google Play and YouTube Movies. Read our full review.

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STREAMLINE

Chasing a dream can feel like swimming through cool water on a hot summer's day — gliding, splashing and laidback paddling all included — with each refreshing stroke propelling you closer towards your own personal finish line. That's when everything is going well, of course, and when whatever your heart and mind desires seems as if it's waiting at the end of the pool. Otherwise, when you're bogged down by everyday minutiae and nothing seems to inch forward, working towards a set goal can also resemble treading water. It can mirror repetitively doing laps, too, when your destination seems out of sight despite all the hard work you're putting in. And, if you're tired and fed up with all the effort needed to even keep afloat — and when your heart is no longer in it — it can feel like floundering and drowning. In Streamline, all of these sensations and emotions bubble up for 15-year-old Benjamin Lane (Levi Miller, A Wrinkle in Time), as he pursues a professional swimming career, a spot in a prestigious squad in Brisbane and, ideally, an Olympics berth and all the glory that goes with it. Indeed, one of the delights of this Australian movie, which boasts Ian Thorpe as one of its executive producers, is how evocatively it sprinkles these swashes of feelings across the screen.

Written and directed by feature first-timer Tyson Wade Johnston, Streamline is a sports drama as well as a small town-set family drama — and it's also a portrait of that time when you're expected to dive headfirst into adulthood, and into knowing what you want to do with the rest of your life, but you're also inescapably wracked with uncertainty and apprehension. Teenage awkwardness and angst aren't simple states to capture on-screen, although enough coming-of-age movies have been buoyed by both; however, Streamline opts to plunge deep into the existential stress that goes beyond feeling out of place with your peers or being annoyed at your parents. Its protagonist, who everyone just calls Boy, only really connects with his girlfriend and best friend Patti (Tasia Zalar, Mystery Road) at school. And, he's definitely mad at his mother and father. He resents his single mum Kim's (Laura Gordon, Undertow) efforts to keep him focused, which he sees as controlling rather than nurturing. He's doing tumble turns internally over his dad Rob (Jason Isaacs, Creation Stories), who's just been released from prison and has never been a positive influence in his life. Boy is also furious at his surrogate father figure, Coach Clarke (Robert Morgan, The Secrets She Keeps), for all the cajoling that coaches tend to give. But, mostly the swimming prodigy is unsure — about what he wants, what he's been told he wants and what to do next.

Streamline is available to stream via Stan. Read our full review.

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THE SUICIDE SQUAD

New decade, new director, new word in the title — and a mostly new cast, too. That's The Suicide Squad, the DC Extended Universe's new effort to keep viewers immersed in its sprawling superhero franchise, which keeps coming second in hearts, minds and box-office success to Marvel's counterpart. Revisiting a concept last seen in 2016's Suicide Squad, the new flick also tries to blast its unloved precursor's memory from everyone's brains. That three-letter addition to the title? It doesn't just ignore The Social Network's quote about the English language's most-used term, but also attempts to establish this film as the definitive vision of its ragtag supervillain crew. To help, Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker James Gunn joins the fold, his Troma-honed penchant for horror, comedy and gore is let loose, and a devil-may-care attitude is thrust to the fore. But when your main aim is to one-up the derided last feature with basically the same name, hitting your target is easy — and fulfilling that mission, even with irreverence and flair, isn't the same as making a great or especially memorable movie. Indeed, a film can be funny and lively, use its main faces well, have a few nice moments with its supporting cast and improve on its predecessor, and yet still fall into a routine, unsuccessfully wade into murky politics, never capitalise upon its premise or promise, keep rehashing the same things, and just be average, too — and right now, that film is The Suicide Squad.

Mischief abounds from the outset — mood-wise, at least — including when no-nonsense black-ops agent Amanda Waller (Viola Davis, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom) teams up Suicide Squad's Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman, The Secrets We Keep), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney, Honest Thief) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie, Dreamland) with a few new felons for a trip to the fictional Corto Maltese. Because this movie has that extra word in its title, it soon switches to another troupe reluctantly led by mercenary Bloodsport (Idris Elba, Concrete Cowboy), with fellow trained killer Peacemaker (John Cena, Fast and Furious 9) and the aforementioned Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian, Bird Box), Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior, Valor da Vida) and King Shark (Sylvester Stallone, Rambo: Last Blood) also present. Their task: to sneak into a tower on the South American island. Under the guidance of The Thinker (Peter Capaldi, The Personal History of David Copperfield), alien experiment Project Starfish has been underway there for decades (and yes, Gunn makes time for a butthole joke). In this movie about cartoonish incarcerated killers doing the US government's dirty work, Waller has charged her recruits to destroy the secret test, all to ensure it isn't used by the violent faction that's just taken over Corto Maltese via a bloody coup. The end result is silly and goofy, fittingly — and yet, even when a supersized space starfish gets stompy (think: SpongeBob SquarePants' best bud Patrick if he grew up and got power-hungry), this sequel-slash-do-over is never as gleefully absurd as it should be. Again and again, even when Gunn's gambit works in the moment, that's how The Suicide Squad keeps playing out.

The Suicide Squad is available to stream via Google Play, YouTube Movies, iTunes and Amazon Video. Read our full review.

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REMINISCENCE

The look is all Blade Runner. The idea owes a few debts in that direction, too. In Reminiscence's vision of the future, androids don't dream of electric sheep; however, humans do escape into memories while they slumber in a tank of water, reliving and interacting with cherished moments from their past as if they're happening again right that instant. The mood takes a bit of the aforementioned sci-fi classic's tone, and Blade Runner 2049's as well, but then doubles down on the noir, and on some of the plot twists. Playing a veteran of a post-flood war that's seen Florida split into the haves and the have-nots, and also a man in possession of the technology and know-how to let paying customers reminisce, Hugh Jackman (Bad Education) isn't ever told "forget it Nick Bannister, it's Miami". Given that Reminiscence often feels like it wants to be a futuristic take on Chinatown, that wouldn't phrase feel out of place in the slightest, though. This is a film that lets its influences flicker to the surface that forcefully. It trades in memories, too, conjuring up a long list of smarter fare. And while it gives Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy a new outlet for many of the themes that've always hovered through the hit HBO show — primarily humanity's increasing disconnection with each other, and the growing yearning to find solace in either artificial or nostalgic settings, or both — she gleefully treads in her own footsteps. Or, the writer/director gives the ideas she's clearly fascinated with a different appearance and atmosphere than she's been working with on TV, but still largely enjoys the same toys.

Perhaps Joy just gets comfort from the familiar, just like Bannister's clients. That might ring with more truth if Reminiscence didn't primarily use its intriguing underlying concept — a notion with plenty of promise, even as it nods to sci-fi gems gone by — to wrap up a romance in a mystery in a flimsy fashion. The hard-boiled Bannister has settled into his routine guiding people through their personal histories, with assistance with his ex-military colleague Watts (Westworld's Thandiwe Newton), until the film's femme fatale walks through the door asking for help. Singer Mae (Rebecca Ferguson, Doctor Sleep) has lost her keys, wants to use Bannister's tech to find them and ends up earning his besotted affection in the process. Then bliss turns to heartache when she disappears suddenly. Bannister is as obsessed with tracking her down as he is with her in general when they're together, but secrets about the woman he realises he never really knew keep being pushed to the fore as he searches. Also prominent: dialogue that feels like it's parodying all the movies that Reminiscence is copying, which drags the feature down word by word. Thankfully, Jackman, Newton and Ferguson's performances exceed the trite phrases that they're repeatedly forced to utter. The film's look and feel gleam and haunt by design, even though they also shine with and are haunted by the greats of a genre Joy clearly loves; however, this ends up being a movie about revelling in the past that happily plays it safe instead of striding into the future.

Reminiscence is available to stream via Google Play, YouTube Movies and iTunes.

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SOME KIND OF HEAVEN

If you didn't know that Some Kind of Heaven was a documentary, you might think that it was a skit from I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson. The same kind of social awkwardness that makes the Netflix sketch comedy such an equally savage and hilarious watch is present in this factual look at the retirement community also dubbed "god's waiting room": The Villages, Florida, the world's largest master-planned, age-restricted locale of its kind, and home to more than 120,000 people. This is a place for folks aged over 55 to live in multiple senses of the world. Couples tend to move there, then sign up for some of the thousands of activities and clubs that get them out dancing, kayaking, cheerleading, swimming and more. If a resident happens to be on their own — usually after their partner's passing — they can get involved in the local singles club, too. Around since the early 80s, and also described as "Disney World for retirees", this community is meant to be a dream. It was specifically designed to resemble the kinds of small towns its inhabitants likely grew up in, right down to the shop-filled main street and the large town square, and locals aren't ever meant to want to leave. But as Some Kind of Heaven follows four folks who've made The Villages their home — including one ex-Californian import that's just squatting — it demonstrates the reality that lingers behind the busy facade and glossy sales pitch. Requiem for a Dream's Darren Aronofsky is one of the doco's producers and, while Mother!-style horrors never quite pop up, this isn't a portrait of bliss by any means.

Many of The Villages' residents are clearly happy. In his first feature-lengthy documentary, filmmaker Lance Oppenheim trains his gaze at people who aren't likely to appear in any of the community's brochures, however. Every shot lensed by cinematographer David Bolen (1BR) and boxed into the film's square frame is scenic and striking — Some Kind of Heaven sports an exquisite eye for visual composition — but much of what the movie depicts feels like stepping into a surreal alternative realm. (In one sequence, the camera meets a room filled with women called Elaine, all of whom introduce themselves one after one — and it's a scene that could've come straight out of any one of David Lynch's visions of suburban horror.) Approaching their 47-year wedding anniversary, Reggie and Anne think they've found the place for them. That's what they're both saying, at least, but The Villages means different things for each of them. Reggie has used the move to embrace his love of drugs and doing whatever he wants, and Anne has once again been forced to stand by his side, including when he's sent to court and admonished for his rudeness while representing himself. Then there's Barbara, a widow from Boston who didn't ever plan to live in Florida alone. She still works full-time, a rarity among her fellow residents, and she yearns for the company she thinks a margarita-loving golf cart salesman might bring. Rounding out the interviewees is the sleazy Dennis, an 81-year-old living in his van until he can find an attractive and rich woman to marry. Some Kind of Heaven doesn't judge him, or anyone else in its frames, but it lets these stories speak volumes about a place positioned as a fantasy land and yet really just bringing out the chaotic teenager inside everyone.

Some Kind of Heaven is available to stream via Docplay.

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WEREWOLVES WITHIN

The last time that filmmaker Josh Ruben trekked to a snowy mountainous locale and tracked the characters stranded in its midst, Scare Me was the end result, with the entertaining horror-comedy combining cabin fever chaos with creepy tales. Accordingly, it's easy to see how he's jumped from that Sundance hit to Werewolves Within, which shares the same kind of setting and setup — but with lycanthropes and a whodunnit twist. Forest ranger Finn (Sam Richardson, Promising Young Woman) has just arrived in the remote town of Beaverfield as the weather turns and the strange attacks start. He's barely been given a tour by fellow outsider Cecily (Milana Vayntrub, This Is Us), the local mail carrier, when the village's generators are found destroyed and the bodies start piling up. Finn has already established that he's surrounded by eccentric characters, including an oilman (Wayne Duvall, The Trial of the Chicago 7) trying to build a pipeline through the foliage, a store owner (Michaela Watkins, Search Party) obsessed with her dog, a constantly arguing couple (No Activity's George Basil and Barry's Sarah Burns) with a fondness for skirting the law, and a pair of ex-city slickers (What We Do in the Shadows' Harvey Guillén and Saved by the Bell's Cheyenne Jackson); however, he's soon forced into close quarters with his new neighbours as they all try to work out who's transforming into a ravenous creature and indulging their hunger.

If it all sounds a bit like Cluedo but with werewolves, there's a reason for that; the 2016 virtual reality game that Werewolves Within is based on also matches that description. Adapted into a movie, the narrative aims for Knives Out with claws — but, while overflowing with one-liners, sight gags and a healthy sense of humour to a not just jam-packed but overstuffed degree, the end result is never as funny as it should be. It's never quite as fun, either, even though the concept is a winner on paper. Comedian-turned-screenwriter Mishna Wolff spends far too much time trading in the glaringly apparent, not to mention the predictable. Hell is other people here, and the fact that a seemingly quaint and friendly small town can be filled with deceit, duplicity and disaster is hardly a new observation (and neither is the musing that the sniping within the community just might be worse than the supernatural threat they're now facing). That almost every character remains purely one-note doesn't help, and nor do the over-amped performances given by all of the film's supporting players. Richardson is a delight, though, as he has been in everything from Detroiters to Veep. Indeed, he makes the case not just for more work, but for more leading roles. Vayntrub sinks her teeth into her part, too, and her rapport with Richardson is one of the movie's highlights. Also engaging: the off-kilter tone that Ruben adopts throughout, again aping his previous — and better — feature.

Werewolves Within is available to stream via Google Play, YouTube Movies, iTunes and Amazon Video.

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THE ICE ROAD

They're called ice road truckers and, between 2007–17, they earned their own reality TV series on the History Channel. They're the folks who don't just drive while it's frosty, but steer big rigs onto frozen lakes and rivers in Alaska and Canada — using routes obviously only available in winter to haul freight from one point to another. And, they're the focus of The Ice Road. In his latest stock-standard action flick following Honest Thief and The Marksman in the past year alone, Liam Neeson joins the ice road trucking fraternity, although his character only does so as a last resort. A seasoned long-haul driver, Mike McCann has had trouble holding down a job ever since he started caring for his Iraq War veteran brother Gurty (Marcus Thomas, The Forger), who came home with PTSD and aphasia, and is also a gifted mechanic. The pair have just been fired from their latest gig, in fact, when they see Jim Goldenrod's (Laurence Fishburne, Where'd You Go, Bernadette) callout for help driving gas wellheads to a remote Manitoba site where 26 miners have been trapped by an explosion. It's a dangerous task, and one that calls for three trucks making the distance as quickly and carefully as possible. Mike and Gurty set out in one vehicle, Jim in another, and Native American driver Tantoo (Amber Midthunder, Roswell, New Mexico) and mining company insurance agent Tom Varnay (Benjamin Walker, The Underground Railroad) hop into the third rig, but transporting their cargo and saving the buried workers is a tense and treacherous mission.

Much about The Ice Road will sound familiar to anyone who's seen Sorcerer, William Friedkin's stellar 1977 thriller about trucking volatile dynamite along a rocky South American road — which adapted 1950 French novel The Salary of Fear, a book that first reached cinemas via 1953's Cannes Palme d'Or-winning The Wages of Fear. This isn't an acknowledged remake, but icy, however. It'd be far better if it was, because the tension that ripples from simply driving along the titular route is The Ice Road's strongest element. In the feature's first half, after setting the scene for both the McCanns and the miners, writer/director Jonathan Hensleigh (Kill the Irishman) stresses the perils of trucking down frozen rivers. Bobbleheads placed on dashboards wobble whenever the ice threatens to become unstable, pressure waves shimmer and action-movie stress bubbles within the film's gleaming white images. That'd be enough to sustain the movie, but Hensleigh believes otherwise, which is where predictable double-crossing on the ice, among the stranded miners and back at company headquarters comes in. Even Neeson can't make the long list of cliches that fill The Ice Road's script entertaining, not that he seems to be trying all that hard. He's gruff and grizzled, and he yells, punches and fights for what's right, but he also just makes viewers wish they were watching him confront wolves in excellent survival thriller The Grey, or drive a snowplough in the average Cold Pursuit. Unsurprisingly, the rest of the cast fare just as badly, including the thoroughly wasted Fishburne and Midthunder, and Mindhunter's Holt McCallany as one of the miners.

The Ice Road is available to stream via Google Play, YouTube Movies, iTunes and Amazon Video.

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ESCAPE ROOM: TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS

More than once in Escape Room: Tournament of Champions, a supporting performance stands out — and not for the right reasons. Overdone and obvious, these portrayals leave audiences with no doubt that the corresponding characters are part of the game that this franchise has been playing for two movies now. The overall premise of this series sees ordinary folks receive invites that lead them into a maze of escape rooms. These are literal life-and-death spaces, and the body count grows room by room. This time around, Zoey (Taylor Russell, Words on Bathroom Walls) and Ben (Logan Miller, Love, Simon), the sole survivors of 2019's series starter, are trying to track down the villains responsible for the death traps. Of course, they're soon stuck in another one, alongside four fellow winners (In Like Flynn's Thomas Cocquerel, Follow Me's Holland Roden, Queen & Slim's Indya Moore and Step Up: High Water's Carlito Olivero) from other games. There's supposed to be a sense of anxiousness about where the escape rooms begin and the outside world ends, and vice versa, but that's completely stripped out of this second effort. Throughly unsubtle bit-part performances, even for a movie this blatant at every turn, will do that. Escape Room: Tournament of Champions is still tense when Zoe, Ben and their fellow pawns are trying to sleuth their way to safety, thankfully, but that's largely a result of giving them twisty puzzles to solve at an urgent pace.

Watching people trying to problem-solve quickly comes with innate tension. Will they succeed? Won't they? The seesawing between those two extremes is inherently suspenseful. That, and the rooms themselves, are two of Escape Room: Tournament of Champions' three highlights. The third: Russell, who is capable of so much more — as seen in Waves, for example — and gives her part here more depth than is written on the page. But, as much as returning director Adam Robitel (Insidious: The Last Key) tries to spin something memorable out of the nervous tone, elaborate spaces and Russell's presence, the repetition and overtness gets tiring fast. While individual scenes may be tense, the overall film never is. It's always apparent where the narrative is headed, even when the six credited writers (Mortal Kombat's Oren Uziel, Hand of God's Daniel Tuch, Counterpart's Maria Melnik, The Hive's Will Honley, Invincible's Christine Lavaf and Wildling's Fritz Böhm) think they're serving up surprises; thought has clearly gone into the minutiae of each escape room, and yet little seems to have been afforded the bigger picture. Visually, and in its soundtrack, every stylistic touch paints by the numbers, too. Also much too predictable: that the film is a setup for yet more to follow. The Final Destination franchise has ratcheted up five instalments so far, so the Escape Room series, the closest thing it has to a successor, can obviously keep milking its setup for several more formulaic movies to come.

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions is available to stream via Google Play, YouTube Movies, iTunes and Amazon Video.

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THE MISFITS

Imagine Robin Hood meets Ocean's Eleven meets the Fast and Furious franchise, but helmed by the filmmaker behind Deep Blue Sea, and somehow starring the unlikely combination of Pierce Brosnan (Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga), Tim Roth (Luce) and rapper/comedian/TV presenter Nick Cannon (Chi-Raq). Then, picture a film set in the fictional Jeziristan, because appropriating a particular culture and applying it to a made-up place is apparently okay by this flick's powers-that-be — and also envision a movie so blatant with its Islamophobia at every turn that Cannon's character is almost constantly making fun of Middle Eastern accents and Arabic names, citizens of this part of the globe are largely depicted as terrorists or psychopaths, a group of villains is called the Muslim Brotherhood, but all the gloss and glitz of Abu Dhabi, where the movie is shot, is leered at (as are the scantily clad women seen in its hotels, too). No one wants to visualise this flick, but unfortunately it exists. And yes, The Misfits is as atrocious as it sounds. Director Renny Harlin (who also has Cliffhanger and The Long Kiss Goodnight to his name) seems like he's simply trying to recreate shots, looks and scenes he likes from far better films, but badly. And, the fact that co-screenwriter Kurt Wimmer also has the atrocious 2015 remake of Point Break on his resume makes a huge amount of sense, because this bag of tripe just stitches together plot points from almost every other heist feature there is (as exacerbated by dialogue as bland and cliched as every aspect of the narrative).

A big contender for the worst movie to reach Australian cinemas this year, and a film that surely wouldn't have ever gotten the chance if the pandemic hadn't upended the theatrical release slate, The Misfits brings together a ragtag gang of well-meaning criminals. They anoint themselves with the movie's moniker after ruling out 'motley crew' for obvious reasons, if you're wondering how stupid and inane this feature gets — and quickly. Bank robber Ringo (Cannon) usually flexes his light-fingered skills to rip off the wealthy and give back to the poor, so obviously he's keen to form a makeshift family with martial arts expert Violet (Jamie Chung, Lovecraft Country), who likes punishing terrible men; explosives-obsessed Wick (Thai popstar Mike Angelo), who blows up nasty businesses; and 'the Prince' (Rami Jaber, Tough Love), who may or may not be royalty in another made-up country. Their next target: a vault of gold hidden inside a maximum-security Jeziristan jail overseen by nefarious businessman Warner Schultz (Roth). Their latest recruits: UN-employed humanitarian Hope (Hermione Corfield, Sea Fever) and, if she can convince him, her conman dad Richard Pace (Brosnan), who of course has a history with their mark. Much that happens is nonsensical, which also applies to the messily staged and shot action scenes. The movie's sexism goes hand in hand with its blatant racism, too. Daddy issues, second chances, car chases, slow-motion explosions, pointless visual tricks — that's all part of this hideous package as well, alongside absolutely zero subtlety or enjoyment.

The Misfits is available to stream via Google Play, YouTube Movies, iTunes and Amazon Video.

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Looking for more at-home viewing options? Check out our lists of movies fast-tracked from cinemas to streaming back in May, June, July and August. You can also take a look at our monthly streaming recommendations across new straight-to-digital films and TV shows.

Published on September 24, 2021 by Sarah Ward

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