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

Get comfy on the couch with Kirsten Dunst as a war photographer in a divided America, Dev Patel directing himself in an action-packed revenge thriller and Kristen Stewart turning heartthrob.
Sarah Ward
Published on May 28, 2024

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 will do that, and so will plenty of people staying home because they aren't well — that's no longer always the case.

Maybe you haven't had time to make it to your local cinema lately. Perhaps you've been under the weather. Given the hefty amount of titles 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 13 that you can watch right now at home.


Civil War

Civil War is not a relaxing film, either for its characters or viewers, but writer/director Alex Garland (Men) does give Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog) a moment to lie down among the flowers. She isn't alone among this stunning movie's stars on her stomach on a property filled with Christmas decorations en route from New York to Washington DC. Also, with shots being fired back and forth, no one is in de-stressing mode. For viewers of Dunst's collaborations with Sofia Coppola, however — a filmmaker that her Civil War co-star Cailee Spaeny just played Priscilla Presley for in Priscilla — the sight of her face beside grass and blooms was always going to recall The Virgin Suicides. Twenty-five years have now passed since that feature, which Garland nods to as a handy piece of intertextual shorthand. As the camera's focus shifts between nature and people, there's not even a tiny instant of bliss among this sorrow, nor will there ever be, as there was the last time that Dunst was framed in a comparable fashion.

Instead, Civil War tasks its lead with stepping into the shoes of a seasoned war photographer in the middle of the violent US schism that gives the movie its name (and, with January 6, 2021 so fresh in everyone's memories, into events that could very well be happening in a version of right now). The US President (Nick Offerman, Origin) is into his third term after refusing to leave office, and the fallout is both polarising and immense. Think: bombed cities, suicide attackers, death squads, torture, lynchings, ambushes, snipers, shuttering the FBI, California and Texas inexplicably forming an alliance to fight back, Florida making its own faction, journalists killed on sight, refugee camps, deserted highways, checkpoints, resistance fighters, mass graves and, amid the rampant anarchy, existence as America currently knows it clearly obliterated. (Asking "what kind of American are you?" barely seems a stretch, though.) The front line is in Charlottesville, but Dunst's Lee Smith is destined for the White House with Reuters reporter Joel (Wagner Moura, Mr & Mrs Smith), where they're hoping to evade the lethal anti-media sentiment to secure an interview with the leader who has torn the country apart.

Civil War streams via YouTube Movies, iTunes and Prime Video. Read our full review.


Monkey Man

Dev Patel means business in Monkey Man, both on- and off-screen. Starring in the ferocious vengeance-dripping action-thriller, he plays Kid, a man on a mission to punish the powers that be in Yatana (a fictional Indian city inspired by Mumbai) for their injustices, and specifically for the death of his mother Neela (Adithi Kalkunte, who Patel worked with on Hotel Mumbai) when he was a boy. As the film's director, producer and co-writer, he isn't holding back either, especially in adding something to his resume that no other project has offered in his almost two decades as an actor since Skins marked his on-camera debut. Dev Patel: action star has an excellent ring to it. So does Dev Patel: action filmmaker. Both labels don't merely sound great with Monkey Man; this is a frenetic and thrilling flick, and also a layered one that marries its expertly choreographed carnage with a statement.

In the post-John Wick action-movie realm, it might seem as if every actor is doing features about formidable lone forces taking on their enemies. Patel initially began working on Monkey Man over ten years ago, which is when Keanu Reeves (The Matrix Resurrections) first went avenging, but his film still acknowledges what its viewers will almost-inevitably ponder by giving John Wick a shoutout. Thinking about the Charlize Theron (Fast X)-led Atomic Blonde and Bob Odenkirk (The Bear)-starring Nobody is understandable while watching, too — but it's The Raid and Oldboy, plus the decades of Asian action onslaughts and revenge-filled Korean efforts around them, that should stick firmest in everyone's mind. All directors are product of their influences; however, Patel achieves the rare feat of openly adoring his inspirations while filtering them through his exact vision to fashion a picture that's always 100-percent his own (and 100-percent excellent).

Monkey Man streams via YouTube Movies, iTunes and Prime Video. Read our full review, and our interview with Dev Patel.


Love Lies Bleeding

In Love Lies Bleeding, a craggy ravine just outside a dusty New Mexico town beckons, ready to swallow sordid secrets in the dark of the desert's starry night. Tumbling into it, a car explodes in flames partway through the movie, exactly as the person pushing it in wants it to. There's the experience of watching Rose Glass' sophomore film emblazoned across the feature's very frames. After the expertly unsettling Saint Maud, the British writer/director returns with a second psychological horror, this time starring Kristen Stewart in the latest of her exceptionally chosen post-Twilight roles (see: Crimes of the Future, Spencer, Happiest Season, Lizzie, Personal Shopper, Certain Women and Clouds of Sils Maria). An 80s-set queer and sensual tale of love, lust, blood and violence, Love Lies Bleeding is as inkily alluring as the gorge that's pivotal to its plot, and as fiery as the inferno that swells from the canyon's depths. This neon-lit, synth-scored neo-noir thriller scorches, too — and burns so brightly that there's no escaping its glow.

When the words "you have to see it to believe it" also grace Love Lies Bleeding — diving into gyms and in the bodybuilding world, it's no stranger to motivational statements such as "no pain no gain", "destiny is a decision" and "the body achieves what the mind believes" — they help sum up this wild cinematic ride as well. Glass co-scripts here with Weronika Tofilska (they each previously penned and helmed segments of 2015's A Moment in Horror), but her features feel like the result of specific, singular and searing visions that aren't afraid to swerve and veer boldly and committedly to weave their stories and leave an imprint. Accordingly, Love Lies Bleeding is indeed a romance, a crime flick and a revenge quest. It's about lovers on the run (Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania's Katy O'Brian pairs with Stewart) and intergenerational griminess. It rages against the machine. It's erotic, a road trip and unashamedly pulpy. It also takes the concept of strong female leads to a place that nothing else has, and you do need to witness it to fathom it.

Love Lies Bleeding streams via YouTube Movies, iTunes and Prime Video. Read our full review, and our interview with Rose Glass.


Late Night with the Devil

If David Dastmalchian ever tires of acting, which will hopefully never happen, he'd make an entrancing late-night television host. He even has the audition tape for it: Late Night with the Devil. Of course, the star who earned his first movie credit on The Dark Knight, and has stood out in Blade Runner 2049, The Suicide Squad, Dune and the third season of Twin Peaks — plus Boston Strangler, The Boogeyman, Oppenheimer and Dracula: Voyage of the Demeter all in 2023 alone, alongside Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania — might be hoping for a less eerie and unsettling gig IRL. Dastmalchian is a fan of horror anchors, writing an article for Fangoria about them. Here, putting in a helluva can't-look-away performance, he plays one. That said, the namesake of Night Owls with Jack Delroy isn't meant to fit the mould so unnervingly, nor is the series that he's on.

Delroy is a Johnny Carson rival — and, because Australian filmmakers Cameron and Colin Cairnes (100 Bloody Acres, Scare Campaign) write and direct Late Night with the Devil, he's also a Don Lane-type talent — who isn't afraid of embracing the supernatural on his live talk show. On Halloween in 1977, airing his usual special episode for the occasion, he decides to attempt to arrest the flagging ratings of what was once a smash by booking four attention-grabbing guests. What occurs when Delroy, who is grieving the loss of his actor wife Madeleine Piper (Georgina Haig, NCIS Sydney) a year earlier, shares the stage with not only a famous skeptic and a psychic, but also with a parapsychologist and a girl who is reportedly possessed? That might sound like the setup for a joke, but it's this new Aussie horror gem's captivating premise.

Late Night with the Devil streams via YouTube Movies, iTunes and Prime Video. Read our full review, and our interview with Colin and Cameron Cairnes.


Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire

Godzilla is finally an Oscar-winner. It's about time. But the septuagenarian reptile didn't score Hollywood's top trophy for curling up in the Colosseum for a snooze, rocking electric-pink spikes, thundering into Hollow Earth — the world literally within our world where titans spring from — and teaming up with King Kong to take on a rival giant ape that rides an ice-breathing kaiju and uses a skeletal spine as a rope. Japan's exceptional Godzilla Minus One, which took home 2024's Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, wasn't that kind of monster movie. Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, which hails from the American-made Monsterverse, definitely is. Arriving shortly after one of its titular figures received such a coveted filmmaking accolade (and also after the US franchise's ace streaming series Monarch: Legacy of Monsters), this sequel to 2021's Godzilla vs Kong is patently from the goofily entertaining rather than deeply meaningful brand of Godzilla flicks. Yes, there's room for both.

It might seem a hard job to follow up one of the best-ever takes on the nuclear-powered creature with an action-adventure-fantasy monster mash that also features a Hawaiian shirt-wearing veterinarian (Dan Stevens, Welcome to Chippendale) dropping in via helicopter to do dental work on King Kong, the return of the Monsterverse's resident conspiracy-theorist podcaster (Brian Tyree Henry, Atlanta), a complicated mother-daughter dynamic (via Rebecca Hall, Resurrection, and Kaylee Hottle, Magnum PI) and a mini Kong called Suko — plus, in its very first minutes, several other animals being ripped apart by Godzilla and Kong. When he took on the gig of helming pictures in this franchise, however, You're Next, The Guest, Blair Witch and Death Note filmmaker Adam Wingard chose fun chaos. His two entries so far aren't dreaming of competing for thoughtfulness with the movies coming out of the country that created Godzilla. Rather, they're made with affection for that entire legacy, and also Kong's, which dates back even further to 1933. Getting audiences relishing the spectacle of this saga is the clear aim, then — and Wingard's attempts put exactly that in their sights above all else.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire streams via YouTube Movies, iTunes and Prime Video. Read our full review, and our interview with Rebecca Hall, Dan Stevens, Brian Tyree Henry, Kaylee Hottle and Adam Wingard.



Abigail, aka the tween vampire ballerina film that unveiled that premise in its trailer, is still an entertaining time irrespective of your starting knowledge, thankfully. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett's fifth full-length directorial effort — and their first after bringing back Ghostface in 2022's Scream and 2023's Scream VI — begins as a blend of a heist affair, horror mansion movie and whodunnit. It kicks off with a kidnapping skilfully pulled off by a motley crew (is there any other type?), then with holing up in the mastermind's sprawling and eerie safe house with their 12-year-old captive, then with fingers being pointed and their charge toying with them. Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett are slick with their opening, from breaking into a well-secured estate to avoiding surveillance cameras while speeding through the streets afterwards. They're playful, too, when corralling everyone in their next location — a setup that they've turned into an ace horror watch before in 2019's Ready or Not — and letting suspicions run wild.

The six abductors here, as given nicknames Reservoir Dogs-style but with a Rat Pack spin, and told not to divulge their true identities or histories to each other: Joey (Melissa Barrera, Carmen), a recovering addict with medical skills; Frank (Dan Stevens, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire), who has a background in law enforcement; Rickles (William Catlett, Constellation), an ex-marine; Sammy (Kathryn Newton, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania), the resident hacker; Peter (Kevin Durand, Pantheon), the dim-witted muscle; and Dean (Angus Cloud, Euphoria), the stoner wheelman. The middleman for their employer: the no-nonsense Lambert (Giancarlo Esposito, The Gentlemen). And the girl: Abigail (Alisha Weir, Wicked Little Letters), of course, who is the daughter of someone obscenely rich and powerful. She's just finished dance rehearsals, is still in her tutu, and proves the picture of scared and unsettled when she's snatched from her bedroom, drugged and blindfolded — until she isn't.

Abigail streams via YouTube Movies, iTunes and Prime Video. Read our full review.


Wicked Little Letters

Whether it's via a post or tweet or message, in a comment or status update, thanks to a Notes app screenshot or in an email, mean words aren't hard to share two decades into the 21st century. Click a few buttons, slide your finger across a touchscreen, then vitriol can be directed virtually instantaneously worldwide. Countless people — too many, all sticklers for unpleasantness — do just that. Such behaviour has almost become a reflex. A century ago, however, spewing nastiness by text required far more effort. Someone had to put ink to paper, commit their hatred to physical form in their own handwriting, tuck it into an envelope, pay for postage, then await the mail service to deliver their malice. Wicked Little Letters isn't an ode to that dedication, but there's no avoiding that sending offensive missives in its 1920s setting was a concerted, determined act — and also that no one could claim just seconds later that they were hacked.

Times change, and technology with it, but people don't: that's another way of looking at this British dramedy, which is indeed based on a true tale. Director Thea Sharrock (The One and Only Ivan) and screenwriter Jonny Sweet (Gap Year) know that there's a quaintness about the chapter of history that they're bringing to the screen, but not to the attitudes behind the incident. In Sussex by the sea on the English Channel, spiteful dispatches scandalised a town, with the situation dubbed "the Littlehampton libels". In Wicked Little Letters' account, Edith (Olivia Colman, Wonka) keeps receiving notes that overuse vulgar terms, and the God-fearing spinster, who lives with her strict father (Timothy Spall, The Heist Before Christmas) and dutiful mother (Gemma Jones, Emily), is certain that she knows the source. Living next door, Rose Gooding (Jessie Buckley, Fingernails) is an Irish single mother to Nancy (Alisha Weir, Roald Dahl's Matilda the Musical), has Bill (Malachi Kirby, My Name Is Leon) as her live-in boyfriend, and is fond of a drink at the pub and of sharing her opinion. The two neighbours are as chalk and cheese as women of the time could get, but were once friendly. When Edith blames Rose, the latter's pleas that she's innocent — and that she'd just tell the former her grievances to her face, not send them anonymously — fall on deaf ears among most of the resident police.

Wicked Little Letters streams via YouTube Movies. Read our full review.


Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person

What if a vampire didn't want to feed on humans? When it happens in Interview with the Vampire, rats are the solution. In Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person, Sasha (Sara Montpetit, White Dog) gets her sustenance from pouches of blood instead, but her family — father (Steve Laplante, The Nature of Love), mother (Sophie Cadieux, Chouchou), aunt (Marie Brassard, Viking) and cousin Denise (Noémie O'Farrell, District 31') — are increasingly concerned once more than half a century passes and she keeps avoiding biting necks. Sasha still looks like a goth teenager, yet she's 68, so her relatives believe that it's well past time for her to embrace an inescapable aspect of being a bloodsucker. What if she didn't have to, though? The potential solution in the delightful first feature by director Ariane Louis-Seize, who co-writes with Christine Doyon (Germain s'éteint), is right there in this 2023 Venice International Film Festival award-winner's title.

With What We Do in the Shadows, both on the big and small screens, the idea that vamps are just like the living when it comes to sharing houses has gushed with laughs. Swap out flatmates for adolescence — including pesky parents trying to cramp a teen's style — and that's Louis-Seize's approach in this French-language Canadian effort. As much as Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person brings fellow undead fare to mind, however, and more beyond, the Québécois picture is an entrancing slurp of vampire and other genres on its own merits. There's an Only Lovers Left Alive-style yearning and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night-esque elegance to the film. Beetlejuice and The Hunger bubble up, too, as do Under the Skin, Ginger Snaps and The Craft as well. But comparable to how drinking from someone doesn't transform you into them — at least according to a century-plus of bloodsucking tales on the page, in cinemas and on TV — nodding at influences doesn't turn this coming-of-age horror-comedy into its predecessors.

Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person streams via iTunes. Read our full review.


You'll Never Find Me

When The Rocky Horror Picture Show starts with just-engaged couple Brad Majors and Janet Weiss knocking on a stranger's door on a dark and rainy night, with the pair hoping to find both shelter from the elements and assistance, no one could predict what awaits inside. There isn't much that connects the stage-to-screen cult musical-comedy hit from nearly 50 years back with expertly tense and atmospheric Australian horror film You'll Never Find Me, but that basic setup gets a spin — and a wild ride is again the end result. Also, if you're the type to take life tips from pop culture, a familiar piece of advice proves true once more. Even the most casual of filmgoers know that little that's good ever comes from an unexpected thump on someone's house, regardless of whether you're doing the banging or hearing it from the other side. Knock at the Cabin, Knock Knock, The Strangers: they all back this idea up, too, and the list goes on.

In You'll Never Find Me — which Indianna Bell and Josiah Allen write, direct and produce as their first feature — the weather is indeed violently stormy and the evening is inescapably black when a young woman (Jordan Cowan, Krystal Klairvoyant) taps on the caravan that Patrick (Brendan Rock, The Stranger) calls home. They're both tentative, anxious and unsettled. She asks for help, he obliges, but suspicion lingers in the air as heavily as the sound of thunder and the wail of wind. The thick blanket of distrust doesn't fray as they talk, either, with the new arrival — named only The Visitor in the feature's credits — claiming that she fell asleep on the beach, hence her presence on her host's doorstep at 2am. But Patrick keeps finding holes in her story. She's also doubtful about his claims that he doesn't have a phone that she could use, public facilities are too far away for her to get to without him driving her to it and they'll need to wait until the rain subsides to depart.

You'll Never Find Me streams via YouTube Movies, iTunes and Prime Video.


Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

There's nothing strange in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, even with the spirits of sewer dragons, Slimer and pre-Sumerian demons all lurking about. There's nothing unusual about the movie's neighbourhood, either, with the supernatural comedy franchise revisiting New York after Ghostbusters: Afterlife's detour to Oklahoma. No surprises are found among the characters, mixing OG faces from 1984's Ghostbusters and its 1989 sequel Ghostbusters II with cast members from the saga's last flick (and still sadly pretending that 2016's excellent female-led Ghostbusters didn't happen). But something unexpected does occur in this fifth film to ask "who ya gonna call?", this time directed by Gil Kenan (A Boy Called Christmas) with Jason Reitman (The Front Runner), Afterlife's helmer and the son of the first two films' Ivan Reitman (Draft Day), scripting: its love of nostalgia is as strong as in Afterlife; however, Frozen Empire is welcomely absent its immediate predecessor's needy force.

That said, simply being better than Afterlife is a low hurdle to clear. It's also what Frozen Empire achieves and little more. Kenan ain't afraid of a by-the-numbers script that stitches together references to the franchise's past and as many characters as can be jam-packed in. Frozen Empire begins with Callie (Carrie Coon, The Gilded Age), her teen kids Trevor (Finn Wolfhard, Stranger Things) and Phoebe (McKenna Grace, Crater), and their former science teacher Gary (Paul Rudd, Only Murders in the Building) all in Ecto-1, in hot pursuit of an otherworldly wraith in Manhattan — and the fact that Callie parents, Gary yearns to be seen as a parent and Trevor reminds everyone that he's 18 now sets the scene for their parts moving forward. So does Phoebe taking charge, but Kenan and Reitman only make half an effort to push her to the fore. When Phoebe links up with Dan Aykroyd's (Zombie Town) Ray Stantz, who now runs a store that buys possessed possessions, the Ghostbusters saga gets its best path forward so far with this cast. And yet, possibly scared of the ridiculous backlash to Kate McKinnon (Barbie), Kristen Wiig (Palm Royale), Melissa McCarthy (The Little Mermaid) and Leslie Jones (Our Flag Means Death) in jumpsuits almost a decade back, Frozen Empire largely pads itself out with filler to stop Phoebe always being the main point of focus.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire streams via YouTube Movies, iTunes and Prime Video. Read our full review.


The Great Escaper

Two British acting icons enjoy their last on-screen hurrah in The Great Escaper, which is reason enough to see the based-on-a-true-story drama about a World War II veteran making a run for it. At the age of 90, Michael Caine announced that playing 89-year-old Bernard Jordan would be his last role in a film career that dates back to 1950. Glenda Jackson only returned to acting in 2015, after decades in politics since the 90s, then passed away after lending her talents to Bernard's wife Irene. The film they're in doesn't always match their efforts, with William Ivory's (Isolation Stories) script happy to hit the obvious notes, and forcefully — and director Oliver Parker just as content to do the same, as he also was on Johnny English Reborn, Dad's Army and Swimming with Men. Still, as it tells a spirited tale, it unsurprisingly does so with far more weight beyond its formula — as real as its events are — with Caine (Best Sellers) and Jackson (Mothering Sunday) in the lead parts.

Normally when a movie links to the Second World War and involves fleeing, it's a period-set flick, but not this one. Jordan's stint of absconding came in June 2014, when he took his leave from his East Sussex nursing home without informing anyone to travel to Normandy for the 70th-anniversary D-Day commemorations. That makes The Great Escaper a breaking-out adventure of a unique kind — and Caine and Jackson, the latter as the spouse following her absent husband's antics from afar, are an excellent pair who bring gravitas to their roles whether they're sharing the frame or their characters are in different countries. The flashbacks to their younger years (featuring The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power's Will Fletcher and Bad Education's Laura Marcus) are less compelling. There's also little in the way of subtlety to the film's old-fashioned telling. But this story also proves affecting in pondering how war heroes are celebrated, then forgotten as they age, and also the human toll of every conflict long after it has been waged.

The Great Escaper streams via YouTube Movies, iTunes and Prime Video.



Sit in a chair. Embrace the otherworldly. Whether you're ready for it or not — physically and emotionally alike — bear witness to the dead being summoned. Speak to those who are no longer in the land of the living. Perhaps, while you're chatting, get caught in a dialogue with something nefarious as well. Talk to Me used this setup to audience-wowing and award-winning effect. Now comes Baghead, which stems from a short film that pre-dates 2023's big Australian-made horror hit, and was shot before Michael and Danny Philippou's A24-distributed flick played cinemas, but still brings it to mind instantly. Audiences can be haunted by what they've seen before, especially in a busy, ever-growing genre where almost everything is haunted anyway and few pictures feel genuinely new. Here, as first-time feature filmmaker Alberto Corredor adapts his own applauded short (which has nothing to do with the mumblecore effort starring Greta Gerwig before she was directing Lady Bird, Little Women and Barbie), there's no shaking how Talk to Me gnaws at Baghead.

The director and screenwriters Christina Pamies (another debutant) and Bryce McGuire (Night Swim) make grief their theme, and with commitment; the pain of loss colours the movie as much as its shadowy imagery. But, despite boasting two dedicated performances, Corredor's Baghead is routine again and again. At The Queen's Head in Berlin, Owen Lark (Peter Mullan, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power) oversees a ramshackle four-centuries-old pub where customers aren't there for the drinks. The basement is the big drawcard for those in the know, with the being that resides in it, in a hole in a brick wall, luring punters in the door. Everyone who arrives with cash and a plea for help is in mourning. When Neil (Jeremy Irvine, Benediction) makes an entrance, he knows exactly what he wants. Baghead begins not with Owen letting his latest patron meet the entity that shares the movie's title, though, but with him endeavouring to vanquish it. If he was successful, there'd be no film from there. Because he isn't, his estranged daughter Iris (Freya Allan, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes) is summoned to the German city by a solicitor (Ned Dennehy, The Peripheral), becoming the watering hole's next owner.

Baghead streams via YouTube Movies. Read our full review, and our interview with Freya Allan.


Kung Fu Panda 4

What happens when you've scored your dream job, especially when getting everything that you've ever wanted has meant navigating a lengthy and challenging quest — and when you've always been an underdog (well, an underpanda to be precise)? So asks Kung Fu Panda 4, posing that question to Po (Jack Black, The Super Mario Bros Movie), the black-and-white mammal whose journey to becoming a martial-arts master has sat at the heart of this franchise since 2008. Po loves being the Dragon Warrior, even when 2011's Kung Fu Panda 2 and 2016's Kung Fu Panda 3 have thrown ups and downs his way. In the movie series' fourth big-screen entry, however, Shifu (Dustin Hoffman, Sam & Kate) advises that it's time to start thinking about his successor in the post, as Po should be moving up the ranks to take on the job of the Valley of Peace's Spiritual Leader. One big problem: the panda isn't thrilled. Another: he doesn't love any of the candidates. There's also The Chameleon (Viola Davis, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes), a sorceress, to deal with — potentially with the help of thieving fox Zhen (Awkwafina, IF).

Black's voice has always done plenty of heavy lifting in the Kung Fu Panda flicks, alongside the general concept — a panda as a kung fu whiz — and the slapstick silliness that comes to the screen with it. None of that changes in Kung Fu Panda 4, and no one involved appears to want it to. Also still a constant: the reliance upon well-known names lending their vocals to the movie's menagerie (Argylle's Bryan Cranston, Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai's James Hong, John Wick: Chapter 4's Ian McShane and Dumb Money's Seth Rogen have been here before; Everything Everywhere All At Once Oscar-winner Ke Huy Quan and Unfrosted's Ronny Chieng are among the newcomers). The visuals remain vivid, but the story is in a rush to ping pong to the next sight gag or excuse to get the film's cast bantering. As directed Mike Mitchell (The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part) and Stephanie Stine (She-Ra and the Princesses of Power), the film bounces, leaps, kicks and rolls along merrily enough, though — just — for younger audiences.

Kung Fu Panda 4 streams via YouTube Movies, iTunes and Prime Video.


Looking for more 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, February, March and April 2024 (and also January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December 2023, too). 

We keep a running list of must-stream TV from across 2024 as well, complete with full reviews.

And, we've also rounded up 2023's 15 best films, 15 best straight-to-streaming movies, 15 top flicks hardly anyone saw, 30 other films to catch up with, 15 best new TV series of 2023, another 15 excellent new TV shows that you might've missed and 15 best returning shows.

Published on May 28, 2024 by Sarah Ward
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