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

Get comfy on the couch with the Sydney-shot action antics of 'The Fall Guy', a heartbreaking Oscar-nominated animated gem and the love-triangle games of 'Challengers'.
Sarah Ward
Published on June 25, 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 eight that you can watch right now at home.

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The Fall Guy

The Nice Guys mightn't have scored a sequel, but The Fall Guy does nicely instead. Getting a hearty workout: Ryan Gosling's charm, comedic talent that just earned an Oscar-nominated showcase in Barbie and action skills as last seen in The Gray Man. He's back in stunts, too, as Drive first gifted the world so mesmerisingly. A loose remake of the 80s television series of the same name, The Fall Guy is a take-it-and-run-with-it kind of film, then. Not only does it grasp hold of what Gosling does best and sprint, but the same applies for co-lead Emily Blunt (Pain Hustlers) — and, of course, for director David Leitch (Bullet Train), who first took the journey from stunt performer to filmmaker with John Wick, has kept filling his resume with action fare since (see: Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw and Bullet Train) and now virtually comes full circle in helming a flick where his protagonist does the same gig that he once did.

Gosling's Colt Seavers is also taking it and running with it — in a profession where it's his job to help bring whatever impossible physical endeavour is required to the screen, as well as on the gig that gets him to Sydney. The Fall Guy starts 18 months prior to his trip Down Under, however, but still with him doubling for Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bullet Train), one of the world's biggest actors. Seavers has a career that he loves and steady work at it thanks to Ryder's fame. He's also happily romancing Jody Moreno (Blunt), a camera operator with dreams of doing more. Then a stunt goes wrong, leaving him badly injured, battered and bruised emotionally and psychologically, and inspiring him to quit the business. Only a call from Ryder-loving producer Gail Meyer (Hannah Waddingham, Ted Lasso) sparks his return to the industry — he makes a crust as a valet once he's fit and able in-between — and, even then, it's only really the fact that Moreno is helming Ryder's latest movie as her directorial debut that nudges him onto the plane. Then, upon his arrival in Australia, Seavers soon discovers that the situation isn't exactly what he's been told.

The Fall Guy streams via YouTube Movies, iTunes and Prime Video. Read our full review, and our interview with David Leitch and Kelly McCormick.

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Challengers

Tennis is a game of serves, shots, slices and smashes, and also of approaches, backhands, rallies and volleys. Challengers is a film of each, too, plus a movie about tennis. As it follows a love triangle that charts a path so back and forth that its ins and outs could be carved by a ball being hit around on the court, it's a picture that takes its aesthetic, thematic and emotional approach from the sport that its trio of protagonists are obsessed with as well. Tennis is everything to Tashi Duncan (ZendayaDune: Part Two), Art Donaldson (Mike FaistWest Side Story) and Patrick Zweig (Josh O'ConnorLa Chimera), other than the threesome themselves being everything to each other. It's a stroke of genius to fashion the feature about them around the game they adore, then. Metaphors comparing life with a pastime are easy to coin. Movies that build such a juxtaposition into their fabric are far harder to craft. But it's been true of Luca Guadagnino for decades: he's a craftsman.

Jumping from one Dune franchise lead to another, after doing Call Me By Your Name and Bones and All with Timothée Chalamet, Guadagnino proves something else accurate that's been his cinematic baseline: he's infatuated with the cinema of yearning. Among his features so far, only in Bones and All was the hunger for connection literal. The Italian director didn't deliver cannibalism in Call Me By Your Name and doesn't in Challengers, but longing is the strongest flavour in all three, and prominent across the filmmaker's Suspiria, A Bigger Splash and I Am Love also. So, combine the idea of styling a movie around a tennis match — one spans its entire duration, in fact — with a lusty love triangle, romantic cravings and three players at the top of their field, then this is the sublime end product. Challengers is so smartly constructed, so well thought-out down to every meticulous detail, so sensual and seductive, and so on point in conveying Tashi plus Art and Patrick's feelings, that it's instantly one of Guadagnino's grand slams.

Challengers streams via YouTube Movies, iTunes and Prime Video. Read our full review, as well as what Zendaya, Josh O'Connor and Mike Faist had to say about the film when they were in Australia.

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Perfect Days

When Lou Reed's 'Perfect Day' enjoyed its initial sublime movie moment in Trainspotting, it soundtracked a descent into heroin's depths, including literally via the film's visual choices. For three decades since, that's been the tune's definitive on-screen use. Now drifts in Perfect Days, the Oscar-nominated Japan-set drama from German filmmaker Wim Wenders (Submergence). This slice-of-life movie takes its name from the song. It also places the iconic David Bowie-produced classic among the tracks listened to by toilet cleaner Hirayama (Kôji Yakusho, Vivant) as he goes about his daily routine. Fond of 60s- and 70s-era music, the Tokyo native's picks say everything about his mindset, both day by day and in his zen approach to his modest existence. 'Perfect Day' and Nina Simone's 'Feeling Good' each also sum up the feeling of watching this gorgeous ode to making the most of what you have, seeing beauty in the everyday and being in the moment.

Not every tune that Hirayama pops into his van's tape deck — cassettes are still his format of choice — has the same type of title. Patti Smith's 'Redondo Beach', The Animals' 'The House of the Rising Sun', Otis Redding's '(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay' and The Rolling Stones' '(Walkin' Thru the) Sleepy City' also rank among his go-tos, all reflecting his mood in their own ways. If there's a wistfulness to Hirayama's music selections, it's in the manner that comes over all of us when we hark back to something that we first loved when we were younger. Perfect Days' protagonist is at peace with his life, however. Subtly layered into the film is the idea that things were once far different and more-conventionally successful, but Hirayama wasn't as content as he now is doing the rounds of the Japanese capital's public bathrooms, blasting his favourite songs between stops, eating lunch in a leafy park and photographing trees with an analogue camera.

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

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Robot Dreams

Heartbreak is two souls wanting nothing more than each other, but life having other plans. So goes Robot Dreams, another dialogue-free marvel from Spanish filmmaker Pablo Berger, who had audiences feeling without words uttered with 2012's Blancanieves — and showed then with black and white imagery, as he does now with animation, that he's a master at deeply expressive visual storytelling. His fourth picture as a director was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 2024 Academy Awards. In most years, if it wasn't up against Studio Ghibli's The Boy and the Heron, it would've taken home the Oscar. It earns not just affection instead, but the awe deserved of a movie that perfects the sensation of longing for someone to navigate life with, finding them, adoring them, then having fate doing what fate does by throwing up complications.

Usually this would be a boy-meets-girl, boy-meets-boy or girl-meets-girl story. Here, it's a dog-meets-robot tale. The time: the 80s, with nods to Tab and Pong to prove it. The place: a version of Manhattan where anthropomorphised animals are the only inhabitants — plus mechanised offsiders that, just by placing an order and putting together the contents of the package that arrives, can be built as instant friends. Eating macaroni meals for one and watching TV solo in his small East Village apartment each evening, Dog is achingly lonely when he orders his Amica 2000 after seeing an infomercial. As he tinkers to construct Robot, pigeons watch on from the window, but they've never been his company. Soon exuberantly strutting the streets hand in hand with his maker, the android is a dream pal, however, this kismet pairing isn't what gives Robot Dreams its name.

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

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Origin

For most filmmakers, Isabel Wilkerson's Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents would've screamed for the documentary treatment. A non-fiction text published in 2020, it works through the thesis that racism in America isn't just the product of xenophobia, but is an example of social stratification. The journalist and author — and, in 1994, Pulitzer Prize-winner — examines how categorising populations into groups with a perceived grading is at the heart of US race relations, and how the same was true in Nazi Germany and still does in the treatment of the Dalit in India. A doco could spring easily from there. If it happens to in the future, no one should be surprised. Ava DuVernay, who brings Wilkerson's prize-winning tome to the screen now, has demonstrated again and again with Selma, The 13th and A Wrinkle in Time that she's not most directors, however.

Make the points in Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents via a documentary, if and when that occurs, and they'd be accurate and powerful. Express them through cinema's function as an empathy machine, via personal tales including Wilkerson's own, and they resonate by getting audiences stepping into a range of shoes. Watching isn't merely investigating and learning in Origin, as Wilkerson as a character — played by Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor (The Color Purple) in a phenomenally passionate and thoughtful lead performance — does in a movie that's also a biopic about her life and work. Sitting down to DuVernay's film is all about feeling, understanding what it's like to be a range of people who are forced to grapple with being seen as less than others for no reason but the fact that urge to judge that keeps proving inherent in human nature.

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

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Boy Kills World

In The Hunger Games and its sequels and prequels, a post-apocalyptic totalitarian state enforces order by murder, picking children via lottery to compete until just one remains standing. Before it reached pages and screens, The Running Man, Battle Royale and Series 7: The Contenders were among the stories that got there first, always with kill-or-be-killed contests at their cores. Now Boy Kills World enters the fray, but in a city ruled over by despot Van Der Koy matriarch Hilda (Famke Janssen, Locked In), with a group of candidates chosen annually, then slaughtered at big televised display that is The Culling no matter what. The titular Boy (played by the US Goodnight Mommy remake's Nicholas and Cameron Crovetti as a kid) is the rare exception: after witnessing his sister and mother's execution in this nightmarish realm, he's simply left for dead.

Making his feature debut, director Moritz Mohr (TV's Viva Berlin!) holds tight to another big-screen staple: a revenge mission. As an adult, that the role of Boy falls to Bill Skarsgård fresh from John Wick: Chapter 4 says plenty. The vengeance that's always fuelled that Keanu Reeves (The Matrix Resurrections)-led franchise, and fellow influence Oldboy as well, mixes with cinema's wealth of fight-to-the-death tales. Also thrown in with the fervour of a fan mixing together his favourite things — which is Mohr's unapologetic approach from start to finish — is a colour scheme that Kill Bill also deployed, Deadpool-style humour and violence, notes cribbed from Matthew Vaughn's Kingsman movies and Argylle with its carnage, and nods to video games and Hong Kong action fare plus Looney Tunes and anime.

Boy Kills World streams via YouTube Movies, iTunes and Prime Video. Read our full review, and our interview with Moritz Mohr.

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The First Omen

Resurrecting horror franchises that first gleamed bright in the 70s is a trend that Hollywood isn't done idolising. Halloween did it. The Exorcist returned as well. Via remakes, Carrie, Suspiria and Black Christmas have all made comebacks since the 2010s. The Omen was always going to get its turn, then. Taking the prequel route — because the OG 1976 film hadn't spawned one yet with 1978's Damien — Omen II, 1981's Omen III: The Final Conflict and 1991's Omen IV: The Awakening, plus a 2006 remake and 2016's one-season TV series — gives rise to The First Omen, as set in Rome in 1971. Fans will know that June 6 that year was when Damien was born. Spinning backstories into new movies can create flicks that smack of inevitability above all else, but not here: this is a genuinely eerie and dread-laced Omen entry with an expert command of unnerving imagery by first-time feature director Arkasha Stevenson (Brand New Cherry Flavour), plus a well-chosen anchor in lead actor Nell Tiger Free (Game of Thrones).

Horror, unusual babies, childminding at its most disquieting, a claustrophobic location, a lack of agency, distressing displays of faith: Free has been here before. Indeed, if Stevenson and her co-writers Tim Smith (a screenwriting debutant) and Keith Thomas (the director of 2022's awful Firestarter remake) used Servant as their inspiration in more ways than one, they've made a savvy choice. Featuring their star for four seasons between 2019–2023, that M Night Shyamalan (Knock at the Cabin)-produced series was one of the great horror streaming efforts of the past five years. The First Omen goes heavier on jolting visuals to go with its nerve-jangling atmosphere, but it too stands out. Its worst choice is being needlessly and gratingly blatant in connecting dots in its very last moments, even if nearly half a century has passed since this spawn-of-Satan saga began.

The First Omen streams via Disney+, YouTube Movies, iTunes and Prime Video. Read our full review.

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Back to Black

Casting a biopic can't be easy. The awards-courting label that hangs over the genre that's earned Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer), Will Smith (King Richard), Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Renée Zellweger (Judy) and Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour) lead actor and actress Oscars over the past decade alone can't make the task any less tricky, either. Then, when music bios get a spin — which is often — the weight of recognition and fandom is an especially heavy factor. Does the actor resemble the star that they're playing physically or in spirit? Can they? Will their attempt to slip into someone else's mega fame read like a triumphant ode or a faded facsimile? Will they try to inhabit rather than impersonate? Is doing the real-life person justice even possible? The questions go on.

Even with those queries in mind, Back to Black has chosen its lead well. In Industry's Marisa Abela, who has just six prior acting credits on her resume before now — Barbie is the latest; Man in a Box, her first, came when she was only 11 — the Amy Winehouse-focused film from director Sam Taylor-Johnson (A Million Little Pieces) and screenwriter Matt Greenhalgh (Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool) has someone who looks the part beehive or not, and convincingly lives and breathes it behind a north London accent. She sings it, too, when the picture weaves in her own vocals atop Winehouse's music. But casting isn't the only key element for a biopic. The dance that a feature is taking through a well-known figure's life needs the material and the approach to support its central performance — the lyrics and tune to match with sheer talent, in music terms. If they fall flat, so does the flick. And unlike a bad song for an exceptional singer, there's no second chances in this realm.

Back to Black streams via YouTube Movies and Prime Video. Read our full review.

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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, April and May 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 June 25, 2024 by Sarah Ward
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