Each week our staff of film and TV experts surveys the entertainment landscape to select the ten best new/newish movies available for you to stream at home. We put a lot of thought into our selections, and our debates on what to include and what not to include can sometimes get a little heated and feelings may get hurt, but so be it, this is an important service for you, our readers. With that said, here are our selections for this week.
10. (tie) Cinderella (Amazon Prime)
It is time, apparently, once again, time for a new take on Cinderella, the classic story of a girl and her evil family and how magic and some rodents make her a star. This time around, we have Camilia Cabello in the lead role and Billy Porter as her fairy godparent and Idina Menzel as the evil stepmother and, look at that, Pierce Brosnan as the king. The whole thing basically puts a series of small twists on a story you’ve seen a few dozen times, but sometimes that’s okay. The cast is strong enough to make it all worth a shot. Watch it on Amazon.
10. (tie) Diana: The Musical (Netflix)
Here’s your reminder that yes, a musical based on Princess Diana’s life does, in fact, exist. And yes, there’s a song in it titled “Here Comes James Hewitt.” Filmed in an empty theater with the original Broadway cast before its official run kicks off, this show has it all: mechanical bulls, Spanish-language ballads, that fantasy trope where Diana crowd surfs during a cellist concert. The story’s not revelatory, and we can’t say it’s the best Diana re-telling we’ve ever seen, but it is the most … musical. Watch it on Netflix.
9. Cry Macho (HBO Max)
Clint Eastwood is back as an actor and director in Cry Macho. A movie with a razor-thin plot, where nothing much at all happens, but is still strangely enjoyable. There’s something irresistibly pleasant about the whole thing – which is just an excuse for Clint to star in a movie that could loosely be described as an “action” role. (Though, Clint does make sure he gets to throw a punch. With the assistance of a rooster named Macho.) Watch it on HBO Max.
8. The Guilty (Netflix)
Based on the Oscar-nominated short film of the same name, The Guilty is a single-location thriller shot during the pandemic that stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a disgraced cop who’s been demoted from patrolling the streets to answering 911 calls. Riley Keough, Paul Dano, Bill Burr, and Ethan Hawke lend their voices, but this is Gyllenhaal’s film; he fills nearly every frame of the 90-minute runtime. It’s his best showcase as an actor since Nightcrawler. Watch it on Netflix.
7. The Voyeurs (Amazon Prime)
What we have here is an old-school erotic thriller — think Basic Instinct or Fatal Attraction — with White Lotus star Sydney Sweeney as one half of a curious couple who spends a not-insignificant amount of time spying on their exhibitionist-type neighbors. Things get weird and twisted and steamy, as they do in these kinds of movies, which were super popular in the 1980s and 1990s and have since just about disappeared. Might be worth it to give it a try, but think about closing your own blinds first. Watch it on Amazon Prime.
6. Black Widow (Disney+)
Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff finally gets a proper send-off in this actioner that aims to go back-to-basics but succeeds more on a personal level. The film fills in plenty of blanks following the events of Captain America: Civil War, but more importantly, we receive butt-kicking ladies in well-choreographed fight scenes and an emotionally resonant story that introduces us to the inner Natasha, as witnessed by Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova. She’s perhaps the only person in the world who’s allowed to tease Natasha, and their dynamic (and the chemistry between Scarlett and Florence) rules. The film also allows David Harbour to perform grunt-filled face work with a wild accent while the ladies swirl around him in hand-to-hand combat. It’s a winner. And it’s now available to subscribers with no extra fee. Watch it on Disney+.
The Velvet Underground is one of the most influential bands of all-time. But unlike other iconic 1960s groups like, say, the Beatles, there’s not a ton of footage of Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Moe Tucker performing. To get around this, director Todd Haynes has made a documentary that captures the “idea” of the VU rather than a Wikipedia summary. Don’t walk, but “run run run” to watch The Velvet Underground! Watch it on Apple TV+.
4. Malignant (HBO Max)
James Wan, he of the Saw and Insidious and Conjuring movies, is back with a new horror film. This one focuses on a woman who has terrifying visions of brutal murders, which are ruining her life a little (as terrifying visions of brutal murders will do) and are also –surprise — actually happening in the real world (which is bad). None of it sounds like a good time for her. For you, though? Maybe. Watch it on Netflix.
3. Muppets Haunted Mansion (Disney+)
Good news: The Muppets are back. Everyone’s favorite collection of fuzzy rascals take to Disney+ with a new spooky Halloween story about a haunted mansion. The Haunted Mansion, if we’re being technical. It might be a nice opportunity to fall down a Muppet rabbit hole again. There’s never a bad time to watch The Great Muppet Caper, after all. Watch it on Disney+.
The Sopranos are back. Kind of. The Sopranos are kind of back. Series creator David Chase’s long-rumored, long-awaited prequel movie about New Jersey’s most famous fictional crime family is finally here. What do we got? Well, for one, we’ve got Michael Gandolfini filling the role of a Tony Soprano and playing a younger version of the character his father made famous. We’ve also got a bunch more Moltisantis and 1960-70s fashion all against the backdrop of the 1967 riots in Newark. There’s a lot going here. You’ll probably want to check it out, if only to bask in a little nostalgia for a while. Watch it on HBO Max
1. Halloween Kills (Peacock)
Halloween Kills is a direct sequel to 2018’s Halloween, which was a sequel to 1978’s Halloween that ignored all the previous sequels in the franchise. It’s confusing, but really, all you need to know is that it’s a Halloween movie with Jamie Lee Curtis, “The Shape,” and an eerie score from John Carpenter. ’Tis the season (to watch horror movies). Watch it on Peacock