This week sees the release of an Amy Adams-led thriller, A24’s latest slice of horror, a new Angelina Jolie action survival flick, and much more
‘The Woman in the Window’ (Netflix)
The Woman in the Window novel took the world by storm in 2018, so it’s no surprise that it very quickly received a Hollywood adaptation. Director Joe Wright – coming fresh off of a pair of Oscar wins for The Darkest Hour – has a pretty good track record for adaptations; you’re probably familiar with his versions of Pride & Prejudice and Atonement. The film was originally scheduled to be released in 2019 before being pushed back to 2020, only for the COVID-19 pandemic to push it back once again and eventually be picked up by Netflix.
The story stars Amy Adams as an extreme agoraphobe who spends nearly all of her time alone in her condo, until her life is turned upside down one day when she witnesses a horrific crime from her window. The cast also includes Gary Oldman, Julianne Moore, Anthony Mackie, Wyatt Russell, Fred Hechinger, Brian Tyree Henry, and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
‘Saint Maud’ (Hulu)
One of the most terrifying and thematically complex horror films of the past year, A24’s Saint Maud has received unanimous critical acclaim, but its theatrical release plans were called off due to the pandemic. Now, thanks to Hulu, audiences can finally experience the unholy and provoking terror of writer and director Rose Glass’ debut. Good luck getting to sleep that night.
The film follows Maud (Morfydd), a reclusive young nurse whose impressionable demeanour causes her to pursue a pious path of Christian devotion after an obscure trauma. Now charged with the hospice care of Amanda (Jennifer Ehle), a retired dancer ravaged by cancer, Maud’s fervent faith quickly inspires an obsessive conviction that she must save her ward’s soul from eternal damnation, whatever the cost.
‘The Reckoning’ (Shudder)
The Reckoning is a period piece that follows Grace Haverstock (Charlotte Kirk), a young widow haunted by the recent death of her husband Joseph (Joe Anderson). She’s accused of being a witch by her jealous landlord, Squire Pendleton (Steven Waddington), after she rejects his unwanted advances. Grace must now endure physical persecution at the hands of England’s most ruthless witch-hunter Judge Moorcroft (Pertwee) and face her own inner demons as the Devil himself starts to work his way into her mind.
Pretty dour stuff, but what can you expect from director Neil Marshall – who helmed one of the most genuinely scary movies of all time, The Descent. Strap yourself in for punishment, hopefully the kind that brings the thrills just as much as the chills.
‘Those Who Wish Me Dead’ (HBO Max)
Those Who Wish Me Dead is the next major release for Warner Bros’ 2021 plan to release their theatrical films simultaneously on HBO MAX. Filmmaker Taylor Sheridan is best known for his screenplays for Sicario, Hell or Highwater, and Wind River, which he also directed. His latest directing gig has him adapting the 2014 Michale Koryta novel that combines elements of survival thrillers, Westerns, and action.
The film follows a young boy named Connor (Finn Little) who witnesses the murder of his father and is relentlessly pursued by the killers, played by Nicholas Hoult and Aidan Gillen. He runs into a veteran fire warden named Hannah (Angelina Jolie) who attempts to shelter home, but the killers soon begin to set the entire forest ablaze, putting everyone in extreme danger. The cast also includes John Bernthal, Tyler Perry, and Jake Weber.
‘The Underground Railroad’ (Amazon Prime Video)
Barry Jenkins won Best Picture with Moonlight, his revelatory tale of identity and sadness. He quickly followed up with the equally as powerful If Beale Street Could Talk, solidifying the filmmaker as someone with a vital perspective and masterful talent. His latest project is a limited series that adapts the Colson Whitehead historical fiction novel The Underground Railroad, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction as well as the National Book Award for Fiction when it was published.
Jenkins directs all ten episodes of the series, which is set in a historical past where the Underground Railroad that helps guide fugitive slaves to freedom is literally an actual railroad. With an extraordinary cast led by Thuso Mbedu as Cora, an enslaved Black woman in Georgia, the series has been met with widespread acclaim from early reviews.
‘Love, Death & Robots (Volume 2)’ (Netflix)
Netflix’s Love, Death & Robots is an animated anthology series that kicked off in 2019. Each episode is a short that’s made by different casts and crews but always carries the themes of the show’s title. The first volume was full of sci-fi action, depraved hilarity, trippy concepts, and sensuality, and Volume 2 promises to up the ante.
The new batch of episodes include episodes directed by Kung Fu Panda 2 & 3 director Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Simon Otto from the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy, as well as Deadpool and Terminator: Dark Fate director Tim Miller.
‘The Funeral Home’ (Shudder)
Bernardo (Luis Machín) is an undertaker who runs his mortuary business in the same house where he resides. In the front he has his clients. And in the back, his dysfunctional family lives among coffins, wreaths and mischievous supernatural entities that visit on a daily basis. They attribute the paranormal manifestations to the dead bodies from their mortuary work, but finding the real source of all this madness will be their quest, and what they might find is a terrifying truth.
Also known as La Funeraria, the film is an Argentine horror from writer and director Mauro Iván Ojeda. Ojeda crafts a perfectly spooky atmosphere that builds up to a disturbing and surprising climax, one that’s sure to stick with the viewer long after.
‘Greenland’ (HBO Max)
When was the last time you saw a truly great disaster movie? Would you expect that the next great one would come from Gerard Butler, with his Angel Has Fallen director Ric Roman Waugh in tow? Greenland stars Butler as a man named John, who is forced to flee to safety as Earth faces a cataclysmic meteor shower that causes colossal devastation.
Sounds like just another disaster flick that audiences have moved on from, but Greenland is surprisingly nuanced and legitimately emotional. The film puts its focus on the characters, specifically John and his family, with the apocalyptic setup serving as more of a backdrop. It’s one of the genre’s strongest stories.
‘Robot & Frank’ (Hulu)
Legendary Frank Langella has had quite an eclectic career, most recently starring in the Oscar nominated The Trial of the Chicago 7. But throughout his work that now spans several decades, no singular film is quite as quirky and original as Robot & Frank.
The film follows a man named Frank Weld, an aging thief who is gifted the latest in robotic technology by his son. The robot companion is meant to assist Frank in his everyday routines and around the home. Frank wants nothing to do with it at first, but soon warms up to it once he realizes that he can use the robot to restart his criminal career.
Sator is the painstaking and singular artistic vision of Jordan Graham, who spent several years working on the film. Graham wrote, directed, produced, and even acted as his own cinematographer and set designer and everything else you can think of; all except act. The result is a truly immersive and haunting experience, one with grim yet gorgeous scenery and impeccable sound design.
The film follows a man named Adam (Gabriel Nicholson), a grizzled loner who patrols a seemingly endless forest every day. At night he returns to his small cabin, where he obsesses over images captured by various wildlife cameras he’s set up around the woods. Adam is in search of a mysterious and terrifying being known as Sator, who has been a constant presence in the life of his family going back generations. What makes the film all the more unnerving is the fact that much of its story comes from Graham’s real life.
Continued weekly episodes:
‘Star Wars: The Bad Batch’ (Disney+)
The Bad Batch is the latest of Star Wars’ various animated series, and the first to premiere on Disney+. Originally introduced in the prior series, The Clone Wars, the Bad Batch are a squad of clone troopers that had genetic mutations occur during the cloning process. This has given them unique abilities that other clones do not, and together they form an elite squadron to battle on the front lines of the war.
The series begins with the squad dealing with the galaxy-shattering events of Order 66 and the end of the Clone Wars. It will certainly be interesting to see what happened to the clone army in between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, and the series also introduces a new female clone named Omega (Michelle Ang) who joins the Bad Batch on their missions.
Also streaming now:
Netflix – ‘Sleepless’, ‘Castlevania (Season 4)
Hulu – ‘Wander Darkly’
Shudder – ‘Climate of the Hunter’, ‘Trickster’
HBO Max – ‘Wonder Woman 1984’
Disney+ – ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’
COMING THIS WEEK:
Netflix – ‘Sleight’, ‘Sabotage’, ‘Small Town Crime’, ‘Army of the Dead’
Hulu – ‘Cowboys’, ‘The Mountain Between Us’, ‘Red Dawn’, ‘Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K.’
Shudder – ‘Psycho Goreman’, ‘American Mary’, ‘Time Lapse’, ‘Found’, ‘Def By Temptation’, ‘Black Roses’
HBO Max – ‘The Personal History of David Copperfield’