If you enjoy seeing women dominate the big screen, get yourself to the movies.
Storm Reid stars as a teen girl desperate to find her missing mother in a modern tech thriller, Anna Kendrick as an emotionally abused woman seeking girlfriend support in a psychological drama, and Jessie Buckley, Claire Foy, Rooney Mara, and Frances McDormand lead a talented, Screen Actors Guild-nominated ensemble in a film about a female community reclaiming their power.
Here’s a list of new movies for every taste, as well as some notable theatrical films making their streaming and on-demand debuts:
This week’s highlights include female empowerment and Hugh Jackman.
In January, a slew of new films join Tom Hanks and “M3GAN” at the box office:
The taut and twisty “Missing” story is told across multiple screens and apps.
In both “Alice, Darling” and “Women Talking,” female characters are at a crossroads.
Peacock gets “Sick” with a pandemic-set slasher film.
If you want to see someone use the Internet for good: ‘Missing’
The satisfyingly twisty “screenlife” thriller – told through computer applications, texts, email, and video chats – centres on teen June (Reid), whose mother (Nia Long) vanishes with her new boyfriend (Ken Leung) while on vacation in Colombia. June discovers a slew of red flags and hidden secrets before a nail-biting conclusion with real-world assistance and numerous online rabbit holes.
If you enjoy seeing women help other women, watch ‘Alice, Darling.’
Kendrick plays the title character, who embarks on a lakeside vacation with her best friends (Wunmi Mosaku and Kaniehtiio Horn). But it’s more important than anyone realises in this insightful potboiler: Alice, who has been psychologically abused by her boyfriend (Charlie Carrick), does not realise the full extent of her trauma until she is with her confidantes, who are ready and willing to do anything when the dude unexpectedly shows up at their door.
If you like perfect movie titles, check out ‘Women Talking.’
Based on the novel by Miriam Toews, writer/director Sarah Polley’s intimate drama follows a group of women in a religious colony who must decide whether to stay or leave after a series of rapes. The narrative momentum wanes at times, but the acting is fantastic, with Buckley, Foy, and Mara among those playing characters deciding their fate in a life-changing barn debate.
If you’re a Hugh Jackman completist, ‘The Son’ is a must-see.
While Florian Zeller’s family drama falls short of “The Father,” Jackman has one of his better dramatic outings as a busy working father concerned that his teen son (Zen McGrath) hasn’t been to school in a month. The child moves in with his father and new stepmother Beth (Vanessa Kirby), but his depression worsens, culminating in a shocking final act.
If you like creepy kids, watch ‘There’s Something Wrong With the Children.’
Lucy (Briella Guiza) and Spencer (David Mattle), a pair of siblings who are really into dead bugs and weirding out adults, are the freakiest kids in the movies who aren’t named M3GAN. During a family trip to the woods, they go missing for a while and then mysteriously reappearance with dead eyes and eerie grins, seriously unsettling their parents’ friends (Zach Gilford and Alisha Wainwright).
If you’re into creepy space invaders, check out ‘Kids vs. Aliens.’
The story revolves around young Gary (Dominic Mariche) and his wrestling-obsessed older sister Samantha (Phoebe Rex). Samantha throws a Halloween party to fit in with the cool clique while her parents are away, and the party is interrupted by some homicidal aliens. The sci-fi horror film compensates for the predictable teen-film premise with an impressive level of gore (including one nifty scene with flesh-melting goo).
If you want to see Tom Hanks in the role of Oscar the Grouch, watch ‘A Man Called Otto.’
Even when grumpy, Hanks’ signature charisma shines through in this heartfelt comedy. The title character, played by the actor, is curt and irritable with his neighbours – and contemplating the end of his life – until a pregnant woman (Mariana Trevio) moves in next door and, with the help of a stray cat and others, gives Otto a reason to live.
If you like Gerard Butler action movies, check out ‘Plane.’
The way-too-simple title gives you hope that this thing will be entertainingly bonkers, but it’s sadly generic. Butler plays a pilot who is forced to crash-land his commercial flight in a dangerous part of the Philippines and team up with a skilled fugitive (Mike Colter) to rescue passengers from bad guys. There isn’t even much plane stuff in a film that can’t live up to the cheesy ’80s films it imitates.
If you want to see a pandemic-era slasher, watch ‘Sick.’
The horror film, directed by Kevin Williamson and set in the early days of COVID-19, centres on two college students who quarantine in a country mansion but are pursued by a masked killer. It adheres to the slasher script, but the humour and plot deftly bend a few tropes by utilising the pandemic gimmick.
If you enjoy courtroom dramas, check out ‘Saint Omer.’
In the guise of a legal thriller, director Alice Diop’s French entry for the Oscars’ international film category is an excellently insightful exploration of race and motherhood. Kayije Kagame plays a pregnant journalist who becomes increasingly involved in the trial of a Senegalese immigrant (Guslagie Malanda) accused of murdering her 15-month-old daughter.
If you want to be terrified for 100 minutes, watch ‘Skinamarink.’
While not for everyone, horror fans looking for a creepy, unsettling experience will find it in this found-footage-style film. Two young children (Lucas Paul and Dali Rose Tetreault) wake up in the middle of the night and can’t find their father, resulting in an unsettling time spent watching cartoons, seeing doors appear and disappear, and wondering what’s wrong with mom in a nightmare come to sleepless life.
If you grew up with Teddy Ruxpin and other toy companions, you’ll recognise ‘M3GAN.’
The story of a robotics engineer (Allison Williams) who creates a cutting-edge android doll, “pairs” it with her 9-year-old orphaned niece, and discovers that wasn’t such a good idea is told with more laughs than scares. M3GAN herself is hilarious as a 21st-century mean-girl Chucky in the midst of a sharply satirical take on parenting and modern technology.
If you enjoyed ‘Glass Onion,’ try ‘The Pale Blue Eye.’
This dark, moody whodunit from the nineteenth century has a clever literary bent. A weathered detective (Christian Bale) is called to West Point circa 1830 to solve a grisly murder, and he recruits Poe (Harry Melling), an oddball cadet years away from becoming a goth icon. Melling, a “Harry Potter” film kid, brings an eccentric magnetism to the twisty thriller.
If you want to see a gunslinger, watch ‘The Old Way.’
Colton Briggs (Cage) transformed himself from a cold-blooded outlaw to a devoted family man, but when a gang of miscreants causes tragedy in his home, Briggs and his 12-year-old daughter Brooke (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) embark on a vengeance quest. The straightforward Western’s characters, particularly the bad guys, are cookie-cutter, but not its parent-child dynamic, in which Brooke is far more like her father than one might expect.
If you like science, you should read ‘The Invisible Extinction.’
The documentary investigates the importance of microbes, how antibiotics have reduced the bacteria in our bodies, and why this may be contributing to the rise of chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes. The film examines experimental therapies as well as personal stories, and you’ll learn a lot about faecal transplants at the very least.