As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, Hollywood has been forced to make some changes. With theaters shut down, the deadline for digital releases has been moved up. Movies which have recently premiered (or are slated to open in the following weeks) have stuck filmmakers between a rock and a hard place: with discouraging box-office results and no solution in sight.
Several studios, like NBC Universal, in anticipation of making some money, have disclosed plans to put a rush on their digital releases. Much ahead of their schedule, the studios are hoping to make up for lost funds while providing entertainment for Americans holed up at home. In some instances, the studios will release these movies only weeks after the theater premieres, rather than after the typical couple of months.
Beginning March 20, the first set of movies was digitally released. The next set followed on March 24. The majority of the movies will be accessible on platforms like iTunes, Amazon Prime, some cable providers, and gaming systems like Xbox and PlayStation.
Unfortunately, most of the platforms will offer these digital releases at higher prices (about $20 per purchase or rental). It is important to note, though, that this price is not too far from that of going to the movie theaters in general. Think about how expensive popcorn, Icees, and tickets can be.
If you are looking for the right movie for you, check out the guide below for the first week of these quick turnaround digital releases.
As the OG of romantic comedies, Emma is among the few Jane Austen stories which lean heavily on dark satire. Emma, created by photographer and music video director Autumn de Wilde, hits the nail on the head. This adaptation of Emma, with lovely Anya Taylor-Joy at the helm, dredges up the craziness of the insanely wealthy (and those who surround them) during the 19th century: the pretensions, the ruffles that hide the brutalities of everyday life, and, of course, absolute apathy.
How to watch it: Emma can be digitally rented or bought on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime, and FandangoNow.
A bunch of hicks awaken in the middle of a field, to quickly discover that they are being hunted as a pastime by a set of elites. The question remains: Who are these hunters and are they really elites? The Hunt is a satirical take, which aims to make fun of everyone involved. Yet it misses the point as to what satire is supposed to do and how it works. Instead of overemphasizing the concept it intends to impale, The Hunt duplicates them unyieldingly. Instead of pointing to a specific behavior or ethos that led to our national turmoil, the movie points to the symptoms as the problem--placing emphasis on slogans and bywords and hot-button phrases we throw around in the media. The Hunt, if not jumping face-first, at least plays right into themes of cynicism and nihilism.
How to watch it: The Hunt can be watched via iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime, FandangoNow, and a number of other on-demand services.
The Invisible Man
The Invisible Man, bizarrely opportune, went to theaters days after Harvey Weinstein was convicted on two sex crime charges. Elizabeth Moss plays a wife, desperately hoping to get away from the abusive grasp of her husband, a man who has discovered a means to be invisible. As viewers, we have the chance to endure the complete and utter dread of a victim gone unbelieved and look on into the multiple forms that abusers use to exploit their victims. The Invisible Man explores the toxic manner in which abusers make themselves seem like the victim, rather than the other way around. The story stands the test of time, reflecting a reality for many, many Americans, who struggle to escape abusive relationships.
How to watch it: You can rent or buy The Invisible Man on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime, FandangoNow, and other on-demand streaming services.
Onward explores the lives of two brothers, in search of their late father. The movie is set in a world once racked and rampant with magic that has since become mundane. The plot makes use of the fantastical elements, utilized by Tolkien and fantasy role-playing game creators alike, but mixes in the bland parts of everyday realities. Onward does a fantastic job in crafting the loving relationship between the two brothers, awarding the movie its unique impression of the magical world.Onward, like many other Pixar films, combines the bittersweet with the sweet and hysterical, making it a movie for families to enjoy together.
How to watch it: Onward can be found, for rental or purchase, on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime, and FandangoNow. And if none of these options tickle your fancy, the movie is set to arrive on Disney+ today.
Vin Diesel, starring as Ray Garrison, plays a retired soldier in search of revenge for his wife's death. Inspired by the Valiant Comics series crafted by Kevin VanHook, Don Perlin, and Bob Layton, Bloodshot, though not the best action movie, is full of shocks and guns and gunfights galore. If you're feeling overwhelmed by all this coronavirus talk and want something to take your mind off it completely, this movie is perfect for you. I mean, come on, it's Vin Diesel.
How to watch it: Bloodshot can be purchased or rented via iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime, FandangoNow, and other instant streaming services.
Birds of Prey
Birds of Prey stars Margot Robbie as colorful and violent Harley Quinn. Fresh out of a toxic relationship with the Joker, Quinn sets out to forget him. The movie offers viewers a chance to watch Harley and her wicked gang take to the streets--starring Black Canary, played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell; police detective Renee Montoya, played by Rosie Perez; assassin Huntress, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead; and street urchin Cassandra Cain, played by Ella Jay Basco--and inflict chaos on bad, bad men, among them Ewan McGregor's crime boss Roman Sionis. The movie, though attempting to hold some feminist substance, offers little to the audience. But it's always nice to see Margot Robbie on the screen.
How to watch it: Birds of Prey is available for purchase on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime, and FandangoNow. It will be accessible by rental on April 7.
Guy Ritchie, alongside an assembly of Hollywood's finest men (Hugh Grant, Jeremy Strong, Charlie Hunnam, Matthew McConaughey, Colin Farrell, and Henry Golding) returns to the silver screen in a story of rampant crime and disorder. Karen Han of Polygon notes, "Ritchie is no longer the strongest beast in the forest, and he's aging out of the game, too ... his brand of humor, which might have flown in the late 90s and early 2000s, has aged in an ugly way. Every part of The Gentlemen is classic Ritchie: Scoundrels of all sorts cross paths in an ever-widening web of crime, with sequences full of fast dialogue and fast cuts. And it comes with a racist streak that feels severely antiquated."
How to watch it: The Gentleman can be streamed digitally for purchase on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime, FandangoNow, and other on-demand services.
A large percentage of Americans still believe in the death penalty. Just Mercy angles to rewrite the narrative, offering a realistic account aiming to set fire to the viewers' preconceptionsof injustice and inequality.Inspired by Bryan Stevenson's bestselling 2014 memoir, Just Mercy details the life of Stevenson, played by Michael B. Jordan, as he works to help the wrongfully accused in Alabama. The movie also explores the creation of Stevenson's organization, the Equal Justice Initiative. Just Mercy zeroes in on the story of Walter "Johnny D" McMillian, played by Jamie Foxx, a low-income black man convicted in 1987 for the murder of a white girl, based on a false testimony. The movie is a spirited, ardent account with a bona fide hero at the helm.
How to watch it: Just Mercy is available for purchase or rental on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime, FandangoNow, and other on-demand services.
The Way Back
Ben Affleck as Jack, a mourning alcoholic introvert, delivers a fantastic performance, as his character finds himself coaching basketball at his high school. Though sounding like it could be as cliché as ever, The Way Back doesn't allow for the viewer to get too cozy in one spot. It's a film centered around an addict who stumbles upon a position as a high school basketball coach but never quite throws his whole self into it. The gravity of The Way Back--its aversion to taking the easy way out and Affleck's pledge to allow his personal pains to instruct his performance--is reminiscent of the type of mid-budget films common in Hollywood in the 1990s (films that weren't created to win awards). Fans of such movies will be sure to find just what they are looking for in The Way Back.
How to watch it: The Way Back can be bought or rented via iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime, FandangoNow, and other on-demand services.