Theaters are still closed, but new streaming movies are coming to entertain you and your families during socially distanced times.
On the docket this weekend, the acclaimed abortion drama “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” gets an early digital release after an interrupted limited release in theaters because of coronavirus, Ed Helms and Taraji P. Henson team up as an interracial couple in the Netflix action comedy “Coffee & Kareem,” and Duchess Meghan of Sussex returns to Hollywood to narrate the newest Disneynature film “Elephant.”
Here’s a rundown of which new movies are hitting streaming on Friday for every cinematic taste.
All the movies streaming early amid coronavirus closures:‘Call of the Wild,’ ‘Downhill,’ ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’
If you’re down for majestic royalty: ‘Elephant’
There’s something fitting about Duchess Meghan narrating a story about a matriarchal pachyderm society. The documentary follows a mother-and-son African elephant duo and their herd’s female leader on their annual migration from the delta through the Kalahari Desert to find food and water during the dry season and then back once their home floods again. The camera captures gorgeous images of elephants, cheetahs and warthogs, and breathtaking shots of the Victoria Falls at the Zambezi River. There’s also a healthy dose of the circle of life, but Meghan Markle is a warm and inviting host throughout, intoning the seriousness of lions hunting our heroes, as well as the lightheartedness of young elephants farting and frolicking in the mud.
Where to watch: Disney+
If you need an emotional and sublime drama: ‘Never Rarely Sometimes Always’
Writer/director Eliza Hittman’s quietly powerful abortion drama tackles a touching subject with heart, nuance and aplomb. Small-town Pennsylvania teenager Autumn (newcomer Sidney Flanigan in a standout performance) learns she’s pregnant, decides to terminate and, since she has to have her parents’ consent in her state (and she doesn’t want them to know she’s pregnant), takes a bus ride to New York City with her cousin/co-worker Skylar (Talia Ryder) to undergo the procedure. Their trip is filled with obstacles, from money problems to a skeezy young dude from the bus, and Autumn’s story is told piecemeal, leading to a gripping scene where the reserved girl tearfully reveals her sexual history in gut-punching fashion.
Where to watch: iTunes, Vudu, Amazon
If you love R-rated buddy action comedies: ‘Coffee & Kareem’
They’re not exactly “Bad Boys,” or even Riggs and Murtaugh from “Lethal Weapon,” but the Netflix film tries hard for laughs (and sometimes succeeds) with Ed Helms as bumbling Detroit cop James Coffee and Terrence Little Gardenhigh as foul-mouthed 12-year-old Kareem. The kid hates that Coffee is dating his mom (Taraji P. Henson) and in trying to scare the officer off, Kareem accidentally captures a murder on video, which leads to Coffee and Kareen being on the run from drug dealers and crooked police. While better than director Michael Dowse’s similar “Stuber,” it’s predictable and hit-and-miss with jokes, though Betty Gilpin steals the movie as Coffee’s hated cop rival.
Where to watch: Netflix
If you’re fascinated by cults of personality: ‘The Other Lamb’
The indie horror flick explores gender power dynamics and toxic masculinity with the coming-of-age story of teenage Selah (Raffey Cassidy), a girl born into the all-female flock that worships a strange messianic figure called Shepherd (Michiel Huisman). Selah is one of his most devoted followers but as she begins the transition to adulthood, physically and emotionally, she begins to see the awful truth about Shepherd’s many “wives” and what his very icky plans are for her, too. Directed by Polish filmmaker Malgorzata Szumowska, the well-crafted film is filled with artistic imagery – for example, the strange sheep that follows Selah around – and pervasive unease.
Where to watch: iTunes, Vudu, Amazon
If you’ve got a taste for bloody action comedy: ‘Clover’
The crime thriller centers on a couple of unlucky bar-owning Irish brothers (Mark Webber and Jon Abrahams, who also directs) in debt to a local mob boss (Chazz Palminteri). The siblings can’t pay up and just as they’re about to be rubbed out, a teenage girl (Nicole Elizabeth Berger) comes into their lives to make the situation even more complicated. There’s not nearly enough Ron Perlman (as an enigmatic, alpha-dog power player), it’s pretty much a poor’s man “Pulp Fiction” with its oddball cast of characters (including lesbian hit women), but there’s enough twistiness and a few surprises that make it work if gangland films are your jam.
If you’re hankering for a modern romantic tale: ‘Almost Love’
The ensemble dramedy mines well-tread territory – big-city friends dealing with the ups and downs of life and relationships – albeit with new faces and a few fresh tweaks. Painter Adam (Scott Evans) and web entrepreneur Marklin (Augustus Prew) are a gay couple coming to the point of committing fully or breaking up; Adam’s best friend Elizabeth (Kate Walsh) is weighing dumping her husband because of possible infidelity; their pal Cammy (Michelle Buteau) is dating a homeless guy (Colin Donnell); and Haley (Zoe Chao) wrestles with her feelings for the teenager (Christopher Gray) she tutors. They’re all kind of hot messes, really, yet the film on the whole isn’t without its contemporary charms.