Theaters are still closed, but new streaming movies are coming to entertain you and your families during socially distanced times.
This weekend, there’s a pair of Sundance Film Festival favorites hitting a couple of the big services, with 2019 festival hit “Selah and the Spades” premiering on Amazon Prime and this year’s pick “Sergio” hitting Netflix. There’s also some stuff for all you Alicia Silverstone and Michael Shannon fans out there. And if you’re in the mood for giving back, Lionsgate is rolling out its first free Friday night movie livestream, starting with “The Hunger Games” (9 p.m. EDT/6 PDT), hosted by Jamie Lee Curtis and raising money for the theater employees affected by the coronavirus crisis.
Here’s a rundown of which new movies are hitting streaming this Friday for every cinematic taste:
If you enjoy high school clique films: ‘Selah and the Spades’
The postscript at the end of the superb teen flick is “A film by us all,” and writer/director Tayarisha Poe’s feature debut feels universal, even with a whole bunch of heightened Shakespearean drama at a private Pennsylvania prep school. Selah (Lovie Simone) runs the Spades, the top dogs of the competitive food chain of five factions, though college plans, rival classmates and a talented new apprentice (Celeste O’Connor) all make it harder to keep her eyes on the prize and maintain her group’s underground drug business. The school’s production of “Macbeth” acts as a metaphor for the movie, an impressive and wonderfully creative story about the psychological toll of seizing power.
Where to watch: Amazon
If you like love triangles: ‘Bad Therapy’
We’ve seen comebacks from Keanu Reeves and Renee Zellweger, and now the Aliciassance might be upon us. After a bloody good appearance recently in “The Lodge,” Silverstone stars in the very dark comedy as an LA realtor and embattled mom who decides to seek counseling with her husband (Rob Corddry) and winds up hiring a therapist (Michaela Watkins) who’s actually crazy and drives more of a wedge between the couple. It’s no “Clueless,” that’s for sure – tonally, “Therapy” is all over the place and can’t figure out if it wants to be funny or sinister – but Silverstone confirms she’s as solid as ever.
If you REALLY like love triangles: ‘Endings, Beginnings’
You’ll need some wine to get through this emotional minefield. Shailene Woodley plays Daphne, a woman trying to get her groove back after a long-term romance gone wrong (which weirdly gets pieced, mystery-style, throughout). She doesn’t want to jump back into anything serious, but instead doubles down, fostering feelings for an academic type (Jamie Dornan) and also for his bad-boy friend (Sebastian Stan). Unsurprisingly, not everything goes smoothly and everybody makes some bad decisions – though Kyra Sedgwick shows up as a wise sage for Woodley’s character. The drama is well-acted enough but spends too much time on its soap-operatic main plot rather than exploring Daphne’s painful backstory that’s mostly glossed over.
If you’re spooked by mirrors and/or creepy kids: ‘Behind You’
A few chills and plenty of well-tread tropes are in store with this horror flick, which centers on two young sisters (Addy Miller and Elizabeth Birkner). When their mom dies, and their dad can’t come home because he’s working overseas, they get dropped off to live with their very strange estranged aunt (Jan Broberg). All the mirrors in the house are covered up (for a reason, naturally), and when one of the girls uncovers one, she releases a nasty demon that’s haunted the family before. The debut by writing/directing duo Matthew Whedon (brother of Joss) and Andrew Mecham has a few choice scenes, though they are mostly undone by convoluted mythology and a lack of scares.
Where to watch: iTunes, Vudu, FandangoNOW
If you dig mystery with a dash of Michael Shannon: ‘The Quarry’
A couple of great character actors get in the spotlight in this thriller based on the Damon Galgut novel. Shea Whigham stars as a fugitive who kills a preacher on the way to a new gig in a small town in West Texas, taking the murdered man’s place, and Shannon plays the local police chief who’s suspicious of the new guy, even though the townsfolk dig his quiet holy vibe. Themes of race and prejudice aren’t engaged to the fullest, yet there are a few surprises as well as complex turns from Whigham and Shannon in a slow-burn tale about sin and freedom.
Where to watch: iTunes, Vudu. FandangoNOW
If you’re down for a history lesson: ‘Sergio’
Famed United Nations diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello, who was killed in a bombing in Iraq in 2003, is the subject of the Netflix biopic/love story. Wagner Moura (“Narcos”) plays the charming Brazilian-born Sergio in a drama that follows him from being stationed in Baghdad up to the tragic incident, where American soldiers work to unearth him from rubble. That narrative is interspersed with flashbacks from his past, including his love affair with economics expert Carolina Larriera (Ana de Armas) and de Mello’s work for East Timor’s independence from Indonesia. The plot gets muddled with so many intertwining story threads, but Moura is magnetic as a fascinating humanitarian completely devoted to helping people, sometimes to his own sacrifice.
Where to watch: Netflix