The movie industry is reeling from the effects of Covid-19. Film production has ceased and theatrical moviegoing has come to a halt. That does not mean watching new films is impossible, though. There are a number of new and recent releases to watch – including some real biggies.
New films are available way ahead of schedule on Amazon’s Prime Video (in the Prime Video Cinema section) and its streaming and on-demand competitors. Some will call the prices too high – the rental-only selections are $19.99, with 30 days to start and 48 hours to watch – but considering the cost of a couple big-screen tickets, the figures are not too outrageous.
A few have already enjoyed healthy theatrical runs and are merely being released early – see “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” “Sonic the Hedgehog” and “Birds of Prey.” Others barely had a chance to play in cinemas, if at all.
Here’s a roundup of the latest releases. Unless otherwise indicated, the films listed are available for on-demand viewing on Prime Video, iTunes, Vudu and Fandango Now.
“Onward.” Pixar’s latest fared poorly at the box office, mainly due to its release just as the coronavirus threat was gaining steam. But it’s a sweet, winning family film about the bonds between siblings and the quest for identity set in a world of elves, pixies and dragons. “Onward” will be on Disney+ on April 3, so it makes sense for subscribers to wait. Currently available for purchase only.
“Emma.” The latest adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel is a delight, featuring a stellar lead performance from the exquisite Anya Taylor-Joy and superb backing from Johnny Flynn and Bill Nighy. It’s one of the finest films so far this year, and is available to watch at home mere weeks after opening. Currently available for rental only.
“The Invisible Man.” This horror film was a pleasant surprise – a smart, genuinely thrilling horror story that’s also a harrowing tale of domestic violence. Elisabeth Moss gives another stunning performance. Currently available for rental only.
“The Hunt.” This sour satire about humans being hunted for sport was famously bumped from its original release date due to then-recent mass shootings. Currently available for rental only.
“The Way Back.” Ben Affleck’s performance as an alcoholic basketball coach earned raves. Currently available for purchase only.
“The Call of the Wild.” Harrison Ford and a CGI dog lead this well-received Jack London adaptation. Currently available for purchase only.
“I Still Believe.” Christian music fans are likely already aware of this follow-up to “I Can Only Imagine,” which tells the story of singer Jeremy Camp. Currently available for rental only.
“Downhill.” Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell star in comedy flop based on the Swedish film “Force Majeure.” Currently available for purchase only.
“Bloodshot.” Vin Diesel. Comic book adaptation. If that entices you, take the “Bloodshot” plunge. Currently available for purchase only.
In addition to these titles, “Frozen II” already is on Disney+; the masterful French romance “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” is streaming on Hulu with on-demand to follow; horror flick “Gretel & Hansel” arrives for early on-demand purchase on April 7; and the sequel “Trolls World Tour" will be available on-demand on April 10. The acclaimed drama “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” starring Buffalo native Sidney Flanigan premieres on-demand on April 3.
Plus, the North Park Theatre and Dipson Theatres are offering unique “virtual cinema” selections.