It’s a very interesting week for the best new movies streaming online. Since we started tracking these releases closely, we’ve noticed that some weeks are loaded with blockbusters or documentaries, but few seem as spread out as this week.
Up front is Sonic the Hedgehog’s return to theaters, which debuts on demand and on Paramount Plus simultaneously. It’s a fun ride, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all film. That’s why we’re very happy that the global box office RRR – the most interesting film on this list – is finally on Netflix. Beloved the world over for wild action scenes, including the one where a man grabs a motorbike, RRR skipped the normal digital release we’ve come to expect (and how several items on this list are distributed).
Then you have an Anthony Hopkins film that was originally sold as NFT, a very timely documentary about one of Vladimir Putin’s political adversaries, and another documentary about a very controversial musician who died in 20 years old. Oh, and a fun -YA search rom com that was on HBO Max can be seen without the service.
Let’s break down the seven movies you should watch this week. And also check out our guide on what to watch this weekend.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Paramount Plus and digital release)
The first Sonic the Hedgehog movie was the kind of pleasant surprise gamers have been trained not to believe: a genuinely fun film adaptation of a video game. Along with Detective Pikachu, he suggested change was afoot. The Uncharted movie may have taken a step back afterwards, but Sonic the Hedgehog 2 reminded us why the quick and sneaky blue hedgehog is king of this particular kind of movie.
That said, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a team effort thanks to the introductions of his friend Tails (voiced by Colleen O’Shaughnessey) and his frenemy Knuckles (Idris Elba). The former adds a bit more heart to the film, while the latter? Imagine what would happen if Idris Elba (not Dave Bautista) was thrown into the literal-minded Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy. Elba makes the antagonistic echidna work well on the big screen with great line-readings for the mindless character who becomes a pawn in Dr. Robotnik’s (Jim Carrey) revenge plan.
Carrey, as was the case last time around, steals every scene he had a chance at, which makes sense since the movie is about Robotnik’s quest to steal the Chaos Emeralds. As someone who paid to see Sonic 2 in theaters, I’m giving this one a recommendation for a fun time, provided your expectations are set for playful enjoyment.
This former HBO Max exclusive is a YA romcom that sends Walt (Cole Sprouse from Riverdale) along for the ride when he falls for Sophie (Lana Condor from the To All The Boys movies). Or maybe Walt doesn’t know he loves Sophie yet. What he does know is that she apparently picked the wrong guy to chase him to Mars. Sophie, in the midst of the longest relationship this side of the multiverse, seems to please him.
After being found snuck aboard the ship to Mars, Walt tells Sophie that visiting the Red Planet has been his lifelong dream. Or at least that’s his excuse until he finds the courage to be honest and upfront. On board, Walt meets Leon (Zach Braff) who may just be the counselor he needs to sort out his emotions before Sophie and her boyfriend end up on Mars.
Buy it or rent it on Amazon Prime Video
It’s time for Rise, Roar and Revolt – as one of the biggest movies of the year (grossing over $150 million worldwide) finally airs. But Netflix hasn’t fully prepared people for this, as the film slipped under the radar last Friday.
But since we found out Indian movie RRR was on Netflix, we’ve been excited to stream it (but also a bit confused, more on that below). Set in 1920s India, RRR is an epic tale of justice centered around two folk heroes in India: Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan) and Komaram Bheem (NT Rama Rao Jr.). Watch the trailer if you haven’t heard it already and see a guy grabbing a motorcycle. Director SS Rajamouli describes the film as the story of an “imaginary friendship between two superheroes”.
Praised for the crazy action scenes that have thinking American action movies that need to level up, RRR’s Netflix release comes with a little asterisk. This is the Hindi dub of the film, as Netflix decided not to use native Telugu. This may be because Indian streaming service ZEE5 owns the Telugu rights, but there doesn’t seem to be a good reason why the Telugu version can’t be shared.
Post it on netflix right now
Around the world, five people have been told they are part of the journey to save humanity. Each was unaware of the other until now, and they are told that they must work on something called a “reactivation plan” to save humanity.
These five people were selected because they were followers of Finley Hart (Anthony Hopkins), who has since passed away, but speaks to them via seemingly pre-recorded messages. Hart’s death is its own mystery, as he claims he died because of this plan. Oddly enough, Zero Contact was released as an NFT on the Vuele platform. But, luckily, you can just buy or rent it online now.
Buy or rent Zero Contact on Amazon Prime Video and other services
Navalny (HBO Max)
Challenging an incumbent politician shouldn’t put your life at risk, but Alexey Navalny has challenged one of the most dangerous political leaders: Russia’s Vladimir Putin. The documentary features both his ascent and his hospitalization when he is poisoned by the nerve agent Novichok.
Directed by Daniel Roher, Navalny gives its titular protagonist a chance to say “really?” and a chance to ask why he was poisoned. HBO Max is stepping up to fill some of the void left by CNN Plus, as that film originally debuted on CNN (and very easily could have adapted to the now-defunct streaming service).
Post it on HBO Max from Thursday (May 26)
Watch Me: XXXTentacion (Hulu)
Fame and youth rarely mix, as was the tragic story of Jahseh Onfroy, better known as rapper XXXTENTACION (pronounced XXX-ten-ta-cion). Look At Me: XXXTENTACION is a mix of never-before-seen archival footage and interviews with his family, friends, and romantic partners, all seeking to analyze the intricate dark stories of Onfroy’s fame.
Many disturbing incidents litter Onfroy’s story, including the stabbing of his manager and an arrest for aggravated bodily harm to a pregnant woman (along with other charges including witness tampering). This documentary seeks to both show Onfroy’s popularity and push the question of why he was not saved from spiraling out of control before he was shot in a robbery and died at the age of 20.
Post it on Hulu from Thursday (May 26)
We Feed People (Disney Plus)
Need a feel-good story with a funny human at the center of it? I am on. And director Ron Howard brings one with We Feed People, a National Geographic documentary film about beloved chef José Andrés and his World Central Kitchen initiative.
Andrés (whose voice is so charming he should release a cookbook audiobook) sees food as a way to change lives. And in the 12 years that the World Central Kitchen has been active, it has grown from a small project to a reputable humanitarian airline organization that does invaluable work during disasters.
Post it on Disney+ from Friday (May 27)