10 movies people are watching and talking about across the multiplatformverse
Social distancing and staying at home have not prevented people from consuming and discussing the most popular movies. Here are 10 recent theatrical releases available online, with links to reviews by Times critic Justin Chang (J.C.) as well as Carlos Aguilar (C.A.), Kimber Myers (K.M.) and Katie Walsh (K.W.).
Bad Boys for Life Violence is something the first two films, whatever you may think of them, did exceptionally well and action junkies can rest assured that this stylish, derivative and fitfully fun third outing, once again starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, will at least give them their money’s worth in slashed throats, impaled torsos and bullet-riddled bodies. (J.C.) R. VOD
Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) A sleek, diverting, hyper-violent caper starring Margot Robbie, it is an impudent blast of comic energy directed by Cathy Yan. Light on psychology and devoid of prestige, it’s a slab of R-rated hard candy that refuses to take anything, least of all itself, too seriously. (J.C.) R. VOD
Dolittle Starring Robert Downey Jr., it is hasty, hectic and harried, but worse, it is utterly halfhearted. The film is directed and cowritten by Stephen Gaghan, and the character development is negligible, the jokes unoriginal; it’s lowest-common-denominator fare. (K.W.) PG. VOD
The Gentlemen Writer-director Guy Ritchie’s comic thriller is a starry but curiously low-impact return to the twisty, garrulous British gangster pictures with which he made his reputation years ago. The sartorial pleasures are nothing to scoff at, even when you can’t say the same for the movie itself. Featuring Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Colin Farrell and Hugh Grant. (J.C.) R. VOD
Gretel & Hansel In director Osgood Perkins’ gorgeous third horror film, a retelling of the fairy tale elevates the concept of female power to one of its primary themes, illuminating the abilities of not only the witch but also a girl on the cusp of womanhood. But while it offers a stunning feast for the eyes, the substance is likely to leave viewers still hungry. (K.M.) PG-13. VOD
Onward Pixar Animation Studios pride themselves on their originality and ingenuity, but this particular world of wonder, populated by galloping centaurs, spell-casting wizards and fire-breathing dragons, feels curiously, even knowingly, derivative. Directed by Dan Scanlon; voices by Chris Pratt and Tom Holland. (J.C.) PG. VOD and Disney+
The Platform Class warfare is distilled into an ingenious and brutal allegory in Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s astonishing debut, where a vertical prison proves that wealth, simplified in this case as food, doesn’t trickle down from the top few to the many suffering at the bottom. (C.A.) NR. Netflix
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Director J.J. Abrams offers swift and vigorous entertainment, with a sense of forward momentum that keeps you watching despite several dubious plot turns and cheap narrative fakeouts in the frenzied big-bang finish of the latest and likely not last “Star Wars” trilogy. (J.C.) PG-13. VOD
Trolls World Tour True to its title, the sugary-sweet animated bauble consists of one lavish concert after another, performed and attended by cute multihued pixies with big hair, creamy voices and infernally catchy beats. Watching it is a bit like listening to a Top 40 station on full blast while snorting confetti and Pop Rocks, followed by a cotton-candy-and-Cheez-Whiz sundae. (J.C.) PG. VOD
Underwater Kristen Stewart may be slumming in this lean, efficient, unapologetically derivative bottom-of-the-sea freakout, but why not? The conditions have done nothing to diminish her focus and charisma, and her deep dive into this schlocky material makes it that much easier for us to follow suit. (J.C.) PG-13. VOD
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