The Northman, Uncharted, and more new movies you can watch at home this weekend

Polygon - Fri May 13 22:15

It’s Friday, and there’s approximately one metric ton of movies new to streaming and VOD this week.

Two of our picks for the best movies of the year so far are now available to rent in The Northman and Ambulance, as is the animated heist comedy The Bad Guys. The Sandra Bullock-Channing Tatum adventure rom-com The Lost City is on Paramount Plus, while the Uncharted adaptation with Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg is now a $5.99 rental. Plus, there’s a group of new Netflix originals (including a Rebel Wilson comedy and a Tamil-language Vijay action thriller), the return of The Matrix Resurrections on HBO Max, the debut of M. Night Shyamalan’s Old on HBO Max, and a new animated Catwoman adventure.

To help you get a handle on what’s new and available, here are the new movies you can watch on streaming and VOD this weekend.


The Northman

Where to watch: Available to rent for $19.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

Alexander Skarsgard, wearing a wolf skin, howls during a firelight war ritual in The Northman Photo: Aidan Monaghan/Focus Features

Robert Eggers’ visceral historical revenge drama The Northman tells the story of Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård), the son of a deposed king (Ethan Hawke), who flees from his home after his father is betrayed and murdered by his uncle Fjölnir (Claes Bang). Destined to avenge his father’s death, Amleth journeys to Iceland disguised as a slave and, with the aid of a sorceress named Olga (Anya Taylor-Joy), enacts his plot for vengeance.

From our review:

The violence that follows (and precedes) Amleth’s arrival in Iceland is gory and graphic, and Eggers films Viking raids on humble villages in impressively choreographed tracking shots that glide through the blood, mud, and gurgling death rattles of dozens of sackcloth-clad extras. The dialogue similarly blends savagery with bombast: One character chokes out a death curse, promising to plague his killer until “a flaming vengeance gorges on your flesh.” Another optimistically tells a friend, “together we will rage on the battlefield of corpses.” Place all this against the majestic Icelandic landscape and an aural backdrop of booming drums and deep bass chants that roll in like a thunderstorm, and the effect is appropriately awe-inspiring.

The Bad Guys

Where to watch: Available to purchase for $19.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

Mr. Shark, Mr. Wolf, Mr. Piranha, Mr. Snake (Marc Maron) in costume and surrounded by cops in The Bad Guys Image: DreamWorks

This animated heist movie follows a group of anthropomorphic animal criminals who get caught, pretend to be reformed, and then find themselves actually wanting to be the thing they’re pretending to be. With an ensemble cast featuring Sam Rockwell, Marc Maron, Awkwafina, Anthony Ramos, and more, we can all agree on one thing: Yes, Mr. Wolf is pretty hot.

From our review:

It’s all pretty lightweight stuff, and after recent mainstream triumphs like Turning Red and Encanto from two different arms of Disney, The Bad Guys may well shore up DreamWorks’ status as the B-squad of contemporary American animation, where spectacle is the default and emotional growth is a little pat. But the better DreamWorks cartoons come alive when they’re liberated from Disney formulas, rather than chasing after or self-consciously spoofing them. Even when The Bad Guys resembles other movies, it’s stealing from them gracefully, with its own sensibility and energy.

Ambulance

Where to watch: Available to purchase for $19.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II face off, holding automatic weapons, in Ambulance Photo: Andrew Cooper/Universal Pictures

Michael Bay is back with this high-octane heist movie about two brothers (Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) who attempt a bank heist and end up on a very long chase in an ambulance. It looks like the return of quintessential Bay, with impressive action and high-flying drone camerawork.

From our review:

Ambulance belongs to a specific breed of action film that has been chased out of theaters over the last couple of decades by the fantastical, digital franchise blockbuster. It’s a one-shot idea that sets off a practical spectacle of car crashes, gun battles, stunts, and sweaty acting, orchestrated by a deranged ringmaster of a director who will stop at nothing to get the shot he has in mind. It’s stupid, exciting, unruly (with a 136-minute run time), and strangely refreshing.

The Lost City

Where to watch: Available to stream on Paramount Plus

Channing Tatum and Brad Pitt wheel Sandra Bullock away from a huge explosion in a wheelbarrow in The Lost City Photo: Kimberley French/Paramount Pictures

The 2022 adventure comedy The Lost City stars Sandra Bullock as Lorretta Sage, a reclusive romance author who frequently butts heads with Alan (Channing Tatum), the handsome and self-absorbed cover model known for embodying the hero of her books. When Loretta is kidnapped by an eccentric billionaire who believes that her books are the key to uncovering a real-life ancient treasure, Alan sets off on a mission to rescue her to once and for all prove his own heroism.

From our review:

While the plot of The Lost City makes it sound notably similar to Romancing the Stone, it’s actually most successful as a successor to The Mummy, a film that found the comedy in the adventure-romance genre and inspired many competitors that failed to live up to it. The Lost City doesn’t have the most exciting or novel plot, and it doesn’t push action filmmaking forward. But it does feature two of the moment’s greatest movie stars coming in at the top of their rom-com game, mixing adventure and love. Filmmaking brothers Aaron Nee and Adam Nee (The Last Romantic, Band of Robbers) avoid many of the stereotypes these movies normally fall into, and along the way, they remind viewers that Channing Tatum is a perfect himbo, and Sandra Bullock is a long-standing rom-com queen.

Uncharted

Where to watch: Available to rent for $5.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

Yar, Mark Wahlberg and Tom Holland be on a pirate ship in Uncharted Photo: Clay Enos/Sony Pictures

Tom Holland (Spider-Man: No Way Home) stars in Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer’s 2022 adaptation of the Uncharted action-adventure video game series as Nathan Drake, a streetwise thief-turned-treasure hunter who teams up with partner-mentor Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) to search for the lost treasure of Ferdinand Magellan. How well does the film measure up to the source material?

From our review:

The filmmakers have the right idea of what makes an Uncharted action set piece, whether they’re molding a sequence after something from the games, or inventing something entirely new that would fit within one of them, like a bit involving characters battling inside pirate ships hoisted into the air by airplanes. But the execution is flat, inconsequential, and boring. Not even a remix of the Uncharted theme during a climactic shootout, padded up to that point by generic action muzak, brings joy.

Sneakerella

Where to watch: Available to stream on Disney Plus

El (Chosen Jacobs) points with a spiral notebook as Kira King (Lexi Underwood) looks on in Sneakerella. Photo: Roger Erickson/Disney

A modern re-imagining of Cinderella set in New York, Sneakerella follows El (Chosen Jacobs), a young sneaker designer who falls for the daughter (Lexi Underwood) of a famous basketball player (John Salley) while pursuing his dreams of making it big in the sneaker industry.

Firestarter

Where to watch: Available to stream on Peacock

Ryan Kiera Armstrong as Charlie in Firestarter, directed by Keith Thomas. Image: Ken Woroner/Universal Pictures

Director Keith Thomas’ Firestarter takes Stephen King’s 1980 sci-fi thriller and adapts it for the 21st century. The film follows Andy (Zac Efron) and Vicky (Sydney Lemmon), two parents who as college students took part in a secret government experiment that granted them special powers. When their daughter, Charlie (Ryan Kiera Armstrong), manifests powerful pyrokinetic abilities after her 11th birthday, the family go on the run to protect from government agents tasked with hunting them down and experimenting on her. Originally scheduled for release in 2021 before being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Firestarter premieres in theaters and on Peacock this weekend.

From our review,

Firestarter predates the 2010s wave of “elevated” superhero movies — in fact, the S-word doesn’t appear in the ’84 version at all. (Here, sadly, it is uttered, albeit quite late in the film.) And to be clear, neither of the Firestarter films are competing on the same level as movies like Fast Color or Midnight Special, both of which share elements with this horror-ish, paranoid sci-fi thriller. But sometimes in the world of remakes and Stephen King adaptations — and especially when the two overlap — “quality” can become awfully relative. Firestarter 2022 is a marginal improvement on the ’84 original, if only because it has a handful of redeeming qualities rather than virtually none at all.

The Sadness

Where to watch: Available to stream on Shudder

A character from Shudder’s The Sadness drives away from zombies on a motorcycle Image: Shudder

A brutal zombie movie loosely inspired by Garth Ennis’ comic series Crossed, The Sadness follows a young couple in Taiwan who are looking for each other at the start of a zombie outbreak. As a heads up, this movie looks particularly gruesome, as its brand of zombie is less “mindless brain-eating” and more “pure sadism.”

From our review:

Plenty of great movies have played fast and loose with the grotesque — and many have been much harder to stomach than this one. But exploitation horror films like Wes Craven’s 1977 version of The Hills Have Eyes do so with less shame and more finesse. (Jabbaz has a habit of having his characters remind the audience, in the most thuddingly literal terms, about the atrocities they just committed.) The line between absurdity and effectiveness is delicate when dealing with these kinds of extremes, and The Sadness ends up in absurdity too often for its shock value to actually land.

The Matrix Resurrections

Where to watch: Available to stream on HBO Max

Neo and Trinity stand in front of burning wreckage in The Matrix Resurrections. Photo: Murray Close/Warner Bros. Pictures

Eighteen years after the conclusion of the Matrix trilogy comes The Matrix Resurrections, a post-cyberpunk love story and heist movie from series creator Lana Wachowski featuring returning stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss. An ambitious, strange, and deeply personal continuation of the original series that further complicates and interrogates the concept of the “chosen one,” The Matrix Resurrections is every bit as audacious and singular as the 1999 original.

From our review:

The Matrix Resurrections is about doing the impossible. On a very basic level, it’s about the insurmountable and inherently cynical task of making a follow-up to the Matrix trilogy, one that breaks technical and narrative ground the way the first film did. On a thematic one, it’s an agitprop romance, one of the most effective mass media diagnoses of the current moment that finds countless things to be angry about, and proposes fighting them all with radical, reckless love. On top of all that, it is also a kick-ass work of sci-fi action — propulsive, gorgeous, and yet still intimate — that revisits the familiar to show audiences something very new.

Old

Where to watch: Available to stream on HBO Max

Gael García Bernal as Guy in M. Night Shyamalan’s Old Image: Universal Pictures

The premise of Old, the latest horror thriller from director M. Night Shyamalan, is as terrifying and cockamamie as you’d expect from the title alone. Following a family vacationing at a tropical resort, the movie takes a dark turn when they and fellow guests at the resort find themselves trapped on a mysterious beach with no way to escape.

Even worse, their bodies are rapidly growing and deteriorating at an alarming rate, forcing the group to search for a way to safety before their bodies crumble into dust. One of the people trapped on the beach, played by The Underground Railroad’s Aaron Pierre, is a rapper named Mid-Sized Sedan. Really.

From our review:

Old has been marketed and constructed as a thriller — the opening act is steeped in dread, and its horror comes from the whittling down of its small cast, both psychologically and mortally. But it’s also a surprisingly sentimental film. While its title and premise presume a focus on an adult fear of aging and death, Shyamalan’s script and staging is overwhelmingly concerned with children. The few scenes before the beach are almost entirely from their perspective, as Trent, precocious and smart, rattles off facts and makes friends, and his older sister Maddox looks out for him. The nightmare of the beach isn’t what happens to the adults, who ought to know better, but the children, who, mere feet away from their parents, are thrust into adulthood without any guidance at all, getting a lifetime’s worth of regret compressed into a few moments.

Beast

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

Vijay holds a gun in Beast Image: Netflix

Vijay (Master) stars in this Tamil-language action thriller as an ex-spy who is left to his own devices to stop a terrorist attack in a shopping mall. Expect banger action sequences, musical numbers, and Vijay’s usual leading-man charm.

Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 Sustainable War

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

Motoko Kusanagi sitting behind a glowing console in Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045. Image: Netflix

Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 Sustainable War is a theatrical re-cut version of Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 that abbreviates the 12-episode arc of Kenji Kamiyama and Shinji Aramaki’s CG anime into a two-hour run time. Set in the year 2045, the film follows Motoko Kusanagi and her mercenary group of former Public Security Section 9 members who are re-recruited by Daisuke Aramaki to investigate and fend off an new existential threat to humanity in the form of a mysterious organization of superhuman individuals known as “post-humans.”

If you’re not interested in watching the anime series, Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 Sustainable War might be the best opportunity for fans of the venerable cyberpunk franchise to see what this latest incarnation is all about — especially with the second season just around the corner.

Operation Mincemeat

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

(L-R) Matthew Macfadyen as Charles Cholmondeley, Colin Firth as Ewen Montagu and Johnny Flynn as Ian Fleming in Operation Mincemeat. Photo: Giles Keyte/See-Saw Films

The historical espionage drama Operation Mincemeat stars Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen (Succession) as two British intelligence officers during World War II who orchestrate an elaborate counter-intelligence mission involving a corpse and falsified documents in order to save thousands of Allied soldiers and break Nazi Germany’s hold on Europe.

The Getaway King

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

Antos (Jakub Gierszal), Najmro (Dawid Ogrodnik), Tereska (Masza Wagrocka), and Ujma (Rafal Zawierucha) in The Getaway King. Image: Netflix

Set in the last days of communism in Poland, the action-comedy crime drama The Getaway King is based on the real-life story of Zdzisław “Najmro” Najmrodzki (Dawid Ogrodnik), a wily, streetwise thief infamous for escaping imprisonment over 29 times. After meeting and falling in love with his new girlfriend, Najmro finds himself looking for a new way of life amid the fall of the Berlin Wall and the changing shape of history to come.

Senior Year

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

Jeremy Ray Taylor as Neil Chud, Rebel Wilson as Stephanie Conway, Avantika as Janet and Joshua Colley as Yaz in Senior Year. Photo: Boris Martin/Netflix

Rebel Wilson stars as a former cheerleader in this different take on a high school comedy. After a disastrous fall results in a 20-year coma, Stephanie (Wilson) goes back to high school as a 37-year-old woman, hoping to take back what she lost and become prom queen.

Catwoman: Hunted

Where to watch: Available to stream on HBO Max

Catwoman surrounded by foes at a costume party. Image: Warner Bros. Animation

Inspired by Japanese animation, DC’s latest animated feature, Catwoman: Hunted, stars vigilante cat burglar Selina Kyle as she embarks on yet another star-studded heist. When her attempt to pilfer a priceless jewel lands her in the crosshairs of a clandestine group of villains led by Black Mask and Interpol, she’ll have to turn to the aid of Batwoman in order to save her own skin and once again come out on top. Written by Greg Weisman (Gargoyles) and directed by Shinsuke Terasawa (XXXHolic), Catwoman: Hunted looks like the closest DC has ever come to producing its own superheroine-themed take on Sayo Yamamoto’s Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine.

Monstrous

Where to watch: Available to rent for $6.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

Christina Ricci and her son swim in a lake in Monstrous. Image: Screen Media

Christina Ricci stars in this horror movie about a woman and her young son who move to a faraway house to escape her abusive ex-husband. When mother and child starting seeing monsters in and around the house, it threatens their sanity as well as their physical well-being.

From our review:

Like the superb 2020 UFO movie The Vast of Night, Monstrous is riffing on 1950s pulp fiction, Twilight Zone chills, and the mix of fear and desire inspired by something foreign and unknown ruffling the smooth surface of a hermetic, orderly society. But where that film told a simple yarn with an audacious, lived-in, widescreen style, Monstrous, directed by Chris Sivertson and written by Carol Chrest, brings a straightforward approach to material that has more going on under the surface.

Shark Bait

Where to watch: Available to rent for $6.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

A woman stabs a shark in Shark Bait. Image: YouTube

The newest movie from James Nunn (One Shot) is this 87-minute shark thriller. When a group of friends on vacation steal some Jet Skis for fun and end up crashing them, they try to make their way back home and away from the lurking sharks.