From an ’80s-themed musical to an animated adventure featuring everyone’s favorite mystery-solving canine, the hottest new movie releases are not available in theaters but are instead accessible from your own living room.
As Arizona’s executive orders to help slow the spread of the coronavirus have expired, many of our state’s businesses have re-opened their doors and welcomed customers—albeit with several necessary safety precautions. Movie theaters were among those businesses allowed to reopen but, at press time, remained closed as studios assessed the viability of once again projecting new releases onto the big screen.
An awful lot has happened in the weeks following Universal’s controversial decision to pivot its animated sequel “Trolls: World Tour” to a digital release. That film has now earned more than $100 million in revenue, prompting other studios to follow suit and dip their toes into the digital water as well. Exhibitors are naturally worried about this temporary trend becoming the new norm.
Only time will tell how it all shakes out, but a dual-release strategy that involves simultaneous theatrical and digital releases thereby providing consumers with more options on where to catch the latest flicks sounds incredibly appealing. For at least the time being, though, cuddling up on the couch with a remote control in our hand is our only option.
However, our choices of what to watch are seemingly endless, with studios having made a number of motion pictures previously set for theatrical release available to consumers via digital rental and streaming services.
Jessica Rothe plays a creative, free-spirited teen who falls hard for a Sunset Strip punk rocker (Joshua Whitehouse) much to the dismay of her friends and family in this musical adaptation of the classic 1983 film “Valley Girl.” Due to the coronavirus pandemic, distributor Orion Pictures pivoted its release plans for the movie from theatrical to digital.
From its infectiously upbeat first musical number “We’ve Got the Beat” to its incorporation of the original film’s integral song “I Melt with You,” the soundtrack alone is reason enough to recommend this romantic drama. However, it is also an exceptionally colorful and extremely lively piece of entertainment that draws you into a totally rad decade.
‘The Wrong Missy’
In this Netflix comedy, David Spade plays a man who meets the woman of his dreams during a chance encounter in an airport. Their relationship quickly escalates through text messages, encouraging him to throw caution to the wind and invite her to his company’s corporate retreat. However, he accidentally texts “the wrong Missy” from his contact list, leaving him stuck with a psychotic blind date from his past (Lauren Lapkus) for the duration of the island getaway.
As with anything hailing from Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison production company, this comedy is a fairly absent-minded affair. Likewise, what it lacks in smarts it more than makes up for in heart. The end result is a middling-yet-enjoyable movie with a lot of laughs and an admirable message against judging a book by its cover.
This computer-animated reboot of the classic cartoon “Scooby-Doo” reveals the origins of the Mystery Inc. gang—including the titular Great Dane—and sees them on a new adventure by which they cross paths with the superhero duo Blue Falcon and Dynomutt. Originally set for a theatrical release, Warner Bros. opted to pivot the family flick to a digital rollout in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The first few minutes, during which we see how the friends joined forces, are incredibly cute and a lot of fun but the brand’s signature supernatural elements receive only a brief montage before the story veers in a completely different direction. Younger audiences may be wildly entertained by the movie’s nonstop action but longtime fans of the franchise will undoubtedly be disappointed as the filmmakers try to shove Scooby, Shaggy and the rest of the Mystery Inc. gang into what is essentially a superhero flick.
In this thriller, Mary J. Blige plays a cop who investigates a series of strange and seemingly supernatural incidents that may be connected to a routine traffic stop that resulted in the unexplained, grisly death of her colleague. Paramount Pictures gave the film a digital release through its contemporary properties division Paramount Players.
Blige turns in a commendable performance in the atmospherically eerie police procedural. The story is somewhat of a slow burn but suspense is seared into every scene thereby making the movie moderately compelling. By the time all is said and done, the flick tackles some serious topics in an entertaining way without undermining their weight.
Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani play a couple that experiences a defining moment in their relationship when they become unintentionally embroiled in a murder mystery in this romantic comedy. As their journey to clear their names takes them from one extreme circumstance to the next, they must figure out how they — and their relationship — can survive the night. Netflix acquired the movie from Paramount Pictures when the studio was unable to release it as planned as theaters closed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
You have undoubtedly seen several films that feature a similar setup but the difference here is the highly entertaining journey that follows. There are plenty of laughs along the way with the screwball comedy also exposing the misunderstandings and miscommunications that weaken relationships. The motion picture pairs perfectly with Nanjiani’s previous effort with director Michael Showalter “The Big Sick” for one delightfully diverting double-feature.