This is a very interesting week for the best new movies streaming online. Since we’ve started following these releases closely, we’ve noticed a few weeks that are heavily blockbuster or documentarian, but few seem as well spaced out as this week.
Most notably, there’s the return of Sonic the Hedgehog to the cinema, making its simultaneous on-demand and Paramount Plus debut. It’s a fun ride, but it’s hardly a one-size-fits-all film. That’s why we’re so excited that the worldwide box office hit RRR – the most interesting film on this list – is finally on Netflix. Loved around the world for wild action scenes, including one in which a man catches a motorcycle, RRR skipped the normal digital release, which is what we’d expect (and how several items on this list are distributed).
Then there’s an Anthony Hopkins film originally sold as NFT, a very timely documentary about one of Vladimir Putin’s political opponents, and another documentary about a very controversial musician who died at the age of 20. Oh, and a fun-looking YA rom-com formerly on HBO Max can be seen without the service.
Let’s break down the seven movies you should see this week. And also check out our guide to what to see this weekend.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Paramount Plus and Digital Release)
The first Sonic the Hedgehog movie was the kind of pleasant surprise that gamers are used to not believing: a really fun cinematic adaptation of a video game. Along with Detective Pikachu, it suggested changes were afoot. The Uncharted movie might have pushed things back a bit after that, but Sonic the Hedgehog 2 reminded us why the fast and snappy blue hedgehog is king of this particular type of movie.
Despite this, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a team effort thanks to the introduction of his friend Tails (voiced by Colleen O’Shaughnessey) and his foe Knuckles (Idris Elba). The former adds a bit more heart to the film, while the latter? Imagine what would happen if Idris Elba (rather than Dave Bautista) was cast as the literally thinking Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy. Elba makes sure the antagonistic Echidna works well on the big screen, with great lyrics for the dimwitted character-turned-game character in Dr. Robotnik’s (Jim Carrey) plan for revenge.
Like last time, Carrey steals every single scene he gets a chance, which makes sense since the film is about Robotnik’s mission to steal the Chaos Emeralds. As someone who has paid to see Sonic 2 in theaters, I give this one a recommendation for a fun time, assuming your expectations are set for gamified fun.
Keep streaming it Outstanding plus or rent Amazon Prime at the moment
This former HBO Max exclusive is a YA romcom that follows Walt (Riverdale’s Cole Sprouse) as he falls in love with Sophie (Lana Condor from the To All The Boys movies). Or maybe Walt doesn’t know yet that he’s into Sophie. What he does know is that she seems to have picked the wrong person to chase him to Mars. Sophie, who is in the middle of a long-distance relationship on this side of the multiverse, seems to emulate him.
After being sneaked 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 strength to be honest and open. On board, Walt meets Leon (Zach Braff), who may be just the counsel he needs to sort out his feelings before Sophie and her boyfriend meet up on Mars.
Buy or continue to rent it Amazon Prime Video
It’s time for Rise, Roar and Revolt – because one of the biggest movies of the year (grossing more than $150 million worldwide) is finally streaming. But Netflix hasn’t fully prepared people for it since the film secretly slipped under the radar last Friday.
But since we discovered Indian movie RRR is on Netflix, we’re 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 of India: Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan) and Komaram Bheem (NT Rama Rao Jr.). Check out the trailer if you haven’t already heard and see a guy catch a motorcycle. Director SS Rajamouli describes the film as a story of an “imaginary friendship between two superheroes”.
Praised for wacky action scenes that some thinking American action movies must have, RRR’s Netflix release comes with a little asterisk. This is the Hindi dub of the film as Netflix decided against using the 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.
Keep streaming it Netflix at the moment
Around the world, five people have been told they are part of the path to saving humanity. Until now, neither were aware of the other, and were told they had to work on what they called a “reactivation plan” to save humanity.
All five of these individuals were chosen because they were followers of Finley Hart (Anthony Hopkins), who has since passed away but communicates with these individuals through what appears to be pre-recorded messages. Hart’s death is a mystery in its own right as he claims he died as a result of this plan. Curiously, Zero Contact was released as an NFT on the Vuele platform. But thankfully you can now easily buy or rent it online.
Buy or rent Zero Contact on Amazon Prime Video and other services
Navalny (HBO Max)
Challenge of a sitting politician shouldn’t put your life in danger, but Alexey Navalny challenged one of the most dangerous political leaders: Russia’s Vladimir Putin. The documentary follows both his ascent and his hospitalization when he is poisoned with the neurotoxin Novichok.
Directed by Daniel Roher, Navalny gives his title protagonist the 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 could have very easily fit on the since-defunct streaming service).
Keep streaming it HBO Max from Thursday (May 26th)
Watch Me: XXXTentacion (Hulu)
Fame and youth rarely go together like the tragic tale of Jahseh Onfroy, better known as rapper XXXTENTACION (pronounced XXX-ten-ta-cion). Look At Me: XXXTENTACION is a mix of previously unreleased archive footage and interviews with his family, friends and romantic partners, all attempting to analyze the dark stories intrinsic to Onfroy’s fame.
Numerous disturbing incidents taint Onfroy’s story, including the stabbing of his manager and an arrest on charges of aggravated assault on a pregnant woman (with other charges including witness tampering). This documentary explores both Onfroy’s popularity and why he wasn’t stopped from getting out of control before he was shot dead in a robbery and died at the age of 20.
Keep streaming it Hi from Thursday (May 26th)
We Feed People (Disney Plus)
Need a feel-good story with a funny person at the center? I will definitely do it. And director Ron Howard brings you with We Feed People, a National Geographic documentary about popular chef José Andrés and his World Central Kitchen initiative.
Andrés (whose voice is so charming he should publish a cookbook audiobook) sees food as an opportunity to change lives. And in the 12 years that World Central Kitchen has been active, he has grown it from a small project into a respected humanitarian air organization that does invaluable work during disasters.
Keep streaming it DisneyPlus from Friday (May 27th)