The 10 best debuts of digital film programming




Photo: Publicity / Screen Media / Modern Popcorn

The lineup of digital premieres leans towards suspense and action this weekend, but there’s no shortage of award-winning options for moviegoers. Check out the list of the top 10 releases on streaming and online rental (VOD) platforms.

| UNTIL DEATH – SURVIVING IS THE BEST REVENGE | *VOD

Megan Fox’s above-average thriller (“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”) begins with the actress’ character waking up handcuffed to her husband’s corpse, as two assassins travel to her location to kill her. The impactful premise is just the starting point of a sick revenge, which leads to many twists and moments of tension. No exaggeration, first-time director Scott Dale’s film is the actress’ best in a decade, since she co-starred in the comedy “Welcome to 40” in 2012.

The production is by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, screenwriter of the “Conjuring” franchise, and the cast also includes Eoin Macken (“Game of Thrones”), Aml Ameen (“Sense8”), Callan Mulvey (“300: Ascension”). of the Empire”) and Jack Roth (“Bohemian Rhapsody”).

| DOUBLE JOURNEY | NETFLIX

Specializing in pricey, generic thrillers, Netflix brings Jamie Foxx (“The Amazing Spider-Man: Electro Menace”) in a production that aspires to be both a children’s comedy and a visceral action movie, falling in between. out of the way. Foxx is a Los Angeles pool cleaner who has a week to raise $10,000 to stop his ex-wife from moving to Florida with their daughter, and the only way to get that money is to go back to the union. The vampire slayers’ union, his real job, that expelled him for multiple violations. In order to be reinstated, he accepts to be monitored by a bureaucrat (Dave Franco, from “A Master’s Trick”), who has a secret mission to ensure his failure.

The film marks the directorial debut of JJ Perry, known for his work as stunt coordinator on franchises such as “Fast & Furious” and “John Wick”, and is produced by Chad Stahelski, another former stuntman who is now better known as director of the “John Wick” saga. And the intense stunt fight sequences are the high point of the production.

On the other hand, the story is very weak and its holes border on the ridiculous, with vampiric rules that start out clear, but suddenly stop being valid and without further explanation. The screenplay is by newcomer Tyler Tice and Shay Hatten, also from the “John Wick” franchise and the zombie movie “Army of the Dead”. The cast also includes Meagan Good (“Monster Hunter”), Karla Souza (“How to Get Away with Murder”), Natasha Liu Bordizzo (“The Society”), Steve Howey (“Shameless”), Scott Adkins (“Hercules”) ) and Tetiana Gaidar (“Resident Evil: The Series”).

| GEORGETOWN | AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

Winner of two Best Supporting Actor Oscars (for “Inglourious Basterds” and “Django Unchained”), Christoph Waltz makes his film directorial debut in this crime drama, in which an ambitious social climber lives.

In the plot, he seduces a widow 30 years his senior, played by veteran British actress Vanessa Redgrave (“Foxcatcher”), whom he marries and begins to dominate the conversations of Washington social circles by throwing big parties. However, after a glamorous dinner, she is found dead and her husband becomes the main suspect in the crime, especially after parallel investigations of the victim’s daughter, a federal judge played by Annette Bening (“Captain Marvel”).

The screenplay was written by award-winning playwright David Auburn (“The Proof”) and is inspired by real events that took place in the American capital in 2011.

| EMPEROR CODE | NETFLIX

The Spanish thriller features Luis Tosar (“Cela 211”) as an intelligence agent specialized in making problems disappear, but also in creating them, who finds himself in a moral dilemma when he receives the mission to incriminate a politician, setting up a false act involving a call girl. The dark theme creates an agile and tense plot, written by Jorge Guerricaechevarría (a partner of several Álex de La Iglesia cults, including “800 Bullets” and “The Witches of Zugarramurdi”) and directed by Jorge Coira (“18 Foods”).

| IMPENDING DANGER | *VOD

The film by Kriv Stenders, director of the award-winning “Red Dog” (2011), recreates one of the most arduous battles of the Vietnam War fought without Americans, when, in 1966, 100 inexperienced soldiers from Australia and New Zealand must fight for their lives. against an army of more than 3,000 Vietcong, using a strategy based solely on friendship and trust. The cast highlights Travis Fimmel (Ragnar from “Vikings”), but the production draws more attention for its technical perfection, which earned him nine trophies from critics and the Australian cinema unions.

| @ARTHUR.RAMBO – HATE IN THE NETWORKS | *VOD

The new drama by French filmmaker Laurent Cantet, winner of the Palme d’Or for “Between the Walls of School”, tackles the culture of cancellation. The production stars Rabah Nait Oufella (revealed by Cantet in his award-winning 2008 film) as Karim D., a young writer who is the buzz of the moment. Until it comes to light that he was once Arthur Rambo, a pseudonym he used as a teenager to troll social media, spreading hateful messages that now come back to haunt him.

The premise is absolutely current and commanded by a director used to provocative themes. But like the polarization of social media, the result divides opinion.

| HOLY EMY | MUBI

Greek director Araceli Lemos’ award-winning debut combines mysticism and Cronenbergian horror to tell the story of a “holy” girl. When their mother is forced to return to the Philippines, sisters Emy and Teresa lead a peaceful life in the close-knit Filipino Catholic community in the port of Athens. However, when Teresa becomes pregnant, Emy finds herself increasingly drawn to mysterious forces that live inside her. With its biological vocation for transformation, the female body is portrayed as a place of beauty and monstrosity.

The work won nine international awards, including the Best Director trophy from the Greek Academy of Cinema and the Best First Film at the Locarno Film Festival.

| THE CHICKEN TRICK | VOD*

Omar El Zohairy’s fantasy comedy won 22 international awards, including the Critics’ Week trophy at the Cannes Film Festival a year ago. The title refers to a magic trick that goes wrong at a child’s birthday party and turns the overbearing father of the family into a chicken. From there, the mother has to assume the role of head of the family and get a job to support the house and children, while she does everything to bring her husband back, before he becomes lunch.

| EXTRAORDINARY MINDS | VOD*

The French drama comedy written, directed and starring Bernard Campan (“Les Trois Frères”) shows how a chance encounter with a young man with a physical and intellectual disability changes the life of an undertaker. After nearly running over the rejected disabled person, Campan’s character tries to help him. But he soon forms a bond and ends up taking him on a trip to a funeral, starting an unexpected friendship.

| THE HUMANS | MUBI

Starring Steven Yeun (“Minari”) and Beanie Feldstein (“Outstanding”), “The Humans” revolves around a couple who have just moved into a Chinatown duplex and, before having a chance to settle down , receives visits from the dysfunctional family to celebrate Thanksgiving.

The staging in few scenarios, the reduced cast and the narrative full of dialogues deliver the theatrical origin of the story. The original version won the Tony (the theater Oscar) for Best Play in 2016, and the adaptation is by the author himself, Stephen Karam, who signs the script and direction. The cast includes June Squibb (“Nebraska”), Jayne Houdyshell (“Little Women”), Amy Schumer (“Breakfast”) and Richard Jenkins (“The Shape of Water”).

* VOD (video on demand) releases can be rented individually on platforms such as Apple TV, Claro TV+, Google Play, Prime Store, Microsoft Store, Vivo Play and YouTube, among others, without the need for a monthly subscription.

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