February 3, 2023

Christmas time has arrived, Polygon readers, and Netflix has a new Knives Out movie for you.

Daniel Craig returns with a new cast Glass Onion: A Mystery of the Blades, one of several new movies hitting streaming services and VOD this week. It is joined by the Matilda musical on Netflix, while Top gun: Maverick (Paramount Plus) and Strange world (Disney Plus) to make splashes on competing platforms.

It’s also an exciting week in VOD releases. The indie darling After sunone of our top movies of the year, is now available to watch at home, as is the Santa-as-an-action star movie violent night.

Let’s get into it!


Netflix

Glass Onion: A Mystery of the Blades

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

Daniel Craig as Detective Benoit Blanc, Dave Bautista as Duke, Edward Norton as Miles, and Madelyn Cline as Whiskey in Glass Onion.  They are standing on a beach - Bautista, Norton and Cline arm in arm, with a bunch of luggage bags next to them.

Photo: John Wilson/Netflix

Genre: Mystery/comedy
Duration: 2 hours 20 minutes
Director: Ryan Johnson
Cast: Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Dave Bautista

Rian Johnson’s sequel to his 2019 ensemble mystery is now part of a franchise. The once nascent, non-IP genre piece is now a Netflix tentpole, first released in theaters and now available to stream at home.

Daniel Craig returns to reprise his role as Detective Benoit Blanc, now facing a new group of rich people played by very famous people, as he tries to solve another murder. This time it’s in Greece, when a tech billionaire (Edward Norton) invites his friends to a party and one of them dies.

From our review:

Glass onion is a brighter, louder, more extroverted film than the first Knives out. The themes and fashion flirt with sassy, ​​cartoonish silliness. This time, Johnson is aiming for big ideas and lots of laughs – this is a funnier movie, almost straight-up comedy at times, and a wide-ranging movie. Where Knives out focuses on the defensive pretense of inherited wealth, Glass onion mock the desperate peacocking of new money, in a world of tech billionaires, influencers and flashy politicians. But as before, the friendly Benoit Blanc is here to dispel these people’s illusions with comic courtesy.

The invitation

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

Nathalie Emmanuel and Thomas Doherty dance together in The Invitation

Photo: Marcell Piti/Screen Gems

Genre: Horror
Duration: 1h 44m
Director: Jessica M. Thompson
Cast: Nathalie Emmanuel, Thomas Doherty, Sean Pertwee

Inspired by Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The invitation follows a young woman who meets her extended family after her mother’s death, only to discover that they are… vampires!

From our review:

Part Get outpart Even if you’re not readyand too few parts Dracula, The invitation is a pastiche of infinitely better horror stories that it can never match. You can make vampires do almost anything in movies, but… The invitation commits the one unforgivable sin: making vampires boring.

Matilda the musical by Roald Dahl

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

The schoolchildren in Matilda the Musical pile on a playground in their school uniforms.

Photo: Dan Smith/Netflix

Genre: Musical/fantasy
Duration: 1h 57m
Director: Matthew Warchus
Cast: Alisha Weir, Emma Thompson, Lashana Lynch

The film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s musical adaptation Matilda went semi-viral a few weeks back, with a striking choreography that puts many other modern movie musicals to shame.

Paramount plus

Top gun: Maverick

Where to watch: Available to stream on Paramount Plus

Maverick is in profile with his class of young dollars in an amazingly dramatic sunset shot for Top Gun: Maverick

Photo: Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures

Genre: Action
Duration: 2h 11m
Director: Joseph Kosinsky
Cast: Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly

The undisputed box-office champion of 2022 (although The way of the water looming), Top gun: Maverick finally makes its way to Paramount Plus this week, after many long months of waiting. This just means it’s a great time to watch Top gun: Maverick again. Or jump out of a plane, if you’re Tom Cruise. That’s your choice.

From our review:

If there is anything worth salvaging from that time – and out Top gun – it’s the sense of optimism that dominated ’80s action movies. That and the belief that the simplest, corniest story, if told with enough skill and conviction, can charm anyone in the world. Top gun: Maverick has both these qualities in abundance. They are embodied in Tom Cruise, the author of his own myth, and perhaps the last true movie star. He wants to give you a good time, and he will. But more than that, he wants to take off and never come down again.

Hulu

Mac & Rita

Where to watch: Available to stream on Hulu

Diane Keaton does pilates in the park with a lot of young people in Mack & Rita.

Image: Gravitas Ventures

Genre: Comedy
Duration: 1h 34m
Director: Kate Aselton
Cast: Diane Keaton, Elizabeth Lail, Molly Duplass

A new wrinkle on Big, Crazy Fridayand other body swap comedies, Mac & Rita follows a young writer (Elizabeth Lail) who wakes up one day as her 70-year-old self (Diane Keaton).

Sharp stick

Where to watch: Available to stream on Hulu

Kristine Froseth with long hair and a green top in Sharp Stick

Image: Utopia

Genre: Comedy
Duration: 1h 32m
Director: Lena Dunham
Cast: Kristine Froseth, Jon Bernthal, Luka Sabbat

Lena Dunham has already delivered one of the best comedies of the year Catherine called Birdy. Her second 2022 comedy is more of the R-rated variety, about a woman (Kristine Froseth) who begins an affair with her employer (Jon Bernthal). Dunham is also in this one, as are Jennifer Jason Leigh and Ebon Moss-Bachrach (The bear, Andor).

Disney Plus

Strange world

Where to watch: Available to stream on Disney Plus

Five steampunk crew members sit on a green hovercraft in a red tinted underground world

Image: Walt Disney animation

Genre: Action adventure
Duration: 1h 42m
Drivers: Don Hall, Qui Nguyen
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jaboukie Young-White, Gabrielle Union

This animated adventure was one of Disney’s biggest blockbusters in a while, and now you can watch it for yourself from the comfort of your couch.

From our review:

When the film’s emotional heart focuses on this group of unhinged explorers desperately trying to save the world they know, it’s a grand and thrilling adventure, with beautiful landscapes and fantastic creatures at every turn. When the film focuses on its broader scope, it shines, but when it retreats to the over-the-top relationships, it loses what makes it sparkle. That father-son dynamic seems like they’re supposed to anchor the movie in some reality, but all they’re doing is dragging Strange world down when it could have risen.

Apple TV Plus

The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse

Where to watch: Available to stream on Apple TV

A boy, a fox and a mole sit on a horse in a hand-drawn animated image from The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

Image: Apple TV

Genre: Family
Duration: 34m
Director: Peter Baynton
Cast: Tom Hollander, Idris Elba, Gabriel Byrne

Charlie Mackesy’s 2019 children’s novel gets a beautiful hand-drawn animated adaptation, with Idris Elba, Tom Hollander and Gabriel Byrne as the voice actors.

RAG

After sun

Where to watch: Available for purchase for $19.99 on Amazon, Apple TV, and Google Play

A father and daughter lie on their backs next to a swimming pool as the father points to the sky in Aftersun.

Image: A24

Genre: Drama
Duration: 1h 42m
Director: Charlotte Wells
Cast: Frankie Corio, Paul Mescal, Celia Rowlson Hall

Polygon’s No. 8 Best Picture of the Year, an impressive feature debut from filmmaker Charlotte Wells, is finally available to watch at home. I’ll show you our blurb After sun speak for itself.

Human memory is known to be unreliable – so flawed that it gets thrown out even if it’s your sworn testimony. Childhood memories are perhaps the best example of this: even a small, isolated memory can later completely change tone when viewed with the full spectrum of adulthood, filtered through the prism of concern and care that comes with it. It’s a hard concept to wrap your brain around sometimes. And thus After sun feels like a small miracle in the way it not only captures that scope, but manages to frame the entire concept with grace.

Young father Calum (Paul Mescal) and his 11-year-old daughter Sophie (Frankie Corio) are on a rare resort vacation, a blurring moment captured by her on a clunky camcorder (at least in part; you know what it’s like to give a kid a video camera) . While that plot is simple in construction, its execution is far more profound, capturing the wistful vantage points of both Calum’s and Sophie’s vacation experiences with equal, vibrant clarity. In After sun‘s hands, memory is as smooth as it’s ever been. Sometimes conversations overwhelm Sophie and threaten to drown Calum; growing up is seeing the full picture of their journey, and After sun is quietly devastating in its ability to capture that. It’s a testament to the performances at its heart (Mescal’s compassionate fatigue in particular) that the film manages to suggest so much without overdoing the point. After all, memory can be unreliable, but sometimes memory – echoed in a grainy camcorder or the memory of a warm embrace – is all we have. —Zosha Millman

violent night

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

Santa Claus (David Harbour) drunkenly leans against his sleigh, a blood-red wooden vehicle in the shape of a boat, carved with Norse runes, in Violent Night

Image: Universal Pictures

Genre: Action
Duration: 1h 52m
Director: Tommy Wirkola
Cast: David Harbour, John Leguizamo, Beverly D’Angelo

David Harbor plays Santa Claus in this action movie from 87North Productions, the legendary Hollywood action studio that brought you many of your favorite cuts from John Wick and other recent action classics.

From our review:

violent night works best when it captures the twisted sensibilities of early 90s Chris Columbus movies in particular Home alone. It’s been pointed out so many times it hardly needs to be said that the events of that film are actually horribly traumatizing and violent, and that Macaulay Culkin’s Kevin McCallister is a petty sociopath. Little Trudy Lightstone also has a sadistic streak to it, and the film’s most demented scenes are played with an excessive sense of cheerfulness that effectively creates a sense of giggly discomfort. The difference here is that those moments are designed on purpose. The movie has fun with snarky one-liners and outrageous gore at the audience, but overall, violent night‘s big red bag of self-conscious tricks is overflowing.

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