Morbius, Netflix’s Spiderhead, and more new movies to watch at home


Happy Friday, Polygon readers! This week brings a bevy of new movie releases on streaming services and for rental or purchase on VOD.

Leading the way this week is Netflix’s Spiderhead, the new movie from Joseph Kosinski. Kosinski directed Top Gun: Maverick, one of our picks for the best movies of 2022, and Polygon readers may also remember his famous Gears of War commercial from 2006. This time out, he’s working with Chris Hemsworth, Miles Teller, and the writing team behind the Deadpool movies and 6 Underground on a cerebral sci-fi.

We would be remiss not to mention Morbius, which is now available at a reduced rental price of $5.99. Please Morb responsibly.

There are also the long-awaited release of Phil Tippett’s nightmarish horror Mad God, two recent Oscar nominees making their streaming debuts, a group of new Netflix action movies, and much more!


Spiderhead

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

Chris Hemsworth and several other people in a speedboat in Netflix’s Spiderhead

Image: Netflix

Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski and the writers of Deadpool team up to adapt a dystopian short story by George Saunders” is a real description of a real movie that really exists. Set in a state-of-the-art penitentiary where inmates are forced to undergo a series of mind-altering drug trials in exchange for commuted sentences, Spiderhead follows the story of Jeff (Miles Teller) and Lizzy (Jurnee Smollett), two test subjects who form an unlikely connection under the watchful eye of Steve Abnesti (Chris Hemsworth), an elusive tech visionary whose deranged philosophy of “better living through chemistry” threatens the sanity (and lives) of everyone in the facility.

From our review:

In spite of the dystopian premise, Kosinski brings a light touch to Spiderhead. Colorful cinematography and spirited editing contrast with the characters’ tragic backstories and bleak living conditions, and highlight the disparity between the chemically induced highs and nightmarish lows of Abnesti’s experiments. Midway through the film, Abnesti asks Jeff to describe the worst day of his life as the two trip on a feel-good drug. Jeff recalls the day his father abandoned him, laughing hysterically the entire time. That general vibe of emotional whiplash runs throughout Spiderhead, and Kosinski effectively mines its sinister undertones.

Morbius

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

Dr. Mr. Dr. Michael Morbius, snarling in Morbius.

Image: Sony Pictures

Sony’s latest Marvel movie is another antihero story, as Jared Leto plays the doctor-turned-vampire Michael Morbius. When he tests a cure for his rare blood disease on himself, he turns into the ungodly creation you see above. And now you can rent it at the reduced price of $5.99.

From our review:

One of the important lessons of Venom’s success was that if unimaginative superhero franchise films must be churned out, they can still feel worthwhile if they’re fueled by smart, funny performances. Audiences do turn out for characters they love, but they also show up for characters played by people, by actors who give them weird quirks and specific mannerisms. Morbius is what happens when there’s a studio desire for another Venom, but without much thought as to how Venom connected with anyone. It’s only there to plug into a burgeoning crossover franchise. (As a pair of nonsensical mid-credits scenes indicate.)

The Worst Person in the World

Where to watch: Available to stream on Hulu

Image: Neon

The third film in what’s been described as director Joachim Trier’s “Oslo trilogy,” The Worst Person in the World is a romantic black comedy centered on Julie (Renate Reinsve), a medical student stumbling through an underwhelming love life and a troubled career path. Following her through four years of her life, the film explores Julie’s delayed growth into maturity and her emotional hang-ups over love, life, and professional success.

From our roundup of the best movies of 2021:

Trier peppers in magical-realist touches that further enliven an already irresistible screenplay buoyed by nuanced, three-dimensional characters. Reinsve’s breakthrough performance gives the film its most striking element. She brings across her character’s conflicted state in captivating ways, with an alluring effervescence and genuine personality. The always-memorable actor Anders Danielsen Lie, a regular collaborator of Trier’s, complements her work in a heartrending, but still intellectually challenging role as one of her partners.

Mad God

Where to watch: Available to stream on Shudder

A gas mask-wearing assassin holds a light in a dark underground corridor in Mad God.

Image: Tippett Studio

Nearly 30 years in the making, VFX artist-director Phil Tippett’s Mad God is a nightmarish odyssey through a dystopian world of Boschian grotesqueries and phantasmagorical landscapes. While the film’s plot takes a backseat to its visuals, the story more or less follows a mysterious figure known as “The Assassin” who descends into a world of titans and monsters on an unspecified quest.

Father of the Bride

Where to watch: Available to stream on HBO Max

Andy García and Adria Arjona in 2022’s Father of the Bride.

Image: HBO Max

The third movie adaptation of Edward Streeter’s 1949 novel, this one stars Andy Garcia and Adria Arjona as the father and the bride, respectively. Unlike the 1950 version with Spencer Tracy, Joan Bennett, and Elizabeth Taylor, or the 1991 movie with Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, and Kimberly Williams, the new adaptation focuses on a Cuban American family.

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

Children in a classroom with a yak visible in the background.

Image: Dangphu Dingphu/Samuel Goldwyn Films

A nominee for Best International Feature Film at this year’s Oscars, Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom is a drama from Bhutan about a teacher with dreams of being a singer who is assigned to a classroom in a small mountain village.

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

Where to watch: Available to stream on Hulu

Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack sit on a bed, half-clothed, in Good Luck to You, Leo Grande.

Image: Searchlight Pictures

Director Sophie Hyde (Animals) and comedy writer Katy Brand team up for this sex comedy starring Emma Thompson as a retired widow who hires a sex worker (Daryl McCormack), hoping to spice things up and experience something new.

Jerry & Marge Go Large

Where to watch: Available to stream on Paramount Plus

Annette Bening as Marge Selbee caresses Bryan Cranston as Jerry Selbee in Jerry and Marge Go Large

Photo: Jake Giles Netter/Paramount Plus

The Devil Wears Prada director David Frankel helms this true-story comedy written by Arrested Development writer Brad Copeland. Bryan Cranston and Annette Bening star as a couple who win the lottery using math and then use the money to improve their town.

Cha Cha Real Smooth

Where to watch: Available to stream on Apple TV Plus

Cooper Raiff holds a wine glass in Cha Cha Real Smooth.

Image: Apple TV Plus

This Sundance darling stars writer-director Cooper Raiff as a man working as a “party motivator” who forms a friendship with a mom (Dakota Johnson) and her daughter (Vanessa Burghardt) at a bar mitzvah.

Collision

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

Bonko Khoza raises a glass in Collision.

Image: Netflix

This South African crime thriller comes from French director Fabien Martorell, who previously worked on documentaries and short films. Set in Johannesburg, the movie follows the kidnapping of a young woman by a gangster and the efforts of her parents to save her.

Centauro

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

Racers line up on motorbikes in Centauro

Image: Netflix

This crime thriller from Spain follows Rafa (Àlex Monner), a professional motorcycle racer. When his mom gets in trouble with some bad people, he uses his unique set of skills to help her out, but will it jeopardize his career in the process?

Downton Abbey: A New Era

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

Harry Hadden-Paton stars as Bertie Pelham, Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith, Tuppence Middleton as Lucy Smith and Allen Leech as Tom Branson in DOWNTON ABBEY: A New Era

Photo: Ben Blackall/Focus Features

The sequel to the 2019 Downton Abbey movie, this new installment in the long-running franchise arrives on VOD for rental. In this one, the Crawley family travels to France after a mysterious inheritance.

Father Stu

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

Stuart Long (Mark Wahlberg) in Columbia Pictures’ FATHER STU.

Photo: Karen Ballard/Sony Pictures

Mark Wahlberg and Mel Gibson star in this faith-based picture about a former boxer who becomes a Catholic priest. It is now available for rent at a reduced price of $5.99.

Blowback

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

Randy Couture wears a ski mask in Blowback.

Image: Saban Films

Former UFC champion Randy Couture stars alongside Cam Gigandet and Louis Mandylor in this crime thriller about a thief seeking vengeance against the crew that betrayed him. There’s also a cryptocurrency subplot, apparently.

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