The Mad Max: Fury Road prequel Furiosa seems to be picking up steam, as it was announced this week that Anya Taylor-Joy has been cast as the young Furiosa, with Chris Hemsworth and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II both signed on to play unspecified roles. That said, the film hasn’t yet been officially greenlit, so it will still be a while yet before we get to see what George Miller has up his sleeve.
While we wait, however, check out Polygon’s Sci-fi Week. We’ve put together a package of stories celebrating the genre and investigating visions of the future; in one piece, we invited artists to show us what they think the future will look like, and in another, we’ve compiled a list of recent sci-fi books that are essential to the genre.
As we wait for those futures to unfold, here are the new movies you can watch at home this weekend.
Love and Monsters
Teen Wolf star Dylan O’Brien takes on the apocalypse as Joel in Love and Monsters, which Paramount is bringing straight to a digital release due to the pandemic. When monsters take over the world, humanity is forced to move underground. A chance series of events reveals that Joel’s high school sweetheart (Jessica Henwick) is living a mere 80 miles ago, and Joel takes it upon himself to go reunite with her. Michael Rooker of Guardians of the Galaxy fame co-stars.
Evan Rachel Wood stars in Me and You and Everyone We Know director Miranda July’s new film Kajillionaire, which focuses on a family of con artists and what happens with a stranger comes into their midst. From our review:
It’s been nine years since Miranda July’s last film, The Future, which follows an awkward, immature, aimless Los Angeles couple through their emotional trials over their decision to adopt a cat. Her follow-up, Kajillionaire, feels like the launch of a Miranda July Cinematic Universe: it feels could be taking place at the same time as The Future, just a few blocks over. Its L.A.-based characters are equally awkward and at odds, and July again finds an intense well of sympathy for them, while simultaneously presenting them as close to intolerable. Like The Future (and July’s other film, Me and You and Everyone We Know), Kajillionaire is delicately funny about its characters’ failings and flaws. And like July’s previous films, it’s intensely quirky, both in its characters and in its directorial choices.
What the Constitution Means to Me
Where to watch it: Streaming on Amazon
Heidi Schreck’s acclaimed play focuses on her experiences as a contestant in Constitutional debate contests as a young adult, weaving in her family’s history to tell a bigger story about how the Constitution has affected all of our lives. From our review:
In the months since the play was last on stage (it’s been produced fairly consistently since mid-2017, until the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic), Schreck’s point about the fundamental inequity that’s been present from the very moment America was founded has only grown more potent. It’s an unfortunate truth, but it makes Schreck’s work all the more vital, as her seeming rambling comes to a precisely calculated, cogent point.
Totally Under Control
Alex Gibney’s new documentary tackles exactly what went wrong with the way America handled the COVID-19 pandemic, and features interviews with public health officials. From our review:
It isn’t Gibney’s style to produce a Michael Moore-like essay-doc on the state of the nation. While the movie opens with the vague suggestion that it will examine the pandemic as a culmination of 21st-century technocratic hubris — an unexpected test that the world, and America in particular, failed spectacularly — the filmmakers don’t really have time for expansive theorizing. Totally Under Control takes place over a clear timeline: It starts in January 2020, and ends a couple of weeks ago, appending a final on-screen note about President Trump contracting COVID-19 the day after the movie was finished.
New on Netflix this weekend
And here’s what dropped last Friday:
American Pie Presents: Girls’ Rules
The latest entry into the American Pie franchise centers on four high school seniors, all young women, who are determined to go after what they want. Their deadline for making their dreams come true is homecoming. However, their plans become more complicated when a new boy (Darren Barnet) arrives at school and becomes the object of all four friends’ affections.
Where to watch it: Streaming on Amazon
Black Box, one of the films included in Amazon’s new film series Welcome to the Blumhouse, stars Mamoudou Athie as a man who loses his wife and his memory in a car accident. To try to get his life back, he undergoes an experimental treatment. From our overview:
Black Box is about how domestic bonds can be confining. Directed by Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour Jr. (who also co-wrote the script with Stephen Herman, who had the original idea), Black Box stars Mamoudou Athie as Nolan, whose mind has been foggy ever since a traumatic incident. Every morning when he wakes up, Nolan relies on sticky notes around his house and the attentiveness of his preteen daughter Ava to remind himself of what he still has and what he’s lost. But when he begins to struggle with his job and his other relationships, Nolan sees a doctor named Lilian (Phylicia Rashad), who hooks him up to a device that lets him re-experience his missing memories.
Where to watch it: Streaming on Amazon
The Lie, also part of Welcome to the Blumhouse, stars Joey King as a teenage girl who confesses to killing her best friend, and the resulting fallout. Peter Sarsgaard and Mireille Enos co-star as her desperate parents. From our overview:
Director Veena Sud and star Mireille Enos previously collaborated on Sud’s TV series The Killing, another adaptation of a European crime drama — and another one that’s muted and chilly, more focused on human behavior than on sensationalism. The violence in The Lie is limited to a couple of non-explicit scenes. The tension derives more from the complicated dynamic between Rebecca, Jay, and Kayla, and from Sud’s understanding of how some children of divorce manipulate their parents’ feelings of guilt. Sud also emphasizes how Rebecca’s friendly relationship with the cops affects how aggressively they investigate Kayla, and how Sam’s subtle exoticism — he’s Palestinian — makes him seem more suspect to the authorities.
Books of Blood
Where to watch it: Streaming on Hulu
Clive Barker’s Books of Blood gets a film adaptation on Hulu, starring Anna Friel, Yul Vazquez, and Britt Robertson as the leads in different horror stories. From our review:
At times, it feels like two and a half episodes of a horror show remixed into a super-sized pilot — appropriate for a feature-length film produced by multiple TV companies. Its unusual structure makes it both novel and ungainly. […] This project, apparently once intended as a full TV series, most closely resembles a 1980s horror anthology like Cat’s Eye, only with more narrative ambition and less overall spooky-story satisfaction. Braga has made a watchable facsimile of a few TV episodes, which seems vaguely designed to inspire some sequels or a series spinoff, but doesn’t exactly demand them, either. Instead, Books of Blood floats around in that mysterious netherworld between television and film.
Charm City Kings
Where to watch it: Streaming on HBO Max
This new coming-of-age drama centers on a group of Baltimore dirt-bike riders known as the Midnight Clique, and a 14-year-old boy, Mouse (Jahi Di’Allo Winston), who longs to join them. Part of Mouse’s fixation stems from the fact that his late older brother used to be the Midnight Clique’s best rider, but as he comes closer to achieving his goal of joining the clique, he also drifts further from his mother (Teyonah Parris) and mentor (William Catlett).
Spontaneous stars Katherine Langford and Charlie Plummer as high school students whose lives are thrown into chaos when people begin inexplicably blowing up around them. Will the thought that they might also explode at any moment be enough to bring them together?