Theaters are still closed, but new streaming movies are coming to entertain you and your family during socially distanced times.
This weekend, Tracee Ellis Ross and Dakota Johnson get a cinematic duet, Amazon unleashes a little bit of old-school science fiction, and Netflix ventures south of the border for a coming-of-age tale.
Also on the docket are a documentary about women accusing Russell Simmons of sexual misconduct and a father-son drama set in Ireland.
And if that's not enough to get you online and watching movies, We Are One: A Global Film Festival runs Friday through June 7 on YouTube and features more than 100 movies curated by film-festival programmers from all over the world – including "Ricky Powell: The Individualist" featuring Natasha Lyonne and LL Cool J, and the Third Eye Blind documentary "Motorcycle Drive By" – plus talks featuring Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Soderbergh, Bong Joon-ho and Jackie Chan.
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Here's a rundown of new movies hitting streaming this Friday for every cinematic taste:
If you’re in need of music and schmaltz: ‘The High Note’
Tune-filled and corny, the dramedy needs to choose its own adventure: Is it a story of maintaining relevance for superstar singer Grace Davis (Tracee Ellis Ross)? Is it a tale of navigating obstacles to realize true potential for Grace’s personal assistant, Maggie (Dakota Johnson)? Or a narrative about a talented hidden gem needing to get over crippling insecurity to realize his dreams for guitar-strumming up-and-comer David (Kelvin Harrison Jr.)? “High Note” is somehow all of these and none of these, a familiar song without a real hook burdened by its lack of focus. Only Ross – the real-life daughter of Diana Ross – shines, though it comes too late in the flick to matter.
If you yearn for an impressive throwback: ‘The Vast of Night’
Using a “Twilight Zone”-esque framing device, this sci-fi flick transports viewers back to the 1950s, both in vibe and Cold War-era paranoia, spending one freaky night in a New Mexico small town. Glitchy lighting at the high school basketball game belies the bigger deal at stake for the local denizens, especially a spunky young radio operator (Sierra McCormick) and local radio DJ (Jake Horowitz) who investigate a weird audio frequency. Debuting director Andrew Patterson digs into retro territory but it never feels anachronistic: Instead, with deft filmmaking and an immersive narrative, “Vast of Night” feels electric and alive with a scope that balances the intimate and the interstellar.
Where to watch: Amazon
If you don’t mind getting mad at the music business: ‘On the Record’
After some controversy at Sundance Film Festival involving Oprah Winfrey bowing out and shifting distributors, this sexual-assault documentary is the first big original movie for the newly launched streaming channel HBO Max – and it’s a doozy. The movie chronicles allegations of sexual misconduct by hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, centering on former A&R executive Drew Dixon exposing incidents involving Simmons and other male bosses who crushed her high-profile work and dreams. What the women went through is both gripping and frustrating, though the movie also takes to task hip-hop’s inherent misogyny in the '90s and how the voices of women of color aren’t heard as loudly as others in the #MeToo era.
Where to watch: HBO Max
If you’re in the mood for youthful turmoil with a catchy soundtrack: ‘I’m No Longer Here’
A coming-of-age drama that travels from Mexico to New York City, this film follows 17-year-old Ulises (Juan Daniel Garcia Treviño), a quiet and intriguingly stylish Monterrey youngster who leads a street gang of kids obsessed with listening and dancing to cumbia music. A drug war escalates in town, and when Ulises gets caught up in an incident involving a cartel, he’s sent for his own safety to Queens, where he meets a helpful young Asian girl (Angelina Chen) but struggles to assimilate in a diverse community. It’s a reflective film that insightfully navigates a young man's loss of community and cultural identity, but also offers a lesson in Afro Colombian culture complete with mesmerizing dance sequences.
Where to watch: Netflix
If you’re missing some serious father-son drama in your life: ‘End of Sentence’
This family-centric flick doesn’t mess around with hard feelings. Sean Fogle (Logan Lerman) is released from prison and, following the recent death of his mother, estranged dad Frank (John Hawkes) is the last person he wants to see. Sean plans to head to Oakland for a new start, but Frank persuades him to first come to Ireland and spread his mom’s ashes at a particular lake per her last wishes. The overall plot is fairly predictable, though a charming hitchhiker (Sarah Bolger), a few reveals Frank learns about his wife’s love life and the Irish countryside make for a solidly engaging (and sometimes humorous) outing.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'High Note,' 'On the Record' more movies to watch during quarantine