New Movies to Watch This Week: ‘Godzilla vs. Kong,’ ‘The Unholy,’ ‘Concrete Cowboy’

With traditional release patterns still in turmoil as Hollywood and the world adjusts to the pandemic, it can be intimidating to keep up with when and where new films are being released — but the truth is, there are more movies coming out each week now than ever before. It’s just a question of where to look.

Let Variety help you find that next well-earned bit of escapism, whether it’s a big-studio monster smackdown (like “Godzilla vs. Kong”) or a more sensitive festival charmer (à la “Concrete Cowboy,” now streaming on Netflix). Here’s a rundown of those films opening this week that Variety has covered, along with information on where you can watch them. Find more movies and TV shows to stream here.

New Releases for the Week of April 2

Available in Theaters and on HBO Max

Godzilla vs. Kong (Adam Wingard)
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Where to Find It: In select theaters and HBO Max
The director intends for you to be impressed, but also to care about these non-speaking characters (but especially Kong, the obvious underdog here). Meanwhile, the human ensemble is made up mostly of conspiracy quacks and pseudo-science hacks. Eyes wide, brains off, ears bleeding — that’s how Wingard wants his audience. Whether it’s staging a rumpus on the high seas or a donnybrook in downtown Hong Kong, Wingard has the vision to deliver iconic fight scenes in a movie with multiple surprises up its sleeve (including another classic opponent to unite the rivals), while mercifully clocking in at under two hours. — Peter Debruge
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Only in Theaters

The Unholy (Evan Spiliotopoulos) CRITIC’S PICK
Distributor: Screen Gems
Where to Find It: In select theaters
“The Unholy” is a good tight scary commercial theological horror film. Its spooks and demons unfurl within a pop version of Christianity, which makes it sound no more exotic than last week’s “Exorcist” knockoff or last year’s helping of the “Conjuring” franchise. But “The Unholy” has a religious plot that actually works for it. It stars an unheralded actress named Cricket Brown, who plays a deaf-mute young woman named Alice, who has visions of what she thinks is the Virgin Mary. Absorbing Mary’s spirit, Alice can suddenly hear and speak, and she can heal the sick, which attracts crowds of people to her rural town of Banfield, Mass. — Owen Gleiberman
Read the full review

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Shiva Baby
Courtesy of Toronto Film Festival

On Demand and in Select Theaters

2021 Oscar-Nominated Short Films: Live Action (various)
Distributor: ShortsTV
Where to Find It: In select theaters, on demand and digital
Law and order, and the lack thereof, were impossible to ignore amid last year’s “defund the police” protests, and the same tensions are reflected in the Oscar-nominated live-action shorts lineup. Some of the entries predate the George Floyd killing, while another was shot in direct reaction to that tragedy last summer; two more were made abroad, touching on themes that transcend borders. It’s not unusual for finalists in this category to come pushing a political agenda, and yet, this crop doesn’t feel like agitprop, but sincere, activist storytelling, well worth seeking out. — Peter Debruge
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Every Breath You Take (Vaughn Stein)
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Where to Find It: In select theaters and premium VOD
In “Every Breath You Take,” Casey Affleck plays a psychiatrist — or more to the point, he plays a movie psychiatrist, the sort of character who’s been around since Ingrid Bergman peered through wire-rimmed spectacles, offering repressed pensées about repression in Hitchcock’s “Spellbound” (1945). He convinces us that Dr. Philip Clark isn’t a bad guy, but that he has messed up his life just enough to deserve a comeuppance. The movie carries you along, and it’s got some high-tension moments, but there are one too many coincidental running-into-each-other-in-town close encounters. — Owen Gleiberman
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Funny Face (Tim Sutton)
Distributor: Gravitas Ventures
Where to Find It: Available on Amazon, iTunes and digital platforms
As two young outsiders — a Muslim woman shaking off the oppressive minding of her elders, and an unhinged, mask-wearing victim of property redevelopment — meet, fall in love, and rage against the capitalist machine, “Funny Face” goes in for blunt social metaphor, heightened Brechtian allegory and neon-lit nightmare visions: a stew of approaches that is sometimes seductive and often gratingly affected. The script’s banal, minimalist dialogue does little to fuel the flickering chemistry between leads Cosmo Jarvis (“Lady Macbeth”) and appealing newcomer Dela Meskienyar as best it could. — Guy Lodge
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Roe v. Wade (Cathy Allyn, Nick Loeb)
Distributor: Vendian Entertainment
Where to Find It: Available on Amazon, iTunes and premium VOD
Targeting politically simpatico viewers and anyone they can convert on the other side of the aisle — while perhaps taking a page out of the former administration’s playbook — Allyn and Loeb present their own “alternative facts” as a definitive account of the famous court case, asserting that what we have been told about Roe v. Wade is a big lie. Far from impartial, their revisionist telling amounts to a sometimes sexist smear campaign, executed with roughly the competence of a cheaply assembled infomercial as it exploits religious guilt to disgrace a legal medical procedure. — Tomris Laffly
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Shiva Baby (Emma Seligman)
Distributor: Utopia
Where to Find It: In virtual cinemas
In writer-director Seligman’s hilarious, sneakily eruptive debut feature “Shiva Baby,” the acerbic Danielle is many things: an East Coast college senior majoring in gender studies; a young, bisexual Jewish woman; a sugar baby testing out the transactional powers of her sexuality. Think of this late-coming-of-age farce as a funny “Krisha” or the indoor apocalypse that takes place in “Mother!” — but with broken glass objects, a deafeningly screaming baby, a relentlessly suspicious wife and prying relatives instead of blood and guts — and you’ll get some sense of its edge-of-your-seat character. — Tomris Laffly
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This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection (Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese)
Distributor: Dekanalog
Where to Find It: In virtual cinemas
A haunted, unsentimental paean to land and its physical containment of community and ancestry — all endangered by nominally progressive infrastructure — this arresting third feature from Lesotho-born writer-director Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese is as classical in theme as it is adventurous in presentation. Toggling between earthy naturalism and suspended dream atmospherics as fluently as its life-weary 80-year-old protagonist (the superb Mary Twala Mhlongo) skims the real and spiritual realms, it’s the kind of myth-rooted, avant-garde Southern African storytelling that rarely cracks the international festival circuit. — Guy Lodge
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Exclusive to Hulu

WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn (Jed Rothstein)
Where to Find It: Hulu
The perfect storm of massive hype, a charismatic figurehead, an attractive-sounding idea and tons of money thrown down a bottomless pit make for a definitive 21st-century high-financial cautionary tale in “WeWork.” This documentary from “The China Hustle” director Rothstein charts the heady, then deadly first decade of an office space-sharing company whose much-promoted “revolutionary” idealism imploded in an old-school morass of hypocrisy, numbers shuffling and mass job/investment losses, making for a very entertaining postmortem. — Dennis Harvey
Read the full review

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Concrete Cowboy
Courtesy of TIFF

Exclusive to Netflix

Concrete Cowboy (Ricky Staub) CRITIC’S PICK
Where to Find It: Netflix
This is one of those rare, reframe-the-conversation films that take a very specific subculture and turn it into something universal and uplifting — only this one isn’t a documentary, despite the many real-world details that bring Staub’s exceptional father-son drama to life (among them, supporting roles for several genuine Fletcher Street cowboys and a range of North Philly locations that include the historic stables). Featuring an unforgettable performance from Idris Elba as Cole’s grizzled but caring father, Harp, this remarkable feature debut is all about giving at-risk young people a future. — Peter Debruge
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Madame Claude (Sylvie Verheyde)
Where to Find It: Netflix

New Releases for the Week of March 26

Only in Theaters

Nobody (Ilya Naishuller)
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Where to Find It: In theaters now, followed by PVOD on April 16
You might say that “Nobody” follows every rule of the genre. It’s got a hero (Bob Odenkirk) who starts off as a workaday family man, with a nice wife (Connie Nielsen) and two nice kids. Then he’s attacked by criminals in his own home. After which he starts to play dirty, give into his death wish, and walk tall. “Nobody” is a thoroughly over-the-top and, at times, loony-tunes entry in the live-and-let-die vengeance-is-mine genre. Is it a good movie? Not exactly. But its 90 minutes fly by, and it’s a canny vehicle for Odenkirk, the unlikeliest star of a righteous macho bloodbath since Dustin Hoffman got his bear trap on in “Straw Dogs.” — Owen Gleiberman
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On Demand and in Select Theaters

The Good Traitor (Christina Rosendahl)
Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Where to Find It: Available on demand
Fascinating backroom politics circa WWII are undermined by banal marital melodrama, resulting in a so-so period drama that raises more questions than it answers. The film centers on the life of diplomat-gone-rogue Henrik Kauffmann (Ulrich Thomsen), who was posted to Washington, D.C., as Danish Ambassador in 1939. Unfortunately, the details of Kauffmann’s wheeling and dealing are continually undercut by the film’s concentration on his rather unusual personal life, rendered here in trite narrative clichés. The alternation between the personal and political stories rarely allows either to build up a head of steam. — Alissa Simon
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Nina Wu (Midi Z)
Distributor: Film Movement
Where to Find It: Available in virtual cinemas, followed by theaters and VOD April 2
“Nina Wu” was written by its luminous star, inspired by her own experiences as a young actress and by the Harvey Weinstein scandal — much of which happened in plush hotel rooms not far from the Cannes theater where this fascinating, glitchy, stylish, and troublesome title had its debut. And as the first directly #MeToo-related narrative to play in this context, it is a deeply challenging one, perhaps destined to be misinterpreted in some quarters, as it resists, even contradicts the simplification of its central act of violation into an obviously empowering, triumph-over-adversity arc. — Jessica Kiang
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The Seventh Day (Justin P. Lange)
Distributor: Vertical Entertainment
Where to Find It: In select theaters and VOD
In “The Seventh Day,” there’s a hint of an innovation to the exorcist movie genre, even if it’s not about the devil. It’s about the figure who’s fighting him. Guy Pearce plays Father Peter, a fabled exorcist whose initiation happened on Oct. 8, 1985, the day Pope John Paul II arrived in the U.S. That day, Father Peter assisted in his first exorcism — and saw his mentor, Father Louis (Keith David), get stabbed in the neck by a flying crucifix, at which point Father Peter took over and watched his boy victim burst into flames and die. That’s about as bad as it gets in demon fighting. And Father Peter has been making up for it ever since.  — Owen Gleiberman
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Six Minutes to Midnight (Andy Goddard)
Distributor: IFC Films
Where to Find It: Available in select theaters and VOD
Inspired by the real history of Bexhill-on-Sea’s Victoria-Augusta-College, a 1930s finishing school for the daughters of the Nazi elite, “Six Minutes to Midnight,” wants to be a Hitchcockian thriller, but merely manages a familiar pastiche peopled with stock characters that should divert less-discriminating viewers. The clunky plot centers on an undercover British agent who infiltrates the school disguised as a new teacher. His assignment is to discover if Deutschland plans on repatriating their young flowers of maidenhood and whether said Mädchen might serve as captive pawns in Britain’s diplomatic chess game. — Alissa Simon
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The Vault (Andy Goddard)
Distributor: Saban Films, Paramount
Where to Find It: Available in theaters, on demand and digital
Spanish heist “The Vault” stubbornly remains one of those movies you know you’ll be forgetting almost as soon as you finish watching it. There’s nothing really wrong with this glossy tale of a “mission impossible” raid on a heavily fortified Madrid bank to retrieve treasure It’s just that a caper of this type needs tense set pieces, surprising twists, idiosyncratic characters or charismatic stars — ideally, all the above — to distinguish itself, and this one falls short in all those departments. Viewers who really love this sort of thing may get caught up in the procedural aspects of the story anyway. — Dennis Harvey
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Tina
Courtesy of Rhona Graam/Berlin Film Festival

Available on HBO and HBO Max

Tina (Dan Lindsay, TJ Martin)
Where to Find It: Releases March 27 on HBO
I went into “Tina” feeling like I knew this story in my bones, but the film kept opening my eyes — to new insights, new tremors of empathy, and a new appreciation for what a towering artist Tina Turner is. One of the things that enhances a biography like this one is simply the passage of time, and if you saw Tina Turner live, or watched clips of her in the ’70s, ’80s, or ’90s, you may have thought she was awesome (I’d wonder about you if you didn’t), but she blazed trails in such an uncalculated way that you almost need a film like “Tina” to stand back and reveal, with perspective, what a gigantic influence she was. — Owen Gleiberman
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Exclusive to Netflix

Bad Trip (Kitao Sakurai)
Where to Find It: Netflix
A squirm-worthy exercise in vicarious humiliation that welds the rom-com formula to a gross-out prank show, “Bad Trip” hands lovelorn loser Chris (Eric Andre, who co-wrote the film with Sakurai and Dan Curry) a safe word (“popcorn”) and the keys to a hot pink Crown Victoria, and sets the comedian loose to terrorize unsuspecting bystanders along a northbound interstate from Florida to Manhattan, where he intends to profess his love to his middle school crush Maria (Michaela Conlin). Riding shotgun is Lil Rey Howery as Chris’ best friend Bud, and on their trail storms a terrifyingly incognito Tiffany Haddish. — Amy Nicholson
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A Week Away (Chris Smith)
Where to Find It: Netflix
Say you’re a wild, wayward but ultimately gold-hearted teen with a choice of correctional penalty: an extended spell in juvenile hall, or one summer of singing, swimming and mild soul-searching at a Christian youth camp. Which do you choose? If it seems a no-brainer, the achievement of “A Week Away” is to make us collectively wonder, after 90 minutes of aggressively wholesome hijinks, if juvie would be so bad after all. This innocuous but character-free tuner shamelessly copies and crosses the formulae of “High School Musical” and “Camp Rock” down to the last, sequel-prompting detail. — Guy Lodge
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Pagglait (Umesh Bist)
Where to Find It: Netflix

Seaspiracy (Ali Tabrizi)
Where to Find It: Netflix

Secret Magic Control Agency (Aleksey Tsitsilin)
Where to Find It: Netflix

Exclusive to Shudder

Violation (Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Dusty Mancinelli) CRITIC’S PICK
Where to Find It: Shudder
A chamber piece with the existential mood of Lars von Trier, as well as a trope-defying revenge thriller with a mounting sense of terror, the dismembering, blood-draining frights of “Violation” — from tense familial grudges to an awful case of sexual assault and gaslighting that leads to brutal vengeance — aren’t easy to shake or describe. The gruesome details of the film’s deeply unsettling revenge sequence are best left unspoiled. What’s provocative about “Violation” isn’t the presence of these triggers, but the way it handles them, knowing that real-life sexual perils are as likely to crop up within one’s close, trusted circle as they are in the company of strangers. — Tomris Laffly
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