Thanks to the pandemic, release dates have taken a wonky turn with cinemas temporarily closing on a few day’s notice. Now that they have re-opened (hopefully for the long term), there’s plenty to see if you’re trying to catch up on Oscar nominations before this Sunday. But if sitting in a theatre isn’t in your current comfort zone, stream the newest releases from the privacy and safety of your own home with streaming options, and new originals, aplenty.
In theatres now
Raya and The Last Dragon
If you missed it, Disney’s latest princess is a Southeast Asian warrior named Raya, voiced by Star Wars’ actress Kelly Marie Tran. This film has been making headlines for its Asia-focus, with voice acting by Awkwafina, Gemma Chan, Daniel Dae Kim, Benedict Wong and Sandra Oh in addition to Tran. Penned by Adele Lim, the same writer behind Crazy Rich Asians, it’s no wonder this film is already being lauded across the region.
Just in time for awards season, Chloe Zhao’s highly regarded Nomadland is hitting Hong Kong cinemas with plenty of showtimes to catch it at nearly any movie house in the city. Following an American woman (played by Frances McDormand) in her sixties who loses everything in the Great Recession, the film portrays the difficulties and triumphs of her life living as a modern-day nomad.
Promising Young Woman
Out in Hong Kong theatres on 22 April, the newest comedy thriller starring Carey Mulligan chronicles the life of a dazzling, smart, clever young woman who happens to be living a double life, avenging sexual predators by night. With the recent wave of gender-based violence, the movie undoubtedly has a strong, timely message to send.
If you need an excuse to visit one of Hong Kong’s newest cinemas, and an independent one at that, homegrown Golden Scene may be just the place to watch Steven Yuen’s newest film, Minari. In search of the American dream, the film explores the life of an immigrant family who set out to start a farm in rural Arkansas in the 1980s, discovering the meaning and importance of family, love and home along the way.
Available now on: Netflix
The White Tiger
Asian representation is having a moment in Hollywood and The White Tiger is a testament to this. Backed by director Ava DuVernay and starring Priyanka Chopra-Jones,the film has received positive acclaim with a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay at this year’s Academy Awards. The film tells a gut-wrenching coming of age story of a young boy who uses his wit and cunning to escape poverty and a lifetime of servitude in India’s caste system.
Initially released just a week ago, Ride or Die is a Japanese psychological thriller drama that has been building global intrigue for its intense themes of queerness, homophobia, cycles of abuse, not to mention riveting acting helmed by supermodel Kiko Mizuhara.
They’re back: more than 30 years later, Arsenio Hall and Eddie Murphy reunite in this Amazon Original movie, serving as a sequel to the 1988 hit comedy, Coming to America. The Zamundian duo are up to their usual shenanigans in this light-hearted, nostalgic and hilarious adventure that has King Akeem and Semmi globetrotting from Zamunda to Queens, New York.
If you’re in the mood for a trippy, sci-fi flick, let Owen Wilson and Salma Hayek take you on a mind-bending ride with Bliss. Following the love story of a newly divorced man (Wilson) and his chance encounter with a mysterious woman (Hayek), this film delves into thought-provoking questions about reality, mental health and addiction.
In the lead-up to the 93rd Academy Awards, One Night In Miami is not one to miss. The directorial debut of actress Regina King, the film is a fictionalised depiction of a meeting of the minds with some of the biggest icons of Black History: Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Sam Cooke, and Malcolm X. Set during the Civil Rights Movement, the film sees the struggles of each man as he balances private and public life.
In need of a light, teen rom-com? The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is attracting viewers with its sci-fi motifs and a charming, endearing plot that sees an unlikely duo, played by newcomer Kyle Allen and Big Little Lies’ Kathryn Newton, as they realise they’re actually living in a time loop.
If you haven’t been following, and have four hours to spare, Zack Snyder’s Justice League has taken the Internet by storm with its incredible backstory (and its long runtime). Prompted by the wishes of avid fans, directors Deborah and Zack Snyder had the chance to not only complete their cut, but release it globally on HBO, during a pandemic (some of the directing done by Zoom!). Featuring a star-studded cast composed of Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, Jared Leto and Ezra Miller, this is probably a significant “age of COVID” film if we ever saw one.