This is a big week for new movies to watch online, as two of the most anticipated movies of the year move from digital on demand to streaming services. Yes, Mario and Star-Lord look to move the conversation away from Barbie and Oppenheimer, at least for those at home.
But looking beyond the mustachioed plumbers, this is also a big week for the folks who have yet to succumb to Marvel movie fatigue. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 hits Disney Plus later this week, and we can vouch for it being one of the better recent MCU projects.
Oh, and if you need more? Critics darling The Whale also arrives on streaming, while the latest Insidious film finally comes home. There's also a recently released Jon Hamm movie, and a documentary for pro wrestling fans.
The Whale (Paramount Plus)
Charlie (Brendan Fraser) lives in a deep solitary sadness, except for the rare occasions when someone visits his apartment. His most frequent guest is Liz (Hong Chau), a friend and nurse who pushes him to consider his own health. The appearance of Charlie's estranged teen daughter Ellie (Sadie Sink), though, sets up a chance for bonding, but Charlie's only option is to buy her time.
While this Darren Aronofsky film arrived with a ton of hype and praise, there doesn't seem to be a critical consensus anymore (its 64% Rotten Tomatoes score is proof). While Fraser earned tons of praise for his performance, Aronofsky's been derided for heavy-handedness
Watch on Paramount Plus with Showtime right now (released today, August 1)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (Disney Plus)
Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), depressed because the Gamora (Zoe Saldaña) in his timeline isn't the one who fell in love with him, is in need of a distraction. Instead, he gets a full-blown crisis as Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) winds up in critical condition after a run-in with the brainless Adam (Will Poulter).
And that sends Star-Lord and the gang on an unexpected mission, to track down the downright evil known as The High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), who made Rocket the way he is. Along the way, we get flashbacks to Rocket's early years, to see how he became the talking raccoon we know and love today.
James Gunn's MCU swan song before he goes off to fix DC's movie situation, the third Guardians movie is emotionally powerful and as funny as you'd expect based on the previous volumes. The only catch is that it might be too much to handle for those who can't watch animal cruelty.
Watch on Disney Plus starting tomorrow (debuts Wednesday, August 2)
The Super Mario Bros. Movie (Peacock)
Chris Pratt's other big movie of the summer sees him voicing the man behind the iconic denim overalls. Here, Mario (Pratt) and brother Luigi (Charlie Day) go from trying to fix a broken toilet to dealing with Bowser (Jack Black), the Koopa king who wants to rule and be wed.
Bowser seeks to accomplish both of those goals through Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy), who has no interest on either count. And, unfortunately, Luigi falls right into the Koopa clutches. This leaves it up to Mario and Peach to find the allies needed to stop Bowser before he can take over.
Arguably a bit simple, but full of joy and Easter eggs, The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a blast that we've been waiting to stream online.
Watch on Peacock starting Thursday (August 3)
Black Ice (Digital)
Hockey, a historically white sport, has pushed athletes of color to the margins and out of the industry. The hate comes from everyone from fans in the stage to other players and even coaches. Enter Black Ice, a documentary that lets those athletes tell their story.
Black Ice shows this problem not just through the stories of the past and present athletes, but through the Colored Hockey Leauge in 1895 Nova Scotia. Its executive producers include LeBron James and rappers Drake and Future.
Buy digitally on Amazon and others starting Friday (Aug. 4)
Horror movie characters often think getaways are the solution, little do they know that it's always the best way to get so secluded that help is too far away. Thus is the story of Fear, where a bunch of friends go to the Tahoe mountains, only to find a seemingly supernatural situation that breaks their internet, runs their vinyl records backwards and induces violence. Think The Shining, but for a younger generation.
Critics don't love Fear, but some call it a capable horror film that provides the basics you desire.
Watch right now on Starz (released today, August 1)
River Wild (Netflix)
Joey (Leighton Meester) is annoyed with her brother Gray (Taran Killam), after he invites long-time acquaintance Trevor (Adam Brody) on a whitewater rafting trip. Trevor's got a bit of a dark past, and when things start to go wrong, he's a huge threat to the safety of those around him.
Reviews aren't out yet, but the combination of two stars from major teen dramas — Brody starred on The OC and Meester on Gossip Girl — practically ensures some attention once it hits Netflix.
Watch on Netflix right now (released Tuesday, August 1)
Insidious: The Red Door (Digital)
Patrick Wilson makes his directorial debut in the fifth Insidious film (a direct sequel to Chapter 2), which he also stars in. Nine years after he got possessed, Josh (Wilson) is trying to leave that incident in his past, but his attempts to fix things with son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) lead to images of The Further returning into their lives.
Critics give 'The Red Door' mixed reviews, unfortunately, and seemingly rank it in the lower end of the series. If you're looking for a big supernatural scare, maybe think about seeing Talk To Me in theaters instead.
Buy digitally on Amazon and others right now (released today, August 1)
Corner Office (Digital)
Orson (Jon Hamm) lives a life that feels stuck somewhere between Office Space and Severance. His bosses look down on him, and everything seems a bit off. And one day he finds himself sitting inside a luxe corner office that seems to completely transform his life.
Except he makes the critical mistake of sharing this information with his colleagues, who think he's lost his mind. Corner Office looks like the latest under-promoted piece of brilliance from Hamm, whose Confess, Fletch still sits under the radar.
Buy digitally on Amazon and others starting Friday (Aug. 4)
American Nightmare: Becoming Cody Rhodes (Peacock)
Platinum blonde pro wrestler Cody Runnels — who looks kind of like an American Ivan Drago — is best known by one of two names, Cody Rhodes or The American Nightmare (no, he doesn't embody poverty). Rhodes took this moniker as the son of the late Dusty Rhodes, an icon of the industry who was beloved as "The American Dream."
After spending years performing in his father's figurative shadow, Rhodes struck out from World Wrestling Entertainment, leaving a reliable but unfulfilling job behind. Instead, Cody ventured off to remake himself on the independent circuit and internationally, before helping found WWE rival All Elite Wrestling.
Now, back in WWE, Rhodes is telling his story.
Watch now on Peacock (released on Monday, July 31)