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10 new movies and shows to watch this weekend: Disney Plus, Netflix and more

The One and Only Ivan
(Image credit: Disney)

Summer is drawing to a close, but streaming entertainment is hotter than ever. If you need something to watch this weekend, there are plenty of options, from the the devilish charm of Lucifer season 5 to movies on demand ranging from the oddball biopic Tesla to the Black historical tale The 24th. 

With many movies theaters and venues remaining closed right now due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, streaming is our saving grace. Every week, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Disney Plus and newcomers HBO Max and Peacock roll out new movies and TV shows for us to enjoy from the comfort of our pajamas on the couch.

Depending on your mood, this weekend could be the perfect time to watch the teen romance Chemical Hearts with Riverdale star Lili Reinhart. Or maybe you want some dragtastic drama in the form of RuPaul's Drag Race: Vegas Revue. If you're looking for a family-friendly movie night, then Disney Plus' The One and Only Ivan is the best bet.

Check out our guide on what to watch this weekend, August 21-23.

The One and Only Ivan (Disney Plus)

What to watch this weekend: The One and Only Ivan

(Image credit: Disney Plus)

Streaming now on Disney Plus

The popular children’s book comes to the small screen in a heartwarming, tear-jerking adaptation featuring a star-studded cast. The story follows a mall zoo filled with adorable animals, led by Ivan the gorilla (voice of Sam Rockwell). He’s joined by friends like the aging elephant Stella (Angelina Jolie), Snickers the poodle (Helen Mirren) and stray dog Bob (Danny DeVito).

Then, the owner of the Big Top Mall, Mack (Bryan Cranston), brings in a baby elephant (Brooklynn Prince). When he starts to mistreat her, Ivan and the others determine to find a better place for her. The One and Only Ivan is a heartfelt plea for animal rights and kindness, in a cute, family-friendly package.

Lucifer season 5 (Netflix)

What to watch this weekend: Lucifer season 5

(Image credit: Netflix)

Streaming now on Netflix

Go to hell? Yes, please! The devil went down to the underworld, and we’re more than ready for an extended trip. In part 1 of season 5, Lucifer (Tom Ellis) is back in his domain — right after Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German) finally confessed her love for him. Their fiery relationship will be tested, not just by that, but by Lucifer’s brother Michael (also Ellis) showing up on Earth to masquerade as his sibling. As he says in the trailer, “I'm not going to break Lucifer's life. I'm going to take it.”

The eight episodes will include a musical featuring a cameo by Debbie Gibson. There’s also a noir episode that recalls 1950s crime dramas. And only that, fans will see Lucifer visiting heaven to talk to the Almighty (voiced by Dennis Haysbert). 

Tesla (VOD)

What to watch this weekend: Tesla with Ethan Hawke

(Image credit: IFC Films)

Streaming now on Apple TV or Amazon

Did we need another movie about Nikola Tesla? Probably not, but Michael Almereyda’s new film is welcome anyway. The eccentric biopic about the eccentric inventor delights in anachronistic touches, from Tesla (Ethan Hawke) roller skating and singing Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” to philanthropist Anne Morgan (Eve Hewson) doing a Google search on Thomas Edison (Kyle MacLachlan). 

Tesla hits upon the major moments of his life, from his rivalry with Edison to his partnership with George Westinghouse (Jim Gaffigan) that resulted in the induction motor to his Colorado Springs study of electricity. But the film refuses to act like the standard biopic; it’s as much of an experiment as Tesla’s own.

The 24th (VOD)

What to watch this weekend: The 24th movie

(Image credit: Vertical Entertainment)

Streaming now on Apple TV or Amazon

The Black Lives Matter movement uprising in recent months highlighted not just racial injustice, but the way most history books don’t cover important Black events like the Tulsa massacre. The 24th chronicles yet another of these events, the Houston Riot of 1917. 

The movie — which stars Trai Byers, Mykelti Williamson, Aja Naomi King and others — focuses on the all-Black 24th U.S. Infantry Regiment during World War I. The battalion takes up arms and begins a mutiny in response to the persistent police brutality they experience in Houston. The ensuing clash leads to many deaths and the largest murder trial in American history.

Chemical Hearts (Amazon)

Best Amazon movies: Chemical Hearts

(Image credit: Amazon Prime Video)

Streaming now on Amazon Prime Video

“You are never more alive than when you're a teenager,” declares high school senior Henry Page (Austin Abrams) in this YA novel adaptation about the ups and downs of teen romance. He discovers the truth of his statement when he meets new kid Grace (Lili Reinhart), who walks with a cane and snarks at him in a surly way. Naturally, Henry falls in love.

Henry works to crack Grace’s tough exterior shell. He discovers she was in a car accident, but isn’t prepared for the depth of trauma and grief Grace is grappling with. The course of young love never does run smooth. And this tale may not end happily ever after.

RuPaul’s Drag Race: Vegas Revue (VH1)

How to watch RuPaul's Drag Race Vegas Revue online and on VH1

(Image credit: VH1)

Premieres Friday, August 21 at 8 p.m. ET on VH1

R .. U … ready for a new, completely different addition to the RuPaul franchise? This docuseries isn’t a competition show, but rather a behind-the-scenes look at the RuPaul’s Drag Race Live! show on the Las Vegas Strip. 

Vegas Revue follows six former Drag Race queens who perform in the live act: season 11 winner Yvie Oddly as well as fan favorites Asia O’Hara, Derrick Barry, Kameron Michaels, Naomi Smalls and Vanessa “Vanjie” Mateo. There’s drama, there’s lip-synching and even some lip-locking! In this case, what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas.

Love in the Time of Corona (Freeform)

What to watch this weekend: Love in the Time of Corona

(Image credit: Freeform)

Premieres Saturday, August 22 at 8 p.m. on Freeform

A limited series about life and love in quarantine isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea (or sourdough starter). But this four-episode Freeform outing is still an intriguing experiment in making television during the coronavirus pandemic. The show was filmed in the actors’ homes, and they did their own hair, makeup and wardrobe. Then, it was edited together remotely.

That it was doable at all is because the actors in the four different vignettes live together, including Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr and his wife, Nicolette Robinson as a couple whose plans to have a baby are complicated by the recent racially-motivated killings. 

More new movies and TV shows to watch this weekend:

Hoops
Streaming now on
Netflix
The adult animated sitcom from Ben Hoffman stars Jake Johnson as the voice of a temperamental, foul-mouthed high school basketball coach. His team of misfits is terrible, but Coach Ben is determined to turn it around so he can make it to the NBA.

The Vow
Premieres Sunday, August 23 at 10 p.m. on HBO and
HBO Max
Remember NXIVM (pronounced nexium)? If you don’t, or only vaguely recall, HBO’s nine-episode docuseries will fill you in on the cult-like organization that supposedly promoted wellness and empowerment but allegedly turned branded woman and turned them into sex slaves. 

Emperor
Streaming now on VOD via
Apple TV or Amazon
The movie is inspired by true events and the legend of Shields Green, a descendant of Africa kings turned outlaw slaw in the Civil War-era South. He joins the Harper’s Ferry raid, helping to change the course of American history.