Best new movies available On Demand
"Straight Outta Compton," "The Martian" and more: See film critic Rafer Guzman's picks for the Oscar winners, box office hits and independent films that are available (or will be soon) to watch On Demand, whether you subscribe to Optimum, Time Warner Cable, DirecTV, Dish or Verizon. Dates of availability may vary based on provider.
"The Hateful Eight"(Credit: The Weinstein Company)
Quentin Tarantino's epic Western (with Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson and others) is part yak-fest, part splatter-fest and only marginally entertaining. Spaghetti Western maestro Ennio Morricone won his very first Oscar for the score. (Rated R)
"Nerve"(Credit: Lionsgate / Niko Tavernise)
Shy high-schooler Venus (Emma Roberts) is drawn into an online game of derring-do with deadly consequences. It's a quintessential teen movie with a preposterous but alluring premise, a likeable cast and a hokey ending -- which is to say, it's super fun. Dave Franco plays the mysterious gamer Ian.
"Hail Caesar!"(Credit: Universal Pictures)
The Coen brothers' latest, starring Josh Brolin as a Hollywood executive in the 1950s and George Clooney as a dim-bulb actor, tends to polarize viewers. Some hate the barely there plot, others love the comedic energy and dazzling camerawork. (Rated PG-13)
"Kung Fu Panda 3"(Credit: AP)
Jack Black returns as ancient China's cuddliest martial-arts master, this time discovering his long-lost father (Bryan Cranston). Brisk comedy and some lovely animation compensate for the overstuffed plot. With Dustin Hoffman, Lucy Liu and Jackie Chan. (Rated PG)
"The Bronze"(Credit: Sony Pictures Classics / Alicia Gbur)
A cynical, washed-up Olympic gymnast (Melissa Rauch) agrees to train a bright-eyed newcomer (Haley Lu Richardson). This is a showcase for Rauch (a co-writer), and she's quite funny in a role that could be described as a foul-mouthed Mary Lou Retton.
"The Lobster"(Credit: A24 Films/Despina Spyrou)
In a weird dystopia, all single people must find love within 45 days or be turned into an animal of their choice. The word bizarre doesn't quite do justice to this comedy, which should please fans of Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry. The excellent cast includes Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz and John C. Reilly.
"The Divergent Series: Allegiant"(Credit: Lionsgate / Murray Close)
The wheels finally fall off an already wobbly franchise in this muddled, meandering entry. Shailene Woodley's Tris remains overshadowed by Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss Everdeen, which may be an unfair thing to say, but there it is. Also with Naomi Watts and Theo James. (Rated PG-13)
"Eddie the Eagle"(Credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film / Larry Horricks)
The semi-true story of hopeless British ski-jumper Michael Edwards (an endearing Taron Egerton), who nevertheless went to the Olympics. Hugh Jackman plays his drunken coach, a fictional character. Enjoyably light and sweet. (Rated PG-13)
"Ghostbusters"(Credit: Columbia Pictures / Hopper Stone)
You've read the headlines, heard the outcry and maybe even tweeted about it. Now see the movie -- or don't. Despite the combined talents of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon, this controversial, all-female remake is just another so-so comedy
"My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2"(Credit: Universal Pictures/George Kraychyk)
Nia Vardalos returns as Toula, the misfit heroine of 2002's "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." The magic of that film is absent from this weak follow-up, but the vibrant original cast (particularly Andrea Martin) can be fun to watch.
"The Angry Birds Movie"(Credit: Columbia Pictures / Rovio Animation)
Jason Sudeikis and Josh Gad lead the voice cast in an animated adaptation of the popular gaming app. The movie works best if you've played the game, but it's fairly entertaining all around thanks to its saucy sense of humor.
"10 Cloverfield Lane"(Credit: Paramount)
Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays a young woman whose captor (John Goodman) insists that the outside world has been invaded by aliens. This taut, tingly thriller is enjoyable on its own, though it works better if you've seen J.J. Abrams' sleeper hit "Cloverfield" (2008). (PG 13)
"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice"(Credit: Warner Bros. Picture / DC Comics / Clay Enos)
The good news is that Ben Affleck is quite convincing as a human-scale Batman. The overall film, however, is plain bad: ponderous, self-serious and silly. With Henry Cavill as Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Jesse Eisenberg as an irritating Lex Luthor. (Rated PG-13)
"The Jungle Book"(Credit: AP)
Disney's action-adventure remake of its 1967 animated classic uses a combination of live action (newcomer Neel Sethi plays Mowgli) and computer-generated creatures (Ben Kingsley and Bill Murray provide the voices of the panther Bagheera and the bear Baloo). Gripping and visually stunning; may be too intense for the very young.
"Maggie's Plan"(Credit: Sony Pictures Classics/Jon Pack/Hall Monitor Inc.)
The setup is familiar -- a young woman decides to have a baby on her own, then unexpectedly falls for a guy -- but this zigzagging comedy from director Rebecca Miller never goes quite where you expect. Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke and Julianne Moore make a terrific ensemble.
“A Bigger Splash”(Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures / Jack English)
Tilda Swinton plays a debauched rock star -- a bit Chrissie Hynde, a bit David Bowie -- caught between her serious young lover (Matthias Schoenaerts) and her manic former manager (an astonishing Ralph Fiennes). This offbeat thriller-romance may not completely add up, but every moment is memorable.
"The Meddler"(Credit: Sony Pictures Classics / Jaimie Trueblood)
An overbearing mother follows her grown daughter (Rose Byrne) to Los Angeles. This indie comedy, inspired by the real-life mom of writer-director Lorene Scafaria, glows with love for its wonderful, maddening heroine, played to perfection by Susan Sarandon. The great J.K. Simmons rounds out the cast.
“Captain America: Civil War”(Credit: AP)
What started as an uncommonly artful and romantic comic-book franchise has become another slickly oiled gear in the Marvel machine. But it serves its function well with plenty of crunching action sequences, a host of superhero cameos (hi, Spidey!) and the right amount of humor.
“Hunt for the Wilderpeople”(Credit: The Orchard)
One of the best coming-of-age films in recent years arrives from New Zealand with a quirky sense of humor and a clear-eyed view of human nature. It's the story of a chubby foster kid (Julian Dennison) and his new guardian (an Oscar-caliber Sam Neill) who strike out on their own in the bush. Recommended for tweeners who have already exhausted all the obvious rental choices.
"Café Society"(Credit: Lionsgate / Sabrina Lantos)
How do you feel about Woody Allen? His latest movie is like the recent presidential debate: It ain't gonna change your mind. Fans will find this period romance fairly sweet and touching. Others will balk at Jesse Eisenberg "doing" Woody and trying to woo Kristen Stewart.
"Now You See Me 2"(Credit: AP)
If you thought the magic-themed heist flick from 2013 about four magicians who become modern-day Robin Hoods came off as implausible and contrived, then you ain't seen nothing yet. Most of the original cast returns for this preposterous sequel, including Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo and Woody Harrelson, who plays two roles.
"Hello, My Name Is Doris"(Credit: Aaron Epstein)
An eccentric older woman falls for a co-worker nearly half her age. Sally Field, in the starring role, elevates this movie from cute comedy-drama to absolute must-see. (Rated R)
"The Nice Guys"(Credit: Warner Bros. / Daniel McFadden)
A buddy crime comedy set in the 1970s. Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, as a muscular thug and a quavering private eye, don't quite make magic together, but in the end the whole thing is passable. Directed by Shane Black ("Kiss Kiss Bang Bang").
"The Infiltrator"(Credit: Broad Green Pictures / Liam Daniel)
The true story of U.S. Customs agent Bob Mazur (Bryan Cranston), who went after drug kingpin Pablo Escobar by targeting his favorite international bank. It's a rock-solid crime drama anchored by an excellent Cranston and supporting actors Diane Kruger, Benjamin Bratt and John Leguizamo.
"Me Before You"(Credit: AP)
A young English woman (Emilia Clarke) falls for a wealthy man in a wheelchair (Sam Claflin). The two leads are natural-born charmers, but the script makes a terrible error by devaluing life with a disability.
“Free State of Jones”(Credit: AP)
Matthew McConaughey plays Newt Knight, a real-life Southerner who left the Confederacy and started his own country during the Civil War. It's a fascinating story, though writer-director Gary Ross takes way to long too tell it. (The film lasts 139 minutes.) Gugu Mbatha-Raw does a fine job in the tricky role of Rachel, a slave who becomes Knight's common-law wife.
"Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping"(Credit: AP / Glen Wilson)
In this Lonely Island mockumentary, Andy Samberg plays Conner4Real, a dim-bulb pop singer mounting a comeback. It's basically Samberg's "SNL" shorts in a "This Is Spinal Tap" format. A few laughs, but not exactly inspired.
“Central Intelligence”(Credit: AP)
A surprisingly good buddy comedy featuring two actors in fine form. Dwayne Johnson shines in the role of Bob Stone, a CIA superspy who still feels like a chubby adolescent inside, while Kevin Hart plays Calvin Joyner, a former high-school superstar reduced to suburban anonymity.
"The Legend of Tarzan"(Credit: Jonathan Olley)
Alexander Skarsgård plays the Lord of the Apes, running shirtless through the jungle to rescue his Jane (Margot Robbie). This ridiculous movie offers a chuckle or two, but not enough to merit camp status. Christoph Waltz is memorable as a Belgian villain who twirls a lethal rosary.
"Independence Day: Resurgence"(Credit: AP)
The sequel to the 1996 blockbuster is listed as an "action comedy," but are the funny parts intentional? This is pretty weak even by junk-popcorn standards. Directed by Roland Emmerich.
"The Purge: Election Year"(Credit: TNS / Universal Pictures)
Movie No. 3 in James DeMonaco's series of low-budget social allegories follows a presidential candidate (Elizabeth Mitchell) and her bodyguard (Frank Grillo) as they try to survive a night of government-sanctioned murder. Cruddy, yet satisfying.
"X-MEN: APOCALYPSE"(Credit: 20th Century Fox)
The ninth installment in the usually beloved "X-Men" franchise met with utter disdain from critics and fans. Is that because Jennifer Lawrence gets too little screen time? Or because Oscar Isaac is barely discernible under all that CGI? At any rate, it's a serviceable superhero flick, with plenty of noise and action.
“Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates”(Credit: AP)
With a title like that, how funny could this movie possibly be? Actually, very. The magic comes from the cast: Adam Devine and Zac Efron as two hard-paryting brothers, plus Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza as the "nice" girls who turn out to be even wilder. With a bonus gag reel.