New Movies on Apple TV+

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New Movies on Apple TV+

Apple’s streaming service, Apple TV+, has focused more on original series than feature-length films with its subscription model driven by hits like Ted Lasso, Severance, The Morning Show and For All Mankind. But with only a fraction of the original movie releases of its rivals (just 15 at our last count), Apple TV+ was still the first to capture a coveted Best Picture Oscar win with last year’s Coda. And the computer-manufacturer-turned-entertainment-titan has released four new movies so far this year.

Here are the four newest movies to stream for free on Apple TV+:

1. Luck

luck.jpg Release Date: August 5, 2022
Director: Peggy Holmes
Stars: Eva Noblezada, Simon Pegg, Jane Fonda, Whoopi Goldberg, Colin O’Donoghue, Lil Rel Howery, Flula Borg, John Ratzenberger, Adelynn Spoon
Rating: PG
Runtime: 115 minutes

Watch on Apple TV+

Eighteen-year-old Sam (Eva Noblezada) has always been unlucky. Her keys fall down a manhole. Her bike has a flat tire. She inadvertently locks herself in the bathroom. Her toast always lands jam side down. But perhaps her biggest misfortune is that she never found her “forever family” and grew up in the Summerland Home for Girls. (The movie kicks the cliché of killing parents off up a notch: Sam never had parents at all!). Sam’s luck changes when she meets talking black cat Bob (Simon Pegg) who accidentally leaves behind a lucky penny. The penny turns Sam’s life around. Suddenly she’s stocking the shelves at her job at Flowers and More with aplomb. Her toaster works perfectly and even lands her toast jam side up. When Sam accidentally flushes the lucky penny down the toilet (what is a kid’s movie without a little toilet humor?), she is desperate to find another one and follows Bob down the secret portal to the Land of Luck. The plot of Luck is far too dense and convoluted. I suspect the movie’s target audience won’t have the patience for it. And that’s too bad. Because inside Kiel Murray’s complex script, there is a positive message: The idea that bad luck is just the mirror image of good luck, and that bad luck teaches you how to adjust and respond to what life brings. That some of Sam’s best experiences and friendships began with bad luck. That perhaps our bad experiences help make us who we are. —Amy Amatangelo

2. Cha Cha Real Smooth

cha-cha-real-smooth.jpg Release Date: June 17, 2022
Director: Cooper Raiff
Stars: Dakota Johnson, Cooper Raiff, Vanessa Burghardt, Evan Assante, Brad Garrett, Leslie Mann
Rating: R
Runtime: 107 minutes

Watch on Apple TV+

Every once in a while you meet someone who’s truly just some guy, with no discernibly extraordinary qualities, for whom things seem to work out based on charisma alone. In writer-director-star Cooper Raiff’s friendly sophomore feature Cha Cha Real Smooth, that guy happens to be Andrew (Raiff), a charming and disarming recent Tulane graduate whose sole motivation is to make enough money to join his Fulbright scholar girlfriend in Barcelona. Unfortunately, the only job he can grab is as a minimum wage cashier at an unforgivingly named food court stand in his hometown while he crashes in his little brother’s room, fights with his pragmatist stepdad (Brad Garrett), and attempts to convince his mom (Leslie Mann) that she has the wrong taste in men and he has the right taste in women. Into this meandering existence stumble the opportunities of his lifetime thus far. While escorting his brother, David (the cute-as-a-button Evan Assante), to a bar mitzvah bash, Andrew takes it upon himself to spice up the floundering dance floor, and to make friends with the resident rumored bad mom, Domino (Dakota Johnson), and her autistic daughter, Lola (natural newcomer Vanessa Burghardt). He succeeds wildly at both, getting hired by a mob of Jewish moms as a party starter for their childrens’ b’nai mitzvot, and securing Domino’s affection in the process. In this indie, as with many before it, nothing is more attractive to a hot mom than a goofy, unfiltered young man-child who treats her own child like royalty. Also in this indie, as with many before it, Judaism is used as a backdrop and as texture, but isn’t engaged with on any level beyond its visual symbolism. But for the runtime of Cha Cha Real Smooth, Raiff’s clever script, affable characters and naturalistic direction makes it painless enough to sympathize with someone who can’t moonwalk, but will nevertheless skate on by. —Shayna Maci Warner

2. The Sky Is Everywhere

sky-everywhere.jpg Release Date: February 11, 2022
Director: Josephine Decker
Stars: Grace Kaufman, Pico Alexander, Jacques Colimon, Cherry Jones, Jason Segal
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 103 minutes

Watch on Apple TV+

YA adaptations in film often get an undeservedly bad rap, if only because popular contemporary YA fiction—at least of the sort that tends to garner enough mainstream attention to land feature film or television deals—is known for often being tremendously sad and cloyingly emotional. Ugly crying, for the reader, at least, is the norm. So, consider this your warning going in that The Sky Is Everywhere is an emotional ride, one that frequently skirts the line between sharply truthful and painfully saccharine. (Usually ending up in the realm of the former, but not always.) Yet its whimsical, fairytale feel generally keeps the story from feeling like something you’ve seen before. Adapted from the novel of the same name by author Jandy Nelson, the story centers on Lennie Walker (Grace Kaufman), a teen musical prodigy who’s struggling to figure out how to keep going in the wake of the sudden death of her older sister Bailey (Havana Rose Liu). The two sisters were exceptionally close, and much of Lennie’s plans for her life after high school revolved around the fact that the pair would do them together, from becoming roommates to attending Julliard. To say that Lennie doesn’t know who she is anymore without her sister is an understatement and her sense of self is further rocked throughout the film by the revelation of several key secrets Bailey had been keeping from her. Director Josephine Decker manages to find unexpected and beautiful ways to visually represent Lennie’s emotional state. The Sky Is Everywhere is full of strange and surprising images that include everything from over-the-top riots of color to claustrophobic, almost horror-like darkness. From the faceless rose-people who rise from the ground to form a human-plant hybrid wreath around Lennie and Joe during an important moment to the impromptu dance sequence that breaks out as Lennie reminisces about her sister’s love of music to the forest that suddenly starts raining broken furniture, Baker makes a ton of interesting choices that add color and depth to an otherwise fairly simple and straightforward story. The same can generally be said of The Sky Is Everywhere itself, which puts a fresh spin on an age-old topic and brings a much-loved book to life. —Lacy Baugher Milas

4. The Tragedy of Macbeth

the-tragedy-of-macbeth-poster.jpg Release Date: January 14, 2022
Director: Joel Coen
Stars: Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, Brendan Gleeson, Corey Hawkins, Moses Ingram, Kathryn Hunter, Bertie Carvel, Harry Melling
Rating: R
Runtime: 105 minutes

Watch on Apple TV+

Defined by stark minimalism, Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth is an undeniable directorial flex. Coen commands the film’s slickly sparse black-and-white visuals alongside his cast of renowned actors, yielding a final product saturated with artistic determination—but one stripped of any semblance of madness or mania. The highly stylized aesthetic of the film—coupled with regretfully restrained performances—transform Macbeth into an all too tedious tragedy. Though it hardly requires recapitulation, The Tragedy of Macbeth follows the eponymous ruthless Scottish general (Denzel Washington) and his Lady (Frances McDormand) in the wake of a jarring prophecy. Coen’s Macbeth attempts to distinguish itself in comparatively cautious ways: Washington and McDormand occupy roles typically filled by younger actors, while the film’s milky white and dense black contrast enhances the otherwise barren landscape. Macbeth lacks any clear innovative distinction aside from a visually malleable soundstage and long-established actors. The rigid imagery, coupled with drably subdued performances from the film’s leads, demonstrates an inability to capture an overwrought descent into insanity; it is mania preventatively quashed by SSRIs. McDormand’s intent to portray Lady Macbeth as macabrely muted results in a restrictive rigidity. Meanwhile, Washington’s Macbeth is somewhat more convincing in his trepidation, but the role ultimately feels miscast—after all, the text’s succinct nature positions the cunning Scottish King as an unlikable fiend. The Tragedy of Macbeth is nonetheless a well-executed adaptation. The film’s staging and cinematography are clever and compelling; the thespians involved are unequivocally talented; it is competently helmed by one of the most influential directors currently working in Hollywood. Unfortunately, the bar set so high by previous Coen efforts renders all of these successful components moot. Joel Coen’s Macbeth lacks risk, ingenuity and, most importantly, reward. For those who seek a safely satisfying rendition of the lean Shakespearean tragedy, this latest execution will surely suffice. —Natalia Keogan