Where to Watch This Week’s New Movies, from ‘Renaissance’ and ‘Silent Night’ to ‘Eileen’ and ‘May December’

It’s Beyoncé’s world, we’re all just living in it. And while the announcement of Queen Bey’s concert film “Renaissance” (officially billed as a feature that follows “pop superstar Beyoncé [as she] performs hit songs in concert and discusses the creative process behind her world tour”) might not have caused the released date exodus her fellow star and major box office attraction Taylor Swift inspired with her recent offering, never fear: the runway was already cleared long ago for Bey to take box office flight.

She may not be the only game in town this week, but she’s clearly the marquee attraction. Elsewhere, film fans can enjoy a slightly muted assortment of other picks, from John Woo’s return to American action cinema with the nearly dialogue-free “Silent Night” to William Oldroyd’s ambitious Ottessa Moshfegh’s novel “Eileen” (an IW fave since its Sundance premiere earlier this year) and the already much-ballyhooed charms of Takashi Yamazaki’s “Godzilla Minus One.”

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And, one more treat: Todd Haynes’ lauded, award-winning “May December” is now streaming on Netflix. Maybe don’t gather the whole family around for this one.

Each film is now available in a theater near you or in the comfort of your own home (or, in some cases, both, the convenience of it all). Browse your options below.

Week of November 27 – December 3

New Films in Theaters

“Animal” (directed by Sandeep Reddy Vanga)
 Moksha Movies and Nirvana Cinemas
Where to Find It: Theaters

IndieWire review to come.


“Eileen” (directed by William Oldroyd) — IndieWire Critic’s Pick
Where to Find It: Limited theaters, expanding on December 8

In the first scene of “Eileen,” the protagonist stakes out in her car on a dreary winter lakefront lovers’ lane in the Boston outskirts. As another couple makes out in a backseat of the next car, Eileen watches, glowering lustily, and grabs a handful of muddy snow, shoves it down her pants, and masturbates.

The rest of “Lady Macbeth” director William Oldroyd’s second feature never quite matches the giddy perversity of that image, but no matter, because this stylish 1960s-set noir adapted from Ottessa Moshfegh’s mean and pungent novel of the same name is a dark treat throughout. Thomasin McKenzie, playing the title character, and Anne Hathaway, playing the alluring blonde-headed woman that seemingly drops from the sky and into her life, give career-best performances in an oddly touching queer almost-romance that feels like a cross between “Carol” and Hitchcock (Moshfegh herself has named his film “Rebecca,” which shares a name with Hathaway’s character here, as a touchstone). But it’s also entirely its own weird, beautiful thing, even if it doesn’t quite rub audiences as deeply in the muck of Eileen’s miserable existence as the novel did. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Fioretta” (directed by Matthew Mishory)
 Rubber Ring Films
Where to Find It: Limited theaters

How much does personal history humanize world history? Genealogist Randy Schoenberg sets out to answer that existential question in Matthew Mishory‘s documentary “Fioretta,” which captures his quest to share his centuries-long family history as a prime example of the persecution and murders of Jews in Austria during a horrific time in history. Randy leads the Schoenberg family affair, which brings together various generations on a trek to Vienna to revisit the graves of and memorials to his ancestors. Randy himself was previously portrayed by Ryan Reynolds in the narrative feature “Woman in Gold” after he sued the Austrian government in 2005 on behalf of Holocaust survivor Maria Altmann (played by Helen Mirren) to return five Gustav Klimt paintings that were stolen from her family by the Nazis.

“Fioretta,” however, gets sidetracked in the details of who married who, past family reunions, census data, and more frivolous elements that detract from the central message of preserving the collective Jewish history. The strongest elements of the film are the interviews with non-Schoenberg family members, such as the archivists, historians, and museum caretakers that Randy encounters along the way. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Godzilla Minus One
“Godzilla Minus One”Toho

“Godzilla Minus One” (directed by Takashi Yamazaki)
 Toho International
Where to Find It: Theaters

With estimable brawn and brain, its follow-up “Godzilla Minus One” returns to the primal scene of nuclear devastation to ponder the value of an individual life in the face of mass death, and finds a handful worth fighting for.

In judging the nobility of self-sacrifice against the ambiguous morality of kamikaze warfare — posed as an injustice not to its targets, but rather to the Japanese soldiers spent like bullet casings by an indifferent state — writer/director Takashi Yamazaki does more than find a renewed purpose for an IP asset impervious to irrelevance. He’s reconciled the series’ pop thrills with the heaviness of its political subtext more skillfully than anyone since the rubber-suit days by melding the two into an ideological spectacle to rival Sergei Eisenstein’s, both in its foregrounded populist leanings as well its rousing, cathartic montage in action. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Pianoforte” (directed by Jakub Piatek)
 Greenwich Entertainment
Where to Find It: Select NYC theaters, with LA expansion to follow on December 15

The International Chopin Piano Competition is the closest thing that concert pianists have to the Olympics. You might even say that, since the prestigious contest only happens every five years, the Olympics are the closest thing that athletes have to the International Chopin Piano Competition. Twice a decade, the world’s greatest virtuosos descend upon the city of Warsaw for a grueling three weeks of trials in which every mistake is placed under the world’s largest microscope. Contestants are limited to performing the works of Frédéric Chopin, so there’s little room to mask errors with creativity. Win the contest, and you’re on a fast track to classical music superstardom. Play a wrong note? Your dreams of glory are instantly dashed.

“Pianoforte,” Jakub Piatek’s documentary about the 2021 competition (postponed from its original 2020 date), follows a group of young musicians during their three weeks in Warsaw vying for the title. Utilizing a D. A. Pennebaker-esque format that eschews slick interviews in favor of letting intimate moments speak for themselves, the film has less to do with the glories of classical music than the burnout that inevitably hits anyone who devotes their life to a dream. Read IndieWire’s full review.

“Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé” (directed by Beyoncé)
 AMC Theatres
Where to Find It: Theaters

IndieWire review to come.

Joel Kinnaman as Godlock in Silent Night. Photo Credit: Carlos Latapi
“Silent Night”Carlos Latapi/Lionsgate

“Silent Night” (directed by John Woo)
Where to Find It: Theaters

“Silent Night” marks John Woo’s first American action film since 2003’s all-too-fittingly titled “Paycheck,” and the legendary Hong Kong auteur seems eager to make up for lost time. There are at least two decades’ worth of John Woo-ness crammed into the opening minutes of this hyper-florid yuletide “Taken” riff, which starts with Joel Kinnaman — dressed in a Rudolph sweater, complete with a poofy 3D nose — sprinting after some Mexican gang members in slow-motion while a computer-generated red balloon drifts skyward in the distance and a music box twinkles over the soundtrack.

Despite the absence of flying doves (here, and throughout the rest of the story as well), the sheer degree of a melodrama that’s infused into this otherwise unremarkable chase sequence leaves no doubt as to who must have directed it. And while the rest of “Silent Night” is so abysmal that its prologue might as well be the last hour of “Hard Boiled” by comparison, it’s hard to imagine a more appropriate introduction to a movie whose only upside is the vulgar thrill of watching something that feels utterly anonymous and wildly idiosyncratic at the same time. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Plus: Read IndieWire’s interview with filmmaker John Woo.

Also available this week:

“Everyone Will Burn” (directed by David Hebrero)
 Drafthouse Films
Where to Find It: Drafthouse theaters

“In Water” (directed by Hong Sang-soo)
 Cinema Guild
Where to Find It: NYC’s Metrograph

New Films on VOD and Streaming, Including Premium Platforms and Virtual Cinemas

“American Symphony” (directed by Matthew Heineman)
Where to Find It: Streaming on Netflix

Most people know Jon Batiste as the former bandleader and musical director for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” but his accomplishments extend far beyond his work as a TV personality. By late 2021 at age 35, Batiste had accomplished more on paper than most people will in a lifetime. He had played in concert halls all around the world alongside jazz luminaries as well as pop icons, won an Oscar for his work on the score to Pixar’s “Soul,” and his album “We Are” had received 11 Grammy nominations, including Album of the Year. But the same week the Grammy nominations were announced, Batiste’s longtime partner Suleika Jaouad discovered her rare form of leukemia had returned after ten years in remission.

“American Symphony,” Matthew Heineman’s documentary portrait of the artist as a man pulled from all sides, begins in early 2022, just as Batiste starts crafting the eponymous original composition and Jaouad prepares to reenter the hospital. Heineman follows the couple during the tumultuous year as Batiste juggles various professional demands while supporting his partner during her cancer treatments. Batiste and Jaouad’s simpatico creative attitudes keeps their shared spirit afloat during this period; Heineman deliberately contrasts Jaouad’s foray into painting while in the hospital — a necessary creative shift given the radiation’s effect on her vision rendered her incapable of reading or writing — with Batiste’s musical labor. “American Symphony” culminates with Batiste’s premiere of the symphony at Carnegie Hall, but it really captures a chaotic year in the life of a musician. Read IndieWire’s full review.

American Symphony
“American Symphony”Telluride

“Family Switch” (directed by McG)
Where to Find It: Streaming on Netflix

Jennifer Garner has done a bloody revenge Christmas movie(“Peppermint”) and a slew of holiday-themed Capital One commercials (“What’s in your wallet?”), but thankfully, Garner has now returned to what she does best: the very niche, very cute, and very comforting genre of body swap comedies. The actress channels her iconic “13 Going on 30” charm for the sweet Netflix holiday movie “Family Switch” which, despite its forgettable title, actually serves as a sweet addition to the Netflix queue.

“Family Switch” is based on Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s “Bedtime for Mommy,” which was adapted for the screen by Victoria Strouse and Adam Sztykiel. McG brings his signature direction to the film that makes it an easy watch and, of course, everything is solved for the Walkers by Christmas morning. And while Garner’s very specific lovable body swap talent is a weird one-note to play, the actress just does it too well. Why not keep the tune going? Sequel, anyone? Read IndieWire’s full review.

“May December” (directed by Todd Haynes) — IndieWire Critic’s Pick
Where to Find It: Streaming on Netflix

A heartbreakingly sincere piece of high camp that teases real human drama from the stuff of tabloid sensationalism, Todd Haynes’ delicious “May December” continues the director’s tradition of making films that rely upon the self-awareness that seems to elude their characters — especially the ones played by Julianne Moore.

Here, the actress reteams with her “Safe” director to play Gracie Atherton-Yoo, who became a household name back in 1992 when she left her ex-husband for her 13-year-old fellow pet shop employee. Now it’s 2015, the situation has normalized somewhat, and Gracie and Joe (a dad bod Charles Melton) have been together long enough that their youngest children are about to graduate high school. The occasional package full of poop still arrives at the waterside Savannah mansion that Gracie and Joe paid for with appearances on “Inside Edition,” but such deliveries — gifts from random strangers who can’t stomach the couple’s love story — have become less common now that their scandalous romance has settled into suburban reality. Or so it would appear. Read IndieWire’s full review.

Plus: Read IndieWire’s interview with filmmaker Todd Haynes.

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