What to watch: The best movies new to streaming from Confess, Fletch to Ant-Man 3

What to watch: Ant-Man 3, Confess, Fletch and Unsane are all new to streaming. (Disney/Paramount/20th Century Fox)
What to watch: Ant-Man 3, Confess, Fletch and Unsane are all new to streaming. (Disney/Paramount/20th Century Fox)

Wondering what to watch this weekend? The phrase of the week is “small scale”, when it comes to both budget and theme of the films coming to streaming.

On the budget side are two different little dramas, the first of those being the calm but hilarious Confess, Fletch – a Jon Hamm-starring revival of a Chevy Chase series following a bothersome investigative reporter.

Released on Sky Cinema via NOW, perhaps streaming will be the second wind to a rather uneventful theatrical release, its distributors inexplicably hanging it out to dry.

Read more: Everything new on Prime Video in May

At the same time on MUBI, the smartly curated service continues its Steven Soderbergh season with the thriller Unsane, the first of a number of Soderbergh’s latest genre exercises to be shot on an iPhone.

Finally there's Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania — a small scale movie only in the sense that it’s characters shrink down so small in this one they go into another dimension.

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Confess, Fletch (2022) | Paramount+

Jon Hamm in Confess, Fletch. (Paramount)
Jon Hamm in Confess, Fletch. (Paramount)

Quietly dumped into UK cinemas unceremoniously last year before being unfairly buried, Greg Mottola’s Confess, Fletch, wasn't given much chance to find its audience. Hopefully it will now find them on streaming.

Read more: Everything new on NOW in May

A continuation of the Chevy Chase-starring Fletch series of days past, Jon Hamm steps into the role of the smarmy investigate journalist, playing a man who always considers himself the smartest person in the room, only being right about half of the time. Best known for his career-making turn as Don Draper in Mad Men, Hamm’s subsequent roles as bizarre goofballs did well to separate him from the part, and Fletch’s slacker charm feels like a continuation of that arc (the film does also feature a delightful, adversarial reunion with former Mad Men co-star John Slattery).

Watch a trailer for Confess, Fletch

In this new film, Fletch is being framed for murder, and (perhaps foolhardily) takes matters into his own hands in order to clear his name, constantly ducking the police officers tailing him to their persistence annoyance (one highlight of the film’s physical comedy is Ayden Mayeri as the long-suffering Griz, spilling an entire milkshake on herself during a stakeout).

The film meanders, sometimes too much, but the light touch narrative simply gives space for Jon Hamm to charm even more, lifting the film’s clever comedy along with him. It’s simply an easygoing good time, and frankly, the theatrical landscape could use more like Fletch: funny, smart, straightforward, low stakes.

Also new on Paramount+: Wire Room (2023)

Unsane (2018) | MUBI

UNSANE, Claire Foy, 2018. © Bleecker Street Media /Courtesy Everett Collection
Claire Foy in Unsane. (Everett Collection/Alamy)

After retiring and then un-retiring with his “Ocean’s 7/11” heist movie Logan Lucky, Steven Soderbergh continued his experiments with digital filmmaking. He followed that film up with Unsane, a claustrophobic thriller where every space feels incredibly oppressive, perhaps due in part to Soderbergh having shot the entire film on a (modified) iPhone 7 Plus.

The extra navigability of the camera feels utilised to the full, Unsane’s wealth of wide angle shots that feel as though everything is being compressed inwards turns Soderbergh’s filmmaking method from playful gimmick to something genuinely expressive of the film’s screed against the abuses of America’s broken healthcare system.

Read more: Everything new on Paramount+in May

Put reductively, Soderbergh filters Gaslight through that lens, as Sawyer (Claire Foy) is involuntarily committed to a mental institution not long after moving away from her home to escape a stalker. She’s tricked into signing a form that traps her in the facility, which is all too happy to keep her there to gain profits from health insurance payouts.

Watch a trailer for Unsane

Soderbergh’s thrillers have always been pointed, but his latest work — especially his trio of iPhone-shot movies Unsane, High Flying Bird, and Kimi —are canny blends of genre thrills with thorough examinations of American institutional abuses and cons, and how they get away with it.

Unsane leverages this to giddy, sickly effect - though its production values may take some getting used to, it’s a compelling experiment.

Also on MUBI: Joan of Arc (2016), A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies (1995)

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023) | Disney+

(L-R): Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man, Kathryn Newton as Cassandra
Paul Rudd, Kathryn Newton and Evangeline Lilly In Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. (Disney)

Of all the increasingly bloated MCU features, the Ant-Man series used to feel like the most straightfoward: a charming ex-con played by Paul Rudd has powers that can make him really small, or really big. Despite changing hands from Edgar Wright in what might be the studio’s longest gestating project, it found a capable steward in Peyton Reed (whose Rock Hudson/Doris Day rom-com pastiche Down With Love, 20 this year, is a personal favourite).

The sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp, was a similarly low stakes delight that drew upon Reed’s well-documented enthusiasm for the Fantastic Four. This is the opposite of that, quickly leaving behind the good stuff (I Think You Should Leave cameos, Paul Rudd being a goof) for the less interesting stuff (multiverses, macguffins, pontificating about conquering the universe to save it, or something).

Read more: Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania: The best Easter eggs and MCU cameos

“Franchise fatigue” or “superhero fatigue” are phrases that have been thrown around a lot in recent years but Quantumania might be the most keenly felt instance of it, a representation of how Marvel Studios has in fact perfectly replicated the model of Marvel comic books – but not their aesthetic diversity or language or other unique artistic quirks. No, instead we get the business model: the comic book event machine now brought to the big screen, with all of the constant disruption and suggestion towards buying other issues, but without any of the editor’s notes.

Watch a trailer for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

It’s doesn’t help that there’s little in the way of visual creativity on display here: there was at least a fraction of that in the earlier films and their use of macro photography for the shrinking sequences. Bafflingly, for a film about characters that have powers based around shrinking, Quantumania has no sense of scale, lacking any framing to indicate size and every VFX backdrop slowly becoming interminable — it gets to the point where characters have to tell you that they’re gigantic. (Perhaps the use of tokusatsu or kaiju film miniatures and model sets could have improved upon this — goofy, maybe, but at least tangible and clear). This problem extends into the rest of the film’s supposed “-mania”: it doesn’t actually feel surreal or strange, it just constantly insists that it is.

Read more: Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania: Post-credit scenes explained

At the time of the film’s release, Jonathan Majors as the villainous Kang the Conqueror already felt out of place for how the stage actor gravitas of his character chafed with Ant-Man’s irreverent tone, and the stammering, Rick and Morty-style gross-out comedy that screenwriter Jeff Loveness introduces with his new film.

As a screen presence Majors now sticks out for other reasons too. At this time Majors’s alleged abuses cast a sour and inescapable note over the film, which blatantly positioned his take on Kang up as a part of the franchise for the next however many years.

Also new on Disney+: White Men Can't Jump (2023)