While being inside in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many are searching for distractions to keep themselves at bay. The outside world is getting scarier by the moment and the news never seems to stop pouring in.
Escapism, however, is widely available via film. Studios are moving the latest releases to digital rental and their respective services. Universal Studios has released “The Invisible Man,” “Emma,” and “The Hunt” for rent at $19.99 for a 48-hour rental with “Trolls: World Tour” going the same route on April 10.
Warner Bros. is following suit with “Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey” and “The Way Back” on March 24 for the same price and rental window. Disney-Pixar’s “Onward” has also surprisingly hit digital early for the aforementioned price point and rental window “Onward” also hits streaming early on Disney+ on April 3 for subscribers of the service.
Outside of digital rentals though, streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu provide hours of content from films and television as well for a fee.
Here are just a few recommendations for the long haul of sheltering-in-place:
MOVIES TO STREAM
- Hook (1991), directed by Steven Spielberg
Beloved late actor Robin Williams plays Peter Pan, now all grown up with a tedious job and kids. However, they are kidnapped by the notorious Captain Hook, played devilishly by Dustin Hoffman.
Pan must get them back with the help of the Lost Boys led by the lovable rogue Rufio (Dante Basco). It’s a cult nostalgic romp that only Steven Speilberg could bring to the screen.
- Goodfellas (1990), directed by Martin Scorsese
Scorsese’s masterpiece of modern cinema is ready to stream. It’s a fantastic telling of the tale of Henry Hill’s time in the New York mob.
The terrific fast-paced editing from Thelma Schoonmaker makes this nearly three-hour epic a breeze along with an Academy Award-winning performance from Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVito.
- To All the Boys P.S. I Still Love You (2020), directed by Michael Fimognari
The sequel to the terrific Netflix original rom-com “To All the Boys I Loved Before” is a nice return to Lara Jean’s (Lana Condor) world of her love letters and the impact they made.
While with her new beau Peter (Noah Centineo), things get complicated when one of the boys from her love letters, John Ambrose McLaren (Jordan Fisher), enters her life again.
Can Lara Jean keep her love of Peter strong or will John tear them apart? Click play to find out with Candor in the role she was born to play.
- Candyman (1992), directed by Bernard Rose
As the new sequel looms around us, watch the original 1992 horror classic to give you a bit of fantastical fear rather than a real one.
A slow burn of a thriller, this horror film builds on a legend of saying the name of Candyman in the mirror in hopes of revealing him.
Surprise: It does summon the hook handed killer, played with a quiet menace by Tony Todd, much to chagrin of gullible individuals.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), directed by Steve Barron
COWABUNGA! The 30th Anniversary of the film is on the horizon and can be celebrated from the living room.
This adaptation is closer to the comics rather than the cartoon (the sequel “Secret of the Ooze” is for that) and provides an action-packed film as the Turtles take on the Foot clan and their leader The Shredder.
Along with fan favorites April O’Neil (Judith Hoag) and Casey Jones (Elias Koteas) making an appearance, it’s a perfect trip for any Turtles fan to return to.
- Fighting With My Family (2019), directed by Stephen Merchant
Based upon the documentary “The Wrestlers: Fighting With My Family,” the film follows Saraya Knight (Florence Pugh) and her journey from working the independent wrestling scene to becoming the youngest Women’s Champion in WWE under the name Paige. Yet, her brother Zak Knight (Jack Lowden) seems to be lost in the shuffle when both are signed to train at the WWE Performance Center.
Produced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and directed and written by Stephen Merchant, this film hits hard with laughs, drama and showing what makes wrestling so damn fun.
- The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot (2019), directed by Robert D. Kryzkowski
Calvin Barr (Sam Elliot) does everything the title says. Need we say more?
- The Cabin in the Woods (2011), directed by Drew Goddard
The horror-comedy satire has a simplistic title, but is more than simple. Poking fun at horror tropes and turning the genre on its head, it’s spectacular crazy fun with a cast that includes Chris Hemsworth pre-”Thor” and written by “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” creator Joss Whedon.
It’s a smorgasbord of the best of horror served piping hot for fans.
- Booksmart (2019), directed by Olivia Wilde
Actress Olivia Wilde makes her directorial debut with the critically-acclaimed and sharp-witted “Booksmart.” Two girls, Molly (Beanie Felstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever), decide to spend the last few days of their high school lives doing the one thing they have yet to do: breaking all the rules.
It’s a coming-of-age comedy filled with a true genuine friendship, self-discovery and growing up.
- A Simple Favor, directed by Jeff Tremaine
A delicious thriller with some comedic moments, director Paul Feig weaves a remarkable tale for the social age. Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) must figure out what happened to her friend Emily (Blake Lively), but doing so may have dire consequences in the end.
Lively is absolutely impeccable as Emily and Kendrick keeps viewers on her toe with each new thread she untangled.
- Honey Boy (2019), directed by Alma Har’el
Based upon Shia LeBeouf’s own life and written by him, the film follows Otis (Lucas Hedges) struggling with alcoholism in rehab. While there, he flashes back to his child acting days with his abusive father James (Lebeouf) and Noah Jupe playing a younger Otis.
Har-el directs with a realistic, yet surreal eye to guide us through Otis’ difficult life in a spectacular way.
- The Farewell (2019), directed by Lulu Wang
This dramedy follows Billi (Awkwafina) and her family visiting China for a wedding. However, the wedding is simply a cover-up to not tell Billi’s grandmother that she has cancer and may have a few weeks left.
The film itself is uplifting, heartwarming and reminds viewers the importance of family and tradition.
- Midsommar (2019), directed by Ari Aster
Aster’s follow-up to the polarizing “Hereditary” continues that path with this folk horror ride. Dani (Florence Pugh) heads to Sweden for the summer solstice with her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) for his thesis project. Unfortunately, things turn south so fast with a bevy of absolutely horrific acts and strange occurrences unfolding before them. The film is unsettling and legitimately a hard sit, but if one can muster up the courage, it is a real treat of modern horror.
- Clue (1985), directed by Johnathan Lynn
Based on the board game of the same name, this delightful mystery comedy takes the premise and amps it up to the nth degree. Don’t let it deter you as all the characters from the game are brought to life with hilarious performances from famous actors of the time such as Christopher Lloyd, Tim Curry and the legendary Madeline Kahn.
It’s charming, irreverent and wickedly smart with three endings that are all humorous in their own right.
- Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987), directed by John Hughes
Leave the traveling to the two greatest comedy stars of the 80’s with John Candy and Steve Martin. Neal Page (Martin) is teamed-up with Del Griffith (Candy), much to his chagrin.
Both are bonded with the desire to head to Chicago for Thanksgiving to spend time with their family and attempt to form a bond, even if it means battling all forms of travel. It’s a beautifully crafted story of making new friends and realizing it isn’t about the destination, but about the journey beforehand.