Critics Consensus

Bad Boys for Life and Sonic the Hedgehog Hit Digital Release This Week

As more people self-quarantine at home, we run down the most notable films hitting VOD and early digital release.

by | April 2, 2020 | Comments

As more and more people are compelled to practice social distancing and encouraged to stay home, as movie theaters temporarily shutter their doors, and as studios continue to pull their scheduled 2020 films off the release calendar, we’ve decided to reformat this weekly Critics Consensus column to focus on titles that are newly available on the home entertainment market. With that in mind, our list of digital new releases this week includes an action-comedy sequel 17 years in the making, a worthwhile video game-inspired adventure, and a ho-hum horror sequel. See below for the full list.


Bad Boys for Life (2020) 77%

When a film gets a sequel that comes more than a decade and a half after the last installment, with an entirely different creative team behind the camera, it’s usually not something to get excited about. But when the film you’re following is 2003’s Bad Boys II, you don’t have a particularly high bar to clear. Enter co-directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, a pair of Belgian filmmakers who stepped up to the challenge and came out with a film that was better than anyone expected. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are back as Mike Lowry and Marcus Burnett, of course, as is Joe Pantoliano as their captain. This time, Mike needs Marcus’ help when he finds himself in the crosshairs of a cartel boss with ties to his past. Critics said Bad Boys for Life effectively builds upon Michael Bay’s first two films and delivers both spectacular action and the requisite bromantic banter between Smith and Lawrence. It’s a solid action-comedy that mostly delivers everything it promises in style.

Available now on: FandangoNOWAmazonGoogle Play, iTunes, Vudu


Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) 64%

Before Sonic the Hedgehog debuted, the most interesting thing about the film was probably the fact that, after its first trailer inspired revulsion among fans for its creative interpretation of the titular character’s look, Paramount went back to the drawing board to redo the visuals. Now that it’s come and gone from theaters, though, it’s become notable for a couple of other reasons, namely that it’s now the third best-reviewed video game adaptation ever (behind The Angry Birds Movie 2 and Detective Pikachu) and that it features a rousing Jim Carrey performance that harkens back to his 1990s heyday. Carrey plays the bad guy here, one Dr. Robotnik, who seeks to harness Sonic’s power for evil, which forces Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) to team up with a human pal (James Marsden) so he can locate the magic rings that will help him get back to his home planet. If it sounds a little goofy, well, that’s because it is, but it’s all harmless, good-natured fun that will probably keep the kids occupied while they’re holed up at home.

Available now on: FandangoNOW, AmazonGoogle PlayiTunesVudu


Brahms: The Boy II (2020) 9%

Back in 2016, The Boy only managed a meager 30% on the Tomatometer, and earlier this year, its follow-up Brahms: The Boy II earned a whopping 10%. In other words, if you’re looking for a horror flick about a creepy doll, there are probably much better choices out there to satisfy your craving. As for the rest of you, don’t say we didn’t warn you. Katie Holmes serves as the ostensible anchor for the story this time around, which finds a young family dealing with trauma from a home invasion who decide to move into a new home on the property where the first film took place. Of course, it isn’t long before the family’s young son Jude (Christopher Convery) discovers Brahms the doll buried in the ground, brings him home, and initiates a series of dark, disturbing events that may or may not be tied directly to Brahms. The vast majority of critics found Brahms: The Boy II to be derivative, plodding, and far too tame and predictable to be scary, but if you’re just dying to see it, it’ll be available digitally on Friday.

Available Friday, 4/3 on: FandangoNOWAmazonGoogle PlayiTunesVudu


Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu) (2020) 98%

Céline Sciamma’s acclaimed romantic drama didn’t make it to the Oscars this year, but it did get nominated for an Indie Spirit award and a Critics’ Choice Award after winning the Queer Palm and Best Screenplay award at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. Audiences who missed out on seeing it in theaters during its limited run should now be able to catch up on it, as it has been moved up from its original May 12 digital release to this week. Noémie Merlant stars as an artist who is hired to secretly paint the portrait of a reluctant bride-to-be (Adèle Haenel), only to fall in love with the woman. Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a powerfully acted, deeply affecting period piece that is beautifully shot and thoughtfully layered, and it should be a treat for anyone looking to have their heartstrings pulled a bit.

Available Friday, 4/3 on: FandangoNOWHuluiTunesVudu


Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020) 99%

Eliza Hittman’s powerful drama opened in theaters just a few weeks ago, right as many of the shelter-in-place orders went into effect, but even if prospective moviegoers hadn’t gone into self-quarantine, it still would have been difficult for many of them to see Never Rarely Sometimes Always, which saw a fairly limited release. The film follows a young woman named Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) and her cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder), who travel from Pennsylvania to New York to end Autumn’s unwanted pregnancy. That in itself may be enough to turn off some viewers, but Hittman wisely avoids further politicizing the inherently political subject, choosing instead to focus solely on the two girls’ journey, portraying their stark reality in matter-of-fact detail. It won’t be an easy watch for many viewers, for different reasons, but it’s a worthwhile one, anchored by a couple of powerful performances from two young and very promising actresses.

Available Friday, 4/3 on: FandangoNOWAmazonGoogle PlayiTunesVudu


Thumbnail images by Ben Rothstein / © Columbia Pictures

Tag Cloud

free movies FX Fall TV Star Trek 21st Century Fox Cannes Marvel Studios Travel Channel GoT Spectrum Originals science fiction psychological thriller Polls and Games Acorn TV Rocky crime thriller disaster RT History Rom-Com Apple green book documentary President politics Nat Geo APB dragons space true crime Sneak Peek directors spy thriller Amazon Prime Video Avengers cancelled TV series Box Office Best and Worst spinoff toy story Hulu thriller independent Epix Opinion Comics on TV SDCC cults technology E3 The CW Disney zero dark thirty sitcom Classic Film Starz movie Red Carpet X-Men Music Disney Plus USA Network Warner Bros. natural history SundanceTV Walt Disney Pictures Photos A24 festivals Comic Book Esquire best Teen Grammys Rocketman BET MCU Stephen King Song of Ice and Fire historical drama binge TBS Shudder Adult Swim foreign Set visit NYCC dogs hist OneApp comic quibi Captain marvel parents BBC TNT Marathons Amazon The Arrangement cartoon halloween First Look spider-man Interview streaming 2018 Nominations Sundance TV Disney+ Disney Plus Turner Winter TV reviews christmas movies Apple TV+ Holiday chucky E! Family Superheroe The Witch werewolf Musicals RT21 Sci-Fi DGA Food Network TCA stoner Christmas Pirates medical drama screen actors guild biography discovery Oscars game show mutant HBO TIFF award winner joker crossover USA aliens Binge Guide Premiere Dates crime drama children's TV Rock cops ghosts Syfy DC Comics video Reality Competition war spanish language Toys adventure Thanksgiving elevated horror OWN Sundance stand-up comedy Black History Month 71st Emmy Awards Certified Fresh witnail cancelled television transformers tv talk diversity movies ABC Family MTV vampires YouTube History slashers Election First Reviews adaptation mockumentary IFC Films Paramount Network TCA Winter 2020 Musical Lifetime ABC Anna Paquin composers NBC San Diego Comic-Con Pop TV Ellie Kemper Vudu docudrama Mary poppins Emmys theme song ESPN Bravo Star Wars Disney Channel child's play Action Podcast Awards Tour Quiz 24 frames TCM Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Countdown comedies game of thrones romance Tumblr Turner Classic Movies talk show 2019 sag awards Hallmark Western Cosplay sports A&E name the review finale Chernobyl cinemax Pixar anime Awards TruTV serial killer Universal American Society of Cinematographers 2017 comiccon Mystery robots TCA 2017 Shondaland social media television 2015 Ghostbusters series Peacock richard e. Grant singing competition reboot dc The Walking Dead canceled VH1 revenge Spike Film Festival GIFs Hear Us Out DirecTV National Geographic IFC travel Mary Tyler Moore Amazon Prime Watching Series crime Heroines FXX teaser cancelled TV shows police drama Extras Reality 20th Century Fox casting universal monsters Creative Arts Emmys hispanic Lucasfilm Martial Arts Super Bowl Winners canceled TV shows political drama DC Universe Trailer Netflix breaking bad Superheroes Pet Sematary book FOX Lifetime Christmas movies Valentine's Day YA Pride Month cats Apple TV Plus Chilling Adventures of Sabrina CBS batman AMC CBS All Access what to watch FX on Hulu Arrowverse facebook sequel anthology Hallmark Christmas movies CMT Horror franchise dark WarnerMedia Freeform Showtime golden globes Cartoon Network blaxploitation SXSW Mudbound VICE DC streaming service Writers Guild of America Pop Character Guide criterion Dark Horse Comics Summer Logo Emmy Nominations Spring TV Calendar dceu Marvel Infographic YouTube Premium renewed TV shows dramedy Marvel Television Ovation 2016 Crunchyroll Discovery Channel LGBTQ Brie Larson LGBT Disney streaming service concert Lionsgate Film TV renewals The Purge TV romantic comedy versus supernatural Funimation Fox News south america Masterpiece Year in Review based on movie cooking jamie lee curtis ITV Columbia Pictures a nightmare on elm street CNN scary movies die hard Sony Pictures Tarantino rotten movies we love Amazon Studios PBS Tubi miniseries Animation HBO Max PaleyFest zombies El Rey Black Mirror MSNBC Sundance Now Television Academy psycho blockbuster Country comics cancelled Netflix Christmas movies Video Games CW Seed Holidays YouTube Red period drama Trivia Paramount Fantasy Elton John Nickelodeon kids Mindy Kaling TLC Drama ratings asian-american Baby Yoda Endgame 007 unscripted Britbox doctor who Comedy Central Comedy screenings mission: impossible justice league strong female leads Academy Awards Trophy Talk Tomatazos Mary Poppins Returns latino New York Comic Con boxoffice zombie indie Women's History Month See It Skip It Kids & Family nature TV Land cars GLAAD WGN spain 2020 Schedule BBC America harry potter Biopics 4/20 45 Crackle animated