Buy, Rent, or Wait: May 2021

Theatrical releases are still a bit of a rarity due to the impact of the pandemic, which means that it can be difficult to learn which films are coming out soon as they’re now delivered through various different platforms. So we’re casting our eyes further afield than just your traditional cinema to find five upcoming new releases for the month. Some will still find their way to the silver screen, but others will be available from the comfort of your home. Our job will be to make wild guesses based on their synopsis and trailer as to whether they’ll worth your time, separating them into one of three categories:

Buy: This film is worth multiple viewings and maybe even a purchase of a hardcopy!

Rent: A movie in this category will be worth the cost of admission, whether that’s an actual ticket or a few dollars as a video on demand.

Wait: This means the film isn’t really worth any additional effort on your part. If you happen to catch it on broadcast television or on a streaming service you’re already paying, then maybe it’ll be worth your time. Or maybe not even that!

Last Month’s Results

Before we get to our film predictions, let us take a look at the outcome of our April predictions!

1. Voyagers

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 26%

 
IMDB Score: 5.3
 
Box Office
 
Budget: $29 million.
 
Worldwide: $4 million
 
Voyagers teased audiences with an intriguing premise, though it ultimately offered nothing but a predictable science-fiction ripoff of Lord of the Flies. Both critics and the general public alike were disappointed with how it squandered its potential. 

2. Thunder Force

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 22%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 23%

IMDB Score: 4.4

A comedy that missed more jokes than it landed, many viewers wondered how the joy of these actors working on set with their friends wasn’t able to translate across the screen. 

3. Mortal Kombat

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 54%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 87%

IMDB Score: 6.3

Box Office

Budget: $55 million.

Worldwide: $67 million

Mortal Kombat may have offered a silly plot, but it was self-aware enough to know not to aim for lofty goals but rather to appeal to its fanbase. There might be some debate as to whether it’s a good film, but for the most part it seems that at least the fans are pleased. 

4. Without Remorse

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 44%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 45%

IMDB Score: 5.8

Decent yet mediocre, many were expecting a lot more from this film considering its cast and crew, but were instead treated to a dreary outing filled with charmless non-stop action. 

5. The Mitchells vs. The Machines (Connected)

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 97%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 90%

IMDB Score: 8.0

It seems the newest animated feature from Sony ended up being the best film of the month. Endlessly witty and featuring a diabolical level of organized chaos, The Mitchells vs. The Machines offered an insanely wicked romp where its sense of self-awareness encouraged audiences to overlook its flaws.  

And now for the films releasing this month!

Those Who Wish Me Dead

Rating: R

Release Date: May 14, 2021

Distribution: HBO Max and simultaneous theatrical release.

Synopsis: A teenage murder witness finds himself pursued by twin assassins in the Montana wilderness with a survival expert tasked with protecting him — and a forest fire threatening to consume them all. (IMDB).

Director: Taylor Sheridan

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Nicholas Hoult, Finn Little, Aidan Gillen, Tyler Perry

If last month’s Without Remorse had been a success, then I’d be more inclined to believe that Those Who Wish Me Dead would follow suit. Once again, Taylor Sheridan is involved­—though this time in the role of director—while the cast features a number of notable actors, with the most famous being Angelina Jolie. However Jolie’s reputation tends to precede her; she’s a famous Hollywood starlet though when adopting a more critical gaze towards her filmography, most of her movies have been mediocre. She doesn’t have a tendency to select the greatest projects, rather they tend to be moderately entertaining outings that will pay the bills. Those Who Wish Me Dead may look good on paper, but nothing about trailer screams that this will be anything other than your run-of-the-mill crime pursuit drama with a natural disaster tossed in for good measure. Personally I would hold back and wait to hear whether it’s any good before spending money on seeing this film.

Prediction: Wait

Army of the Dead

Rating: R

Release Date: May 21, 2021

Distribution: Netflix

Synopsis: Following a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries take the ultimate gamble, venturing into the quarantine zone to pull off the greatest heist ever attempted. (IMDB).

Director: Zack Snyder

Starring: Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Ana de la Reguera

I must say, even though the zombie genre is oversaturated at this point, I am excited for this film. I wrote in my Peninsula review that I wished someone would make a zombie heist movie, and voila! My wish has been granted! I’ve always loved Snyder’s style even though it gets lambasted from time to time, but the guy knows how to make a rip-roaring entertaining flick when he’s given enough creative freedom. It’s clearly a film that will please the gore hounds, so it’s certainly not going to be for everyone, but for those that can stomach it, it’s going to offer one fun, full-throttle ride. If you are still keen for zombie movies, then you should absolutely have this film on your radar.

Prediction: Buy

The Dry

 

Rating: R

Release Date: May 21, 2021

Distribution: Limited theatrical release and VOD.

Synopsis: Aaron Falk returns to his drought-stricken hometown to attend a tragic funeral. But his return opens a decades-old wound – the unsolved death of a teenage girl. (IMDB).

Director: Robert Connolly

Starring: Eric Bana, Genevieve O’Reilly, Keir O’Donnell

I’m cheating a little since I’ve already seen this film, but I can say it is one of the best I have watched this year so far. Admittedly, I could be biased and displaying a bit of patriotism here. When Hollywood essentially shut down production due to the pandemic, it had an interesting effect on the Australian film industry. Australia has surprisingly handled the pandemic rather well in comparison to other nations, so cinemas have been continuing to operate for a while now. With little to no major Hollywood productions for competition, it left the door open for local Aussie films to shine, with Rams, High Ground, Penguin Bloom, and The Dry quickly becoming hit sensations over what was normally the summer blockbuster period; it’s rare for such a response towards home-grown productions to occur in ordinary circumstances. The Dry was arguably the best of the bunch. It’s a genuinely intriguing story told well, sitting firmly in the mystery genre, which will be a relief for those that like their crime tales without all the gore and horror. It captures an alluring, mesmerizing tone that I personally have not seen since The Virgin Suicides. Australians will no doubt connect with the setting more so than international audiences, but it’s still a story that will feature universal appeal. Personally I’m looking forward to buying this film, but others may find it just a tad too mellow for their tastes. Yet it’s certainly worth a look.

Prediction: Rent

Cruella

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: May 28, 2021

Distribution: Disney + (Premier access)

Synopsis: A live-action prequel feature film following a young Cruella de Vil. (IMDB).

Director: Craig Gillespie

Starring: Emma Stone, Mark Strong, Emma Thompson

I have mixed feelings about this film. These live-action movies aren’t always up to scratch. They either don’t hold a candle to the original, or they pander to woke politics. Yet in general they do tend to perform better when they aren’t directly tied to their source material (i.e. a prequel and therefore a new story as opposed to a remake). A tale about the origins of Cruella, who hasn’t exactly been the most prolific villain in the Disney universe, is a concept that seems rather left of field, and so it may actually escape the trappings that have befallen others within this mega movie corporation. Seeing Gillespie as the director does bode well, while Emma Stone appears to be utterly enjoying her role as the titular character. So there are some positive signs here. Well, more than positive. I mean, it has the potential to be the best of the lot if it doesn’t get in its own way. However I’ve been burned one too many times by Disney lately to warrant forking out the price for premium access. It’s just best to wait for feedback first before paying top dollar.

Prediction: Wait

A Quiet Place Part II

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: May 28, 2021

Distribution: Theatrical release

Synopsis: Following the events at home, the Abbott family now face the terrors of the outside world. Forced to venture into the unknown, they realize the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats lurking beyond the sand path. (IMDB).

Director: John Krasinski

Starring: Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Cillian Murphy, Noah Jupe

I’m half expecting this film to be delayed again, though John Krasinski has assured everyone that audiences have waited long enough. A Quiet Place was a huge hit when it first released. It was a simple premise done well, with a neat little message attached. Yet to be perfectly honest, it was a bit gimmicky and the film doesn’t hold up to subsequent viewings when one stops to think about how exactly a person can live without making a sound giving that—to be perfectly crude—snoring, sneezing and farting is a thing. C’mon, admit it. We’ve all thought about it! So I am curious as to whether this sequel can evolve past the gimmick of a deadly creature that hunts by sound without telling the same old story of survivors now needing to cope with violent communities, like what happened with Train to Busan and then the pitiful Peninsula. I personally think it’s going to be too mainstream to offer anything truly unique. It’ll be thrilling but most likely mediocre.

Prediction: Rent

Thanks for joining us for Buy, Rent, or WaitLet us know your predictions in the comment section. Join us in June for our next edition!

Are you looking forward to any of these films? What are your predictions? What film are you looking forward to most in May?

Juliana Purnell

After obtaining a Bachelor of Dramatic Arts, Juliana Purnell has enjoyed a successful acting career, working within theme parks, businesses, and on film sets. She has also taken on crew roles, both in film and theatrical productions. When Juliana isn't working, she enjoys watching movies of all genres at the cinema, writing, and playing with Samson, her pomeranian.

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