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Netflix’s Bird Box Barcelona, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, and every new movie to watch at home this weekend

The Autobots’ latest adventure rolls out onto VOD this week

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Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) aiming an arm-mounted energy cannon in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. Image: Paramount Pictures
Toussaint Egan is an associate curation editor, out to highlight the best movies, TV, anime, comics, and games. He has been writing professionally for over 8 years.

Happy Friday, Polygon readers. Each week, we round up the most notable releases new to streaming and VOD, highlighting the biggest and best new movies for you to watch at home. This week he have some highly anticipated releases on Netflix, as well as one of the best superhero films of the year arriving on VOD.

Bird Box Barcelona, the spinoff sequel to Netflix’s apocalyptic thriller Bird Box starring Georgina Campbell (Barbarian), premieres on Netflix this weekend. Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, the latest animated film in the massively popular martial arts fantasy franchise, comes to streaming on Crunchyroll, while the Colombian horror-thriller Quicksand arrives on Shudder. There’s plenty of new releases on VOD as well, including Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, Asteroid City, and Joyland, and films with reduced prices like The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Beau Is Afraid.

Let’s dive in!

New on Netflix

Bird Box Barcelona

Where to watch: Available to stream on Netflix

(L-R) Gonzalo De Castro as Roberto, Georgina Campbell as Claire, Mario Casas as Sebastian, Naila Schuberth as Sofia in Bird Box Barcelona. Photo: Andrea Resmini/Netflix

Genre: Apocalyptic horror thriller
Run time: 1h 50m
Director: David Pastor, Àlex Pastor
Cast: Mario Casas, Alejandra Howard, Georgina Campbell

This spinoff sequel to 2018’s Bird Box follows a small group of survivors fighting to overcome an apocalyptic reality in which otherworldly entities with the power to drive human beings to kill themselves have descended on the planet. To protect themselves, the survivors wear blindfolds and other eye protection as they roam the Earth in search of safety. Now in Spanish.

New on Crunchyroll

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero

Where to watch: Available to stream on Crunchyroll

Piccolo snarls against a stylized backdrop of motion lines and dark colors in Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero Image: Toei Animation/Crunchyroll

Genre: Martial arts fantasy
Run time: 1h 40m
Director: Tetsuro Kodama
Cast: Masako Nozawa, Toshio Furukawa, Ryō Horikawa

This new film set in the Dragon Ball universe follows an adult Gohan and his former mentor, Piccolo, as they battle against the nefarious Red Ribbon Army, the world-conquering organization previously destroyed by Gohan’s father, Goku, when he was a child.

From our review:

Think of Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero as a breather film. It’s a respite from massive storylines with all of reality on the line, and a chance to sit back, relax, and enjoy some Dragon Ball nostalgia. The only interruption in that dynamic is Super Hero’s use of 3D animation, a first for a Dragon Ball movie. The style gives the film an unfamiliar look reminiscent of a Nintendo Switch game. But it’s a small price to pay for the story the audience gets in return.

New on Shudder


Where to watch: Available to stream on Shudder

Carolina Gaitan struggling against a cobra in a pit of quicksand in Quicksand. Image: Shudder

Genre: Horror thriller
Run time: 1h 26m
Director: Andrés Beltrán
Cast: Allan Hawco, Sebastian Eslava, Carolina Gaitán

Allan Hawco (Weirdos) and Carolina Gaitán (Encanto) star in this new horror-thriller as Josh and Sophia, an unhappy couple who travel to the latter’s native country of Colombia for a business trip turned vacation. On a dare, the couple ventures on a hike through the nearby forest, only to be inadvertently caught in a pit of quicksand. With time running out and poisonous snakes nearby, the pair will have to mend their fraying relationship and work together to survive.

New on VOD

Asteroid City

Where to watch: Available to rent for $19.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

(L to R) Jake Ryan, Jason Schwartzman and Tom Hanks in Asteroid City. Image: Focus Features

Genre: Sci-fi comedy-drama
Run time: 1h 45m
Director: Wes Anderson
Cast: Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks

Wes Anderson’s sci-fi comedy follows an eccentric cast of acerbic characters who, brought together through the combined forces of personal tragedy and a space cadet convention, find their lives turned upside down by an unexpected visit from an extraterrestrial. There’s a lot more going on than what’s apparent on the surface, both for the film and the story behind the film, but saying any more would constitute a spoiler.

From our review:

Anderson’s ingenious framing device, which has actors playing actors playing actors, sets all these characters against each other in ways that boost Asteroid City, turning it into something richer than the perfectly amiable desert charmer that the trailers convey. Anderson is focusing on the great cosmic mysteries of existence — some in outer space, some terrestrial, and based in human emotion. His recent films have made it clear that he’s a richly philosophical filmmaker, and that he enjoys studying his artistic preoccupations from a distance — through the fog of memory in The Grand Budapest Hotel, and by turning storytelling itself into a subject in The French Dispatch.

Beau Is Afraid

Where to watch: Available to rent for $5.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

Beau, played by Joaquin Phoenix, reclines on an airplane chair while on a cruise ship deck in a still from Beau Is Afraid Image: A24

Genre: Tragicomic horror
Run time: 2h 59m
Director: Ari Aster
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Nathan Lane, Amy Ryan

A24-approved maestro Ari Aster returns with a different kind of horror project in this story about a man confronting his fears after the death of his mother. Fans expecting the next Hereditary might be... surprised.


Where to watch: Available to rent for $5.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

A Nazi officer gets a knife stabbed through his entire head, with blood dripping off of it, in Sisu. Image: Lionsgate

Genre: Historical action
Run time: 1h 31m
Director: Jalmari Helander
Cast: Jorma Tommila, Aksel Hennie, Jack Doolan

This historical vengeance thriller centers on the story of a Finnish prospector who fights to protect his land and gold from a Nazi death squad. From the image above, you can probably guess how well that goes for the Nazis.

From our review:

A significant tonal clash holds Sisu back from being the kind of fun midnight action fare the relentless advertising campaign promises. Tommila’s grounded, silent performance as Aatami, along with the fairly conventional way director Jalmari Helander, cinematographer Kjell Lagerroos, and editor Juho Virolainen frame the action, suggest a more serious revenge thriller. At the same time, the booming music, the cheesy chapter titles (“The Legend,” “The Nazis,” “Kill ’Em All”), and some ridiculously silly action beats (such as Aatami hitching a ride on the bottom of a plane by lodging his prospecting pick into it as it takes off) place it more firmly in the area of ludicrously fun action fare.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie

Where to watch: Available to rent for $5.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

Mario and the cast of the Mario Bros. Movie in their Mario Kart vehicles as they speed down Rainbow Road. Image: Nintendo, Illumination/Universal Pictures

Genre: Adventure fantasy
Run time: 1h 32m
Directors: Aaron Horvath, Michael Jelenic
Cast: Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day

Based on Nintendo’s massively popular video game characters, The Super Mario Bros. Movie follows Mario (Chris Pratt) and Luigi (Charlie Day), two Italian American brothers and plumbers who are transported to the Mushroom Kingdom. With Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy), Mario must save Luigi and the kingdom from the nefarious Bowser (Jack Black).

From our review:

It’s a breezy plot that’s mostly meant to take viewers on a scenic tour of Mario locales, with some slapstick along the way. Illumination’s rendering of Nintendo’s worlds and characters, as imagined by legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, is overwhelmingly gorgeous and painstakingly faithful, packing every corner of the screen with something interesting to look at. Everything else about the movie is serviceable, with frustratingly brief moments of idiosyncrasy that would arguably make The Super Mario Bros. Movie a more memorable film.

Knights of the Zodiac

Where to watch: Available to rent for $5.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

Seiya, the protagonist of the live-action 2023 Knights of the Zodiac, walks across a sandy, windblown space while wearing a brown tunic, a single metal gauntlet, and a wing-shaped brass pauldron Photo: David Lukacs/Stage 6 and Toei Animation

Genre: Fantasy action
Run time: 1h 52m
Director: Tomasz Baginski
Cast: Sean Bean, Famke Janssen, Mackenyu

This mythological martial arts fantasy film based on Masami Kurumada’s manga Saint Seiya follows the story of teenage orphan Seiya (Mackenyu), who, after being recruited by a wealthy billionaire (Sean Bean), learns that he is destined to protect the reincarnation of the goddess Athena (Madison Iseman). Donning the armor of the Pegasus Knight, Seiya must do battle against supernatural forces in order to protect humanity from harm.

From our review:

[There are] two things for new viewers to enjoy: Bean and Janssen’s unfortunately brief performances, and short, erratic bursts of creative action. It seems like the people behind Knights of the Zodiac started by drawing on the worst part of the franchise, then kept making progressively worse decisions. The movie’s only saving grace is that there was once a ’90s live-action American TV pilot (only 19 seconds of which have survived), so Knights of the Zodiac at least can’t be called it the worst piece of Saint Seiya media ever made.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

Where to watch: Available to rent for $19.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) aiming an arm-mounted energy cannon in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. Image: Paramount Pictures

Genre: Sci-fi action
Run time: 2h 7m
Director: Steven Caple Jr.
Cast: Anthony Ramos, Dominique Fishback, Peter Cullen

This stand-alone sequel to 2018’s Bumblebee and prequel to Michael Bay’s Transformers follows Optimus Prime and his band of Autobots as they team up with a race of fellow Cybertronians known as the Maximals to fight against a giant planet-eating abomination known as Unicron (think Marvel’s Galactus, but the robot version of that).

From our review:

Alien robot cars and their space battles are concepts with such basic, gee-whiz sci-fi appeal that they’ve worked numerous times across decades of comics and cartoons. And yet there’s little childlike wonder to the Transformers live-action movies, which often stuff their frames with visually oppressive, eyesore conceptions of things that ought to be simple and imaginative. Virtually all of the Transformers movies feel like they’re trying to defeat their audience, but this time, the movie wins.

God Is a Bullet

Where to watch: Available to purchase for $14.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

(L-R) Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Maika Monroe with tattoos on their face in God Is a Bullet. Image: Wayward Entertainment

Genre: Action thriller
Run time: 2h 36m
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Cast: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Maika Monroe, Jamie Foxx

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones) stars in this new action thriller as Bob Hightower, a grieving police detective who embarks on a path of death and destruction to avenge his murdered wife and rescue his daughter from a satanic cult. Along the way, Bob is aided by Case (Maika Monroe), the sole escapee of the cult’s brutal rituals, and a mysterious man with vitiligo known as “The Ferryman” (Jamie Foxx).

The Starling Girl

Where to watch: Available to rent for $5.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu

Eliza Scanlen as Jem Starling kneeling before a bed and praying in The Starling Girl. Image: Bleecker Street Media

Genre: Drama
Run time: 1h 57m
Director: Laurel Parmet
Cast: Eliza Scanlen, Lewis Pullman, Wrenn Schmidt

A 17-year-old girl (Eliza Scanlen) struggles with the strict upbringing of living in a fundamentalist Christian community in Kentucky and her burgeoning desire to pursue dance and live a life unrestrained by religious expectations. Amid these changes, the girl gross closer to her youth minister, Owen (Lewis Pullman), who has just returned from missionary work abroad.


Where to watch: Available to rent for $4.99 on Apple and Vudu

(L-R) Ali Junejo and Rasti Farooq leaning towards one another to kiss with a green light shaped like a star visible on the latter’s face in Joyland. Image: Oscilloscope

Genre: Drama
Run time: 2h 6m
Director: Saim Sadiq
Cast: Ali Junejo, Rasti Farooq, Alina Khan

Haider (Ali Junejo), the youngest son of a traditional Pakistani family, takes a job as a backup dancer at a Bollywood burlesque show following a long period of unemployment. After becoming infatuated with Biba (Alina Khan), the charismatic trans woman in charge of the show, Haider finds himself at odds with his family as his hopes and dreams diverge from their expectations.