What to stream this weekend: Netflix’s ‘Thunder Force,’ ‘City of Lies’ with Johnny Depp

Movie theaters are slowly reopening for the summer season, but new streaming films are still coming home to entertain you and your family during socially distanced times. 

This weekend, Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer team up as powerful best buds in a Netflix superhero comedy, Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker try to solve Biggie Smalls’ murder in a cop thriller, and a bunch of furry friends is chronicled in a dog-filled documentary.

If you’re planning to return to your local theater, “Voyagers” stars Lily-Rose Depp, Tye Sheridan and Colin Farrell in a sci-fi thriller about 30 genetically engineered young adults sent into space to save humanity on a mission that turns into an intergalactic “Lord of the Flies”-type situation.

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But if you’d rather stick closer to home, here’s a rundown of new movies hitting streaming and on-demand platforms this weekend, for every cinematic taste: 

Melissa McCarthy stars as a super-strong hero and Octavia Spencer is a woman who can turn invisible in the Netflix comedy "Thunder Force." (Photo: HOPPER STONE/NETFLIX)

If you need a superhero-movie fix: ‘Thunder Force’

The best comedy directed by Ben Falcone (aka McCarthy’s husband) so far – which isn’t a very high bar – imagines a world full of supervillains with no heroes to beat them down. A construction worker (McCarthy) reconnects with her childhood best friend (Spencer), who’s unlocked a way to give normal folks extraordinary abilities, and the dynamic duo starts busting heads. It’s an overly earnest take on the superhero genre that’s best when leaning into its goofier side – i.e., Jason Bateman’s charismatic crook with crab arms.

Where to watch:Netflix

Johnny Depp stars as an LAPD detective trying to solve the murder of rapper Notorious B.I.G. in the cop thriller "City of Lies." (Photo: SUZANNE TENNER)

If you’re into rap and/or real-life cold cases: ‘City of Lies’

Johnny Depp’s troubled off-screen life has taken over the headlines, but this immersive drama proves the dude’s still got it acting-wise, especially alongside another top-notch performer like Whitaker. Wanting to fix his reputation, a journalist (Whitaker) looks into the 1997 unsolved murder of rapper Notorious B.I.G., and in seeking out the truth, he dives in deep with a former LAPD detective (Depp) whose theories and probable suspects got him in trouble with his bosses back in the day.

Where to watch: Apple TV, Vudu, Fandango Now

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A pooch gets a decorative garland on a day of dog worship in Nepal in the documentary "We Don't Deserve Dogs." (Photo: URTEXT FILMS)

If you love all things canine: ‘We Don’t Deserve Dogs’

Matthew Salleh and Rose Tucker’s documentary looks at human/dog dynamics across the world, from pub pooches in Scotland to pets in Uganda who help former child soldiers deal with past trauma. There’s some tonal whiplash – an extremely disturbing but honest account about dogs being used as food in Vietnam segues right into furry friends semi-worshipped and given rice snacks in Nepal – but it’s a fascinating, surprising watch that’ll have you doling out extra puppy hugs by the end.

Where to watch: Apple TV, Vudu, film website

Kai Luke Brummer stars as a closeted South African young man who develops feelings for a fellow soldier in "Moffie." (Photo: IFC FILMS)

If you prefer your war dramas personal: ‘Moffie’

Cruel basic-training scenes a la “Full Metal Jacket” and “An Officer and a Gentleman” are seen with a new perspective in this movie, titled after a gay slur in Afrikaans. Set in 1981 South Africa, Nick (Kai Luke Brummer) is a closeted young man ordered to serve his compulsory military service and defend the Apartheid regime. Surrounded by racist and homophobic peers, he discovers feelings for a fellow soldier (Ryan de Villiers). It’s a moving film about both sexual identity and the psychological wounds of battle.

Where to watch:Apple TV, Vudu, Google Play

Jill Awbrey stars as a wife who fights back after being taken hostage in a strange high-tech house in the home-invasion horror film "Held." (Photo: MAGNET RELEASING)

If you think a feminist spin on ‘Get Out’ sounds cool: ‘Held’

With her marriage on the rocks, a woman (Jill Awbrey) travels to a high-tech house in the middle of nowhere for an anniversary getaway with her husband (Bart Johnson). As soon as he gets there, though, the invasion horror film kicks into freaky gear as they’re held hostage inside by a strange masked man with a penchant for old-fashioned manners and misogyny. The core conceit and twisty reveal are neat even if the execution’s a bit rough.

Where to watch: Apple TV, Vudu, Fandango Now

Dilan Jay plays a college professor who takes the law into his own hands after his wife and child are murdered in the revenge thriller "Hollow Point." (Photo: VERTICAL ENTERTAINMENT)

If you could use a little vigilante justice: ‘Hollow Point’

The acting’s overdone and the action’s only a little better in this bland revenge thriller. When a powerful gangster (a miscast Jay Mohr) kills the wife and young daughter of a college professor (Dilan Jay), the teacher takes a shot at him, misses and gets a jail sentence for the effort. He teaches himself self-defense and meets a pro bono lawyer (Luke Goss), who helps free the grieving man and introduces him to his band of secret masked avengers.

Where to watch:Apple TV, Vudu, Fandango Now

Emma Kennedy stars as a 17-year-old girl who runs away after a terrible car accident in the teen drama "My True Fairytale." (Photo: GRAVITAS VENTURES)

If you dig emotional teen flicks: ‘My True Fairytale’

Be prepared for melodrama, schmaltz and an ending you can see coming most of the movie with this teen flick. Angie (Emma Kennedy) is a butterfly-loving 17-year-old who runs away after a heinous car accident and decides to save the world – plus reconnect with her estranged dad (Darri Ingolfsson) – while those affected by the crash work out issues in their own lives looking for the missing girl. Even though the emotional manipulation is laid on thick, there’s too many random subplots for it to actually sink in.

Where to watch:Apple TV, Vudu, Fandango Now

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