New Movies on Apple TV+

Movies Lists Apple TV Plus
New Movies on Apple TV+

Apple’s streaming service, Apple TV+, has focused more on original series than feature-length films with its subscription model driven by hits like Ted Lasso, Severance, The Morning Show and For All Mankind. But with only a fraction of the original movie releases of its rivals (24 at our last count), Apple TV+ was still the first to capture a coveted Best Picture Oscar win with 2021’s Coda. And the computer-manufacturer-turned-entertainment-titan has released four new scripted movies so far this year.

Here are the eight newest movies to stream for free on Apple TV+, including a documentary we loved:

1. The Beanie BubbleRelease Date: July 28, 2023
Directors: Damian Kulash, Jr., Kristin Gore
Stars: Zach Galifianakis, Elizabeth Banks, Sarah Snook, Geraldine Viswanathan
Rating: R
Paste Review Rating: 8.0

Watch on Apple TV+

The Beanie Bubble, adapted by Kristen Gore from Zac Bissonnette’s 2015 book The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute, doesn’t really totally explain what caused grown adults to think stuffed animals were a sound financial investment. Instead the movie focuses on Ty Warner (Zach Galifianakis), who started the eponymous Ty, Inc. and the three women who were instrumental to the company’s success: Robbie Jones (Elizabeth Banks), his neighbor who helped him launch his toy company, Sheila Harper (Sarah Snook), his girlfriend whose daughters gave him the idea of making stuffed animals small enough to fit in a backpack, and Maya Kumar (Geraldine Viswanathan), the college student who harnessed the burgeoning internet and online secondary markets to launch the Beanie Babies craze. “This story is not about him. It’s about us,” Robbie says. But Galifianakis’ plastic-surgery-loving, chocolate-milk-drinking, emotionally immature Ty is the only real character in the movie. The rest are loosely based on real people. But after coming to terms with the poetic license The Beanie Bubble takes with the truth, what’s left is a compelling movie buoyed by four stand-out performances. Galifianakis, who becomes nearly unrecognizable as the movie progresses, is terrific as the creative, quirky egomaniac. Banks, Snook (much more vulnerable here than on Succession) and Viswanathan are equally great. You want to follow these women’s stories and will be rooting for them to succeed. The Beanie Bubble is a cuddly, enjoyable and often humorous edition of the American dream gone awry. —Amy Amatangelo


2. STILL: A Michael J. Fox MovieRelease Date: May 12, 2023
Director: Davis Guggenheim
Rating: R
Paste Review Rating: 9.0

Watch on Apple TV+

Whether it’s from his ubiquitous celeb/cute guy status from Family Ties and the Back to the Future movies in the ’80s and ’90s or his two-plus decades serving as a public face/advocate for Parkinson’s disease, Fox certainly feels like one of the globe’s most “seen” figures of note. He’s also written four memoirs that encompass his career, family life and living with Parkinson’s Disease. All of which begs the question: What’s left for a documentary to tell about his life? The answer is “plenty,” as evidenced in STILL: A Michael J. Fox Movie from director Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth). The intimate yet spritely doc gives the 61-year-old actor the opportunity to share with audiences an unflinching, witty and self-deprecating look at his life up to this point. Unlike other recent celeb docs told in the voice and with the consent of their subjects, like Tina (2021) and HBO’s upcoming Love to Love You, Donna Summer (2023), STILL: A Michael J. Fox Movie doesn’t suffer from feeling like it was heavily curated, or even censored to avoid sensitive topics. To Fox’s credit, he’s unflinching in assessing the mistakes in his life, from his early boorish behavior, that came with fame, to his alcoholism, which stemmed from him trying to hide his diagnosis. And even with a tight 95-minute run time, Guggenheim paces the doc to hit the span of Fox’s life in an even and measured way. Nothing feels particularly skimmed over, and the use of so much film and archival footage has the added benefit of recontextualizing his whole public life and career into a more intimate understanding of the actual man. STILL is an impressive, inspiring and sometimes heartbreaking look at Fox’s ongoing journey, made all the more powerful for being told in his voice. —Tara Bennett


3. GhostedRelease Date: April 21, 2023
Director: Dexter Fletcher
Stars: Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Adrien Brody, Mike Moh
Rating: PG-13
Paste Review Rating: 5.3

Watch on Apple TV+

There are moments early in Ghosted that feel like a good first date: It’s not perfect, but things are going right, especially compared to all the rom-com washouts we keep meeting on the apps (which is to say, Netflix). Two attractive and charismatic movie stars visibly enjoy each other’s company in genuine, non-green-screened locations around Washington, DC; there’s even a tasteful sex scene! The movie itself gets so overexcited at these simple developments that it writes stupid lines into the screenplay, pointing out the supposed sexual tension between art curator Sadie (Ana de Armas) and humble farmer Cole (Chris Evans). Then again, maybe the movie is just trying to recreate warm feelings of rom-coms past; after all, Nancy Meyers big-ups her own dialogue through minor characters all the time. Ghosted, as it turns out, is not strictly a romantic comedy. This is not necessarily a dealbreaker, because even at its cutest, it’s rarely funny. No, it belongs to a peculiar subgenre making the rounds on streaming services with money to burn: the vaguely tone-deaf big-star caper revival. Reviving the big-star caper is a great idea. Someday, someone should try doing it well. After an unexpectedly wonderful extended first date, Cole–who has been accused in the past of an overbearing neediness–happily anticipates more time with Sadie, a guarded woman who seems to really open up to him. But days later, she hasn’t texted him back. He reasons, with perhaps unearned hope, that she is simply traveling for work, and impulsively decides to surprise her in London. She is busy with work in London… because she works for the CIA, and is embroiled in a plot to intercept a deadly weapon pursued by the dastardly Leveque (Adrien Brody). The bad guys quickly mistake Cole for the Taxman, a shadowy operative alias actually owned by Sadie. But the film vastly overestimate the appeal of Cole angrily snapping at how betrayed he feels by Sadie’s entirely understandable lies. It’s hard to bring a romance back around after watching a guy repeatedly call a gal crazy; the supposed counterbalance of Sadie rolling her eyes at Cole’s emotional neediness doesn’t do the job. What a strange misuse of Evans, who can do both snark and sincerity, and here is forced onto a sour middle ground between the two. During its long midsection, Ghosted isn’t romantic, isn’t funny, and doesn’t have much action to speak of. This seems like a mistake for a romantic action-comedy caper. —Jesse Hassenger


4. TetrisRelease Date: March 31, 2022
Director: John S. Baird
Stars: Taron Egerton, Toby Jones, Nikita Yefremov, Roger Allam, Anthony Boyle, Togo Igawa, Ken Yamamura, Ben Miles, Ayane Nagabuchi, Matthew Marsh, Rick Yune
Rating: R
Paste Review Rating: 6.6

Watch on Apple TV+

Ah, Tetris. The beloved puzzle game that is effortlessly entertaining, dangerously addictive, and the source of a cutthroat conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union. Wait, what? For those unaware of the turbulent history behind everyone’s favorite colorful falling blocks, the legal battle over Tetris took place in the late 1980s, and was long-winded, contentious and even dangerous. Such is the basis of Jon S. Baird’s Tetris, which follows Henk Rogers (Taron Egerton), a Dutch entrepreneur who journeys into the precarious heart of the Soviet Union in 1989 with the intention of porting Tetris, created by Soviet software wiz Alexey Pajitnov (Nikita Yefremov), onto the Game Boy and making millions. The Soviets aren’t too chuffed with the idea of selling their intellectual property to an American, however, and as a result, the two nations embark on a protracted, nail-biting, high-stakes stand-off ripe with blackmail and betrayals. Unfortunately the new Apple TV+ version is repetitive, melodramatic and surprisingly uneventful. For the most part, the battle for one of the world’s most valuable properties comprises a series of uniform, gray-washed interior sets filled with the same men arguing about the same thing over and over (contracts, mainly), using overly dramatic and expositional language. It’s not enough to rely on the strength of the story alone when turning true tales into films. Sometimes they require extra backstory, emotional depth and creative liberty—just a little more effort to make the pieces truly fall into place. —Aurora Amidon


5. SharperRelease Date: December 2, 2022
Director: Benjamin Caron
Writers: Brian Gatewood, Alessandro Tanaka
Stars: Sebastian Stan, Julianne Moore, Briana Middleton, Justice Smith, John Lithgow
Rating: R
Paste Review Rating: 7.7

Watch on Apple TV+

With Rian Johnson’s ongoing Knives Out series reinvigorating the popular appeal of the whodunit, it’s heartening to see other original scripts taking a crack at the genre—and a film like Sharper proves that taking a chance on original mysteries can pay off. The heist-adjacent film presents a mesmerizing vision of New York that relishes in the city’s more intimate details while painting an overarching picture of those who survive by scamming one feckless schmuck after another. While some of the film’s beats are predictable, just as many are legitimately suspenseful and surprising. The ever-changing relationships between the characters are also wonderfully conveyed by the actors, crossing paths at different moments in time and recalibrating each interaction appropriately. Sharper also shines in its depiction of New York City, highlighting oft-romanticized Manhattan enclaves, densely packed concrete landscapes and more obscure local landmarks that are long overdue for screen time. There might not be someone entirely deserving or worthy of the $9 billion fortune that’s up for grabs—but it’s entertaining enough to watch the money constantly switching hands, unsure of whose conniving nature will win out and outsmart the rest. —Natalia Keogan


6. Emancipationemancipation.jpgRelease Date: December 2, 2022
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Stars: Will Smith, Ben Foster, Charmaine Bingwa, Steven Ogg
Rating: R
Paste Review Rating: 6.1

Watch on Apple TV+

Will Smith is both an industrial-strength movie star and a nimbly talented actor. In Emancipation, he plays Peter, based on a real-life enslaved man named Gordon who escaped a Louisiana plantation in 1863, after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, and became the subject of a famous photo showing the horrific network of whipping scars covering his back. He also joined the Union army and escaped the Confederates once more, as a soldier. Antoine Fuqua’s film focuses primarily on the visceral immediacy of Peter’s separation from his wife Dodienne (Charmaine Bingwa) and their children when he’s sent to lay railroad tracks for the Confederates, and his subsequent flight. Though he escapes in a small group, the men are quickly separated as they’re pursued by Fassel (Ben Foster), a ruthless slave hunter. At this point, anyone who recalls Smith’s well-publicized reluctance to star in Django Unchained may start to wonder what’s going on here. Fuqua may not be a Tarantino-level encyclopedia of exploitation movies, but he’s not much for solemn message pictures, either. Accordingly, he treats Emancipation like both a Western—one where only the white guys get to ride horses and wear hats—and a wilderness survival thriller, with Peter making his way through the Louisiana swamps, often evading capture by a matter of moments or inches. The film averages out a stripped-down Smith and the more florid filmmaking touches to land squarely in the middle of the road. Emancipation ostensibly addresses the creation of a famous image that shifted the course of public perception—a potential companion piece, then, to Till, from earlier this year—but Fuqua can’t do much with his own image-making beyond keeping the camera moving and faithfully recreating those famous photos. If there’s more left to say about the vileness of slavery or how it entwined with a stunningly bloody Civil War, Emancipation doesn’t bother saying it. In its straightforward way, it’s still a little starstruck. —Jesse Hassenger


7. Spiritedspirited.jpgRelease Date: November 18, 2022
Director: Sean Anders
Starring: Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds, Octavia Spencer, Patrick Page, Sunita Mani, Loren Woods, Tracy Morgan, Joe Tippett, Marlow Barkley, Aimee Carrero, Andrea Anders, Jen Tullock
Rating: 13+
Paste Review Rating: 6.8

Watch on Apple TV+

Spirited is yet another retelling of the Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. Will Ferrell, already a holiday staple due to the 2003 classic Elf, stars as the Ghost of Christmas Present. Present has a lot in common with Buddy the Elf, marveling at the use of indoor plumbing and “newfangled modern mouth kisses.” Each Christmas Eve, he and his fellow ghosts—the Ghost of Christmas Past (Sunita Mani) and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (voiced by Tracy Morgan and played by former NBA player Loren Woods)—pick one person to haunt, one person to give a chance to turn their life around and start being nice. Marley (Patrick Page) oversees the extremely well-staffed operation. This year’s pick is Clint Briggs (Ryan Reynolds), a high powered PR executive with no scruples. There’s no depth he won’t sink to. When we first meet Clint, he’s stirring divisiveness between those who own an artificial Christmas tree and those who own a real one with the song “Bringin’ Back Christmas.” “Feed that hate,” he exclaims. “He’s the perfect combination of Mussolini and Seacrest,” Present marvels. Some might say he’s unredeemable. But Present wants to try to get Clint to turn his life around. The script has some funny lines (along with quite a few plugs for Sephora) but is self-aware a little too often, like when Marley references “every other adaptation nobody asked for” or one of the characters asks, “Why are they singing?” And not to be a total Scrooge, but I really hated what happens to Clint at the end. But in the name of “doing a little good” like the movie suggests, I will say Spirited is not completely unredeemable. —Amy Amatangelo


8. Causewaycauseway.jpgRelease Date: November 4, 2022
Director: Lila Neugebauer
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Brian Tyree Henry, Linda Emond, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Jayne Houdyshell, Russell Harvard
Rating: R
Paste Review Rating: 7.0

Watch on Apple TV+

The emotional resonance of Causeway, the film debut from theater director Lila Neugebauer, is entirely indebted to the staggering performances of its lead actors. Jennifer Lawrence plays Lynsey, a former Army engineer who suffers a traumatic brain injury in Afghanistan and returns stateside as a result. She meets James (Brian Tyree Henry, arguably the powerhouse of the two) in her hometown of New Orleans, driving her busted truck into his auto body shop by mere chance. Their burgeoning connection propels the film through a (slightly laggy) 91-minute runtime, the two taking turns divulging harsh, intimate truths about their imperfect pasts. While Lawrence and Henry imbue each scene they share with oscillating doses of humor and melancholy, the final product feels somewhat strained and stunted, particularly in its investigation into the hellish reality of actively trying to heal. Lynsey’s resolution to this personal dilemma culminates in predictable tugs at the heartstrings. It’s easy to be emotionally moved by stories of damaged Americans, with our many national “crises” involving addiction, over-militarization and car culture. Yet it’s hard to parse exactly what Causeway wants to say about the integral role of taking personal accountability through healing. Forgiveness is presented as a duty that’s often dashed by selfish personal hangups; healing from trauma is a linear journey, the lasting effects easily diffused with a friend and a six-pack. Collectively, we’d probably all like to believe that the latter sentiment is true, precisely because it offers two of the greatest coping mechanisms in existence: A drink and an equally fucked-up buddy to share it with you. You’ve got to admit, that’s some uniquely American medicine. —Natalia Keogan


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