This is how the summer movie season ends, not with a bang but with "The November Man" and "As Above/So Below" in theaters. Neither film came to nationwide audiences with the built-up anticipation of "Transformers: Age of Extinction" or "Guardians of the Galaxy"; both will be forgotten by the middle of September. Fortunately, there are other options to enjoy on Labor Day. Ahead, nine films available to watch on demand that are better than what's new in theaters.
"Zero Theorem" (dir. Terry Gilliam)
Terry Gilliam ("12 Monkeys," "Brazil") is back with another weird, star-studded science-fiction movie that deals with nothing less than the meaning of life. Christoph Waltz is the lead here, but the supporting cast includes Tilda Swinton, David Thewlis, Peter Stormare, Ben Whishaw, Rupert Friend and Matt Damon.
"Dinosaur 13" (dir. Todd Douglas Miller)
A Sundance Film Festival premiere, "Dinosaur 13" details the battle over Sue, the largest intact Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton ever discovered.
"About Alex" (dir. Jesse Zwick)
Aubrey Plaza, Max Greenfield, Nate Parker and Jason Ritter lead Jesse Zwick's directorial debut, a dramedy that's been described as "The Big Chill" for millennials. Come for the typical indie movie plot twists and turns, stay for Greenfield's acerbic truth-teller.
"The One I Love" (dir. Charlie McDowell)
The less written about "The One I Love," the better. (Indeed, any plot description would qualify as one big spoiler.) All we'll say is Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss star as a couple going through a rough patch in their relationship.
"Happy Christmas" (dir. Joe Swanberg)
Joe Swanberg's latest feature is about family, friends, young parents and the small problems that can often snowball into something larger. Anna Kendrick plays the film's lead, a ne'er-do-well named Jenny who goes through a tough breakup by moving in with her brother (Swanberg), his wife (Melanie Lynskey) and their son (Jude Swanberg, Joe's real-life son).
"Snowpiercer" (dir. Bong Joon-ho)
Bong Joon-ho's dystopian thriller is the summer's best unseen blockbuster: a meaty, thought-provoking nightmare that doubles as a campy, wild ride. Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton lead a cast of international stars.
"Life Itself" (dir. Steve James)
Steve James' emotional documentary about the life and death of Roger Ebert is a must-see for everyone, especially film fans who grew up reading Ebert's prose.
"They Came Together" (dir. David Wain)
David Wain's parody of romantic comedies ("I've never met anyone else who likes fiction!") is a hit and miss affair, but maybe that's all part of the bit. (After all, how many real romantic comedies are without ups and downs?) Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd are the cast standouts, but it's Wain ("Wet Hot American Summer") and his commitment to the premise that keeps "They Came Together" on track.
"Starred Up" (dir. David Mackenzie)
David Mackenzie's "Starred Up" made a splash at this year's Tribeca Film Festival thanks to its lead star: Jack O'Connell, who also plays the main character in Angelina Jolie's forthcoming drama, "Unbroken." Here, O'Connell is Eric, a violent teenager who gets sent to prison and comes face to face with his dad (Ben Mendelsohn).