Four new films to stream this weekend

Pelé, The Owners, The United States vs Billie Holiday, IWOW: I Walk on Water

Pelé

Pelé

 

PELÉ ★★★★☆
Directed by Ben Nicholas, David Tryhorn. Netflix, 108 min
This portrait of a footballer who really did revolutionise his sport and is inarguably the greatest of his generation eschews stock compliments from celebs in favour of extensive interviews with the three-time World Cup winner. Filmed over 18 months, the octogenarian Pelé displays little of the grandstanding he has become known for in recent interviews (remember him claiming that Neymar was “just an ordinary player”?). The film, though plenty laudatory, presents a contemplative veteran who appears human after all. TB

THE OWNERS ★★★☆☆
Directed by Julius Berg. Starring Maisie Williams, Sylvester McCoy, Rita Tushingham, Jake Curran, Ian Kenny, Andrew Ellis. VOD, 92 min

Rita Tushingham and Sylvester McCoy in The Owners

Impressively economical thriller – part home-invasion shocker, part Old Dark House yarn – concerning a group of young tearaways who get more than they bargained for during an afternoon of casual burglary. Any sympathy we may have entertained is dispelled when they elect to torture, of all treasures, McCoy and Tushingham. But are the older couple as harmless as they seem? Williams and her contemporaries are excellent. The senior actors do, however, steal the show. It’s lovely to see both having such a disreputably good time. DC

THE UNITED STATES VS BILLIE HOLIDAY ★★★☆☆
Directed by Lee Daniels. Starring Andra Day, Trevante Rhodes, Natasha Lyonne, Garrett Hedlund, Rob Morgan, Da’Vine Joy Randolph. Sky Cinema, 130 min

Andra Day and Natasha Lyonne in The United States vs Billie Holiday
Andra Day and Natasha Lyonne in The United States vs Billie Holiday

As you might expect from the director of Precious and The Paperboy, Daniels’s study of incidents from Billie Holiday’s life has its moments of camp splendour. But this odd project – speculating on the singer’s relations with an undercover FBI agent – never achieves the transcendence to which it hectically aspires. No blame will attach to Andra Day. Juggling fragility and determination, the rising singer confidently waves away Diana Ross’s performance in Lady Sings the Blues nearly 50 years ago to fully inhabit Lady Day. DC

IWOW: I WALK ON WATER ★★★★☆
Directed by Khalik Allah. Starring Khalik Allah, Camila, Frenchie. VOD, 199 min

Khalik Allah in IWOW: I Walk on Water
IWOW: I Walk on Water

Allah’s film is plenty – sometimes painfully – personal for the American-Jamaican filmmaker. It’s about Harlem: 125th Street and Lexington Avenue to be precise, a rough-hewn intersection that has dominated Allah’s output as a photographer and filmmaker, notably his 2015 documentary Field Niggas and a 2017 book, Souls Against the Concrete. There is something of Pedro Costa’s fond, poetic representations of Lisbon’s poorest communities in Allah’s respectful engagement with the socially disadvantaged. They are afforded a dignity and interest that jollies this formally challenging film along.TB

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