Four new films to stream this weekend

Notturno, Raya and the Last Dragon, Moxie, Backtrace

Notturno

Notturno

 

NOTTURNO ★★★★☆
Directed by Gianfranco Rosi. Mubi, 100 min
Stunning documentary from the director of Fire at Sea studying life on the warzones that spread across the borders of Iraq, Kurdistan, Syria and Lebanon. The majesty of Rosi’s own camerawork – slow movements across exteriors – argues for something more transcendent than the ugly chaos we get from most war-torn verité. Over an economic running time, Rosi builds a picture of societies set on edge by history and fanaticism. Nobody with a sense for contemplative cinema will be left unsatisfied, but is it a little too beautiful? DC

RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON ★★★☆☆
Directors Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada. Voices of Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Gemma Chan, Daniel Dae Kim, Sandra Oh, Benedict Wong, Izaac Wang. Disney+, 114 min

Raya (voiced by Kelly Marie Tran) in Raya and the Last Dragon
Raya (voiced by Kelly Marie Tran) in Raya and the Last Dragon

Raya and her animal companion track down the last surviving dragon. The 59th film to emerge from Disney Studios was criticised for including more east Asian than southeast Asian actors. That’s hardly fair. The multicultural cast is led by Vietnamese-American Kelly Marie Tran and features everyone from the Scottish-Chinese Benedict Wong to the Asian-American rapper Dumbfoundead. Raya does sometimes feel as if it has been assembled by a committee, but it’s good fun, the critters are cute and the action sequences crackle. TB

MOXIE ★★★☆☆
Directed by Amy Poehler. Starring Hadley Robinson, Alycia Pascual-Pena, Josephine Langford, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Parsa Ghorbani, Marcia Gay Harden, Amy Poehler. Netflix, 111 min

Hadley Robinson and Alycia Pascual-Pena in Moxie
Hadley Robinson and Alycia Pascual-Pena in Moxie

A teenage girl causes trouble in her school after publishing a subversive ’zine. In 2004, Amy Poehler’s sometime comedy partner Tina Fey made a splash with her timeless screenplay for Mean Girls. Moxie, Poehler’s second Netflix film following the comedy Wine Country, isn’t nearly so deliciously tart. Bikini Kill may feature on the soundtrack and intersectionalism may feature in the banter, but Poehler’s, at heart, is a cute teen comedy-drama replete with jostling best friends and a love interest. TB

BACKTRACE ★☆☆☆☆
Directed by Brian A Miller. Starring Sylvester Stallone, Matthew Modine, Ryan Guzman, Meadow Williams, Christopher McDonald. Amazon Prime, 87 min

Sylvester Stallone in Backtrace
Sylvester Stallone in Backtrace

A villain (Modine, slumming) develops amnesia after a bank raid and forgets where all the money, jewels, gold bullion or weapons-grade Macguffins are buried. Luckily, ancient detective Stallone is here to stand around in a leather jacket while somebody else solves the case. Supernaturally boring. Militantly drab. Aggressively pointless. Time moves so slowly one begins to fear it may turn backwards and return us to the far distant opening credits. Can these guys really need the money? DC

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