Four new films to stream this weekend

Judas and the Black Messiah, Coming 2 America, The Little Things, Cherry

Daniel Kaluuya in Judas and the Black Messiah

Daniel Kaluuya in Judas and the Black Messiah

 

JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH ★★★★☆
Directed by Shaka King. Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield, Jesse Plemons, Dominique Fishback, Martin Sheen, Ashton Sanders, Algee Smith, Darrell Britt-Gibson. VOD, 126 min 
Cracking examination of the forces that led to the death of Illinois Black Panther leader Fred Hampton. Kaluuya is forceful as man who is as committed to socialism as he is to black empowerment. Stanfield is believable conflicted as an undercover FBI informant. The film has its flaws: it’s a tad flatly shot; many of the actors are too old for their roles. This is, nonetheless, a fiercely muscular entertainment that engages enthusiastically with the Panther legacy and the fertilising establishment paranoia. DC

COMING 2 AMERICA ★★★☆☆
Directed by Craig Brewer. Starring Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Jermaine Fowler, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, KiKi Layne, Shari Headley, Teyana Taylor, Wesley Snipes, James Earl Jones. Amazon Prime, 110 min 

Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall in Coming 2 America
Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall in Coming 2 America

Who wouldn’t want to revisit Coming to America, the charming comedy wherein an African prince (Murphy) visits Queens, NY to find a commoner future wife? Coming 2 America understands its relationship with nostalgia and by golly, it wrings every last warm feeling for the end of cultural history. James Earl Jones is back! And he’s got company: En Vogue! Salt-N-Pepa! Gladys Knight! The plot is a silly rerun, but there are satisfyingly huge set-pieces and agreeable stand-offs with convincing CG lions. Fair enough.TB

THE LITTLE THINGS ★★☆☆☆
Directed by John Lee Hancock. Starring Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, Jared Leto, Natalie Morales, Terry Kinney. VOD, 128 min

Denzel Washington in The Little Things
Denzel Washington in The Little Things

Here’s the Little Things checklist: a forensic detective with Sherlock-shaming insights and Inner Demons (Washington, a rock despite the mouldy material); an equally clever suspect (Leto, going for broke and another Oscar); and – wait for it – a conversation between the pair featuring the phrase: “You know, you and I are a lot alike.” It’s old rope for Washington, who starred in The Bone Collector when the serial killer subgenre was all the rage. But this is now the oldest of very old hats. TB

CHERRY ★★☆☆☆
Directed by Antony Russo and Joe Russo. Starring Tom Holland, Ciara Bravo, Jack Reynor, Michael Rispoli, Jeff Wahlberg, Forrest Goodluck, Michael Gandolfini. Apple TV, 140 min 

Tom Holland and Ciara Bravo in Cherry
Tom Holland and Ciara Bravo in Cherry

What do you do when you’ve just made the highest grossing film of all time? The directors of Avengers: Endgame chose to adapt Nico Walker’s autobiographical novel concerning an Iraq War vet who falls into opiate addiction and crime after returning to an unwelcoming America. Holland, our current Spider-Man, just about carries it off in the lead. Bravo is better as his equally strung-out girlfriend. But the uneasy mix between dirty realism and heightened reality is ultimately exhausting. Overlong, sluggish and lacking in shade. DC

Other recent streaming recommendations: Notturno (Mubi), Raya and the Last Dragon (Disney+), Pelé (Netflix), The Owners (VOD), IWOW: I Walk on Water (VOD), Zappa (VOD), I Care a Lot (Amazon), News of the World (Netflix), Slalom (Curzon), Rams (VOD), Malcolm & Marie (Netflix), Bliss (Amazon), The Dig (Netflix), Crone Wood (VOD)

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