Four new films to stream this weekend

Godzilla vs Kong, The Mauritanian, Minari, Undine

Directed by Adam Wingard. Starring Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Kyle Chandler, Brian Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Demián Bichir. Premium VOD, 113 min 
Godzilla was dull. Kong: Skull Island was a hoot. Godzilla King of the Monsters was a near disaster. The fourth film in the (yes) MonsterVerse is nobody's idea of a high-brow entertainment, but it is at home with its own sense of fun and precise in the organisation of its cacophonous digital action. Never mind the bonkers plot: something about an underground realm and an evil genius's efforts to exploit the warring behemoths. Savour the disciplined demolition and the consistent Punch-and-Judy humour. Oh, to see its urbanicide played out on a screen bigger than Kong's thumbnail. DC

Directed by Kevin Macdonald. Starring Tahar Rahim, Jodie Foster, Shailene Woodley, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zachary Levi. VOD, 129 min

Gripping, righteous, shocking drama following the travails of Mohamedou Ould Salahi, detained at Guantánamo Bay for 14 years without trial. Rahim is characteristically strong as the protagonist; Foster is excellent as his controversial attorney Nancy Hollander. The sheer absurdity of the story occasionally nudges Macdonald's film towards accidental black comedy, but the horror always pulls one back. It is a shame that too many of the story arcs – particularly Cumberbatch as the divided prosecutor – are too awards-season clunky. At its best when at its most angry. DC

MINARI ★★★★☆
Directed by Lee Isaac Chung. Starring Steven Yeun, Han Ye-ri, Alan Kim, Noel Kate Cho, Youn Yuh-jung, Will Patton. VOD, 115 min

Witty, touching drama (nominated for six Oscars) about a Korean-American family coping with relocation to urban Arkansas in the 1980s. Steven Yeun is the ambitious, possibly deluded dad. Alan Kim is his wide-eyed young son. Youn Yuh-jung is terrific as an eccentric Granny. Chung melds elements from his own life into a delicate story that works it magic subtly. It adds up to a rare film about assimilation that can be equally cherished by both poles of the American political landscape. And all those in between. TB

UNDINE ★★★★☆
Directed by Christian Petzold. Starring Paula Beer, Franz Rogowski, Maryam Zaree, Jacob Matschenz. Curzon Home Cinema, 90 min

Petzold's ninth feature, a thoroughly modern reworking of mermaid mythology – interwoven with everything you ever wanted to know about urban planning in Berlin – reunites Beer and Rogowski as an academic and an industrial diver working through an allegorical relationship. Hans Fromm's cinematography is as lovely to behold as the central couple. The underwater sequences, shot on sets built by production designer Merlin Ortner, are murky and magical. Like all Petzold's films, it works away at both emotion and intellect. TB

Read More