Wondering what to watch this weekend? Mid-March brings with it a ton of new streaming movies.
Perhaps the best of them comes from an old hat, namely Clint Eastwood and his biopic drama Sully, starring Tom Hanks as the eponymous pilot who landed a crashed plane safely on the Hudson River. While it’s a true story, the true crime thriller Boston Strangler makes its debut on Disney+.
Social satire slasher and murder mystery Bodies Bodies Bodies, directed by Halina Reijn, arrives on NOW and Sky Cinema alongside surprise Oscar nominee To Leslie also arrives on service, finally available to watch in wake of controversy around his rather bizarre word-of-mouth campaign for his star Andrea Riseborough (who is actually quite good in film).
To know more: New on Prime Video in March
At the same time, the extraordinary Mustang, Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s first feature film, lands on MUBI.
Please note that a subscription may be required to watch.
Sully (2016) | BBC iPlayer – pick of the week
Sully is Clint Eastwood’s dramatization of “Miracle on the Hudson,” the accident in which US Airways Flight 1549 lost engine power and its pilots Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) and Jeffrey Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) rescued the lives of the passengers by landing the plane in the Hudson River.
To know more: New on Disney+ in March
The film underlines how the resulting fame is isolating him: it cuts him off from his family and from relating to the people he meets, because whether in jest or genuine reverence idolatry is alienating. Worse yet, an investigation into the details of the accident fuels this anxiety. The National Transportation Safety Board touts his actions that day and questions whether Sully was the cause of the crash, something potentially career-ending, an outcome the board appears to be pursuing through simulations and confirmation bias. But even they, as Sully points out, are just doing their job.
Sully plays the event from multiple angles, showing it from the point of view of people who witnessed the event and those who were on the plane. Rather than simplifying it into a heroic act each time, Eastwood shows a new way in which someone, other than the pilots, has proved crucial to saving lives on board: Flight attendants maintain control during panics, the nearby Coast Guard them save from freezing river, air traffic control keeps their eyes peeled, even people looking at passenger lists.
All this joint effort, from the “best of New York” as the end postcards put it, is presented against the “getting humanity out of the cockpit” billboard as they present their case for the human error causing the crash , when that humanity – not just Sully – was so crucial to preserving the lives of those aboard.
That humbler approach to the story dovetails with Tom Hanks’ performance as Sully, who wears immense weariness on his forehead without going overboard, gently steering his character away from steely-eyed stoicism, more towards a man suffering from an overwhelming attention he really didn’t want, who would rather share the praise.
Also on BBC iPlayer: Stronger (2017), The Bling Ring (2013)
Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022) | NOW with a Sky Cinema subscription
The often mean-spirited and nihilistic satire of Bodies Bodies Bodies – a slasher murder mystery set in a mansion with a group of young adults (and a much older man) – channels the black comedy of something like Heathers (a director Halina Reijn has directly cited as an influence) through mocking the contemporary attachment to phones and social media.
To know more: News on Sky Cinema/NOW in March
A mix of obnoxious 20-somethings hang out in a hurricane at the mansion of Pete Davidson’s character, the wealthiest member of the group. The reunion is terse, some of them showing mixed reactions to Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) showing up unannounced with her new girlfriend (Maria Bakalova of Borat 2 fame, much more candid here). After a rather laborious preparation, during a wink murder game someone is actually killed and it is not clear who the culprit is, and the group promptly begins to fall apart completely.
Watch the trailer for Bodies Bodies Bodies
Along the way its Gen Z satire can get a little boring due to its mocking parroting of how young people talk online, characters repeating common buzzwords until they sound meaningless. Maybe that’s the point: there’s a certain realism in the way it mimics the way online discussions very quickly co-opt real issues that aren’t relevant or the way people compete to be recognized as the most persecuted.
But it’s also uninteresting, as the film consistently operates on this same level with no variation or really, any clarity about what it wants to say about these characters beyond their emptiness. At least the film is propelled sonically by a typically outstanding Disasterpeace score, which somehow feels modern and old-fashioned despite its dramatic electronic pulses and heightened group panic.
Its satirical elements remain bland, but it’s still quite entertaining with some pointed lines as each character accuses themselves. Then there’s simply one line delivered by Rachel Sennott, who pretty much carries everything on her back, before a funny ending brings the film back from the brink.
News also on NOW: To Leslie (2022), Marlowe (2023)
The Boston Strangler (2023) | Disney+
From Netflix’s hit series Dahmer to the other hit series You, it’s a great time to be alive if you love a serial killer yourself. Disney is now throwing its hat into the ring with the period drama The Boston Strangler about the efforts of reporters and police to catch the titular killer of women in the late 1960s.
Keira Knightley is miscast as Loretta McLaughlin, a dogged reporter who isn’t so much assigned the Boston Strangler case as bulldozed her way through. The real McLaughlin was a groundbreaking journalist, particularly for her later work on the AIDS crisis, but the film’s McLaughlin is consigned to a hashtag girlboss stereotype who forgoes the nuance of balancing career drive with fighting sexism.
To know more: The chilling true story of the Boston Strangler
The supporting performances, especially by Alessandro Nivola as an obsessive detective, are much better. With procedural narration straight out of Law and Order, The Boston Strangler wouldn’t look out of place on ITV on a Sunday night. – SM
Also new on Disney+: Finding Michael (2023)