New movies to stream this weekend from ‘Hocus Pocus 2’ to ‘Blonde’
Wondering what to watch this weekend? Just on the cusp of a spooky season, some of the first suitable thematic choices for movie streaming come to light in by Tim Burton supernatural detective mystery sleepy hollowshowing on netflix. That’s all in this week’s selection – for now – but there’s another visual spectacle to behold.
This can be seen in the lavish black-and-white photography of Marilyn Monroe’s divisive and sensationalized, semi-fictional biopic. Blond, a new original movie from Netflix. It is also in the beautiful landscapes of Kasi Lemmon Harriet (shown on BBC iPlayer) another historical and biographical film that plays with fact and fiction in order to paint an impression that speaks to both the person and the myth created around them.
Also, while Hocus Pocus 2 may be the star attraction of Disney+’s streaming offerings, there’s still plenty to discover in its ever-expanding lineup of classic movies. This week’s example is from Terry Gilliam Brazila classic sci-fi opus that combines a pessimistic vision of the future with flights of genuinely romantic fantasy.
Please note that a subscription may be required to watch.
Brazil (1985) – Disney+ (pick of the week)
Terry Gilliam’s magnum opus of dystopian sci-fi Brazil follows Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce), a low-level bureaucrat, who regularly escapes the monotony of his daily job with a recurring daydream: the one where he saves a beautiful woman.
Sam ends up investigating a case that resulted in the wrongful arrest and subsequent death of an innocent man, instead of wanted terrorist Harry Tuttle (Robert D Niro). But he also ends up meeting the woman from his daydream and, in trying to help her, finds himself caught in a web of mistaken identities, mindless bureaucracy and lies.
Full of gorgeous production design, anarchy, passion and terror, it’s the perfect synthesis of the director’s satirical sensibilities with genuinely serious romance, even amid its savage portrayal of a totalitarian hellscape.
Hocus Pocus 2 (2022) – Disney+
Set 29 years after director Kenny Ortega’s 1993 fall classic, Hocus Pocus 2 brings back Sanderson sisters Winifred (Bette Midler), Mary (Kathy Najimy) and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) returning to Salem for another night of sorcery. This time, it’s high school misfits Becca (Whitney Peak) and Izzy (Belissa Escobedo) who unwittingly bring the trio back to life after they relight the Black Flame Candle after a trip to the former witches’ house, now an incarcerated museum. and operated by the mysterious Sanderson. -Stan Gilbert (Sam Richardson).
Realized by 27 Dresses director Anne Fletcher, this long-awaited follow-up has a lot going for it. In the years that followed the evocation of the first part, Hocus Pocus has since become a nostalgia-tinged children’s cult hit that has spawned an overflowing drag world fandom.
Both worlds are played out here, as Fletcher injects new blood into the cauldron alongside a welcome but underutilized appearance from At Ted Lasso’s Hannah Waddingham as the sisters’ magical mentor in an effort to please fans old and new.
While it’s great to see the delightful return of Doug Jones – decrepit Billy Butcherson – and Tony Hale provide fun extra gags – those who arrive eager to see more familiar faces summoned between spells may miss out. Still, this is a legacy sequel and with the spellbook left oddly open, it’s surely not the last we’ve seen of the Hocus Pocus world.
Also on Disney+: The greatest showman (2017)
A film that claims both to be an expression of the real Marilyn Monroe but also of her status as a commodified symbol, Blond falls dramatically short of such insight, becoming instead a hollow exercise in victimization and an ironically misogynistic and reductive portrayal of the very woman it seeks to rescue from the image of her it perpetuates.
Read more: The Blond game explained
Adapting the novel by Joyce Carol Oates, the film is a fictionalization of Monroe’s life, intentionally blurring the line between fact and fiction in order to emphasize the gap between her public and private selves.
Watch a trailer for Blond
But for this film, Monroe is even more a symbol than a person, a lamb led to the Hollywood slaughterhouse, but also an inevitable tragedy of a woman trying to recreate her father in every man she meets. It’s remarkably unsympathetic and, as revealed in interviews with Dominik himselfregardless of the actor’s artistic craft and actual legacy.
He is only interested in his misery, in transforming this misery into a spectacle and, consequently, in renewing the very treatment of the star whom he claims to apparently position as a tragedy. It’s simplistic — boring, even — to say the least, and the film craft tries desperately to counter that through its showboating, sensationalized imagery. A disappointing and even disturbing misfire from an otherwise accomplished director.
sleepy hollow (1999)-Netflix
One of Gothic Expressionist Tim Burton’s finest late-career efforts, sleepy hollow follows New York detective Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) as he is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate a series of mysterious deaths, where the victims are found decapitated.
Locals believe the culprit is none other than the ghost of the legendary Headless Horseman, and while the supernatural hangs in the balance, Burton uses the story to unearth the ills of primitive America, his supernatural whodunit covered in gaudy fog hypnotic and pictorial monochrome tableaux drenched in blood.
It’s a film far more admirable for its artistry and visual storytelling than for its screenplay, which weaves its way through a particularly unwieldy second act.
Also on Netflix: The final destination (2009), Halloween 2 (2009)
Harriet (2019) – BBC iPlayer
A better example of how to take historical license in exploring a famous person’s psychology is from 2019 Harriet. Kasi Lemmons, director of the excellent Eve’s Bayouscrutinizes the life of Harriet Tubman (Cynthia Erivo), showing her escape from slavery and her transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes, a guide on the Underground Railroad leading slaves to freedom.
A sin Eve’s BayouLemmons focuses on embodying a sense of spirituality through her filmmaking, taking a rather literal interpretation of the visions of God Tubman is said to have received as she guided her followers.
While the film sometimes oscillates between dreary cliché and sometimes true beauty, Terence Blanchard’s score also oscillates between being somewhat mismatched or raising a particular dramatic note to something transcendent. It doesn’t always work – maybe half the time – but for the most part, Harriet is a lyrical, atypical take on what could have been standard Hollywood biopic fare.
Also on iPlayer: San Francisco’s Last Black Man (2019), The Hurt Locker (2008)
Watch: Cynthia Erivo and Kasi Lemmons talk to Yahoo about Harriet