Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce in Two Popes.
Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce in Two Popes.

The ultimate odd couple to stream this weekend

THE ONE THAT'S NOT JUST FOR PAPAL PEOPLE

THE TWO POPES (M)

****

NETFLIX

This true-ish story of two old Vatican bros whistling ABBA tunes, debating theology, cheering on their respective national soccer teams and rearranging the face of modern Catholicism just happens to be a ripping motion picture experience. It is a clever film that targets both the head and the heart, and won't be missing either if its excellent lead actors Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce have any say in the matter. Hopkins plays German-born Pope Benedict XVI, a remote and archly conservative leader who senses his time in the job might be coming to an end. Enter Pryce as Argentinian Cardinal Bergoglio (the future Pope Francis), who also wants to get off the Vatican merry-go-round. This archetypal odd couple get talking, get over their mutual suspicions and prejudices, and get about making history. Can get a bit corny, but what it does right is done very well indeed.

 

Picture: Metro Goldwyn Mayer
Picture: Metro Goldwyn Mayer

 

THE ONE WHERE LIFE FORMS A SQUARED CIRCLE

FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY (M)

***

FOXTEL, STAN

A good time awaits you here in this cheeky scrappy-go-lucky affair. This is the true(ish) story of Saraya-Jade Bevis, a British female pro wrestler who made a name for herself in the US under her fighting nom de plume of Paige. Interestingly, the movie is at its funniest and feistiest before Paige (played by rising star Florence Pugh) gets her call-up to join the iconic World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) stable. In these scenes, we learn Paige was raised in a family of grapplers, all of whom live and breathe pro wrestling. The movie does have its flat spots once Paige enters WWE Boot Camp, but there is always the chance another cameo from WWE legend Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson is just around the corner.

 

Will Smith and Mena Massoud in Disney's live-action remake of Aladdin.
Will Smith and Mena Massoud in Disney's live-action remake of Aladdin.

 

THE ONE WHERE WISHES ARE GRANTED

ALADDIN (PG)

***

DISNEY+

Feel free to breathe a sigh of relief, for Disney's live-action reboot of a classic cartoon does not tinker too much with the 1992 animated musical. Appealing newcomers Mena Massoud (as Aladdin) and Naomi Scott (Jasmine) do not take too long to find their stride after unconvincing starts. Surprisingly, the same goes for Will Smith as Genie, who will definitely grow on you after a while.

 

Most of the work in Curse of the Weeping Woman is done by the boogeywoman herself.
Most of the work in Curse of the Weeping Woman is done by the boogeywoman herself.

 

THE ONE WITH ONE WILD BRIDE

THE CURSE OF THE WEEPING WOMAN (M)

**1/2

GOOGLE, ITUNES

Most of the good work in this mid-strength horror movie is handled by a sinister spectre infamous in Mexican folklore as a one-size-fits-all boogeywoman. Known as La Llorona, this kooky spook gets around in a wedding dress and is always on the prowl for another kid to drown. Centuries ago, she gave her own children a deadly dunk to teach her cheating husband a lesson. Now La Llorona is telepathically turning door handles and recklessly rearranging furniture in 1973 Los Angeles, where she has designs on the offspring of a single-mum social worker (Linda Cardellini). The movie hits its peaks when La Llorona suddenly bursts into the frame (usually accompanied by a sound akin to an orchestra being swiftly fed into a woodchipper) and hits the snooze button whenever she leaves.

 

Jillian Bell, Zoe Kravitz, Scarlett Johansson and Ilana Glazer star in female-driven comedy Rough Night.
Jillian Bell, Zoe Kravitz, Scarlett Johansson and Ilana Glazer star in female-driven comedy Rough Night.

 

THE ONE THAT GOES STRAIGHT ON A BENDER

ROUGH NIGHT (MA15+)

***

NETFLIX

Sharp writing and busy pacing ensures this provocative comedy appeals to more viewers than it appals. Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, and Zoë Kravitz play former college friends reuniting after a decade apart for a bachelorette weekend in Miami. After a big evening out, the group hire a male stripper who accidentally dies before he can get his gear off. Which means the girls (one of whom is running for political office) have until sunrise to both get rid of the corpse, and cover their tracks. SNL regular McKinnon (playing a ditzy Australian) and Glazer (barely tweaking her role on TV's brilliant Broad City) are both in very funny form here, while Johansson and Kravitz also rack up a fair score of laughs.

 

Ewan McGregor with Renée Zellweger in Miss Potter.
Ewan McGregor with Renée Zellweger in Miss Potter.

 

THE ONE FOR ALL THE FAMILY

MISS POTTER (G)

**1/2

FOXTEL, STAN

The life and times of the celebrated children's author Beatrix Potter, who surfed a J.K. Rowling-like wave of success with her self-illustrated yarns at the turn of the last century. Always accessible in a Downton-Abbey-goes-to-Play-School kind of way, as evidenced by Renée Zellweger's chipper portrayal of Potter as a bustle-skirted bundle of squinty smiles and sudden blushes.

 

Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson in The Hustle.
Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson in The Hustle.

 

THE ONE THAT DOESN'T QUITE CUT IT

THE HUSTLE (M)

**

FOXTEL, STAN

The selectively appealing Rebel Wilson plays Penny Rust, a gormless Australian con-woman pulling cheap scams on the French Riviera. After a short turf war with accomplished trickster Josephine Chesterfield (Anne Hathaway), Penny joins forces with her snooty frenemy to nick a few million from a young software tycoon (Alex Sharp). The laughter-to-lameness ratio runs at about 40:60, with Wilson scoring most of the points on offer through sheer, self-humiliating repetition. Conversely, Hathaway is never once at ease with her character, and lacks the comic timing required to work up a winning double-act with Wilson.


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