What to watch: The best movies new to streaming from Sully to Boston Strangler
Our top picks from BBC iPlayer, NOW and Disney+
Wondering what to watch this weekend? The middle of March brings with it a hell of a lot of new films to streaming.
Perhaps the best of them is from an old hat, namely Clint Eastwood and his biographical drama Sully, with Tom Hanks playing the eponymous pilot who landed a crashing plane safely on the Hudson river. While on a true story tip, true crime thriller Boston Strangler makes its debut on Disney+.
The social satire slasher and murder mystery Bodies Bodies Bodies, directed by Halina Reijn, lands on NOW and Sky Cinema along with the surprise Oscar nominee To Leslie also makes it to the service, finally available to watch in the wake of the controversy around its rather bizarre word of mouth campaign for its star Andrea Riseborough (who is actually pretty great in the film).
Read more: New on Prime Video in March
At the same time, the stunning Mustang, the debut feature from Deniz Gamze Ergüven, 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 dramatisation of the “Miracle on the Hudson”, the incident in which US Airways Flight 1549 lost engine power and its pilots Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) and Jeffrey Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) saved the lives of the passengers by landing the plane in the Hudson river.
Read more: New on Disney+ in March
The film emphasises how the resultant fame is isolating — it cuts him off from his family and from relating to the people he meets, because whether in jest or in genuine reverence the idolisation is alienating. Worse still, an investigation into the specifics of the crash fuels this anxiety. The National Transportation Safety Board prods at his actions on the day and questions if Sully was the cause of the crash, something potentially career-ending, a result the board seems to be chasing through simulations and confirmation bias. But even they, as Sully points out, are just doing their jobs.
Sully replays the event from multiple angles, showing it from the perspectives of people who witnessed the event as well as those who were on the plane. Rather than simplifying it to one heroic act each time, Eastwood displays a new way in which someone, other than the pilots, proved crucial to saving the lives on board: flight attendants keeping control during the panic, nearby coast guard rescuing them from the freezing river, air traffic control keeping eyes out, even the people looking at the passenger lists.
All of this communal effort, from “the best of New York” as the end cards say, is presented in contrast to the board “taking the humanity out of the cockpit” as they present their case for human error causing the crash, when that humanity – not just Sully – was so crucial to preserving the lives of those on board.
That more humble approach to the story dovetails with Tom Hanks’s performance as Sully, wearing an immense weariness on his brow without overplaying it, gently steering his character away from steely-eyed stoicism, more toward a man suffering from overwhelming attention he doesn’t really 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 Membership
The frequently mean and nihilistic satire of Bodies Bodies Bodies — a slasher and murder mystery set in a mansion with a group of young adults (and one much older man) — channels the black comedy of something like Heathers (a film director Halina Reijn has directly cited as an influence) through mockery of contemporary attachment to phones and social media.
Read more: New on Sky Cinema/NOW in March
A mix of obnoxious 20-somethings hang out during a hurricane in the mansion of Pete Davidson’s character, the wealthiest member of the group. The reunion is terse, a number of them showing mixed reactions to Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) showing up unannounced with her new girlfriend (Maria Bakalova of Borat 2 fame, much more sincere here). After some fairly laborious setup, during a wink murder-type game someone is killed for real and it’s unclear who the culprit is, and the group promptly begins to fall apart entirely.
Watch a trailer for Bodies Bodies Bodies
Along the way its Gen Z satire can become a little tiresome through its mocking parroting of how young people online speak, characters repeating common buzzwords until they sound meaningless. Perhaps that’s the point – there’s some realism in how it mimics how arguments online very quickly co-opt real problems that aren’t relevant or how people compete to be recognised as the most persecuted.
But it’s also uninteresting, as the film constantly operates on this same level with no variance or really, any clarity about what it wants to say about these characters beyond their vapidity. At least the film is propelled sonically by a typically great score from Disasterpeace, which somehow feels modern and old-fashioned though its dramatic electronic pulses, and the heightened panic of the group.
Its satirical elements remain unremarkable but it’s still entertaining enough with some pointed lines throughout as each character indicts themselves. Then there’s simply any line delivered by Rachel Sennott, who practically carries the whole thing on her back, before a funny ending pulls the film back from the brink.
Also new on NOW: To Leslie (2022), Marlowe (2023)
Boston Strangler (2023) | Disney+
From Netflix’s hit series Dahmer to their other hit series You, it’s a great time to be alive if you love yourself a serial killer. Disney is now throwing its hat in the ring with period drama Boston Strangler about the efforts of journalists and the police to capture the titular killer of women in the late 1960’s.
Keira Knightley is miscast as Loretta McLaughlin, a dogged reporter who not so much is assigned the Boston Strangler case but rather bulldozes herself onto it. The real McLaughlin was a groundbreaking journalist, particularly for her later work covering the AIDS crisis but the McLaughlin of the film is consigned to a hashtag girlboss stereotype that foregoes the nuance of balancing career drive with fighting sexism.
Read more: The chilling true story of the Boston Strangler
The supporting performances – particularly from Alessandro Nivola as an obsessive detective – are much better. With a procedural narrative straight from Law and Order, Boston Strangler would not be out of place on ITV on a Sunday night. - SM
Also new on Disney+: Finding Michael (2023)