The Best Movies to Stream This Weekend From ‘After Yang’ to ‘Athena’

The Best Movies to Stream This Weekend From ‘After Yang’ to ‘Athena’

Jujutsu Kaisen 0, After Yang and Athena are all new to streaming this weekend.  (Crunchyroll/Sky Cinema/Netflix)

Jujutsu Kaisen 0, After Yang, and Athena are all new to streaming this weekend. (Crunchyroll/Sky Cinema/Netflix)

Wondering what to watch this weekend? Although the films that address the theme vary in their presentation, grief is the thread that connects the highlights coming to streaming services this week.

This is not to say that these functions wallow in misery, in fact in most cases the opposite is true. The Netflix release Athenadirected by Romain Gavras, channels loss into a Molotov cocktail of righteous fury as it depicts a struggle between the residents of a French banlieu (apartment complex) against the police who murdered a young boy.

Meanwhile, anime streaming giant Crunchyroll continues a weekly release schedule of features featuring the international blockbuster Jujutsu Kaisen 0, a film prequel to the beloved TV series. In the film, the haunted protagonist Yuta deals with the loss of his childhood sweetheart, tragically killed in a car accident, but remains as a cursed spirit that threatens everyone around Yuta.

Read more: Everything new on Prime Video in September

Release NOW, After Yang takes a slightly softer approach to grief, a metaphysical science fiction film from Kogonada (director of Columbus) which observes a family’s attempts to repair their unresponsive robot child.

Please note that a subscription may be required to view.

After Yang (2021) – NOW with Sky Cinema Membership (Pick of the Week)

Colin Farrell as Jake, Jodie Turner-Smith as Kyra, Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja as Mika, and Justin H. Min as Yang in After Yang.  (Sky Cinema)

Colin Farrell as Jake, Jodie Turner-Smith as Kyra, Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja as Mika, and Justin H. Min as Yang in After Yang. (Sky Cinema)

Although it opens with the same kind of patiently framed drama expected from the director of the quiet, soulful film ColumbusKogonada’s new film After Yang quickly defies the expectations of a film about characters groping through grief with a delightful dance sequence, an online performance between families, bathed in a bold color spectrum that one would associate with speculative sci-fi.

Read more: Everything new on NÅ and Sky in September

That play continues into the film’s form, as an early one-two shot changes both the relationship and the lens as it places the observer in the subjective point of view of the characters as they contact each other via a kind of augmented reality video call. It’s satisfying to see sci-fi concepts presented in such a purely cinematic way – Kogonada’s visual style remains intimate even as the scope of his script increases.

Watch a trailer for After Yang

After Yang exploits the film’s futuristic premise of domestic drama, a family burgeoning after their robot child Yang (Justin H. Min) malfunctions, and opens up for introspection about Asian heritage and adoption. Yang was originally acquired by Jake (Colin Farrell) and Kyra (Jodie Turner-Smith) to try to keep their daughter Mika (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja) in touch with her cultural roots. Yang herself does this quite literally in flashback, using different trees to explain her various connections.

Memories of Yang are visualized and contrasted with his absence as the family agonizes over how to fix things – a human problem seen through the lens of a world where a robot child is bought refurbished, like a laptop, and his memories can later be viewed as video .

After Yang tells the story of a family who loses their AI helper, and the deep emotions that experience induces.  When his young daughter's beloved companion — an android named Yang (Justin H. Min) — malfunctions, Jake (Colin Farrell) searches for a way to repair him.  In the process, Jake discovers the life that has gone before him, and reconnects with his wife (Jodie Turner-Smith) and daughter (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja) over a distance he didn't know was there.

After Yang. (Sky Cinema)

Kogonada finds quiet majesty in these memories. The files are accessible through light resembling galaxies, an effective and overwhelming illustration of the unknown complexity of Yang’s inner life. This makes his parents’ attempts to rationalize him away as a product impossible, making the sense of loss even harder to shake.

Such questions overlap with questions about the rights of “technosapiens”, as well as a very prescient observation of our increasingly symbiotic relationship with technology, which mostly avoids the hand-wringing of Black Mirror, without being blindly utopian.

A lovely song that Kogonada picks from the film All about Lily Chou Chou is an indicator of its position: technology is more often an extension of human feeling than it is an inhibitor.

Also on NOW: Uncharted (2022)

Athena (2022) – Netflix

Athena (Netflix)

Athena (Netflix)

The new feature film from Parisian filmmaker Romain Gavras unfolds as a series of roving, almost panicked long shots of varying length. The longest and most breathtaking of these comes before the title treatment hits, as it begins the film by overseeing something that has unfortunately become routine in modern times: a press conference surrounding the brutal police killing of a young man, Idir.

Read more: Everything new on Netflix in September

They have closed ranks and refused to identify those responsible. One of the victim’s brother’s Adbel (No time to die‘s Dali Benssalah who does a lot of heavy lifting) calls for calm, not long before his other brother Karim quickly encourages his neighbors in the Athena banlieu to go to war with the police until the names of the killers are given.

Perhaps best known for his music videos – most famousGosh‘ by Jamie XX, ‘Stress‘of Justice,’Bad girls‘ by MIA and ‘No church in nature‘ by Jay Z and Kanye West, Gavras funnels his righteous fury into the film’s long-action opening sequence, coordinating it with exciting, stylish confidence.

The camera ducks and weaves its way in and out of rooms as it follows Karim through the police station in search of their weapons caches, back out in a stolen van, and to the apartment blocks as comrades-in-arms wheel their dirt bikes down the highway in solidarity, fireworks in every direction.

As it turns out, this is quite simply the peak of the film’s power; the effect loses its luster when Gavras repeats this method as he introduces each of the film’s key participants and tracks them through the unfolding chaos, including a jittery cop and Karim’s unpleasant, loose cannon brother and mobster Moktar.

Athena (Netflix)

Athena (Netflix)

The presence of the latter two doesn’t completely derail the film into useless “both sides” pontificating police vs civil violence, instead it just adds new wrinkles that make the conflict more convincingly messy. The biggest blunder in this sense is reserved for the literal last minute, where it acquits the police of provocation by making a distinction between different parties that feels insincere.

However, there is an interesting conflict in his brother Abdar, between the pacifism driven by Islamic faith, his reluctance to fight authority stemming from his military career (a point of contention with many of his neighbors) and his obvious grief at the injustice done to his brother. and his desire to protect the survivors.

Athena (Netflix)

Athena (Netflix)

But in Gavras’s meandering long takes, the observation of these internal contradictions ultimately gets lost in the director’s desire to focus a little too much on chaos and spectacle and insistence on remaining on an operatic climax, which ironically begins to make the film feel static , at least emotionally – the constant movement of the director’s chosen method eventually leads only in circles after the exciting first 20 minutes.

Also on Netflix: Drifting Home (2022), Do Revenge (2022)

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 (2021) – Crunchyroll

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 (Crunchyroll)

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 (Crunchyroll)

The anime series JUJUTSU WHARF one of the most popular running, just like the best-selling manga it’s based on—has always been open about its heritage. Shonen anime (anime aimed at teenage boys, although the actual audience is always much wider) are often rightfully accused of hegemony, repackaging and displacing the same themes and character types and battles obsessed with power levels into a new setting.

Read more: All new on Paramount+ in September

Jujutsu Kaisen manages to stay sane due to its keen awareness of the tropes it falls into, and instead engages with their story, playing with text and often subverting it in some amusing, if not quite revolutionary ways.

The film ties into the series, JUJUTSU KAISEN 0, Even though it’s a prequel about a different set of characters, it’s a pretty decent expansion of this one. Directed by Sunghoo Park, it follows Yuta Okkotsu, a nervous middle school student, who enrolls at the mysterious Tokyo Jujutsu High School under the tutelage of Satoru Gojo after being haunted by his childhood friend’s curse.

Again, much of the familiar is packed into the film’s runtime, so it helps that manga creator Gege Akutami’s penchant for mixing the macabre with the comic, under Sunghoo Park’s direction, feels lively and visually invigorating.

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 (Crunchyroll)

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 (Crunchyroll)

Even with all the extra polish given to the animation production, there is a rawness to the textures JUJUTSU KAISEN 0, with effect work depicted in broad brushstrokes and bold, invasive colours. It’s easy to see why the film dominated the box office domestically and abroad, a crowd pleaser executed with great confidence and stylish flair.

Also on Crunchyroll: Sword of the Stranger (2007), The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)

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