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What to watch in theaters and at home this weekend March 20-22, 2021

Benedict-Cumberbatch-in-THE-COURIER-Photo-Credit-Liam-Daniel-Courtesy-of-Lionsgate-and-Roadside-Attracions.s.jpg
Benedict-Cumberbatch a in THE COURIER (Photo: Liam-Daniel Courtesy of Lionsgate-and Roadside Attractions)

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Superheroes, spies and homicidal jeans. Yes, there's a little bit of everything debuting this week.

The Courier

The story of Greville Wynne isn't well known. It should be. Wynne played a major role in the Cuban Missile Crisis. That's somewhat surprising considering he was an unassuming British salesman. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Wynne and Dominic Cooke ("On Chesil Beach," "The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses") directs. I remember being taught about the Cuban Missile Crisis in school. It never occurred to me how little I actually know about the events leading to the standoff between Kennedy and Khrushchev. History tends to focus on just the Soviets and the Americans. It forgets that the crisis was something that would have been felt worldwide. "The Courier" changed the way I look at history. What once felt like a very American conflict now feels more universal. You really need to see this film.

Where to watch: Theaters

Calls

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Based on Timothée Hochet's French series, "Calls" isn't exactly a radio drama (not that any of us were actually around to listen to radio dramas), but it is mostly an aural experience. There are nine episodes consisting of a series of phone calls. Each episode is a stand-alone story that by the end of the series comes together to tell tell a larger. chilling tale that straddles the line between science fiction and horror. There are minimalistic visuals, most of what is happening is left to the audience's imagination. It's surprisingly effective. I particularly enjoyed the early episodes where I had absolutely no idea of what was going on. Each episode is 15-20 minutes in length. I was able to binge the entire run in a couple of hours.

Where to watch: Apple TV+

Zack Snyder's Justice League

The theatrical version of "Justice League" was a shallow narrative that lacked world building and character development. "Zack Snyder's Justice League" is a four-hour epic that gives both the story and its characters depth. There's likely 30 or so minutes that could have been trimmed. Brevity was never Snyder's calling card. The bulk of his films have featured theatrical versions and longer director's cuts. The longer versions are frequently better and that is very much the case here. (Full Review)

Where to watch: HBO Max

Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Some Marvel fans, even those who enjoyed "WandaVision," are looking to "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" to provide something more traditional superhero thriller without all the metaphysical drama. I've learned that I'm not one of those fans. It's far too early to pass final judgement on "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" but the first episode didn't exactly blow me away. It isn't bad. A lot of it just felt incredibly generic, particularly when it comes to Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan). Even the bulk of the Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) storyline isn't particularly interesting until late in the episode when he becomes a victim of bureaucracy and systematic racism. That's far more interesting to me than watching him flying around in his Falcon suit. However, I suspect that the series will be more action than it is social commentary. I'd like to see it be a balance of both. I don't know that a six-episode series with two headline characters is going to have time to really delve into why being handpicked by Steve Rogers himself doesn't necessarily mean that you'll actually get the job. You can almost hear Megyn Kelly screaming in the background, "And by the way for all you kids watching at home, Captain America is just white!"

Where to watch: Disney+

Slaxx

By now we've all learned that allowing inanimate objects the ability to do anything remotely sentient is a bad idea. So, when Canadian Cotton Clothiers releases a pair of jeans that is designed to automatically adjust to the wearer's body type, it shouldn't surprise anyone that things turn ugly (and bloody) quickly. Elza Kephart's film is more of a comedic satire of retail couture than it is a horror film. The cast is particularly solid, which isn't something you'd necessarily expect from something this absurd and campy. Frankly, "Slaxx" is better than it has any right to be. It's smart in a stupid kind of way.

Where to watch: Shudder

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