Arts

New to download, stream or buy on DVD/Blu-ray: The Little Things, Locked Down, Oxygen and more...

The Little Things: Rami Malek as Jim Baxter, Jared Leto as Albert Sparma and Denzel Washington as Joe 'Deke' Deacon
Damon Smith

FILM OF THE WEEK

THE LITTLE THINGS (Cert 15, 128 mins, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Thriller, available now via Premium Video On Demand rental for 48 hours, available from May 10 on Amazon Prime Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, also available from May 10 on DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £26.99)

Starring: Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, Jared Leto, Terry Kinney, Natalie Morales, Isabel Arraiza, Chris Bauer.

KERN County Deputy Sheriff Joe 'Deke' Deacon (Denzel Washington) reluctantly returns to his old stomping ground in Los Angeles to collect evidence for an active case. He arrives in the middle of a press conference led by his replacement, Detective Jim Baxter (Rami Malek), who is on the trail of a suspect with a similar MO to the unsolved case that tipped Deke over the edge.

With the FBI threatening to seize control of the case, Baxter invites Deke to join him and colleagues Jamie Estrada (Natalie Morales) and Sal Rizoli (Chris Bauer) as they work the latest crime scene. Deke's valuable insight leads the task force to disturbed electrical appliance repairman Albert Sparma (Jared Leto).

The Little Things is an old-fashioned tour of the mean streets of early 1990s Los Angeles.

Grounded by Washington's understated and emotionally textured performance, John Lee Hancock's crime thriller lacks nail-biting tension and fully realised, nuanced characters.

The writer-director originally penned the script in 1993, the year after The Silence Of The Lambs raised multiple glasses of Chianti at the Oscars and sparked a slew of well-intentioned imitators.

Dust still lingers in the air of his slow-burning narrative, which gives Leto free rein to ramp up the creepiness on a misfit prime suspect to the point of laughability.

The most urgent repairs to Hancock's picture are required in a dishevelled final act that seemingly careens into the same grim territory as 1995's Se7en only to take a deeply dissatisfying detour at the last second.

Rating: 3/5

ALSO RELEASED

LOCKED DOWN (Cert 15, 113 mins, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Comedy/Romance/Thriller, available now via Premium Video On Demand rental for 48 hours, available from May 10 on Amazon Prime Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from Jun 7 on DVD £19.99)

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sir Ben Kingsley, Ben Stiller, Mindy Kaling, Stephen Merchant.

EX-CON Paxton (Chiwetel Ejiofor) lives in London during lockdown with his American girlfriend Linda (Anne Hathaway). "We're only together because we're in the same house," sneers Linda between generous sloshes of white wine as the relationship moulders.

Paxton is furloughed from his job as a delivery van driver while Linda has the unfortunate task of announcing compulsory redundancies to her staff via Zoom.

In the midst of their downward spiral, Paxton and Linda realise their respective jobs will collide on a Saturday night at Harrods as the department store removes valuable stock from its floors. The couple hatches a daredevil plan to steal the Harris Diamond, worth £3 million pounds, and replace it with a replica.

Locked Down is a light-fingered comedy drama, which feels like an experiment in film-making under duress. Director Doug Liman and screenwriter Steven Knight focused too hard on whether they could achieve their bold ambitions during the second UK lockdown without considering whether they should.

Hathaway and Ejiofor share inert screen chemistry and their characters' best moments are when they are apart, furiously banging saucepans to honour NHS heroes or dancing wildly to the beat of Stand And Deliver by Adam & The Ants.

Knight's ability to edit verbose dialogue evidently went into quarantine because his lead characters are incapable of communicating succinctly or realistically. It's difficult to understand what attracted these prosaic pontificators to each other or how a preposterous scheme to steal a diamond might magically get the relationship back on track.

By the time the heist unfolds, I was none the wiser.

Rating: 3/5

OXYGEN (Cert 15, 101 mins, streaming from May 12 exclusively on Netflix, Sci-Fi/Thriller)

Oxygen: Melanie Laurent as Elizabeth Hansen

ALEXANDRE Aja, French director of Crawl and the 2006 remake of The Hills Have Eyes, sucks all of the air out of the room with a nail-biting survival thriller penned by Christie LeBlanc.

Elizabeth Hansen (Melanie Laurent) regains consciousness in a claustrophobic cryogenic pod without any memory of her past or how she ended up in a confined space slightly bigger than a coffin.

With a dwindling oxygen supply and a mounting sense of dread, Elizabeth must piece together fragments of her mind to understand the chain of events that trapped her alone in the pod.

BOX SETS AND SERIES

JUPITER'S LEGACY (8 episodes, streaming from May 7 exclusively on Netflix, Fantasy/Adventure/Romance)

Jupiter's Legacy: David Julian Hirsh as R Conrad, Ben Daniels as Walter Sampson, Josh Duhamel as Sheldon Sampson, Mike Wade as Fitz Small and Matt Lanter as George Hutchence

BASED on graphic novels by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely, Jupiter's Legacy is a visually arresting fantasy, which passes the baton to a new generation of self-doubting superheroes.

Back in 1930, six brave souls earned extraordinary powers on an enchanted island.

Sheldon Sampson (Josh Duhamel), his wife Grace (Leslie Bibb), older brother Walter (Ben Daniels) and friends George Hutchence (Matt Lanter), Fitz Small (Mike Wade) and Richard Conrad (David Julian Hirsh) were reborn as superheroes The Utopian, Lady Liberty, Brainwave, Skyfox, Flare and Blue-Bolt.

For 90 years, they have kept mankind safe as The Union through bravery, kindness and compassion.

When the time comes for the superheroes' offspring to continue the proud legacy, Sheldon and Grace's children Brandon (Andrew Horton) and Chloe (Elena Kampouris), Fitz's daughter Petra (Tenika Davis) and George's son Hutch (Ian Quinlan) feel suffocated by the old guard's exacting standards.

The two generations must bridge the divide before evil can rise and destroy The Union.

MYTHIC QUEST – SEASON 2 (9 episodes, streaming from May 7 exclusively on Apple TV+, Comedy/Drama/Romance)

Mythic Quest Season 2: Charlotte Nicdao as Poppy and Rob McElhenney as Ian

THE critically acclaimed Apple TV+ comedy created by Charlie Day, Megan Ganz and Rob McElhenney returns for an eventful second series set in the aftermath of a Covid quarantine.

Following the phenomenal success of the Raven's Banquet expansion to their multi-player online role-playing game, creative director Ian Grimm (McElhenney) and newly promoted co-creative director Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao) are tasked with plotting the game's next iteration.

Back in the office surrounded by their team, the creative wizards seek inspiration while head writer CW Longbottom (F Murray Abraham) confronts ghosts of the past.

Elsewhere, David Brittlesbee (David Hornsby) is bereft when his trusty assistant Jo (Jessie Ennis) takes up a new position working alongside Brad (Danny Pudi).

THE UPSHAWS (10 episodes, streaming from May 12 exclusively on Netflix, Comedy/Drama/Romance)

MIKE Epps and Wanda Sykes headline an uproarious 10-part sitcom set in Indianapolis, which charts the misadventures of a Black working class family, their friends and neighbours.

Hard-working mechanic Bennie Upshaw (Mike Epps) is head of a dysfunctional clan, which includes his wife Regina (Kim Fields), their daughters Aaliyah (Khali Daniya-Renee Spraggins) and Maya (Journey Christine) and son Bernard Jr (Jermelle Simon).

Bernie also has a teenage son Kelvin (Diamond Lyons) from a previous relationship and he is constantly at war with his acid-tongued sister-in-law, Lucretia (Wanda Sykes).

Familial bonds hold tight as the Upshaws unite in the face of adversity and pursue their respective dreams.

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