WEST WIDE STORY (Cert 12, 149 mins, 20th Century Studios, Musical/Romance, streaming from March 2 exclusively on Disney+, available from March 7 on DVD £17.99/Blu-ray £21.99/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray £36.99)
Starring: Rachel Zegler, Ansel Elgort, Ariana DeBose, Mike Faist, David Alvarez, Rita Moreno, Corey Stoll, Brian d'Arcy James.
IN GENTRIFIED 1950s New York, rival gangs vie for supremacy on the streets and occasionally settle differences with carefully coordinated rumbles behind the backs of local police including Lieutenant Schrank (Corey Stoll) and Officer Krupke (Brian d'Arcy James).
Tensions are inflamed when Jets co-founder Tony (Ansel Elgort), recently released from prison after almost beating a boy to death, defies best friend Riff (Mike Faist) and falls head over heels in love with Maria (Rachel Zegler), baby sister of Sharks leader Bernardo (David Alvarez).
Directed with verve by Steven Spielberg, West Side Story is a visually stunning, unreservedly old-fashioned song and dance spectacle on a grandiose scale, which pays due reverence to stage and screen predecessors, the book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.
Just over 60 years after Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins' Oscar-winning film opened with those syncopated finger snaps to introduce the feuding Jets and Sharks, screenwriter Tony Kushner addresses cultural insensitivities head-on.
Every Puerto Rican character is played by an actor from the Latinx community, Spanish dialogue has no English subtitles as a mark of respect to the language, and drugstore owner Doc has been replaced with his widow Valentina to provide an eye-catching role for Rita Moreno.
Ariana DeBose melts every frame as Bernardo's sassy girlfriend Anita – the role which secured Moreno her Oscar – including a skirt-swishing rendition of America worthy of a standing ovation.
Elgort can't match the intensity of co-stars – in some scenes he doesn't seem entirely present – but there is a tenderness to his duet with Zegler on Tonight.
WOLF LIKE ME (6 episodes, streaming from February 25 exclusively on Prime Video, Comedy/Drama/Romance)
BACK in 2019, Australian writer-director Abe Forsythe was announced as Neill Blomkamp's replacement at the helm of the next instalment of the RoboCop film series following the success of his horror comedy Little Monsters starring Lupita Nyong'o and Josh Gad.
While we wait patiently for the mechanised mayhem, Forsythe's offbeat comedy drama reunites him with Gad for another blackly humorous walk on the wild side of the horror genre.
Single father Gary (Gad) lives in Adelaide with his 11-year-old daughter Emma (Ariel Donoghue).
It has been seven years since the death of Emma's mother but father and daughter are still crippled by their loss.
The family's path intersects violently with advice columnist Mary (Isla Fisher), who runs a red light in her Jeep and crashes into Gary's car.
From potential tragedy, an unlikely spark is kindled but Mary has a secret and it's not just that she dislikes a certain song on the jukebox while having a drink with Gary.
As night falls and the moon rises, Mary makes her excuses and leaves but Gary is reluctant to turn his back on destiny.