Wondering what to watch? While there’s little in the way of notable original releases this month there is a wealth of overlooked cinematic gems to be found this week on streaming.
For starters, Netflix hosts the independent sci-fi film Vesper, which impresses with some imaginative (and economically deployed) effects work, and visuals that imply a much grander scope beyond the acute focus of its narrative.
Also recently landed on the service is Michael Mann’s striking Muhammad Ali biopic, Ali, one of the finest examples of the form lead by an excellent performance from Will Smith. While NOW adds 2021’s new stab at an adaptation of the brutal fighting game series Mortal Kombat.
Read more: New on Prime Video in January 2023
Please note that a subscription may be required to watch.
The first name uttered Michael Mann’s Muhammad Ali biopic isn’t the man himself, but Sam Cooke. The ‘King of Soul’ is the first on the stage, while the boxer diligently trains outside of the spotlight.
That’s to say that the film immediately signposts its interest and canniness about the history in which Ali was a piece, how he became ‘The Greatest’ in the surrounding struggle for civil rights is recognised as essential; the athleticism is a given, his cultural context is essential.
Read more: Everything new on Netflix in January
Mann focuses on how the man’s defiance of any attempt at ownership over him — whether that’s through a name or a military draft — affects his public, personal and professional lives. The film is no hagiography either.
To this day it’s one of the finest performances that Will Smith has ever given, his own starry charm and braggadocio turned a little more fierce with Ali’s infamous rhyming trash talking. Far more than just impersonation, Smith also plays him with a steely gaze but also an undercurrent of uncertainty.
While Ali has its rough spots as it traces Muhammad Ali’s personal life and cultural legacy, it has undeniable magnetic pull. Take the opening segment: it's an exhilarating collage of societal change and black self-determination that contextualises who Ali is, what he represents and what he will mean to people at this point in time — all before it barrels into a bout with Sonny Liston, an infamous match that dovetailed with Ali changing his name from Cassius Clay to Cassius X, before then changing it to Muhammad Ali in his conversion to Islam.
The fight itself is filmed with a visceral sense of impact through Mann’s incorporation of digital handheld camerawork, as well as a grace that feels as flighty as Ali’s footwork. At the same time it builds up the importance of his relationship with Malcolm X (who also gets a heavy share of the plot as it shows divisions in the Nation of Islam as well as surveillance of him), efficiently laying the groundwork for how it’ll affect his fame and how quickly the public turns on him when he begins displaying political belief and conviction (with some exceptions — the film tracing the unlikely arc of his friendship with Howard Cosell).
While the rest of the film — following his exile and subsequent comeback along with Fight of the Century and Rumble in the Jungle — doesn’t quite move with this same clip as it sprawls outwards, it’s a fascinating representation of both man and Black history all the same.
A relatively low budget science fiction film, starring Eddie Marsan, that frequently defies the restraint that might imply, Vesper’s scope is surprisingly grand, even as it focuses in on a humble microcosm of the world it imagines.
It shows a future ruined by climate disaster, dubbed “The New Dark Ages”. As ever, humanity has played too much with fire and set the house alight, and now the Earth is a toxic wasteland, destroyed by manmade viruses as well as synthetic organisms, originally created to shelter survivors from the aftereffects of the apocalypse.
Watch a trailer for Vesper
Of course, it’s the richest people who survive best, living in walled-off citadels which remain unseen to the viewer — we can only imagine their splendour. Instead, directors Kristina Buozyte and Bruno Samper’s dystopia focuses squarely on the 99%, living in ruined old machinery and burnt out villages, murky swamps and woodlands.
Read more: New on Disney+ in January 2023
The visual effects work stands out most, with disturbing hybrids of plant and creature as well as a striking realisation of fascinating art direction, where humanity’s attachment to nature, even as its spoilt, is reflected in the shape of their buildings and vehicles. The story itself finds some solid emotional hooks, though it’s the spectacle and imagination of this small scale feature that proves most interesting.
Also on Netflix: Jung_E (2022), JFK, 13 Hours
This is not, in fact, the Mortal Kombat which is the source of that infamous theme tune. There’s no DJ yelling the title ahead of a 90s dance beat, because this is a slightly more self serious Mortal Kombat, one which aims for the blue-grey tones of contemporary MCU movies instead.
Read more: New on Sky/NOW in January 2023
Despite the headscratching decision to not make the film about the actual fighting tournament which the story revolves around there are some decent bouts, and perhaps some excitement to be found in seeing Scorpion throw down. Shame there’s no theme song, though.
Also on NOW: The Hanging Sun (2023)
Watch a trailer for Mortal Kombat
New court filing says ex-Theranos founder booked flight departing 26 January last year, shortly after fraud conviction
Warmer waters returning to the eastern Pacific Ocean could have ramifications that spread over all of Canada.
PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday he was awaiting “clarifications” from Burkina Faso’s new junta leader following a report saying authorities in the West African country ordered hundreds of French troops to leave within a month. Macron said during a news conference in Paris that the message from Burkina Faso were “confusing” with junta leader Ibrahim Traore away from the capital, Ouagadougou. Burkina Faso's national broadcaster, RTB, reported Saturday that the junta gover
The 1987 blizzard couldn't stop 334 hardcore NHL fans from attending the New Jersey Devils game, leading to an exclusive club named for their dedication.
Harpo Mander was six years old when she started translating for her parents, who only spoke Punjabi and needed help understanding English and Canadian life. Mander was tasked with everything, from comprehending medical appointments to ordering take out. Now 26, she says the experience forced her to step into adult life early. "You don't have the bandwidth and you don't have the intellectual capacity to do these adult things, and yet you're being asked to do them at age five, seven, 10," she told
MILAN (AP) — New York Yankees president Randy Levine has joined AC Milan’s board of directors, the soccer club announced Saturday. The move comes nearly five months after the Yankees purchased a minority stake in Milan and RedBird Capital Partners acquired a controlling interest in the seven-time European champion for 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion). “For over two decades, I have been fortunate to have a unique and successful partnership with the New York Yankees and the Steinbrenner family, in
MONTREAL — Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet is denying allegations of sexual misconduct made against him by a woman in 2020. On Friday, the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Quebec City confirmed that it had received a second complaint against Ouellet, the former archbishop in the provincial capital A Vatican investigation was conducted in the wake of the second complaint against Ouellet, but Pope Francis decided “not to retain the accusation against the cardinal” who now serves as head of the Vatican’s
Nearly 12,000 children are on a wait list for surgeries across Ontario, a situation officials at four major pediatric hospitals say is part of a much bigger problem they need help from the province to solve. A surge of viral respiratory illnesses, driven by a particularly bad strain of the flu and respiratory syncytial virus, overwhelmed the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, McMaster Children's Hospital in Hamilton, the Children's Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre and CHEO, a health
A 2.8-magnitude earthquake was "lightly felt" in the Greater Sudbury area Sunday afternoon, Earthquakes Canada's website says. The federal agency logged over 70 community reports of an earthquake in the area, ranging from weak, light and moderate intensity. The earthquake hit at approximately 2:17 p.m., about 22 kilometres northeast of the city. Earthquakes Canada says mining activities could be the cause. Earthquakes less than 3.5 in magnitude are recorded on local seismographs but are generall
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, is the second Cabinet member heading to Africa as part of President Joe Biden’s big push to engage with the world’s second-largest continent. The U.S. Mission to the U.N. said Sunday she will travel to Ghana, Mozambique and Kenya starting Jan. 25 “to affirm and strengthen our partnerships with key current and former U.N. Security Council members.” Thomas-Greenfield’s visit follows last week’s start of a 10-
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — For actor Sherry Cola, the mass shooting in her hometown of Monterey Park, California, left her devastated ahead of the premiere of the new film “Shortcomings” at the Sundance Film Festival. “I definitely cried myself to sleep, to be honest, because this is Monterey Park, California, like where I grew up, the 626, San Gabriel Valley,” Cola said. “This is where my Buddhist temple is, you know? Like all my friends I grew up with they were born in Monterey Park. It’s this hom
Edward Ritchuk's 99-year-old mother-in-law is in a long-term care home, bedridden, hard of hearing and unable to hold a conversation. So he found it pretty odd when Marion Lenko was summoned to court for jury selection. "When I first received the letter, I thought it was a joke," he said. The summons was delivered first to her seniors' residence. Then in December, it was sent to Ritchuk's home in Beaconsfield, Que., an on-island Montreal suburb. She was expected to appear for selection earlier t
RCMP are investigating a potential attempted abduction on a highway near Meadow Lake. Just after midnight Saturday morning, Meadow Lake RCMP received a report of an attempted abduction on Highway 4 about 40 km south of Meadow Lake, Sask., according to a news release issued Saturday. RCMP say a motorist was driving south on Highway 4 when they stopped to help a man lying on the road next to a truck. When the motorist approached the man, he grabbed them by the arm and said he had a weapon in his p
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) -Tens of millions of people in Pakistan were left without electricity on Monday, the power ministry said, reporting a second "major breakdown" of the national grid during the last three months. Factories, hospitals and schools across the country were without power for hours after a voltage fluctuation in the grid occurred between the cities of Jamshoro and Dadu in southern Sindh province, power minister Khurrum Dastagir said. Outages were reported in the southern port city of Karachi, the capital Islamabad, the eastern city of Lahore and Peshawar in the north.
The federal government has come to a $2.8-billion agreement to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by two British Columbia first nations related to the collective harms caused by residential schools. The government signed the deal with plaintiffs representing 325 nations that opted into the Gottfriedson Band suit.
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News bulletin 2023/01/22 07:36View on euronews
Since she was a little girl, Li Xia's dream was to move from China and settle in America. On Saturday night, when she heard the gunfire that killed at least 10 people in her newfound home of Monterey Park, California, that dream was shattered. "In my heart, I always felt the United States was the best country in the world," Xia, 50, said, just four months after leaving her home in Shenzhen Province to settle in the quiet enclave of Monterey Park close to Los Angeles.
Toronto police are investigating after a TTC operator was shot with a BB gun while waiting to begin his shift Saturday evening. The transit employee was standing outside near the intersection of Markham Road and Progress Avenue in Scarborough shortly before 6:30 p.m. when a black sedan drove by and the employee was shot with a BB gun. Police say the suspects are described as white men, possibly teenagers. The operator suffered no physical injuries and the incident is under investigation, police
MADRID (AP) — Goal after goal, Karim Benzema keeps putting his World Cup disappointment behind him. Benzema scored for the sixth time after being dropped from France’s World Cup squad because of an injury, leading Real Madrid to a 2-0 win at Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish league on Sunday. “He came back with the same quality,” Madrid coach Carlos Ancelotti said. “He helps us a lot in attack.” The goal allowed Benzema to join former Madrid great Raúl with 228 league goals with the club — second t