Best films to stream this week: 17 Mar

Justice League cast

Zack Snyder's Justice League features in our weekly home entertainment guide

Here at The List we tend to look forward to what's on the horizon but, with entertainment options limited, knowing what to watch right now in the comfort of your home is still much needed. To help ride out these challenging times, we'll keep casting our expert eye over what's new to TV and streaming services each week, bringing you the cream of the current movie crop. Let us do the decision-making for you, and then just sit back and enjoy.

Judas and the Black Messiah ★★★★☆

Nominated for an impressive six Oscars, Judas and the Black Messiah, from director Shaka King, tells the story of Black Panther Fred Hampton (played by British acting powerhouse Daniel Kaluuya) and the FBI informant who inveigled his way into Hampton's inner circle, Bill O'Neal (Atlanta's LaKeith Stanfield). Both actors are on spectacular form, with Kaluuya positively electric in a beautifully crafted, moving and illuminating film that sports a suitable amount of outrage.
Watch now on premium video on demand.

The Little Things ★★★☆☆

Worth watching primarily for Jared Leto's creepy, Golden Globe-nominated turn as a murder suspect, The Little Things will be an absolute must for fans of 90s serial killer thrillers, as it roots itself in that era and emulates David Fincher's difficult-to-top 1995 effort Se7en. Despite the trio of Oscar-winners at its fore (Denzel Washington and Bohemian Rhapsody's Rami Malek join Leto), in truth it's a bit hackneyed and OTT (Malek's turn is particularly distracting), though it's very elegantly shot and writer-director John Lee Hancock pulls it out of the bag with an unconventional ending.
Watch now on premium video on demand.

Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal ★★★★☆

Documentarian Chris Smith is behind this fascinating and entertaining look at the scam which saw wealthy and sometimes famous American parents (including actress Felicity Huffman) buying places for their offspring at elite universities, in a scheme that was the brainchild of Rick Singer. Matthew Modine adds a spot of class playing Singer in re-enactments of real conversations that were captured on wire-tap, and a range of well-informed experts and associates of Singer talk us through the FBI investigation and fallout, whilst giving great context on a higher education system that's rotten to the core.
Watch now on Netflix.

Words on Bathroom Walls ★★★☆☆

With its planned UK theatrical release scuppered by Covid, here's your chance to rent this unusual and very well-acted crack at a teen love story from Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters director Thor Freudenthal. With a cast that includes Charlie Plummer (as its young protagonist), Waves' Taylor Russell as his classmate, tutor and eventual love interest, and Molly Parker, Walton Goggins, Andy Garcia and Beth Grant in support, Words on Bathroom Walls takes an interesting and imaginative look at mental illness and does its darndest to sweep you off your feet.
Watch now on demand.

Zack Snyder's Justice League ★★★☆☆

For those craving comic book antics, there's a real treat for you this Thursday as the director's cut of Justice League hits Sky Cinema and Now TV. Zack Snyder left the 2017 DC superhero team-up during post-production after the death of his daughter, handing things over to Joss Whedon, who had already joined the project for rewrites. With the version Whedon oversaw a critical and commercial flop, this reimagining follows a fan campaign for Snyder to be allowed to deliver his original vision. Although the overarching story remains the same, in truth it's a very different beast, with none of the scenes conceived by Whedon remaining and lots of new and newly shot footage, improved effects and an entirely overhauled score (from Snyder's original choice of composer Junkie XL, replacing his replacement Danny Elfman) – all at a reported cost of $70m. There's a beefed-up role for Ray Fisher's Cyborg, a less family-friendly approach to violence, Darkseid appearing for the first time, and even a scene featuring Jared Leto's redesigned Joker. In many ways, this new version is a significant improvement – it's much more emotionally satisfying and tonally consistent but at a full four hours it's also desperately overlong and some of the new material feels slightly oddly tacked on. Given the runtime, it's unlikely to expand the film's audience beyond DC devotees, but fans will undoubtedly flip.
Watch now on Sky Cinema and Now TV.

Words on Bathroom Walls

  • 3 stars
  • 2020
  • US
  • 1h 51min
  • Directed by: Thor Freudenthal
  • Cast: Charlie Plummer, Andy García, Taylor Russell, AnnaSophia Robb, Beth Grant, Molly Parker, Walton Goggins

Diagnosed with a mental illness halfway through his senior year of high school, a witty, introspective teen struggles to keep it a secret while falling in love with a brilliant classmate who inspires him to not be defined by his condition. Director: Thor Freudenthal Stars: Walton Goggins, AnnaSophia Robb, Andy Garcia

The Little Things

  • 3 stars
  • 2021
  • US
  • 2h 8min
  • 15
  • Directed by: John Lee Hancock
  • Written by: John Lee Hancock
  • Cast: Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, Jared Leto, Natalie Morales
  • UK release: 11 March 2021

Deputy Sheriff Deacon (Denzel Washington) has been sent to Los Angeles to gather evidence on what is supposed to be a quick and easy assignment. Instead, he becomes deeply involved in the hunt for a terrifying killer stalking the city.

Judas and the Black Messiah

  • 4 stars
  • 2021
  • US
  • 2h 6min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Shaka King
  • Written by: Will Berson, Shaka King
  • Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield, Jesse Plemons, Dominique Fishback, Ashton Sanders, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Lil Rel Howery, Algee Smith, Martin Sheen
  • UK release: 11 March 2021

Bill O'Neal (LaKeith Stanfield) goes undercover to join the Black Panther Party with an in provided by the FBI. As Party Chairman Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) rises in influence and falls for a fellow revolutionary, a battle begins for O'Neal's soul.

Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal

  • 4 stars
  • 2021
  • US
  • 1h 39min
  • Directed by: Chris Smith
  • Written by: Jon Karmen
  • Cast: Matthew Modine, Sarah Chaney, Leroy Edwards III
  • UK release: 17 March 2021

A documentary investigating the US college admissions scandal.

Zack Snyder's Justice League

  • 3 stars
  • 2021
  • US
  • 4h 2min
  • Directed by: Zack Snyder
  • Written by: Chris Terrio, Zack Snyder
  • Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Willem Dafoe, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, J. K. Simmons
  • UK release: 18 March 2021

Director Zack Snyder's ultimate cut of Justice League (2017). Determined to protect the world, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) recruits a team of heroes to face an incoming catastrophic threat.