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What to stream this weekend: ‘The United States vs. Billie Holiday,’ Apple TV+’s Billie Eilish doc

  • February 26, 2021

socially distanced times.

This weekend is full of musical Billies: Recent Golden Globe nominee Andra Day plays the iconic jazz singer in Lee Daniels’ new Billie Holiday biopic, and Grammy-winning teen sensation Billie Eilish is the subject of an Apple TV+ documentary. One new horror movie dives into Jewish lore, another reboots a 2000s franchise and old-school cartoon pals Tom and Jerry are back in a live-action setting on HBO Max.

If that’s not enough to get you watching movies, Oscar contender “Minari” gets a digital release with its moving tale of a Korean family searching for the American dream starring Steven Yeun and Yuh-jung Youn.

‘Minari’:Here’s why the new drama is truly an American story, even if the Golden Globes disagree

Black History Month:25 powerful movies to stream, from ‘Da 5 Bloods’ to ‘One Night in Miami’

Here’s a rundown of new movies hitting streaming and on-demand platforms this week, for every cinematic taste:

Grammy-nominated singer Andra Day makes her acting debut in The United States vs. Billie Holiday.

If you want to see a star being born: ‘The United States vs. Billie Holiday’

In her first lead acting role, Day – whose day job is Grammy-nominated singer – gives a stunning, powerful portrayal as Holiday in a movie that chronicles how the government went afterthe jazz star for singing “Strange Fruit,” a ballad about the lynching of Black people the feds worried would galvanize the nascent civil rights movement. The film on the whole doesn’t rise to her heights, though offers moments that viscerally explore Holiday’s rough childhood and the treatment of Black people in Jim Crow America.

Where to watch: Hulu

Teenage pop singer Billie Eilish's rocketing to superstardom is chronicled in the documentary Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry.

If you live and die for the ‘Bad Guy’ (duh): ‘Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry’

It probably won’t change your tune about whether you like her music or not, but R.J. Cutler’s hefty documentary (clocking in at an “Avengers”-like two and a half hours) is a comprehensive, behind-the-scenes deep dive into the young pop music phenomenon, from home footage of Eilish’s kid years to sweeping the Grammys last year. It’s most interesting not as a rock doc but more as a revealing look at a teen not always the best at taking care of herself but who leans on her family to help keep her on the right track.

Where to watch: Apple TV+

Steven Silver plays a Nigerian-American teen who's murdered by police and lives the same day over and over again in the drama The Obituary of Tunde Johnson.

If you seek a different take on the time-loop movie: ‘The Obituary of Tunde Johnson’

The title character, a gay Nigerian American teen (Steven Silver), gets pulled over by cops on the way to see his closeted boyfriend (Spencer Neville), is shot and killed, and then wakes up violently to relive the same day. It’s not exactly “Groundhog Day”: Tunde doesn’t seem to know he’s in a time loop yet learns new things about those around him every day that ends in tragedy (and not always the same way). But the film inventively finds a path to explore a variety of social issues and manages to still be uplifting. 

Where to watch: Apple TV, Vudu, Fandango Now

Dave Davis stars as a Jewish New Yorker forced to confront a demon in the horror film The Vigil.

If you need a seriously great scary movie: ‘The Vigil’

While there are some “Exorcist” vibes at play, this outstanding chiller feels refreshingly original and is totally freaky as a possession film filled with religious myth and historical connections. Yakov (Dave Davis) is a Jewish Brooklynite whose faith has lapsed but needs money, so he agrees when his old rabbi asks him to be a “shomer” and watch over the body of a community member who’s recently passed. The gig proves terrifying when a demonic dybbuk shows up and Yakov wages an all-night battle for his soul.

Where to watch: Apple TV, Vudu, Google Play

Jen (Charlotte Vega) and her dad (Matthew Modine) deal with a group of violent people who live in the Appalachian mountains in Wrong Turn.

If you like to see people murdered by lumber: ‘Wrong Turn’

It’s not often a reboot surpasses the original, especially with horror flicks, yet this new and extremely gory “Wrong Turn” lends a cool bent to the backwoods slasher series. Matthew Modine stars as a dad who gets worried after he hasn’t heard from his daughter (Charlotte Vega) six weeks after she and her friends began hiking the Appalachian Trail, and everybody gets up close and personal with The Foundation, an isolated group of hill folks who wear animal skull masks and really don’t like trespassers.  

Where to watch: Apple TV, Vudu, Fandango Now

A group of friends having a Zoom party has their night derailed when something bad happens to one of them in the pandemic thriller Safer at Home.

If you’re not sick of the pandemic yet: ‘Safer at Home’

Writer/director Will Wernick’s pandemic thriller imagines a dystopian LA of 2022 where the vaccine didn’t work and hundreds of millions have died. A group of friends meets over video chat to celebrate a birthday and take some ecstasy in quarantine, but the Zoom party’s ruined when an accident occurs that sends everybody into histrionics and folks go out during curfew, running afoul of no-nonsense cops. It’s like a “Black Mirror” episode with a fun premise and forgettable execution.

Where to watch: Apple TV, Vudu, Fandango Now

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