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New Movies to Watch This Week: ‘Tom & Jerry,’ ‘Cherry,’ ‘Crisis’ and Apple’s ‘Billie Eilish’ Doc

Tom and Jerry
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

This week brings more theatrical releases than American audiences have gotten in ages — and possibly more than they’re ready for now, as vaccine rollouts still leave people questioning whether it’s safe to do things like go to the movies.

Some, such as Warner Bros.’ “Tom & Jerry,” can also be viewed via streaming (the cat-and-mouse movie, which features the animated duo destroying a live-action New York cityscape) for HBO Max subscribers. Others — including Anthony Hopkins-starrer “The Father” (a subjective look at the impact of dementia on an elderly man) and the aptly named Armie Hammer movie “Crisis” — will be coming to VOD shortly, but are opening today only in cinemas.

For those who are either playing it safe or simply don’t have access to theaters, subscription streaming services are bringing a pair of high-profile music-themed movies. The first, Apple’s “Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry” gives audiences an intimate look at the pop star on her way up. Over on Hulu, Lee Daniels takes a look at a different legend in crash-and-burn descent with “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” starring Andra Day in the title role.

And of course, there are horror movies aplenty, including the pandemic-set Zoom-style thriller “Safer at Home.”

Here’s a rundown of those films opening this week that Variety has reviewed, along with information on where you can watch them. Find more movies and TV shows to stream here.

Available in Theaters and on HBO Max

Tom & Jerry (Tim Story)
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Where to Find It: In wide theatrical release and on HBO Max
Truth be told, the movie’s a pretty faithful extension of the frenemies’ long-running feud — basically, the two cannot peacefully coexist under the same roof — and as such, we should be grateful to Story and screenwriter Kevin Costello for not dropping a two-ton anvil on our nostalgia, the way so many big-studio toonsploitation projects like “The Smurfs” have in recent years. Yes, this movie is a hybrid, which means Tom and Jerry have a full cast of flesh-and-blood co-stars, but Story set a simple rule from the opening scene, and he sticks to it: Every single animal in the movie is presented as an endearingly designed cartoon character. — Owen Gleiberman
Read the full review

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The Father Courtesy of Lionsgate

New Releases Only in Theaters

Cherry (Anthony Russo, Joe Russo)
Distributor: Apple TV Plus
Where to Find It: In select theaters now, coming to Apple TV Plus on March 12
The movie is a double dose of brand extension. For Tom Holland, the motivation is obvious: He’s proving that he’s not just a kid in a spandex suit, a lightweight “escapist” star. But “Cherry” is also a showy advertisement for its directors, the superstar superhero auteurs of the “Avengers” and “Captain America” films. In “Cherry,” they’re proving their dark-side-of-the-street cred. Except it all plays as a giant synthetic crock! The problem with “Cherry” is that the movie presents itself as a dread-ridden slice of life, yet almost every moment in it feels based not on experience but on the experience of other movies. — Owen Gleiberman
Read the full review

Crisis (Nicholas Jarecki)
Distributor: Quiver Distribution
Where to Find It: In theaters now, coming to VOD and digital on March 5
Some problems can’t be solved with a prescription. Attempting to do for the opioid epidemic what “Traffic” did for the war on drugs, “Crisis” sets up three separate storylines — a grieving mama with a grudge (Evangeline Lilly), an undercover DEA operative with an imminent bust (Armie Hammer) and a compromised research professor with a conscience (Gary Oldman) — and proceeds to braid them together for maximum melodrama. It’s compelling, relevant filmmaking designed to cover all aspects of this ever-escalating national-health issue), and there’s no shortage of engaging and/or wrenching material here. — Peter Debruge
Read the full review

The Father (Florian Zeller) CRITIC’S PICK
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Where to Find It: In L.A. and N.Y. theaters now, then nationwide on March 5
“The Father” does something that few movies about mental deterioration in old age have brought off in quite this way, or this fully. It places us in the mind of someone losing his mind — and it does so by revealing that mind to be a place of seemingly rational and coherent experience. At times, the film seems to be putting King Lear in the Twilight Zone; at others, it’s like “The Shining” with Harold Pinter soap opera in place of demons. “The Anthony Hopkins’ character isn’t just “fantasizing.” He’s seeing true-blue pieces of his life dance with primal enactments of his fears. — Owen Gleiberman
Read the full review

My Zoe (Julie Delpy)
Distributor: Blue Fox Entertainment
Where to Find It: In theaters now, coming to VOD on May 25
There are two films in Julie Delpy’s ambitious, sharply-made but unbalanced “My Zoe.” There’s the scabrous relationship melodrama, about bitter exes sharing custody of a beloved child, which contains the story’s most potent emotions. And there’s the sci-fi-inflected ethical-dilemma grief movie, which houses its most provocative ideas. Both have much to recommend them. But the transition between the two halves suggests that Delpy’s screenwriting, while studded with moments of shrewd insight, as yet lags some way behind her standards as director and actress. — Jessica Kiang
Read the full review

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The Obituary of Tunde Johnson Toronto Film Review

New Releases on Demand and in Select Theaters

Night of the Kings (Phillippe Lacôte)
Distributor: Neon
Where to Find It: In theaters and premium on demand
Set partly in Ivory Coast’s “Mad Max”-like MACA correctional facility and partly in the imagination of its newest inmate, “Night of the Kings” feels radically different from most films set behind bars, and not just because of its one-of-a-kind location. Naturally, the wild plots and power games one typically associates with the genre still feature, but “Night” stands apart — if not necessarily above — as director Philipe Lacôte zeroes in on an unusual tradition within those walls: that of the “Roman.” Lacôte’s film features stories within stories and can be downright confusing to follow , but is never less than mesmerizing. — Peter Debruge
Read the full review

The Obituary of Tunde Johnson (Ali LeRoi)
Distributor: Wolfe Releasing
Where to Find It: In theaters and on demand
Eighteen-year-old Tunde Johnson (Steven Silver) isn’t consciously able to explain why he wakes up gasping every day. Every day is the same day, May 28, and every night, he’s murdered by the cops and “The Obituary of Tunde Johnson” is read anew: an upper-middle class, gay high schooler destined to be shot by jumpy officers who don’t know him at all. The interesting crinkle in Ali LeRoi’s coiling drama is that Tunde isn’t one of those time-loopers who tries to change his future. He can’t avoid being young and black in America; the problem isn’t his to fix. — Amy Nicholson
Read the full review

Safer at Home (Will Wernick)
Distributor: Vertical Entertainment
Where to Find It: In select theaters, on demand and digital
This found-footage thriller hinges on friends video-conferencing during shutdown. The film not only fails to use that format in clever or suspenseful ways, it blows the basics of maintaining plausibility and viewer interest. You have to admire filmmakers finding ways to keep plugging away within pandemic restrictions. But not every story is suited for Zoom-style presentation, and this derivative, uninspired one only underlines the strain in being fit to a presentational framework that does neither actors nor audience any favors. — Dennis Harvey
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The Vigil (Keith Thomas)
Distributor: IFC Films
Where to Find It: In select theaters, on demand and digital
Billed as a “Jewish horror movie,” “The Vigil” doesn’t dive very deep into theology or even specific traditional superstitions in its tale of a long night for a protagonist watching over a recently deceased Orthodox man’s body. Nonetheless, the cultural context adds novelty to an effectively creepy, small-scale chiller that does a nice job eking suspense from its simple story and limited setting. A first feature for novelist-turned-director-scenarist Keith Thomas, this has modest prospects likely to play out primarily in home formats, but the unusual slant on genre themes could spur interest from viewers not normally attracted to horror films. — Dennis Harvey
Read the full review

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Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry Courtesy of Apple TV+

Exclusive to Amazon prime

Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry (R.J. Cutler)
Where to Find It: Apple TV Plus
Billie Eilish hasn’t been famous for very long, but when you see her in this 140-minute but never boring documentary hang-out movie, you see why she’s already the quintessential pop star of the 21st century. The film, which shows you more or less everything you want to know about Billie Eilish, might be described as fan service of a high order. The doc was shot mostly in 2019, when Billie was transitioning from budding star to supernova. Her first album is about to come out (and then it does), and along the way we pop in on the making of it and see how she and the genial but exacting Finneas work together. — Owen Gleiberman
Read the full review

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The United States vs. Billie Holiday Hulu

Exclusive to Hulu

The United States vs. Billie Holiday (Lee Daniels)
Where to Find It: Hulu
Billie Holiday, the tempestuous, high-living jazz legend who burned herself out at 44, is a great role for any actor. In “Lady Sings the Blues,” Diana Ross gave an all-stops-out performance in a film that was way too ramshackle and fuddy-duddy for its own good. And that’s what Andra Day does, too, in the bolder and more compelling though still flawed “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.” In this sprawling, lacerating, but at times emotionally wayward biopic set during the last decade of Holiday’s life, Day gives Billie a voice of pearly splendor that, over time, turns raspy and hard, and we see the same thing happening to Billie inside. — Owen Gleiberman
Read the full review

Exclusive to Netflix

Made You Look: A True Story of Fake Art (Barry Avrich)
Where to Find It: Netflix
There’s a spectacular contradiction at the heart of art forgery. … These paintings were fakes, and so were more than 60 other Abstract Expressionist canvases that Glafir Rosales brought to Ann Freedman over the next 10 years. The result, once the paintings were sold to collectors, galleries, and museums, was the costliest art scandal in history, with $80 million worth of forged works sold. “Made You Look” is a lively and fascinating stranger-than-fiction art-world doc, and what drives it are two essential mysteries: Who could have created fake paintings that looked this astonishing? And even then, how could all the experts have been fooled? — Owen Gleiberman
Read the full review

Crazy About Her (Dani de la Orden)
Where to Find It: Netflix

Pelé (David Tryhorn, Ben Nicholas)
Where to Find It: Netflix