'Just Mercy' joins movies available to rent from home
A few movies arrive to video-on-demand slightly early this week, including the Harley Quinn spinoff "Birds of Prey" and "The Way Back," a sports redemption tale about alcoholism featuring a deeply felt performance by Ben Affleck. But don't overlook the sturdy legal thriller "Just Mercy," now available to rent, with Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx.
Adapted from the memoir by civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson, the film by director Destin Daniel Cretton ("Short Term 12") is about the Harvard-trained lawyer's efforts in a small Alabama town to defend death-row inmates. While it doesn't break much new ground, "Just Mercy" finds plenty of power in its understated tone and affecting performances.
Also worth checking out:
• "Directed by Terry Zwigoff": "The great counterculture curmudgeon of American independent cinema" is how the Criterion Channel aptly describes Zwigoff in this series of four films that debuted Monday on the streaming service. In sardonic nonfiction and fiction films, Zwigoff combed the land for American oddballs and pockets of wry eccentricity. Included here is Zwigoff's 1995 indelible documentary portrait of comic-book artist Robert Crumb, "Crumb," and "Ghost World," the deadpan 2001 teenage comedy that was an early breakout for Scarlett Johansson.
• "A Wrinkle in Time": New to Disney Plus is Ava DuVernay's adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's sci-fi coming-of-age tale of a girl's self-discovery across the space-time continuum. In her review, AP's Jocelyn Noveck called it "all over the map, in every way possible," but praised the film's diverse casting and newcomer Storm Reid.