What's worth your time in TV and movies this weekend? EW's critics review the latest releases, also including French director Céline Sciamma's Petite Maman and the Sundance-winning documentary Navalny.
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Each Friday, our critics provide a few quick-hit reviews of the titles that have them giddy and groaning — or, to put it another way, the Musts & Misses of the week.

Petite Maman

Friday, April 22 (In theaters)

PETITE MAMAN
Josephine Sanz and Gabrielle Sanz in "Petit Maman"
| Credit: Everett Collection

Movies tend to paint childhood in primary colors, mistaking small people for small interior worlds. But French auteur Céline Sciamma — who for years has centered her stories on young girls awakening to themselves in arthouse hits including Water LiliesTomboy, and Portrait of a Lady on Fire — doesn't do them that disservice in Petite Maman, a tiny thunderbolt of a film (it's only 72 minutes long) in limited release this Friday. 

Dragged along by her distracted, grieving mother (Nina Meurisse) to clear out the remote country house of her recently deceased grandmother, eight-year-old Nelly (Joséphine Sanz) eventually goes looking for her own entertainment outside. In the woods one day she meets Marion (Gabrielle Sanz), also eager to play — maybe because she looks, from the curls in her hair to the tip of her nose, like Nelly's mirror image. It would ruin the delicate mechanisms of the plot to say much more, except that Sciamma's elegant, melancholy fable captures something lovely and ineffable: a brief glimpse into life's great mystery. Grade: A– —Leah Greenblatt

A Very British Scandal

Friday, April 22 (Amazon Prime Video)

A Very British Scandal - Season 1 - Episode 101 A Very British Scandal Credit: Christopher Raphael Copyright: SCANDAL PRODUCTIONS LIMITED & BLUEPRINT TELEVISION LIMITED & CPT Holdings, Inc. Description: Paul Bettany (Duke of Argyll), Claire Foy (Duchess of Argyll) Filename: AVBS_101-20210517-CR_0174RC_thumb.JPG
Paul Bettany and Claire Foy in "A Very British Scandal"
| Credit: Christopher Raphael/Amazon Studios

In this sumptuous follow-up to 2018's Emmy-nominated miniseries A Very English Scandal, two terribly unhappy people do terrible things to each other over the course of their tumultuous marriage — and naturally, only the woman is made to pay. 

Margaret Sweeney (The Crown's Claire Foy) is a glam and gorgeous socialite on the cusp of divorce when she meets Captain Ian Campbell (Paul Bettany), a hard-drinking (and twice-married) Scottish heir, on the train in 1947. Their banter is cheeky and sexually charged — and by 1951, they've taken up residence at Inveraray Castle as the Duke and Duchess of Argyll. It's a fairy tale built to implode: The debt-ridden Duke turns brutish and cruel while burning through his wife's family fortune. Margaret finds comfort with various lovers and hatches a particularly sinister scheme to ensure her rights to the castle.

There's no lack of frisson between Foy and Bettany, who bring equally compelling heat to Margaret and Ian's alternating periods of lustful connection and loathsome mutual abuse. The three-episode series moves briskly through the troubled trajectory of the Duke and Duchess' 12-year marriage — but Scandal ultimately rushes through the true scandal of the union's ugly dissolution, in which Margaret was essentially put on trial for being a woman who enjoyed sex. 

"For the public, this will always be about your innumerable, flagrant infidelities," sneers Ian, who presents stolen love letters and compromising photos of his wife to make his case in court. The judge's ruling against her — a three-hour harangue in which he labeled Margaret a "wholly immoral" woman with a "debased sexual appetite" — sparked a frenzy of tabloid headlines. Alas, the miniseries ends just before that painful aftermath begins. Still, Foy and Bettany make for a brilliantly broken couple, so let this Scandal deliver your Brit fix before The Crown returns this fall. Grade: B —Kristen Baldwin

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Friday, April 22 (in theaters)

The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent
Nicolas Cage and Pedro Pascal in "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent"
| Credit: Karen Ballard/Lionsgate

There are some parts an actor was born to play. So you can forgive the typecasting of Nicolas Cage as an uncommonly intense middle-aged movie star named Nicolas Cage in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, a loopy fourth-wall-shattering goof whose showily meta premise is mostly cover for a sweet and surprisingly conventional action-comedy.

A one-time box-office king now known more for the sheer volume of his roles, "Nic" knows on some level that he desperately needs a comeback ("Not that I went anywhere"). In the meantime, though, he accepts a $1 million paycheck to attend the birthday party of an eccentric Spanish millionaire (Pedro Pascal) whose whereabouts also turn out to be of urgent concern to two CIA agents (Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz) in hot pursuit. Writer-director Tom Gormican never really does as much with his high-flying concept as he might; the movie's second half mostly gives way to antic chase scenes, gorgeous Andalusian scenery, and general shenanigans. But Cage has a ball with his own myth-making, a star contracting and expanding in the movie's fun-house mirror of fame and destabilized celebrity. Grade: B — Leah Greenblatt

Navalny

Sunday, April 24 (CNN and CNN+)

NAVALNY, Alexei Navalny
Alexei Navalny in "Navalny"
| Credit: Everett Collection

Back in January, Navalny landed at this year's Sundance in a cloud of secrecy, its existence not even announced until 24 hours before its premiere. Canadian filmmaker Daniel Roher's documentary went on to win two of the festival's top prizes, though it only feels more urgent now to see his intimate, galvanizing portrait of Alexander Navalny, the Russian opposition leader whose near-fatal poisoning by Putin operatives in August 2020 made headlines around the world. 

News junkies will already know how that played out, but Roher (Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band) is smart enough to shoot it all like a real-time thriller, using fly-on-the-wall techniques and canny editing to give his endlessly charismatic subject full range. Toggling between a tenderly ordinary family life with the dissident's wife and two teenagers and the extraordinary perils of his political career — John le Carré would hardly have believed it, if he hadn't already written stuff just like it — Navalny has a bracing, heart-racing story to tell, even as the improbable facts rush past. But it never fails to focus on the human man: funny, prickly, and unimaginably brave, down to the last defiant frame. Grade: B+ — Leah Greenblatt

We Own This City

Monday, April 25 (HBO)

Photograph by Paul Schiraldi/HBO Jon Bernthal HBO We Own This City
Jon Bernthal on "We Own This City"
| Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO

The last time David Simon made an HBO drama about Baltimore police and the corrosion of American society, the result was The freaking WireWe Own This City is a different kind of animal — a true-life tale of corruption — but it's no less beastly. Jon Bernthal stars as Wayne Jenkins, a crusader cop whose swaggering Gun Trace Task Force wound up charged with all manner of dirty deeds. We Own This City tracks problems in every direction. A Department of Justice attorney (Wunmi Mosaku) tries to figure out why bad cops stay on the streets. A homicide detective (Jamie Hector) struggles to do his job in a city that has completely lost faith in law enforcement. There's more — so much more, a whole cop culture of violence in service of favorable statistics.

Simon and co-creator George Pelecanos use a time-hopping narrative to juggle multiple subplots about petty larceny and bureaucratic indifference with historic recreations of the Freddie Gray protests. Director Reinaldo Marcus Green (King Richard) gracefully blends shocking violence with tense conference-room inquisitions. Grade: A —Darren Franich

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