Movie Guru: ‘The Dig’ and its star-studded cast, plus other streaming service new releases |

Movie Guru: ‘The Dig’ and its star-studded cast, plus other streaming service new releases

With so many movies opening this weekend on various platforms, it’s hard to focus on just one. For those looking for something new this weekend, here’s a sampling of some of the biggest movies being released on streaming services this Friday.

The Dig (Netflix)

"The Dig" stars Carey Mulligan, Ralph Fiennes, Lily James.
Special to the Daily

Though “The Dig” is technically about archaeology, it’s more a quiet English period drama on the fragile, complicated prospect of slowing down time. Unsurprisingly, there’s a gentle, mournful air to the movie, which is less of a consistent plot and more a series of tender, achingly ephemeral character interactions. You can’t really trust the history of it – as is usually the case with historical movies, a lot of the details were adjusted – but its portrayal of human nature is pretty spot-on, and so is the all-star cast.

Ralph Fiennes is wonderful as a workman archaeologist who believes in what he’s doing but doesn’t have the formal education that allows him the respect less experienced men have. Carey Mulligan is heartbreaking as a widow whose interest in archaeology transforms into a way to hold back time itself. Lily James is all fragile bravery as an archaeologist looking for more out of her life. Together, they create moments that linger in the memory.

Grade: Three stars out of four

The Little Things (HBO Max)

Does interesting and good mean the same thing? That’s the question you’ll ask yourself when watching “The Little Things,” a period thriller that’s more of a psychological study than murder mystery. If you’re looking to follow a trail of clues and put together a puzzle, this probably isn’t the movie for you. If you’re looking to watch two obsessed men be slowly peeled like an onion, you might want to give it a chance.

Because of this, the best part of the movie is the performances. Jared Leto is as creepy as you’d expect, and Rami Malek ads a surprising amount of fragility and depth to a character who normally ends up very flat and one-note in these kind of movies. The real story, though, is Denzel Washington’s performance. As Joe “Deke” Deacon, a good cop with a shadowy past, he’s utterly watchable even if you’re not entirely sure what’s going on. The script doesn’t really give him enough to work with, but there are whole stretches where you’ll end up forgetting that.

Grade: Two and a half stars out of four

Palmer (Apple TV+)

“Palmer” is a Hallmark movie that’s had a fresh coat of gritty paint slapped on it, though that’s not necessarily an insult. Many of the movie’s reviews are mad at how predictable the movie is, but if you’re watching a Hallmark movie those heartwarming cliches are exactly what you’re there for. “Palmer” focuses those cliches on the burgeoning father-son relationship between a former convict (Justin Timberlake) and a young boy with flexible views on gender and a deeply damaged single mother.

Timberlake is sweet as a man learning to care about something again, and the movie does a good job of highlighting his and the boy’s similar feelings as two people who feel out of place in the world. Their relationship is the endearing heart of the movie, and if you can deal with the mother’s drug issues and a mildly traumatic arrest scene, you’ll find plenty of emotional satisfaction. It’s not art, but when the happily-ever-after is good enough sometimes that doesn’t matter.

Grade: Two and a half stars out of four

Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning movie critic and member of the Denver Film Critics Society. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or drop her a line at

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