There are a few “super” new streaming releases this week, plus a couple of excellent movies hitting streaming after their theatrical runs.
First up, Sean Penn’s new documentary co-directed with Aaron Kaufman, “Superpower,” offers an on-the-ground look at Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Penn happened to be in Kyiv in February 2022, hoping to interview President Volodymyr Zelenskyy because he was interested in the young political satirist turned president. It just so happened to be when Russia invaded on Feb. 24, 2022, and the political portrait became a much different film.
“Superpower” is a fast-paced primer on Ukraine’s recent history leading up to the Russian invasion, and a look a Zelenskyy’s comedy career before he took office. But it becomes a war movie, as Penn returns to Ukraine again and again capturing the atrocities there and interviewing Zelenskyy as he takes on a surprising new role as a wartime president. “Superpower” centers Penn and his point of view, but Penn is aware that his celebrity grants him access, and he’s attempting to wield that power for good, to bring awareness to the plight of the Ukrainian people. He’s astute enough to surround himself with smart people who offer context to the political situation, and uses his spotlight to help others. It’s an informative look at the war in Ukraine and the man who has withstood Russia’s attacks against all odds — Zelenskyy. Stream it now on Paramount+.
Arriving Wednesday on Apple TV+ is “The Super Models,” a four-part docuseries about the biggest supermodels of the 1990s, who defined the word: Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington. Directed by Academy Award-winning documentarian Roger Ross Williams, the series charts the ascent of the four models and their cultural impact from George Michael’s “Freedom ‘90” video and beyond. Stream it starting Sept. 20 on Apple TV+.
Also from Williams, his first narrative feature “Cassandro” is now streaming on Amazon Prime. Starring Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal as the famed “exotico” wrestler Cassandro, Williams paints a grounded, layered portrait of a man from El Paso, Texas, who finds his power in the wrestling ring by embracing his queer identity and becoming a superstar in the world of lucha libre wrestling. A fascinating biopic. Stream it Friday on Prime Video.
Also available to stream this week: one of the best animated films of the year, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.” This new iteration of the beloved characters, who have spanned comics, cartoons, toys and live-action movies, took a new tack with a gorgeously animated style that mashed up children’s book illustrations with sketchpad scrawls and a dark, punky ‘90s neon color palette. Combined with a score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross and a lively voice cast, everything old is new again. If you haven’t seen “Mutant Mayhem” yet, stream it now on Paramount+ or rewatch it if you already caught it in theaters.