BLACK WIDOW (Cert 12, 134 mins, Marvel Studios, Action/Fantasy/Adventure/Thriller/Comedy/Romance, available now on Amazon Prime Video/BT TV Store/Disney+/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from September 13 on DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray £29.99)
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz, Ray Winstone, O-T Fagbenle, William Hurt.
FORMER KGB spy Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) has violated the Sokovia Accords and is on the run from US Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt).
She goes off grid and resurfaces in Norway, aided by smitten private contractor Rick Mason (O-T Fagbenle).
Natasha’s past gatecrashes the Scandinavian serenity and she reunites with her “sister” Yelena (Florence Pugh) at a Budapest safe house to learn the shocking truth about chemically subjugated Black Widows controlled by General Dreykov (Ray Winstone).
To assassinate the sadistic puppet master, Natasha and Yelena must orchestrate an awkward family reunion with Alexei Shostakov aka Red Guardian (David Harbour), the Soviet Union’s super soldier equivalent of Captain America, and scientist Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz).
Black Widow is a hugely entertaining spy thriller, which nods reverentially to Mission: Impossible, the Bourne franchise and James Bond (an excerpt from Moonraker plays on a TV screen) as well as earlier chapters in the Avengers saga that jive sweetly between explosive action set pieces and heart-tugging emotion.
Bone-crunching, balletic fight sequences are beautifully choreographed to thunderous blasts of Scottish composer Lorne Balfe’s score as a pas de deux with slick special effects that push Johansson and Oxford-born co-star Pugh to their physical limits.
The former is given space and time to rub salt into her character’s psychological wounds and add gravitas to Natasha’s sacrifices later in the franchise.
The darkest elements of the character’s past – child trafficking, mind control, an involuntary hysterectomy – warrant lip service rather than deep discourse to avoid a certificate 15 classification.
NOBODY (Cert 15, 92 mins, Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd, Action/Thriller/Romance, available from September 13 on Amazon Prime Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, also available from September 13 on DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £26.99/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray £34.99)
Starring: Bob Odenkirk, Connie Nielsen, Aleksei Serebryakov, Christopher Lloyd, RZA, Gage Munroe, Paisley Cadorath, Billy MacLellan, Aleksandr Pal.
MILD-mannered office worker Hutch Mansell (Bob Odenkirk) is a crushing disappointment to his wife (Connie Nielsen) and children (Gage Munroe, Paisley Cadorath).
When two armed robbers break into the family home late at night, Hutch freezes in the act of protecting the brood and he weathers greater disappointment in the eyes of his teenage son.
The father tracks down the burglars and, on his way home by bus, Hutch protects a terrified female passenger from a drunken gang by savagely beating the thugs.
One of the aggressors, Teddy (Aleksandr Pal), is the younger brother of sadistic Russian mob boss Yulian Kuznetsov (Aleksei Serebryakov), who vows revenge for the slight against his family.
Nobody is a slickly executed bloodbath that gives us repeated cause to marvel at brilliantly staged fight sequences.
The five-on-one brawl on a bus that sets everything in motion builds momentum and our adrenaline rush with ruthless precision.
Breathlessly choreographed brawls rely on slow motion to land the fatal blow.
Christopher Lloyd and RZA add gentle comic relief as Hutch’s retired FBI agent father and half-brother, who share the predilection for gun play.
Screenwriter Derek Kolstad’s casual disregard for human life was evident in John Wick, judging by the outrageous body count.
The tasty extra ingredient in Nobody is Odenkirk, best known as shady lawyer Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad.
He brings an appealing hangdog weariness and pathos to the role of a mild-mannered family man with a killer past and a burning desire to embrace white picket-fenced suburbia.
He is the beating heart beneath the wanton carnage.
LUCIFER – SEASON 6 (10 episodes, streaming from September 10 exclusively on Netflix, Fantasy/Drama/Romance)
PLAYED on screen by Welsh actor Tom Ellis, the DC comics character created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg headlined three series of supernatural shenanigans on Fox before Lucifer transferred to Netflix for its fourth instalment.
The sixth and final season of Lucifer promises to tie up some of the loose dramatic threads as Lucifer Morningstar (Ellis) becomes the new God after his noble sacrifice at the conclusion of the fifth series.
Lucifer’s relationship with LAPD Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German) goes from strength to strength as he finds himself torn between taking up his position as God and sitting on his father’s throne in Hell.
This internal tug of war lights a fuse on the apocalypse, which threatens to destroy mankind and everyone that Lucifer has grown to love.
WOLFE (6 episodes, streaming from September 10 exclusively on NOW TV, Drama/Comedy/Thriller)
PAUL Abbott, creator of Shameless, invests his trademark dark humour in a six-part Sky Original drama, which begins on Sky Max this week and streams exclusively on NOW TV.
Professor Wolfe Kinteh (Babou Ceesay) is a gifted forensic scientist, who repeatedly bends the rules as he works crime scenes in the North of England.
Brilliant yet unconventional, Wolfe will go to any length to piece together clues of wrongdoing accompanied by his trusty team of Dominique (Shaniqua Okwok), Dot (Amanda Abbington), Maggy (Naomi Yang) and Steve (Adam Long).
The madness in Wolfe’s method never ceases to amaze his colleagues but his scientific brain copes less well processing fragile emotions away from a crime scene.
DR DEATH (8 episodes, starts streaming from September 12 exclusively on StarzPlay, Thriller)
THE true crime podcast Dr Death hosted by Laura Beil provides inspiration for an eight-part thriller of medical malpractice, based on the terrifying story of a doctor who betrayed the trust of his patients in a Dallas community.
Dr Christopher Duntsch (Joshua Jackson) is a brilliant and charismatic neurosurgeon, who is making a name for himself and building a hugely successful practice.
When several patients, who enter his operating room for routine procedures, emerge from theatre permanently maimed or worse, neurosurgeon Robert Henderson (Alec Baldwin) and vascular surgeon Randall Kirby (Christian Slater) grow suspicious.
They are joined in their quest for justice by Dallas prosecutor Michelle Shugart (AnnaSophia Robb), who vows to protect the weak and defenceless from a brilliant but unhinged mind.
NAILED IT! – SEASON 6 (6 episodes, streaming from September 15 exclusively on Netflix, Documentary)
IN 2020, comedian Nicole Byer made history as the first black woman to be nominated for the Emmy Award as Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Programme for her work on the Netflix baking show Nailed It!
She returns as host for the show’s mouth-watering sixth season alongside chocolatier head judge Jacques Torres to welcome more hapless home bakers into the kitchen to faithfully recreate edible masterpieces produced by the experts.
The gallant winner bags a top prize of 10,000 US dollars.
Actor Jack McBrayer is one of this season’s clumsy contestants and guest judges include Wayne Brady, Big Freedia, June Diane Raphael, Sam Richardson, Reggie Watts and Sasheer Zamata.