This week in Film — THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND and Spike Lee at home

An up-and-coming comic’s big screen debut and one of the masters of American cinema. Lots to rent and stream this weekend. First up, the new comedy The King of Staten Island:

Cowritten and starring Pete Davidson, The King of Staten Island feels a lot more like cinematic therapy than it does cinematic storytelling. The movie is dedicated to Davidson’s father, Scott Davidson, a New York firefighter who died responding to the attacks on 9/11. Davidson was 33.

But the movie is also co-written and directed by Judd Apatow, the king of arrested adolescence, and there’s a lot of Staten Island that feels forced into the Apatow mold. Though Scott, who suffers from depression, ADHD and flirts with suicide, fits the mold better than previous incarnations. Ditto for Bill Burr, here playing Ray Bishop, another firefighter who ends up taking the role of a father figure, invoking more than a touch of Oedipal jealousy in Scott.

From Boulder Weekly Vol. 27, No. 43, “He turned the engine, but the engine didn’t turn.”

Now to the good stuff, four from Spike Lee in celebration of his latest film, Da 5 Bloods:

Despite the music featured in the trailer, nothing about Da 5 Bloods appears to be a cut-and-dried story of ’Nam. Lee isn’t that kind of director. He’s challenging, inventive, brash and electric — a true titan of the American independent scene decked in tortoiseshell glasses and Knickerbocker-coded blue and orange threads.

A cinema without Lee is no cinema indeed; here are four more to celebrate the iconoclast from Brooklyn: Chi-Raq, BlackKklansman, Malcolm X, and Do the Right Thing.

Home viewing: Spike Lee