My two sons and daughter-in-law have been visiting us this past week. It has been a lovely week of dinners out, excursions around town, and shopping. We just returned from an outing to Shark Valley in Everglades National Park where we saw more alligators than you can shake a stick at. I have had to catch up with TV and movies pretty furtively as my kids think I watch an insane amount of TV. I am currently typing away as they have gone to play pickle ball. Of course, while I write, I am watching a recorded version of my CBS Sunday Morning, a show that they think is hopelessly square. They are bemused by our reliance on cable, which they view as prehistoric. In any event, here are some recommendations for you:
American Made is a Tom Cruise film from director Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow, The Bourne Identity, Fair Game). It is the story of Barry Seal, an American pilot who became a drug-runner for the CIA in the 1980’s in a clandestine operation that would be exposed as the Iran-Contra Affair. I found it a little long and totally amoral. If this were’t basically a true story, you’d wonder how anyone could come up with such an insane program.
Coco is a charming film from Disney Pixar. Heavily rooted in Mexican Day of the Dead traditions it is a wonderful look into another culture. Absolutely delightful! Nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars this year.
New on Netflix
Berlin Babylon is a Netflix Original TV series that comes from Germany and is set in 1929. It is Cabaret with a very dark background as Fascists and Communists clash and a policeman with the Vice squad has been sent from Cologne to Berlin on a very special assignment. Very intriguing.
Other Shows Premiering/Returning this week:
Here and Now is a family dramedy that premieres on HBO tonight. Stars Holly Hunter and Tim Robbins. A multi-racial family made up of husband, wife, three adopted children from Somalia, Vietnam and Colombia and one biological child, find their bonds tested when one of the children begins seeing things which the rest cannot. From Alan Ball creator of 6 Feet Under and True Blood.
Homeland returns tonight!! Quinn is dead, Carrie is nuts and the President is totally insane and paranoid. What could be more intriguing? Apparently they’re really having trouble writing storylines that are as crazy as real life politics. On Showtime in the US and I’m guessing Superchannel in Canada.
Our Cartoon President Oh my, this animated series about life in the White House comes from Stephen Colbert’s production team and it is absolutely unfunny. Such a disappointment. Airs on Showtime in the US.
Altered Carbon is a new miniseries that began airing on Netflix last week. So confusing. Set in a future where consciousness is digitized and stored, a prisoner returns to life in a new body and must solve a mind-bending murder to win his freedom. Mind bending is right!! Stars Joel Kinsman, James Purefoy.
My Regular Viewing
Divorce is a bittersweet romantic comedy about the joys and pitfalls of divorce starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Hayden Church.
This is Us OK, I know I was only going to watch to find out how the Dad died and now he’s dead. Can I quit this show now? So maudlin and manipulative.
The Good Doctor I love this show about an autistic young doctor. Freddie Highmore is wonderful in the lead role and Richard Schiff is reliably fabulous as his sad sack mentor.
The Resident Uh Oh. Too many medical shows. This one had potential at first as iconoclasts battled the establishment, but it’s gotten a little cliched.
The X-Files I enjoyed this past week’s delicate combo of monster and conspiracy called Kitten. Haunting!
9-1-1 Another case of a show that started out quite disarmingly original and seems to have deteriorated into cliches. Connie Britton still magnificent!
Supergirl OK, I know I’m a little old for this one and all the other CW shows I enjoy (Riverdale, Arrow, Black Lightning), but I need a little true escapism sometimes.
Counterpart Stars JK Simmons. I truly love this mind bending suspense series. Set in Berlin, a UN employee discovers the agency he works for is hiding a gateway to a parallel dimension. So original!!
The Alienist What started out as an intriguing mystery set around the turn of the century in NYC, has now slowed down to a real trudging pace as a team of three investigators try to solve a series of killings of young boys working in the sex trade.
The Gilded Age on American Experience This is a wonderful documentary about the robber barons of the 19th Century and their impact on the US.
CBS All Access and Netflix Canada
Star Trek: Discovery I have totally enjoyed this new addition to the many Star Trek generations. Jason Isaacs is now gone (or is he?), but Michelle Yeoh is back and there is a big season ender airing tonight. Enjoy!
Hulu and Streaming
The Path This miniseries is back for its third season and is still a haunting look at life inside a cult.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace My goodness this series is dark and depressing. Darren Criss (Glee) as Andrew Cunanan is incredibly convincing as a homicidal maniac.
Streaming Canadian Imports
Mary Kills People I really do like this series about assisted suicide. Caroline Dhavernas is wonderful as Dr. Mary and in season 2, Rachelle Lefevre makes a great villain.
Cardinal This miniseries concluded its second season last week as the North Bay cop finally figured out the crime of why a woman was shot in the head in a wooded area of Northern Ontario.
Real Time with Bill Maher airs on HBO on Fridays. Although he has a tendency to smirk, Maher assembles interesting panels as he has great fun discussing the issues of the day.
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah airs on Comedy Central Mon-Thurs. Noah’s South African background allows his to have a very different perspective on news stories.
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee on TBS. I love this feisty Canadian satirist. She pulls no punches.
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Colbert’s nightly monologues on CBS have become must see viewing.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Oliver will return to Sunday nights on HBO next weekend.
We are off to the beach for sunset cocktails and appetizers this evening with our neighbours. The weather really has been gorgeous and we are looking forward to the rest of this week with our children. Make the most of each day and enjoy your week! Warm thoughts to all my friends dealing with serious health challenges.