The most wonderful thing about this time of year is that we get to catch-up on TV. While we spend much of the year seeing theatrical releases, we regret missing some great Television so these past few weekends we’ve found out what the buzz is all about with some recent Golden Globe Award winners and nominees, plus also some new releases. Without going too much into detail, we’ll give you our thoughts on some shows that absolutely are worth your while! We hope you get some inspiration in your own winter watching!
THE MORNING SHOW (APPLE TV+)
This ten-episode Drama Series starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston helped launch subscription service Apple TV+ back in December. It surfaces in a timely manner as we enter this post-#MeToo era, exploring the aftermath of taking action on Sexual Misconduct in the workplace and healing some aged wounds. It definitely veers on the melodramatic and is a bit too passionate for its own good, but no one can deny the phenomenal work here by Witherspoon and Aniston, who play-up dueling female competitor tropes. It takes a while to get going, but proves worthwhile the deeper you go.
YOU – SEASON TWO (NETFLIX)
Joe (played masterfully by Penn Badgley) comes back as Will in the second season of this failed Lifetime Series which gained a massive following after surfacing on Netflix. Serial killing and stalking has never been as seductive as this and although You is all sorts of wrong, we were just as obsessed with this season which manages to be just as messed-up as its predecessor. Joining the Cast is Victoria Pedretti (The Haunting of Hill House) as Love and in her Will finally has met his match. James Scully is grating and unpredictable as Love‘s twin brother, but what Psychological Thriller is complete without an unstable twin? Teen Actress Jenna Ortega as a wise-beyond-her-years Ellie and Carmela Zubado as Delilah are welcome additions to the Cast and Gotham‘s RobinLord Taylor is unrecognizable in a surprise turn as a hacker who knows too much, also named Will. You Season 2 quashes the perception that follow-ups and sequels suck.
THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL – SEASON THREE (AMAZON PRIME VIDEO)
Season three of this Golden Globe and PrimetmeEMMY Award-winning Series continues putting its star Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) front and center and she once again proves outstanding. The eight-episode season sees her character supporting Singer Shy Baldwin (LeRoy McClain) on-tour and we see her go from Las Vegas to Miami fighting to win herself some new fans. All the while, she navigates her split from ex-husband Joel (Michael Zegen) and custody of their children. Her eccentric parents (Marin Hinkle and Tony Shalhoub) shine also as they cope with having to downsize and sell their beloved family home. We also see charismatic manager Susie (Alex Borstein) cope with her gambling addiction and balancing having to oversee Midge‘s career and that of competing funnywoman Sophie Lennon (Jane Lynch). Things get a bit messy and we’re here for it, leaving us on a bit of a cliffhanger.
FLEABAG – SEASON 1&2 (AMAZON PRIME)
I admit it, I zipped through this quick watch and wasn’t sold on Season One at all. I didn’t get it. I found Fleabag (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) grating and irresponsible, feeling little empathy for her. Season Two took this Series to a high point and I absolutely got it! I enjoy Waller-Bridge’s ability with lightning-fast ability to break the Fourth Wall with us and soon I found myself connected intimately with her. And “Hot Priest” (Andrew Scott) is so worth the wait and her bond with on-screen sister Claire (Sian Clifford) make this all so magical. Here for this, and sad there won’t be a third season.
DON’T F**K WITH CATS: HUNTING AN INTERNET KILLER (NETFLIX)
I am a bit queasy with True Crime stuff and remember as a kid torturing myself watching Unsolved Mysteries alone at home and being messed-up for days after. Repeat weekly and you’ll understand why I have issues. The three-part Netflix series centers on the capture of Canadian murderer Luka Magnotta with the help of some savvy internet crime solvers hot on his trail, piecing the clues which took authorities on an international manhunt. Especially eery that some of this hits close to home with Toronto being where Magnotta once lived and their insistence on looping over and over real footage of Magnotta murdering kittens, with the gory bits kept off-screen. It is hard not to get caught-up in Mark Lewis‘ relentlessly-intense storytelling and the access he gets us whether it be Magnotta‘s mother or his actual interrogation after being caught and brought back to Canada.
KILLER INSIDE: INSIDE THE MIND OF AARON HERNANDEZ (NETFLIX)
While we know only bits and pieces of disgraced Football star Aaron Hernandez‘s story, this three-part Docu-Series gives us some insight to the circumstances surrounding his conviction and eventual suicide. Director Geno McDermott takes us on a gripping ride as we go right inside the courtroom and literally right into Hernandez’s brain as we see the impacts of his Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. We also get never-seen-before interviews with those from his past including a lover, suggesting that Toxic Masculinity and a deep-fear of his sexuality being uncovered may have played a role in his downfall as well. We found ourselves asking more questions than before we started and get the bigger picture in this great American tragedy.
SPINNING OUT (NETFLIX)
Filmed right here in Toronto, this Figure Skating Drama series takes bits from Black Swan, bits from Riverdale and mixes it into the world of competitive Figure Skating. The Series sees fallen Kat (Kaya Scodelario) make her way to a comeback, this time as a Pairs Skater, but not without some domestic drama. Scodelario navigates the mental struggles her character faces and handles the athleticism of her role with prowess. While the Series is not without its melodrama and goes the route of scandal for shock value more than it needed, there is enough to go on to keep fans engaged for ten episodes.
While it’s not for everyone, this hyper-sexualized Drake-produced Teen Drama Series explores some of the issues facing teens today. Several topics like drugs, toxic masculinity, same-sex relationships, being transgender are taboo still but Sam Levinson isn’t afraid to go there and for that we applaud this fresh take on the genre. These eight episodes are shocking and hypnotic and this is Zendaya‘s big moment, delivering a phenomenal breakthrough performance as central character Rue, a teen girl battling drug addiction. We were unable to keep our eyes off of newcomer model/actress Hunter Schafer, who possesses an ethereal beauty and magnetism, making her a name to look-out for. We cannot wait for Season Two, which is rumoured to begin production soon.
SEX, EXPLAINED (NETFLIX)
Janelle Monáe narrates this quick watch which gives adults a quick five-episode refresher on Sex Education, a spin-off of Netflix‘s Explained series. A vast array of taboo topics are explored with a diverse group of participants talking about things like attraction, fetishes, birth control and childbirth. New data is thrown at us quickly giving new insight into matters which have impacted humans since the beginning of time. Fun and informative.
SUCCESSION – SEASONS 1 & 2 (HBO)
Never before have we hated characters as much as The Roys in HBO‘s critical hit Succession and we kinda love it! And the fact that we couldn’t stop zipping-through 20 episodes is a testament to how masterfully-crafted it is. The second season of the Drama centering on an ailing patriarch of a media empire and his thirsty children who are eager to assume the throne, finished airing in the fall. While we were a bit late catching-on, we are seeing many people on the same boat who too are learning what Succession is all about after its Best Television Series – Drama win at the Golden Globes. We despise this Family, played with gusto by an Ensemble including 60-year screen veteran Brian Cox in the patriarch role, Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Kieran Culkin. We want them to basically go to hell and go bankrupt in the process! Give us season three!
THE CIRCLE (NETFLIX)
We listened to the recommendations of our friends on Social Media and began streaming this 12-episode Reality Series based on a British series of the same name. And we were seriously annoyed! The Series takes a group of millennial men and women, putting them together in one building in Manchester and they are to interact only via a Social Media portal where some of them are “catfishing”. Some are exactly as they present themselves to one another via their portal profiles. They compete for a prize of $100k, but must avoid being eliminated by Influencers who earn that title each episode and are given the power to decide who gets eliminated or “blocked”. They never get see each other except for the eliminated entrant at the end of each episode getting to meet one player of their choice. Sometimes there are major shocks when the eliminated player realizes the one person they chose to meet, looks nothing like the person whom they projected themselves as on the portal. While we appreciate the Series’ premise of encouraging people to let their true selves shine and stop judging one another by their appearances, it all feels forced and we aren’t sure it accomplishes exactly that through some of the artifice and all the “Yo Bruh!”. That being said, we vowed to stop watching after episode one but found ourselves finishing season one quickly, powered by our sheer drive to want to throw things and scream at our TV.
We were so genuinely-touched and invested in this six-episode Docu-Series by Greg Whiteley, which just got released on Netflix. We know nothing about Cheerleading but quickly found ourselves in-love with these Corsicana Community College athletes who are competing for glory at the NCA College Nationals in Daytona. The heart and soul of the Series is Coach Monica Aldama, whom despite having business acumen has chosen a career in Cheerleading, running a tight ship, leading the college to victory many times in the past and its standing as the best in class. We see how these young adults, many who come from troubled pasts, have found themselves in Cheerleading, under Aldama‘s meticulous guidance. The setbacks are painstaking and we see how much danger these athletes put themselves through in the name of perfection and loyalty to the enchanting Aldama. These are compelling stories and the thrills are tear-inducing, making us sad we had to say goodbye at the end of it.
Besting its predecessor, Marvel’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 follows in the leading footsteps of the franchise’s 2014 debut with a $145 million opening from 4,347 theatres across North America. The previous Film opened with $94.3 million. Rotten Tomatoes rates it at 84% on the Tomatometer, while Audiences gave it an A CinemaScore.
In second is three-week champion THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS with $9.3 million for Universal Pictures, just surpassing $200 million domestically this week.
THE BOSS BABY is in third with $5.9 million for 20th Century Fox, a six week total of $156 million.
HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER, which has yet to open in Canada, lands in fourth with $4.8 million in its second week out. It stars Eugenio Derbez, Salma Hayek, Rob Lowe and Kristen Bell and has made a total $20.2 million thus far for Lionsgate Films.
THE CIRCLE is in sixth with $3.5 million for STX Entertainment, a two week total of $15.2 million.
BAAHUBALI 2: THE CONCLUSION earns $4.2 million for Great India Films, good enough for seventh in its second week.
Rounding-out the Top Ten is SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE with $1.7 million. It has grossed $40 million over five weeks.
Despite a tepid weekend at the Box Office, THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS still is going strong to hold on a third week at number one with $18.5 million for Universal Pictures, from 4,077 theatres. In its domestic run it has grossed $191.8 million.
In second is HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER with $11.3 million from 1,118 theatres for Lionsgate Films. It gets 51% on the Tomatometer.
Debuting in third is THE CIRCLE starring Tom Hanks and Emma Watson, which despite some major star power could only muster $9.1 million from 3,163 theatres. It gets 17% on the Tomatometer and a D+ CinemaScore for Elevation Pictures/STX Entertainment.
BAAHUBALI: THE CONCLUSION debuts in fourth with $8.6 million from 405 theatres only.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is in seventh in its seventh week out for Disney, with $6.3 million, bringing its domestic tally to an outstanding $480 million.
Disney’s BORN IN CHINA rounds-out the Top Ten with $2.3 million from 1,508 theatres, a two-week tally of $8.7 million.
Filled to the brim with starpower, THE CIRCLE is on our spring Must-Watch List!
When Mae (Emma Watson) is hired to work for the world’s largest and most powerful tech & social media company, she sees it as an opportunity of a lifetime. As she rises through the ranks, she is encouraged by the company’s founder, Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks), to engage in a groundbreaking experiment that pushes the boundaries of privacy, ethics and ultimately her personal freedom. Her participation in the experiment, and every decision she makes begin to affect the lives and future of her friends, family and that of humanity.
See the Trailer:
Elevation Pictures release THE CIRCLE Friday, April 28, 2017.