What To Watch: 05/22/2020

What qualifies as a feature film in this age. Netflix films have been prominent in the Oscars, and with the quarantine closing down all movie theaters, pretty much everything is coming straight-to-video. For our purposes, we’re keeping Netflix flix in our TV/streaming files, which makes our lead film obvious when two Screen Scholars favorites show up in a movie that was originally going to be in the box office, but Netflix has stepped up. And that’s just the start…

NAVANI’S PICK:
The Lovebirds [Netflix]
Nothing saves a relationship on the brink of destruction like getting catapulted into a IRL murder mystery. I feel like this, more than a vacation, can make or break a couple. Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani star as a couple at odds who find themselves fighting to clear their name from murder. As the journey takes them from one outrageous/hilarious scenario to the next they have to figure out if they and the relationship will survive intact. While I was looking forward to seeing the starring duo on the big screen, I am just thrilled that the movie is coming out now and not being pushed back indefinitely like so many others during this pandemic. This is the light weekend pick-me-up I’ve been looking for with two of my comedic faves.

BRAD’S PICK:
Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet Quarantine [Apple TV]
This VG-themed series is a shining star among Apple+’s impressive streaming choices. I was left wanting more and with the quarantine special I get my wish! Trust me. Real human moments and nerd humor galore. The end payoff is pretty cool too!

JASON’S PICK:
Homecoming [Amazon Prime]
It’s hard to tell what this is going to be given the exit of creator Sam Esmail and star Julia Roberts. Stephan James returns, and he and his character were one of the brightest spots of the first season. This iteration begins with Janelle Monae waking up in a canoe minus her memory, so if that’s not a reason to tune in, I don’t know what to tell you. There’s also Oscar nominees Chris Cooper and Joan Cusack. That’s gotta mean something.

ALSO ON TAP TONIGHT:

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  • Well, this oughta be interesting. AKA Jane Roe tells the strange and world-changing story of Norma McCorvey, better known as “Roe” from, yes, that case which has dictated much of the past 47 years of political gamesmanship. So crazy is her story that she became known as a prominent anti-abortion activist only to decant on her deathbed in 2017, claiming she had been paid for her testimony and was still distinctly pro-choice. This deathbed confession is filmed and in the movie. By the way, she was also lesbian and lived with her lover for 35 years, including as she proclaimed to be born again. It’s on FX.
  • The misfits and miscreants of the Canadian cult classic Trailer Park Boys return for a second season in a more animated form — both in the crazy adventures and in the fact they are drawn by a team of animators. Trailer Park Boys: The Animated Series returns on Netflix tonight.
  • For more traditional animation, Disney Plus’ Marvel’s Future Avengers returns as you can’t possibly get enough content about The Avengers.
  • Disney Plus also has some new non-animated content and it’s got kids, Community‘s Yvette Nicole Brown and a format cribbed from the classic To Tell The Truth (which itself rebirthed itself yesterday). The Big Fib pits two “experts” against each other, only one of them is a liar. Kids decide who that is.
  • Let’s go to Lifetime then shut this down (well, other than the VoD round-up). Tonight’s Lifetime movie is the unambiguously titled Black Hearted Killer. This one is poised to scare people out of checking the organ donation box on their ID, so that’s pretty black-hearted, but we doubt that’s what they mean.

The VoD Trailer Round-Up

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Joan of Arc (Jeanne)
  • Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy – Chef and author Diana Kennedy has become the authority on Mexican cuisine and some credit her for its popularity beyond Mexico’s border. What we got from the trailer is she has somehow avoided the charge of appropriation and she says if you don’t like cilantro, you can go to hell!
  • Inheritance – As its trailer claims, when you’re a rich family you have secrets. In this thriller, it’s a surprisingly creepy Simon Pegg locked in a secret bunker found by the family after its patriarch dies. Kinky!
  • Joan of Arc (Jeanne) – This moody French rendition of France’s most famous historical story did not receive raves while at Cannes to say the least. That is all!
  • Lucky Grandma – Tsai Chin stars in this well-reviewed farce about an elderly woman whose underground Chinatown gambling luck runs out.
  • Military Wives – A super-inspirational, cue-the-rising-music tale about the titular ladies forming a singing group to pass the time of their spouse’s deployment. On the plus side, it does star Kristin Scott Thomas. We like Kristin Scott Thomas.
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The Trip To Greece
  • Mysteries of Lisbon – Well, many of us now DO have six hours to spare, so if you want to spend that amount of time re-visiting (b/c we all saw it, right?) an extended version of this well-reviewed 2010 film from late Chilean director Raul Ruiz, go for it!
  • The Painter and the Thief – In this documentary from the unlikely pairs file, a Czech painter of some renown befriends the man who nabbed two of her pieces of art.
  • A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps – Documentary examines the 60-year history of JFK’s group of globetrotting do-gooders. If that sounds like we’re making fun, it’s not, and maybe you should update your definition of do-gooders, hm?
  • The Trip To Greece – Two of the most insufferable British comedians bickering while traveling the globe does not sound like a movie series make, yet here we are at the fourth travelogue of Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan.
  • Villain – 2020 is not too late for a Death Wish-style flick — or at least the makers of this movie feel so. Craig Fairbrass is a man trying to go straight after his release from prison, but some criminals have decided to make that harder for him by menacing his brother.

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