What To Watch: 06/05/2020

So everything is terrible right now, so when not out fighting the powers that be, take a load off and watch some escapist fare. We’ve got those five sweet lifestyle experts who are breaking down barriers and fixing lives, if you want a kindness fix. If you’re feeling snarky, there’s a new all-star season of one of the few worthwhile reality competitions. If you’d like to get away from everyday humanity, there’s a new installment of DC’s diabolical, yet so mesmerizing, villain-centric program. Or, if you always want to be on, PBS has what promises to be a strong examination of the racism unfortunately at the core of our society. There’s also movies — so, so many movies!

 

NAVANI’S PICK:
Queer Eye [Netflix]
Finally! The ultra-fabulous salve for humanity we all need right now returns in season 5 of Queer Eye. Get all the warm-and-fuzzy feels tonight when The Fab Five bring their life-makeovers to Philly, PA with an extended season. That means we get 10 episodes of French tucks and self-love goodness instead of the usual eight. Thank goodness for small miracles!

JASON’S PICK:
RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars [VH1, 8p]
If you’re still stoked after last week’s thrilling three-way lip syncing for 12th season life, then we have good news, because RuPaul’s extravaganza will take as many breaths as it gives fucks. The fifth all-star competition begins today featuring favorites like Alexis Mateo and Mariah, and a new twist where the winner has to lip sync battle an all-star assassin queen and while I’m not sure I’m on board for the change, I am dying to see who it is. If my words don’t make you want to watch it, here’s beloved comedian Ron Funches.

BRAD’S PICK:
Harley Quinn [DC Universe]
Harley deals with after effects of her wild weekend with ivy… and ends up getting taken hostage. Oh and Parademons show up. And is that bartender really Joker?

ALSO ON TAP TONIGHT:

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  • Race Matters: America in Crisis — part of the PBS NewsHour — examines the chaos that has gripped America following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis policeman, with the hope that maybe this time the country actually learns something and seriously addresses needed police reform and the underlying tragedy that is racial disparity and the racism that has feasted on White America’s unwillingness to admit the problem even exists.
  • If after watching that you need a more fluffy kind of hope, Apple TV presents a documentary by R.J. Cutler (The War RoomThe September Issue). Dear… uses fan correspondence as a means to display the powerful nature of the inspiration world-changing role models can provide. Our cynical side notes that it’s an extension of a series of Apple commercials, but given the caliber of filmmaker and the unimpeachable character and affable manner of many of the subjects (like Lin-Manuel Miranda and Stevie Wonder), it’s kind of hard to hate on it too much.
  • How quickly we’ve forgotten the one-time phenomenon that was tragidrama 13 Reasons Why. In any case, it’s back on Netflix for a fourth and final season. Will we finally find out who is A? Wait, wrong series. Who was A, anyway?

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  • New on Netflix from the director of many adrenaline-fueled films about taking and/or transporting people and/or things, comes the more grandly sweeping The Last Days of American Crime. It’s got a dystopian sci-fi angle as the government has created a signal that prevents the ability to commit crimes (and how would that even… oh nvm), but does not deflect bad reviews, of which this movie unfortunately has plenty.
  • For a film that’s faced less critical harshing, go to Hulu where you can find Elisabeth Moss as writer Shirley Jackson in a biopic simply titled Shirley. If you don’t have Hulu, or would like to pay to avoid commercials, it’s also part of a theatrical event and is available on demand.
  • Trackers is a South African crime series featuring everything from blood diamonds to international terrorists. It’s absurdly fast-paced, is a huge hit in its home country and comes to Cinemax starting tonight.

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  • Esther Povitsky is one of those comic actors you’ve just sort of seen everywhere, but may be best known for her recurring (often scene-stealing) role on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend as Maya, the plucky law firm assistant, and she also had her own series Alone Together for a couple seasons on Freeform which should have caught on more than it actually did. However, she’s also been one of the best up-and-coming stand-ups of the past decade. We’re pretty sure Esther Povitsky: Hot For My Name is her Comedy Central one-hour debut, and like Esther herself, it’s atypical as she intercuts comedy routines with neurotic behind-the-scenes moments. We’re so excited, we’re doing the Maya. Man we miss Darryl Whitefeather.
  • There’s more quirky stand-up on Amazon Prime as Bronx comedian Gina Brillon debuts her latest hour-long special Gina Brillon: The Floor is Lava.
  • Chilean-French mini-series El Presidente — on Amazon Prime — tells the true story of the corruption in the Chilean Football Association that would eventually lead to the exposure of the corruption within every level of FIFA and take down Sepp Blatter to John Oliver’s eternal delight.

The VoD Trailer Round-Up:

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Becky
  • 2040 – Documentary filmmaker Damon Garneau presents his young daughter with the future that could be if we embrace our best options. How cute… he thinks we’ll still be around in 20 years.
  • Becky – Kevin James is a Neo-Nazi prison escapee menacing Joel McHale and his mixed-race family — including titular daughter Becky — in this craftily casted thriller. With James and McHale in dark and serious roles, we’d love this to be great, but early reviews are rather tepid.
  • The Dinner Party – More topical horror awaits the party guests at a secret dinner by the cultural elites — especially the newcomer playwright who hopes this is a ticket to the big time.
  • Dreamland – It’s horror, horror everywhere today, every bit of it dark and weird. This one’s from Bruce McDonald, the Canadian indie filmmaker behind minor classics like Hard Core Logo and Roadkill. A crime syndicate hires a world-weary hit-man to chop a finger off a star trumpeter. Oh, and there’s also vampires
  • Hammer –  Hapless petty criminal Chris accidentally runs into his abiding dad (played by Will Patton) after a drug deal gone very, very wrong, and the whole family has to bear the repercussions — and there are many repercussions. Chris’ one redeeming feature is he wears a Cub shirt while doing crimes. They were a good pop-punk band.
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Tommaso
  • Judy & Punch – Now, this whole week’s offerings seem pretty bonkers, but this one might be the most twisted banana in the bunch. It’s just your average medieval husband-and-wife puppeteer feminist revenge farce and its trailer evokes a real pre-Hobbits Bruce Jackson vibe. {shudder}
  • Mr. Topaze – Late comic genius Peter Sellers’ only directorial effort — from 1961 — had effectively disappeared, and not because it was an MST3K/How Did This Get Made? level disaster, it just failed to wow critics or fans and faded from view. However, the single remaining print has been gussied up and re-released.
  • Tommaso – Willem Defoe stars in a moody semi-autobiographical drama from Abel Ferrara and it’s one of the least bizarre and messed-up sounding films being released — that’s how weird and dark this week’s cinematic offerings are.
  • Ursula Von Rydingsvard: Into Her Own – OK, a documentary about a sculptor seems fairly straightforward. Even I’m expecting some sort of “just kidding” twist here — but no, it’s a reverent biography. Her works are off the beaten path, though — and pretty damn cool.
  • Yourself and Yours – Not to harp on how demented this week’s new films seem, but we’ll close it out with a Korean drama about Min-jeong, a woman who mysteriously disappears after a contentious break-up. The next day, her doppelganger appears and starts dating around, which is fine, no judgments, but it does get complicated when the actual Min-jeong returns to town.

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