Do you feel like you’re drowning … but you haven’t even left your couch? Welcome to the Great Content Overload Era. To help you navigate the choppy digital waves, here are The Globe’s best bets for weekend streaming.
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story (The Roku Channel)
If you don’t have a Roku device – basically, a one-stop smart-television product that works like an Apple TV or Amazon Fire stick – then perhaps you could be tempted into purchasing one in order to watch this, the first “Roku Original” movie. Essentially one long, cameo-packed Funny or Die sketch (which makes sense, given that the comedy site is one of the film’s production companies), Weird follows the life and career of everyone’s favourite polka enthusiast/song parody artist with as much irreverent wit and slick arrangement as can be found on such Yankovic tracks as Amish Paradise or My Bologna. Although director Eric Appel’s epic ambitions eventually fall short, Daniel Radcliffe makes a wonderfully intense Yankovic, and there is one scene spoofing Boogie Nights that is so note-perfect you’ll want to buy Rokus in bulk for all of your friends.
The Good Nurse (Netflix)
Jessica Chastain might not get another Oscar for her role in Tobias Lindholm’s new Netflix crime drama – her role is far less showy than in last year’s The Eyes of Tammy Faye – but The Good Nurse does deserve more of a spotlight than the streamer is currently shining on it. Based on the real-life story of serial killer Charles Cullen, who murdered dozens during his career as a nurse in New Jersey, Lindolm’s film casts Eddie Redmayne as Cullen and Chastain as his coworker/friend, who begins to suspect things are amiss. Thrilling without being exploitative (Ryan Murphy’s Dahmer this ain’t), directed by Lindholm with a subtle sense of building dread, and featuring a highly relatable, empathetic performance from Chastain, The Good Nurse is solid weekend-evening viewing.
Crimes of the Future (Crave)
David Cronenberg’s first film in eights years is many things: a climate-change cri de coeur. A tender love story in which matters of the heart involve other, less traditionally sexy internal organs. A darkly hilarious satirical riff on the ineffable power of art in the face of tragedy. A self-referential noir-tinged tour through the sicko-cinema Cronenbergian canon, with its obsessions on the limits of both the human body and audiences’ stomachs. But mostly, Crimes of the Future is a testament to the twisty, squishy, uncompromising vision of a brilliant filmmaker whose imagination is endless and endlessly terrifying.
All Quiet on the Western Front (Netflix)
If nearly a century’s worth of cinema hasn’t already taught the hard-learned lesson that war is indeed hell, then a new version of All Quiet on the Western Front is here to remind you of this universal truth. Greet the news that Netflix has decided to fund a remake of the original, and perhaps still most potent, antiwar film with a shoulder shrug, if you wish. But strip the here-we-go-again cynicism away and we’re left with an impressive, if still somewhat familiar, act of grimly determined cinema. This new version of an old tale has the capacity to horrify you into shell-shocked pacifism, while delivering a few minor-key surprises along the way.
The White Lotus, Season 2 (Crave)
After the surprise success of the Hawaiian resort-set dramedy from last year, writer-director Mike White drops (most) of his first season’s cast and switches up locations, this time setting things up at the White Lotus property in sunny Sicily. There are new super-wealthy guests (including Michael Imperioli’s movie producer/sex addict and Aubrey Plaza’s uptight lawyer), new stressed-out hotel staff (Sabrina Impacciatore’s flummoxed manager), and a few curveballs thrown via the locals. Less of an upstairs/downstairs affair as the first season and more of a bedroom farce, this round of The White Lotus works best on a week-to-week basis: binging might just send you into a deep spiral of depression as to how you cannot possibly afford to stay where these despicable (but compellingly so) characters are lodging.