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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.

What to watch in 2023: The best movies (so far)

Loki, Season 2 (Disney+)

If this past summer’s atrocious miniseries Secret Invasion didn’t already confirm Marvel Studios’ small-screen creative tailspin, then the second season of Loki arrives this week to highlight that reality with a Thor-sized thunderbolt. What was once a fun lark that never took its time-hopping wackiness too seriously is now a full-blown migraine for those still keeping up with Marvel Cinematic Universe continuity. Imagine 40 minutes of characters yelling about “pure time” and “time slippage” and “timeline pruning” without any real emotional stakes or narrative thrust and you’ll get the drift of each new episode following the adventures of cocky Avengers foe Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and his flustered minder at the Time Variance Authority, Mobius (Owen Wilson). Add in some truly crass product placement (McDonald’s is practically a co-star) and episodes that drag on longer than an Infinity War, and Loki Season 2 ends up being a frustrating chore of a thing.

So why is the series even included on this weekend’s list of small-screen recommendations? Partly because it’s nice to see Hiddleston and Wilson getting paid in (presumably) dump-trucks full of cash. Partly because it’s fascinating to watch Disney not care a whit about the ugly headlines following the arrest of Loki co-star – and future Avengers supervillain – Jonathan Majors. (Anyone who had speculated-slash-hoped that producers would recast the actor will have their long-awaited answer during the very first shot of Loki’s premiere.) But mostly I’m listing Loki here as a warning. Given the marketing budget around the Marvel production, it is likely that this weekend’s cultural conversation will be dominated by the show. But you can opt out now. Save yourself the energy. And, as a character on the series might say, save yourself the time.

The Traitors Canada (Crave and CTV app)

If Bell Media has its way, The Traitors could be this country’s new reality-television obsession. Based on the series that originated in the Netherlands – and has since spawned small-screen sensations in Australia and the United Kingdom – The Traitors Canada is equal parts Big Brother, The Mole and Clue. The show throws 20 contestants – some everyday civilians, some homegrown celebrities – inside a Montreal mansion to play a murder-mystery game with a cash prize of $100,000 for the group. The catch: some of the players are secret “traitors” who attempt to rig the game for themselves. Cardinal star Karine Vanasse hosts, with players ranging from transit operator Collin Johnson to former Entertainment Tonight Canada host Rick Campanelli to my own high-school classmate/professional magician Mike D’Urzo (hi, Mike!).

Red Rocket (MUBI)

Like in director Sean Baker’s previous features, the lead character in the 2021 comedy Red Rocket is a sex worker – a porn star in this case, so slightly higher on the industry’s hierarchy than Baker’s Tangerine and The Florida Project’s street- and hotel-room prostitutes. Not that any societal demarcation matters when we first meet Red Rocket’s Mikey (Simon Rex), who has just $22 and a tank top to his name, having fled the insincere glitz of Los Angeles for the honest grit of his hometown, Texas City. Mikey swears that he has a plan to get back on his feet, but it is quickly apparent that he is simply a beautiful monster in need of fresh prey. As luck and desperation would have it, Mikey finds a perfect mark in the 17-year-old Strawberry (Suzanna Son), a local doughnut-shop cashier who wants out of Texas City almost as much as her new boyfriend. If all of the above sounds stomach-churning, rest assured that Baker fashions it into a darkly comic tale that lets everyone, even Mikey, retain gobs of humanity and relatability. There is a sincerity here that sticks.

Plane (Crave)

I had 3½ thoughts while watching the exceedingly entertaining and ridiculously titled thriller Plane when it came out in theatres earlier this year. The first: This trashy little thing is the perfect smart-dumb movie for weeknights when you don’t want to think. The second: You know, I’m pretty sure that with just a smidge of training and discipline, I could fly a plane. The second-and-a-half: No, that is the worst idea that I have ever had, so many people would die. And the third thought: Gerard Butler doesn’t get the credit that he so richly deserves. Thanks to the actor’s improbable Olympus/London/Angel/ Has Fallen franchise (up next: Night Has Fallen!) and his grittier crime-and-punishment outings such as Law Abiding Citizen and Den of Thieves, Butler has built up his own niche of grizzled, down-and-dirty ridiculousness. The actor gives off the effortless air of an underdog fighter who knows nothing but survival. Stick with him, kid, and you’ll make it through the night/the movie’s runtime. Which is exactly what you get in this sturdy piece of business, in which Butler plays the captain of an airliner that’s crash-landed on an island in the Philippines controlled by a drug-running gang. Read review.

Fast X (Prime Video)

Ten films deep – 11 if we’re counting Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, which we definitely are – you should already know by now whether the F&F films are your speed. Gravity-defying chases, skull-crunching fights, extra-gooey melodrama, copious shots of women’s butts and lots of Diesel’s marble-mouth mumbling about saving his fam: These are the high-gloss elements baked into the brand’s bones. The question that a new F&F chapter must answer, then, is whether it can pull off all that violent sexy nonsense with a renewed sense of energy, vigour, inventiveness and more self-aware ridiculousness than the instalment before it. This is not a movie requiring discipline, but out-of-control relentlessness. Go crazy, or go home, bro.

Thankfully, and against all industry and existential odds, Fast X hits like a souped-up Dodge Charger whose engine runs on rocket fuel – a beast that knows no brakes. Once it starts, you’re strapped in till the jaws of life (the end credits) can set you free. And true blockbuster fanatics – audiences who can check their brains at the door with no compunction – will thank our lord and saviour Vin for every shard of twisted metal. Read review.

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