Category Archives: Movies

The Entertainment Forecast

Friday, May 5 – Thursday, May 11

Steve Harvey goes to court, Muppets Mayhem & a first for Garth Brooks

Padma Lakshmi gets her yum on.

Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi
The renowned foodie returns for a new season of this series exploring America’s rich, electric regional cuisines (Hulu & Disney).

Gripping dystopian drama series unfolds the saga of the last people on earth, who live underground to protect themselves from the toxic and deadly world above. Rebecca Ferguson, Tim Robbins and rapper-actor Common star (Apple TV+).

Season four begins of the award-winning documentary series (above), which heads tonight into the aftermath of a devastating earthquake in Syria, and also explores new groundbreaking developments in artificial intelligence (8 p.m., Showtime).

MTV Movie & TV Awards
Find out what’s popular with the “kids” these days on this show honoring the top things on screens of all sizes, with a special “Comedic Genius” trophy going to actress/comedienne Jennifer Coolidge. Previously announced host Drew Barrymore won’t be there, however, in a show of support for Hollywood’s writers’ strike. (8 p.m., MTV).

The 2010s
Docuseries examines culture, politics, personalities, music and lifestyle that defined the not-so-long-ago decade (9 p.m., CNN).

Horrible Bosses
It’s ribald and raunchy, yes, but wildly funny, and if you haven’t seen it—well, tune in to this 2011 comedy caper to see how the misguided plans of three guys (Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis) to get rid with their awful bosses take a turn toward the hilarious. With Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston and future Royal Meghan Markle! (10 p.m., TruTV). 

Jeopardy Masters
Ken Jennings host this prime-time special-event edition of the iconic game show, featuring top-ranked returning contestants (8 p.m., ABC).

Judge Steve Harvey
Court is once again in session as the host of TV’s Family Feud picks up the gavel and puts on the cloak in this unscripted comedy series, usong his life experiences and common sense to “rule” on a variety of small claims, friendship-taxing disagreements and neighborhood disputes (Hulu).


Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s the Superman 1978-1987 5-Film Collection (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment), a superb collection of Man of Steel movies—Superman: The Movie, Superman II, Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut, Superman III and Superman IV. Not the most inventively titled flicks, they nonetheless re-established the Man of Steel for a whole new generation. Includes commentary, vintage featurettes and cartoons from the groundbreaking Fleischer Studios, dozens of deleted scenes, and more.

Class of ’09
Brian Tyree and Kate Mara star in this new thriller series about a class of FBI agents grappling with immense changes as the criminal justice system is altered by artificial intelligence (Hulu).

The Muppets Mayhem
New streaming movie (above) follows the Muppet “act” the Electric Mayhem Band—with Dr. Teeth, Animal, Floyd, Zoot and Janice—on a mishap-py mission to record their first album. Voices by Llly Singh, Tahj Mowry and others (Disney+).

The Game Show Show
If you love game shows (and who doesn’t?!), you’ll love this new series, which takes a long, insightful look at the history and impact of game shows across eight decades of American culture (10 p.m., ABC).

The Academy of Country Music Awards
I know, it’s a bit confusing. There’s the CMA Awards and the CMT Awards, and tonight it’s the ACM Awards, hosted this year by superstars Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks—marking his first time as an awards show host—and streaming live from Frisco, Texas (Prime Video).

The Entertainment Forecast

Friday, April 21 – Thursday, April 27

Ana de Armas goes ghost, James Cordon goes out with a bang & Carol Burnett gets an all-star birthday party

FRIDAY, April 21
Knives Out castmates Chris Evans (yes, he’s Captain America!) and Ana de Armas (she was Marilyn Monroe!) reunite for this rollicking romcom (above) about a guy who falls in love with a girl—and finds himself in a whirlwind international adventure to save the world after he finds out she’s really a secret agent (Apple TV+).

Dear Mama
Docuseries explores the linked lives and Black-activism legacies of iconic rapper Tupac Shakur and his mother, Afeni, a proto-feminist leader in the Black Panther party of the 1970s (10 p.m., FX).

SATURDAY, April 22
Chasing the Rains
Bridgerton’s Adjoa Andoh narrates this four-episode streaming series, timed to Earth Day, which takes viewers on a journey into one of Africa’s most majestic and rarely filmed areas, beyond the peaks of Mount Kenya where water is lifesblood (AMC+).

Otter Dynasty
It’s like Dynasty, only with otters. This real-life “family drama” series centers on a group of smooth-coated otters all battling for turf on the island of Singapore (9 p.m., Animal Planet). 

SUNDAY, April 23
Somebody Somewhere
Bridget Everette returns to season two of this Duplass Brothers comedy series, about a young Kansas woman struggling to find a fit in her hometown—and gradually finding a community of her own (10:30 p.m., HBO).

Amityville: An Origin Story
Learn the true story about America’s most infamously haunted house (above)—and about the heinous murders that launched its horrific reputation (MGM+).

MONDAY, April 24

New series (above) follows Danielle Jalade as a young teen on a quest to take her roller-skate crew, the We-B-Girls, to the top (9 p.m., Disney Channel).

TUESDAY, April 25
Supermarket Stakeout
New season of the on-location speed-shopping competition, in which host Alex Guarnaschelli gives contestants $$ to purchase the ingredients for what they’ll be making—by negotiating with customers in the store’s parking lot (9 p.m., Food Network).


Author Claire Dederer dives into a serious—and seriously timely—subject in Monsters: A Fan’s Dilemma (Knopf), which examines the contradictory impulses when people whose art we might admire (like filmmakers Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, superstar Michael Jackson, and super-macho writer Ernest Hemingway) give in to darker impulses we deplore. It’s not an easy question, and it doesn’t offer easy answers, but it’s certainly a probing read from a writer who’s covered our culture in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Nation and other publications. 

If you were a country singer from Texas, what might your favorite foods be? In the new cookbook Ya’ll Eat Yet?(Dey Street), hitmaker Miranda Lambert takes us on a tour of the recipes that fed her when she was growing up in the Lone Star State, with a heartfelt look at the women whose kitchen expertise made lifelong impacts far beyond her tummy. 

In Pilgrims, Pickers and Honky Tonk Heroes (Backbeat Books), veteran Nashville journalist Tim Ghianni relates fascinating accounts of his work during a bygone era covering Nashville and its music-makers, making many of them his friends. It’s a one-of-a-kind, personalized journeyman’s glimpse into a world where Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Chet Atkins, Waylon Jennings, Charlie Daniels, Willie Nelson and Roy Clark all breathed the same rarefied Music City air, with richly detailed side trips about rock legend Jimi Hendrix (yes, also a Nashville resident at one time), the proto-country punk band Jason & the Scorchers, and much more. 

TUESDAY, April 25
Family Legacy
Does the musical apple fall far from the tree? Not in this new docuseries, which follows the children of famous musical artists and band members, including Van Halen, Melissa Etheridge, the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC (Paramount+).

The Light We Carry: Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey
Special presentation with the TV talk-show queen interviewing the former First Lady as she wraps up the tour for her 2022 book, The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times (Netflix).


Saint X
New streaming series (above), told through multiple timelines, follows a woman’s mysterious death during a Caribbean vacation and her sister’s dangerous pursuit of the truth. Starring Alycia Debnam-Carey, Josh Bronzie and Betsy Brandt (Hulu).

Carol Burnett: 90 Years of Laughter and Love
Bernadette Peters, Billy Porter, Jane Lynch, Katy Perry, Kristen Chenoweth and many others pay tribute with song and reflections to one of comedy’s leading ladies (above) on her 90th birthday in this two-hour special filmed live in Hollywood (8 p.m., NBC).

THURSDAY, Aprll 27
Love & Death
Based on a true story, this new series tells the tale of a pair of churchgoing couples enjoying their smalltown Texas life…until extramarital dilly-dallying causes someone to pick up an axe. Yikes! Starring Elizabeth Olsen, Jesse Plemons and Lily Rabe (HBO Max).

The Last Last Late Late Show
Primetime special celebrates the show’s final night (right) on the air just ahead of its farewell episode, as host James Cordon welcomes a parade of guest stars—including superstar Tom Cruise—to commemorate 8 years of Karpool Karaoke and other antics (10 p.m., CBS)

Ant-y Warfare

Paul Rudd returns to the teeny-tiny character that’s become a major cog in the Marvel movie machine

Paul Rudd, Kathryn Newton & Evangeline Lilly confront a new challenge in ‘Quantumania.’

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
Starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas & Michelle Pfeiffer
Directed by Peyton Reid

In theaters Friday, Feb. 17, 2023

“From small things, mama,” sang Bruce Springsteen back in 1979, “big things one day come.”

The Boss wrote and recorded that song some 35 years before the first Ant-Man movie, in 2015, which introduced fans of the Marvel Comics character to Paul Rudd as the pizza employee, doting dad and petty thief who ends up with a high-tech, form-fitting super-suit that can shrink him down to become an insect-size do-gooder.

Or, when necessary, enlarge him into a towering colossus.

Just like real-life ants who can engineer and construct entire mega-colonies, form themselves en masse into bridges and boats, lift up and carry up to 5,000 times their body weight, and (of course) change the course of picnics, Ant-Man is a teeny-tiny “small thing.” But he’s become a big player in the Marvel movie franchise. Quantumania is the third in the Ant-Man movie franchise, and as the title suggests, it takes place in the “quantum realm,” a hidden dimension in the sprawling Marvel multiverse that’s only accessible through dark sorcery or weird science.

Or the movies like this one.

Quantum-ville is like Oz buzzing on super steroids and maybe some crystal meth, an explosively colorful place of breathtaking awesomeness, unfathomable peril and outrageous oddity—like Alice in Wonderland crossed with Mad Max: Fury Road, Lord of the Rings, Dune and the cantina scene from Star Wars, with a dash of Terry Gilliam’s fanciful Monty Python whimsy. Giant snails are used like horses, there’s a character who looks like a walking stalk of broccoli, and an army of minions with heads that resemble light bulbs. And another character (Carey Stoll) is practically all head.

Oh, and yes, there’s also Bill Murray, playing…oh, does it really matter? It’s Bill Murray.  

And this being a marvel movie, there are some very high stakes—not just the fate of the universe, but the fate of the multiverse and all universes, existence itself. Director Peyton Reed, who’s steered both previous Ant-Man movies, keeps the ka-pow factor high and the tone bounding giddily between high tragedy and quippy silliness. The fate of everything may hang in the balance, but even in the quantum realm, inappropriate, selfish, annoying behavior is still known as a dick move.

And rest assured, you’ll see the movie’s superbad bad guy, Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors—from The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Lovecraft Country, Devotion) again. Dudes who want to rule the world, and more, aren’t easily dissuaded or dismissed. Like Taylor Swift tells us, haters gonna hate. And conquerors gonna conq.

Ant-Man confronts Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors).

It’s a wild rush of heady stuff, but such is the Marvel way, which connects everything in Quantumania to the larger MCU (that’s the Marvel Cinematic Universe), a sort of multi-dimensional superhero realm for the interconnectivity of film properties based on Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Avengers, Dr. Strange, Deadpool, Spider-Man and other characters rooted in Marvel comic-book ink.

I won’t get into the cosmic weeds of all the mind-bending details, but in this latest adventure, Scott Lang (pssst—he’s really Ant-Man) is sucked into the quantum realm (in case you forget what it’s called, it’s mentioned about a dozen times in the first 10 minutes of the film). He’s accompanied by Hope van Dyne (the returning Evangeline Lilly), whose superhero alter ego is the Wasp, and Hope’s brainiac-scientist parents (Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Douglas, also reprising their roles). Kathryn Newton (Little Big Lies, Freaky, Supernatural) comes aboard as Pym’s young-adult daughter, Cassie, whose social activism keeps getting her in trouble on Main Street USA but well suits her for what she’ll end up doing alongside revolutionaries in the quantum realm.

Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Douglas somehow keep their coifs looking stylish, in any dimension!

Can the multiverse be saved? Can Kang be defeated, or at least contained? Will Scott finally bond with his daughter? Will Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Douglas’ expertly coiffed hair ever be unfashionably mussed, even after being violently downsized to microscopic scale, sucked into the vortex of inter-dimensional debris and finding themselves in the middle of a quantum-realm war?    

MCU fans will geek out over the sheer spectacle and the bountiful bombast of CGI—two hours of mind-numbingly expensive zipping and zapping and crashing and smashing. There’s one particular scene (involving gazillions of Lang and Ant-Men, permutations of “all possible outcomes”) who mobilize into something like a teeming human anthill. If you love you some Paul Rudd—an immensely likeable and prolific actor with more than 130 movie and TV credits, from franchise blockbusters to zany romcoms, relationship dramas and even spy flicks—well, you’ll certainly get a heaping helping of him here.   

And in this packed and stacked Ant-Man movie, some actual ants get their spotlight in a major way.

This supersized, noisy and sometimes chaotic superhero adventure won’t be for everyone—particularly those who like their movies smaller, quieter, a bit more subtle and with less blowout spectacle, and fewer ants. But for Marvel fans, it’s the latest mega-movie about a teeny character doing tremendous good, on a massive stage across space and time.

Small things lead to big things—in a Springsteen song, or in the MCU’s multiverse, anything is possible. Ant-Man is an everyman hero, movie manes never get mussed, and Paul Rudd can truly do everything, everywhere, all the time, all at once.

—Neil Pond

Loud & Clear

All-star cast presents a searing drama about a homespun #MeToo movement

Women Talking
Starring Rooney Mara, Jessie Buckley, Claire Foy & Ben Whitshaw
Directed by Sarah Polley
Rated PG-13

In theaters Friday, Jan. 6, 2023

An all-star ensemble cast tackles a thorny subject in director Sarah Polley’s powerful presentation of a 2018 novel about the traumatic aftermath of horrific sexual abuse. 

The book was based on actual events that happened in Bolivia, when men in an ultraconservative religious community were arrested and eventually imprisoned for raping women and young girls after drugging them with animal tranquilizers. The film imports the story to America, as a small group of the victimized women—Mennonites in the book, but not noted in the film—meet in a barn during a tense two-day period to decide their fateful course of action for when the men return, out on bail.

There are indelibly potent performances by Roonie Mara, Jessie Buckley, Claire Foy and others as the besieged women huddling on haybales to debate faith, forgiveness, justice, morality and mortality, and craft their dreams for a better future. Suffering for years under the heels of a repressive patriarchy that has kept them apart from the “civilized” world and denied them access to education and technology, the women are barely literate. But, with the clock ticking and their attackers returning, they realize the importance of choosing one of the three options before them—staying and resisting, leaving forever, or simply doing nothing.

Ben Whitshaw plays a mild-mannered, college-educated Mennonite who has returned to the colony as a schoolteacher; he’s the only male the women trust, and he’s been asked to take the minutes of the meetings, to create a record. Significantly, he’s the only adult male in the movie that we ever fully see, or whose voice we hear—the lone sympathetic soul in a seemingly soulless place where the other males are either faceless sexual predators, abusive beasts, or enablers of a male-dominated culture that has fostered such toxic, repressive masculinity.

Ben Whishaw, Rooney Mara and Claire Foy star in ‘Women Talking.’

The discussions are fraught with weighty consequences. In this authoritarian religious microcosm, male leaders have told the women that the horrors they’ve experienced are only the fertile stuff of dreams and nightmares, the results of the hyper-active female imagination—and those pregnancies, well, they’re the work of ghosts, or even Satan. And if they ever, for whatever reason, deign to leave the colony, women will forever forfeit their ticket to all heavenly afterlife rewards.

It’s stylish and solidly theatrical, intimately small and intently focused in both scope and setting; it’s filmed in muted, monochromatic colors to underline the somber overtones and the seriousness of the situation. These are women at a breaking point, pushed to life-altering choices about what to do with their lives, how to move forward to ensure the safety of their daughters. As they grapple with the details of their homespun #MeToo movement to move out from underneath a gaslight toward true light, viewers are compelled to consider the wider, larger real-world connections—to women everywhere, anywhere, anytime, who bravely confront injustice and abuse.

Although there’s little action, in a conventional movie sense, there’s plenty of drama as the women do what the title suggests: They talk. They also sing hymns, quote Scripture, shout, and sometimes laugh—and let fly an f-word or two. A familiar Monkees hit, blaring from a car, is a bittersweet intrusion of the “forbidden” outside real world popping—for just a moment—their insular little bubble. There’s even a shoutout to gender fluidity, represented by a young female character who decides—after her rape and miscarriage—that she simply doesn’t want to be a girl anymore.  

It’s not Top Gun or Avatar, by any stretch. Nothing blows up, no one gets shot, and the only high-velocity moment is when a horse-drawn buggy veers off into a field. But Women Talking is explosive in other ways, including how it presents a group of women facing choices that could very well blow up the only world they’ve ever known. As the rest of America is being “counted,” against the film’s backdrop of the 2010 national census, these women are also making their presence known.

A late entry as a contender for one of the year’s best movies, it’s a monumentally consequential, timelessly important film. How important? Frances McDormand (who has a small role as one of the women) and Brad Pitt (who doesn’t) are among the producers, believing in the film enough to put their movie muscles into it.

It quietly, vividly, simply and surely sears its way into your soul, a bold, thought-provoking testament to the revolutionary power that can start with women talking, then mapping the way for themselves and future generations to navigate the world.  

Big Blue Blockbuster

How much movie can $350 million buy you? See the new ‘Avatar’ and you’ll see

Avatar: The Way of Water
Starring Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana & Stephen Lang
Directed by James Cameron

See it: In theaters Friday, Dec. 16

Thirteen years after the sensation that was the original Avatar (2009), director James Cameron returns to the fantastical world of Pandora, the far-out celestial home of the peaceful blue-hued humanoid creatures known as the Na’vi. They’re about 10 feet tall, towering over mere humans, but still small fries compared to the all-out epic-ness of this mega-movie spectacle that cries out for the biggest screen possible. It’s a towering cinematic achievement of visceral emotion, slam-bang action and jaw-dropping special effects that show just how far a budget of some $350 million can stretch.

All the money is “showing” in this 3-D saga that moves the story from the lush primordial floating forests of the first film to a more “tropical” island setting, where a group of green-skinned Na’vi have evolved to live for extended periods underwater. (Their tails are thicker, for steering as they swim, and their skins adorned with what look like Mãori tattoos, a distinctively Polynesian touch.) It all looks amazing, richly detailed, hyper tactile and mesmerizingly real, even though you know what you’re seeing is enhanced hi-tech fakery—CGI, created from extensive motion-capture performances by the actors. See it in 3D and you’ll swear things are floating right in front of your face.

Cameron loves the water; his seafaring disaster drama Titanic (1997) was an unqualified smash, the most commercially successful movie ever made, and The Abyss (1989) took a really, really deep dive into oceanographic, extraterrestrial sci-fi. There are swooshy echoes of those previous movies in this galloping golly-whopper, which continues the original Avatar’s themes of cultural coexistence, ecological awareness, the evils of colonization and the atrocity of genocide. Savvy moviegoers will detect other strands of its wide-ranging movie DNA, including cowboys-and-Indians Westerns, Pacific war flicks, chomp-chomp dinosaur romps, robotic dystopias and even Moby Dick.

Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana return to their original roles—as Jake Sulley, the former human earthling who became a Na’vi hybrid through a process of avatar-ization, and his mate, the Pandora homegirl Neytiri. They’re both scrappy fighters when they must be, but mostly they enjoy the laid-back life on Pandora as a happy blue family. Their three kids may have grown up on a distant moon on the other edge of a distant galaxy, but nonetheless are well versed in teen ‘tude, smack-talk and using expressions that sound like they spilled forth from almost high-school hallway in America, like “bro,” “bitch,” “cuz” and “perv.” I guess teen lingo is a truly universal language.

When earthlings—the “sky people”—return to Na’vi to again plunder its bountiful resources and thin out “the hostiles,” they’re led by the menacing Col. Quaritch (Stephen Lang), the macho paramilitary commander from the first film. He’s become an avatar now, too, for Na’vi infiltration purposes, and he has a longstanding grudge to settle with Jake. Quaritch’s vendetta forces the Sullys to flee to a far-flung islandic refuge of the “sea clans,” where they are taken in by the protective leader of the reef people (Cliff Curtis) and his pregnant, holistic wife (Kate Winslet).

But wouldn’t you know it, trouble comes a-callin’.

Jack Champion as Spider

A couple of characters bridge the old with the present and point the way toward the future. (Cameron plans three more Avatar movies in the coming years.) Sigourney Weaver, who also starred in the original, returns as a new character—the daughter of her old character, in a way that makes sense only in the Avatar-verse. And young Jack Champion (he was the “kid on bike” in Avengers: Endgame) plays Spider, an “outsider” human teen who’s bonded with the Na’vi; he’s clearly queued up for a pivotal role in wherever Avatar goes next. Spider is somewhere on the wild-child spectrum between the “Feral Kid” in Road Warrior and the mouthy runt Tanner in The Bad News Bears—a scruffy, scrappy side dish that becomes essential to the bigger menu. 

Sigourney Weaver

Cameron, one of the most bankable directors of all time, certainly knows how to build a blockbuster. And this blockbuster-to-be busts out all over the place, in the air, across expanses of blue Pandoran sea and far underneath the ocean waves. It’s a thing of movie wonder, filled with amazing sights, magnificent creatures, fearsome mega machines, a big beating heart and some bone-rattling, Dolby kaboom. A full-on immersion for the senses unlike almost anything else you’ve ever seen, it’s the studio’s big-ticket bet for luring audiences back into theaters. Safe to say it will do just that, and it’s a shoo-in for Oscar nominations in several categories, especially for visual effects and maybe even Best Picture.

Cameron even came up with a new motion-capture innovation, allowing him to shoot extended sequences underwater. Winslet, who also starred in his landmark movie Titanic, set a record for holding her breath while submerged for a scene in The Way of Water (more than five minutes!), besting the previous title holder, one Tom Cruise, renowned for doing his own stunts. Mission Not-So-Impossible, right, Tom?

If you’ve been holding your breath, treading water for more than a decade for another big-screen Avatar adventure, well, your wait is over. You can breathe again, and dive into this splashy Christmas present for anyone who likes their movies super-sized in every way.

As one character says, “The way of water has no beginning and no end.” It sure seems that way for this big blue franchise, which will undoubtedly keep rolling along—and rolling in the green.   

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Hello Darkness, My Old Friend: “Nanny” Movie Review

When motherhood is a dream that becomes a nightmare

Anna Diop has dreams of drowning in the psychological horrors of ‘Nanny.’

Starring Anna Diop, Michelle Monaghan & Morgan Spector
Directed by Nikyatu Jusu
Rated R

In theaters Dec. 16, 2022

Motherhood can be a tough gig. It certainly is for Aisha, a young immigrant mom in New York City trying to scrape together money to bring her son to America from their homeland of Senegal. So, she lands a job as a nanny for an upper-class family, serving as a surrogate mom to someone else’s daughter. Decent pay, long hours, but great gig, right? Well, yes and no.

That’s the setup for this masterfully mesmerizing psychological horror drama rooted in African mythology and the wrenching emotions of having, and raising, a child. Getting a wider release after wowing film festival audiences, it’s a knockout breakthrough role for Anna Dopp as the nanny, whose reality becomes blurred with troubling visions and panic-inducing nightmares. Maybe that black mold growing on the ceiling of the bedroom, which has been provided by her employers, is an omen. Every little boy she sees reminds her, for a halting, haunting moment, of her son. And those creepy-crawly spiders, that slithering snake in her bed, and the fish-tailed mere-creature that glides through her dreams of drowning… well, they can’t be leading to anything good.

Director Nikyatu Jusu, making a mightily impressive debut, masterfully shifts the lines when what’s bothering Aisha begins to bleed into her reality. Michelle Monaghan and Morgan Spector play the white Manhattan couple for whom she toils, working overtime as caregiver to their preschool daughter (Rose Decker) while they’re occupied with their jobs. But they’re stingy with pay, and their fractured marriage isn’t nearly as picture-perfect as it might seem.

Sinqua Walls & Anna Diop

It’s a tough job and a tough situation, and it’s not made any easier with the mind-mucking Dark Continent hoodoo that seems to be bewitching Aisha. A budding romance with the apartment-building doorman (Sinqua Walls) seems like a sweet distraction…until it turns into something of a lifeline. Things don’t get any easier for Aisha when her employer finds out her nanny has been making unauthorized dietary choices for her picky-eater munchkin, or hears through the nanny grapevine that one day on the playground, Aisha became momentarily separated from her daughter. (Geesh, the nanny network has eyes everywhere.) Losing track of a child, even for a few seconds, can be traumatic, and here it portends something even more distressing.

The great singer-actress Leslie Uggams has a small but significant role as a mystical grandma, who suggests to Aisha that her dark episodes are due to unseen forces that have bigger plans for her.

The film touches on issues of white privilege and the struggle of many immigrants trying to build new lives, especially if separated from family, friends and culture. But it’s really about what happens when one mother’s American dream becomes a living, waking, walking nightmare. The effectively unsettling Nanny may very well haunt your dreams, too.

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The Entertainment Forecast

Nov. 25 – Dec. 1

Top picks for TV, streaming, home entertainment & more!

Omari Hardwick & Marsai Martin star in ‘Fantasy Football.’

FRIDAY, Nov. 25
Fantasy Football
Family sports comedy film, set in a fictional world around the Atlanta Falcons, stars Marsai Martin as a young woman who can magically control the moves of her father (Omari Hardwick) on the gridiron. With Kelly Rowland (Paramount+)

Stepping into the Holidays
Mario Lopez stars as a former Broadway idol who returns to his hometown for Christmas after being fired as the host of a TV dance competition. Can he help the owner of the local dance studio (Jana Kramer) revive the burg’s annual holiday show? What do you think? (8 p.m., Lifetime).

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
Chris Pratt, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper and Dave Bautista reprise their movie roles in this merry Christmas adventure about the Guardians’ mission to make this Christmas an unforgettable holiday (Pratt) (Disney+).

Robbie the Reindeer
Animated special about a reindeer in training for the “reindeer games” to determine the coveted spots on Santa’s sleigh team (8 p.m., CBS).

Soul Train Awards
All aboard! This present-day awards event preserves the cultural legacy of the landmark 1970s series with appearances from some of the brightest stars in Black entertainment (8 p.m., BET, MTV2, VH1). 

SUNDAY, Nov. 27
Christmas Cooking Challenge
In tonight’s episode, hosts Ree Drummond and Eddie Jackson oversee talented cookie makers all trying their best to end up on Santa’s good list and go home with a $10,000 prize (8 p.m., Food Network).

A Christmas…Present
After multiple projects for the Hallmark network, Full (and Fuller) House star Candace Cameron Bure branches out as producer and star of this new holiday movie, on a new network, about a harried real estate agent who learns to value the reason for the season (Great American Family).

MONDAY, Nov. 28
The Great Christmas Light Fight
The search is on for season 10 and more homes with extravagant holiday lighting and over-the-top decorations (10 p.m., ABC).

Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin
New installment of the PP franchise stars Adam Levin reprising his movie role as Bumper Allen, now venturing to Germany when one of his songs becomes a big hit there. With Sarah Hyland (Peacock).

Kids Baking Championship: All Star Holiday Homecoming
Hosts Duff Goldman and Valerie Bertinelli welcome back four previous winners to show off their holiday-cheer kitchen skills (9 p.m., Food Network and Discovery+).

TUESDAY, Nov. 29
Reindeer in Here
New animated holiday original—following tonight’s 1964 classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer—is about a young reindeer and his friends who band together to save Christmas. Of course! (9 p.m., CBS).

Casey Anthony: Where the Truth Lies
True-crime lovers will love this: For the first time, Casey Anthony sits down to answer questions in this three-part limited-series event, sharing her side of the story about her culture-defining trial for killing her own child—and her subsequent acquittal—11 years ago (Peacock).

Live-action fantasy adventure series—based on the 1988 movie—features an international cast on an epic adventure set in a magical world with brownies, sorcerers, trolls and other mythical creatures—and a young girl destined to unite the realms, defeat an evil queen and bring light to the doom-y darkness (Disney+)

A criminal mediator from Chicago is forced to flee for his life and hide out in a small Australian coastal community while posing as the community’s new reverend. Starring Colin Donnell, PJ Byrne and Ed Oxenbould (Peacock).

New series about a sex and relationship “fixer” (Joyful Drake) who becomes the gatekeeper and problem solver for rich and famous clients who don’t want their between-the-sheets secrets airing out in public (ALLBLK).

Inside the Black Box
New season of the interview series spotlighting artists of color, from producers, directors and writers to musicians, as they reflect on how their complexions have impacted their journeys to success (Crackle).

Zion Morino and Savannah Lee Smith bring the glitter to ‘Gossip Girl.’

Gossip Girl
It’s back to school time tonight for season two of the rebooted series based on the novels of bestselling author Cicily von Giegzesar, about the juicy goings-on at an exclusive Manhattan academy (HBO Max).

Dolly Parton’s Magic Mountain Christmas
The country queen stars in this new holiday special—as herself, putting together a Christmas TV special about the Tennessee “mountain magic” at her theme park, Dollywood. With guest appearances by Willie Nelson, Jimmy Fallon, Miley Cyrus, Billy Ray Cyrus and more (8 p.m., NBC).

Read all about it in Totally Wired (Thames and Hudson)—author Paul Gorman’s epic account of how once-thriving “music journalism” became a force through magazines like Rolling Stone, Creem, Crawdaddy, Melody Maker and a plethora of smaller, niche ‘zines), giving rise to a pop-cultural explosion of writers, photographers and print outlets. 

How powerful is the influence of entertainment? Pretty potent, according to Entertainment Nation (Smithsonian), an engrossing dive into the wide-ranging effects of movies, TV, music and spectator sports. The handsome volume includes 225 photos of artifacts from the Smithsonian’s pop culture collection, including Frank Sinatra‘s bowtie, Cyndi Lauper‘s dress and a costume from The Handmaid’s Tale.

Prepare to enter a suburban dystopia in Don’t Worry Darling (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment), a psychological thriller about a young housewife (Florence Pugh) who comes to realize something is seriously wrong with the idealized life she’s made with her husband (Harry Styles). Maybe the creepy CEO of her hubs’ company (Chris Pine) has something to do with it….


Hey, hey, it’s the Monkees! The new Headquarters: Super Deluxe Edition (Rhino) features four CDs and a 7” vinyl. It’s a treasure trove of previously unreleased tracks, early demos, alternative takes and remixes, which provide a soundtrack for the made-for-TV ensemble’s struggle for creative control of their music with their music supervisor, Don Kirschner—and a snapshot of the group’s enthusiastic emergence as a “real band.”

Fine Young Cannibals: “Bones and All” review

They’re just a couple of kids in love…who love eating other people

Bones and All
Starring Taylor Russell & Timothèe Chalamet
Directed by Luca Guadagnino
Rated R

See it: In theaters Wednesday, Nov. 11

Lee and Maren seem like a lot of young couples. They drive around, listen to music, have some tiffs with their parents. And when they grab a bite, well, it’s likely not from Chic-fil-A.  

You see, they’re cannibals. Yes, they eat people.

On one level, this insanely, savagely original young-love story is about a couple of outsiders in a harsh world that doesn’t understand or accept them. We can all relate to that, right?

What sets Maren and Lee apart, though, is the compulsion—the craving—they have for human flesh. It’s an acquired taste, we learn, one that’s rooted in both heredity and environment. They find out they’re not alone; they’re part of a gritty, grimy subset of other cannibals. They’re all outcasts, society rejects who refer to each other as “eaters.” The most, ahem, committed of eaters talk of going all in, dining on “bones and all.”

And Lee and Maren feel desperately fated, destined for a life that makes their road a rough, hardscrabble—and often horrific—one.

It’s a weird movie, crazily and often conversely beautiful and romantic, about two 1980s kids living outside the norms of convention—way outside. There’s blood and guts, as you might imagine, but that’s only one element of the bigger story, about a pair of ruggedly attractive castaways wrestling with who they are, and why. And Lee and Maren aren’t particularly happy about what they’re driven to do. But the rush it gives them—like a drug—is a hard habit to kick.

Taylor Russell (who played Judy Robinson in the Netflix reboot of the space sci-fi series Lost in Space) is Maren, abandoned by her father (Andre Holland) after she turns 18. On a quest to learn more about her family, particularly the mother she never knew, she hooks up with a lanky drifter (Timothèe Chalamet), and off they go in search of answers…and their next meal.  

The movie reunites Chalamet—who’s received acclaim (and awards nominations) for his work in Lady Bird, Little Women and Dune—with Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino, who directed him inCall Me by Your Name. Guadagnino is a “painterly” director, known for his lush visuals, and the movie even begins with a series of oil renderings depicting serene pastoral scenes that we’ll later see in the film. They “paint” the way for Lee and Maren’s journey, seeking some peace in their unsettled—and unsettling—lives, like the tranquility in those picture-perfect paintings. But they’ll always be outsiders looking in, hunted and haunted.

Rebels on a road trip—if James Dean had a copious amount of blood soaked into his white T-shirt, plus a quirk of dining on carnival workers in an Iowa cornfield, well, he might have fit right into this cannibal club.

It’s a wild ride, for sure. Mark Rylance (below right) is an older, creepy cannibal who teaches Maren how to use her nose to sniff out fresh food. Michael Stuhlbarg and David Gordon Green play a pair of odd-couple “eater” buddies. Chloë Sevigny has a shocker of a scene, as a patient in a mental institution.

Maren, especially, contemplates the larger complexities and the implications of feeding her eating habit. Even cows in a slaughterhouse, she notes, have family, and maybe even friends. She advocates no-kill meals, dining on people who have already died. It may sound like a small distinction, but hey, some cannibals have principles.

The movie doesn’t really have a message, as such. But its depiction of cannibalism as addiction, as fate, as a consumptive lifestyle “appetite” alongside other hungers, like sex, lust and love…well, let’s just say I’ll never hear “Lick It Up” the same way again after watching the way that rockin’ KISS hit animates Lee.

Riding a wave of film-festival praise, Bones and All gnaws its way into theaters the day before Thanksgiving. It’s probably not exactly what most people have in mind for a celebratory family feast. But if you’ve got an appetite for the unusual, the unsettling, and for a gutsy spin on being young, angst-ridden, adrift in America and in love, well, lick it up.

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The Entertainment Forecast

Nov. 4 – Nov. 10

Top picks for TV, new books & just-released music & more!

Harry Styles is cop, George Lopez returns & Say Hey, It’s Willie Mays!

Harry Styles and Emma Corman star in a tale of forbidden love.

FRIDAY, Nov. 4
My Policeman
Singer-actor Harry Styles stars as a cop who undertakes an emotional journey in this story of forbidden love and changing social norms set in 1950s Britain. With Emma Corrin and David Dawson (Prime Video).

Lopez Vs. Lopez
George Lopez returns to TV in this new working-class inter-generational comedy costarring his daughter, Mayan Lopez (NBC).

Merry Swissmas
Jodi Sweetin (from TV’s Fuller House and its sequel) stars in this romance about romance at an inn in Switzerland, which kicks off the Lifetime’s network of Christmas-themed flicks (8 p.m., Lifetime).

SUNDAY, Nov. 6
Dangerous Liasons
New “prelude” to the 18th century literary classic focuses on the origins of the iconic characters, the Marquise de Merteuil (Nicholas Denton) and the Vicomte de Valmont (Alice Englert) meeting as passionate lovers in Paris on the eve of the French Revolution (Starz streaming service).

MONDAY, Nov. 7
One Delicious Christmas
Real-life celebrity chef Bobby Flay stars in this streaming holiday movie about a stressed Vermont restaurant and inn owner (Vanessa Marano) preparing for a big Christmas Eve dinner (Discover+).

Hey, Willie Mays!
Sports doc examines the career and the legacy of the Baseball Hall of Famer, whose achievements on the diamond during the era of Civil Rights helped break through the game’s longstanding color barriers (9 p.m., HBO).

CMA Awards
Country hitmaker Luke Bryan—a two-time CMA Entertainer of the Year—and football superstar Peyton Manning host this 59th annual awarding of the year’s top tunes, performers and collaborations (8 p.m., ABC).

The English
Emily Blunt stars in this new drama series as an aristocratic British woman on the American frontier, whose life intertwines with a Pawnee ex-U.S. Calvary scout (Chaske Spencer) on a violent landscape built of dreams, destiny and blood (Prime Video).


Actor Luke Evans has appeared in a slate of films, including Clash of the Titans, Dracula Unchained, The Hobbit and Beauty and the Beast. But did you know he was a singer? Check out his impressive debut album, A Song for You, with a slate of classics, easy listening tunes and Christmas chestnuts that features a duet with Nicole Kidman, his costar when they costarred in the hit Hulu series Nine Perfect Strangers.


Attention, Royals fans. Put together a meal fit for a king with Christmas at the Palace (Wheldon Owen), a crown-worthy cookbook for 50 festive recipes, gorgeously posed in charming Christmas settings. Author Carolyn Robb certainly knows her stuff: She spent over a decade in Kensington Palace as a royal chef, where the dining room was peopled by Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Prince William and Prince Harry.

Sherlock’s Little Sis

Millie Bobby Brown reprises her role in new Victorian Era mystery romp

Milly Bobby Brown & Helena Bonham Carter

Enola Holmes 2
Starring Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Lewis Partridge & David Thewlis
Directed by Harry Bradbeer
Rated PG-13

See it: Nov. 4, 2022, only on Netflix

“Some of what follows is true,” reads the placard at the opening of this sassy sequel about Sherlock Holmes’ little sister. “The important parts, anyway.”

The true, important parts are something that took place in England at the close of the 19th century…but more about that later.

Millie Bobby Brown continues to move beyond Stranger Things to reprise her role as the younger sibling of the iconic fictional British sleuth. After the events of the first Enola Holmes flick (2020), the young-adult clue-sniffer has now branched out to open her own detective agency.

But she’s detecting that it’s not easy being a PI when your big brother is the world’s most famous gumshoe. Enola gets her big break, however, when she’s asked to investigate a missing-person case, which turns into a wild, puzzle-solving romp throughout the social strata of 1880s Victorian England.

And it turns Enola into a murder suspect on the lam from the law.

Director Harry Bradbeer also returns behind the camera from the first Enola Holmes, picking things up where they left off. He’s a native Brit himself, with a witty, gritty style that suits this lively, frisky, fem-centric frolic. (He’s also directed episodes of TV’s Fleabag and Killing Eve).

On the surface, the movie is about Enola’s hunt to find out what happened to a young factory worker who has seemingly vanished. But it’s also got some serious stuff on its mind—women’s rights, the unity of sisterhood, really toxic workplaces, progressive politics and setting young Enola up as a proto-feminist firebrand. Gender fluidity even gets a nod.

Bucking the trends of her times, Enola has brains as well as some impressive bust-a-move ju-jitsu…much of which she learned from her mother (Helena Bonham Carter), a scrappy activist-crusader.

Henry Cavill plays Sherlock Holmes.

Henry Cavill (who’s played Superman as well as starring in The Tudors, The Witcher and Midsomer Murders) returns to the role of Sherlock, who ultimately joins Enola as the unraveling thread she’s following leads her into a web of business corruption, conspiracy and even homicide.

There’ve been dozens of actors who’ve played Sherlock, a diverse group of nearly 60 that includes Christopher Lee, Will Ferrell, Michael Caine and Benedict Cumberbatch. Take Robert Downey Jr. out of the running, maybe, and none of them comes close to looking as hunky in a cloak and hat as Cavill. His dapper, brooding, brainiac detective would be the perennial winner of Old London’s Sexiest Bachelor award.

But this movie, after all, is about Enola, and girls will love the way she rocks, rolls, connects the clues and crushes the case about something causing young British women to die. (And that’s the “important” part of the movie, the thing that really matters…even if it’s just an historical footnote.)    

And along the way, she crashes a high-falootin’, high-society costume ball, scampers across rooftops, recouples with her crush, the dashing young viscount Tewkesbury (Lewis Partridge), and outwits the conniving London constable (David Thewlis) trying to reign her in. She also runs circles around Scotland Yard’s inspector Lestrade (Adeel Akhtar, also reprising his role), who’s always one hapless step behind Enola and Sherlock.

Run Enola, run!

Lestrade was a recurring character in the Holmes stories of creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the late 1800s. At the end of this spry Sherlock spinoff, you’ll be introduced to yet another character that’s become a nameworthy part of Holmes lore.

As for Enola, her character was created by New Jersey author Nancy Springer, who launched a series of novels about the teenage detective in 2006. Enola may not be as old, figuratively and literally, as her more famous brother, but she has certainly made her mark.

Will we see her again? Likely, and hopefully. The world needs more Enolas, smart young female crusaders everywhere who can also snap open some cans of serious wrong-righting whoop-ass.