Jesse Plemons Back on Netflix in 'Windfall,' Hulu's Ben Affleck-led Psychosexual Thriller 'Deep Water' - What's Upstream for March 17-23
Ten upcoming streaming movies, TV shows and documentaries to check this coming week
Got to give it to Netflix -- the top streaming company seems to know how to strike when the iron is hot, and that includes its copious onscreen talent. Ryan Reynolds no sooner takes part in the most successful film title on the platform ever (Red Notice), and he's right back on Netflix with another action film, The Adam Project. The same phenomenon applies to Jesse Plemons, a Best Supporting Oscar nominee for Power of the Dog. This week, Plemons will show up on Netflix again, in the dark Hitchcockian thriller Windfall. Meanwhile, as we approach a fresh slate of new shows for the week of March 17-23, the opposite sense of timing may have impacted Disney's psychosexual Ben Affleck thriller Deep Water, which is banking on the talents of genre master Adrian Lyne, 81, who hasn't helmed a movie since 2002's Unfaithful. Let's just say Disney doesn't seem too faithful about this project, either. A porn comedy on HBO, Amy Schumer's return to series TV on Hulu and an Apple TV Plus biopic about WeWork grifter Adam Neumann are all in store, as well.
Minx (HBO Max, March 17)
Unlike The Deuce or The People vs. Larry Flynt, Minx focuses on the comical side of the 1970’s porn-industry. Set in Los Angeles, the 10-episode series centers around Joyce (Ophelia Lovibond), an earnest young feminist who decides to publish the first erotic magazine for women with the help of porn publisher extraordinaire Doug (Jake Johnson). While the show’s extensive male nudity might make you blush, the subject matters brought up in Minx will make you think. "Minx is effervescently fun, full of heart and smarts, and a heck of a lot of promise for what’s still to come. It’s a show that practices what it preaches, consistently prioritizing joy over pain and equality over repression," wrote Decider's Meghan O'Keefe.
Welcome to Flatch (Hulu, March 18)
Like many good comedies, this half-hour show was inspired by a British series. In this case, it was the mockumentary series This Country, which explored life for young people in modern rural Britain. The U.S. adaptation features a documentary crew filming in the fictional town of Flatch, Ohio, where they find cousins Kelly Mallet (Holmes, a newcomer actor who goes by that single name) and Lloyd “Shrub” Mallet (Sam Straley). The Mallets let the production in on their lives and local current events. While the style and tone of Welcome to Flatch resemble the The Office and Parks and Recreation, the setting gives the series a vibe reminiscent of American Movie, a 1999 Sundance award winning documentary directed by Chris Smith. Welcome to Flatch was written and executive-produced by Jenny Bicks (Sex and the City) and directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids). "There’s plenty of comic potential here, but the writing struggles to home in on it, instead relying on its actors to elevate the material. This is a problem when it comes to those who continue to feel miscast even a few episodes in," wrote Variety's Caroline Framke.
Deep Water (Hulu, March 18)
Based on the 1957 eponymous novel by Patricia Highsmith, the film stars Ben Affleck and Ana De Armas as a married couple who, to stay married, play psychosexual mind games with each other. Disney hasn’t done a ton of promotion for the film. The studio also decided not to give it a theatrical release, which was originally scheduled for Jan. 14. Hmmm. Notably, Deep Water was directed by Adrian Lyne, the 81-year-old Brit noted for psychosexual thriller hits including Fatal Attraction, 9½ Weeks and Indecent Proposal. Lyne's last directing credit came in 2002 with the Richard Gere/Diane Lane film Unfaithful. This info, combined with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 45% suggests you keep the ol' remote handy. But The Atlantic's David Sims does offer some hope, calling Deep Water, "A robust, well-acted thriller that lands most of its major twists gracefully; for that, all lesser sins can be forgiven."
Master (Amazon Prime, March 18)
Starring Regina Hall, Zoe Renee and Amber Gray, this horror film takes place at a fictionally prestigious New England liberal arts college named Ancaster, located not far from the site of the Salem witch trials. Black academics Professor Gail Bishop (Hall), Jasmine Moore (Renee), and Liv (Gray) come to realize that the predominantly white institution is not only racist, it’s also haunted. Master, written and directed by Mariama Diallo, was inspired by various encounters the director had while studying at Yale University. The film made its world premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. “This is a smart, meaningful first film, with nods all over the place to classics like The Shining and Rosemary’s Baby, as well as more recent obvious touch points like Get Out. It’s not all subtle, but then neither is prejudice,” wrote Time Out’s Dave Calhoun. Master has a critics aggregation score of 81%.
Human Resources (Netflix, March 18)
A Big Mouth spinoff series, this animated comedy takes place in a make-believe home world of Maurice (Nick Kroll) and Connie (Maya Rudolph), so-called "Hormone Monsters" who, through exaggerated pubescent traits, show youngsters, er, coming of age, that they are not alone. In addition to Hormone Monsters, the animated series features creatures like Depression Kitties and Shame Wizards, who also try to mentor humans' struggling through life change and affliction. The 10-episode series reveals that monster mentors also have problems that they need help with. An impressive voice cast includes Lupita Nyong'o , Helen Mirren, Rosie Perez, Thandie Newton, Bobby Cannavale and Hugh Jackman.
Life & Beth (Hulu, March 18)
Directed by, written by and starring Amy Schumer, Life and Beth marks the comedian’s return to scripted television after a six-year hiatus following the conclusion of Inside Amy Schumer in 2016. The 10-episode series follows Beth (Schumer), a successful wine distributor who is sleepwalking through life. As she approaches 40, Beth decides to reexamine what she wants for herself, which forces the character to look back at her formative years as a teenager. Michael Cera plays Beth’s love interest. “Life & Beth is an intensely personal work. Watching the show feels akin to reading a stranger’s diary … It’s the output of someone figuring out how to tell the story of their own life, adding a wry observation here, exaggerating for effect there, going off on detours guided more by personal instinct than logic," wrote The Hollywood Reporter's Angie Han.
WeCrashed (Apple TV Plus, March 18)
Films and series about narcissistic con-artists are all the rage these days. From Netflix’s Inventing Anna, The Tinder Swindler and Bad Vegan, to Hulu’s The Dropout, audiences can’t seem to get enough of people stealing from the wealthy. So, it makes sense that Apple TV Plus is getting in on the game with WeCrashed, which documents the rise and fall of WeWork founder Adam Neumann, played by Jared Leto. The film, which premiered earlier this month at the South by Southwest film festival, is based on the Wondery podcast WeCrashed: The Rise and Fall of WeWork from Lee Eisenberg and Drew Crevello. In addition to WeWork, the eight-episode series follows the arc of Neumann’ relationship with his eventual wife, Rebekaj Neumann (played by Anne Hathaway). Critics have aggregated WeCrashed at a weak 68% on Rotten Tomatoes but praised for Leto and Hathaway’s performances. “As dialed in for the serious moments as he is for the comic flourishes, Leto understands what each scene calls for, and he delivers. Hathaway is nearly his match, even in a role stretched to its limits. She gets two big comedy beats that payoff huge,” wrote IndieWire’s Ben Travers.
Windfall (March 18, Netflix)
Billed as a “dramatic thriller inspired by Alfred Hitchcock,” Windfall stars Jesse Plemons and Lily Collins as a wealthy, arrogant couple who arrive at their vacation home only to find a stranger intent on robbing them. While it may sound like In Cold Blood, the robber, played by Jason Segel, is not the confident type. Segel developed the story with director Charlie McDowell. Interestingly the characters in this comedy-drama don’t have names. Instead Plemons is listed on IMDb as “CEO.” Collins appears as “wife” and Segal as “Nobody.” Will be interesting to see Segel play the violent type instead of a funny best friend. Plemons recently received an Academy Awards nomination for his supporting role in The Power of the Dog.
The Newsreader (Roku Channel, March 18)
This acclaimed Australian drama series set in 1986 focuses on the relationship between an ambitious young TV reporter, Dale Jennings (Sam Reid), and Helen Norville (Anna Torv) , a female news anchor with a reputation for being difficult. The backdrop is the frantic world of network news back in the eighties, when most folks watched broadcast news every night. Current events from the time including the Challenger Disaster, Halley’s Comet and the AIDS crisis are all explored in the series, which is six-parts and features one-hour-long episodes.
Clive Davis: Most Iconic Performances (Paramount Plus, March 23)
If you like classic rock, this docuseries is for you. The four-part series features concert performances from top tier talent including Tina Turner, the Notorious BIG, Prince, Aretha Franklin and Queen. Davis also interviews celebs including Oprah Winfrey, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Carole King, Rod Stewart, Barry Gibb, Alicia Keys, Joni Mitchell and Jamie Foxx. Davis began his career in music as Columbia Records, where he was named President in 1967. From that point on he never stopped working. He played a key role in the careers of artists including Janis Joplin, Aerosmith, Sly & The Family Stone, Barbra Streisand, and Miles Davis. So, it should be interesting to watch this docuseries and hear Davis talk about some of his favorite musical performances over the last 50 years. (The man has probably seen them all.)
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