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.
Expats (Prime Video)
Like so many other Prime Video series, Expats arrived on the streamer the other week with barely a whisper, despite boasting what feels like a huge production budget and a major star in Nicole Kidman. If you are looking for your new serialized obsession, then don’t let this drama slip away, as director Lulu Wang (The Farewell) crafts a gorgeous and stomach-twisting (in a good way) adaptation of Janice Y.K. Lee’s bestselling novel. Set in Hong Kong against the looming unrest of the 2014 Umbrella Movement protests, Expats follows a group of three American women whose lives are upended after the young son of Margaret (Kidman) disappears one evening. Another reason to dive in: Despite being shot in Hong Kong, the series isn’t available to stream there. (Perhaps the Umbrella Movement scenes are to blame for that.)
The Marvels (Disney+)
This is sort of anti-recommendation, but if you want to watch the movie that just might have killed the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or at the very least grievously wounded it), then The Marvels is now available to stream for Disney+ subscribers. A supremely messy and often incoherent adventure, the Captain Marvel sequel epitomizes the corporate hubris of the Marvel machine, with audiences required to have watched not only the franchise’s many preceding feature films but also two separate Disney+ television series in order to make heads or tails of the galaxy-hopping plot. At least Samuel L. Jackson got paid, once again.
Remembering Charles Officer (CBC Gem)
The Toronto International Film Festival recently announced a new award for next year’s edition of its annual Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival: a $25,000 prize for Canadian filmmakers named after the late Charles Officer, who died late last year at the age of 48. The TIFF news is as good a reminder as any of just how much of an impact Officer had on the industry, and the legacy he leaves behind. And for audiences who have not yet had the distinct pleasure to dive into Officer’s filmography, then CBC Gem can get you up to speed with its collection of films and series by the acclaimed Canadian. Including Officer’s dramatic features Akilla’s Escape and Nurse.Fighter.Boy; his docs Unarmed Verses and Invisible Essence: The Little Prince; and episodes of his television work on The Porter and Coroner, the package is essential viewing.
The Eternal Memory (Hollywood Suite)
The clock is ticking for those who want to get a head start on mainlining all the Oscar nominees before March’s awards ceremony. And for those who have already had their fill of Barbie, Oppenheimer and Maestro, there are vast rewards to be found in the lower-profile categories, including best documentary. Which is where you’ll find nominee The Eternal Memory, a riveting portrait of courage in Chilean journalism from director Maite Alberdi. Following the relationship between reporter Augusto Gongora and actress Paulina Urrutia, the doc is a powerful testament to both truth and love.
Blazing Saddles (on-demand, including Apple TV, Amazon, YouTube)
The other week, a colleague asked me whether I thought that Mel Brooks’s comedy classic Blazing Saddles might be able to get made today, 50 years after it first hit theatres. Well, sorta: There was an animated remake, albeit it with the racier gags toned down, that came out just two years ago called Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank. But despite featuring Brooks in the cast, the movie came and went with barely a notice. Huh. Perhaps popular culture is done with Brooks and everything that Blazing Saddles stood for (or, really, skewered). But that doesn’t mean the film’s defenders should let it die so easily. Tonight, why not queue the 1974 comedy up, and let loose a riot.