Where: Prime Video What: Series, 8 episodes, 30 mins. When: Now, new episodes Fridays Genre: Drama Why you should watch: Based on Tegan and Sara’s bestselling memoir of the same name, High School is oftentimes gritty and raw, but so is teenagehood. With a brilliant score and a heart-wrenching commitment to depicting the ups and downs not only of growing up gay in Calgarian suburbs in the ’90s but also what it looks like to craft an identity that is all one’s own, High School reminds us of the possibilities the coming-of-age genre contains.
Where: In theatres What: Movie, 161 mins. When: Now Genre: MCU Why you should watch: The people of Wakanda — and this film’s writers — successfully process the death of King T’Challa before launching a new narrative that sees emergence, literally, of another secret civilization, this one based underwater, who also has Wakanda’s miracle mineral, vibranium. Trouble ensues when Wakanda’s queen (Angela Bassett) refuses to join forces with the Aztec-esque sea folk who want to eliminate “the surface people.” Wakanda women power this satisfying sequel.
Where: In theatres What: Movie, 104 mins. When: Fri., Dec. 2 Genre: Drama Why you should watch: Our pick for best film at TIFF, expect huge Oscar interest in this film for Canadian writer and director Sarah Polley, many of the brilliant cast and for the film itself. Based on a Miriam Toews novel about a colony of Mennonite women who are routinely raped by the men there and who get a chance to determine next steps when the perpetrators are arrested and briefly removed before posting bail. Riveting, inspiring and ultimately hopeful. Brilliant filmmaking that reminds us how unrepresented and overdue women’s voices are in the artform.
Where: Netflix What: Miniseries, 6 episodes, 58 mins. When: Now Genre: Docudrama Why you should watch: The story of how music labels fought a losing battle against streaming and how a group of Swedish tech wizards and entrepreneurs led the streaming revolution by creating Spotify and replacing Pirate Bay. Each episode of this Swedish series is told from different character’s perspective, including a devastating episode told from musicians’ POV. Behind-the-curtain look at how we ended up with music system that puts artists in peril and still leaves labels loaded with cash.
Where: In theatres What: Movie, 151 mins. When: Weds., Nov. 23 Genre: Drama Why you should watch: More than just a tribute to himself, The Fabelmans is based on director Steven Spielberg’s childhood but is not as indulgent as one might fear; the film works as a study of a young artist exploring his muse and finding his voice. Michelle Williams as “Spielberg’s” troubled mom will likely pick up an Oscar nom, as might the film, which is more than just a love letter to movies.
Where: Prime Video What: Movie,113 mins. When: Now
Genre: Drama Why you should watch: To answer the biggest question, yes Harry Styles can act. Very well. Styles sensitively and credibly plays a bisexual man who struggles to understand his sexuality at a time, the ’50s, when homosexuality is a crime in Great Britain — and much of the world. The film flips from ’50s flashbacks to present day as we follow three characters, played by different actors at each age, all of whom are trapped in a tragic and cruel cycle of fear and deceit. Powerful performances by Styles and the rest of the cast.
Where: In theatres, Netflix When: In theatres, Wed., Nov. 23, one week; Netflix, Fri., Dec. 23 Genre: Whodunit mystery Why you should watch: Like Peter Sellers and Steve Martin as Inspector Clouseau or Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot, having a sleuth with a slightly over-the-top accent helming a mystery seems key to achieving a playfulness so essential to a winning whodunit formula. And the Knives Out gang has done that as Daniel Craig’s drawling detective Benoit Blanc leads a character-rich mystery that’s as fun as the original, with an equally entertaining cast of suspicious characters.
Where: Apple TV+ What: Movie, 95 mins. When: Now Genre: Documentary Why you should watch: Incredibly frank exploration of singer’s struggles with bipolar disorder that saw her forced to abandon a tour and be briefly institutionalized. The film’s structure aims higher than classic doc, but it depends on your appetite to watch the mega-rich, mega-successful also share their pain. They’re just like us, you know — expect for the cashmere safety net, multiple assistants and all that stuff. That said, Gomez is very transparent in showing that even when one’s dreams come true, nightmares can still emerge.
Where: Apple TV+ What: Series, 12 episodes, 58 mins. When: Now, new episodes Fridays Genre: Drama Why you should watch: Australian ex-heroin addict, paramedic and bank robber (Charlie Hunnam) escapes a Down Under prison and flees to India in the ’80s and makes new start providing free healthcare in a Bombay slum. This somewhat soap-y but entertaining series sees our hero inexplicably shirtless a lot of the time as he seeks redemption while Bombay gangsters try to pull him back to world of crime.
Where: Apple TV+ What: Miniseries, 10 episodes, 25 – 48 mins. When: Now Genre: Drama Why you should watch: Steve Carell is magnificent as a therapist kidnaped and held prisoner by a patient who is also a serial killer and sees the doctor as his route to salvation. Domhnall Gleeson is brilliant as the conflicted killer who is both sympathetic and horrifying as he chains his therapist to the floor while seeking how to be a better man. Claustrophobic and compelling, with mostly one set, has the intense intimacy of a two-hander play. Should clean up during awards season.
Where: Prime Video What: Movie, 92 mins. When: Now Genre: Drama Why you should watch: Two young, female, Montreal-based influencers —a glamourous blonde with a shady past and a naïve wannabee who falls under the spell of the other — end up as unwitting drug mules after accepting a free cruise to the South Pacific that proves too good to be true. Based on a true story, it’s a slow boil that peaks with edge-of-your-seat intensity as an Instagram-able cruise turns into a gut-clenching nightmare.
Where: Netflix What: Series, 8 episodes,
30 mins. When: Now
Genre: Dramedy Why you should watch: A rare look at the everyday life of Palestinian-Americans. The series aims to be lighthearted but challenges of refugee life in the USA get in the way. Palestinian standup comic Mohammed Amer plays a perpetually undocumented hustler in Houston, TX, navigating the challenges of ICE, the U.S. refugee system, as well as the demands of a very Muslim mom, a needy younger brother and a cross-cultural relationship with his Latina girlfriend.
Where: Crave What: Series, second season, 7 episodes, 58 mins. When: Now, new episodes Sundays Genre: Dramedy Why you should watch: Sicilian White Lotus resort proves just as satisfying as the original for compelling, complex tales of the rich spinning out and beleaguered hotel staff doing their best damage control. It’s mostly a new cast of characters, but Jennifer Coolidge returns as the sleepy, befuddled and adorable half-billionaire who just wants to loved. Father and son F. Murray Abrahams and Michael Imperioli are painfully believable in their ill-fated tour of their Sicilian roots.