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At Home : Monstrous, Hacks, Castro’s Spies, Licorice Pizza

A round-up of what’s showing on the small screen this weekend

Starz/HBO Max/HBO/Gravitas Ventures/Burning Sky Films/Universal Pictures


Digital. The always-versatile Christina Ricci – currently embarking on somewhat of a comeback as the on TV hit Yellowjackets – gives a multi-layered turn in a horror film that offers significantly more than its logline and easy-sell art project. In it, the former “Addams Family” staple plays Laura, a traumatized single mother who escapes her abusive ex-husband for a new start in a small town with her 7-year-old son.  We slowly learn that there’s more going on with Laura than her backstory suggests. While the ending doesn’t pack the punch of earlier scenes, director Chris Sivertson has crafted a genuinely compelling and original horror yarn here  – one that strives to tell a much deeper, more complex tale than most spooky films would dare. [CC]


Hacks : Season 2

Streaming. The surprise comedy hit of the box returns for another feverishly funny and welcomingly fresh round of new eps.  “Hacks” started out as a contemporary take on ‘The Odd Couple’ but transitions into sort of a ‘Thelma & Louise’ – with more jokes – this time around. Deborah (Jean Smart) and Ava (Hannah Einbinder) are on the road together now, touring little venues where Deborah is performing. Meantime, Ava is copping it for a defamatory email she sent to producers asking for gossip on Deborah. While slightly less edgy and fierce than the first season, “Hacks” Season 2 really starts to find its footing again in the second half of the season – reminding us what a great combo Smart and Einbinder are, and how wonderful it is to spend a few minutes with these two singular ladies each and every week. [CC]


Castro’s Spies

Digital. As entertaining as it is educational, Gary Lennon and Ollie Astin’s “Castro Spies” tells the [perhaps] little-known story of a group of spies sent undercover during the Clinton-era.  The filmmakers dig deep into the personal and professional lives of these men – the recruitment process, their stringent training, their transition into suburban U.S life, their complex relationships outside of ‘work’ and the challenging task of upholding a fake identity. Just as it achieved on the festival and international circuit, this commendable and surprising doc is one that will likely spur as much talk as it will solid reviews domestically. [ML]


Licorice Pizza

Blu-ray. Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest is a teen love story set in in the San Fernando Valley, 1973 – complete with daggy garb, groovy music, shaggy haircuits, vinyl retailers, and, of course, hairdresser Jon Peters (Bradley Cooper, in a scene-stealing performance) making a scene wherever he rolls. Cooper Hoffman, as the younger male, and Alana Haim, as an older object of affection, make for a dynamite could-be couple in a hilarious, sweet and quirky period piece that plays like a mash of “Dazed & Confused” and “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood”. The video is perfectly fine but the audio, a DTS HD Master Audio mix, really pumps that soundtrack. The extras include a deleted scene, a commercial, a behind-the-scenes piece and camera tests. Would’ve been great to have gotten a commentary but alas, still a disc worth adding to your collection for the film alone- unarguably the best film of the year. [CC]

TV : The CW, NBC & CBS greenlight new shows, Orville trailer, Norm special, Reality Bites and more!

Teaser Trailer : Resurrection starring Rebecca Hall & Tim Roth