Welcome to another edition of “Weekly Shots,” your go-to source for handpicked movies and TV shows worth tuning into this week. Each week we highlight the noteworthy titles that have recently hit streaming platforms in the United States. Whether you’re into historical dramas or prefer edge-of-your-seat thrillers, we’ve got something for everyone. You can check past editions here.
Fingernails (Christos Nikou)
“Christos Nikou’s “Fingernails” presents a romantic sci-fi drama that questions the nature of compatibility and love, featuring compelling performances by Jessie Buckley and Riz Ahmed. Set in a near-future where a test determines the viability of relationships, the film follows Anna, a former school teacher played by Buckley, whose life takes a turn when she falls for her coworker at a love institute, despite being in a scientifically proven perfect relationship. The film, which has graced festivals from Telluride to Toronto all the way to the London Film Festival, offers a satirical yet thoughtful take on the concept of soulmates and the societal pressure to find “The One.” With its whimsical approach to the absurdities of love and a darkly comic undertone, “Fingernails” invites viewers to ponder if love can truly be measured, all while delivering a fresh take on romantic comedy conventions and the pursuit of true love’s messy vitality.
Streaming on Apple TV+
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson)
“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” the sequel to the groundbreaking “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” expands the animated Marvel universe with a visually stunning and narratively complex follow-up. Directors Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson, along with writers Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, and Dave Callahan, deliver a 2-hour and 20-minute spectacle that immerses viewers in a multiverse-spanning adventure. The film continues the story of teenager Miles Morales, voiced by Shameik Moore, as he navigates high school life, superhero responsibilities, and interdimensional chaos. Despite its length and at times overwhelming plot, the film’s animation stands out as a work of art, offering a vibrant tour through comic book history and artistic styles. With a mix of humor, action, and heartfelt moments, “Across the Spider-Verse” might challenge some viewers with its pace and complexity, but it remains an engaging experience for fans and newcomers alike, leaving them eager for the next chapter in this animated saga.
Streaming on Netflix
Quiz Lady (Jessica Yu)
In “Quiz Lady,” available on Hulu, director Jessica Yu delivers a comedy that defies the stigma of forgettable streaming service fodder. The film, while adhering to the expected beats of a heartfelt comedy about two estranged sisters, Anne (Awkwafina) and Jenny (Sandra Oh), who reunite under quirky circumstances to win a trivia game show, manages to resonate with its audience through genuine chemistry and a script that finds humor and heart in the right places. Despite its predictable plot, “Quiz Lady” offers a refreshing sincerity, with performances that bring depth to their archetypal roles, particularly Awkwafina’s subdued portrayal contrasting Oh’s free-spirited persona. The film navigates its comedic road trip with a blend of slapstick and subtlety, proving that even the most formulaic stories can still win over an audience when executed with care.
Streaming on Hulu
A Haunting in Venice (Kenneth Branagh)
Kenneth Branagh’s latest foray into the detective genre, “A Haunting in Venice,” has elicited mixed whispers in the corridors of mystery aficionados. It stands as a notable addition to our list of at-home streaming options, igniting curiosity with its promised twists. The success of Branagh’s venture remains in the hands of time—and perhaps, the significance of a certain mustache.
In the shadow-soaked alleys of Venice, haunted by the aftermath of war, a retired Hercule Poirot is drawn from seclusion into a web of deceit. A séance goes terribly awry, thrusting him back into the sleuthing world to pinpoint the hand behind a sinister murder.
Streaming on Hulu
Nyad (Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin)
In “Nyad,” directors Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin navigate the controversial waters of Diana Nyad’s life story, focusing on her historic swim from Cuba to Florida at age 64, but sidestepping the swirling allegations of dishonesty that have long shadowed her career. The film, which hits theaters on October 20 and Netflix on November 3, opts for an uncritical celebration of Nyad’s endurance feat, with Annette Bening’s portrayal bordering on the narcissistic, and Jodie Foster as Bonnie Stoll providing a charismatic counterbalance. Despite the directors’ documentary pedigree with “Free Solo” and “The Rescue,” “Nyad” remains on the surface of its subject’s complex narrative, avoiding the deeper, darker currents of skepticism and controversy surrounding her achievements. The film stretches out to 120 minutes, much like Nyad’s marathon swim, but without the same sense of accomplishment, leaving a wake of unanswered questions and a portrayal that seems to prioritize self-validation over a candid exploration of the human spirit’s triumph over age and physical limitations. Read the full review here.
Streaming on Netflix
Black Cake (Limited Series)
Hulu’s adaptation of “Black Cake” serves up a layered narrative that oscillates between a tropical whodunnit and an emotionally charged family saga. The miniseries, which premieres with three episodes on November 1 and continues weekly, follows Eleanor Bennett’s life story, portrayed by both Mia Isaac and Chipo Chung, as she navigates a sea of life replete with hidden truths. From her youthful escape from an arranged marriage in 1960s Jamaica to later life personal trials on the California coast, Eleanor’s journey is one of resilience and revelation. As she prepares her children for her impending departure with a series of audio recordings, the siblings are drawn into the depths of their mother’s past, filled with untold mysteries and concealed identities. Despite some narrative shallows, “Black Cake” offers a rich tapestry of cultural identity, generational trauma, and the enduring power of heritage, all set against a backdrop of evocative island scenery and period-spanning aesthetics.
Streaming on Hulu
Selling Sunset (Season 7)
The seventh season of “Selling Sunset” opens with a palpable sense of impending doom in an episode aptly named “The Real Estate Apocalypse.” The usual dramatic introductions are scrapped as we dive straight into a property tour with Amanza, Bre, and Emma, showcasing a $16 million house that seems designed more for Instagram than actual living, raising questions about the practicality of such open spaces. Chrishell, meanwhile, is in Australia, inadvertently shadowed by Jason and his significantly younger girlfriend, Marie-Lou, in what seems like an over-the-top pursuit. Back in LA, Nicole returns, and alongside Mary, they explore a $26 million property that screams excess and luxury. Mary steps down from her managerial role to navigate the turbulent real estate market, now complicated by new taxation aimed at funding affordable housing. The episode also delves into the personal lives of the cast, from Chelsea planning her first-ever birthday party to Mary’s intimate pregnancy reveal. As the show continues to blend high-stakes real estate with personal drama, it’s clear that “Selling Sunset” is setting the stage for another season of opulence, conflict, and the intricate dance of personal and professional lives intertwining.
Streaming on Netflix
Invincible (Season 2)
As the superhero genre faces an oversaturation crisis, “Invincible” emerges on Prime Video as a beacon of mature storytelling and unflinching action. The second season picks up in the bloody wake of Omni-Man’s betrayal, with Mark Grayson and his mother Debbie wrestling with the fallout. Mark, under the watchful eye of the Global Defense Agency, seeks to mend the damage done by his father, while also navigating the trials of his personal life. The Guardians of the Globe are reformed, with new dynamics and challenges, as the narrative boldly tackles the emotional aftermath of the first season’s carnage. Despite a somewhat disjointed structure due to its split release, the season expands its scope and sharpens its edge, solidifying “Invincible” as a powerhouse in adult animation. The series’ enhanced animation quality elevates its already impressive action sequences, ensuring that each punch and every drop of blood hits with impact. “Invincible” Season 2 punches well above its weight, proving that the series is far from your average superhero show.
Streaming on Prime Video
All the Light We Cannot See (Limited Series)
Netflix’s “All the Light We Cannot See” emerges as a visually appealing yet narratively disjointed adaptation of Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. The series, which debuted at the Toronto Film Festival and stars Aria Mia Loberti, Mark Ruffalo, and Hugh Laurie, attempts to weave a tale of hope against the backdrop of World War II, focusing on the power of radio and the human spirit. Despite Loberti’s luminous debut and a stirring score by James Newton Howard, the adaptation strays significantly from its source material, opting for a louder and more heavy-handed approach that often undermines the subtlety and emotional depth of Doerr’s work. The narrative, which initially tries to maintain the novel’s dual timelines, soon devolves into a series of contrived conflicts and action sequences that dilute the story’s essence. The series’ interpretation of the characters’ struggles, particularly the sanitized portrayal of Werner’s moral dilemma, results in a loss of complexity, leaving viewers with a version that, while polished in production, lacks the intricate layers that made the book a literary success.
Streaming on Netflix
“Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony” (Special)
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, an annual celebration of music’s most iconic figures, transitions to Disney Plus for its latest installment. Retaining its essence, the ceremony showcases a star-studded lineup of inductees and performers. The 2023 class boasts influential names like Kate Bush, Sheryl Crow, Missy Elliott, George Michael, Willie Nelson, Rage Against the Machine, and Chaka Khan. The event is further embellished with performances and appearances by music royalty such as Stevie Nicks, Adam Levine, Brandi Carlile, Carrie Underwood, Common, Dave Matthews, Elton John, LL COOL J, Miguel, New Edition, Olivia Rodrigo, Queen Latifah, and Sia. This recorded homage to the greats of rock and roll promises to be a night of memorable performances and heartfelt tributes to the artists who have soundtracked our lives.
Begins streaming Friday, Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. ET on Disney Plus