A Lost-like mystery unfolds in a mysterious pocket of America in From
Ominously, we learn that monsters aren’t an insane threat. They’re cunning, they’re manipulative, and they’re extremely sadistic. Only the bravest viewers will dare to watch in the dark.
The celebration of convicted rapist Mike Tyson as a pop culture teddy bear is a disconcerting contrarian of the MeToo era. This flawed biodrama series of Me Tonya writer Steven Rogers spends half its length going with the flow, eliminating and downplaying Tyson’s abuse of women. Next is Tyson’s 1991 rape of 18-year-old Desiree Washington, and the series delivers a blow to the body that takes the viewer’s breath away.
The episode, written by executive producers Karin Gist and Samantha Corbin-Miller and directed by Tiffany Johnson, features relatively little of Tyson (the towering and versatile Trevante Rhodes). His depiction of Washington — hauntingly portrayed by Li Eubanks — and the devastation Tyson inflicted upon him is a sudden and belated course correction.
Previous episodes are mixed, despite some terrific performances, including from Rhodes and Harvey Keitel as boxing trainer Cus D’Amato. It’s impossible not to feel for young Tyson, the victim of relentless and damaging violence from an early age, but Rogers’ bizarre decision to structure the series as a dramatization of Tyson’s self-serving one-man show builds on a excuse mechanism that works overtime.
AMC+, from Thursday
This thoughtful and sometimes gruesome anime-style sci-fi thriller series is a gripping work based on a collection of short stories by Ken Liu. A bullied teenager named Maddie mysteriously gains an online ally who begins to torment her bullies. We soon learn that it is his deceased father, David, whose consciousness was uploaded in a pioneering experiment. With such technology meant to bestow enormous wealth and power on those who control it, there is also a bitter international conspiracy going on.
The CGI bunny is lovable and the human drama written in a poignant and piercing way, but this four-part series can sometimes get too dark and scary for younger viewers. Ollie is a gorgeous patchwork plushie and best friend to young Billy (Kesler Talbot), who is cruelly bullied at school and whose mother (Gina Rodriguez) is slowly dying at home. When Ollie is lost, the quest for reunification begins. Oscar-winning director Peter Ramsay (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) does a terrific job with the human cast as well as the animated one.
Amazon Prime Video
This Sylvester Stallone feature is a surprisingly enjoyable blend of ultra-violent ’80s action flick and grim, dark 21st-century superhero fantasy. Stallone plays an old garbage truck driver named Joe, who may or may not be the lost local superhero that 13-year-old Sam (Javon Walton) wants him to be. Australian director Julius Avery gives their Rust Belt town and its vicious criminal element a decidedly modern look that still evokes classics such as madmax. Expect unspoken self-awareness, crunchy action and explosions.
Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
Hunter S. Thompson has expanded journalism in an extraordinary way. Emerging from the countercultural turmoil of 1960s San Francisco, his searing reporting was participatory and partisan, fueled by alcohol, drugs and righteous rage. But Thompson was no mere circus clown – as this documentary by Alex Gibney amply attests (Getting to the Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief). Gibney’s focus on Thompson at his most politically relevant level is welcome, but it makes the larger picture less than complete, especially when it comes to his early life influences.
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