Watching: A New Stand-Up Special

And a ton of new movies.

Author Headshot

By Margaret Lyons

Television Critic

Dear Watchers,

I was so bummed back in July when Netflix canceled “Tuca & Bertie,” but on Friday, Adult Swim announced that it had ordered a second season of the beautifully weird, emotionally literate cartoon. I can’t wait. Maybe everything will be super-smooth sailing between now and then …

Either way, we’ll see you Wednesday.


I need something soothing

Feels right.Adult Swim

‘Relaxing Old Footage With Joe Pera’

When to watch: Now, on YouTube

This lockdown special episode of “Joe Pera Talks With You” really does include relaxing old footage, mostly nature but also random clips, like “dinky coffee pot dutifully working away” or “laying chalk lines on a baseball diamond.” Joe Pera narrates with his arch wholesomeness, which slides gently between sweetly goofy observations and startling moments of real lyricism and humane insight. If you would rather just bliss out, you can also watch five hours of genuine “Tree TV,” which is merely excerpted in the special.


I want stand-up

Hannah Gadsby in her new special, “Douglas.”Ali Goldstein/Netflix

‘Hannah Gadsby: Douglas’

When to watch: Starting Tuesday, on Netflix.

Hannah Gadsby’s previous special, “Nanette,” was a cultural sensation in 2018, meta and potent and funny but also wrenching and cathartic. She says that makes “Douglas” her “difficult second album,” but luckily, “Douglas” isn’t actually difficult at all. It’s still meta and potent and funny, but it’s also sillier and freer. There are plenty of jokes about structural sexism — ha ha, ha ha — but also some good old fashioned wedgie humor and Ninja Turtle material, just as our ancestors enjoyed.


The trailer for “Douglas” made me want to crawl into a hole, but luckily it’s not representative. Instead, the special is mischievous and endearing, and Gadsby again pulls off the magician’s toughest trick by telling you exactly what she’s going to do but still making it feel like a complete surprise.

Your newly available movies of the week

Lise Leplat Prudhomme in “Joan of Arc” directed by Bruno Dumont.KimStim

The comic team of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon embark on one last picturesque adventure in “A Trip to Greece,” Kumail Nanjiani reunites with the director of “The Big Sick” for “The Lovebirds” and a French provocateur takes a second crack at the Joan of Arc story.

Some independent films are available via “virtual cinemas,” which share the rental fee between the distributor and the art-house theater of your choice. Other titles can generally be rented on all the usual platforms — Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube — unless otherwise noted. — Scott Tobias

‘Joan of Arc’ (A Critic’s Pick, via Film at Lincoln Center’s virtual cinema)

[Bruno] Dumont’s depiction of the French priests who try her is striking. Eager to deliver her to “the secular arm,” so that she can be executed without their taking any responsibility, the men are egotistical, cynical and bombastic in a way that’s contemporary without breaking the particular period spell the movie creates. — Glenn Kenny (Read the full review here.)

‘The Lovebirds’ (Netflix only)

Remember “Date Night,” with Steve Carell and Tina Fey? I didn’t either, until I saw “The Lovebirds” and tried to think of another movie that had similarly squandered the appeal of two popular comic performers in a rom-com caper that managed to be both frantic and lazy. — A.O. Scott (Read the full review here.)

‘Military Wives’ (stream it on Hulu; also for rent)

The title “Military Wives” is plain to the point of blandness. This good-hearted comedy-drama, starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Sharon Horgan, deserves a little better. The movie is directed by Peter Cattaneo, who also oversaw the 1997 phenom “The Full Monty.” His latest undertaking aspires to capture the same unusual-and-inspiring-activities-of-certain-people-in-Britain lightning in a bottle of that earlier picture. — Glenn Kenny (Read the full review here.)

‘The Painter and the Thief’ (stream it on Hulu; also for rent)

The director Benjamin Ree was searching for a story on art theft when he stumbled on [the Czech artist Barbora] Kysilkova and [the art thief Karl-Bertil] Nordland during the early stages of their relationship. He intertwines both painter and thief in compelling fashion, humanizing the latter without patronizing him. — Kristen Yoonsoo Kim (Read the full review here.)

‘The Trip to Greece’

The “Trip” movies have always been self-aware about their own weightlessness, wringing laughs by needling the men and their vanity. That’s as smart as it is convenient; this time, though, it also feels like a cop-out. — Manohla Dargis (Read the full review here.)

‘Villain’ (A Critic’s Pick)

Any movie containing the line “You need to grab that hacksaw and start on his legs” is already halfway to winning me over, and Philip Barantini’s “Villain” does not disappoint. Populated by men with fists like shovels and faces like bruised fruit, this British crime drama has, for all its grime and gutter maneuvering, an unusual, mournful dignity. — Jeannette Catsoulis (Read the full review here.)

Also newly available:

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