Watching: What to Watch This Weekend

The heroes are super, but the ducks aren’t mighty.

By Margaret Lyons

Dear Watchers,

This weekend our newsletter celebrates its fifth birthday. Thank you to all of you who have read and watched along with us.

Have a beautiful weekend.

This weekend I have … 45 minutes, and I want more superheroes

Omni-Man (voiced by J.K. Simmons) teaches his son, Mark (voiced by Steven Yeun), the superhero ropes on “Invincible.”Amazon

‘Invincible’

When to watch: Now, on Amazon.

This new animated series from Robert Kirkman (“The Walking Dead”), adapted from his comic, centers on Mark (voiced by Steven Yeun), a teenager who looks up to his superhero father (J.K. Simmons) and is eager to follow in his footsteps. Maybe he shouldn’t be quite so eager, though — Omni-Man might not be as super or heroic as he seems. Although the show’s themes of individuating from one’s parents and developing a support system and moral code fit in a more Y.A. space, its extreme gore is decidedly adult. The first three episodes drop Friday, and the subsequent five will be released weekly through April 30.

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… an hour, and quack quack quack

Lauren Graham, foreground, in a scene from “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers.”Liane Hentscher/ABC

‘The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers’

When to watch: Now, on Disney+.

Like “Cobra Kai” and “Saved by the Bell,” this “Mighty Ducks” revival is a good-natured series set in the same world as the original, with some returning characters and some next generation children in the mix. Lauren Graham stars as roughly the same character she played on “Gilmore Girls” and “Parenthood,” a charming and devoted single mom who on this show starts a hockey team so her tween son can keep playing after he is cut from the now-villainous Ducks. The rink where they practice is run by none other than Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez), who swears he’s out of the hockey world. But if you’ve ever encountered even a molecule of popular entertainment before, you know that vow won’t last.

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… four hours, and I can’t wait for summer

Charlie Gustafsson and Hedda Stiernstedt in a scene from “The Restaurant: 1951.”Niklas Maupoix/Sundance Now

‘The Restaurant: 1951’

When to watch: Now, on Sundance Now.

Season 1 of this Swedish drama (in Swedish, with subtitles) starts in 1945, Season 2 in 1955, Season 3 in 1968. But this four-episode fourth season takes us back to the summer of 1951. Calle and Nina (Charlie Gustafsson and Hedda Stiernstedt), the central couple on the series, are married to other people, and they pretend as if they’re going to keep their distance. But how many longing stares and sighs can two characters — or one viewer — possibly endure? If you like period dramas in general or ensemble dramas in which adult siblings have meaningful beef with one another, or if all your dreams involve sun-soaked seashores, watch this.

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Your newly available movies

Anthony Hopkins in “The Father.”Sean Gleason/Sony Pictures Classics

The good news for movie lovers during the pandemic is that nearly all of the Oscar nominees were quickly available for home viewing. And now the one big holdout, “The Father,” has finally made its way to video on-demand. Nominated for best picture and best actor, the film stars Anthony Hopkins as a recalcitrant loner with dementia, and it’s one of five Critic’s Picks this week.

Some independent films are available via “virtual cinemas,” which share the rental fees between distributors and theaters. Unless otherwise noted, other titles can generally be rented on the usual platforms, including Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube. SCOTT TOBIAS

‘Bad Trip’ (Netflix only)

However effortful, the movie’s tricks are more likely to activate your gorge than your funny bone. An end-credits reveal of the hidden cameras to the film’s good-natured dupes has a humorous purity that’s unexpected and appealing — if far too late to mitigate the dreck that has gone before. — Jeannette Catsoulis (Read the full review here.)

The Father’ (A Critic’s Pick)

At once stupendously effective and profoundly upsetting, “The Father” might be the first movie about dementia to give me actual chills. On its face a simple, uncomfortably familiar story about the heartbreaking mental decline of a beloved parent, this first feature from the French novelist and playwright Florian Zeller plays with perspective so cleverly that maintaining any kind of emotional distance is impossible. — Jeannette Catsoulis (Read the full review here.)

‘Miracle Fishing: Kidnapped Abroad’ (A Critic’s Pick; Discovery+ only)

Few people in this position would think to pick up a camera, let alone keep filming for so long. That makes “Miracle Fishing” a unique and harrowing record. — Ben Kenigsberg (Read the full review here.)

‘Nina Wu’ (A Critic’s Pick, via Museum of the Moving Image’s virtual cinema)

Like “Mulholland Drive,” a clear touchstone, “Nina Wu” grows increasingly disjunctive as beguiling, eerily sensual incursions from a jealous rival rattle the actress. At the same time, cinematic illusion is rendered indistinguishable from reality with rug-pulling that feels genuinely shocking. — Beatrice Loayza (Read the full review here.)

‘Tina’ (A Critic’s Pick; HBO only starting 3/27)

You may believe you know [Tina] Turner’s tale. And you may be right. It is retold well here, but the most moving portions — and they could bring tears to your eyes — come as Turner, almost 80 at the time of this interview (and as beautiful as she has ever been), wearing a tailored black suit, sits and discusses where she’s at now. — Glenn Kenny (Read the full review here.)

‘Violation’ (A Critic’s Pick; Shudder only)

[The directors Dusty Mancinelli and Madeleine Sims-Fewer] have given their subject matter the focus it deserves, distinguishing themselves as thoughtful, artistic and uncompromising in their shared vision. This female-centered story manages to be gutsy while resisting exploitation — a welcome and nuanced addition to a genre often hobbled by didacticism. — Lena Wilson (Read the full review here.)

Also newly available:

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Also this weekend

And now, let us all hum the theme song for “Doug.”Nickelodeon/Viacom
  • A boatload of vintage Nickelodeon shows are now on Paramount+, including “All That,” “Allegra’s Window,” “Are You Afraid of the Dark?,” “Blue’s Clues,” “Cat Dog,” “Clarissa Explains It All,” “Double Dare,” “Doug,” “Eureeka’s Castle,” “Gullah Gullah Island,” “Guts,” “Hey Arnold!,” “Hey Dude,” “KaBlam!,” “Kenan & Kel,” “Legends of the Hidden Temple,” “Rocko’s Modern Life,” “Rugrats,” “Salute Your Shorts” and “You Can’t Do That on Television.”
  • “American Masters: Twyla Moves,” a documentary about Twyla Tharp, airs Friday at 9 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings.)
  • The N.A.A.C.P. Image Awards air Saturday at 8 p.m. on ViacomCBS networks, including BET and CBS.
  • “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” returns Sunday at 9 p.m. on NBC.

EXTRA-CREDIT READING

Why Jessica Walter’s Pictures Said a Thousand Words

The late actress had a long career. But her comic precision and delivery as Lucille Bluth made her memorable in the internet’s shortest form.

By James Poniewozik

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The ‘Solar Opposites’ Creators Apologize for Their Clairvoyance

Who knew an animated series about misanthropic space aliens could feel so relevant? Mike McMahan and Justin Roiland explained ahead of Season 2 why it isn’t their fault.

By Scott Tobias

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Creator of ‘All Rise’ on CBS Is Fired After Writers’ Complaints

Greg Spottiswood had faced numerous complaints over the way issues of race and gender were addressed on the show, a rare prime-time CBS drama with a Black woman as a protagonist.

By Nicole Sperling

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Anatomy of a Scene

Watch a Family Build a New Life in America in ‘Minari’

Lee Isaac Chung narrates an early scene from his Oscar-nominated film about Korean immigrants who move to rural Arkansas.

By Mekado Murphy

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A Tiny Icelandic Town Campaigns for the Oscars

First Husavik was the setting for the Netflix film “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.” Now, a song named after the town is up for an Oscar.

By Egill Bjarnason

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Cristin Milioti Is No One’s Accessory

In HBO Max’s “Made for Love,” the “Palm Springs” actress again dismantles romantic clichés. “I didn’t get into this to be a handbag to a man’s story,” she said.

By Alexis Soloski

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In ‘Invincible,’ a Young Hero Arrives for a Mature Audience

The animated version of the comic book series cocreated by Robert Kirkman premieres — with mayhem, destruction and gore — on Amazon Prime Video on Friday.

By George Gene Gustines

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