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4 New TV Shows to Watch This Week (And Just as Many Movies), From ‘The Old Man’ to ‘Evil’

More exciting new movies are streaming this week than are in the multiplex

This week pretty much has it all – it has Jeff Bridges leading a cool-sounding new series, the end of an exemplary season of Bill Hader’s “Barry,” a new show from Robert Redford and George R.R. Martin (!) and the return of our beloved “Evil.” Plus, there are more big new movies streaming this week than are in theaters, including a new Chris Hemsworth thriller, a Jennifer Lopez documentary and a pair of buzzy Sundance breakouts – one starring Emma Thompson and the other with Dakota Johnson. So, yes, a very good week indeed!

On with the television!

“The Old Man”
Thursday, June 16 at 9 p.m., FX

THE OLD MAN — Pictured: Jeff Bridges as Dan Chase. CR: Kurt Iswarienko/FX

This limited series has an ingenious, paperback thriller conceit (and, truth be told, it was based on a book of the same name by Thomas Perry) and a fine pedigree – it is Jeff Bridges’ first regular role on a television series and the first two episodes were directed by Jon Watts, whose last film was a little indie art house darling called “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” In the limited series Bridges plays a former spy who lives a sleepy life in New England with his dogs. When an assassin tries to kill him, he is forced out of retirement, pursued by various forces, including an FBI director played by John Lithgow. With a terrific cast that includes Amy Brenneman (as Bridges’ uneasy partner) and Alia Shawkat (as a junior FBI agent working for Lithgow) and what looks like an emphasis on tightly wound suspense set pieces, “The Old Man” could be a sleeper hit for the summer. [INTERVIEW]

“Barry”
Sunday, June 12, HBO

bill-hader-barry-season-3-episode-7
HBO

“Barry” has always been dark. The comedy has been threaded with bleakness from the beginning; the title character (played by co-creator and frequent writer and director Bill Hader) is an assassin who is trying to put the violence of his past behind him, partially by enrolling in acting classes. But this season (its third) has taken a much, much darker tone. Barry is even more unlikable, especially in regards to his strained, very nearly abusive relationship with girlfriend Sally (Sarah Golding). There’s also the increasingly bloody showdown between the various drug dealers (including our beloved Noho Hank, played by Anthony Carrigan) and the campaign of Barry’s former partner Fuchs (Stephen Root) to create a revenge army. Things reached a head with last week’s episode, which saw Barry embarking on an odyssey through the afterlife after being poisoned by one of Fuchs’ vengeance-seekers. While the show has already been renewed for a fourth season, it’s probably safe to say it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Although the question remains: how much darker can “Barry” go? [RECAP]

summer-movie

“Spiderhead”
Friday, June 17, Netflix

spiderhead-chris-hemsworth
Netflix

Director Joseph Kosinski has the hottest movie in the world right now with “Top Gun: Maverick,” his blockbuster sequel to the 1986 classic. But considering “Top Gun” was fully finished in the summer of 2020, it’s not surprising that he already had another project lined up – in this case, “Spiderhead,” a contained sci-fi thriller (yes, filmed during quarantine) based on a George Saunders short story that originally appeared in The New Yorker. In “Spiderhead,” Kosinski’s frequent collaborator Miles Teller plays a prisoner taking part in a mysterious medical test being administered by a charismatic pharmaceutical rep played by Chris Hemsworth. (Jurnee Smollett is a fellow prisoner.) Of course, much weirdness abounds as Teller’s character starts to figure out what is actually going on and Hemsworth continues to push the envelope on the mood-altering experiments. Trading the expansiveness of “Top Gun: Maverick” for a kind of creeping claustrophobia, “Spiderhead” is a wild and woolly blast (it was written by “Deadpool” scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick), full of sex, violence and yacht rock classics. [TRAILER]

“Halftime”
Tuesday, June 14, Netflix

Netflix

How about a new Jennifer Lopez documentary to make things right? “Halftime” uses Jennifer Lopez’s spectacular performance at the 2020 Super Bowl Halftime Show to assess Lopez’s life and career at 50 – where she’s come, where she’s headed and everything she’s accomplished in between. (Let us all take a moment and consider that somehow she wasn’t Oscar nominated for 2019’s masterpiece “Hustlers.”) For a figure as public as Lopez, this promises to be an illuminating look behind the scenes. And considering it was directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Amanda Micheli, you know that it won’t be some fluffy nonsense. And everyone will be talking about it. [REVIEW]

“Lovecraft Country”
HBO Max

lovecraft country michael k williams
HBO

Sure, J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele’s “Lovecraft Country” was uneven and sometimes incomprehensible. But it’s hard not to appreciate what it was going for and miss its unmoored oddness. Misha Green’s series, loosely based on the novel by Matt Ruff, takes place in an alternate version of the American South, one that is stuffed full of witchcraft, wizardry and inhuman creatures. It didn’t wholly work, but the game cast (including Jonathan Major, Jurnee Smollett, Aunjanue Ellis, Michael K. Williams and Abbey Lee), inventive visual effects and flights of fancy (including an entire episode set during Major’s time in the Korean war, during which time he has an affair with a supernatural creature), made it a frequently entertaining and never-boring delight. While the series wasn’t picked up for a second season (with some owing that to Green fostering a toxic work environment), it was fun while it lasted. [WATCH]

“Evil”
Sunday, June 12, Paramount+
One of TV’s best series returns. And we’re fairly sure it’ll be just as evil as ever. “Evil,” created by “The Good Wife” creators Robert and Michelle King, follows a team of investigators, led by Katja Herbers and including Mile Colter and Aasif Mandvi, who look into supposedly supernatural occurrences at the behest of the Catholic church. It’s a show that thrives on its own wickedness and this season, the first where the creative team knew it would be streaming on Paramount+ instead of network television, could get even wilder. (“Lost” costar Michael Emerson is the thorn in their side, a devil-worshipping weirdo.) If you’ve never seen “Evil,” it’s never too late to be swayed by the demonic impulse. [TEASER]

“Dark Winds”
Sunday, June 12 at 9 p.m., AMC
An adaptation of Tony Hillerman’s Leaphorn and Chee novels (there were nearly 20 of them), “Dark Winds” focuses on a pair of Navajo detectives (played by Zahn McClarnon and Kiowa Gordon) who investigate crimes in the 1970s Southwest. (It was previously adapted by documentary filmmaker Errol Morris into a narrative feature in 1991.) This new adaptation is produced by Robert Redford and “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin and boasts a hooky premise, terrific actors and the possibility of being a midsummer breakthrough. [TRAILER]

“Father of the Bride”

Thursday, June 16, HBO Max
Here comes the bride! Another adaptation of the 1949 Edward Streeter novel, this HBO Max original film is set in the Cuban-American community and stars Andy Garcia as the fretful father, Gloria Estefan as his put-upon wife and Adria Arjona as the bride-to-be. (Chloe Fineman is the over-the-top wedding planner, a role immortalized by Martin Short in the 1991 Disney adaptation of the novel.) If the trailer is any indication this will be warmhearted and hilarious. [TRAILER]

“Cha Cha Real Smooth”
Friday, June 17, Apple TV+
A breakout of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it was acquired by Apple TV+ for a whopping $15 million, “Cha Cha Real Smooth” focuses on Andrew (writer/director Cooper Raiff), a Bar Mitzvah party host who falls in young with a young mother (Dakota Johnson). At Sundance the film won the Audience Award from the U.S. Dramatic Competition and was rapturously received by critics, who praised the humor and heart. Could this be the next “CODA?” [REVIEW]

“Good Luck to You, Leo Grande”
Friday, June 17, Hulu
Another Sundance Film Festival smash, “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande” stars Emma Thompson as a retired widow who is looking for some steamy fun after a largely boring marriage. She hires a male sex worker named Leo Grande (Daryl McCormack) and together they share a night together. Critics adored the film and Disney’s arthouse arm Searchlight scooped it up for a Hulu premiere. Sometimes you need a little prestige at home. [REVIEW]

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