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What to Watch on TV and at the Movies This Week

Juicy true crime on Lifetime, zombies on HBO and the return of ‘Night Court’!

Christian Bale as Augustus Landor in "The Pale Blue Eye."
Christian Bale stars in "The Pale Blue Eye."
Scott Garfield/Netflix

What’s on this week? Whether it’s what’s on cable, streaming on Prime Video or Netflix, or at your local movie theater, we’ve got your must-watch list for the week. Start with TV and scroll down for movies. It’s all right here.

​On TV this week …

How to Murder Your Husband: The Nancy Brophy Story

In a fictionalized true story, Cybill Shepherd plays Portland romance thriller writer Nancy Crampton-Brophy, 72, and Steve Guttenberg (Police Academy) plays the eminent chef husband she killed after inadvisably writing such works as The Wrong HusbandThe Wrong Lover and How to Murder Your Husband. “The thing I know about murder,” said the real Crampton-Brophy, “is that every one of us have it in him/her when pushed far enough.”

Watch it: How to Murder Your Husband, Jan. 14 at 8 p.m. ET, on Lifetime

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The Last of Us

HBO outspent Game of Thrones on this blockbuster fantasy show starring GOT veteran Pedro Pascal as a man smuggling a teen (Bella Ramsey of the must-see Lena Dunham movie Catherine Called Birdy) across a post-apocalyptic U.S. beset by a fungus that turns humans into Walking Dead-ish cannibal zombies. Nick Offerman and White Lotus breakout Murray Bartlett costar, with hot Yellowjackets star Melanie Lynskey as a ruthless revolutionary leader. The look of the show is inspired by Alan Weisman’s nonfiction masterpiece The World Without Us, which describes what Earth would be like if humans disappeared.

Watch it: The Last of Us, Jan. 15, on HBO

Don’t miss this: The 10 Network TV Shows We’re Most Excited to Watch This January

Night Court 

John Larroquette returns as a sardonic prosecutor turned defense attorney in the reboot of the classic show that made him famous, with Melissa Rauch as Judge Stone (playing the daughter of Harry Anderson’s original Judge Stone character).

Watch it: Night Court, Jan. 17 at 8 p.m. ET, on NBC

Zora Neale Hurston: Claiming a Space 

PBS’ American Experience seldom disappoints, and Hurston, the professional anthropologist and Their Eyes Were Watching God author, who spun her deep studies of Black American and Caribbean folklore into literature that propelled the Harlem Renaissance, is one titanic subject. Director Tracy Heather Strain won a Peabody Award for her previous documentary, Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart.

Watch it: Zora Neale Hurston: Claiming a Space, Jan. 17 at 9 p.m. ET, on PBS

Your Netflix watch of the week is here!

The Pale Blue Eye, R

Edgar Allan Poe was a West Point cadet in 1830, and though he never found a fellow cadet with his heart torn out, I bet he would’ve said just what Cadet Poe (Harry Melling) tells Detective Landor (Christian Bale) in this No. 1 Netflix whodunit: “The man you’re looking for is a poet. To remove a man’s heart is to traffic in symbol.” And to nab him? “Who better equipped for such labor than a poet?” Detective and poetic cadet put their heads together (and hearts — Poe had lost a mother, Landor a wife and child) and creep ever closer to cracking the case. The tale is good, not great, but there’s brooding period atmosphere to burn and the cast is killer: Timothy Spall as the scandal-dreading West Point superintendent, Toby Jones as the cadets’ shady doctor and Gillian Anderson as his snooty, hypersensitive wife, Charlotte Gainsbourg as Landor’s sweetie, and Robert Duvall (92) as an expert on occult symbols the killer seems to dig.

Watch it: The Pale Blue Eye, on Netflix

Don’t miss this: The 13 Best Things Coming to Netflix in January

​Your Prime Video watch of the week is here!

Hunters, Season 2 (Prime Video Original)

​The unsinkable Al Pacino returns to Prime for a second and final season of the conspiracy drama that focuses on Nazi hunters. In the Oscar winner’s first TV series lead, he’s a Holocaust survivor who recruits a team of well-intentioned predators (including Logan Lerman) to snuff out swastika-bearing antagonists. Jennifer Jason Leigh joins the cast, and Lena Olin returns as the villainous Eva Braun, she-wolf of the Fourth Reich, in this eight-part sequel that continues to raise awareness about anti-Semitism and the agency of the Jewish people.

Watch it: Hunters, Jan. 13, on Prime Video

​Don’t miss this: The 11 Best Things Coming to Prime Video in January

What’s good at the movies and on TV

⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ A Man Called Otto, PG-13

Wait — is that the famously nice ​​Tom Hanks dressing down two hardware store employees undeserving of his ire? What have they done to our beloved actor? In A Man Called Otto (based on the number 1 best-selling novel and Swedish film hit A Man Called Ove), Hanks plays ill-tempered widower Otto Anderson, who oversees his neighborhood with grimace and furrowed brow. Though the dramatic comedy signals that a break in his frosty temperament must come, Hanks doesn’t let on as to when the ice will crack. The work of thawing Otto is left to others. Will their acts of reclamation outpace his plans to take his life? There are the old neighbors who were close with him and his late wife, Sonya (played in flashbacks by Hanks’ son Truman as the young Otto and Rachel Keller as Mrs. Anderson). There are new folks who extend him a grace that he hasn’t quite earned. (That these characters are Black, Latino or trans suggests the filmmakers crafted a sentimental parable for our times, a notion sure to elicit some to cry, “Humbug.”) But it is Mariana Treviño, as Marisol, a recent Mexican immigrant and Otto’s new neighbor, who serves as the movie’s blast of affirming light so searing even Otto feels it. Hanks fans may flock to A Man Called Otto. Treviño is the unexpected quasar here. —Lisa Kennedy (L.K.)

Watch it: A Man Called Otto, in theaters

The Rig, Season 1 (Prime Video Original)

Miles off the Scottish coast on an oil platform staffed largely with manly men, a fog rolls in. And, as in James Cameron’s The Abyss, an environmental catastrophe unfolds with a side of paranormal activity and mass worker hysteria. Iain Glen (Game of Thrones’ Jorah Mormont) tries to keep the remote crew unified, promising to get everyone home. But as the rig shakes and shimmies and loses power, what’s really causing the crisis — and how can the men and women who harvest fossil fuels survive?

Watch it: The Rig, on Prime Video

⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ Turn Every Page — The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb, PG

Robert Caro, famed biographer of Robert Moses and LBJ, formed a long-standing, life-changing relationship with legendary editor Robert Gottlieb. Produced and directed by Gottlieb’s daughter Lizzie (Today’s Man), this empathetic documentary honors book culture while exploring the way these men used the biographical form to understand political power. It also reveals editorial battles big and small, from vocal arguments about semicolons to the cutting of 350,000 words in a manuscript. Turn Every Page is a fascinating take on two articulate New Yorkers who came together and shaped the world of publishing, while exemplifying the enduring power of the written word. —Thelma M. Adams (T.M.A.) 

Watch it: Turn Every Page, in theaters

⭐⭐⭐☆☆ White Noise, R

Don DeLillo’s 1985 dystopian novel White Noise, set in academia during an airborne toxic event, has long been considered unfilmable. Writer-director Noah Baumbach does little to change that notion. It’s another one of 2022’s high profile, star-encrusted projects (like Amsterdam and Babylon) that struggles to be as good as its dazzling cast and provocative premise. As Professor Jack Gladney, a scholar of “Hitler Studies” at the College-on-the-Hill, Adam Driver never disappoints, even though he sometimes appears to be acting in his own movie. Don Cheadle delights as Gladney’s Elvis-obsessed colleague. An ultra-permed Greta Gerwig (Baumbach’s partner) is miscast as Gladney’s pep-pill-popping wife, Babette. An environmental accident forces the Gladneys to stop navel-gazing and evacuate in the family station wagon with kids in tow. But they never escape their mid-’80s malaise. —T.M.A.

Watch it: White Noise, in theaters and on Netflix

Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical

In a tuneful adaptation of Dahl’s children’s classic, a bright young girl battles her wicked school headmistress Miss Trunchbull (chronic scene-stealer Emma Thompson).

Watch it: Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical, on Netflix

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, PG-13

In this must-see Knives Out sequel, sleuth Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) attends a murder mystery party thrown by a Musk-like zillionaire (Edward Norton). Hilarity and homicide ensue.

Watch it: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, on Netflix


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In the hotly awaited prequel to Yellowstone, Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren (who played a married couple in 1986’s The Mosquito Coast) play Montana’s Jacob and Cara Dutton, the great-great-uncle and great-great-aunt of Yellowstones John Dutton (Kevin Costner). They cope with pandemics, drought, the end of Prohibition, the start of the Great Depression and villainous enemies played by Game of Thrones’ Jerome Flynn and former James Bond Timothy Dalton. Not a bad lineup for Ford’s TV series debut.

Watch it: 1923, on Paramount+

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Season 3 (Amazon original)

Fans of Amazon’s adaptation of Clancy’s Jack Ryan series, with John Krasinski starring as the intelligence operative once played in the movies by Harrison Ford, have been waiting three years for this latest season. Krasinski’s superspy will be hopscotching across Europe attempting to save the planet from World War III, but this time he’s also running from his own CIA, having been framed for … something or other.

Watch it: Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, on Prime Video

And read an interview with Wendell Pierce: Meet Broadway’s First Black Willy Loman in ‘Death of a Salesman’

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Top Gun: Maverick

Feel the need for speed? Tom Cruise’s greatest hit, the sequel to his 1986 flyboy epic, is now streaming.

Watch it: Top Gun: Maverickon Paramount+on Prime Video and on demand

⭐⭐⭐☆☆ Babylon, R

Oscar darling Damien Chazelle (La La Land) has made a big, bubbly, tap-dancing, coke-snorting extravaganza set in the 1920s and early 1930s. Imagine a big, fat Hollywood orgy with leading lady Margot Robbie as an ambitious starlet, Brad Pitt as a jaded silent film star, Jean Smart as a gossip columnist and breakout Diego Calva channeling Al Pacino. The salacious period piece unpacks the explosive moment when silent movies began to fade along with many of their stars, and the world of talkies rose up to reinvent moving pictures and raise its own matinee idols. The performances are fun, the music raucous, the costumes glorious. And yet, the entire visual feast of a movie recalls the excessive party scene in Baz Luhrmann's overstuffed The Great Gatsby, beautiful and damned. Sooner or later, the drugs wear off, the morning comes, and the story disappears into the dusty light of day. —T.M.A.

Watch it: Babylon, in theaters

The Volcano: Rescue From Whakaari

Rory Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy’s Oscar-nominated documentarian daughter, presents a spectacular disaster film that’s also an inspiring true story of 47 quick-thinking people trapped by an erupting volcano on an island off the coast of New Zealand. It was the No. 1 Netflix Original hit this week.

Watch it: The Volcano: Rescue From Whakaari, on Netflix

Don’t miss this: Members Only Access: Rory Kennedy interview

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Women Talking, PG-13

Fans of The Handmaid’s Tale may like this smarter, more arty movie inspired by the horrific true story of women in a Mennonite religious community who were drugged and raped in their sleep by men. Eight women gather in a hayloft to debate whether to flee or submit meekly to unseen, impenitent male authorities. The cast is fantastic, led by Judith Ivey, Frances McDormand, Rooney Mara, Claire Foy and Jessie Buckley. For a film that’s basically all talk, it’s highly dramatic, and gorgeously photographed. —Tim Appelo (T.A.)

Watch it: Women Talking, in limited theaters, wide release Jan. 27

⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ Living, PG-13

Bill Nighy is at his very best, unflinching, unflagging, as heartbreakingly useful, very proper British bureaucrat Mr. Williams. His life has been an homage to dutiful respectability. As his doctor gives him a terminal prognosis, he realizes that for all his proper behavior from birth to near retirement, he forgot to live, to give and receive joy, to risk and rise. Based on a simple yet elegant screenplay adapted by Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of the Day) from the 1952 Japanese masterpiece Ikiru, this wise and moving drama is an existential journey that celebrates learning how to live life, in all its fleeting beauty — and a reminder not to wait until the last minute to celebrate the wonders of existence on this lonely planet. —T.M.A.

Watch it: Living, in theaters

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Corsage, NR

Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread) thrills in a creative burst of historical fiction that falls between Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette and the Princess Di film Spencer. She plays Sissi, the iconic empress of Austria, wife to Emperor Franz Joseph and mother of four. Exuberantly written and directed by Marie Kreutzer, the film begins when the beauty has a royal midlife crisis at 40. She's fed up with trying to keep up appearances in the social straitjacket of her corset. Groomed to be in the public eye, sometimes adored, sometimes criticized, she’s rarely valued for her individuality. This astounding film reimagines the breakthrough moment of Elisabeth’s rebellion to reclaim herself and her agency, to slip out of life’s corset and, even if it’s only for one shining moment, dance like nobody’s watching. It’s both exhilarating and tragic. For another popular 2022 take on her life story, try Netflix’s The Empress—T.M.A.

Watch it: Corsage, in theaters

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Bardo: False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths, R

Director Alejandro González Iñárritu takes on the role of an itinerant troubadour who conveys his people’s stories, legends and traditions. Silverio Gama (Daniel Giménez Cacho, a stand-in for Iñárritu), a successful Mexican documentarian living the U.S., visits Mexico City and undergoes a transition in which memories, dreams and fantasies become confused with “reality.” Like a soul hovering between one reincarnation and the next in Tibetan Buddhism’s “bardo,” Silverio feels “from neither here nor there.” He enters a labyrinth of memories and visions: He appears on a bizarre, circuslike Mexican TV show, chats with conquistador Cortés and has a vision of the thousands of unresolved disappearances, femicides and gruesome murders that happen every year in Mexico, with impunity or acquiescence by authorities. The sequences depicting the violence of modern-day Mexico are magnificent. Bardo is a 174-minute recitative poem that rises to the level of such classics as Kalatozov’s I Am Cuba and Tarkovsky’s Mirror—Anne Hoyt (A.H.)

Watch it: Bardo: False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths, on Netflix

⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ Avatar: The Way of Water, PG-13

Welcome back to the distant moon Pandora, the paradise of the saintly, otherworldly Na’vi people, menaced by nasty, gnarly Col. Miles Quaritch. The sequel to the biggest film hit ever boasts whale-like tulkun, skimwings, ilus and ikran, dragon-like predators that make the fire-breathing beasts in Game of Thrones seem like beagles. Director James Cameron completely succeeds at world building — he’s the Jacques Cousteau of CGI undersea photography. Why is it a lock for a visual effects Oscar? Because it may be the movie that most exemplifies why we should go out to the theater for that big-screen, big special effects experience. Who doesn’t love iridescent sea creatures, fiery cinders and weapons poking into the theater through the magic of 3D? If there’s only one movie you put on pants and leave the house for, this one is it for the visuals alone. —T.M.A.

Watch it: Avatar: The Way of Water, in theaters

Ticket to Paradise (2022)

Divorcees (George Clooney and Julia Roberts) jet to Bali to prevent their lovestruck daughter (Dopesick's Kaitlyn Dever) from making the mistake they made: getting married. Clooney and Roberts are friends in real life, and this is their fifth movie together, so their bickering is masterfully amusing.

Watch it: Ticket to Paradise, on Peacock

Don’t miss this: Julia Roberts’ Best Rom-Com Roles, Ranked!

⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ The Whale, R

After decades off Hollywood’s radar, Brendan Fraser leaps back into the spotlight as a front-runner for the best actor Oscar, playing Charlie, an online college writing teacher who left his wife for a man. His lover died, and he treated his grief by overeating to the point of dangerous obesity. His late lover’s sister (Hong Chau) visits to harangue and take care of him. His enraged ex-wife (formidable Samantha Morton) gives him bad vibes, as does his neglected, remarkably nasty teen daughter (Sadie Sink). A young missionary from a local cult (Ty Simpkins) tries to redeem Charlie, or rather himself. It’s as grueling and overwrought as director Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan but not excruciating like his notorious Jennifer Lawrence film Mother! What makes it a must-see is Fraser’s daring, difficult, deeply moving performance as an infinitely kind and regretful man at the end of his rapidly fraying rope. —T.A.

Watch it: The Whale, in theaters


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Neil Young: Harvest Time, Unrated

If you liked The Beatles: Get Back, try Neil Young’s documentary about the making of his 1972 smash hit Harvest, an album so good, Dylan complained that Young was invading “my thing.” Young tapped a similar vein of Americana in immortal tunes like “Heart of Gold,” “Old Man,” “The Needle and the Damage Done” and “Are You Ready for the Country?” Seeing his creative process in a movie that takes you back to a groovier time is wonderful. It’s only screening in limited theaters starting Dec. 1. If you can’t make it to the movie, there’s a 50th-anniversary boxed set of the album, released Dec. 2, which also includes performances from his 1971 BBC concert.

Watch it: Neil Young: Harvest Time, in limited theaters

Don’t miss this: Neil Young on His New ‘World Record,’ Beck NFL Controversy and Converting Kanye to Climate Action

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Emma Corrin (The Crown’s Princess Diana) plays a wife whose impotent World War I vet husband wants her to get discreetly pregnant by another man of their class — but she scandalously falls for a gamekeeper (Jack O’Connell from Skins) in a terrific, sexy adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s steamy novel.

Watch it: Lady Chatterley’s Lover, on Netflix

Good Night Oppy (Amazon Original)

Think Wall-E, only for real. Documentarian Ryan White hooked up with the special effects wizards of ILM to tell the story of the two Mars rovers NASA shot into space back in 2003 for what were supposed to be three-month missions. Astonishingly, one rover, Spirit, kept going for seven years; the other, Opportunity, for nearly 15. The Hollywood Reporter calls it a “celebration of unabashed nerdiness and enthusiastic problem-solving, the sort of movie that feels designed to attract Wall-E-loving children, who can then be shaped into the engineers and astrophysicists of the future.”

Watch it: Good Night Oppy, on Prime Video

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, PG-13

In the most eagerly anticipated superhero movie of all, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman)  fight to protect Africa’s best-kept-secret kingdom. Instead of recasting the first film’s central role of King T’Challa after beloved star Chadwick Boseman died of cancer, the sequel makes the character’s death an emotional engine driving the plot. Nyong’o said this “put our grief to good use.”​

Watch it: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, in theaters

Don’t miss this: ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’: Strong Women, Spock-Like Fish Men

⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ The Fabelmans, PG-13

​In the front-runner for the best picture Oscar, boy meets camera — hilarity and pathos ensue. That’s the good part of Steven Spielberg’s wobbly autobiopic about movie nut Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel Labelle) growing up absurd (and Jewish) in white-bread suburbia 60 years ago. As electronics genius Bert Fabelman (Paul Dano) drags his wife (Michelle Williams), three daughters and Sammy from South Jersey to points west, Spielberg studs the film with inspired household slapstick but falls short on revelation or epiphany. He and cowriter Tony Kushner diagram rather than dramatize the temperamental clash between an orderly scientific dad and a disorderly artistic mom; the couple forms a fraught emotional triangle with a ubiquitous best friend (Seth Rogen). Judd Hirsch, Jeannie Berlin and David Lynch steal scenes, but Spielberg’s film sense (sort of) saves the day, especially when Sammy stages mini epics with his Boy Scout troop and uncovers family secrets in home movies. If you’re Sammy, or Steven, movie love conquers all. —Michael Sragow (M.S.)

​Watch it: The Fabelmans, in theaters and on demand

⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ Causeway, R

Jennifer Lawrence returns to her indie roots in a melancholy yet redemptive drama, playing Lynsey, an Afghanistan war vet recovering from a traumatic brain injury. Rebuilding her life in working-class New Orleans, she moves back in with her alcoholic mother (Succession’s Linda Emond). Lynsey’s always had to be the adult in the room; she went to war pre-traumatized. To regain her independence, she gets a job as a pool cleaner — this is the kind of movie where you feel every stroke of the leaf skimmer. She also befriends a brokenhearted, beer-drinking, one-legged mechanic (a grounded and compelling Bryan Tyree Henry). He gradually teaches Lynsey how to make peace with loss, live simply and create a family of choice, not biology. Causeway is a small film with a big heart. —T.M.A.

Watch it: Causewayin theaters and on Apple TV+

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Armageddon Time, R

In James Gray’s moving, semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story set in 1980 Queens, New York, a headstrong, bratty boy who daydreams of artistic glory (Banks Repeta) gets in trouble at school along with a Black classmate (Jaylin Webb) who dreams of joining NASA. His distraught parents (utterly brilliant Anne Hathaway and Jeremy Strong) send him to a private school packed with bullying racists. Only his doting Holocaust-escapee granddad (Anthony Hopkins, dazzling as ever) really understands the lad. It’s a thoughtful meditation on class, race and national decline. And the dinner-table family quarrels are among the most lifelike you’ll ever see. —T.A.

Watch it: Armageddon Time, in theaters and on demand

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ The Banshees of Inisherin

King Kong vs. Godzilla is a pipsqueak squabble compared to the titanic acting duel of Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in this fable set in a spectacularly quaint 1923 village off Ireland’s coast. It’s an Oscar magnet with a perfect 100 percent Rotten Tomatoes critics’ score. Sweet, dim farmer Pádraic (Farrell) demands that bright, gloomy composer Colm (Gleeson) explain why he’s abruptly ended their best friendship. The “feckin’ nutbag” won’t, and threatens violence if Pádraic won’t let him be. A black comedy with more than a wee bit o’ green, it makes you feel resident in the way director Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri took you to that feisty town. The locals couldn’t be more feckin’ perfect, from the village “eejit” (Barry Keoghan) to Pádraic’s bookishly brilliant sister (Kerry Condon) to Mrs. McCormick (Sheila Flitton), the Inisherin version of a Macbeth witch. In a way, the irresistible dialogue is the main character. See it and you’ll speak Irish for a week. —T.A.

Watch it: The Banshees of Inisherin, in theaters

Don’t miss this: The 10 Best Movies Set in Ireland

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Aftersun, R

The fall season’s emotional surprise is this Cannes film fest prizewinner. Young Scotswoman Sophie (Celia Rowson-Hall) reflects on a resort holiday two decades earlier to celebrate her 11th birthday with her dad, Calum (a muscular and moving Paul Mescal). The drama hinges on young Sophie (Frankie Corio), a sunny youngster who shares a deep, often wordless bond with her father. As Sophie splashes around, plants a first kiss and plays video games, cracks begin to show in Calum’s cheerful, caring façade. He’s holding on to life by their love’s thread, trying to repress his demons. But it’s a fool’s errand. I wept buckets, because writer-director Charlotte Wells so honestly realizes Sophie and Calum, and the potency and poetry of their father-daughter connection. —T.M.A.

Watch it: Aftersun, in theaters

⭐⭐⭐☆☆ Tár, R

Masterful Cate Blanchett, 53, plucks our heartstrings as the fictional Leonard Bernstein protégé Lydia Tár, the ruthless, passionate superstar conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. At the pinnacle of an international career, she meets her Waterloo in the cancel culture she disdains, thanks to her woman problem. She grooms talented young musicians, like her long-suffering assistant (Portrait of a Lady on Fire’s Noémie Merlant), and callously abuses them emotionally and/or sexually. For her, it’s all about the music, not the morals. It’s an epic character study that got a six-minute standing ovation at its Cannes premiere, though it lacks a final movement that delivers a crescendo of feeling. Maestro or monster? Tár’s both. —T.M.A.

Watch it: Tár, in theaters

⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ The Woman King, PG-13

Muscular and well oiled, Oscar winner Viola Davis, 57, vanquishes and vanquishes again as the emotionally and physically scarred General Nanisca, who cuts through rival tribes and European slavers in a war epic from Gina Prince-Bythewood, 53. Set in the 19th-century West African kingdom of Dahomey, this violent, female-driven history centers on the triumph of Nanisca’s women-only army, loyal to King Ghezo (an underused John Boyega). It’s also the tale of new recruit Nawi (The Underground Railroad’s outstanding Thuso Mbedu) and her journey under Nanisca’s critical eye from abused daughter to machete-wielding warrior. While the movie’s treatment is surprisingly conventional, the tale of women empowered to own their own bodies couldn’t be timelier. —T.M.A.

Watch it: The Woman King, in theaters

Don’t miss this: Viola Davis’ 10 Fiercest Roles (So Far!)

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