Your Weekly Update on Streaming and Cinema's Latest Releases!

Artificial babies, emojis and Secret Services agents abound in this week's recommendations

The Spotlight

  • A24’s Problemista hits cinemas.

  • Emilia Clarke stars in the futuristic satire, The Pod Generation.

  • Eat, Pray, Love now streaming on Netflix.

  • We commemorate the work of the late director William Friedkin (director of The Exorcist).

As always read ‘til the end for more recommendations in our “If You Liked,” section!

What’s At The Cinema?

Khaleesi still obsessing over eggs in 2050.

 In director Sophie Barthes’ The Pod Generation couples can announce, “We’re pregnant,” unironically.

Here, in this imaginary future, the use of artificial wombs is possible, thus making pregnancy a shared journey rather than nine months of solitary morning sickness, intense food cravings, and cramps (not that this male writer would really know).

Starring Emilia Clarke and Chiwetel Ejiofor, it’s a perfect watch for soon-to-be parents and fans of Game of Thrones (at least the ones who weren’t too traumatized by the series finale).

When you see the line at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Problemista is about a young toy designer from El Salvador trying to make it in New York City but experiencing residency issues. His only hope is to get Tilda Swinton’s struggling artist character to co-sign his visa.

The film premiered at Sundance and was written and directed by its lead actor, Julio Torres. Probably because Torres already had so much to do, the story is narrated by the one and only Isabelle Rossellini.

If you enjoy reading Kafka novels or want to watch a film that realistically depicts the frustration of bureaucratic bullshit then check this one out.

We Watched It So You Don’t Have To

This week we’re introducing a new section to warn you about what to avoid on the notoriously hit-or-miss streaming services comprising our current entertainment reality. Stream these films at your own risk.

Two criminal-minded emojis colluding to infiltrate cinema.

The first film we really think you should avoid or if not only put on in the background while folding laundry is The Emoji Movie or our preferred title, The Most Unnecessary Film Ever.

It tells the tale of Gene, who is supposed to be the “meh,” emoji but just can’t help expressing himself in different ways. When a teenage boy tries to use him in a text message, Gene’s inability to serve his intended function causes some chaos.

Personally, we at Watchlist feel that emojis should stay in your texts and out of your movies. If you want to make up your own mind, this one’s streaming on Amazon Prime Video now.

Julia Roberts consoling herself with ice cream after winding up in this section of the newsletter.

Slightly more controversial is our second warning, Eat, Pray, Love. Many love it and others hate it.

At a bloated two hours and thirteen minutes, the whole film is about Julia Robert’s character, a privileged American, flying all over the world, having romantic flings, eating delicious food, and getting semi-spiritual.

It would work better as an ad for a travel agency than a movie. We can’t fault Roberts though; her performance is magnetic as always.

If you must, watch it on Netflix 🙄

What We’re Watching

Friedkin on the set of The Exorcist.

To pay homage to the legendary director of The Exorcist and The French Connection, here are three lesser-known films by William Friedkin:

Cruising (1980) which stars a wily Al Pacino, was poorly received and controversial at the time of its release.

Based on a novel, the film documents the story of an undercover policeman (Pacino) investigating the murder of gay men by a serial killer.

This one’s dark and gritty, best watched with a friend and probably at home, so you can pause often and steel yourself with more popcorn before continuing.

To Live and Die in L.A. (1985) is a masterpiece that was given four out of four stars by film critic Roger Ebert when it came out.

It’s the story of two Secret Service agents trying to catch an expert counterfeiter. It has some of the best chase sequences you’ll likely ever see in a movie.

Watch it if you’d like to learn what not to do when faking your CV for your next job application.

Killer Joe (2011) is about a not-so-smart drug-dealing kid pretty down on his luck and in need of some serious cash.

His million-dollar idea— that gets the narrative ball rolling — is that he should kill his mom and collect the life insurance money.

This film showcases maybe Matthew McConaughey’s best performance. He did this one shortly after Magic Mike, which we strongly recommend you watch directly afterward as our specially curated double feature.

If You Liked…

Ryan Gosling hoping he’s made enough money to finally impress Barbie. (Still from: The Place Beyond The Pines)

Killer Joe (2011): The Place Beyond The Pines (2012), Joe (2013), The Drop (2014)

The Pod Generation (2023): Cold Souls (2009), About Time (2013), Me Before You (2016)

Eat, Pray, Love (2010): Midnight in Paris (2011), Wild (2014), Nomadland (2020)

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See you next Friday,

The Watchlist Team.