Watching: What to Watch This Weekend

Adventure, sass and glass.

Author Headshot

By Margaret Lyons

Television Critic

Dear Watchers,

Netflix has renewed “Bridgerton” for a second season, which means that my dream of being able to tell all the dudes apart could still someday come true. We’ll see!

Have a safe weekend. Make like these guinea pigs on Zambonis and stay cool.

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This weekend I have … 9 minutes and a sense of adventure

A scene from “The Impossible Row.”Discovery+

‘The Impossible Row’

When to watch: Now, on the Discovery website or YouTube.

If you love the motorcycle-trip trilogy “Long Way Down,” “Long Way Round” and “Long Way Up,” try this documentary series about a group of people who decide to row from Chile to Antarctica. How do you prepare for such a voyage? Oh, by getting a rowing machine and having a pal throw ice water at you while you practice perseverance. The 10 short episodes are full of earnest determination and an imperviousness to discomfort, which feel like good qualities to embrace here in Late Quar.

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… a few hours, and I want to be surprised

Amy Sedaris, left, and Dolly Wells in “At Home With Amy Sedaris.”Phil Caruso, via HBO Max

‘At Home With Amy Sedaris’

When to watch: Now, on HBO Max.

The good news is that all three seasons of this joyous, eccentric series are now streaming. The bad news is that there will not be a fourth season, and I, for one, am crushed. This faux lifestyle show, starring Amy Sedaris, is funny and endlessly original — where else will you hear about “the ham that refreshes”? Beyond its humor, “At Home” also includes the most vivid abject art you will find on television. Sure, it’s couched in the show’s crazed style, but watching people glue individual beard hairs onto their faces is its own poetry of revulsion.

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… five hours, and I want a binge

A scene from the new season of “Blown Away.”Netflix

‘Blown Away’

When to watch: Now, on Netflix.

Season 2 of this glassblowing reality contest show is just as kindhearted as Season 1 and just as easy to down in one big gulp: There are only 10 episodes, and they’re each a half-hour. Contestants make cool glass objects, the judges offer restrained and supportive critiques, and we all learn about techniques and artistry. Fun! Learn from me and do not start this at midnight, unless you, too, love Googling “glass classes near me after Covid” at 4:30 in the morning.

Your newly available movies

Juan Jesús Varela in “Identifying Features.”Kino Lorber

There are a whopping seven Critic’s Picks for this week’s diverse list of features and documentaries from around the globe. They include picks for “Notturno,” a gorgeous survey of war-torn nations from the “Fire at Sea” director, Gianfranco Rosi, and for “Derek DelGaudio’s In & Of Itself,” a filming of a magician’s idiosyncratic one-man show.

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

‘Atlantis’ (A Critic’s Pick, via Metrograph virtual cinema)

Written, directed and shot by Valentyn Vasyanovych, the movie is an especially economical, even ruthless exercise in what could be called “slow cinema.” — Glenn Kenny (Read the full review here.)

‘Derek DelGaudio’s In & Of Itself’ (A Critic’s Pick; Hulu only)

“In & Of Itself” reframes familiar tropes like card tricks, vanishing objects and stupendous feats of mentalism to new ends. It is not often that a magic show makes you ponder not just the how, but the why. — Elisabeth Vincentelli (Read the full review here.)

‘Identifying Features’ (A Critic’s Pick, via Kino Marquee virtual cinema)

It’s a confident debut feature and a sophisticated acknowledgment of the powerlessness that migrants face. — Teo Bugbee (Read the full review here.)

‘Notturno’ (A Critic’s Pick, via Super Ltd virtual cinema)

The past two decades of documentary film have produced many anatomies of history that attempt to summarize several millenniums, but Rosi’s borderless tableaus bring out another kind of truth in faces, places and pure feeling. — Nicolas Rapold (Read the full review here.)

‘Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time’ (A Critic’s Pick, via Film Forum virtual cinema)

[The director Lili] Horvat’s subversive portrait of obsession flips the femme fatale trope on its head by taking the enigmatic woman’s point of view. A noirish psychodrama simmering with ambiguities, the film cleverly toys with our perception by loosening our heroine’s grip on reality. — Beatrice Loayza (Read the full review here.)

‘The Salt of Tears’ (A Critic’s Pick, via Film Forum virtual cinema)

The director’s spare style allows him to get maximum emotional impact using relatively conventional effects; when he presents a rare close-up, it not only makes itself felt in the moment, but also sets up the film’s devastating finale. — Glenn Kenny (Read the full review here.)

‘You Will Die at Twenty’ (A Critic’s Pick, via Film Movement virtual cinema)

Avoiding didactic conclusions or pat answers, [the director Amjad Abu] Alala’s film questions blind belief but finds boundless enchantment in every frame. — Devika Girish (Read the full review here.)

Also newly available:

EXTRA-CREDIT READING

critic’s notebook

A TV Grand Tour, in Time for the Weekend

A jam-packed itinerary of premieres includes France (“Call My Agent!”), Italy (“Gomorrah”), Israel (“Losing Alice”) and Britain (“Flack” and “The Sister”).

By Mike Hale

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A Big List of Podcasts for Little Kids

To keep your little ones occupied, look no further than the world of podcasts. Here are a few ideas for kids ages 2 to 6.

By Lindsay Patterson

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Edward Burns Returns to Long Island with ‘Bridge and Tunnel’

Set in a 1980s version of his hometown, the filmmaker’s new Epix series captures the post-college period when “you’re not quite an adult but no longer a kid,” he said.

By Stuart Miller

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Critic’s Notebook

The Inauguration Kept Crowds Out and Tried to Bring America In

At President Biden’s made-for-TV swearing-in, rituals of normalcy ran into reminders that these are anything but normal times.

By James Poniewozik

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Critic’s Pick

Review: ‘Painting With John’ Teaches the Art of Living

John Lurie’s eccentric HBO series is no Bob Ross how-to. Its lessons are stranger and deeper.

By James Poniewozik

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Director of Amazon India Drama Cuts Scenes Amid Outcry From Hindu Nationalists

Faced with boycotts and criminal complaints, the director of “Tandav” made the edits this week. But that did not appear to satisfy some of the show’s critics, who called for him to be jailed.

By Suhasini Raj and Jeffrey Gettleman

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‘Moulin Rouge!’ Was Their Ticket. Then 2020 Happened.

It was a Broadway smash with big plans until 25 company members took ill and a shutdown put everybody out of work. Inside a tumultuous year, in the words of those who lived it.

By Michael Paulson

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BIG CITY

Everybody Loves Fran. But Why?

Fran Lebowitz, professional wit, offers her take on New York in a new Netflix series. But for a city that’s always changing, her shtick remains the same.

By Ginia Bellafante

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