(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The Series: Bar Rescue

Where You Can Stream It: The Paramount Network website (or, if you haven’t cut your cord yet, it plays constantly on the actual Paramount Network when they’re not otherwise airing ads for Yellowstone).

The Pitch: Bar and nightclub expert Jon Taffer shows up at a troubled establishment and yells at everyone until they all miraculously turn things around in a couple days. Then he vanishes into the night, ready to find more bars to save with the volume of his voice.

Why It’s Essential Quarantine Viewing: Remember bars? They were places where crowds could gather and you could be social while drinking alcohol and enjoying being around people. You know, all of the things we cannot do right now. But even before COVID-19 started decimating the food and drink industry, running a bar was a challenge. Even a great bar could become a money pit. So what happens when a bar is run by incompetents who are often hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt? They call Jon Taffer to come yell at them on camera.

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Over the past days, the staff at /Film has watched as the murder of George Floyd at the hands of white police officers has led to anger, protests, and our nation’s latest grapple with systemic racism. We have watched in horror, but also with hope: only so much blood can be spilled before something, anything, changes.

For this reason, the site has decided to participate in Blackout Tuesday. Aside from this post, there will be no articles on the site today. We will be spending our day ruminating on how we can be more effective allies. We invite our readers to join us, or to educate us in how we can better understand your pain and how we can help. If you want to understand the basics, this year-old article from Rachel Elizabeth Cargle does an excellent job of explaining the core of the black lives matter movement. For something more tied directly to immediate news, former President Barack Obama laid out how these current protests could lead to real change.

If you can afford it, and only if you can afford it, the following charities and causes could use your support right now. Please feel free to include more in the comments below.

I know some readers may take issue with this. “What does a movie website have to do with any of this this?” is a message I expect we’ll find in our inboxes on Wednesday morning. What a movie website has to do with this is that we stand behind the voices of our black contributors and want to amplify them. What a movie website has to do with this is that we stand behind the voices of our black readers and want to amplify them. What a movie website has to do with this is that we stand behind the voices of all black folks, whether they care about movie news or not, and want to amply them. We have decided it is irresponsible to pretend otherwise, to mask our own pain and anger, and pretend that we cannot see what is going on the streets of our country and what is happening to our fellow human beings.

We’re doing this because black lives matter.

Frozen 2 Honest Trailer

(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The Series: Frozen II

Where You Can Stream It: Disney+

The Pitch: The sequel to the definitive modern Disney film continues the story of Elsa, Anna, Olaf and the rest of the crew in a new musical adventure. And while the box office tells one story (this movie is the reason the original is now the second biggest animated film in Disney’s catalog), the reaction seemed non-plussed and often tepid when it opened in theaters late last year. That’s weird, because Frozen II isn’t just a very good movie, it’s one that stands tall above its predecessor, fixing everything that didn’t quite work the first time around.

Why It’s Essential Viewing: A classic Disney Animation film has to please everyone and it has to do so invisibly. The best of them are stirring adventures, touching romances, madcap comedies, and more, all while feeling cohesive. Frozen managed the balance effectively enough. Frozen II, though, is more confident: it’s more adventurous, more touching, much funnier and, rare for a franchise sequel of any kind, prepared to radically reshape its world in ways that cannot be undone for a sequel.

Oh, and the songs are better.

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(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The Movie: Braven

Where You Can Stream It: Amazon Prime Video

The Pitch: After his brief stint on Game of Thrones and before he became a major movie star with Aquaman, Jason Momoa worked. He worked a lot. And one of the projects he worked on was Braven, a low-budget action movie about a lumberjack under siege in his isolated cabin by a team of murderous drug dealers. It barely had a theatrical release, but that’s okay. This is the kind of shockingly entertaining b-movie that thrives on home video. Or rather, streaming.

Why It’s Essential Viewing: Because Jason Momoa plays a lumberjack named Joe Braven who kills a bunch of evil drug dealers who dare threaten his family. What else do you need?

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the outsider trailer new

(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The Movie: The Outsider

Where You Can Stream It: HBO Go and HBO Now

The Pitch: HBO’s miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s 2018 novel is a slow-burning chiller about an impossible crime with a seemingly impossible solution. It’s brutal, cold, and moves at a pace that feels simultaneously like it’s barreling out of control and crawling toward a slow and inevitable doom. In other words, it’s not the feel-good experience of the year.

Why It’s Essential Viewing: The Outsider opens with a vicious child murder and only descends into darker places from there. Veteran detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) arrests local educator and youth baseball coach Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman) for the crime based on airtight evidence. But it’s quickly revealed that there exists equally airtight evidence that Terry is innocent. It’s a familiar enough set-up for a crime thriller, but it quickly lays its real cards on the table – something supernatural is at work and you’re not watching True Detective here. You’re watching a Stephen King adaptation.

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cursed films review

(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The SeriesCursed Films

Where You Can Stream It: Shudder

The Pitch: This documentary series explores “cursed” film productions, shoots that were plagued with deaths, accidents, and other catastrophes. Interviews with the filmmakers who were there, seasoned academics, and even experts in the occult all provide context, as each episode attempts to discern if these movies are actually cursed in a literal sense and why we’re so attracted to the idea of supernatural mayhem in the first place. The series covers The Exorcist, The Omen, the Poltergeist films, The Crow, and Twilight Zone: The Movie.

Why It’s Essential Viewing: Human beings like explanations. We like to think there’s a plan, a reason, or an excuse for why things go wrong. And the Shudder documentary series Cursed Films isn’t just about infamous film productions where something (or many things) went awry – it’s about how and why we compartmentalize tragedy and search for meaning in darkness. The academics on screen say it’s a natural human response to make sense of chaos. The occultists and dark magicians (yep) interviewed say curses are very real and very powerful. The filmmakers themselves say it’s grotesque to glamorize these events by injecting the supernatural into the tragic. And each of these angles proves fascinating in every episode of the series.

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the batman score

The world is attempting a tricky and terrifying balance at the moment: how do you flatten the curve of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic while also ensuring every economy on the planet doesn’t flatten alongside it? For the United Kingdom, that means sending people back to work, but with strenuous new guidelines in place. And yes, that includes film and TV productions, which means The Batman, The Witcher, The Little Mermaid and other major shoots may resume sooner than we thought.

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(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The Seres: Haunted

Where You Can Stream It: Netflix

The Pitch: “Real” people and their “real” friends and family gather together in front of cameras to share their “real” experiences with the supernatural, the paranormal, and other things that go bump in the night. As they share, shockingly high quality re-enactments play out, transforming their stories into horror movies on fast-forward. I dare you to just watch one episode and not want to binge the whole damn thing.

Why It’s Essential Viewing: Look, there’s nothing on television more inherently trashy than “true stories told through cheesy re-enactments.” But here’s the thing: nothing is more addictive. And here’s the other thing: what if someone made one of those, but the cheesy re-enactments were actually glossy and cinematic and felt like scenes from an actual movie with a budget? Haunted does that, letting its subjects share their stories of ghosts, demons, and aliens while backing them up with re-enactments that are spooky and atmospheric and cinematic. In other words: this is trash, but it’s trash wearing a bunch of perfume and an Armani suit. And I mean that as a compliment!

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Well, you can’t make a show about a Mandalorian without including the most famous guy to ever wear the armor. Famed bounty Boba Fett, who was killed-off in Return of the Jedi but grew incredibly popular in the decades since due to appearances in novels, comics, and video games, will play a role in season 2 of the Disney+ series The Mandalorian. And in a piece of casting that will bring a smile to the face of anyone who appreciates continuity, he’ll be played by Temuera Morrison, who took on the role of Jango Fett in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

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(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The Movie: Absentia

Where You Can Stream It: Shudder

The Pitch: Before he made Doctor Sleep, The Haunting of Hill House, Gerald’s Game, Hush, Oculus and other modern horror gems, director Mike Flanagan made Absentia, a partially crowdfunded horror movie that looks like it’s held together with a few dollar bills, spirit gum, and some hopeful prayers. And yet, somehow, it’s still unsettling and emotional and emblematic of much of what we see in his later, larger projects.

Why It’s Essential Quarantine Viewing: Absentia is not Mike Flanagan’s first movie, but it’s certainly the one that announced to the world what kind of filmmaker he would become. Produced for only $70,000 (some of which was raised on Kickstarter), it’s the kind of debut where the confidence behind the camera compensates for the lack of polish in front of it. Everything that would define Flanagan’s future movies – specifically his knack for melding terror and raw emotion – is present here.

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