quarantine stream pretend it's a city

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

The Series: Pretend It’s a City

Where You Can Stream It: Netflix

The Pitch: Martin Scorsese directs a seven-part series about writer Fran Lebowitz and, by extension, New York City. There’s a lot of laughing.

Why It’s Essential Quarantine Viewing: Look, we could all use a distraction right now, and Pretend It’s a City is like a balm for the soul. I’m not saying this is a “feel-good” series because it’s not (there’s too much complaining on hand for it to earn such a label). But it will make you feel good.

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peacock price

How much do you love The Office? Enough to pay $10 a month to have access to all 9 seasons of the beloved NBC sitcom? That’s what Peacock is banking on, with its peculiarly specific price plans for subscribers to the NBCUniversal streaming service.

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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: Shirley

Where You Can Stream It: Hulu

The Pitch: Horror writer Shirley Jackson (Elisabeth Moss) finds inspiration for her next novel in the case of a missing college girl who disappeared off the campus where her husband (Michael Stuhlbarg) is a professor, and in the lives of the young couple (Logan Lerman and Odessa Young) who move in with them as the man prepares to start his job as a lecturer. But as Shirley gets more deeply involved in writing her novel, which would become Hangsaman, her descent into madness begins to pull the surrounding people down with her.

Why It’s Essential Viewing: No one plays a woman on the edge like Elisabeth Moss, but she might just outdo herself here, in Josephine Drecker‘s intoxicating homage to the Gothic horror genre. Very, very loosely based on Shirley Jackson’s life, Shirley is a chilling treatise on the monstrous nature of writing that turns the author into a character in one of her Gothic novels — though not as the guileless protagonist, but as the madwoman. But this time, the madwoman has been let out of the attic.

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

The Movie: Phantom Thread

Where You Can Stream It: HBO Max

The Pitch: In 1950s London, strong-willed waitress Alma (Vicky Krieps) catches the eye of renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis), who makes the young woman his new muse and lover. However the pair’s conflicting attitudes — Woodcock’s prickly perfectionism, curbed only by his chilly sister and business partner Cyril (Lesley Manville), and Alma’s rebelliousness — put them at odds with each other, until their relationship becomes a toxic, and intoxicating, maelstrom.

Why It’s Essential Viewing: Paul Thomas Anderson‘s twisted Gothic romance is frequently misunderstood as a straightforward love story. To be fair, most Gothic romances are misread as this (they’re romance as the grotesque!), but that’s a whole other essay. I’m here to talk about the New Year’s Eve scene in Phantom Thread, which is the encapsulation of this film’s sad, cynical take on love, and why Anderson’s 2017 film is the perfect New Year’s movie.

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movies coming to hbo max in january

A new year, a new list of movies coming to HBO Max, the WarnerMedia streaming service that is finally living up to its potential to be a one-stop shop for all things DC Comics. Because amid all the prestige dramas and stone-cold classics, there has been, until now, a lack of the beloved DC animated shows that aired during the ’90s and early 2000s. But I’m here to tell you that Batman Beyond will finally be streaming — among other titles. Here are the best TV shows and movies coming to HBO Max in January 2021.

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best foreign movies and tv streaming

(Welcome to Pop Culture Imports, a column that compiles the best foreign movies and TV streaming right now.)

We’re coming up on the end of the year, and the time when most outlets and critics have released their best of the year lists. Among the usual suspects are a few foreign-language films you’ve never heard of (and no, we’re not talking about Minari), or that might’ve slipped you by. Well, never fear! This week’s Pop Culture Imports is dedicated to those hidden gems, those best international films of the year that you can stream before the year is done.

Fire up those subtitles, and let’s get streaming.

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

The Movie: Tokyo Godfathers

Where You Can Stream It: Crackle

The Pitch: Three homeless people discover an abandoned baby in a garbage dump on Christmas Eve, and decide to do anything in their power to find it a home.

Why It’s Essential Quarantine Viewing: I’m an avowed fan of Satoshi Kon, whose name I believe should be celebrated in equal standing as the globally acclaimed Hayao Miyazaki. His often brutal meditations on identity and memory are some of the most astounding animated films — nay, films — that I’ve ever seen. Tokyo Godfathers, released in 2003 to near-universal acclaim, is his kindest film, even if on the surface it is his ugliest, animation-wise. It’s intentionally ugly though: exploring the seedy underworld of Tokyo’s homeless on Christmas Eve, in a Frank Capra-esque dramedy that is equal turns heartwarming and harrowing — and oddly sentimental for its director — that is all about the miracle of Christmas.

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As we enter a new year, so too do we lose a few movies off Netflix. But as much as well want to forget this hellish year, you shouldn’t forget to watch these movies before they leave the streaming giant next month. Here are the best TV shows and movies leaving Netflix in January 2021.

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Best Movies Streaming Right Now Lovers Rock

(Welcome to Now Stream This, a column dedicated to the best movies streaming on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and every other streaming service out there.)

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

hbo max 2021 teaser

HBO Max may have begun with a botched rollout earlier this year, but it’s starting the new year on a new page, and with far too many anticipated original titles and blockbusters to count. The WarnerMedia streaming service released a new teaser showing off new shows coming to HBO and HBO Max alike, including the Gossip Girl reboot, the Joss Whedon-created The Nevers, and Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon, as well as teasing the Warner Bros. films set to hit the platform day-and-date like Wonder Woman 1984. And, of course, Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Watch the HBO Max 2021 teaser below.

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