April is almost over, which means blockbuster movie season is upon us. And you know what? I love that those blockbuster films are often works of speculative fiction – from the big sci-fi spectaculars to the comic book superheroes, I love them all! (and speaking of comic book movies… can someone just make The Invisibles already? pretty please?
Add in all the high-quality TV and programming for streaming that’s coming out now – a lot of it also spec-fic, thanks to Hollywood’s penchant for high concept ideas taken from much beloved books – and there’s just so much this season I can’t wait to see. So I’m going to share it with you. Here are my top picks for spec-fic watching this weekend…
Based on Dave Eggers’ near-future novel of the same name, The Circle follows Mae Holland (Emma Watson) as she seizes the opportunity of a lifetime, landing a job with the world’s most powerful technology and social media company. Encouraged by the company’s founder (Tom Hanks), Mae joins a groundbreaking experiment that pushes the boundaries of privacy, ethics and personal freedom. Her participation in the experiment, and every decision she makes soon starts to affect the lives and futures of her friends, family and that of humanity.
Based on the Italian novel from Silvio Raffo, Emilia Clarke (everyone’s favorite dragon mother) stars as Verena, a determined young nurse hired to help a mute young heir (Edward Dring) within an isolated castle in 1950s Tuscany. The more she observes the boy, the more Verena becomes convinced he has fallen under the spell of a powerful and otherworldly persona trapped in the villa’s stone walls, one that seems to be rapidly entwining with her own.
Now Streaming – Hulu:
Adapted from the classic novel by Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale is the story of life in the dystopia of Gilead, a totalitarian society in what was formerly the United States. Facing environmental disasters and a plunging birthrate, Gilead is ruled by a twisted fundamentalism in its militarized ‘return to traditional values’.
As one of the few remaining fertile women, Offred (Elisabeth Moss) is a Handmaid in the Commander’s household, one of the caste of women forced into sexual servitude as a last desperate attempt to repopulate the world. In this terrifying society, Offred must navigate between Commanders, their cruel Wives, domestic Marthas, and her fellow Handmaids – where anyone could be a spy for Gilead – all with one goal: to survive and find the daughter that was taken from her.
In this terrifying thriller, a mother (Essie Davis) must protect her son from an evil, supernatural entity that has escaped the pages of a children’s book and is lurking in their home. Ironically, while this film is about a book, it’s the only movie on this week’s list not based on one!
Now Streaming – Netflix:
I love this movie, and think this is one of those rare instances where the film is better than the book (by Christopher Priest). In this Christopher Nolan mystery, an illusion gone horribly wrong pits two 19th-century magicians, Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) and Rupert Angier (Hugh Jackman), against each other in a bitter battle for supremacy. Terrible consequences loom when the pair escalate their feud, each seeking not just to outwit – but to destroy – the other man.
Premiering – Starz:
Based on the Neil Gaiman novel of the same name, American Gods follows Shadow Moon, a convict given an unexpected early release after his beloved wife Laura is killed. Shadow is offered a job as a bodyguard by a man named Wednesday, who appears to be nothing but a con artist, but is in fact the god Odin. Wednesday is making his way across America, gathering all the old gods, who have now incorporated themselves into American life, to confront the New Gods, including Media and Technology, who grow stronger.
I’m the most excited for this. I love Neil Gaiman in general, and I liked this book well enough, although I found it a little long. For that reason, I kept thinking but man, this would make one bomb-ass show! And now here it is. Coincidence, or my powerful law of attraction? It matters not because either way I get a non-whitewashed Shadow and Wednesday played by Ian “Motherfucking” McShane, and I can’t wait. Sunday, bitches!
What are you looking forward to watching this weekend?