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payne’s picks

By Sarah Payne

Movies Release —

Wine Country – May 10th – This month Amy Poehler makes her directorial debut in a Netflix film she’s also starring in called “Wine Country.” Netflix doesn’t spend a lot of time promoting its original content (other than strategically placing new content at the top of the app), so there isn’t even a trailer for the film yet. In “Wine Country,” Poehler brings together former “Saturday Night Live” favorites, including friends Tina Fey and Maya Rudolph, for a film about a group of lifelong girlfriends that takes a trip to Napa to celebrate a friend’s 50th birthday.

Aladdin – May 24th – Anyone who grew up in 90s must be at least a little curious about Disney’s live action reboot of Aladdin. Who else used to belt out “A Whole New World” when they were a kid? I’m hardly the world’s biggest Disney fan, but now that I’m a mom, even I’m interested to see how the live action remake compares to the animated classic. This version was directed and co-written by Guy Ritchie and the only mainstream actor in the film is Will Smith, who plays Genie. I’m predicting a huge turnout for “Aladdin” from diehard Disney fans and others who will just be relieved that it’s not another superhero or Star Wars film, because let’s face it, those are the only big budget films that seem to be made these days.

Movie Review —

Us – I really wanted to like “Us.” I wanted to be terrified and entertained and disturbed by Jordan Peele’s sophomore effort, just like I was for his first film, “Get Out.” With “Get Out,” (2017) the stakes weren’t as high. Peele was a former “Mad TV” star with a hit comedy sketch series, “Key and Peele.” No one was expecting anything serious from him, so when he delivered a hilarious yet twisted social commentary, it was a pleasant surprise. Fast forward two years and the bar was set higher for “Us.” It has a catchy, original soundtrack and it features stars like Lupita Nyong’o and Elisabeth Moss. My experience with “Us” is reminiscent of the movie “Up” – not in genre, but in structure. The first 15 minutes of the film are promising, mysterious, and succinct. It’s like a film within a film. So the set up to “Us” is great, but Peele ultimately fails to deliver a pure horror or pure social commentary. There are scary moments, but “Us” is too ridiculous to actually be scary. And I’m still not clear on the point Peele is ultimately trying to make with the idea that every person has an evil doppelgänger that’s been living underground for years, just waiting for the right moment to kill you and your family and take over your life. I think it has something to do with wealth and class, but the fact that I’m left wondering ultimately makes “Us” unsatisfying. It also feels incredibly long (even though run time is under two hours) and I couldn’t really get over the fact that the plot doesn’t make any logical sense – especially with the surprise twist at the end movie.

Netflix Review —

Workin’ Moms – Season 1 – If you’ve been reading my column for the last few years, you know that I have a sixteen-month-old and she is the best! While I work full-time she goes to daycare and it’s a lot to juggle (as any working parent knows). I’m also the first of my friends to have a baby, so I’m naturally drawn to movies and TV shows that depict what it’s like to be a working mom. If you’re in the same boat, or can appreciate the sentiment, I cannot recommend “Workin’ Moms” enough. It’s set in Toronto, Canada and follows lives of four working moms in a mommy and me play group. It actually aired in Canada in 2017 and only recently came to Netflix earlier this year. You can binge the first 13 episodes now and season 2 is set to stream sometime this spring (seasons 2 and 3 have already aired in Canada). The show’s creator and star Catherine Reitman focuses on the moments that make parenting worth it (like late night snuggles) and the sacrifices we make (like choosing between your family and a hard-fought promotion) and the hilarious moments in between (like finding time to pump at work).