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What to Watch on TV and at the Movies This Week

See ‘Expend4ables,’ ‘The Irrational’ and four reality competition hits

spinner image sylvester stallone stars as barney ross in the film expend4bles
Sylvester Stallone stars in "Expend4bles."

What’s on this week? Whether it’s on cable, streaming on Prime Video or Netflix or opening at your local movie theater, we’ve got your must-watch list. Start with TV and scroll down for movies. It’s all right here.

On TV this week …

Deadlocked: How America Shaped the Supreme Court

Director Dawn Porter (John Lewis: Good Trouble) presents the controversial, consequential history of the top court since 1950.

Watch it: Deadlocked, Sept. 22 on Paramount+ and Showtime

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The Voice

Country music queen Reba McEntire, 68, joins Gwen Stefani, 53, John Legend and Niall Horan as coaches trying to coax greatness out of singers you never heard of — until they blossom into stars before your ears. Or fail entertainingly.

Watch it: The Voice, Sept. 25, 8 p.m. ET on NBC

The Irrational

In his first series lead, Law & Order’s Jesse L. Martin, 54, plays Dr. Alec Mercer, a fictional professor/detective inspired by Dan Ariely’s nonfiction 2008 book, Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions. It’s a police procedural with a twist — Dr. Alec solves crimes by analyzing the perp’s own mind and deep motivations.

Watch it: The Irrational, Sept. 25, 10 p.m. ET on NBC, streaming Tuesdays on Peacock

Snake Oil

Ever wish Shark Tank were a comedy? Sarcastically serpentine David Spade, 59, hosts a show where contestants try to guess which of several improbable products pitched by enthusiastic entrepreneurs are actually real. Spoiler: Better Petter, the product for “chronically un-petted dogs,” does not exist — it’s just snake oil. Contestants will be advised by celebrity guests, who could conceivably include Spade pals Adam Sandler and Dana Carvey (or not).

Watch it: Snake Oil, Sept. 27, 9 p.m. ET on Fox

Survivor, Season 45

Eighteen people go to Fiji to endure the grueling games of Jeff Probst, 61, for a million-dollar prize. This year, episodes are 90 minutes long, so expect them to pack in more reality than ever.

Watch it: Survivor, Sept. 27, 8 p.m. on CBS and Paramount+, streaming Thursdays on Paramount+

The Amazing Race, Season 35

Thirteen teams, including retiree Elizabeth Rivera, 52, and paint contractor Steve Cargile, 54, race through Slovenia and parts unknown to vie for a million bucks in another 90-minute competition show.

Watch it: The Amazing Race, Sept. 27, 9:30 p.m. on CBS

​​Your Netflix watch of the week is here!

Love at First Sight

Last week, Netflix’s number 1 show was Virgin River. This week, another feel-good romance is the number 1 movie: an adaptation of the novel The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, with The White Lotus’s adorable breakout star Haley Lu Richardson as a frazzled NYU student who cutely meets a guy (Ben Hardy) by chance on a plane to London, loses him at customs (he’s off to his mom’s memorial service, she’s going to her just-divorced dad’s wedding), and … ya think they somehow might reunite? What are the odds?

Watch it: Love at First Sight on Netflix

Don’t miss this: The Best Things Coming to Netflix in September

Your Prime Video watch of the week is here!

Cassandro (Amazon original)

Gael García Bernal stars in this true-life story about an openly gay amateur wrestler from El Paso, Texas, who rose to stardom in the ultra-macho world of Mexico’s lucha libre pro-wrestling scene, all while defying the tradition that flamboyant “exoticos” are always supposed to lose in the ring.

Watch it: Cassandro, Sept. 22 on Prime Video

Don’t miss this: The Best Things Coming to Prime Video in September

Also don’t miss this: The Best TV Shows of 2023 (So Far) in AARP Members Only Access

What’s new at the movies …

⭐⭐⭐☆☆ Expend4bles, PG-13

The fourth outing of the dependable Expendables franchise introduces a new generation of action stars to the adrenaline-fueled team. Megan Fox in particular pops as the improbable squad leader when top Expendable (and series writer/director) Sylvester Stallone, 77, bows out early in the film. Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, Jacob Scipio, Levy Tran do a serviceable job, but the absence of Arnold Schwarzenegger, 76, and the dementia-afflicted Bruce Willis, 68, is palpable. The movie belongs to Jason Statham, 56, as Stallone’s loyal number 2, the wisecracking and hardboiled Lee Christmas, whose chemistry with Fox brightens a slightly turgid first hour. But she overdoes the makeup — she’s pretty enough not to be drowning in eye shadow and heavy lipstick while in the midst of shootouts and knife fights. The plot revolves around the team’s hunt for a ruthless arms dealer who, along with his private army, steals nuclear detonators that could set off World War III. Come for the blood, gore and one-liners — stay for a fun and touching plot twist at the end that I, for one, didn’t see coming. —Dana Kennedy (D.K.)

Watch it: Expend4bles, Sept. 22 in theaters



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Also catch up with …

​The Super Models

Naomi Campbell, 53, Linda Evangelista, 58, Cindy Crawford, 57, and Christy Turlington, 54, tell all about how they conquered their world.

Watch it: The Super Models on Apple TV+

Don’t miss this: What We Learned from Watching the Documentary ‘The Super Models’

⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ A Haunting in Venice, PG-13

The illusion begins with that absurd, two-tiered mustache, hanging like stage curtains beneath the nostrils of Kenneth Branagh, 62. The Oscar winner embodies one of Agatha Christie’s most eccentric sleuths, Hercule Poirot, for the third time. And directs too. Branagh’s affection for Christie and her persnickety Belgian sleuth shines through in this lavish, luxurious whodunit set post-WWII in the City of Masks. A psychic (the deliciously comic Michelle Yeoh, 61) arrives to conduct a séance to connect a drafty villa’s bereaved owner (Kelly Reilly) with her dear departed daughter. The mansion fills with an exuberant cast of characters/suspects/potential victims: a shell-shocked vet (Jamie Dornan), his precocious son (Jude Hill), an American novelist (a tart Tina Fey, 53) and more. Corpses pile up, and naturally, Poirot will eventually discover the killer loose among them, but will the rational master of deduction also succumb to a belief in the supernatural? Only those who see the movie will know for sure. —Thelma M. Adams (T.M.A.)

Watch it: A Haunting in Venice, in theaters

Don’t miss this: 7 Things You Didn’t Know About Tina Fey

⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ The Inventor, PG

While so much contemporary animation seems hyperactive, unfolding at Tasmanian Devil speed, The Inventor charts a different course. The stop-motion and 2D hand-drawn animation is measured, gently humorous and, yes, educational. Stephen Fry, 66, voices the title character, Leonardo da Vinci, renowned for his Renaissance masterpiece the Mona Lisa. But his humanist contribution is so much larger than a single painting, however priceless. Fry, along with top-flight vocal talent including Marion Cotillard and Matt Berry, narrates this biographical flight of the imagination. Da Vinci is seen as a man thinking centuries ahead of his time, dissecting corpses to find the essence of the human corpus, creating weapons (with worries that predate those of Oppenheimer) and designing flying machines. While he’s beholden to the patronage of the pope and royalty, da Vinci’s insatiable mind roams freely, making for an animated film suitable for both adults and children that is truly full of marvels. —T.M.A.

Watch it: The Inventor, in theaters

Virgin River, Season 5 (Netflix)

Why does this addictive, way-better-than-Hallmark soap opera about a widowed nurse (Alexandra Breckenridge) who moves to a small Northern California town keep hitting No. 1 on Netflix? It’s got romantic complications, cliffhangers and lots of great grownup actors, including Annette O’Toole, 71, and Tim Matheson, 75. Last year, almost two-thirds of its viewers were over 50 and almost one-third were over 65.

Watch it: Virgin River on Netflix

A Million Miles Away (Prime Video)

Michael Peña, 47, stars in this heartwarming true-life story about José Hernández, the California-born son of Mexican migrant farmworkers who trained as an engineer and struggled for years to pursue his lifelong ambition: to become a NASA astronaut. As one character tells José: “Tenacity is a superpower.” Who needs Marvel when heroes walk among us (or orbit just above us)?

Watch it: A Million Miles Away on Prime Video

⭐⭐⭐☆☆ My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3, PG-13

Nia Vardalos, 60, directs and stars in her third rom-com inspired by her Greek immigrant family, but it’s got a different vibe this time. Instead of centering on her character Toula’s culture-clash romance with her non-Greek husband (John Corbett, 62), this one is inspired by the recent deaths of Vardalos’s father and also of Michael Constantine, who played Toula’s father and in real life called himself her “other dad.” So there’s poignancy when Toula and clan (including marvelous Andrea Martin, 76, as her auntie from Mykonos) leave Chicago for a family reunion in her dad’s now near-deserted mountaintop Greek village, with his ashes in an urn and his childhood diary and photos to share with his old friends, if they’re alive. There’s plenty of dancing, drinking, long-lost cousin bonding and a big wedding between youngsters, plus pro-immigrant social commentary, but chiefly it’s about grief and family love that endures despite death. The laughs are fewer than before, but the story’s always been less about ha-ha than “awww” moments, which this one has aplenty. —Tim Appelo (T.A.) 

Watch it: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3, in theaters

Don’t miss this: Life Lessons from Nia Vardalos, on AARP Members Only Access

The Morning Show, Season 3 (Apple TV+)

Apple’s first big hit is back, and this season features a work love triangle. UBA Network news anchor Alex (Jennifer Aniston, 54) is about to take a trip on the space-tourism rocket invented by a zillionaire who’s like Elon Musk, only better-looking (Jon Hamm, 52). Should she have an affair with him? Even though her egomaniac boss (Billy Crudup, 55) is trying to woo him to become UBA’s controlling investor? Meanwhile, news anchor Bradley (Reese Witherspoon) fears a terrible secret will upend her career, and her ex (Julianna Margulies, 57) is back in her life.

Watch it: The Morning Show on Apple TV+

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⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Amerikatsi, Unrated

Comic and tender, Amerikatsi (which means American in Armenian) follows the only boy in his family to survive the Armenian genocide by the Turks. After growing up in America and then hearing Stalin’s appeal for diaspora Armenians to return to the motherland and help rebuild, he enthusiastically responds, only to be slapped in a grisly prison, his passionate rediscovery of what it means to be Armenian reoriented in unpleasant ways. In a penal version of Hitchcock’s Rear Window, he observes the family life of an artist-turned-prison-guard beyond his barred window and over a wall. Through this chink in his captivity, the prisoner gleans what it means to be Armenian by observing the music, celebrations and heartbreak of existence under a totalitarian regime. Starring, directed and produced by American-born Emmy winner Michael A. Goorjian, 52, Amerikatsi is a stirring labor of love that witnesses the darkness of the past, and seeks out the light. —T.M.A.

Watch it: Amerikatsi, in theaters

⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ The Equalizer 3, R

Retirement is never absolute for vigilante Robert McCall (Denzel Washington, 68). In the last of his action trilogy, the ex-Marine and former DIA agent lands in scenic Sicily. After a scorched-earth mission, a bullet in the back keeps him recuperating there, righting local wrongs and protecting the happy villagers from the demonic Camorra. Having discovered a conspiracy involving the mafia, drugs and terrorists, McCall anonymously calls in the cavalry, including young DIA desk jockey Emma Collins (a forthright Dakota Fanning). While this outing is as gory as its predecessors — a bloody, bone-crunching, axe-to-the-head tale of right over wrong — it’s tempered by a high regard for craft and a reluctance to rush. The pace suits Washington. He’s magnetic as a righteous avenger eligible for Social Security who finally slows down long enough to appreciate the good life: not drugs and dollars but mutual respect, ritual, fresh fish and community. —T.M.A.

Watch it: The Equalizer 3, in theaters​

You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah (Netflix)

Adam Sandler, 56, who’s all over Netflix after his reported $275 million deal there, adapts Fiona Rosenbloom’s 2005 young adult novel about a tween preparing for her bat mitzvah, and he stars alongside his wife, Jackie, and two daughters, Sadie and Sunny. Rounding out the cast are SNL’s Sarah Sherman as Rabbi Rebecca and Broadway legend Idina Menzel, 52, who plays Sandler’s wife in the film — a part that might seem familiar since they also played a couple in Uncut Gems.

Watch it: You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah on Netflix

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Golda, PG-13

While the controversy rages over Bradley Cooper’s prosthetic nose in the upcoming Leonard Bernstein biopic Maestro, wait until you see the proboscis on Helen Mirren as Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. This gripping biopic focuses on the fraught and dangerous position the chain-smoking grandmother navigates during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. On the Jewish calendar’s holiest day, the Egyptian and Syrian armies have surrounded and surprised Israel. As the country’s no-nonsense political leader, Mirren embodies her character, transformed by wrinkles, jowls and chunky ankles. Between life-or-death decisions, the only powerful woman in the war room reveals her vulnerability as she leans on her assistant (Camille Cottin) during a radiation treatment for the lymphoma sapping her strength — while still puffing away. Perceptions may be colored by revisionist political opinions of Meir, but Mirren embodies a complex character of conscience and empathy, who feels deeply and acts decisively to preserve an independent state even as she herself is disappearing. A gem. —T.M.A.

Watch it: Golda, in theaters and on demand

⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ The Hill, PG

Echoes of Norman Rockwell bounce off The Hill, a sincere, inspiring baseball movie grounded in a complicated father-son relationship. Stern but loving preacher James Hill (a weathered Dennis Quaid, 69) expects his exceptional but physically challenged son Rickey (broad-shouldered Colin Ford) to follow in his footsteps. But, no, despite crippling polio, Rickey is a natural who can knock a stone with a stick into the neighbor’s yard. He’s got the baseball bug, sensing that’s his calling. Based on a true story, it also stars the wonderful but wig-burdened Bonnie Bedelia, 75 (aunt of Home Alone’s Macaulay Culkin and Succession’s Kieran Culkin), as Gram and the gnarly dried-apple-faced Scott Glenn, 84, as a tough scout. Like baseball before the 2023 pitch timer rule, the movie stretches on for too long. It also bats the audience over the head with its message of faith, forgiveness and the power of miracles. But its sins can be forgiven for the love of baseball — and the Almighty. —T.M.A.

Watch it: The Hill, in theaters and on demand

⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ Theater Camp, PG-13

Broadway’s Ben Platt, fresh off a Tony nom for Best Musical Revival Parade, leads this nutty, nostalgic romp. It’s set at the fictional, but all too familiar, AndirondACTS, an upstate New York summer camp like a shabbier Stagedoor Manor. Here, the show must go on despite mosquitoes, runaway hormones and past-due bills. Joining Platt’s hilariously frustrated actor are two cast favorites from TV’s The Bear: Molly Gordon (who also codirected) and Ayo Edebiri, who embrace broad comedic parts that couldn’t be further from their roles in that buzzy Chicago pressure cooker. When the bank threatens foreclosure, the counselors and campers follow in the tap shoes of young Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney, trying to save their beloved summer home away from home by antically staging an offbeat musical masterpiece. For theater nerds, and the ambitious young thespians they foster, this Sundance gem is likely to be the summer’s funniest feel-good film. —T.M.A.

Watch it: Theater Camp, in theaters and on Apple TV, Prime Video, Vudu and Hulu

⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ Oppenheimer, R

Ounce by ounce of plutonium, this biopic of the father of the atomic bomb is pretty genius — but it’s no Albert Einstein (played by Tom Conti, 81, in an essential cameo). The story ricochets through time and space fast as a photon, plotting the arc of J. Robert Oppenheimer (Oscar-bound Cillian Murphy). As head of the Manhattan Project, the left-leaning, womanizing physicist passionately pursues pioneering atomic science. But he can’t live with his baby, the bomb that decimated Hiroshima, ending World War II. The sprawling drama is a dazzling cinematic achievement boosted by muscular performances from Robert Downey Jr., 58, Matt Damon, 52, and Jason Clarke, 54, and a huge cast of characters with complicated collisions. Showstopper Florence Pugh seduces as the communist mistress Oppie dumps for career and the missus (Emily Blunt). Perhaps in trimming the story to three hours, some of the male-female narrative connective tissue was cut, which may be why, for all its fascinating moving parts, the busy biopic isn’t more emotionally explosive. —T.M.A.

Watch it: Oppenheimer, in theaters

⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ Barbie, PG-13

Hot pink in the summertime: That’s the new Barbie. And, whoopsie, she’s having an existential crisis. When the Mattel doll (a perfectly cast Margot Robbie) leaves her platonic pal Ken (hunky Ryan Gosling) for the real world, she gets a big surprise. Unlike her native Barbieland, a girl-power utopia where plastic playthings are presidents and Supreme Court justices, she confronts the patriarchy. Over at Mattel, the CEO (Will Ferrell, 56) presides over an all-male board that won’t play nice and wants to put her in a box. Throughout, the tone is playfully ironic with a side of preach. The biggest joy is in the endless runway of familiar doll costumes and the cotton candy sets. Robbie makes a genial ringmaster, with a terrific cast that includes Rhea Perlman, 75, America Ferrera and a slew of starry Barbies and Kens. Is Barbie a feminist? The movie replies with a chorus of “yes!” —T.M.A.

Watch it: Barbie, in theaters and on demand

⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One, PG-13

Tom Cruise, 61, returns as secret agent Ethan Hunt in the seventh M:I flick. He nails a nearly impossible mission: becoming the summer’s box office savior riding a sequel, again, while performing stunts that would terrify actors half his age, and hunting his old nemesis Gabriel (Esai Morales, 60) from Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam and aboard the Orient Express. Read the full review here.

Watch it: Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One, in theaters

⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ Past Lives, PG-13

When her childhood friend Hae Sung (Teo Yoo) visits from their native Korea, Nora (Greta Lee, The Morning Show) — a modern Korean American woman — finds herself at a romantic crossroads. Will she remain with her supportive hipster husband, Arthur (John Magaro), with whom she shares a downtown Manhattan apartment? Or is the power of the past so compelling that she’ll embrace her soulmate/best friend whom she left two decades before when she emigrated with her family as a schoolgirl? In this leisurely, graceful, mesmerizing romance, the magnetic Lee navigates between the past and the present, pragmatism and magical possibilities, who she was versus who she is — and weighs the life she’s chosen against what might have been, and still could be. Consider this film the indie romance of the summer. —T.M.A.

Watch it: Past Lives, in theaters and on demand

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