George Clooney's first film in four years, ‘The Midnight Sky,’ is glacial, alienated, post-apocalyptic ... perfect for 2020

George Clooney and Caoilinn Springall in 'The Midnight Sky,' premiering Wednesday on Netflix
George Clooney and Caoilinn Springall in 'The Midnight Sky,' premiering Wednesday on Netflix Photo courtesy Netflix Media

Premieres Wednesday: The Midnight Sky – I don't know which is a dicier proposition: George Clooney appearing in science fiction (remember Solaris?) or George Clooney settling in behind the camera (remember Suburbicon?) You get both with The Midnight Sky, in which director Clooney has cast himself as a scientist who has to alert the crew of a returning spacecraft that Earth is too risky to land on. And if he thinks that's a thankless task, he should try warning people away from Leatherheads. (Netflix)

Premieres Thursday: AK vs. AK – This Hindi-language black comedy has a film director (Anurag Kashyap, playing himself) kidnapping the daughter of a movie star (Anil Kapoor, also as himself). But let's see how many bubbas catch a glimpse of the title and tune in expecting a cage match with assault rifles. Or a documentary on Florida school safety. Take your pick. (Netflix)

Premieres Friday: Bridgerton – When you think of the upper crust of England in the early 19th century, who strikes you as the likeliest choice to turn it into an eight-episode series? Let's all say it together: Shonda Rhimes! OK, doesn't make much sense to me either. But maybe there'll be some nice big dollops of Scandal-style intrigue as the cast of catty Brits eviscerate one another for using the wrong salad fork. Countess, please. (Netflix)

Soul – Here's one of the week's two big premieres: a Pixar feature that was intended for theaters but kicked to streaming due to lingering pandemic realities. The story concerns a jazz musician (voice of Jamie Foxx) who gets sent to the place where souls cool their heels while waiting to be assigned human bodies. Some reviewers of color have complained that Foxx's character is only technically Black for a small portion of the movie; me, I'm more concerned that all this pre-birth business might embolden the militant anti-choicers. I mean, I'm still referring to Three Men and a Recently Graduated Fetus, just to piss 'em off. (Disney+)

Sylvie's Love – Period romance goes all "urban" on us, with Tessa Thompson playing a woman of the 1950s who has an on-again, off-again thing with a sax player (Nnamdi Asomugha). Careful of those jazz musicians, Tessa: They only stay Black for about 20 minutes. (Amazon Prime)

Wonder Woman 1984 – After keeping its Wonder Woman sequel on the shelf for months (and watching the tie-in merch gather dust on the shelves of BoxLunch), Warner Brothers decided to cut its losses by sending the picture simultaneously to theaters and streaming. Sounds like simple pragmatism to me. The real test of the DC Extended Universe comes next year, when new James Gunn becomes no more of a priority than old Zack Snyder. Oh, the ignominy! Oh, the illicitly shared log-ins! (HBO Max)

Premieres Saturday: Letterkenny: Complete Season 9 – Those quirky Canadians are back, engaging in hijinks that include inventing their own energy drink and learning how to be Jewish. In the surprise climax, George Clooney shows up and warns everybody to stay away from Saskatchewan. (Hulu)


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