I promise I’m not being sponsored by HBO Max, but there is so many good things to watch on their streaming service! Maybe next week we’ll talk about Netflix or Peacock or even Disney+.
In The Heights (In theaters & streaming on HBO Max through July 11)
Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton) and John M. Chu (Crazy, Rich Asians) created an absolute cinematic masterpiece here! This film is so much fun. The music is fantastic. The cinematography is spectacular. The film was perfectly cast, and there is so much heart and soul.
This lively, musical romp through the mostly Dominican NYC neighborhood of Washington Heights revolves around bodega owner, Usnavi (Anthony Ramos) and his friends and family, and their sueñitos (dreams) of helping their immigrant community.
In a particularly lively scene, due to the summer heat, the entire neighborhood closes shop early and everyone heads to the local pool. Just as Usnavi, his cousin, Sonny (Gregory Diaz IV), and his friend, Benny (Corey Hawkins) are leaving the bodega, Sonny receives a call that a lottery ticket sold at the bodega is a $96,000 winner. They and the rest of Washington Heights begin to fantasize about achieving their own sueñitos with the money if they were the winner.
This is THE feel-good movie of the summer. You will laugh, cry, and be transported directly into the magic of Washington Heights. Unlike many movie musicals, this one isn’t trying to mimic Broadway. It’s just a unique story told in a unique style with wonderful music.
Stream it at home if you must, but I would recommend seeing this on the biggest screen with the loudest speakers you can.
Mare of Easttown (HBO Max)
Kate Winslet shines in this new crime drama. Detective Mare Sheehan (Winslet) is a detective in a small Pennsylvania town who is investigating the murder of a local child while trying to keep her own life from crumbling. Mare has lived in Easttown her whole life and the past follows and creeps up as it tends to do in small-town life.
I was especially impressed with the acting in this mini-series; especially the little details such as the accents. Particular attention was paid to the “little details” in this show. I read an interview that talked about how Winslet demanded that entire scenes were reshot as she didn’t feel they were authentic enough.
The pacing is also fantastic. There are times when it seems a little ‘slow,’ but it’s for good reason. Character introduction is not easy in this show and the writers and director did a fantastic job with this. Everything feels realistic here. You can pretty easily understand many of these characters as they’re not “larger than life.”
As great as Winslet is, there are many bright spots in this cast including the great Jean Smart (24, Designing Women), Guy Pearce (The Hurt Locker, Iron Man 3), and David Denman (The Office.)
This is one that you will binge, even if you need to sleep. It is that good!
See the archives of Watch This with Chris at www.mysaline.com/watch-this