Kareem's Weekend Boost (Feb. 18-20)
What to Watch, Read, or Listen to This Weekend
The end of February always feels like the beginning of Spring to me. Sun is rising earlier and setting later, which inspires me to get up and do more active things. However, once that ridiculous feeling passes, I settle back down on my couch to read, watch, and listen. Here’s what I’ve been enjoying.
Death on the Nile
Death on the Nile is the sequel to Murder on the Orient Express, with Kenneth Branagh returning as Agatha Christie’s famous detective Hercule Poirot. The challenge with resurrecting old mystery novels (this one was published in 1937) is that modern audiences already have seen so many variations of the familiar tropes: group of suspicious people, all with motives to kill, gathered in a confined space, with a quirky detective questioning each in turn. But that same familiarity is also a strength because many of us enjoy watching a clever detective in an exotic locale with sinister characters.
This movie isn’t breaking any new ground but it certainly is a lot of fun. The Egyptian setting is beautiful and the boat steaming down the Nile with all the suspects makes you want to book a room on it. There’s a touching flashback about the origin of Poirot’s famous moustache, and some startling surprises. The gaggle of mysterious suspects is also very entertaining, as is the soundtrack of vintage blues and jazz songs.
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Peacemaker (HBO Max)
In terms of laughs per minute, Peacemaker may be the funniest show on TV. I was skeptical when I saw they were making a series of the buffoonish, traitorous character from the Suicide Squad movie. But creator/writer/director James Gunn—whose Guardian of the Galaxy movies are among my favorites—has made this series funny, touching, exciting, and highly original.
John Cena has proven in several movies that he is capable of being funny, but here he is exceptionally skilled in balancing slapstick humor with subtle emotional depth. But the real star is James Gunn’s writing, which is so brilliantly imaginative and humorous that I was sorry the season ended. Fortunately, the show has been renewed, so there’s more to come. Be sure to watch the opening credits sequence which features a whacky dance number with the cast.