There’s a theme to our picks for what to watch this weekend: True Stories, as some of the best new releases are movies and shows inspired by or based on actual events. We’ve narrowed it down to four that are worth a look:
The first one to check out is the new espionage thriller Rogue Agent, a riveting account of a real-life 1990s con artist, Robert Freegard, a bartender who pretended to be an undercover MI5 agent, and ended up on a kidnapping countless victims. Years later, under a new guise, he charms a sharp litigation investigator, a woman who should know better. But does she? The story takes several turns as Freegard becomes the target of a manhunt, ultimately going toe to toe with the woman he seduced. The film is carried by stars Gemma Arterton (The King’s Man) and James Norton (Grantchester, Happy Valley), two actors you will be seeing more of after this. Critics warn viewers not to read up about this one—the film or the true story—in advance. Just gotta jump in.
You’ll be hearing a lot about 5 Days at Memorial from anyone who sees it. It’s a critically-praised historical drama that takes you inside a New Orleans hospital in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, when floodwaters were rising, power was lost, and the staff was forced to make harrowing choices to ration care — decisions that ultimately led to criminal charges. The scripted series comes from John Ridley of 12 Years a Slave and Carlton Cuse, co-creator of Lost, and believe us, you’ll want to talk about it afterward. Look for 5 Days at Memorial on AppleTV+.
One of the hidden finds of the weekend is Carter, a (very) high-adrenaline Korean film set during—wait for it—a deadly pandemic. Here’s the setup: a man awakens with a bomb in his mouth, a device in his head, and no memories of what happened prior. A voice gives him several orders, and lets him know that bomb will go off unless he rescues the sole person in possession of the virus antidote. But first he must contend with the CIA and a North Korean coup. Yeah, it’s a lot — the plot, the violence, the nonstop pulse-pounding action, the helicopter gymnastics. But this one has all of the ingredients of a summer blockbuster, and you can sit back and watch it from your couch on Netflix. Be prepared to to commit over two hours and keep the kids away. (This one is TV-MA.)
And finally, for a more comedic and nostalgic “chaser” to all of the tense dramas, check out A League of their Own, a series adaptation of the beloved film that just arrived on Amazon Prime. It’s a fresh take on the story of a World War II-era women’s baseball league that actually existed. It echoes the charm and humor of the original movie while introducing new characters and stories, and delving deeper into the race and gender issues women of the time faced. This one’s a perfect watch with history buffs and the older generations joining your summer vacation who can share their own stories afterward.
Looking for something else? Try the Watercooler’s people-powered recommendation engine, which lets you search and filter thousands of streaming titles your frame of mind, interests, co-viewers and other categories.