Watching: A Fun New Netflix Docu-Series

And 11 movies now available to stream and rent.

Author Headshot

By Margaret Lyons

Television Critic

Dear Watchers,

Elizabeth Debicki has been cast as Princess Diana for the fifth and sixth seasons of “The Crown,” both of which are still a good ways away; the fourth season hasn’t even aired yet.

See you Wednesday. Stay safe.


I want something in another castle

It’s-a him, Mario.Netflix

‘High Score’

When to watch: Starting Wednesday, on Netflix.

This six-part documentary about the history of video games tells a beautiful story about the nature and purpose of pleasure and competition, about the tension between loving something and making something and about imagination as autobiography. As a dad in an Atari commercial swears in the first episode, “It’s fun!”


Even if you are not hugely invested in video games, interesting people telling personal tales of passion hold inherent intrigue. And there are a lot of interesting people in “High Score,” most of whom are also already invested in storytelling and excitement, so the interviews are livelier than most.

The nostalgia factor doesn’t hurt, but there’s more afoot than just “lol, remember when graphics were much worse?” Someone could build an entire gender studies course inspired by some of the material here. Others could see “High Score” through a lens of intellectual property litigation and how a few lawsuits did more than many creators to influence what and how we play. Or you could see games and food in constant conversation, be it about shapes or repetition or comfort or their ability to elicit an emotion. And hm, now that you mention it, America and Japan? Well, in some ways they’re very different.

Although the show does not seem too eager to examine some of the more complex questions it raises, I guess we can all use a meaty take-home assignment these days. If there are some old-school games you could still play blindfolded, or if you just want a documentary that’s not about murder, watch this.

Your newly available movies

Geraldo Del Rey and Isabel Ruth in “Change of Life.”Grasshopper Film

The Sundance sensation “Boys State” comes to Apple TV+ with alternately deflating and inspiring news about the leaders of tomorrow. Jamie Foxx fights to stop distribution of a pill that turns users into superheroes in the Netflix thriller “Project Power.” But the best films available this week are imports, including a documentary about the Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte’s war on the media (“A Thousand Cuts”), a steamy coming-of-age film from France (“An Easy Girl”) and an unearthed 1966 gem from the little-known Portuguese master Paulo Rocha (“Mudar de Vida”).


Some independent films are available via “virtual cinemas,” which share the rental fee between the distributor and the art-house theater of your choice.

Other titles can generally be rented on the usual platforms — Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube — unless otherwise noted. — Scott Tobias

‘Boys State’ (Apple TV+ only)

“Boys State” makes an inadvertent argument for a deeper, sharper approach to this material when, during one of its periodic interviews, [the student René Otero] says that he’s “never seen so many white people, ever.” It’s a funny, appropriately uncomfortable moment, the kind the documentary could have used more of. — Manohla Dargis (Read the full review here.)

‘An Easy Girl’ (A Critic’s Pick; Netflix only)

Sultry, but never sleazy, observant yet nonjudgmental, “An Easy Girl” is more than just a tale of innocence and experience. Taking a nuanced look at sexual awakening and, to a lesser extent, class distinction, the movie has a charming flightiness that builds to an unexpectedly touching climax. — Jeannette Catsoulis (Read the full review here.)

‘Mudar de Vida’ (A Critic’s Pick, via Projectr virtual cinema)

The fishing milieu recalls Luchino Visconti’s epic 1948 documentary, “La Terra Trema,” about Sicilian tuna fishers. Rocha’s film is a smaller scale work of sharp observation and empathy. Shot in often startling black and white by Manuel Carlos De La Silva and Elso Roque, its cinematic beauty is deeply intertwined with the film’s humane vision. — Glenn Kenny (Read the full review here.)

‘Project Power’ (Netflix only)

There’s nothing else here that feels remotely personal, including the direction, by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman. Working from Mattson Tomlin’s script, they hit every note squarely, tap, tap, boom. There are fireballs of death, positive paternalism, a stern police captain (Courtney B. Vance). Many characters die, sadistically or jokingly or with a carefully choreographed flourish. — Manohla Dargis (Read the full review here.)

‘A Thousand Cuts’ (A Critic’s Pick, via virtual cinema)

Refreshingly, the film is not simply a profile of [Maria] Ressa, who founded the news site Rappler and has fearlessly chronicled the abuses of [Rodrigo] Duterte’s presidency and the violence it has encouraged against purported drug dealers and addicts, but a kaleidoscopic dissection of how information courses through the country. It illustrates social media’s capacity to deceive and to entrench political power. — Ben Kenigsberg (Read the full review here.)

Also newly available:


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