Saturday, July 13, 2024

What to Stream This Weekend: ‘Euphoria’ Season Finale, ‘Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber’

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We’ve got you covered on all the major new streaming releases this weekend, from Showtime’s dramatization of the rise of Uber to a Vikings spinoff on Netflix, and much more. There are also a few big finales this weekend, too, like Netflix’s Love is Blind as well as Euphoria on HBO.

Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber

If there ever was a story ripe for a soap opera-style TV show treatment about its controversial rise and the rule-flouting tech bros who made it so, the launch of Uber is arguably just such a tale.

Based on the 2019 nonfiction book of the same name from New York Times journalist Mike Isaac, this Showtime series puts Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the role of tech uber-jock Travis Kalanick. A founder who comedian Seth Meyers once lampooned as Axe body spray in a suit that’s become sentient, the series will follow Kalanick’s win-at-all-costs, slash-and-burn leadership style that turned his app into the default way the world hails rides, plus the costs of that management style that accompanied Uber’s success. And which, ultimately, led to the company’s spectacular fall from grace. Along the way, the show will also give us cameos from some of the famous figures caught up in the orbit of Uber’s crazy, chaotic comet — like Tim Cook, in the form of actor Hank Azaria, as well as Uber board member and one-time Kalanick ally Arianna Huffington, played here by Uma Thurman. We’ll have to wait and see, however, whether viewers ultimately rate this series five stars.

Debuts on Showtime February 27

The French Dispatch

If you missed director Wes Anderson’s very Wes Anderson-y love letter to long-form narrative journalism during its theatrical run, this is a chance to finally treat yourself to the cinematic and storytelling triumph that is The French Dispatch. OK, we might be a little biased — this movie is, after all, the product of someone clearly enthralled by journalism and the uncommon people who produce it.

Bill Murray plays an avuncular editor here whose mantra (“Try to make it sound like you wrote it that way on purpose”) is delivered with considerable ennui to one writer after another. And over the course of the film, each of the writers — who produce everything from travel diaries to crime stories and exquisite narratives about food — turns in one last piece for one final issue of a periodical reminiscent of The New Yorker. Jeffrey Wright, who plays a writer clearly inspired by the incomparable James Baldwin, delivers a standout performance here. Especially when, as a fictional journalist by the name of Roebuck Wright, he muses toward the end of the movie: “Maybe, with good luck, we’ll find what eluded us in the places we once called home.”

Streaming on HBO Max February 25

Vikings: Valhalla

Ever since HBO’s Game of Thrones ended, people have repeatedly tried to draw one comparison after another to this or that Netflix show. And, sure, Netflix shows like The Witcher kind of fit the bill — in terms of budget and scale, albeit minus an equivalent global feeding frenzy around them.

On Friday, February 25, Netflix will debut another series that might draw a similar comparison. It’s the 8-episode Vikings: Valhalla, set during the time of the legendary explorer Leif Eriksson as well as the Norman King William the Conqueror, and its story incorporates tensions and clashes between the Vikings and English royals. Eventually, a bloody confrontation ensues over the pagan beliefs and Christianity that animate each side, respectively. While, according to Netflix, “three Vikings begin an epic journey that will take them across oceans and through battlefields, from Kattegat to England and beyond, as they fight for survival and glory.”

This series, by the way, is a spin-off of the popular History Channel “Vikings” series — and is set more than 100 years after the end of that one.

Streaming on Netflix February 25

Euphoria (Season 2 Finale)

HBO Chief Content Officer Casey Bloys has hinted that one of the most critically acclaimed shows on his network at the moment might not have too much runway left, on account of stars like Zendaya fast aging out of the high school roles they play on screen. One additional season of the show has already been ordered. Season 2, meanwhile, comes to a conclusion this weekend, after hitting one weekly ratings high after another ahead of the finale that airs on Sunday.

Available on HBO February 27

Love is Blind  (Season 2 Finale)

One of Netflix’s highest-profile reality series, meanwhile, likewise brings its second season to a conclusion this weekend. The 10th and final episode of Love is Blind will possibly give us some weddings to enjoy, as a culmination to one of the strangest reality dating series currently airing. The gimmick here is that men and women are introduced to each other “blindly,” and get to know each other over the course of several episodes without ever actually seeing each other. Love is supposedly blind, right? If they make a connection, sparks might eventually lead to a wedding. So think of this one as a little like the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise, minus the participants getting to ogle each other until the end. Streaming on Netflix February 25

The Protege

For the last couple of years, since the onset of a certain public health crisis that we’d all like to move on from, one theatrical release after another landed in movie theaters that customers were too scared to spend an extended period of time in. It’s made for one of Hollywood’s most uncertain periods in ages, since distributors have had to consider whether to delay a release until COVID cases die down, send the title to a streamer, or pull it indefinitely from the release calendar altogether.

2021’s The Protege—starring Maggie Q, Samuel L. Jackson, and Michael Keaton—was arguably one such release. In a normal year, this would have been perfectly adequate popcorn movie fare that made for a pleasant excuse to visit the local multiplex. As far as the story here, Maggie Q is rescued as a child by a legendary assassin named Moody (Jackson). When he’s killed, she goes on a rampage to avenge the death of the man who taught her everything about the contract killing business. Unfortunately, the movie got a bit of a muted release last year, when theaters were still figuring out what the path forward for their business would look like. This weekend, it will be a little easier to check out now that it’s available to stream on Amazon’s video service.

Streaming on Amazon Prime Video February 25

No Exit

This Hulu release, based on a novel of the same name by Taylor Adams, is debuting on the streamer this weekend. According to Hulu’s description: No Exit features a young woman en route to a family emergency who “becomes stranded by a blizzard and forced to find shelter at a highway rest area with a group of strangers.” You can probably see where this is going.

She finds an abducted girl in a van in the parking lot, and is quickly plunged into a life-and-death struggle to figure out if the kidnapper is right there among them, and who it is. Streaming on Hulu February 25

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