What to binge on Netflix and go see in the theaters.
While Memorial Day is officially meant to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military, it is also unofficially the first day of summer, the first day that some people think you are allowed to wear white and the first day you are obligated to eat something that was cooked on the grill.
In Seattle, it’s usually not the end of the rainy season (that actually comes sometime after the 4th of July) but if it’s warm, we start to imagine it’s time for flip-flops, pedicures and ice pops.
In that vein, let’s recap a few diversions over the long weekend to help launch your summer.
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1. If you haven’t seen it already, the most recent tale in the X-Men saga is getting praise from critics who claim that Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart give heartfelt performances as Wolverine and Professor X in “Logan,” which will be their final portrayals of the beloved characters.
2. Catch the new Ridley Scott movie “Alien: Covenant” that’s first cousin of the cult classic “Alien” that started it all. According to reviewer Soren Anderson, the new take has the same thrills and chills as the original with “spooky chains clanking in cavernous dark spaces where water ominously drips and menace lurks in the gloom.”
3. Watch “The Lovers” starring Debra Winger, who plays one-half of a cheating couple. Both partners in a long-term marriage are cheating on each other and both think the other doesn’t know it. “And, though their marriage is at its end, there’s still a spark between them; something faintly electric that refuses to die,” writes our reviewer Moira Macdonald.
1. In the mood for what may become a modern classic, then try “Barkskins” by Annie Proulx, (who also wrote “Shipping News” and “Brokeback Mountain.”) The novel, which is described as “Dickensian” in its scope follows two 17th-century French immigrants discovering the forests of the New World. The reviewer says Proulx’s “700-plus-page takedown of the American timber industry” will likely be received well in trendy Seattle where the author now lives but less well in rural “Weyerhaeuser country.”
2. Are you in the mood for a story about a middle-aged woman looking back on her youth and trying to figure out who she might have been and discovers she was a “pirate wench?” Then perhaps you are in the mood for “Love and Trouble: A Midlife Reckoning” by Claire Dederer.
3. And finally, here’s a little murder mystery that was among those found to be most likely to have sunscreen spilled on them by the summer’s end. Reviewers recommend “Cold Earth” by Ann Cleeves whose detective, Jimmy Perez, investigates the identity of an unidentified murder victim.
1. One of the great binge-worthy treats on Netflix is Sense8, which is now in its second season. The show, which takes off in the fourth episode of the first season, tells the story of eight strangers from across the globe who discover they are connected to each other, are able to communicate with each other and can even lend each other their talents and skills sometimes in life and death situations. Streaming on Netflix.
2. “Dear White People” is a thought-provoking, satirical series set at Ivy League Winchester University. The 10-episode first season addresses the same concerns as the 2014 movie it’s based on: race, racism, appropriation, assimilation, conflict and enlightenment. A biracial female student hosts a radio segment in which she discusses race and elicits various reactions. Her decision to date a white man underscores how political some personal decisions can be. Streaming on Netflix
3. There must be something comforting about dystopian worlds as the success of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” based on Margaret Atwood’s book of the same name, testifies. The story is set in the U.S. after a successful religious coup has resulted in theocratic rule and the loss of fertility among the wives of the wealthy male leaders. Though the story seems fresh and features current themes with refugees fleeing to Canada and a fear of Islamic terrorists, all of the harrowing details were in the 1985 novel. Streaming on Hulu.
4. Have you caught “Twin Peaks” fever? You can watch Seasons 1 and 2 on Amazon Prime. Then watch Showtime’s reboot of the series (Showtime has a 7-day free trial.)