Entertainment

See it, stream it or skip it? The holiday edition

CBC Entertainment's Eli Glasner and Jelena Adzic compile a list of big and small screen pleasures to savour, plus a few to avoid.

Get swept up in the music of La La Land or binge a new series? Here's your winter viewing guide

Ryan Gosling, Octavia Spencer, Chris Pratt and Elijah Wood star in some of this season's most anticipated films. (eone films, 20th century fox, sony pictures, netflix)

So you've unwrapped the presents, had more eggnog than is medically advised and now you're looking for something to watch as you bask in the food coma. Your friends at CBC Entertainment are here to help. We've prepared a list of who's naughty and nice for your viewing pleasure. 

SEE IT

Emma and Ryan make it look so easy in the musical La La Land (Dale Robinette/Summit Entertainment/Associated Press)

La La Land - Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling make it look easy in this musical about an actor and jazz pianist falling in love. Director Damien Chazelle fills the story with motifs from classic movies while never fully succumbing to nostalgia. La La Land is about being true to yourself in a town built on fantasy, but it's the effortless authenticity of Gosling and Stone that makes this a must-see.

Hidden Figures Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe as a trio of math nerds working at NASA? Yes, please. Based on the eponymous novel, Hidden Figures sheds light on the true story of the segregated black women who calculated the trajectory of rockets. With Kevin Costner and Kirsten Dunst rounding out the cast, Hidden Figures is a straight-ahead but satisfying story of determination. 

Sing - Are you willing to watch an elephant sing Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah? If the answer is yes, you're ready to enjoy this peppy jukebox musical about a koala putting on a talent show. Sure, the characters are predictable, but the joyous finale will leave you tapping your toes.


STREAM IT

Kim's Convenience is a refreshingly sharp and silly take on the immigrant experience. (CBC)

Black Mirror - This modern-day Twilight Zone from the U.K. is finally starting to get the attention it deserves, thanks to Netflix jumping on board this year. But past seasons are just as phenomenal, which makes it worth checking out from start to finish. Creator Charlie Brooker has an uncanny knack for accurately predicting what crazy contraptions and concepts would actually come to fruition. Get your recording contact lenses in place and hunker down for disturbingly good TV. 

Kim's Convenience - Much more than the first Asian-Canadian sitcom, Kim's Convenience mines the immigrant experience for comedy while gently subverting our expectations. Check out the streaming link for the first season and see why Appa (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) belongs in the pantheon of TV grouches.

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency - "I'm not your Watson, asshole." And so begins the not-so-buddy comedy based on the novel by Douglas Adams. Enfant-terrible screenwriter Max Landis captures Adams' sense of the absurd in this series about the connected nature of all things. Plus, who does "bewildered" better than Elijah Wood?


SKIP IT 

Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt are trapped in a mediocre movie in the new space adventure from the director of The Imitation Game. (Sony Pictures)

Passengers - Call the coroner, this film is dead on arrival. Passengers takes two of the most charismatic actors working today (Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence) and performs a film lobotomy. The result is a shallow, sexist story about pretty, bland people trapped on a 90-year space voyage. But it's what Pratt's character does to Lawrence that makes this glossy garbage unforgivable. Turning Lawrence into a simpering damsel in distress waiting to forgive her Mr. Fix It? Ugh, do yourself a favour and re-watch Wall-E instead. 

Fences - Some theatrical adaptations lift off the screen and others never escape the footlights. Denzel Washington directs and stars in the big screen adaptation of the play by August Wilson, and perhaps he could have used some critical distance. The tale of a garbage man struggling with his son and racism is filled with speechifying and stilted characters. Viola Davis's furiously powerful moment as the long-suffering wife doesn't redeem the rest.

now