Avatar: The Way of Water; Kindred.
Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos Courtesy of 20th Century Studios and Hulu
Sivako, readers! I won’t lie, it feels a bit trippy to be writing that James Cameron’s sequel to Avatar is finally debuting in theaters (in high frame rate too, hoo boy) this weekend. No more Papyrus logo, a whole theme-park land dedicated to it — though, spoiler alert! Satu’li Canteen is not featured in the sequel — and 13 years later, The Way of Water is probably going to dominate your conversations going forward. But not everyone is a fan of the blue guys, so here’s the rest of our picks for the week:
This marks James Cameron’s epic return to Pandora after his original 2009 film set the world aflame, and now, Cameron is showing us the depths and expanse of the futuristic planet. In The Way of Water, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) have grown their family, adding four kids, including Sigourney Weaver as their adopted teenage daughter Kiri. While they’ve had a peaceful 13 years, the sky people soon return, forcing Sully and his family to seek refuge with the Metkayina Na’vi, a water tribe with Kate Winslet’s character at the helm. Its story can feel slightly hokey and stuffed at times — it is a three-hour-and-18-minute movie, by the way — but God, the visuals are as dazzling as you’ve heard.
Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu is adding to the pile of directors’ movie memoirs of sorts with Bardo, a semi-true story of a Mexican journalist and documentarian now living in California. After winning a prestigious award, he starts to have an identity crisis over his successful, yet indulgent, lifestyle and must face his old life back in Mexico. Bardo has had a rocky road so far, but if watching auteur semi-autobiographical films is your thing, might as well contend with Bardo too.
FX has had a great year of television programming, and now, it’s hoping to add Kindred to your list. An adaptation of Octavia Butler’s revered 1979 novel, Kindred follows young writer Dana (Mallori Johnson) as she curiously finds herself being pulled back and forth in time from present-day Los Angeles to her ancestors on a 19th-century plantation. All eight episodes are out now.
It’s about time there’s a National Treasure
sequel? reboot? spinoff TV show. Sure, Nicolas Cage isn’t stealing another Declaration of Independence — though there are some familiar faces coming back. Instead, this new series will follow Jess Valenzuela (Lisette Olivera) and her group of friends as they uncover lost treasures from the Mexican-American War. If that’s not enough to attract you to the series, this clip of Catherine Zeta-Jones talking about Big Little Lies has completely sold me on checking out at least one episode.
Brace yourselves for all the texts from your mom telling you about this cutie Noah Centimeter (and prepare to text back, “Centineo, Mom”). The To All the Boys co-star is making his leap into gritty government television that your parents will devour. He stars as a newbie CIA lawyer who has to deal with espionage! I’m not sure if it’ll be dull or fantastic, but I’m sure it’ll be a great show to play while doing your laundry.
Y’all love Yellowstone so much that Taylor Sheridan can now afford to have a spinoff series with both Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren as the leads. Congrats! I’m sure this will be the biggest show ever (though if it isn’t, don’t quote me). Ford and Mirren join the family as Jacob and Cara Dutton in this prequel to Yellowstone (and sequel to 1883), which puts you in the middle of the Prohibition as the Duttons fight through the era’s Great Depression.
Also! Read our streaming recommendations from the weekend of December 9. Vulture’s next list of weekend streaming picks goes online Friday, December 22.