Adrien Brody gets creepy in Chapelwaite on Showmax this month

Jean Smart - photo by Karen Ballard

ADRIEN BRODY can do whatever he pleases and I shall watch it, even if his more recent work doesn’t reach the same heights as The Grand Budapest Hotel, Cadillac Records, The Darjeeling Limited or Hollywoodland. In 2003 he won the Academy Award for Best Actor at age 29, for The Pianist (2002), becoming the youngest actor to win in that category. And who can forget his enthusiastic response with presenter Halle Berry?

Somewhere along the line, I added Chapelwaite to my Showmax watch list then promptly forgot about it until today, when I got the email to say it’s now available to binge, hooray. Brody was nominated for Best Actor: Horror at the 2022 Critics Choice Super Awards for his performance as Captain Charles Boone in this horror series based on the short story Jerusalem’s Lot by Stephen King (It, The Shining, Carrie and many more books; “at least 82” says the internet helpfully).

Jerusalem’s Lot is a prequel to Salem’s Lot, King’s vampire novel from 1975, a massive tome, and his second published work after Carrie. In the 1850s, Captain Charles Boone relocates his family to his ancestral home in the small, sleepy town of Preacher’s Corners in Maine. Here Charles will soon have to confront his family’s secrets and fight to end the darkness.

Also available to binge now is season two of Wu-Tang: An American Saga. Set in early 1990s New York, at the height of the crack cocaine epidemic, it is the fictionalised account of the formation of legendary hip-hop supergroup Wu-Tang Clan. MTV Movie Award winner Ashton Sanders (Moonlight, Judas and the Black Messiah) and Black Reel winner Shameik Moore (the voice of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’s Miles) co-star as Bobby Diggs and Sha Raider respectively.

Nigerian-American Uyoata Udi (This is Us, Watchmen) takes over from Joey Bada$$ as Jason Hunter/Rebel/Inspectah Deck as the series explores the backstory behind some of Wu-Tang’s biggest tracks. Created by Grammy nominated Wu-Tang leader RZA with Alex Tse (Watchmen), season one  was nominated for an Emmy and three Black Reel Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series. The show has been renewed for a third and final season.

In The Man Who Fell To Earth (from November 7), an alien arrives on Earth with a mission: to learn to become human and find the one woman who can help save his species. Together they discover that to save his world, they must first save ours.

One of Rotten Tomatoes’ most anticipated shows of 2022, The Man Who Fell To Earth was up for Best Special Visual Effects at the Emmys, while Oscar nominees Chiwetel Ejiofor and Naomie Harris were nominated for Best Actor and Actress respectively at the 2022 Black Reel Awards, where Clarke Peters was up for Best Supporting Actor. BAFTA winner Bill Nighy and Emmy nominees Jimmi Simpson (Westworld) and Rob Delaney (Catastrophe) co-star.

Based on the Walter Tevis novel of the same name and the iconic film that starred David Bowie, The Man Who Fell To Earth has an 87% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with Salon praising Ejiofor in particular. “It’s an incredible performance bursting with tenderness, humour and the requisite level of oddity one would expect of a being thrust into an unfamiliar place.”

From November 23 you can watch season two of Hacks, which is every bit as good as season one for which Jean Smart took home the Emmy for Outstanding Actress In A Comedy for her performance as legendary Las Vegas comedian Deborah Vance in 2021. Then she did it again this year. The woman has an entirely separate Wikipedia page for all her awards. Hacks season two also won Emmys for Outstanding Guest Actress (Laurie Metcalfe from The Big Bang Theory and Lady Bird), and Contemporary Costumes from its 17 nominations, which included Best Comedy.

Season two continues to explore the evolving mentorship between the acerbic Deborah and her young writer, Ava (Hannah Einbinder, nominated for back-to-back Emmys for this breakthrough role), and there are some surprisingly tender moments before Deborah gets a grip on herself. Season two has a 100% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where it’s the fourth best-reviewed show of 2022 so far. IndieWire praised Hacks as “a series of endless wonders”; AV Club wrote that the new season is “pitch-perfect” starring “a never-better Jean Smart”; and The Wrap adds, it “remains one of the most consummately funny shows on TV.”

HBO Max has renewed Hacks for a third season, and I should jolly well think so.

If like me you’ve been waiting for the full season of The Handmaid’s Tale to binge even though you’ll probably still only watch it in two or three sittings, November 10 is your date. I covered The White Lotus in the October highlights but since then I’ve seen previews of five episodes of seven and it is simply superb. You can read more here. Weekly episodes every Monday.

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