IndieWire does its best to sort the jewels from the junk and keep readers up to speed on the film, TV, and digital media that’s worth their time, but not even the most avid consumers of pop culture can find room for it all on their radars. The sheer volume of stuff has made it almost impossible for people to even keep tabs on the stuff they know they want to watch; at a time when a week can feel like a year, that great new indie you read about on Monday can feel like a distant memory by the time you finally get a chance to go see it on Friday.
With that in mind, we give you the IndieWire Watch List, a new weekly feature that takes everything the site’s critics and editors are currently obsessed with and collects it all together in one place. From the best new movies and shows to podcasts, can’t-miss streaming content, and whatever else we can’t get out of our heads, consider this your one-stop shop for what to watch this weekend.
This week’s highlights include Martin Scorsese’s unclassifiable new Bob Dylan film, the return of “Pose,” and a long tell-all conversation with “The Battle of Winterfell” director Miguel Sapochnik.
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8. “City on a Hill” [TV Series — Showtime]
Roll on down to the stah mahket with Matt and Ben’s latest Beantown yahn, “City on a Hill.” So steeped in Boston culture, it’s still hungover from the Bruins’ Game 7 loss in the Stanley Cup Finals, the “Good Will Hunting” bros’ new Showtime drama tells a more intricate, bureaucratic cops and robbers story based in history. Starting with an armored car robbery in 1990, Chuck MacLean and Tom Fontana introduce two slightly fictionalized city representatives — Kevin Bacon’s corrupt FBI agent and Aldis Hodge’s Brooklyn-born district attorney — to guide viewers through Boston’s troubled past to its all-important Miracle.
Richly detailed and sporting an attitude as addictive as the accents, “City on a Hill” is a solid throwback drama made with all the “fahks” and “cawksuckahs” premium cable can provide. Read our full review here. —Ben Travers, Critic & Deputy Editor, TV
“City on a Hill” airs Sunday nights at 9PM.
7. “Earth Break” [Podcast]
A worthy inaugural fiction podcast selection at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, “Earth Break” features a terrific performance from Jenny Slate as the sole survivor of an ambiguous alien attack. Alongside a smart script from Morgan Ormond that makes the show’s found-audio premise make thematic and logistical sense, director (and “Cold Weather” and “Gemini” filmmaker) Aaron Katz helps balance apocalyptic dread with quieter, sincere moments of perseverance. Not many performers can make two hours of talking feel earned and necessary, but Slate’s perfect blend of humor, anxiety, and empathy makes this an audio drama worth seeking out. —Steve Greene, Associate TV Editor
6. Sienna Miller in “American Woman” [Film — Theatrical]
You’ve never seen Sienna Miller like this before — even the actress herself will tell you that (or, as she did earlier this week, she’ll tell IndieWire) — as she stuns in her first sole leading role, thanks to a film that pushes aside any and all inclinations to keep pigeon-holing her in “wife” roles (even if they come care of great directors and films). Jake Scott’s time-spanning drama allows Miller to grow with her character, Rust Belt brawler Deb, whose entire life is upended when her beloved teenage daughter goes missing. Left to contend with some terrible questions and desperate to properly raise her young grandson, the film checks in with Deb during major turning points over the course of 11 years.
Miller is more than up for the task, believably evolving Deb at every opportunity as she becomes the woman she was meant to be, even if its due to unimaginable circumstances. It’s Miller’s best work to date, and proof of a range that had not previously been tapped. —Kate Erbland, Deputy Editor, Film
5. “Pose: Season 2″ [TV Series — FX]
FX’s acclaimed series about New York’s underground ball culture is back with all of our favorites, from Pray Tell (Billy Porter) to Angel (Indya Moore). And while the show gets serious about the AIDS epidemic and violence against transgender people, it’s also a fabulous, over-the-top extravaganza of muchness in the ballroom. Don’t miss the premiere, in which the Revolution category inspired this Marie Antoinette ensemble. And yes, there is a goddamn guillotine. —Hanh Nguyen, Senior Editor, TV
4. Janus Films’ New Restoration of “Paris Is Burning” [Film — Theatrical]
There’s no better way to spend Pride Month at the movies than with Janus Films’ new restoration of Jennie Livingston’s seminal 1999 documentary “Paris Is Burning.” Shot over seven years throughout the 1980s, Livingston’s non-fiction feature takes an intimate look at the rival fashion houses that dominated New York City’s African American and Latinx Harlem drag ball scene. Livingston worked with the UCLA Television Archive to digitally restore her landmark queer film, which begins its run at New York City’s IFC Center before expanding across the country in the coming weeks. For those who don’t want to wait, “Paris Is Burning” is also streaming on Netflix. —Zack Sharf, News Editor
3. “Game of Thrones” Director Miguel Sapochnik on IndieWire’s Filmmaker Toolkit Podcast [Podcast]
Have you ever wanted to know how an episode of “Game of Thrones” was really made, or how the directorial brilliance of Miguel Sapochnik became a force on such a creator-dominated show? Well, here’s a podcast interview for you. In an IndieWire exclusive, the director behind “Battle of the Bastards,” “Hardhome,” and “Winds of Winter” takes you inside the creation of some the series’ biggest moments and how he went from being a last minute replacement director, who D.B. Weiss and David Benioff didn’t trust, to being the two show runners go-to director for the shows epic battles.
Sapochnik also brings us inside the show’s final season, including the arduous 55-night shoot of “The Longest Night,” and how he filmed the destruction of King’s Landing, in the penultimate episode “The Bells,” through the lens of questioning his own role in creating the show’s most violent moments. That one of our most exciting filmmakers working today is willing to dive so deep into his process and reveal how the sausage was made is a rare treat for any fan of GoT, or filmmaking in general. —Chris O’Falt, Toolkit Editor
2. “Los Espookys” [TV Series — HBO]
As HBO continues to expand its programming slate, the premium cable giant-turned-streamer is finding room for more and more inventive, off-the-wall entries like Fred Armisen’s “Los Espookys.” Co-created by the former “Portlandia” star, alongside Ana Fabrega and Julio Torres, all three also star as a group of friends whose love of horror leads them to a series of gigs where they’re paid to scare the pants off of people. Led by Renaldo (Bernardo Velasco) they find a priest who needs them to fake an exorcism, a widow who needs to stage a haunted house, and many more odd jobs with odder frights.
As much a celebration of the craft behind your favorite horror moments as it is a strange beauty all its own, “Los Espookys” is a Spanish-language series where none of the laughs are lost in translation. —Ben Travers, Critic & Deputy Editor, TV
1. “Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese” [Film — Netflix/Theatrical]
A rambling magic trick of a movie that reanimates a hazy chapter of American history by unmooring it from the facts of its time, “Rolling Thunder Revue” isn’t a Bob Dylan concert doc or an act of archival preservation or yet another dithering nostalgia trip back to a decade when everyone was young and everything seemed possible; it’s all of those things in order to be none of those things. Assembled from an immaculately restored motherlode of 16mm vérité footage, and splitting the difference between Todd Haynes’ impressionistic “I’m Not There” and Scorsese’s own previous Dylan film (the more straightforward “No Direction Home”), “Rolling Thunder Revue” ha something for everyone.
Dylan obsessives will obviously be in heaven — gasping at the sparks that fly when old flame Joan Baez touches the folk legend’s shoulder, awing at what happens during an impromptu party at Gordon Lightfoot’s house, and observing a holy silence throughout the sustained long take in which Dylan and witchy violinist Scarlet Rivera crush “A Simple Twist of Fate” — but the film digs so deep into its strange bag of tricks that even non-fans and neophytes are liable to be caught in its spell. —David Ehrlich, Senior Film Critic
And, if you’re ready to unpack the film’s mysteries, read our guide to the sleight-of-hand Scorsese uses to make this movie sing.