The Death of Stalin
Armando Iannucci’s Emmy-juggernaut Veep has consistently been one of TV’s great comedies, a blistering political satire whose bonfire of the political vanities proved all too prescient in the Trump Era. So, it’s no surprise that his new film made it through 2017’s festival circuit with an impressive 97% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes (as of this post). The dream-team comedic cast would be reason enough to make it this week’s must-see film with Steve Buscemi, Jeffrey Tambor, Rupert Friend, and the legendary Monty Python star Michael Palin all playing various bumbling apparatchiks. Plus, the premise is seemingly tailor-made for Iannucci: after Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s death, the back-stabbing buffoons of the Politburo must decide who will fill the power vacuum by whatever means necessary. Of course, this being Gulag-era Russia those means are generously flavored with inept conspiracies, murderous paranoia and plenty of Iannucci’s Shakespearean foul-mouthed invective. In theaters March 9; ifcfilms.com.
Although Netflix has two beloved series and female stars returning this week—the ever-delightful Gillian Jacobs in Love and Krysten Ritter in Marvel’s neo-noir Jessica Jones—why not add something new to the queue? In a testament to the richness of our streaming era, one of Britain’s great playwrights David Hare has been lured into writing his first series for the BBC and Netflix. Far more than your average police procedural, Hare’s mini-series follows the shooting of a Syrian refugee and pizza deliveryman but eschews the usual detective busywork for an incisive look at the political and social forces at play in contemporary Britain. To boot, Hare has his own virtuosa leading lady captaining the ship: pushing back against her usual willowy persona, Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan plays the no-nonsense former Olympian detective in charge of uncovering the truth of a case that will capture a vicar, an MP and even Britain’s sense of itself in the modern world. Premieres March 9th on Netflix; netflix.com.