Underrated/Overrated: Letitia Wright shines in ‘Black Panther,’ and ‘The Push’ looks grim
Chris Rock’s “Tamborine” on Netflix: Maybe it’s a result of the streaming service’s habit of flooding the field with stand-up comedy, but more attention should be given to the first special in 10 years by an undisputed master of the form. Rock sounds energized with material on police brutality, race and his own divorce, which comes with a mix of self-lacerating honesty and raw truth. Not all his lines land, and some reveal shadows of sexism still to be explored, but at least Rock is still stretching, which isn’t something that can always be said for comics at his level.
Letitia Wright: Previously best known for portraying a roadside museum-goer/agent of righteous vengeance in the most recent season of “Black Mirror,” this Guyanese actress stole almost every scene she shared in the revolutionary blockbuster “Black Panther.” Portraying T’Challa’s younger sister Shuri, Wright is a cross between James Bond’s Q and the smartest, funniest person in your physics class, inventing a new style of shoe one moment, greeting Martin Freeman’s CIA agent as a “colonizer” the next. Of the many things “Black Panther” did right, giving Wright some of the best lines was high among them.
Derren Brown’s “The Push”: Because the biggest problem in 2018 has been believing in the worst in human nature, next week Netflix will be releasing this series looking at whether an average person can be pressured into killing someone. Orchestrated by Brown, a so-called “psychological illusionist,” some 70 actors will construct an elaborate ruse to manipulate a person into (apparent) murder. While Brown insisted his unsuspecting star of this horrifying stunt was fine once the hidden cameras stopped, let’s just shift their lives to the next season of “Black Mirror” and be done with it.
Technology’s war on reality: Our world is evolving so fast that nearly every day brings a moment ripe for a voice-over prologue in a post-apocalyptic movie (“We had no idea what was coming ...”), and while Boston Dynamics’ robot “dog” executioners of the future come close, the increasing possibilities of digitally placing words in people’s mouths on video are the stuff of dystopian nightmares. While companies like Pinscreen refine their avatar-crafting abilities for future exploitation, the rest of us will be doomed to debate what is real on social media — sort of like we do now, but worse.
Follow me over here @chrisbarton.
The complete guide to home viewing
Get Screen Gab for weekly recommendations, analysis, interviews and irreverent discussion of the TV and streaming movies everyone’s talking about.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.