‘Crown’ taps into interest in royals and their doings

Matt Smith and Claire Foy co-star as Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II in the second season of “The Crown.”


“The Crown” (available Friday on Netflix): The second season of the very acclaimed and very award-winning “The Crown” drops Friday on Netflix, with Claire Foy continuing her brilliant run as Queen Elizabeth II. This season will boast plenty of royal drama for the queen, including meeting President Kennedy (Michael C. Hall), Princess Margaret’s relationship with Tony Armstrong-Jones (Matthew Goode), the 1956 Suez crisis, as well as Elizabeth’s ongoing marital conflict with Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (Matt Smith).

The first season of “The Crown” was a stateside success for Netflix, thanks to evergreen interest in all things royal. The return of the show was already highly anticipated, but the recent engagement announcement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle certainly won’t hurt.

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (Netflix): The second-best superhero movie of the year (No. 1: “Logan”) flings the lovable rogues to opposite ends of the universe. Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is reuniting with his long-lost — and maybe a little shady — father (Kurt Russell). Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) are trying to heal old wounds by making new ones. And Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) and Yondu (Michael Rooker) are trying to escape a ship of space pirates. Writer-director James Gunn loves these characters and knows exactly how to pair them up in new, interesting ways. It feels like a few great episodes of a TV show crammed together — in a good way.

“Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” and “Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls” (Netflix): Out of “In Living Color,” Jim Carrey launched his career as a pet detective (and movie star). The “Ace Ventura” movies are stupid, obnoxious, juvenile, but they’re also something so few Jim Carrey movies have been in a very long time: funny.

“Easy” (Netflix): Indie filmmaker Joe Swanberg continues his series about the interconnected lives of a group of Chicagoans.

“The Rules of Attraction” (Hulu): Roger Avary, the Oscar-winning co-writer of “Pulp Fiction,” has had a pretty weird career. After he parted ways with Tarantino, he went on to do writing-for-hire jobs for films such as “Silent Hill” and “Beowulf.” Then he went to jail for vehicular manslaughter. In all this time, he wrote and directed one sorta great movie: 2002’s “The Rules of Attraction,” an adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ novel about debauched and overprivileged college students, starring James Van Der Beek, Jessica Biel, Kate Bosworth, Ian Somerhalder, Kip Pardue and Shannyn Sossamon. “American Psycho” is the best Ellis adaptation, but this one’s a close second.

“Deepwater Horizon” (HBO Now, HBO Go): Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg continue their efforts to bring national tragedies to life on the big screen in this impressively mounted and sometimes terrifying account of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

“Unforgettable” (HBO Now, HBO Go): Earlier this year, movie theaters spewed forth this trashy thriller starring Katherine Heigl as a not-super-stable woman who terrorizes the new girlfriend (Rosario Dawson) of her ex-husband. A good movie to watch drunk or hung over.

“Jack Frost” (HBO Now, HBO Go): This 1998 holiday family film, which stars Michael Keaton as a negligent father who dies in a car accident and comes back in the form of a computer-animated snowman, is the scariest movie I’ve ever seen.

“Personal Shopper” and “Certain Women” (Showtime): Kristen Stewart continues her great run with these two recent releases from, respectively, Olivier Assayas and Kelly Reichardt.

“Heaven’s Gate” (Hulu, Amazon Prime): Michael Cimino’s big-budget Western from 1980 was a critical and commercial flop that is blamed by many for killing both the oater genre and the era of auteurist ambition that marked the cinema of the ’70s. Looking back on it nearly 40 years after the fact, “Heaven’s Gate” is a profoundly gorgeous (if at times profoundly boring) example of maximalist filmmaking.

“Silence” (Hulu, Amazon Prime): Martin Scorsese’s very personal, very long period piece about a few 17th century Jesuit priests (Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson) who are trying to spread Christianity in Japan. It’s a terrifically made and acted film that is borderline impossible to sit through.

“Jack” (Hulu): In 1996, Francis Ford Coppola — the five-time Oscar winner behind “Apocalypse Now,” “The Conversation” and “The Godfather” trilogy — made a movie about a boy with an aging disorder (played by Robin Williams) entering the fifth grade. When it comes to range on a spectrum of quality, nobody beats Coppola.

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