Streaming Must-Sees (and Must-Skips) in November 2023
Featuring the 'BlackBerry' miniseries, the 'Frasier' reboot and David Fincher's return to the thriller genre
Published Nov 15, 2023So far this autumn, we've been treated to some exceptional content in the theatres and on our streaming services. Some hits and misses from TIFF 2023 have started to trickle into our homes, while an early contender for the year's best Canadian film gets flipped into a limited series on CBC.
This month we've also seen the return of TV shows and directors with Kelsey Grammer's homecoming to digital airwaves as Frasier Crane and Steven Yeun and Sandra Oh coming back to deal with the fall out of Omni-Man. Perhaps, though, most exciting of all is new David Fincher ready to be consumed at the click of a button.
Be sure to read our past editions of Tune In or Turn Off here for more streaming hits and misses.
Tune In: BlackBerry
BlackBerry is the latest to receive the movie-to-limited-series treatment from CBC (along with Bones of Crows and Swan Song). Taking scenes that were left on the cutting room floor to accommodate a palatable feature-film runtime, BlackBerry the series offers an extended insight into the rise and fall of a tech giant. The film stands alone as one of the year's best, but for those wanting more of Glenn Howerton's delightfully unhinged portrayal of Jim Balsillie, the series is a great alternative to the director's cut.
Turn Off: Fingernails
The premise of Fingernails is a showstopper: a world where falling in love can be quantifiable and even certified. Couples offering up their fingernails to test whether or not they are in fact in love and can firmly proceed with their relationship. Unfortunately, a promising narrative and scintillating performances from Riz Ahmed and Jessie Buckley don't add up to enough, leaving Fingernails short of compelling.
Tune In: Frasier
Frasier is an all-time top-tier sitcom and I will be taking no questions on this matter. Given its secured position in television history, it was a curious decision to decide to reboot the series nearly 20 years later with only Kelsey Grammer returning as the titular psychiatrist. But surprisingly, it kind of works. There's no getting around that it's miles (Niles) away from the original series, but in its current form, the supporting cast and writing come together to create entertaining television that will please fans of the '90s classic.
Tune In: Invincible, Season 2
Two years ago, Robert Kirkman's Invincible series left viewers gasping and horrified at the animated brutality of Nolan Grayson. In Season 2, Invincible deals with the aftermath of the revelations surrounding Omni-Man and considers the dark implications of superhero powers existing in our world. A show styled like a fun '90s after-school cartoon, Invincible remains undefeated in expertly balancing humour, violence and thoughtful doom and gloom.
Tune In: The Killer
David Fincher's return to the thriller genre offers up an aesthetically pleasing, quiet film that may just be one of his funniest movies yet. Michael Fassbender stars as an unnamed hitman who seeks out revenge after a job gone sideways with kinetic action and a dry script that skewers the gig economy and the growing disconnect of society. It's not a film that's going to compete with Se7en or Zodiac for best Fincher thriller, but it'll certainly hit the spot for genre fans.
Tune In: Mr. Dressup: The Magic of Make-Believe
In many ways, the Mr. Dressups and Mr. Rogers of the world go unappreciated by their audience. It isn't until many years after, when that audience stops watching, that their impact is felt. Mr. Dressup: The Magic of Make-Believe serves as not only an oral and visual history of the children's television show and personality, but as a way of saying thank you to Ernie Coombs for his contributions to multiple generations' childhood. A trip down nostalgia lane that's not to be missed.
Turn Off: Pain Hustlers
There was a time that B-movies like Pain Hustlers were made by B-list movie stars and shot into the direct-to-video void at Blockbuster. Thanks to streamers like Netflix, movie stars like Emily Blunt and Chris Evans become the faces of these films while still retaining their B-movie roots. In most cases, there isn't much reason to pay any mind to content like this — but when it's an attempt to profit from, and oddly sympathize with, the abhorrent greed perpetuating an epidemic where real lives are lost and actual families ruined, it's hard to simply scroll past without condemnation.
Tune In: The Pigeon Tunnel
Some John le Carré fans may have a passing knowledge of the man behind the espionage, but for most, David Cornwell has been a mystery since the '60s. The Pigeon Tunnel not only attempts to peel back the layers of Cornwell, it also puts him in an interrogation-like position with famed documentarian Errol Morris. The film goes beyond simply explaining who Cornwell was and becomes a meeting of the minds on matters of truth and memory.