CS Recommends: The Queen’s Gambit, Plus Toys & More!
Stuck inside? Don’t know what to watch/read/play/listen to? ComingSoon.net has got you covered. In this week’s CS Recommends our staff kicks off gives you solid tips on the best media to consume during your downtime, including The Queen’s Gambit and more! Check out our picks below!
MAX EVRY’S RECOMMEND: Smarty Flutter
This pre-school learning toy from Flycatcher is an interactive butterfly that your kid can “fly” around the house while it teaches them about directions, shapes, colors, and opposites. Motion sensors in it encourage physical activity and interactivity. It also helps develop emotional intelligence by calling out feelings that help kids recognize their own emotions. My daughter took to the bright colors and the interactivity of it immediately, and it’s a perfect toy for smaller children age 3 and up to have fun with while stuck inside!
KYLIE HEMMERT’S RECOMMEND: The Queen’s Gambit
In the series adaptation from Scott Frank and Allan Scott, Anya Taylor-Joy stars as Beth Harmon, a young woman who has grown up during the 1950s and 1960s with unresolved trauma, an addiction problem she developed at nine years old, and an uncanny knack for chess — a game that she eventually admits allows her to feel a sense of control. Based on the novel by Walter Tevis, The Queen’s Gambit is a gripping coming-of-age story of chess, addiction, and feminism, full of relatable and complex characters that will tear your heart out. The stunning performances, gorgeous visuals, and engaging writing must be noted, but more than anything I appreciated the essential and raw focus on addiction as we watch Beth grow dependent on the green tranquilizers her new home at the orphanage gives the children (which had me screaming at the screen), and how that develops the older she gets. Not just a character study, the story also gives a fascinating inside look at the world of competitive chess, which might give you more appreciation for something many consider just a simple board game.
GRANT HERMANNS’ RECOMMEND: Entourage
With the entertainment industry still struggling to get back to delivering entertainment to audiences, now seems like the ultimate time to go back and see behind-the-scenes of the chaos of Hollywood’s inner workings in HBO’s Entourage. Loosely based on executive producer Mark Wahlberg’s own experiences as an up-and-coming star, the comedy series centers on an on-the-rise star as he navigates his career alongside brother and struggling actor Johnny “Drama” Chase, best bud and manager Eric “E” Murphy, good friend Salvatore “Turtle” Assante and agent Ari Gold. There may be a mild air of misogyny in the characters and their actions, but there’s a real charm to be had watching their journeys, especially in seeing the incorporation of real studios, celebrity cameos and clever spoofs of real Hollywood execs, and the outrageous antics of Jeremy Piven’s explosive agent, making for an endlessly entertaining ride from start to finish, even in its fairly weaker final seasons.
MAGGIE DELA PAZ’S RECOMMEND: Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)
Starring Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt, the film centers around the Baker family, composed of Tom and Kate Baker along with their twelve children. Due to Tom’s new job opportunity, they have no other choice but to move the whole family to a new town. However, things get more difficult when Kate also gets a career milestone of her own that would require her to leave the kids for a while. Because of this, Tom confidently took on the challenge of taking care of their children as well as other household responsibilities in order for Kate to follow her dreams. However, Tom will soon realize that he has signed up for more than what he bargained for as he struggles to find the time to balance the high demands from his new job while being an only parent to twelve kids, who are having a hard time adjusting to their new home.
Cheaper by the Dozen was based on Frank Bunker Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey’s 1948 semi-autobiographical novel of the same name. This 2003 family comedy film is definitely a delight to watch and a must-see film during the holidays. In addition to its charming and entertaining story, Steve Martin’s chemistry with the film’s young cast didn’t fail to bring in the laughs. Despite having a poor critical performance, the Shawn Levy-directed film was still able to gain a worldwide gross of more than $190 million against a reported $40 million budget. Even though the film didn’t appeal much to the critics, I believe that it better caters to young audiences, who will find themselves relating to the Baker kids’ chaotic energy, especially if they belong to big families.
So, if you’re looking for something fun and easy to watch, I highly-recommend you to check out or revisit Cheaper by the Dozen!
JEFF AMES’ Recommend: Ransom
It’s been years since I’ve watch Ron Howard’s Ransom, mainly because you can’t find the damned thing anywhere. It’s available for Blu-ray, sure, but currently absent from any and all streaming services for rent or purchase. (Can we get a 4K version, please?) Luckily, I stumbled upon my dusty old, scratch-infested DVD copy of the flick and got the film working long enough to enjoy this potboiler centered around a kidnapping. Mel Gibson, perhaps in the height of his superstardom right after Braveheart and just before Lethal Weapon 4 and The Patriot, stars and whoa boy does the actor deliver in one of his strongest, most emotionally charged performances. However, the real MVP of the pic is Gary Sinise, here, too, at his peak (right after the one-two punch of Forrest Gump, Apollo 13 and just before Snake Eyes, Reindeer Games and, gulp, Mission to Mars), who delivers a sinister portrayal of a man doing a very bad thing for very personal reasons. His scenes with Gibson in which the two engage in over-the-phone, F-bomb laced shouting matches are thrilling to watch; and Howard directs with the same intense-fueled flare he brought to Apollo 13. Sure, the film is never as good as it probably should be, but as a weekend flick for the thrill-seeking crowd, you can’t do much better.
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