Hurricane Hilary: Movies, TV Shows and More to Relax

Men in tuxedos stand around a woman in evening dress.

A scene from the 2001 film Gosford Park.

(Mark Tillie / USA Films)

“Gosford Park” (VOD, multi-platform)
Its action doesn’t unfold on a dark and stormy night, and its emotional mood—razor-sharp class satire veering into mourning—befits neither cozy crime fiction nor noir. But there’s no film I watch more during a disappointment than Robert Altman’s 2001 “Upstairs/Downstairs” tour de force, set on an English country estate in 1932. From the perspective of novice maid Mary Maceachran (Kelly Macdonald), a muddy, The Slate Shooting Weekend becomes an autopsy of a dysfunctional social order tending towards dissolution. Compared to arguments over investments and inheritances, arguments between lovers and trysts in storerooms, the (double) murder of the estate’s owner, former factory profiteer William McCordle (Michael Gambon), is all but irrelevant. And though it’s carried through brilliant comic turns by Maggie Smith (as the garrulous dowager countess) and Kristin Scott Thomas (as the bored society lady), there’s also the dramatic fireworks display between Helen Mirren and Eileen Atkins, as the buttoned-up housekeeper and her bawdy sister, alluding to the depth of feeling that the film opposes to its farce. (I can’t watch Jeremy Northam’s Ivor Novello sing the elegiac “Land of Might-Have-Been” without crying.) Indeed, while it is not the filmmaker’s last film, it is his late masterpiece and, I would argue, its overall performance: beneath the surface of a perfect gem, it contains a little of every Altman film and all of its enduring themes, with a double slap in the face – human, historical – before the credits roll. What’s the point of loving movies if you don’t love Gosford Park? — Matt Brennan, Associate Editor for entertainment and art

The Exorcist (VOD, Multiplatform)
Nothing works better during a storm than a horror movie: crank up the volume and double the fear. I would recommend a return to William Friedkin’s immortal 1973 thriller The Exorcist, which was widely celebrated two weeks ago after the director’s death at the age of 87. But when was the last time the power of Christ compelled you? Beyond the film’s supernatural elements, it also works unusually well as a sneak hug for frustrated parents: why is my child cursing, vomiting and being so unruly? And why are these doctors so useless? Think of it as research for October’s remake of The Exorcist: Believer, which will bring back Ellen Burstyn and (so the rumor has it) the original head-spinner herself, Linda Blair. It can be rented from several streaming services. — Joshua Rothkopf, film editor

“Noah” (Paramount+, Prime Video)
What better time to re-read Darren Aronofsky’s retelling of the Old Testament account of an apocalyptic deluge and a floating ark in the face of a hurricane rolling in on the region? If you’re a half-full person, you might be watching, looking out the window and thinking, “That’s not so bad.” If you’re more of a pessimist, take it as an introduction. In any case, there’s much to appreciate about Aronofsky’s risqué action extravaganza, in which the savage Russell Crowe erases any Sunday school memories one might have of a friendly Noah leading animals, two by two, onto a wooden boat. “Artistic liberties” have indeed been taken, as the prologue disclaimer states, but most of Aronofsky’s departures are inspired and thought-provoking. It’s the best religious film: one that makes you delve deeper into your faith. — Glenn Whipp, columnist

‘Weathering WWith you’ (Max)
Japanese filmmaker Makoto Shinkai followed up his breakthrough hit Your Name (2016) with Weathering With You, a delightfully animated teenage romance centered on a teenage runaway named Hodaka Morishima. While trying to figure out how to survive on his own in Tokyo, Hodaka meets Hina Amano, a teenager who is taking care of her younger brother after the death of her mother. It turns out that Hina has the ability to control the weather – a skill with business potential in a Japan plagued by increasingly excessive and unpredictable rainfall. While the film doesn’t fully delve into the causes of the climate catastrophe, it is perhaps the most beautiful portrayal of torrential rain you’ll ever see. Ultimately though, it’s a story about two teenagers who find love and a way to survive in a world where so much seems beyond their control that seems more and more relevant right now. – Tracy Brown

Emma Bowman

Emma Bowman is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma Bowman joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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