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Critics' guide on what to watch this weekend

Neal Justin and Chris Hewitt, Star Tribune on

Published in Entertainment News

'Stranger Things'

After a three-year hiatus, this beloved series still delivers plenty of jolts, including a terrifying opening scene that marks the return of Matthew Modine's evil doctor. (And, yes, Hopper is back, too!) But "Stranger" continues to be at its best when it takes a break from monster hunting to reflect on such real teenage horrors as first crushes and high school bullies. Eleven's (Millie Bobby Brown) troubles adjusting to a new school take more than a page from "Carrie." Those with high pop-culture IQs continue to get extra treats, like the reference to the 1980s flop "Misfits of Science" starring a pre-"Friends" Courteney Cox. Time to get your geek back on. Friday, Netflix

'Emergency'

The incident referred to in the title and, in fact, the genre of this movie keeps changing over the course of 100 minutes. It begins as a satire, targeting the microaggressions faced by young Black college students. But when two Black friends discover an unconscious white girl in their apartment, "Emergency" becomes a dangerous thriller. As the buddies recognize the peril they're in when they drive her to a hospital in a car with a burnt-out taillight, it morphs into ripped-from-the-headlines horror. Enacted by a cast of excellent newcomers, Carey Williams' "Emergency" features lots of talents to keep an eye on. Friday, Amazon Prime Video

'Cry Macho'

Minnesota native Nick Schenk has written several movies for Clint Eastwood, including "Gran Torino" and this sentimental drama from last year. Eastwood, who also directed, plays a rodeo veteran blackmailed into accepting a dangerous assignment to escort a Mexican child into the U.S. on behalf of his father (Dwight Yoakam). It's corny, but the nonagenarian actor works comfortably in his gruff/decent/sweetie pie wheelhouse. Oh, and Macho is the name of the kid's rooster. HBO Max

 

'Elizabeth: A Portrait in Part(s)'

This new documentary is not so much a profile of Her Majesty as it is a 96th birthday gift. Call it the Queen's greatest hits. That means lots of loving montages honoring what she does best: waving, horseback riding and triggering fake laughs from her loyal subjects. It's like flipping through the royals' photo album, with hardly anything substantial in the captions. 9 p.m. ET Friday, Showtime

'Keeping Company With Sondheim'

You don't get a lot of clips from the 2021 revival of "Company," but theater fans will relish the discussion of how producers reimagined Stephen Sondheim's groundbreaking musical with a woman in the lead role. Commentators include Christopher Sieber, who played Harry in the latest version of this enduring classic. 10 p.m. Friday, PBS

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