WATCH IT: Bradley Cooper conducts his latest Oscar hopeful, Maestro
A new directing star was born when Bradley Cooper's 2018 remake of A Star Is Born shot to the top of the box office charts. Now, the actor returns behind the camera with a long-gestating biopic about famed Jewish American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein. Cooper directs and stars in the film, which delves into Bernstein's complicated marriage to his equally celebrated wife, Felicia Montealegre (Carey Mulligan), during which he not-so-secretly carried on love affairs with men. With a nimble visual style and a narrative that leaps years in mere minutes, Maestro refreshingly seeks to dance around the predictable biopic beats. Due to the just-concluded Screen Actors Guild strike, Cooper has so far remained silent about the "Jewface" controversy that has followed the film for months. Expect that to change as the curtain rises on the movie's awards season campaign. — Ethan Alter
STREAM IT: Will Bye Bye Barry reveal the answers?
For 24 years, sports fans have wondered "why" and the answer may finally be revealed. In 1999, Barry Sanders was on his way to becoming arguably the best running back the NFL had ever seen when he suddenly and shockingly retired at 31 years old. He was a revolutionary player who broke records in college at Oklahoma State and even won the Heisman Trophy in 1988. Drafted by the Detroit Lions, he played ten years in the NFL earning Rookie of the Year honors, became the Most Valuable Player in 1997, was a four-time rushing champion, rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his 10 NFL seasons, was a six-time first team All-Pro selection and was a 10-time Pro Bowl selection. When he retired, he said, "My desire to exit the game is greater than my desire to remain in it." This documentary claims to address "in intimate detail" Sanders's journey and give fans the reason why he walked away from the game. — Garin Flowers
Bye Bye Barry premieres Tuesday, Nov. 21 on Prime Video.
WATCH IT: Finally, there’s a Napoleon biopic — and better yet, it’s directed by Ridley Scott
At 85 years young, Ridley Scott isn't just still ticking, he's delivering some of the most audacious motion pictures being produced. Two years after the double whammy of The Last Duel and House of Gucci, he delivers a long-awaited biopic of French military genius-turned-despot Napoleon Bonaparte, and it's a captivating epic, even when it doesn't work. While you can understand why Scott was compelled to reunite with his Gladiator co-star Joaquin Phoenix two decades later, too often it feels like we're watching Phoenix playing Phoenix playing Bonaparte. But Napoleon is never dull, and gets a major boost from the ever-impressive Vanessa Kirby as the Empress Joséphine, whom Bonaparte both adored and abandoned when she couldn't bear him a child. — Kevin Polowy
Napoleon premieres Wednesday, Nov. 22 in theaters; ; visit Fandango for showtime and ticket information.
STREAM IT: Adam Sandler’s latest Netflix project finds him in animated lizard form
A solid Netflix option for this holiday week is the animated film Leo. This one follows a jaded, talking classroom lizard named Leo who's looking for a change. And when he becomes a take-home assignment for the students, he ends up using his voice and knowledge to help each kid through a growing pain or two. Adam Sandler is the voice of Leo the lizard, and he brought along plenty of friends too, like Rob Schneider, Kevin James, Bill Burr and Cecily Strong. The movie was also co-written by Sandler along with director Robert Smigle and Paul Sado, who have both been involved in a handful of Sandler projects through the years. — Kyle Moss
Leo premieres Tuesday, Nov. 21 on Netflix.
STREAM IT: Octavia Spencer-produced Feds and Lost Women of Highway offer true-crime thrills on ID
Octavia Spencer is an executive producing machine. The Oscar-winning actress of The Help and Shape of Water fame has not one but two new shows currently streaming on the true crime network Investigation Discovery. Lost Women of Highway 20 looks at the disappearance of multiple women on a stretch of one Oregon highway, eerily dating back decades; Feds, meanwhile, takes an inside look at FBI with rare access to on-duty agents as they uncover high profile (and often highly dangerous) cases. Check out an exclusive clip from Feds above. — K.P.
STREAM IT: Ashlee Simpson is on the case in the Christmas mystery The Recipe Files
How can you shop and solve a Christmas mystery at the same time? Head over to QVC+ — the streaming arm of the famed shopping network — for The Recipe Files, an original holiday movie starring Ashlee Simpson as a small town chocolatier who helps the new girl in town (Morgan Bradley) crack a case that involves an old recipe book that comes with both cooking instructions and potential clues to the mysterious death of its original owner. Because this is a QVC production, you'll be able to buy some of the holiday merch featured on camera both during and after the movie. And because this is a holiday movie, there's obviously going to be some adorably awkward romance as in this exclusive clip where a local hunk can't resist flirting with Simpson. — E.A.
The Recipe Files premieres Friday, Nov. 24 on QVC+.
OWN IT: Sly Stallone takes the Expendables franchise for a fourth (and final?) ride
With four movies in its arsenal, The Expendables is Sylvester Stallone's third longest-running action franchise after Rocky and Rambo. And while the most recent installment didn't exactly set the box office on fire when it hit theaters earlier this year, Expend4bles is likely to enjoy a healthy afterlife on physical media. The 4K, Blu-ray and DVD releases come with a batch of special features, including a commentary track and behind-the-scenes featurettes. This exclusive clip from one of those extras reveals how old blood and new blood alike bonded over their shared affection for Sly. — E.A.
Expend4bles arrives Tuesday, Nov. 21 on 4K, Blu-Ray and DVD at most major retailers, including Amazon.
STREAM IT: Add some Irish folk tunes to your Thanksgiving feast with The Job of Songs
Spend some time enjoying the sights and sounds of Ireland's west coast over the holiday weekend courtesy of The Job of Songs, a slender music-filled documentary about some of the modern-day practitioners of vintage Irish folk music. Filmed in and around the small town of Doolin, the movie offers an intimate portrait of how these musicians make their hard-earned livings and some of the obstacles that can stand in the way of success. This exclusive clip introduces you to one such performer, a flute and whistle player named Katie Theasby who explains how her path led her to Doolin. — E.A.
The Job of Songs premieres Tuesday, Nov. 21 on most digital platforms, including Amazon.
WATCH IT: The Garden: Commune or Cult wraps up its first season
If you entered The Garden on Oct. 29 when the Discovery Channel series premiered, you're gonna want to check out the Nov. 26 finale to find out whether this idyllic place is a commune... or a cult. That's the very question the prospective members have been asking themselves throughout the show's run and it sounds like they're still making up their minds. This exclusive clip from the Season 1 finale finds ex-cheerleader Jessica openly speculating about the motivations of Garden co-founder Patrick, and what that means for her own decision about whether to leave or stay. — E.A.
WATCH IT: The anthology series Fargo returns for a fifth season
Bundling up for its fifth season is the hit FX series, Fargo. This is an anthology series that follows various characters in different settings and eras, but in one connected and shared universe. This time the season is set in 2019 in Minnesota and North Dakota and features Juno Temple, who fans and critics fell in love with on Ted Lasso, as a seemingly normal midwestern housewife whose past comes back to haunt her when she gets into some trouble. Also starring in this season is Jon Hamm as a North Dakota sheriff. The previous four seasons all preformed well with fans and critics, picking up dozens of Emmy noms and a handful of wins along the way including Outstanding Miniseries in 2014. — K.M.
Fargo Season 5 premieres Tuesday, Nov. 21 on FX.
HEAR IT: Busta Rhymes is back on the block
Fresh off receiving a much-deserved lifetime achievement award at the 2023 BET Awards, rap legend Busta Rhymes is back with his 10th studio album. The fittingly titled Blockbusta, out on Busta's imprint Conglomerate Entertainment, features a who's-who of hip-hop — including co-executive producers Pharrell Williams, Timbaland and Swizz Beatz, and guest spots from neo-soul singer Bilal, Southern trap star Young Thug and rising SoundCloud rapper Coi Leray. — Lyndsey Parker
Blockbusta by Busta Rhymes is available Friday, Nov. 24 to download/stream on Apple Music.
WATCH IT: Female sports icons get real in Groundbreakers
This two-hour documentary features sports icons in deep conversation about their considerable struggles and significant achievements playing in a world in which Title IX, which guaranteed women equal access to school sports, was only passed in 1972. Olympians Suni Lee, Chloe Kim and Naomi Osaka are just a few of the familiar faces you'll see. In this exclusive clip, flag football star Diana Flores tells Billie Jean King, who famously won the "Battle of the Sexes" of 1973, that she started playing her sport on a dust field full of rocks and trash that she had to clean off before practices. — Raechal Shewfelt
Groundbreakers premieres Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. on PBS.
WATCH IT: Chow down on a delectable portrait of three-star French dining
Thanksgiving is all about turkey, but if your taste buds are tasting richer fare, seek out Frederick Wiseman's marvelous four-hour documentary, Menus Plaisirs — Les Troisgros, which takes viewers inside the dining room and kitchen of France's famed La Maison Troisgros, which boasts three Michelin stars and a beyond-picturesque location. Owned and operated by the Troisgros family, this restaurant truly does have everything: haute cuisine tasting menus, lavish cheese spreads and enough wine to stock three (or more) cellars. With his trademark attention to detail and unhurried pace, Wiseman captures the everyday workings of this establishment and how the staff creates remarkable meals from first chop to last sizzle. Sorry Bravo, but these are the real top chefs. — E.A.
Menus Plaisirs — Les Troisgros premieres Wednesday, Nov. 22 in theaters; visit Fandango for showtime and ticket information.
STREAM IT: Squid Game: The Challenge seeks to catch you in its tentacles
The return of the South Korean streaming sensation may still be TBD, but Netflix is filling the void with a Squid Game-inspired reality competition show. Fortunately for the contestants, you don't lose your life if you lose a game... but you do lose your chance at a big cash prize. The payday might not have been worth the pain, though. Earlier this year, a bombshell Rolling Stone report revealed allegations of "inhumane" conditions during the making of The Challenge. — E.A.
Squid Game: The Challenge premieres Wednesday, Nov. 22 on Netflix.
WATCH IT: Celebrate Thanksgiving with American pioneer Little Richard
The Lisa Cortés-directed documentary Little Richard: I Am Everything, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2023 and comes to Max this Thanksgiving Day, chronicles the wild life of flamboyant rock 'n' roll architect Richard Penniman: his churchgoing boyhood in Georgia, his rise to stardom playing "the devil's music," the cultural appropriation of his art and image by white musicians, and his lifelong internal struggle with his religion and queerness. After Thanksgiving dinner is over, have some "Tutti Frutti" dessert and gather around the TV to feast your eyes and ears on a film about a true American icon. — L.P.
Little Richard: I Am Everything premieres Thursday, Nov. 23 on Max.
READ IT: The Fifth Beatle graphic biography arrives in a fab new edition
With the Beatles's ostensible last song, "Now and Then," bringing the Fab Four back to the top of the charts, here comes the captivating 10th-anniversary rerelease of the Eisner Award-winning The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story. Written by Vivek Tiwary and illustrated by Brian Robinson, with additional art by Kyle Baker, the graphic biography tells the story of the man who discovered the band, harnessed their preternatural talent and hustled tirelessly to promote them, all while struggling to hide his homosexuality and burgeoning drug addiction from the public. This edition includes new cover art, a curated playlist by Tiwary and tons of notes and sketches. An essential text for all Beatlemaniacs. — Marcus Errico
The 10th anniversary edition of The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story is available on Tuesday, Nov. 21 at Amazon and other booksellers.
WATCH IT: Hallmark is ready to Haul Out the Holly once again
Once Thanksgiving is over, it's officially time to turn on the holiday movies — even though networks like Hallmark Channel have been airing them for weeks. One of Hallmark's dozens of 2023 offerings, in its Countdown to Christmas lineup, is Haul Out the Holly: Lit Up, the sequel to last year's Haul Out the Holly. The movie again stars network favorites Lacey Chabert (Emily) and Wes Brown (Jared), who are now a couple, as they share continuing adventures on Evergreen Lane. Cast members Ellen Travolta, Stephen Tobolowsky and Melissa Peterman return too. Hot chocolate, anyone? — R.S.
Haul Out the Holly: Lit Up premieres Saturday, Nov. 25 at 8 p.m. on Hallmark Channel.
WIN IT: Xbox marks the spot for Bluey super-fans
Bluey's worldwide pop culture takeover continues with the recent release of Bluey: The Videogame. And Xbox is celebrating the Blue Heeler puppy from Down Under's reign of adorableness with a limited-edition Bluey-themed version of its bestselling Series X console, plus a matching controller. Between now and Dec. 13, you can enter to win this good boy via sweepstakes. Don't miss out, or you'll be seeing red. — E.A.
Enter the Bluey Xbox Series X sweepstakes between now and Dec. 13.