What the arts editors want you to see over spring break

A promotional picture for 'Russian Doll' (2019–) is shown. (Via Netflix)

Libby Langsner’s recommendations

“Russian Doll” (2019–): The protagonists are intense, complex and compelling, the jokes are extremely witty (to be expected from Amy Poehler and Natasha Lyonne’s writing) and the plot is unpredictable, despite the show’s cliché premise. This show will make you reach out to people from your past and hug your friends a little harder because hey, we’ve only got one shot on this space and time plane.

Eaglemania: Collecting Japanese Art in Gilded Age America” at Boston College’s McMullen Museum: For those interested in the art of Japan, the history of colonization and Westernization or just really into art restoration and seeing a 6-foot-tall bronze eagle in person, this is the show for you.

Transit” (2018): The film is based on a novel written in 1944 by a German-Jewish refugee, but instead of taking place in the ’40s, it is set in modern-day Paris. I haven’t seen the film yet myself, but ever since I read Tommy’s article featuring it, I’ve wanted to rush to Kendall Square to see it.

Chris Panella’s recommendations

“Captain Marvel” (2019): The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s 21st installment is an exciting origin story for the character played by Brie Larson. Set in 1995, the film follows Captain Marvel, real name Carol Danvers, as she teams up with Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury to stop a galactic conflict between aliens on Earth. It’s fast-paced, action-packed and the perfect spring break flick.

Audiences seem to think so, too: “Captain Marvel” had a $456.7 million worldwide opening weekend, the sixth biggest of all-time. As “Captain Marvel” tops the worldwide box office, she might just be topping something else; there’s apparently plenty of evidence that Danvers could be gay, with fans citing her relationship with character Monica Rambeau. Honestly, we want it. Danvers has big strap energy, and “Captain Marvel” has big success energy. Go see it in a theater near you!

“Leaving Neverland” (2019): Another thing to watch is 2019’s most controversial release (so far). After a premiere at Sundance, the Michael Jackson documentary film is on HBO Go. A two-part documentary, the film is definitely a difficult and shocking watch, but that doesn’t make it any less important.

Throughout its 236 minutes, “Leaving Neverland” meticulously examines the sexual abuse alleged by Wade Robson and James Safechuck, providing family interviews, pictures and plenty of disturbing details. Sure, the release might’ve thrust Jackson back into the spotlight for a reflection on his sexual abuse allegations almost 10 years after his death, but it’s an important work post-#MeToo movement and an important watch.

John Fedak’s recommendation

“The Umbrella Academy” (2019–): A superhero show based on Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá’s comic of the same name, the series follows seven dysfunctional siblings who reunite after the death of their adopted billionaire father in an attempt to solve the mystery behind their father’s death and save the world. While the story material isn’t terribly original, the show’s cinematography and score set it apart from most other productions and elevate its most impactful scenes to new heights. It is a perfect blend of chaotic and formulaic, and its characters only add to the charm. Klaus, in particular, is a stand-out character whose hilarity perfectly offsets the show’s more serious moments. For any superhero buffs, sci-fi nerds or plain old TV enthusiasts, “The Umbrella Academy” is a must-watch; hopefully a season 2 announcement is imminent!

Steph Hoechst’s recommendation

“PEN15” (2019): This new Hulu series is a sensitive, awkward peek into the tumultuous lives of middle schoolers in the same vein as cringeworthy, adolescent comedies such as “Big Mouth” (2017–) and “Eighth Grade” (2018). Comedians Anna Konkle and Maya Erskine — who are themselves in their early 30s — play 13-year-old versions of themselves, Anna and Maya, who are inseparable best friends determined to do everything together in seventh grade. All the other actors in the show are actually 13. Konkle and Erskine are wonderfully convincing as Anna and Maya — Erskine sports a bowl cut and Konkle slouches with the same insecurity as any 13-year-old girl might.  Set in the year 2000, the 10-episode series draws on the nostalgia of the era, complete with glittery lip-gloss, late-night calls on the landline and low-rise flare jeans. It’s a thoughtful, wickedly funny love letter to girlhood friendship.

Danny Klain’s recommendation

“Us” (2019): Written and directed by Jordan Peele, this film is his follow-up to the horror debut, “Get Out” (2017), that became a national conversation about race in America. If the film lives up to its hype, Oscar voters might have to give it the Best Picture Oscar that “Get Out” rightfully deserved. Through trailers, we have only been able to gather a little bit of information about the plot. Two parents, played by Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke, the latter of which was a surprise star of “Black Panther” (2018), take their children up to a beach for a family vacation and what happens next is not exactly clear, but it looks quite terrifying. Sticking within the horror genre, it will be interesting to see where Peele tries to take this film. On a surface level, the trailer alone makes it seem like “Us” will be an incredibly satisfying work to watch, but I am a little hesitant. “Get Out” was one of the few movies recently to break so many boundaries, both as a film and in the subsequent discussion surrounding it; how can somebody be expected to top that or even match it? No matter what, I’ll still be going to see it in theaters when it comes out on March 22.


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