BY LAURA D.C. KOLNOSKI
Class Action Park (HBO Max)
From 1978 to 1996, the most notorious place to play in New Jersey was Action Park, created at a former ski resort in Vernon, Sussex County by the late developer Eugene Mulvihill. Injuries and lawsuits resulting from the high-risk rides and attractions he created earned it the nicknames “The World’s Most Dangerous Amusement Park” and “Traction Park.” The documentary looks back at what eventually became Mountain Creek Resort. Mulvihill, who died in 2012, led an investment group that purchased Mountain Creek and, for a time, made it part of his larger Crystal Springs Resort.
Bette Midler’s segment portraying an exasperated New York City teacher in the first trailer for this “pandemic comedy” provides ample reason to tune into the satire from writer Paul Rudnick and director Jay Roach. Joining her are Sarah Paulson, Issa Rae, Dan Levy, and other talented players putting a topical spin on current events and the mockumentary format. Now playing.
Down to Earth with Zac Efron
Join Actor Zac Efron as he travels the world with wellness expert Darin Olien examining healthy, sustainable ways to live through innovation and ingenuity. The nature and ecology docuseries visits eight locations, including Iceland, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, France, and London.
“Change is an inside job,” says Efron in the series trailer. “We explore new perspectives on very old problems.” Episodes run 34 to 47 minutes. TV-PG
In this ten episode sci-fi series, two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank’s Astronaut Emma Green must leave her husband and daughter behind to lead an international crew on a three-year mission to Mars. This mercurial drama mixed with thrills and surprises comes from Jason Katims and others behind shows Friday Night Lights and Parenthood. Co-starring Josh Charles and Vivian Wu. Now playing.
American Barbecue Showdown
Amateur contestants in this eight-part cooking competition grill and smoke their way to being crowned the best in America employing unique meats and old-school techniques. Judges are Kevin Bludso, founder of Bludso’s BBQ in Los Angeles, considered one of America’s best, and Melissa Cookston, the seven-time world barbeque champion and owner of Memphis BBQ Company. Now playing.
From Sony Pictures Animation, an action/adventure/comedy out October 23 finds teen Katie Mitchell (Abbi Jacobson, Broad City, BoJack Horseman), accepted into the film school of her dreams. At first frustrated when her dad cancels her solo plane flight and decides to drive the entire family to school together, Katie and crew turn reluctant heroes when out-of-control robots threaten the planet. Other voices: Danny McBride and Maya Rudolph.
IN THEATERS, ON DVD, AND MORE…
Death on the Nile
Optimistically headed for actual movie houses on October 23, expectations are high for a remake of the 1978 film starring Mia Farrow based on the famed Agatha Christie novel. While on vacation on the Nile, Hercule Poirot must investigate the murder of a young heiress. Expect the trademark serpentine Christie plot, along with a stellar cast including Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Annette Bening, and Russell Brand. Kenneth Branagh directs and stars as detective Hercule Poirot, as he did in 2017’s delicious Murder on the Orient Express. Streaming dates on Netflix and Amazon Prime were TBD at press time.