TYLER PERRY’S MADEA’S FAREWELL PLAY Stream on BET+. Last year, Tyler Perry threw on his gray wig, lipstick and thick, square glasses, and hit the road: He was going to retire his most famous character, Madea, but first he was taking her on a final tour. The show he presented, “Madea’s Farewell Play,” covers familiar Madea territory: wisecracks, music and a plot built on a law school graduation that brings the family back together — comfort food for fans who stream this recorded version. “That old broad has been good to me, so who knows — maybe one day I’ll tell the story of Madea in the ’70s and hire a real actress to play the role,” Perry wrote in an essay in The New York Times last year. “But the time of playing her has come to an end.”
RAVI PATEL’S PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS Stream on HBO Max. The comic actor Ravi Patel drinks margaritas with a table full of retirees, interviews a cognitive behavioral therapist and gets smacked in the face by his young daughter in this travel documentary series. Each episode finds Patel in a different part of the world, exploring how four different cultures approach four facets of human life: parenting (in Japan), work (South Korea), retirement (Mexico) and immigration (Denmark).
RISING PHOENIX (2020) Stream on Netflix. The 2020 Paralympic Games had been scheduled to take place this summer in Tokyo. Of course, it was postponed because of the pandemic. So what better time to take stock of the history of the event? That’s what the directors Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui (“McQueen”) do in this new documentary, which traces the Games over decades and collects interviews with star athletes like Tatyana McFadden, Ellie Cole and Jonnie Peacock. In her review for The Times, Natalia Winkelman wrote that while the film is inspiring, it vaults over tough subjects. “Complicated topics, like the fraught relationship between the Paralympics and the Olympics, which take place in the same facilities but can receive uneven attention, are skimmed or skirted,” Winkelman wrote. She added that “by avoiding complexity, ‘Rising Phoenix’ preserves its inspiring mood, but offers only a platform for champions who already dominate the arena.”
AMY (2015) 5:50 p.m. on Showtime. “Look, we all know how this ended. There are no surprises here. It wasn’t pretty, and we have to deal with that.” That’s what the director Asif Kapadia recalled saying to his collaborators before he started making this Amy Winehouse documentary. (Kapadia spoke to The Times about the film in 2015.) A character portrait painted with the help of over 100 interviews and a surplus of archival footage, “Amy” gives an in-depth look at the story of a star whose basic biography — talent leads to fame leads to early death — is well worn. The result is a movie that is “spikier, tougher and more interesting than the usual official biographies-hagiographies,” A.O. Scott wrote in his review for The Times.