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Entertainment Essentials: December 7, 2018

CREDIT: NEON; Mark Schafer/LD Entertainment/Roadside Attractions; VH1

Every Friday, NewsCult Entertainment Editor Jeffrey Malone recommends the entertainment essentials of the week – at least three, often more, and usually at least one cinematic and at least one televisual, but it could be ANY combination.

1. Movie: Vox Lux (Limited Theatrically) – In a sort of spiritual sequel to Black Swan, Natalie Portman plays a pop singer from Staten Island with a chaotic personal life. That’s not much of a departure from a typical pop star, but this one first rose to fame after writing a hit song in the wake of surviving a school shooting. Vox Lux can be a little maddening, but it features striking filmmaking from director Brady Corbet and a can’t-take-your-eyes-from-her performance from Portman.

2. Movie: Ben is Back (Limited Theatrically) – Among the 2018 “Boy”/”Ben” movies that feature Lucas Hedges and/or drug addiction, this is the one that stars Lucas Hedges struggling with opioid addiction. Julia Roberts plays his mom, and she’s excited to see him home from rehab on Christmas Eve, but his sister (Kathryn Newton) and stepdad (Courtney B. Vance) aren’t so sure it’s a good idea. Like most movies about addiction, Ben is Back can be a stressful watch, but it ameliorates that with a propulsive narrative.

3. TV: RuPaul’s Drag Race Holi-slay Spectacular (December 7 on VH1) – Drag has gone fully mainstream, and Drag Race is as big as it’s ever been, yet it’s somehow taken nearly a decade for the show to have its first ever holiday special. An octet of former contestants are returning to the work room to compete to be crowned the “Drag Race Christmas Queen.” They’ll be lip syncing to RuPaul holiday music, but is it wrong that I just want to see them dress up as Peanuts characters and dance to Vince Guaraldi music?

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