Jessica Chastain plays an underground poker ringleader in “Molly’s Game.” And “Annihilation” hits Hulu.
What’s on TV
MOLLY’S GAME (2017) 6:40 p.m. on Showtime. This week’s announcement that the actor Idris Elba will be D.J.-ing at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival may not have been the news that many pine for (that would be the prospect of Elba as James Bond), but it did bring to light one of Elba’s lesser-known talents. See him here as he plays a lawyer opposite Jessica Chastain in the screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut, a fictionalized (and sympathetic) account of the life of the skier-turned-underground poker ringleader Molly Bloom. Dense with quick-moving dialogue, the film follows Bloom’s rapid rise from the back seat of a high-end Los Angeles poker game to her eventual F.B.I. and legal troubles. In her review for The New York Times, Manohla Dargis wrote that “Mr. Sorkin has written some sharp characters and cast them accordingly.” But she also said that the film’s endeavor to view Bloom as a victim and put a feminist spin on the story is a feeble one. “By attempting to portray Molly as any kind of female victim — and by glossing over her culpability — Mr. Sorkin only ends up denying this character her agency,” Dargis wrote.
SISTERS (2015) 5:30 p.m. on FXM. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler play sisters with midlife troubles in this comedy, by the longtime “Saturday Night Live” writer Paula Pell. Fey is perennially unemployed, with a temper. Poehler is a nurse who is divorced. Their childhood home is being sold, so the siblings decide to throw a final party there. In his review for The Times, A.O. Scott called the film “uneven, generally enjoyable, self-consciously naughty and also, despite drug use and jokes about anal sex, more concerned with reassurance than transgression.”
SUPER TROOPERS 2 (2018) 6:30 p.m. on HBO. Broken Lizard, the troupe behind the cult classic “Super Troopers,” raised more than $2 million from fans to get this sequel made — and, judging by the results, they had a lot of fun making it. The plot (which Glenn Kenny, in his review for The Times, called “largely unimportant”) reunites the original Vermont state trooper characters as they supervise an extension of the United States border into Canada, cracking jokes all the while.
ANNIHILATION (2018) on Hulu. The great unknown comes to Florida in Alex Garland’s follow-up to the dark sci-fi of his directorial debut, “Ex Machina” (2015). His sophomore effort casts Natalie Portman as a biologist who, along with a posse that includes a physicist played by Tessa Thompson, ventures into a mysterious glistening force field that has descended onto a patch of marshland. “Mr. Garland likes to play with tones, mixing deadpan in with the frights, and later ‘Annihilation’ becomes something of a head movie, swirling with cosmic and menacingly lysergic visions,” Manohla Dargis wrote in her review for The Times. “He keeps the tension torqued throughout this phantasmagoric interlude, sustaining the shivery unease that is one of this movie’s deeper satisfactions.”