(Photo by Everett Collection, Imaginal Disc and Labocine, and Touchstone Television)Four years ago, Rosa Parra wasn’t nearly as well-versed in film history as she is now. She’d just seen Wonder Woman, which sparked her interest in – now a love for – cinematic spectacles and women’s representation on- and off-screen. That was the launchpad for Parra’s film education and career in criticism – and her star just keeps rising.Parra’s passion is palpable. She’s driven not just by a love of visual storytelling, but by a desire to uplift Latinx stories. She started out writing movie reviews on a site she ran herself. In 2020, she co-founded the Latinx Lens podcast with her co-host Catherine Gonzales, where the two discuss history, icons, and recent releases. She’s also earning a bachelor’s in Film and Media Studies from Arizona State University.And that’s all on top of her day job as a lab technician. (In addition to her love of movies, she’s a self-identified “science person.”)“Everything I do with writing and preparing for podcasting, I do it after work,” Parra told Rotten Tomatoes. She dedicates her work commute and weekends to learning about film, too – sometimes with her kids, who she lovingly calls her “movie buddies.”“Having to balance it all is not easy, but if you are determined and you plan out, literally to the last minute of the day that you re awake – like, I have five minutes to do this in the morning – it s doable.”Rosa Parra is the co-host and co-founder of the Latinx Lens podcast. Find Rosa on Twitter: @rosasreviews.Have you returned to theaters? What was the first film you saw? Yes, I did. The day they opened! I had to go in there and watch something that deserved to be watched on the big screen, so I went in and watched Tenet. Man, that was an incredible experience.Do you have a favorite snack while you re watching movies?Ooh. I would probably say nachos. I love nachos.Are you pro- or anti-note-taking when you re reviewing?I will if I m at home because I have the ability to pause the film and actually take notes, and try to analyze what I just watched. If I m in the theater, I probably won t, because I don t want to miss anything that I m seeing.Do you read other people s reviews before you write your own?No, I try to do my own thing before reading someone else s thoughts.What is your favorite release of 2021 so far?So far, my favorite movie of the year is Identifying Features. It s a Mexican film that follows a mother who is seeking the whereabouts of her son who decides to cross the border and come to the United States. But then she doesn’t hear from him, so she takes it upon herself to go in search of him. It’s a smaller independent film, but it s so moving, it s so touching, and it s so riveting that it’s haunted me since I watched it.And actually, not that long ago, I watched Pig… I was like, oh, it might become my favorite of the year. But just by a little bit – by thin a margin, like a hair – it didn t make it. It s my number two, but Identifying Features still holds my top spot.What makes a good movie?It s going to differ from people to people. Because at the end of the day, film is subjective. It s an art. What I think is good, other people might not. It is a subjective medium.To me, a good movie is one that leaves me thinking about it hours, days, after I ve seen it – a movie that s re-watchable… But also that makes me feel something, whether it s sadness or it takes me back to my childhood, any childhood memories, or just makes me cry, or just overwhelms me with any form of emotion. I think that s certainly my definition of a good movie.
d, and Leonard Roberts. Premieres Oct. 21. (Peacock)• Good Timing with Jo Firestone is the comedian’s special in which she teaches a comedy class for 16 senior citizens, who then perform at a live stand-up show. Premieres Oct. 15. (Peacock)• Convergence: Courage in a Crisis is a documentary that follows nine stories across eight countries about people who have spent the pandemic fighting for the lives and rights of those who had been forgotten or abandoned during the “generation-defining crisis.” Premieres Oct. 12. (Netflix)• Insecure season 5, the Emmy-winning series’ final season, finds Issa and her friends making some major decisions about what they want the next phase of their lives to look like. Stars Issa Rae, Yvonne Orji, Jay Ellis, Natasha Rothwell, Amanda Seales, Kendrick Sampson, and Courtney Taylor. Premieres Oct. 24. (HBO)• Scoobtober is a month-long celebration of Scooby-Doo movies and series, including season 2 of Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? with guest stars like Jason Sudeikis, Cher, Carol Burnett, and Run DMC. Starts Oct. 1. (HBO Max and Cartoon Network)• The Next Thing You Eat is a six-episode docuseries featuring chef David Chang taking viewers on a tour of what the future holds for what we eat: burger-flipping robots, lab-grown fish, and insect farms. Premieres Oct. 21. (Hulu)• Bad Sport is a six-episode docuseries about the intersection of sports and crime, including the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic figure skating scandal, superstar Indycar driver Randy Lanier’s marijuana-smuggling operation, and the Arizona State University basketball point-shaving scheme. Premieres Oct. 6. (Netflix)• The Closer is Dave Chappelle’s sixth comedy special for Netflix, directed by Emmy winner Stan Lathan, and following the Emmy and Grammy-winning 2019 special Sticks Stones. Premieres Oct. 5. (Netflix)• Love Life season 2 stars William Jackson Harper (Midsommar) in the romantic comedy anthology series, playing a thirtysomething, newly divorced man in New York City who has to learn how to date all over again. Premieres Oct. 28. (HBO Max)For all the latest TV and streaming trailers subscribe to the Rotten Tomatoes TV YouTube channel.CASTING: Outlander s Graham McTavish Confirmed for Game of Thrones Prequel(Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for STARZ)Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon has added seven actors to its cast:• Outlander alum Graham McTavish as Ser Harrold Westerling, a “paragon of chivalry and honor”• Ryan Corr (Holding the Man) as Ser Harwin “Breakbones” Strong, “the strongest man in the Seven Kingdoms”• Jefferson Hall (Vikings) playing twins Tyland and Jason Lannister, the Lord of Casterly Rock and calculating politician, respectively• David Horovitch (Miss Marple) as Grand Maester Mellos, a trusted advisor to King Viserys• Matthew Needham (Chernobyl) as Larys Strong, son of Master of Laws Lyonel Strong; Bill Paterson (Fleabag) as Lord Lyman Beesbury, the Master of Coin for King Viserys• Gavin Spokes (Hamilton) as Lord Lyonel Strong, Master of Laws to King Viserys.Emmy and Oscar winner Patricia Arquette, who most recently starred in Escape at Dannemora and The Act, will direct and star in the Showtime limited series Love Canal, about a group of blue-collar women who became environmental activists after they discovered 20,000 tons of deadly chemicals were buried under their neighborhood in Niagara Falls, New York in the 1970s. The true story will be based on an upcoming documentary called The Canal and the upcoming book Paradise Falls by journalist Keith O’Brien. (Variety)Recent Ted Lasso Emmy winner Hannah Waddingham will play vengeance-minded seductress Lady Bellaston in a limited series reimagining of Henry Fielding’s novel The History of Tom Jones for PBS Masterpiece.Eight-year veteran Beck Bennett has left the cast of Saturday Night Live, which begins its 47th season on October 2. Featured players Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang have been promoted to regular cast members, Andrew Dismukes and Punkie Johnson will return as featured players, but Lauren Holt will not, and three new featured players include Aristotle Athari, James Austin Johnson, and Sarah Sherman.The Flight Attendant is getting several new cast members for season 2, including Cheryl Hines, Mae Martin, Margaret Cho, Mo McRae, Callie Hernandez, JJ Sorta, Jessie Ennis, and Shohreh Aghdashloo. The new season will find Cassie (star Kaley Cuoco) working part-time as a CIA asset, until she accidentally witnesses a murder while on assignment and once again finds herself in the middle of an international mystery.Eva Amurri is going to co-star with her real-life mother, Susan Sarandon, in the Fox country music drama Monarch. Amurri will play the younger version of her mother, who plays country music superstar Dottie Cantrell Roman.(Photo by Pip; Akina Chan)FX has set the cast for its limited series adaptation of James Clavell’s novel Shōgun: Anna Sawai (as Lady Mariko) joins Hiroyuki Sanada (Yoshii Toranaga) and Cosmo Jarvis (John Blackthorne) as the series leads, while the rest of the ensemble cast includes Tadanobu Asano (as Kashigi Yabushige), Fumi Nikaido (Ochiba No Kata), Tokuma Nishioka (Toda Hiromatsu), Takehiro Hira (Ishido Kazunari), Ako (Daiyoin “Lady Iyo”), Shinnosuke Abe (Toda Hiroshige “Buntaro”), Yasunari Takeshima (as Muraji), Hiroto Kanai (Kashigi Omi), Toshi Toda (Sugiyama), Hiro Kanagawa (Igarashi), Nestor Carbonell (Rodrigues), Yuki Kura (Yoshii Nagakado), Tommy Bastow (Father Martin Alvito), Moeka Hoshi (Usami Fuji), Yoriko Doguchi (Kiri no Kata), and Yuka (Kouri Kiku).HBO Max’s Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, a modern day-set sequel to the 2010-17 original Pretty Little Liars, has cast the moms for the new group of trouble-prone teens: Carly Pope (Popular), Lea Salonga (Yellow Rose), Sharon Leal (Dream Girls), Elena Goode (Straight Outta Compton), and Zakiya Young (Orange Is the New Black).Micah Stock, Ryan Kwanten, Gayle Rankin, Austin Smith, Antoinette Crowe-Legacy and David Alexander Kaplan have joined previously announced cast member Mallori Johnson as stars of FX’s pilot for the drama Kindred. The series, based on the influential, bestselling novel by Octavia E. Butler, is a sci-fi, time-travelling story that examines slavery from the perspective of a modern (at the time of the book’s 1979 release) young Black woman.Lily Rose-Depp and The Weeknd will reportedly star in The Idol, HBO’s in-development drama about the romance between a pop star and a Los Angeles club owner who’s also the leader of a secret club. (Deadline)I’m Dying Up Here alum and She-Hulk co-star Ginger Gonzaga has signed on to play the female lead in CBS’ pilot for a series adaptation of the movie True Lies. Steve Howey (Shameless) is playing the Arnold Schwarzenegger role in the pilot, while Gonzaga is playing his wife, played by Jamie Lee Curtis in the movie, about a spy who ends up working beside his wife.After the college admissions scandal and her subsequent jail sentence, Full House alum Lori Loughlin is reprising her role as Abigail Stanton from Hallmark Channel’s When Calls the Heart on that series’ spin-off When Hope Calls.Former Bachelor contestant Jesse Palmer is now the host of the show, replacing longtime host Chris Harrison. Palmer begins his hosting duties with the next season, Season 26, which premieres on ABC in 2022.PRODUCTION DEVELOPMENT: Cruel Intentions Update in the Works (Photo by Everett Collection)IMDb TV is producing a college-set sequel series to late- 90s feature film Cruel Intentions, which starred Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe as a ruthless pair of private school-educated step-siblings. A contemporary reimagining of the 1782 French novel Les Liaisons dangereuses, the 1999 drama also starred Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair, and Joshua Jackson and spawned 2001 prequel Cruel Intentions 2, starring Amy Adams, and 2004 sequel Cruel Intentions 3. The 1988 adaptation of the novel, Dangerous Liaisons, starred Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer, Uma Thurman, and Keanu Reeves and won three Academy Awards. The series logline: An hour-long drama series where two ruthless step siblings will do anything to stay on top. In this case, of the Greek life hierarchy at an elite Washington, D.C. college. After a brutal hazing incident threatens the entire Panhellenic system, they’ll do whatever’s necessary to preserve their power and reputations — even seduce the daughter of the Vice President of the United States. The series is written by Phoebe Fisher and Sara Goodman, who met working on Amazon s forthcoming I Know What You Did Last Summer series for Amazon. Producer on the original film Neal H. Moritz executive produces the new series.Dick Wolf’s Wolf Entertainment announced that his original Law Order series – the one that aired from 1990-2010 on NBC and reruns on WE, Sundance, and BBC American – will return to NBC for what will be the iconic series’ 21st season. “There are very few things in life that are literally dreams come true,” Wolf said. “This is mine.” No cast has been announced for the returning series yet.Another reboot on the way: Babylon 5, the sci-fi series from creator J. Michael Straczynski, at The CW. The series, which ran from 1994-97 in syndication, revolved around Bruce Boxleitner’s Captain John Sheridan, who led the human military staff and alien diplomats aboard a space station. The reboot will also focus on Sheridan, though there’s no word on casting.Russell T. Davies, who rebooted Doctor Who in 2005 and ended the space drama’s 16-year hiatus, will return as showrunner of Doctor Who in 2023. That’s when current showrunner Chris Chibnall leaves the BBC series, and when a new Doctor will take over from current star Jodie Whittaker. That year will also mark Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary.(Photo by MTV / Courtesy: Everett Collection)Paramount+ has order a Teen Wolf movie that will possibly reunite several cast members. Original series creator and producer, Jeff Davis, is behind the movie, with cast members in talks to return for the film. Star Tyler Posey Instagrammed an official teaser for the project, which features fans’ social media requests for a Teen Wolf return and a peek at Stiles’ Jeep. Davis is also working on a Teen Wolf spin-off series called Wolf Pack, and the previously announced live-action reboot Æone Flux.NBC has ordered a Night Court sequel to series, with original series star John Larroquette returning as former prosecutor Dan Fielding, and The Big Bang Theory alum Melissa Rauch playing Judge Abby Stone, the daughter of Judge Harry Stone, who was played by the late Harry Anderson. Rauch is also an executive producer on the series, while Larroquette, who won four Emmys for playing the ornery Fielding, will be a producer.Girlfriends and The Game creator Mara Brock Akil is adapting the classic Judy Blume YA novel Forever as a Netflix series. The romantic drama will revolve around two Black teenagers in Los Angeles who try to maneuver through first love and sex while school, their parents, and friends add extra complications to their relationships. (THR)The trend of TV series stars hosting a podcast about their show continues: Veep stars Matt Walsh and Timothy Simons are hosting Second in Command: A Veep Rewatch Podcast on Oct. 12, with behind-the-scenes reveals, trivia, fan questions, and discussions with real politicians about just how over-the-top the HBO comedy was.MTV and Paramount+ have renewed The Real World Homecoming for two seasons. Season 1 focused on reuniting the cast of Real World New York, the cast that kicked off the seminal reality series, and season 2 will feature a reunion of the second-ever cast, Real World Los Angeles.Disney’s Onyx Collective, a brand dedicated to working with creatives of color and underrepresented voices, has ordered its first series, from producers Kerry Washington and Larry Wilmore: Reasonable Doubt, a legal drama starring Ballers alum Emayatzy Corinealdi as Jax Stewart, a defense attorney with “questionable ethics and wild interpretations of the law” who is also considered the most brilliant and fearless defense attorney in Los Angeles. (THR)The Wire actress Felicia Pearson and producer Ed Burns are developing a series based on Pearson’s real life growing up in Baltimore. Tentatively titled A.K.A. Snoop – in reference to Pearson’s character on The Wire – the series will unfold Pearson’s tough childhood, which included being born to a crack-addicted mother, growing up as a gay woman in a foster home, dealing drugs, and spending six years in prison. Pearson and Burns are writing the project together, while Burns will executive produce it. No network or streaming service is yet attached to the series. (Variety)Can t Decide What to Watch? Amazon Offers a Sign(Photo by Amazon Prime Video)In celebration of the Autumnal Equinox, Amazon Prime has created lists of recommended movies and TV shows for each sign of the zodiac, and, bonus, each selection is included in Prime subscribers’ membership. If nothing else, it’s an interesting list of watch recs for everyone. Sagittarians have eight seasons of Diff’rent Strokes on their list.On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.