What’s on TV Monday: ‘David Bowie: The Last Five Years’ and ‘A Ghost Story’



David Bowie in a scene from “David Bowie: The Last Five Years.” Credit Jimmy King/HBO

David Bowie’s final years are explored in a new documentary. And “A Ghost Story” stars a sheet-covered Casey Affleck.

What’s on TV

DAVID BOWIE: THE LAST FIVE YEARS (2017) 8 p.m. on HBO. “Thoughts of death hover throughout ‘Blackstar,’” Jon Pareles wrote in his review in The New York Times of David Bowie’s final album. Less than a week later, Mr. Pareles would write Mr. Bowie’s obituary. The British singer-songwriter died only days after the album’s release in 2016. This documentary is built around interviews with Bowie’s artistic collaborators, including the producer Tony Visconti and the composer Maria Schneider. They helped Bowie create songs that, as Mr. Pareles wrote in the obituary, are “above all, about being an outsider: an alien, a misfit, a sexual adventurer, a faraway astronaut.”

ANTIQUES ROADSHOW 8 p.m. on PBS. This antique-hunting show’s 22nd season kicks off with an episode in Harrisburg, Pa., with rare objects including a Pennsylvania Dutch tinware coffee pot.

What’s Streaming


Casey Affleck in “A Ghost Story.” Credit A24

A GHOST STORY (2017) on iTunes and Amazon. Although 2017 was the year of the horror film, there was at least one ghost story that wasn’t scary: this one, directed by David Lowery. It stars Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara, a couple who are separated, in some ways but not others, by the death of Mr. Affleck’s character, who is portrayed post-mortem by Mr. Affleck in a bedsheet with eyeholes. Here, death does not, in fact, do them part.

FRANK (2014) on iTunes, Amazon and Hulu. Fancy another film featuring an A-list actor in an absurd costume? How about Michael Fassbender in a giant papier-mâché head? You’ll find that, as well as Domhnall Gleeson as a would-be rocker and Maggie Gyllenhaal as a tantrum-throwing synth player, in this film from the director Lenny Abrahamson. The story follows Mr. Gleeson’s character, who quits his boring day job to join an avant-garde rock band fronted by Mr. Fassbender’s character, who never takes off his big head. The group goes on a long retreat, during which they record an album (or try to). Other members of the band are played by François Civil and the real-life drummer Carla Azar. In his review for The Times, A.O. Scott wrote that “Mr. Abrahamson’s main achievement, enabled by the sensitive and resourceful cast, is to find a tone that is funny without flippancy, sincere without turning to mush.”


Rinko Kikuchi in “Babel.” Credit Tsutomu Umezawa/Paramount Vantage

BABEL (2006) on iTunes and Hulu. Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s continent-hopping drama juxtaposes four disparate stories set in three continents. There’s Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, an American couple on holiday in Morocco; a local family who become both directly connected and very distant from that couple; the couple’s children, who travel with the family’s housekeeper from their native San Diego to a wedding in Mexico; and a deaf teenager in Tokyo, played by Rinko Kikuchi, who deals with both the challenges of adolescence and her mother’s death. The connections found between these stories — not so much the direct ones, but the more abstract, human ones — are the focus of the film.

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