What’s on TV
VOCES 10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). “For years after the massacre, horses would rear and wouldn’t go near the spot where those bodies lay.” That’s from “Porvenir, Texas,” an hourlong documentary that will air Friday night as part of this PBS program dedicated to Latino culture. The documentary takes as its subject a 1918 Texas massacre that left 15 people of Mexican descent dead and involved Texas Rangers and United States Army cavalry soldiers. The event serves here as a way to discuss the period from the mid-19th century into the 20th century during which thousands of Latino men, women and children were killed by lynch mobs in the American West.
BETWEEN TWO FERNS: THE MOVIE (2019) Stream on Netflix. It’s fair to say that the first joke in “Between Two Ferns: The Movie” comes before the movie even starts. After all, you could scarcely find source material with less potential for feature-length adaptation than “Between Two Ferns,” the long running web series where the comedian Zach Galifianakis has hosted short spoof interviews with actors and other famous people, like Charlize Theron and Barack Obama. Adding “The Movie” to the title reads like a punch line in itself. But somehow a feature film has been wrestled out of the series. Directed by Scott Aukerman, the movie’s self-referential plot follows Galifianakis (playing a version of himself) on a quest to complete a series of celebrity interviews.
PEAKING Steam on CW platforms and Red Bull TV. Each entry in this series follows a professional athlete in the lead-up to an important event. The lineup includes the Olympic snowboarder Mark McMorris, the motocross rider James Stewart, the Olympic mountain bike rider Jenny Rissveds and the big-wave surfer Peter Mel. Asked at the beginning of an episode whether or not he’s worried by the prospect of riding a particularly enormous wave, Mel gives an honest response that only a veteran would: “Of course I am.”
THE IMMIGRANT (2014) Rent on Amazon, iTunes and Vudu. The director James Gray returns to movie theaters this weekend with “Ad Astra,” a story about a man who journeys to mysterious corners of space. With “The Immigrant,” Gray directed a story about a woman who crosses the Atlantic Ocean in search of a better life on a mysterious new continent. That continent is North America, and that woman is Ewa Cybulska, a Polish immigrant who arrives at Ellis Island in 1921. Soon threatened with deportation, Ewa is saved at the last minute by Bruno Weiss, a representative of the Travelers Aid Society played by Joaquin Phoenix. Weiss is also a pimp who produces burlesque shows, and Ewa’s time with him quickly comes to involve illicit business. “The film is earnestly and unabashedly melodramatic to an extent that may baffle audiences accustomed to clever, knowing historical fictions,” A.O. Scott wrote in his review for The New York Times. “But it also has a depth and purity of feeling that makes other movies feel timid and small by comparison.”