Weekend Advisory

So you wanna watch something…

Navarasa: Based on classical theory of the nine human emotions—fear, anger, compassion, romance, valour, laughter, wonder, peace and disgust—’Navarasa’ is an anthology produced by Mani Ratnam and Jayendra Panchapakesan. It has everything you could possibly want: the best directors, actors, cinematographers and music composers. Another good reason to watch: all proceeds from this series will be used to help the film industry workers affected by the pandemic. None of the big star talent charged a rupee to work on the project. No reviews yet but Hindustan Times offers a good synopsis of the various shorts in the series.


Hit & Run: If fast-paced thrillers are your thing, this is the show for you. Made by Avi Isscharoff and Lior Raz—of ‘Fauda’ fame—it focuses on Segev (Lior Raz) whose perfect life falls apart after his wife is killed in what appears to be an accident—and his quest to find the truth. The action moves to New York, but the themes are very much the same as ‘Fauda’: “loyalty, deception and the ambiguous allegiances of a double agent.”  New York Times and Forbes offer good overviews that tell you what to expect. It releases on Netflix today.


Vivo: In the market for an animated flick you can watch with the kids? This musical featuring a kinkajou named Vivo—who journeys from Cuba to Miami to deliver a love song for his owner—will hit all the right notes. It doesn’t hurt that Lin-Manuel Miranda (of ‘Hamilton’ fame) wrote all the songs and is the voice of the furry hero. CNN calls it “sweet if slight”—though with “catchy and touching” music. New York Times isn’t impressed with the plot, but blown away by Miranda at his best. So perfect fodder for your next round of bathroom singing! Streaming now on Netflix. 


The Courier: Rejoice Benedict Cumberbatch lovers! This Cold War era flick marks his return to fine form as an affable businessman dragged into the spook business in Moscow. Washington Post says the film “makes a smart, stylish stand for the kind of old-fashioned period spy thriller,” while Firstpost writes that it “is everything that war dramas have forgotten to be.” Streaming on Amazon Prime.


Dial 100: If ‘Family Man’ left you wanting more Manoj Bajpayee, check out this movie—where he plays an emergency call operator whose own family has been taken hostage. The trailer promises a suspenseful thriller, and Indian Express compares it with Halle Berry’s ​​2013 physiological thriller The Call. Need more reasons to watch? Neena Gupta is the person taking all those hostages. Drops on Zee5 today.


The Suicide Squad: Director James Gunn—of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ fame—has a new film about DC Comics despicables: the Suicide Squad. This is not your family-friendly (anti)superhero movie. The Guardian calls it “bloodthirsty and liberally profane”—with plenty of sex and violence—but celebrates a new stage in the genre. Here’s how the New York Times sums it up: “Joke, joke, kill, kill.” It’s out in theatres now.


 A list of good reads

  • Fox Business charts the wild Succession-style drama unfolding over at Scholastic—one of the world’s largest publishers of children’s books—where the suddenly dead CEO has cut his entire family out of his will. 
  • The News Minute has a solid report on delivery workers—who have shared their plight on Twitter. It’s a good-to-read if you missed out on the true stories shared on social media.
  • For science and enviro nerds: NPR tells the story of scientists playing foster moms to baby sea stars—who will grow up to be huge, 24-Armed sea creatures—in a fervent attempt to save their species. 
  • For tech nerds: Google scientists have created the world’s first time crystal inside a quantum computer. Tristan Greene in The Next Web explains why this is a revolutionary achievement that ought to make everyone scream ‘eureka!’.
  • Saad Mohseni has a very good essay in Air Mail that explains why—even if the Taliban return—they will never prevail, all thanks to social media.
  • New York Times offers a very useful piece on the latest research on the ailment that afflicts so many of us: the Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
  • Melanie Hamlett in Daily Beast writes about attending her first post-COVID sex- and drug-fuelled rager—which isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. 
  • For an opposite point of view: Buzzfeed News celebrates the return of sex-and-cuddle parties after a touch-starved pandemic. 
  • InsideHook asks an intriguing question: Have sexless TV marriages set to laugh tracks ruined the marriages of their viewers?
  • Here’s something very useful to read: A breakdown of all the 270 medical insurance policies in India and the mental health coverage they offer.
  • Bloomberg Businessweek spotlights the battle of a biotech tycoon and mother Martine Rothblatt who is trying to clone pigs to find an organ donor for her child.
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