Weekend Advisory

So you wanna watch something…

Down to Earth with Zac Efron: In this Netflix docuseries, actor Zac Efron and wellness expert Darin Olien travel around the world to—in Efron’s words—“find new perspectives on some very old problems.” The trailer has the vibe of ‘Before The Flood’ meets ‘Neighbours’—so we can’t be sure if it will be educational, but it will definitely be entertaining! As The Hollywood Reporter puts it, “From what I’ve seen, Down to Earth...point[s] to a young man looking for a way to use his fame to do things that make him say ‘Dude!’ If that helps introduce a few people to ways of living more sustainably? Not bad, bro.”

 

Wish Dragon: Set in modern day Shanghai, this animated flick tells the story of a college student, Din, who chances upon a teapot that houses a wish-granting dragon (Long). Din’s only real wish is to find his childhood best friend (Lina) and reignite their friendship. The trailer is hilarious and adorable! According to CBR, the storytelling isn’t new “but it makes up for [it] with lively, vibrant CG animation that paints contemporary China in pleasant shades of pink and purple.” Streaming today on Netflix!

 

Loki: Marvel fans don’t need to be reminded of this highly anticipated release. But for the rest of us mere mortals, here are the basic deets. It is set after the ‘Avengers: End Game’, and in an alternative reality where Loki has stolen the Tesseract and basically altered time. He’s therefore been arrested by the TVA (Time Variance Authority)—incharge of keeping timelines safe from meddling gods—and has to help TVA fix this mess or be permanently erased from existence. The Verge thinks its first two episodes are a blast while New York Times seems hopeful for the rest. Warning: the reviews have some spoilers. Available to watch on Disney+ Hotstar.

 

Tragic Jungle: For a more serious watch, check out this Spanish-language drama which revolves around Agnes—a young woman who has fled her arranged marriage into the forests of Belize. She is soon taken hostage by a local gang of gum workers, and the movie focuses on her complicated relationship with them: “she becomes partly their prisoner, partly their prize and partly the slyly complicit, possibly mythical personification of the Mayan legend of Xtabay, a siren-like demon who lures men to their doom.” Variety calls it “a quietly captivating tale that feels cautionary and yet does not have an easily parsable moral.” Streaming today on Netflix.

 

A list of good reads

  • Wired explains why you need to stop using Google’s browser Chrome. 
  • Jared Brock in Medium offers an interesting take on bitcoin as a giant ponzi scheme. (h/t subscriber Vidit Parmar)
  • Atlas Obscura tracks the rise and fall of Angkor Wat and the other mega-cities which thrived in the jungles of Cambodia. (h/t founding member Shalini Dayanidhi)
  • Buzzfeed News offers a fascinating deep dive into the strange world of celebrity non-disclosure agreements. 
  • ‘Kim's Convenience’—the hit sitcom about a Korean Canadian family—was praised by New York Times as “quietly revolutionary.” But its own actors have taken aim at the racism behind and in front of the camera. LA Times has that story. 
  • New York Times offers a thought-provoking look at the ‘mind’s eye’—which is our brain’s ability to conjure up visual images, or our ‘mental camera’, so to speak. 
  • New York magazine charts the fall of Yale’s biggest power couple: Tiger mom Amy Chua and author Jed Rubenfeld.
  • Racquet has an excellent read on the controversy over bathroom breaks in competitive tennis.
  • New Yorker makes the intriguing case that the much-maligned Roman emperor Nero is a victim of bad PR.
  • The Hindu lays out a compelling case for idleness. (h/t founding member Inderpreet Uppal)
  • The Conversation explains why children find it hard to get sarcasm.
  • Washington Post has a very useful guide on how to take a proper shower.
  • Kareem Khubchandani talks to Scroll about ‘Critical Aunty Studies’—a new field that takes on “the ubiquitous but under-theorised figure of the aunty.”
  • Why has Twitter canceled Chrissy Teigen? Vox explains.
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