We recommend: The best new movies and TV series
Napoleon: This thrilling biopic follows the rise and fall of the iconic French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte—played by Oscar-winner Joaquin Phoenix. The movie focuses on Napoleon’s relentless pursuit of power—while also being head-over-heels in love with Josephine—played by Vanessa Kirby.
Reviews are fantastic. The Guardian says, “Ridley Scott has created an outrageously enjoyable cavalry charge of a movie, a full-tilt biopic of two and a half hours” and “Phoenix is the key to it all” calling his performance robust, seething and triumphing. Our take: We were sold on this one from watching the trailer itself, for its stunning and large-scale backdrop orchestrated by legendary director Ridley Scott. The movie was released in theatres on Friday.
Farrey: In this intense high school thriller, we follow Niyati (Alizeh Agnihotri, Salman Khan’s niece), a prodigious teen from a poor orphanage who gets a scholarship and is accepted into a prestigious and elite school in India. She is a misfit in an environment surrounded by luxury. Niyati and another scholarship student, Akash, help their friends in the elite school cheat, and this soon turns into a racket to earn extra cash. This soon spirals into conflict and fraud which police are investigating.
The reviews are decent. Indian Express has high praise for the cast, and likes the “taut storytelling that doesn’t lose its focus even as it builds the tension”. Hindustan Times notes that the movie is enjoyable because of its “characterisation that stresses on the greys”. Our take: This seems distinct from other high school dramas, and we are really interested in the premise of cheating itself. The movie is out in theatres.
A Nearly Normal Family: This is a Swedish series based on the popular novel of the same name by Mattias Edvardsson. This is a domestic crime thriller where a young 18-year old Stella is accused of murder. Stella Sandell is part of a respectable and reputed family in the locality, and everyone is aghast and shocked at the allegations and mounting evidence. What follows is a story of trust, and betrayal among the family.
There are no reviews for this one yet. Our take: We’ve been craving for some good crime thrillers, this one fits the bill. The mini-series is available to stream on Netflix.
Squid Game: The Challenge: Nope this is not season 2 but a spin-off reality game show of the 2021 Korean psychological horror drama ‘Squid Game’ that took the world by storm! ‘Squid Games: The Challenge’ brings together a mix of 456 international participants who compete in the same game setup for ten episodes to win the big buck.
The idea sounds fun, but unfortunately, the reviews are bad. USA Today urges not to hate-watch it and writes: “Don't give validation to this exploitative, unentertaining drivel that showcases real human suffering more than anything remotely amusing.” Hollywood Reporter notes: “Where Squid Game aimed to show us the human souls ground up by this inhumane hierarchy of haves and have-nots, The Challenge seems only to want to reaffirm that, yep, people can be real assholes.” Our take: We’d say watch it at your own discretion. The show dropped on Netflix on Tuesday.
Last Call for Istanbul: Looking for a rom-com recommendation? Here’s a Turkish one which echoes any textbook romantic drama trope of two strangers exploring a big city together. But to make things more interesting, the lead couple are married to their respective partners but out in New York by themselves. Reminds us of a little bit of Richard Linklater's Before trilogy.
Reviews are not out yet. Our take: Turkish romantic dramas have been making waves for some time and we think this will be the perfect (Turkish) delight! You can stream it on Netflix.
The Village: This limited series is an adaptation of a horror graphic novel—created by Milind Rau—a filmmaker who gave one of the finest horror films in Tamil in 2017 called ‘Aval.’ It also stars Tamil actor Arya in the lead role as he makes his OTT debut. The Village, set in southern Tamil Nadu, is about a man who loses his family in a ghost town that is believed to be dangerous and haunted—and the movie features eerie creatures, mutants and an unending night of terror.
Reviews are okay. Film Companion calls the sci-fi horror is “gutsy, imaginative but wonky at times.” Our take: We loved the worldbuilding in the graphic novel, and this adaptation says to have done justice to the book. The series dropped on Amazon Prime Video on Friday.
Stamped From The Beginning: This documentary is based on Ibram X. Kendi’s 2016 book with the same name—which was also banned for exposing the entire story of anti-Black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history in six school districts across multiple states in the US. As the documentary seeks to find the roots of anti-Blackness—it particularly highlights the work of female academics and activists, such as Angela Davis and activist Brittany Packnett Cunningham.
Reviews are good. Variety says “the film does not pretend to be presenting radical or new beliefs. Yet by the end, it reveals the myths, the distortions and the made-up fallacies that have been presented as truth for centuries. And that is the most radical thing it could have done.” Our take: Apart from the important context of this film, we were swayed by the stunning animations, visual effects, paintings and collages featured. The film has been available to stream on Netflix since Monday.