We recommend: The best new movies and TV series
Killers of the Flower Moon: Martin Scorsese is back with his favourites Leonardo DeCaprio and Robert De Niro. The film is based on the true events concerning the brutal murders of members from Osage Nation—a group of Native Americans in 1920s Oklohoma who became rich overnight owing to oil fields in the region. Yeah, it is a story about the white male privilege and entitlement.
Reviews are great as expected. The Guardian calls it “an utterly absorbing film”. Vox is all in praise as well: ”To say Scorsese has made a great movie is to announce that water is wet, but there’s a kind of unfolding grief to Killers’ tone, a steady feeling of dread and sorrow, that only works in the hands of a master.” OTOH, BBC Culture says “it is slow, meandering and episodic — more like a mini-series than an epic film.” Our take: Do we even need one? The film is streaming on Apple TV+.
Pain Hustlers: Don’t judge this film by its title—but by its insanely talented cast: Emily Blunt, Chris Evans, Andy Garcia and Catherine O'Hara! Yeah, we already love it. The plot is inspired by the 2018 exposé on pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics by Evan Hughes. In the film, Liza Drake (Emily Blunt) is a single mother in need of a high-paying job for her daughter’s treatment. She is recruited by salesperson Pete Brenner (Chris Evans) for a pharma start-up headed by Dr Neel’s (Andy Garcia). The catch: they pay doctors to prescribe their pain relief pill. BTW: it is directed by the Harry Potter series director David Yates.
Reviews are in praise of Emily Blunt. The Guardian calls it “predictable but glossily watchable” where the “main redeeming feature is the crackling charisma of Emily Blunt” BBC Culture is harsher in saying that the actor “single-handedly almost saves this tone-deaf drama from itself.” Our take: We can’t get over the casting choices and are keeping the film at the top of our watchlists. The film is out on Netflix.
Sajini Shinde Ka Viral Video: This is a crime-thriller which starts off with a viral video of Sajini Shinde (Radhika Madan) dancing at her birthday party. Fired from her teaching job and shunned by her fiancé Siddhant and father, Sajini writes a suicide note blaming them and vanishes. No one knows where she’s disappeared off to, or if she’s even alive. Bela (Nimrat Kaur), a policewoman is tasked with figuring out this case and we follow her journey of uncovering this mystery.
Reviews are mixed. Scroll says that there “is not enough pace or spice in the plot to yield a satisfying thriller”. Quint writes "is a brilliant film on paper but in execution, it leaves you wanting more." Our take: We are intrigued by this premise which echoes ‘Gone Girl’. The movie is now out in theatres.
Sister Death: This is a prequel to the 2017 Spanish psychological-horror film ‘Veronica’—which is counted as one of the scariest films of the last decade. In this film, we meet a younger Sister Narcisa (nicknamed Sister Death) teaching at a convent in the 1940s. Awaiting her ceremony of commitment, she is filled with doubts about her own faith as she encounters the paranormal.
Our take: With Halloween just around the corner, we are in the mood to try some slow-burn horror. The film dropped on Netflix yesterday.
The Enfield Poltergeist: We’re not done with the horror theme. This four-part docu-series is a reimagination of the alleged paranormal incident that occurred in a London residence in 1977. The series uses real evidence like audio tapes, case files and archival footage of interviews from experts to tell the story. The story is so bizarre that it became a blueprint for ‘The Conjuring 2’.
Reviews are decent. Wall Street Journal says that the series “takes an odd but smartly clinical approach to the paranormal and makes the audience ask the question: “How badly do you want to believe?” OTOH The Guardian is disappointed with its surface level investigation and concludes: “If you don’t already believe in ghosts, it is unlikely to haunt you.” Our take: Horror stories based on real life events are infinitely scarier than fiction. We are intrigued by this constructive approach to horror. The series is available to stream on Apple TV+.
Life on Our Planet: Morgan Freeman is back with narrating another documentary series. This time, it’s an eight-part series which tells the story of evolution, survival and how life on earth continues to exist throughout ages. It features a blend of high-value CGI and live-action footage to depict different and important historical moments of nature, while Freeman imparts information in his majestic voice.
Reviews are not kind. The Guardian says that the series is an “empty spectacle we no longer have time for”. The Wall Street Journal notes that the series doesn’t answer some of the big questions it raises but has “marvellous digital effects and even more impressive nature photography”. Our take: We are going to be watching this mainly for Morgan Freeman’s voice and the visuals. The series released on Netflix yesterday.
Masterpeace: Here is a quirky 5-episode Indian web-series you can put on your list. Starring Nithya Menen and Sharaf U Dheen—who both rose to fame with the Malayalam film ‘Premam’—have joined hands as a young marital couple Riya and Binoy dealing with extremely nosy parents in this dysfunctional family dramedy.
Reviews are good but warn that the end drags on for too long. Film Companion likes it for its simple plot and that it “subverts core themes you find in movies ‘Amour’ (2012) or Nithya Menen’s own ‘O Kadhal Kanmani’ (2015).” Indian Express writes: “By incorporating Wes Anderson-esque aesthetics... the makers offer an intriguing and distinctive viewing experience that is seldom encountered.” Our take: We hardly get to watch Indian productions with such thoughtful set design. We’d love to give this one a chance. You can stream it on Disney+ Hostar.
Here’s a new chapter…
Koffee with Karan Season 8: Karan Johar is back with his tell-all celebrity talk show after a disastrous season last year. This time he has promised to change things around—starting with a new coffee couch and a fresh “konscience”. Jokes apart, the first episode was opened by the “Bollywood royalty” Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh—who are appearing together for the first time on the show and spill the beans on their married life. The first episode dropped on Thursday on Disney+ Hotstar.
TVF Aspirants Season 2: The first season of TVF Aspirants was set in Old Rajindra Nagar and featured the journey of three young UPSC aspirants, Abhilash (Naveen Kasturia), Guri (Shivankit Singh Parihar) and SK (Abhilash Thapliyal) hoping to crack the civil services exam. The second season picks up from here, and focuses on the present day lives of these friends and portrays the ‘practical’ side of being an administrator. We see how Abhilash as the District Magistrate handles labour protests, and the changing dynamics of his relationships with his friends and colleagues. You should check it out if you are curious about what happens in the ‘post-credits’ life. You can catch it on Amazon Prime.