We recommend: The best of new releases
Not Dead Yet: ‘Not Dead Yet’ is the latest comedy series starring Gina Rodriguez of ‘Jane the Virgin’ fame. The story is adapted from the novel ‘Confessions of a 40-something F**k Up’ by Alexandra Potter and follows Nell Serrano (Rodriguez), a journalist who threw away her promising career to move to London for a guy. Five years later, she is back and looking for a way to restart her career. Only, she gets assigned to write obituaries. Soon, she finds herself able to see and talk to the dead people she’s writing about. The show comes from the creators of the hit series ‘This is Us’ and also stars Hannah Simone, Lauren Ash and Rick Glassman.
Variety finds that the show is “a waste of Gina Rodriguez” and is disappointed with the overall tone of the show, calling it “vaguely promising but poorly executed sitcom”. OTOH, AV Club said that there is something “undeniably charming” about the show and if viewers are willing to suspend their disbelief, they will find a “sweet but not too saccharine sitcom.” The first two episodes dropped on Disney+ Hotstar on Wednesday.
Farzi: Starring Shahid Kapoor and Vijay Sethupathi in the lead roles, ‘Farzi’ is an eight-episode crime thriller series on counterfeit notes. It is written and directed by Raj and DK—the Indian filmmaking duo best known for the series ‘The Family Man’ and movies ‘Stree’ and ‘Shor in the City’. The story follows Sunny (Kapoor), an artist who starts designing the perfect fake currency note and Michael (Sethupathi), a cop who inches down on him. The trailer seems entertaining with a bit of comedy thrown in. The series also stars Kay Kay Menon and Rashi Khanna in big roles.
The Indian Express praises Sethupathi’s performance as “inimitable” but also added that the story could have been “wrapped up in four or five episodes” and that the “show is in service to its star, not to its plot.” In a similar vein, The Hindu also commends the actors’ performances but deems the writing lacking. OTOH, NDTV called the show “a thriller packed with everything that the genre demands”, deeming it “binge-worthy all the way.” You might want to grab that bucket of popcorn for this one. ‘Farzi’ landed on Prime Video yesterday.
Bill Russell: Legend: This one is a documentary pick. For those who are familiar with the NBA, Bill Russel might not need an introduction. But for the rest of us, Bill Russell was one of the greatest basketball players in NBA history who led his team Boston Celtics to win 11 championships out of 13 seasons he played. Having faced racism throughout his career, he was also known for taking a stand and contributing substantially to Black activism. The two-part documentary will feature his remarkable life as an athlete and a civil rights icon.
CNN says that the documentary is a “wonderfully well-rounded look at what made Russell such a dominating player” and that fans will find that the material about Russell’s friendships to “be enough reason to devote time to this splendid production.” Hollywood Reporter says that “structurally Bill Russell: Legend is sometimes confusing or just lacking” however there is a “very good balance” between vintage game footage and vintage interviews. The documentary dropped on Netflix on Wednesday.
A Man Called Otto: This film is an adaptation of Fredrik Backman’s novel ‘A Man Called Ove’ with Tom Hanks who plays the titular character Otto Anderson—a grumpy old widower who is annoyed by everyone and everything. But a jovial family moves in next door and the beginning of their unlikely friendship changes his outlook on life. The film is directed by Swiss director Marc Forster—best known for ‘Finding Neverland’—and screenplay adapted by Academy Award nominee David Magee—best known for ‘Life of Pi’.
The reviews for the film are mixed. The Guardian calls it “formulaic but charming grumpy old man movie.” Variety agrees about the film’s formulaic nature saying that the film starts out witty and realistic, but slowly “turns into a soft-headed ‘redemptive’ fairy tale”—as goes with popular plots with less-likeable characters. OTOH, Collider finds that the film handles comedy and drama in a peculiar way that “negates much of the emotional heft of the story, and sometimes leads to unintentional humour.” The film released in theatres yesterday.
The Fablemans: ‘The Fabelmans’ is a coming-of-age drama directed by Steven Spielberg and co-written with Tony Kushner. It’s a semi-autobiographical story based on Spielberg’s own life. The movie follows Sammy Fabelman, a young aspiring filmmaker who lives with a dysfunctional family, and wants to explore the power of films.
The film has received high praise and a lot of awards and nominations, among them include Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars. The Guardian calls the film “Spielberg’s lavish love letter to cinema” and something that “explains where the Spielbergian tropes you know and love came from.” The New York Times believes the movie will invariably make you cry. We don’t really need a reason to watch this, apart from the fact that it’s a Spielberg movie. The film is now screening in theatres.