We recommend: The best new movies and TV series
A Haunting in Venice: A new Hercule Poirot movie is here! Kenneth Branagh’s third instalment starts off in Venice—where the beloved Agatha Christie detective is enjoying his retirement. He attends a séance upon request from another private investigator where a guest is murdered by a ghost(!) and is compelled to solve this mystery. Unlike the previous movies, this one has supernatural-horror elements. And as always a remarkable cast—Tina Fey, Michelle Yeoh, Kelly Reilly, Jamie Dornan, Jude Hill and Camille Cottin.
The reviews are mixed. Variety finds ‘A Haunting in Venice’ “just spooky enough” and “a mostly satisfying grown-up movie.” Collider says: “Go for the Christie plot, stay for the silly fun, and try not to laugh at Jamie Dornan and Judith Hill's bizarre dynamic.” Our take: We really liked the previous Hercule Poirot movies—‘Murder on the Orient Express’ and ‘Death on the Nile’—and are pumped to catch this one in theatres. The film released yesterday.
Smugglers: Here is a Korean movie recommendation that has just hit the theatres. ‘Smugglers’ is set in the 70s and follows a group of oyster harvesters—mostly women divers called Haenyeo—who turn to looting overnight. They have to successfully carry out the mission with betrayals and cops on their tail. What we love about this: a strong female cast. If you’re a fan of Kdramas you will definitely recognise these faces—Kim Hye-soo, Yum Jung-ah, Jo In-sung, Park Jeong-min, Kim Jong-soo, and Go Min-si. If you’re not, we highly recommend you check out their other works!
Reviews are great. Variety writes: “‘Smugglers’ has style to burn, but isn’t so flashy that it makes the story hard to follow.” Rolling Stones India says: “The fast-paced criminal drama… hinges on Haenyeo, who turns to smuggling against the scenic backdrop of a tranquil tiny sea hamlet. ” Our take: Times have come when Korean films—known for their interesting stories aided with unique visual storytelling—are getting a release in India and we will take full advantage of that. You can watch this movie in theatres.
A Million Miles Away: This film is a biopic based on the real life journey of a migrant Mexican farmworker Jose Hernandez (Michael Peña), who becomes a NASA astronaut. It captures the lifelong pursuit of Jose and his struggles to enter NASA. If you’re looking for a heartwarming watch, this is it.
The film has good reviews. Associated Press praises the direction and says the movie “charms and inspires”. New York Times says: “Beautifully shot and interspersed with historical footage of migrant workers and spacecraft launches, the film’s most effective and touching scenes revolve around the family relationships”. Our take: We love underdog stories, and are looking forward to watching this heartwarming tale. The movie is available to stream on Prime Video.
Love at First Sight: This is a routine chick flick recommendation. Based on the popular book ‘The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight’ by Jennifer E Smith, the movie is narrated by Jamila Jameel and stars Haley Lu Richardson and Ben Hardy in the lead roles. The couple meet at an airport, have a sweet little date on their 7-hour plane journey and lose a way to contact each other after. The rest… you can guess what happens.
Reviews are mixed. IndieWire thinks “the film fumbles in one key area: a disheartening lack of chemistry between lead stars”. The Guardian is of the view that “Love at First Sight isn’t a tear-jerker, rather a lump in the throat at best, and always watchable whenever Richardson or Hardy are pining on screen”. Our take: This may not be Steven Spielberg’s ‘The Terminal’ but we’d like to think it comes close. The movie is now streaming on Netflix.
Bambai Meri Jaan: This is a new crime thriller based in Mumbai in the 60s and 70s with cops and gangsters running the streets. What is new: Kay Kay Menon as a cop sharing the screen space with his wife Nivedita Bhattacharya for the first time. Also starring in the lead role—Avinash Tiwary of the ‘Bulbul’ and ‘Khakee: The Bihar Chapter’ fame. The ten-episode series is directed by Shujaat Saudagar and produced by Farhan Akhtar.
Reviews are okay. NDTV concludes that the series is “sweeping and sporadically gripping underworld history couched in a highly dramatic shell” but Scroll says “most shocking thing about Bambai Meri Jaan is how predictable and banal it turns out to be.” Our take: Many have captured Mumbai as the crime capital. We’re interested to see what this one offers. You can watch the series on Amazon Prime.
Kaala: Another Indian crime thriller. This one is created and directed by Bejoy Nambiar who recently directed the Madhuri Dixit-starrer ‘The Fame Game’. The action-packed plot is like a typical police show—an Investigation Bureau officer who has found a truckload of illegal cash consignment moving out of India—connected to weapon smuggling, politics, power and revenge.
Reviews are not too great. FilmCompanion called it stylish but deemed it “one of the most frustrating OTT misfires in recent memory.” Scroll says it “moves chaotically between time periods” and that “Kaala takes its flourishes very seriously, dragging out events to far too many episodes.” Our take: The look of the show is reminding us of American classics like ‘The Wire’ and ‘True Detective’. You can watch the series on Disney+ Hotstar.
Han River Police: Tired of Indian cop dramas? Try this Korean drama instead. The mini-series focuses on the police guard of Seoul’s most famous landmark—Han River—who save drowning ships and eliminate terrorist threats. This time, they found a body bag with smuggled gold bricks. How will they handle this case?
This review in Lifestyle Asia sums up why we want to watch it: “The show’s exploration of the dynamics among the team members, its unique setting, and its balance of humour, drama, and action make it a compelling choice for fans of the police procedural genre.” All six episodes are on Disney+ Hotstar.
Here’s a new chapter…
The Morning Show Season 3: The new season of Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston-starrer newsroom drama will focus on the fictional network UBA’s takedown by a hacker as the characters try to work their way up to the top of management. Secrets and vested interests are revealed and a new owner may show up—Jon Hamm, we are looking at you. You can watch it on Apple TV+.