We recommend: The best new movies and TV series
True Detective: Night Country: Here’s something for true fans of the True Detective series, which is arguably one of the best HBO shows to have aired. This reboot comes five years after the original and stars award-winning actress Jodie Foster and former boxer Kali Reis as a cop duo stationed at Ennis, Alaska, looking into the disappearance of men. When they find frozen bodies with a familiar mark, they realise they are treading on dangerous territory.
The show has received raving reviews. The Guardian welcomes the casting choice and writes: “Night Country is a brilliant inversion of the men-heavy, heat-oppressed, narratively bloated series that have gone before.” The Atlantic calls it “TV’s most soulful show” and says that it “pays tribute to its origins while charting new territory.” Our take: We appreciate the increasing number of women cops in higher command solving crimes that were left for men to decipher. We will definitely put this one on our list. You can watch the series on Jio Cinema.
Indian Police Force: This mega Indian cop web-series is directed by Rohit Shetty and stars Sidharth Malhotra, Shilpa Shetty Kundra and Vivek Anand Oberoi. The plot is typical—Kabir (Sidharth Malhotra) and Vikram (Vivek Anand Oberoi) are in the Delhi Police and are in the hot pursuit of Zarar (Mayyank Taandan) as they investigate a bomb blast. Their superior is Tara (Shilpa Shetty) who has to manage the hot headed Kabir and get the work done as efficiently as possible.
Reviews aren’t that great and honestly we are not surprised. Scroll says the show has nothing new to offer: “From bomb blasts to action sequences, sentimental family moments to songs, Indian Police Force feels every inch like a heavily padded Shetty film.” Similarly, NDTV writes: “The show is a patchwork of cliches, at best an extended cut-and-paste job that juggles components from the director's successful big-screen police procedurals.” Our take: We are not big Rohit Shetty fans but will probably watch it for Sid Malhotra and Shilpa Shetty. All the seven episodes dropped on Amazon Prime.
Death And Other Details: Here comes a new whodunnit which offers the typical story of a classic ‘wrong place at the wrong time’ locked room trope set in a luxury cruise. The main suspect Imogene Scott (Violett Beane) partners with Rufus Cotesworth (Mandy Patinkin) aka “the world’s greatest detective” to sniff out the real murderer in the course of ten episodes.
Reviews are so-so. According to Hollywood Reporter: “Maybe 75% homage and 25% revisionist, Death and Other Details consistently stands out for doing the most, but rarely stands out for doing the best.” Variety warns: “As the storylines and secrets pile up, the mystery becomes more of a confusing maze than an intriguing puzzle.” Our take: A new whodunnit series? Sign us up! The first two episodes are out on Disney+ Hotstar.
American Nightmare: This documentary series is the non-fiction version of Gone Girl. The show focuses on a 2015 case involving Denise Huskins. An intruder broke into Huskin’s house that she shared with her boyfriend Aaron Quinn. Huskins was kidnapped, drugged and held hostage by the intruder. The police investigated the case, and initially believed that the boyfriend is responsible, but when they see Huskins reappear unscathed they begin to suspect the entire situation and wonder if the whole thing was staged. This three part series examines what really happened, and gives a behind the scenes look at the media frenzy at the time.
The reviews praise the series. The Guardian says it is an “elevated example” of the normally schlocky genre and “it’ll make you squirm”. Telegraph UK finds that the series “makes for infuriating viewing” but is able to serve “the public interest in exposing the myopia and misogyny too often a feature of law enforcement in the United States.” Our take: This docu-series may not be for the faint hearted but is important to highlight the failure of law enforcement in the US. The series is streaming on Netflix.
The Kitchen: Here comes a rugged British film set in dystopian London where the main protagonists—a community of Black people—live in a non-affluent region called the Kitchen. The main protagonist is Izi (played by actor and musician Kane Robinson) who works at an eco-funeral business called Life After Life. He is saving up to buy an apartment which is coming up near the Kitchen and is privy to the life and struggles of the community that puts him in a moral dilemma.
Reviews are fantastic for this debut film co-directed by Kibwe Tavares and Daniel Kaluuya. Far Out Magazine says: “With shades of Black Mirror and Blade Runner, The Kitchen is the film you need to watch if you want to be a part of the class politics discourse in cinema in 2024.” The Guardian also concludes it is “a worthwhile, engaged film.” Our take: We are always fascinated by dystopian sci-fi and will add this to our watchlist! You can catch the movie on Netflix.
A Shop For Killers: This is for all the Kdrama fans who love thrillers. The eight-episode show follows an orphan named Jeong Jian (played by Kim Hye-jun of the ‘Kingdom’ fame) who goes to live with her uncle Jeong Jinman (played by Lee Dong-wook from ‘Goblin’ and ‘Tale of the Nine-Tailed’ fame). Turns out, Jinman runs a high profile weapons shop which lands him in trouble and the shop eventually becomes Jian’s property to protect.
The reviews are mixed. South China Morning Post is of the view: “The show is neatly outlined but slow around the edges.” While NME says: “Not a minute of A Shop for Killers is spent on boring filler, while the few moments of calm are emotionally impactful and genuinely gripping.” Our take: We are amazed by how stylish the action looks and will tune in for the cinematography. The first two episodes dropped on Disney+ Hotstar.
The Bequeathed: Another Korean drama recommendation for the weekend is this horror-thriller from the writer of the iconic zombie apocalypse ‘Train to Busan’ and an underrated gem ‘Hellbound’. The story centres on Yoon Seo-ha (Kim Hyun-joo best known for ‘Hellbound’)—a struggling lecturer who attends the funeral of an uncle she didn’t know she had. Mysterious revelations come to light that involve murder, a creepy half brother and a story surrounding the inherited gravesite.
Reviews are okay. South China Morning Post says “The Bequeathed draws us in quickly with its atmosphere but the mystery of its central premise soon loses its lustre.” Our take: We are intrigued by the bleakness and eeriness of the plot. All six episodes dropped on Netflix yesterday.
Anyone But You: One of the most anticipated rom-coms of the year is finally here. It is directed by Will Gluck known for cult fave movies like ‘Friends with Benefits’ and ‘Easy A’. The plot follows two college arch-nemeses—played by Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney—reuniting years after graduation for a destination wedding where they have to pretend to be a couple. Not-so-spoiler alert: they eventually fall in love. Fun fact: It is a Shakespeare adaptation of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’.
Reviews are sort of bad. Vox is nonchalant: “The movie is bad, but the chemistry: It’s good.” Deadline concludes: “Anyone But You is a film that’s enjoyable enough for a casual watch but ultimately forgettable in the grand scheme of the genre.” Our take: We miss rom-coms so will catch up with this one. The movie was released in theatres yesterday.
Night Swim: Here’s the first horror movie recommendation of the year. It explores the very real, irrational fear of not knowing what lurks in the depth of a swimming pool at night. The story follows Wyatt Russell (from ‘The Falcon’ and ‘Winter Soldier’ fame) who is a baseball player forced into early retirement. He moves to a new town with his wife Eve (Kerry Condon from ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ fame) and kids, who encounter something in their newly built swimming pool. The movie is based on an acclaimed 2014 short film by Rod Blackhurst and Bryce McGuire.
Reviews are decent for this one as well. New York Times feels that “the first half of the movie is remarkably effective” though it goes downhill after that. Variety says it “restores a certain order to the cinematic universe” by being “tepid and unscary”. Our take: It will be refreshing to watch a horror movie that is not part of the supernatural Conjuring universe. You can catch the movie in the theatres.
Fresh off the big screen…
The Marvels: The latest film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe is now streaming on Disney+ Hotstar. In this movie, Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) discovers that her superpowers are getting entangled with a few others—Ms. Marvel and Photon. The three of them must now work together to beat Dar-Benn, the latest villain who wants to steal resources away from other planets. Of the many MCU related releases from last year, we’re excited about watching Larson kick some ass.