We recommend: The best new movies and TV series
Anatomy of a Fall: This French-English bilingual film won the Palme d’Or at Cannes and has been getting the Oscar buzz—even scoring nominations in five main categories. Directed and written by Justine Triet who is a French filmmaker, the story takes place in a courtroom drama where an author Sandra Voyter (played by German actress Sandra Hüller) is on trial over her husband’s Samuel’s (played by Samuel Theis) suspicious fatal fall from their secluded house in the hill. Was it an accident or a murder? Their preteen son Daniel’s testimony (played by breakout child star Milo Machado Graner) decides much of the verdict.
Reviews are obviously fantastic. The Guardian commends the “layered and rewardingly intricate script” and concludes “one of the key pleasures of the picture is its uncertainty.” Financial Times writes: “[T]he baubles are testament to the excellence of a very modern courtroom story: one that makes us doubt the clean lines of other crime dramas.” Our take: We love a courtroom drama with an open to interpretation ending. We cannot wait to watch it in theatres.
Argylle: This one is the much anticipated spy thriller by Matthew Vaughn (best known for his spy spoofs ‘Kick Ass’ and Kingsman movies). It features a jaw-dropping cast that includes Bryce Dallas Howard, Henry Cavill and Sam Rockwell—plus featuring jaunty cameos from Bryan Cranston, Dua Lipa, Ariana DeBose and John Cena among others. But the plot is a bit underwhelming: the protag is a spy novelist but whatever she writes actually comes true so she finds herself kidnapped by her own characters to pressure her into finishing her espionage novel. Oh and there’s a grumpy looking cat tugged along in the journey.
Reviews are bad. BBC Culture is supremely disappointed and says the film “is lacking is the director's usual adolescent offensiveness” which makes it like one of those “vapid, anonymous blocks of content” available on OTT platforms. Hollywood Reporter puts it more eloquently: “[I]t all starts to feel like one of those very expensive, very elaborate commercials for a pseudo-luxury product you don’t want to buy.” Our take: We love a good parody movie and are not averse to watching it with friends and family. The movie released in theatres yesterday.
Next Goal Win: From the Kiwi director Taika Waititi—best known for ‘Jojo Rabbit’, ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ and ‘Thor: Ragnarok’—comes a sports underdog film based on the real events when the American Samoa soccer team lost 31-0 to Australia in 2001. They then hire maverick coach Thomas Rongen (played by Michael Fassbender) to help them in their upcoming World Cup qualifier match.
Critics are divided on this. The Guardian says that the film is “an affable, slightly slapdash crowd-pleaser that relies on the considerable charm of its local cast.” But the New York Times pulls it apart in these words: “Bland photography and perfunctory writing are the very least of my issues with ‘Next Goal Wins.’ a movie-shaped stain on the class of entertainment known as the sports-underdog comedy.” Our take: Taika Waititi is not everyone’s cup of tea, but if he is yours, you might consider taking a sip. Bonus watch: We recommend you to check out the Korean movie ‘Dream’ which has a similar story on Netflix. The movie is out in theatres.
Orion And the Dark: Academy Award winner Charlie Kaufman—best known for ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’, ‘Adaptation’ and ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’—dabbles with animation again nine years after ‘Anomalisa’. This film is based on the award-winning children’s book ‘Orion and the Dark’ by Emma Yarlett. The story follows a kid named Orion who is afraid of many things and especially darkness. He is befriended by Dark who takes him on a journey to show what happens in the dark. FYI: the film is narrated by the legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog!
Reviews are splendid! Hollywood Reporter writes: “Endlessly clever and funny, ‘Orion and the Dark’ also beautifully conveys the adolescent angst that plagues most of us and the familial love that can enable us to conquer it.” Collider echoes the view and concludes: It's a delightfully smart and ambitious story that is equally powerful for children and adults alike.” Our take: We love the concept and are excited to watch this one. The animated feature is out on Netflix.
The Greatest Night in Pop: You must be familiar with the song that goes: “We are the World/ We are the children.” Yup, this song was recorded by 46 of the biggest pop artists in America—including the likes of Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, MJ and Prince—in one night for the African famine relief charity—and went on to become a global sensation, raising millions of dollars as well as winning two Grammys. This documentary offers the behind-the-scenes of making the song—and is narrated by none other than Lionel Richie.
Reviews are as great as the song! CNN says it “provides an uplifting glimpse of these stars uniting in a common cause” and warns that “you’ll likely be humming or singing ‘We Are the World’ for the next several days.” Variety writes: “What this movie creates in the viewer isn’t so much a grand surge of ’80s nostalgia as a longing for a time — any time — when pop stars could let their guard down and be this human.” Our take: Need we say more? You can watch it on Netflix.
Choir: Keeping the music theme going, this is slightly an off-beat recommendation. This six-episode docu-series is based on the Detroit Youth Choir who got recognition on ‘America’s Got Talent’ in 2019. The choir is made up of kids going through the highs and lows of life—led by Detroiter Anthony White—who has had several high-profile performances from Detroit’s Orchestra Hall to Carnegie Hall in New York City. The docu-series focuses on the backstories of these kids as they prepare for the performance of a lifetime.
There are no reviews for the series. Our take: We love a good underdog story and this one may just strike all the right chords, pun intended! Watch it on Disney+ Hotstar.
Mr and Mrs Smith: Yup, this is a reboot of the 2005 Brangelina hit ‘Mr and Mrs Smith’ but with ‘Childish Gambino’ hitmaker Donald Glover and ‘Pen15’ actor Maya Erskine as leads. This series is a reimagination by writer-producer Francesca Sloane so has a slightly different plot. Two strangers John and Jane decide to marry each other while working for a spy agency that sends them on high risk espionage missions every week. Will they actually catch feelings—the eight-episode series explores.
Reviews are surprisingly good for this one. The Verge writes that the “stylistic and narrative updates” of the show makes it “into a compelling story that works surprisingly well, save for a few rough patches.” The Guardian says it is fast, fun and witty. Our take: We are not over the iconic Brangelina movie but are tempted to give this one a shot. The episodes drop on Amazon Prime.
Nascar: Full Speed: This is a documentary series for all the ‘Drive to Survive’ fans. ‘NASCAR: Full Speed’ is about stock car racing and the pursuit of NASCAR championship. It showcases the lives of the drivers and their battles out on the race track.The documentary has all access to the drama, action, personalities beyond the race track and as a result viewers get to see stories of conflict, underdogs, and the intensity behind driving a car.
Unfortunately, there are no reviews for this show. Our take: We enjoy watching motorsports, and love Drive to Survive. We’re definitely grabbing popcorn to watch this. The series is available to stream on Netflix.
Baby Bandito: This Spanish film is a heist thriller inspired by a real-life robbery that took place at the International Airport of Santiago, Chile. The series focuses on Kevin, a skating prodigy who wants to steal millions from a dangerous gang. The reason: he wants to provide a better life for his girlfriend Genesis, who is from a wealthy family.
There are no reviews for this film either. Our take: We absolutely enjoy heist movies. This one promises to have action and all the drama you can expect from a Spanish series. You can catch the show on Netflix.