In this week's Film and TV feature, Matt takes a look at what's currently hot and why it should make it on to your watchlist, and what you should probably avoid if you can help it.
We found ourselves in a second national lockdown and no doubt everyone’s Netflix and Prime accounts are going to keep us company throughout winter.
My wife and I couldn’t have picked a better series to start with than this superb Cold War era tale of an orphan with extraordinary talent and tenacity, becoming one of the world’s supreme chess players.
Anya Taylor-Joy exudes presence and magnetism as lead protagonist Beth Harmon, an unstable genius that had the worst possible start in life. Her escapades take her on a wrecking mission in the male dominated world of Chess in the 1960’s. Set against sexism, racism and challenging societal ‘norms’, it leaves viewers wondering at every possible turn, when is is all going to come crashing down? Is it all going to end in tears?
One of the best on screen lead performances you’ll see this year (and probably next) with a good supporting cast as well, so spare yourself 7 hours and get stuck in!
Borat: The Movie Subsequent
Sacha Baron Cohen is a straight up genius and the newest addition to his outrageous but worrying repertoire had us gasping, cringing and horse from laughter.
Also, a new star has been born with Maria Bakalova who you could argue actually stole the show. There’s nothing more to say until you’ve seen it yourself.
To the Lake
It’s been a few months (filled with unimaginable lows and brilliant highs) and in many cases,Netflix and other streaming services have kept us sane...just about.
We took another punt in the international series section of Netflix and came across this absolute gem from Russia which focuses on an uncontrolled outbreak of a deadly disease in Moscow (sound familiar?) but without the usual 'hullabaloo' of zombie apocalypse and a very interesting geo-political subtext unravelling in the background.
Two families from different parts of society come together to attempt an escape of the quarantined city but in doing so their dynamic and morals are tested to the extreme.
Slight eye raising, uncomfortable and stereotypical accusatory undertones, as the first series draws to climax but if you can get past the dubbing (we preferred to watch with subtitles instead) then you certainly won’t be wasting your time with this. Already looking forward to the second series in 2021.
Another delve into the international series section of Netflix and unfortunately we spent six hours watching this bizarre dramatised Mexican true story, marketed as a “whodunnit” murder case surrounding a child in Mexico. From the off, it was hard to take the show seriously as most of it was played to a really strange soundtrack, which felt like layering situation comedy on top of a serious detective drama.
Some of the acting is extremely 'hammy' and for long periods there doesn’t seem to be a lot happening as it stumbles from one scene to the next. You can tell some of the cast are notable Latino soap stars as their range and ability is very limited.
The end is totally anti-climatic with the “moral of the story” seeming to be Mexico will always be corrupt and people are incredibly selfish. If you do watch it and can figure out what exactly is happening and whether I have totally misread the meaning of the show, then please get in touch and enlighten me!
If you want to practice your Spanish, probably a half decent shout- otherwise don’t bother.
About Matt: Matt is a Director at a fast growing networking business in Leeds which focuses on bringing together all the major stakeholders associated with investment and economic growth.