01st Jun 2021
Netflix has such a bank of content, it's easy to get caught up in the new releases. Here are some of the more recent picks worth watching again if you haven't seen them yet.
Mank, David Fincher’s complicated new film about screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz has already won early praise from critics for its concept, production cast (starring Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried, no less) and is touted as 2020’s one to watch. A film about what it was to write on of the greatest movies ever made, it is the story of how Mankiewicz, played brilliantly by Oldman, wrote Citizen Kane, despite being drunk, dissolute and broken – the story behind most great works of art – and it’s Oscar-nominated, too.
The Fall: Seasons 1-3
The brilliant psychological thriller examines the lives of two hunters – one is a serial killer (Jamie Dornan) who preys on victims in and around Belfast, Northern Ireland, and the other is a female detective (Gillian Anderson) drafted from the London Metropolitan Police to catch him. The local authorities have no suspects and no experience with cases involving sexually motivated serial killers; DSI Stella Gibson has. The killer? He’s Paul Spector, a father and a husband leading a double life, as viewers learn from the outset.
The Queen’s Gambit
Based on the novel by Walter Tevis, this Netflix limited series drama is a coming-of-age story that explores the true cost of genius. Abandoned and entrusted to a Kentucky orphanage in the late 1950s, a young Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy) discovers an astonishing talent for chess while developing an addiction to tranquillizers provided by the state as a sedative for the children. Haunted by her personal demons and fuelled by a cocktail of narcotics and obsession, Beth transforms into an impressively skilled and glamorous outcast while determined to conquer the traditional boundaries established in the male-dominated world of competitive chess. It’s a brilliant, now Golden Globe-winning watch.
Hope Frozen: A Quest to Live Twice
A two-year-old girl from Bangkok — nicknamed “Einz” — became the youngest person in the world to undergo cryo-preservation. After her death from brain cancer, her family stores her remains in an American lab. Her head and brain now rest inside a tank in Arizona. Hope Frozen follows the family who made this unorthodox decision. The girl’s father, a laser scientist, yearns to give Einz the opportunity to experience a rebirth inside a regenerated body.
I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Despite second thoughts about their relationship, a young woman (the always wonderful Irish actress Jessie Buckley) takes a road trip with her new boyfriend (Jesse Plemons) to his family farm. Trapped at the farm during a snowstorm with Jake’s mother (Toni Collette) and father (David Thewlis), the young woman begins to question the nature of everything she knew or understood about her boyfriend, herself, and the world. Written and directed by Charlie Kaufman whose brilliance also resulted in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, it’s an incredible watch.
The Haunting of Hill House
Some of us aren’t one for scary films or programmes (of ANY nature) but, every so often, something comes along that is so good, you’ll willingly take a bit of terror. This thing isn’t even a thing – it’s a woman: Shirley Jackson. The US author does horror more frighteningly than almost anyone else. She’s best known for her short story The Lottery and her novel The Haunting of Hill House, considered to be the very best of haunted-house tales and Netflix have adapted the latter into what is a modern re-imagining. Genuinely terrifying, watch it before its follow up series, The Haunting of Bly Manor – it’s a better, scarier watch.
Would you believe I got to this year without watching this amazing series? It’s beloved by fans and has garnered a cult following, more than a decade after the original series went off the air, Netflix rebooted the “Queer Eye” franchise with a new Fab Five set in New York City. The style experts forge relationships with men and women and it’s sweet and sincere; mixing in moments of social commentary interspersed with style advice. One episode and you’ll be hooked. This is much-needed light relief.
Love on the Spectrum
This wonderful documentary examines the difficulties that young adults on the autistic spectrum experience in the world of dating. We hear and see so much of those on reality tv-centric shows who struggle to find love even without any obvious challenges, that it consistently feels like those of us who don’t fit the ‘norm’ are forgotten about. This series provides an eye-opening look into a side of the dating game that few have to think about.
Eurovision: The Story of Fire Saga
When aspiring musicians Lars (Will Ferrell) and Sigrit (Rachel McAdams) are given the opportunity of a lifetime to represent their country at the world’s biggest song competition, they finally have a chance to prove that any dream is a dream worth fighting for. I’ve watched it multiple times and I’m still not sick of Double Trouble. A great cast, great pop music, your mood will instantly lift after watching it. You will listen to Double Trouble on repeat for a long time afterwards.
As it’s Oscars season, this is worth repeated viewing. Noah Baumbach’s tale of a playwright (Adam Driver) and an actor (Scarlett Johansson) trying to keep things civil as they negotiate a divorce and a bicoastal custody agreement was met with rave reviews at the Toronto Film Festival – due to the enigmatic performances of the two leads. Things turn nasty and the film loses some momentum but both actors more than hold their own. At times it is gut-punching – alongside the standout, Oscar-winning performance from Laura Dern – but you’ll always stay with it. Not a new release, but one of the best Netflix originals in a long time.
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