As I mentioned last month I was pretty ill with the flu for a few weeks, lying flat on my back in bed and getting huge mileage out of my Netflix subscription. Although the weather this weekend is supposed to be spectacular and you’ll probably be outside soaking up the sun, here’s a quick round-up which you can bookmark for when the rain inevitably returns.
At this stage you can’t have failed to hear about Netflix’s new hit. Paying homage to classic 80s sci-fi, Stranger Things follows a group of boys whose best friend disappears and who simultaneously find a mysterious girl named Eleven or ‘El’ who needs their protection. It has spawned much discussion online from a thorough run-down of every film reference (spoilers in that article), to criticism of the series’ depiction of women. Netflix have even announced that an official soundtrack is on the way due to popular demand. It’s a bona fide TV phenomenon which I enjoyed but I’m not a rabid fan in the way so many others are.
Both seasons of Fargo are now available to watch and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Set in the same fictional world as the Coen Brothers eponymous 1996 film, Fargo is an anthology TV series, with a different cast and different plot set in a different era every season. Season one stars Billy Bob Thornton (in a career best performance), Mark Freeman, Colin Hanks and Allison Tolman and is set in 2006. Thornton plays Lorne Malvo, a hitman travelling through Bemidji, Minnesota, who causes chaos when he interacts with local residents. Season two is set in 1979 and stars Kirsten Dunst, Patrick Wilson, Ted Danson and Jesse Plemons. Dunst plays beautician Peggy Blumquist who covers up a hit and run accident involving one of the town’s most notorious criminals which leads to carnage. Both seasons were hugely praised and season three is due to premiere next year. If you haven’t seen it, get on it immediately.
3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets
Marc Silver directed this documentary about the 2012 shooting of teenager Jordan Davis by Michael Dunn over an altercation about loud music. (Do I have to even say that this happened in the USA or did you assume that already?) It’s a brilliant documentary with interviews with Davis’ family, the witnesses to the crime and Dunn himself, and containing footage from the subsequent trial. Gun control in America is an oxymoron – as far as I can see there’s barely any control at all – and this documentary highlights the reasons why.
Tallulah debuted last weekend, and I had looked forward to it as it stars one of my favourite actresses, Alison Janney. Tallulah (Ellen Page) rescues a baby from an irresponsible mother (Tammy Blanchard) and pretends the child is her own, using the baby to form a relationship with her ex-boyfriend’s mother, Margo (Janney). I had such high hopes for this film, remembering the great chemistry the two actresses had in Juno. Unfortunately it didn’t live up to my hopes and I think the script was at fault. Both leads did their best but ultimately it seemed flimsy and predictable.
After so much drama I want some light relief and so a mate recommended Crazy Ex-Girlfriend starring Rachel Bloom as Rebecca Bunch. Bunch is stressed out and about to burn out in her job as a corporate attorney in New York. After a chance encounter with her ex-boyfriend Josh Chan she decides on a whim to move to his town, West Covina in California. I was hesitant about watching the show for two reasons: firstly, American comedy doesn’t make me laugh a lot of the time, and secondly, the show has a couple of musical numbers per episode (nooooooo!). However I did end up watching the entire season and although the musical numbers do get a bit tiresome there are some absolute gems and Rachel Bloom is just brilliant.