What to watch at home this week? Which is the best series to watch? What about the movies to watch this weekend? Which are the best TV shows to binge? NOW STREAMING makes your search simpler.
What: Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia
Who: It was Afraid of the Dark last year and this year, Trevor Noah is back with an hour long Netflix special called Son of Patricia. The man who took over from Jon Stewart in 2015 as the host of The Daily Show takes the stage in a packed auditorium in Los Angeles and, in fact, starts off with a few funny quips about LA traffic. It’s only towards the end of the show do you realise why it’s called Son of Patricia; because his mother – “the most gangster person you’ll ever meet” is a Xhosa woman in South Africa – had taught the four-year-old Trevor that whenever someone is racist towards him, he should shake the racism with the love of Jesus and send it back to them. Yes, racism is very much the theme of this stand-up special.
Why: The best thing about Trevor is he’s so likeable. That’s such a rare qualification to have in the world of stand-up comedians today. He says the most sensitive of things with a smile and innocence that always lends his arguments a good day in court. Here, he formulates a new rule for America – “You can hate the immigrants as much as you want, but you don’t get to eat their food. No Mexican food. No Caribbean food. No Dominican food. No Asian food. Nothing. Only potatoes. I’m not even saying flavoured potatoes. Just plain potatoes. No spice… And life without spice is hard… so hard it made white people travel the world to find it.” While that’s some serious food for thought, what’s definitely going to extract a laugh or two are Trevor’s bits about “an authentic Balinese experience” – everything from poverty porn to a not-so-friendly king cobra – and his first ever tryst with tacos, where he was confused about what to do with the “napkins”.
Why Not: There is a lot about Trump and that, while being funny, can be a turn-off these days. But you can’t ignore the deep insight into some of his observations about who he calls “an asteroid shaped like a penis”. “We’re living through a time when we’re learning about the presidency at the same time as the president. That’s never happened before. We are part of history.”
Whee: Trevor recalls his meeting with the earlier POTUS for an interview in the White House, when he actually asked Obama: “Do you have AIDS?” when all the president was telling the funnyman was about a show “for his aides”!
What: The Kominsky Method
Who: Chuck Lorre, the small screen giant who’s created shows like Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory and Mom, brings together Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin as two old friends struggling with women, both living and dead. Douglas plays Sandy Kominsky, a famous acting coach of Los Angeles who’s a mess when it comes to girlfriends, income tax and getting acting jobs… not necessarily in that order. Arkin plays Norman Newlander, a hugely successful Hollywood agent, whose wife of many decades passes away in the very first episode.
Why: To see Michael Douglas in the moment, scene after scene, living the character and having fun with it, is such a rare joy and privilege. You just can’t remember when was the last time the man had been this good. And Arkin matches him, note for note, reprising some of that unforgettable Little Miss Sunshine repartee magic. While the episodes are mostly fun, it is the warmth The Kominsky Method exudes through the friendship between Sandy and Norman that really makes the show work. It is like comfort food and comfort food demands bingeing.
Why Not: There are more than a couple of episodes where there’s a palpable paucity of ideas. Sandy’s pee problems take up far too much screen time – and sound. And because the humour often becomes so broad, the lighter, humane touches feel a little out of place at times.
Whee: Singer-actress Patti Labelle and TV host Jay Leno appear as themselves in the second episode of the series.
What: The Lobster
Who: Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos, who had picked up the Prix Un Certain Regard for Dogtooth and also got an Oscar nomination for the same, directs Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz in this absurdist black comedy set some time in a dystopian future. In an outlandish premise, single people are given 45 days to find themselves romantic partners or else they are turned into animals. The fair deal? You get to choose which animal you’d turn into. Farrell, who plays David, signs up to become a lobster because of the crustacean’s potentially long life cycle and because he loves the sea. The stellar supporting cast includes John C. Reilly, Lea Seydoux and Ben Whishaw.
Why: You haven’t seen anything like The Lobster before. Everything you expect from your experience of watching films and reading books and from your understanding of human emotions is turned upside down with emphatic elan. The social commentary about coupledom aside, the way Lanthimos visually treats his high-concept tour de force has to be seen to be believed. Especially the prison of a hotel in the first half of the film which is bleak and claustrophobic. The poker-faced performances by Farrell and Weisz work beautifully and you are not sure whom to root for, if at all.
Whee: Colin Farrell gained 40 pounds for his role in the film!
What: The Adventures of Tintin (1991)
Where: Amazon Prime
Who: Twenty years before Steven Spielberg tried to motion capture the magic of Tintin, the much-loved comic books was turned into a three-part animated television series. A joint production of France, Belgium and Canada, the series used traditional animation techniques to translate the Herge creations onto screen. Why: In the middle of all the state-of-the-art animation and graphics, this good old series featuring everyone’s favourite quiff-haired adventurer and his white Wire Fox Terrier is a sight for sore eyes. It’s like that torn, small blanket you used to have as a child that can still give you more warmth than any new, fancy comforter. Right from The Crab with the Golden Claws to Explorers on the Moon, it’s like watching the books come to life in all their innocence and glory.
DID YOU KNOW
The Coldplay documentary A Head Full of Dreams is now streaming on Amazon Prime.
The 2017 BBC drama series Taboo with Tom Hardy in the lead is now streaming on Zee5.
Attenborough’s Ark, where David Attenborough chooses the 10 animals he would most like to save from extinction, is now streaming on SonyLIV.
The Hugh Jackman blockbuster The Greatest Showman is now streaming on Hotstar.