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.
Who: Welcome to the world of webcam porn where girls sitting in their own homes in different parts of the globe flaunt themselves and do all kinds of crazy – kinky in porno parlance – stuff for money. This Netflix original, directed by Daniel Goldhaber, zooms in on one such ambitious cam girl Alice (Madeline Brewer in her first starring role after her impressive turns in Orange is the New Black and Handmaid’s Tale) who suddenly finds that an exact replica of her has taken over her account and is ruling the internet.
Why: A psychological thriller, a horror tale about today’s technology, a woman-empowering knockout punch… Cam works on many levels besides being a tour de force visceral experience. In the way it’s shot and cut, right from that first scene where Alice slashes her throat in front of her fans and followers, the film grabs your (eye)balls and never lets them go right through its 94-minute duration. At the centre is the Brewer performance, so natural and so uninhibited, that your induction into this creepy and geeky world of customised smut is smooth and sexy.
Why Not: If you are invested in the plot, you’ll be disappointed with the way things are explained in the end. The way Alice makes some discoveries online is also a little too convenient. Also, there’s a lot of graphic violence in Cam, which might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
Whee: The film has been written by Isa Mazzei, who was a webcam girl herself, before choosing to document her experiences.
What: Sick Note
Who: That other Harry Potter kid. Yes, Rupert Grint, who played Ron Weasley in all the eight film adaptations of the JK Rowling books, plays Daniel Glass here, the unapologetic slacker who would rather sit at home, play his Playstation shooting game, smoke and drink, rather than showing up for work. There have been so many TV series now where the protagonist finds out that he has some terminal disease in the very first episode. Sick Note, created by Nat Saunders and James Serafinowicz, takes that premise and turns it on its head. In the extended pilot episode, Dennis finds out that he has oesophageal cancer but within days gets to know it was misdiagnosed by the nincompoop Dr Glennis (Nick Frost). But by then he’s enjoying unimaginable privileges both at home and office and so he continues to play the sympathy-seeking dying man.
Why Not: Sick Note is one of those Anees Bazmee films which is occasionally very funny, but mostly way too slapstick for comfort. What starts out as an interesting premise, ripe with potential for some good ol’ situational British comedy, soon seeks out strange farcical set-pieces like dead-body dumping and intravenous pumping. Also, there is a desperate scavenging to keep the plot going, which hurts the series right through.
Why: The cast is worth a watch even when they are being made to do ludicrous gags. Both Grint and Frost, whose Glass and Glennis obviously have to team up to keep the fake cancer bit floating around, are in great form. Grint is largely in Weasley mode, with a dollop or two of extra self-confidence, trying to save another day, every day, while Frost with his trademark physical comedy is downright howlarious with his ineptness, reminding you of John Goodman on a good day. And the scene-stealer is Don Johnson who as Dennis’s boss Kenny gets to sashay around mouthing the choicest of cuss words, “cum stain” topping the list!
Whee: Lindsay Lohan crash-lands in the second season, also streaming on Netflix, as Kenny’s daughter.
Who: A ringside view of the legendary rivalry between Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, two of the biggest Hollywood stars of their time, this series is also an unflinching look at the ugly truths of stardom. Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon, two thespians themselves, play Joan and Bette in this eight-part series which primarily focuses on the period before, during and after the making of the 1962 film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, which starred both of them.
Ryan Murphy, the man behind Glee, American Horror Story and American Crime Story, was the creator of Feud, alongside Jaffe Cohen and Michael Zam. Besides Lange and Sarandon, the show is peppered with an incredible supporting cast including Alfred Molina, Stanley Tucci, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Kathy Bates and Judy Davis.
Why: A glorious lookback into 1960s Hollywood and the politics at play in the hallowed studio offices, shooting floors and award ceremonies in Los Angeles, Feud goes beyond the juicy folklore and inside the heads of these two movie queens who simply wanted to rule hearts till their last breath. The catfights are there, in all its dirty details, but what also come through, episode after episode, are the inherent misogyny and sexism that plagued the greatest moviedom in the world.
Both Lange and Sarandon are terrific in their portrayals, never turning Crawford and Davis into caricatures or impersonations. The first episode is arguably the best of the lot but the most unforgettable bit comes in the fifth episode at the Oscar ceremony in 1963. Between the two of them, only Davis was nominated for the Best Actress trophy but find out for yourself how Crawford made her presence felt. The sparring aside, Feud also becomes a spectacular tribute to the two women who knew that in the industry they were in, it was always about the survival of the smartest.
Whee: A second season was to be made on the “feud” between Prince Charles and Princess Diana, called Buckingham Palace. But in August earlier this year, it was announced that the new season has been scrapped.
What: The King of Comedy (1982)
Where: Amazon Prime
Who: When you talk about Martin Scorsese, you talk about Taxi Driver and Raging Bull and Goodfellas and then his later work with Leonardo DiCaprio. But The King of Comedy hardly ever comes up despite Robert De Niro leading the cast. Maybe because it’s the most unMarty of Marty movies. A darkly funny satire about the many perils of fame, it has De Niro as Rupert Pupkin whose one dream is to have a stand-up slot on the late-night talk show hosted by chat show king Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis). Over time it becomes an obsession for Rupert and after many failed attempts to make an impression, he does the unthinkable – kidnap Jerry.
Why: The King of Comedy was an early cautionary tale from Scorsese about the desperation amongst common people to achieve fame and the obsession with celebrity culture. Clearly, it’s more relevant than ever right now. The film is twisted in ways difficult to predict and the treatment is disturbing, almost claustrophobic. De Niro is excellent as the 34-year-old loser who still lives with his mother and practises his routine in his basement but believes he’d make it one day. But the best performance of the film comes from Jerry Lewis who contrary to his usual goofy persona plays an intense, mostly seething man of fame trying to get Rupert out of his life.
Did You Know
Trumbo, the 2007 documentary on screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, later the subject of a biopic starring Bryan Cranston, is now streaming on Hotstar.
The Alexander Payne film Downsizing, starring Matt Damon, is now streaming on Amazon Prime.
The TV series Crash, based on the Oscar-winning 2004 film of the same name, is now streaming on SonyLIV.
Guillermo del Toro’s big Oscar winner The Shape of Water is now streaming on Hotstar.