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: Russian Doll
Who: In our shows to look forward list, we had put this one. And we were so right. This is a darker derivative of the Groundhog Day concept of the same events getting looped in the lives of a couple of people in New York. Orange is the New Black’s Natasha Lyonne, who’s one of the creators of the show (along with Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland) and has also directed the final episode, plays Nadia, who dies many times (a couple of times in the first episode itself) and keeps returning to her birthday party. True to the rules of the genre, she gets new information every time and tries to apply that in her next reboot, creating confusion and chaos.
Why: A clever and kinetic game of time and space, Russian Doll explores the changing dynamics of mortality and morality in a millennial-friendly format. The loopy experience is trippy not only for Nadia but also for the audiences, especially the bewildering pilot but in subsequent episodes you get used to the madness. Episodes five and six are a tad frustrating, with questions piling on and on. The answers in the final episode are unexpected and more importantly, emotionally satisfying.
Natasha is the life of the show, from her freaky disposition to her all-knowing musings. She makes Nadia her own, with her little quirks and quips. She is no longer the supporting act, she is the act. Watch Russian Doll for Natasha and the uber cool soundtrack, especially that one song which keeps looping every time Nadia dies and restarts her trek from the bathroom – Harry Nilsson’s Gotta get up, gotta get down.
What: Velvet Buzzsaw
Who: Nightcrawler writer-director Dan Gilroy collaborates one more time with Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo, this time for a supernatural satire on the current art scene of Los Angeles. Velvet Buzzaw follows agent Josephina (Zawe Ashton) who steals a dead man’s personal paintings and in no time, they become the most valued pieces in the art world, but they come with a curse as all the players involved soon find out in brutal circumstances. Besides Gyllenhaal and Russo, the 113-minute film has a stellar supporting cast in Toni Collette, John Malkovich and Stranger Things actress Natalia Dyer.
Why Not: The film is too ambitious for its own good. It bends genres scene after scene and often aimlessly so. Velvet Buzzsaw’s a film about art but it’s anything but an art film. It’s too preposterous to be taken seriously and yet wants to make pertinent points about a lot of subjects. Also, the film has a dated feel to it and not in a good way. With such a stellar cast around her, Zawe is out of her depths in many scenes and given the importance of her character, the film suffers dearly.
Why: Gyllenhaal is terrific as the bisexual art critic everyone wants to please. Right from the body language to the speech to the stares, his Morf Vandewalt is a piece of art himself, one that is infinitely better than the canvas he finds himself in. Also, a couple of the deaths towards the end of the film are deliciously fun.
What: Rango (2011)
Where: Amazon Prime Video
Pirates of the Caribbean maker Gore Verbinski’s first animation film had a confusing response in this country at the time of its release because we believe that all animation films are for kids. Well, this one isn’t. Older kids maybe and definitely for adults. Written by John Logan (Gladiator, Hugo), Rango is the eponymous chameleon who accidentally becomes the sheriff of an animals-only town in the Wild West. The film features a terrific voice cast including Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Bill Nighy, Alfred Molina, Ned Beatty and Abigail Breslin.
Why: Wickedly funny and obnoxiously cool, Rango is everything you watch the movies for. A loving homage to the Western genre, the detailing in the film is incredible. The images are so lovingly crafted, the moments so beautifully constructed that the film stays with you long after. All the actors have such a blast behind the microphone, especially Depp and Beatty. It’s just a happy feeling to know that there’s a Rango in the world of cute and feel-good animation movies. Weird is indeed wonderful!
Did You Know
Ang Lee’s last film Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
All three seasons of the science fiction series Humans are now streaming on Hotstar Premium.
Arguably the best of the franchise, Mission Impossible 2, is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
His first comedy special in 23 years, Ray Romano: Right Here, Around the Corner is now streaming on Netflix.