Updated 5/19/20: As my stay-at-home time reaches past two months, here’s a list of things I’ve been watching that I’ve enjoyed in alphabetical order! No crazy spoilers!
Evergreen note: The world is a crazy place right now. The global pandemic has forced everyone inside, in hopes of flattening the curve in our communities. Of course, that leaves folks with a lot of time to eat up, and what better way than to watch some movies. So, stay healthy, stay safe, and watch movies.
Blow The Man Down (Amazon)
A cousin to a would-be mix of Fargo, The Lighthouse, and Hot Fuzz, Blow the Man Down brings a whole host of compelling female performances bringing intrigue and a few thrills to a sleepy New England setting. The perfect New England movie to watch on a rainy day. Watch on Amazon // Read my thoughts.
Watch it if you like: Fargo.
Directors: Danielle Krudy, Bridget Savage Cole. Starring: Margo Martindale, Sophie Lowe, Morgan Saylor, June Squibb
Set in modern day Sweden, the Border is an odd little film that draws heavily on Nordic fantasy lore, blending the fantastical with mundane, weaving a curious story around its peculiar protagonist. Despite being physically deformed—as believed due to a chromosome deformity—she has found her calling as a customs agent, catching would-be smugglers who otherwise evade the customs at a port. But she encounters a mysterious man whose eerily similar that then throws her entire existence into question. Watch on Hulu // Read my thoughts.
Watch it if you like: Let the Right One In. Beast.
Director: Ali Abassi. Starring: Eva Melander, Eero Milonoff
Chris Hemsworth’s first big role since 2019’s Avengers End Game finds the hulking Aussie playing Tyler Rake, a highly skilled mercenary with haunted past, charged with extracting a drug lord’s son from captivity by a rival drug lord in Bangladesh. Extraction is the kind of high budget, high octane, technically savvy film that is usually reserved for the Fast franchise. The action is compelling and Hemsworth is solid as a soldier of fortune, but the film kind of swims between lanes a bit. Watch on Netflix // Read my thoughts.
Watch it if you like: Triple Frontier. Lone Survivor.
Director: Sam Hargrave. Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Rudhraksh Jaiswal, David Harbour
The Great (Miniseries – Hulu)
A Hulu original, the miniseries follows (very loosely) the brief and meteoric rise of Catherine the Great. Satirical and gorgeous, Elle Fanning and Nicolas Hoult play the monarchs for The Favourite writer and showrunner Tony McNamara’s dramedy. Watch on Hulu.
Watch it if you like: The Favourite. Death of Stalin.
Showrunner: Tony McNamara. Starring: Elle Fanning. Nicolas Hoult. Phoebe Fox.
Spaceship Earth (Hulu)
The thirst for knowledge to combat the global ills, from climate change to world hunger to even the recent pandemic, shows the relevancy of documentary Spaceship Earth despite the contents being nearly 30 years old. We live in a closed system and every action has an effect. And despite the scientific dubiousness of the project or the VC backers, the group showed that with genuine determination, that a group of humans can achieve anything. And that’s a message worth spreading in 2020. Watch on Hulu // Read my thoughts.
Director: Matt Wolf.
Tigertail is the first narrative feature-length piece from Alan Yang (Master of None, Park & Rec), which is loosely based on his family’s history. Breaking away from comedy, Yang tells an intergenerational family drama that plays out over multiple time periods in our protagonist Pin-Jui’s life, as he reflects on the decisions he’s made and how it’s shaped his and his family’s path. Despite its flaws, Tigertail illuminates the complexities of life, from the powerful and audacious ignorance of youth to the the supposed merits of hard work and determination and finally, to the painful recollections of a lifetime of hard decisions. Watch on Netflix // Read my thoughts.
Watch it if you like: The Farewell.
Director: Alan Yang. Starring: Tzi Ma, Christine Ko, Hong-Chi Lee, Joan Chen.
Upload S1 (Amazon)
What if instead of death, you could upload your consciousness to a digital afterlife, resort living and all. But what if all the current day headaches like freemium ads, data limits, and existential crisis still applied? This lighthearted and mostly upbeat inaugural season is good for a few laughs and a few deep thoughts. Watch on Amazon.
Watch it if you like: The Good Place.
Showrunner: Greg Daniels. Starring: Robbie Amell, Andy Allo, Allegra Edwards.
Westworld S3 (HBO)
The latest season of Westworld heads outside the park, to mixed effect. The future world has never looked so gorgeous, as the star studded cast fights eachother for the future of both humans and robots alike. Newcomers Aaron Paul and Vincent Cassel do a lot of the heavy lifting, but there’s some really good cameos from Marshawn Lynch, Lena Waithe and Pom Klementieff. Watch on HBO
Showrunners: Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan. Starring: Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Tessa Thompson, Aaron Paul, Vincent Cassel, Ed Harris, Luke Hemsworth, Jimmi Simpson.