Ever feel like there’s too much to watch, and you don’t know where to start? Well don’t worry. Our Film & TV editor Hidzir Junaini will be rounding up only the very best things to hit your screens at the end of every month! Skip the mediocre and delve right into the good stuff.
Fueled by panic sweats and jittery anxiety, the Safdie Brothers’ (Good Time) latest is the most exhilaratingly stressful film you’ll see this year. Uncut Gems breathlessly hurtles with desperate energy as we follow New York jeweler and compulsive gambler Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) through the disorienting chaos that is life. When a rare black opal comes into his possession, Ratner engages in a series of high-stakes bets – even as he balances debt collectors, his family, and his mistress. This heart-pounding sprint of a movie is pure arrhythmia-inducing electricity.
Crafted by Melina Matsoukas (director of Beyonce’s “Formation”) and writer Lena Waithe (Master of None) – Queen & Slim is the modern-day Bonnie & Clyde for a Black Lives Matters generation. After a tepid first date, the story follows Queen & Slim as they are forced to go on the run when they kill a racist cop in self-defence during a traffic stop. Although driven by social commentary, this film is more of a character study about a couple discovering themselves, and each other – while the outside world transforms these two fugitives into symbols of a movement.
Filmed like The Big Short meets the right-wing Newsroom, Bombshell dramatizes the shocking sexual harassment scandal at Fox News. Following a group of women ranging from high-profile anchors to producers and staffers – this scalding, snappy film presents a moving depiction of the complex dynamics women navigate in the workplace, and the costs of exposing a powerful man like Roger Ailes. Buoyed by a dynamite cast (especially Charlize Theron who just transforms into Megyn Kelly) and a sharp script, this is a compelling story that transcends political ideology.
Based on a short story by H.P. Lovecraft, Color Out of Space is a gorgeous and grotesque cosmic horror movie, accentuated by a truly gonzo Nicolas Cage performance. Driven by a thick shroud of unsettling paranoia and off-kilter humour – this beguiling film is a strange mix of vivid visual flourish (think Mandy meets Annihilation,drenched in purple-pink), vomit-inducing body horror, and ludicrous B-movie dialogue. Both a trippy technicolor nightmare and a pulpy farce – this film’s extraterrestrial lights, mutant organisms and existential dread is an insane pleasure.
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
Like it’s long title implies, this movie is fantabulous! Following in the footsteps of the incredible Harley Quinn animated series, Birds of Prey is an unabashedly hyper-violent, foul-mouthed, gleefully eccentric, bonkers bananas crime comedy riot. Filled with delightful Deadpool-esque meta humour, terrific John Wick-level action (choreographed by Chad Stahelski), and a dash of Tarantino’s structural quirks – this is a rollicking party movie. Set in the aftermath of Harley’s breakup with Joker, Margot Robbie leads a badass new girl gang through delirious mayhem.
The Good Place began life as a comedy about a woman who accidentally got into heaven, but it’s wonderful afterlife journey revealed the show to be a kind-hearted appraisal of philosophy, morality, and the meaning of existence. Couched by pop culture zingers, warm friendship, and clever puns – this series miraculously sticks the landing in its final episodes by continually hiding the heavy and heady under the hilarity. So while the story may involve our crew revamping heaven and hell’s system of judgement, the crux remains the sweetness of human connection.
One of the greatest shows of the 21st century bids a bittersweet but satisfying farewell with a reckoning for it’s problematic lead. While Bojack Horseman has made great strides in dealing with his depression, getting sober, and repairing relationships with his closest friends – this emotionally painful final stretch finally holds BoJack accountable for the many women he’s hurt. And while the drama lies between redemption or relapse for BoJack, the series also takes care to provide hilarious, beautiful and moving closing arcs for its richly drawn rendered ensemble.
Now in its fifth season, this prequel spinoff has long since proven to be every bit as great as its parent series Breaking Bad. But this penultimate season of Better Call Saul is the show’s best yet! As we inch closer to the end, Jimmy McGill’s moral descent into “criminal” lawyer Saul Goodman is complete, just as Gus and Mike’s drug empire ascends. Though we know where they all end up (except for series MVP, Kim Wexler), the show’s patient and process-oriented storytelling is richly rewarding, infusing each character arc with such complexity and resonance.
Even after the multiverse madness that was the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, the one constant in this or any universe is that Legends of Tomorrow will continue to be the wildest, funniest, and most gleefully bonkers show on TV. After the events of Crisis and the season four finale, this fifth season finds our time travelling misfits not only dealing the loss of friends due to timeline alterations, but evil souls that have escaped from hell! From Genghis Khan to Grigori Rasputin, the crew must scramble to stop the undead versions of history’s greatest villains.
From the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia team, comes a Silicon Valley-eque comedy set in the world of video game development! Set in the studio offices of the titular multiplayer online role-playing game, Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet dives into the megalomania and workplace chaos of that world with eccentric, frenzied energy. This smart satire of the industry’s labour practices and toxic culture is deliriously funny, but it never simply mocks. Its jokes offer insight into the video game community’s dynamics, while examining the neuroses of its characters.
The cops of Brooklyn’s 99th precinct returns for a consistently hilarious seventh season dealing with the unceremonious demotion of Captain Holt to a patrol officer. And from the get-go the show finds so many humorous ways to explore this strange new status quo. From the team’s misguided inability to accept a new captain, to Holt’s sadness over his reduced rank, Brooklyn Nine-Nine mines comedy gold. But through it all, it’s the group’s sense of camaraderie and unique character-specific gags that continues to make this series such a warm-hearted delight.
As this Narcos spin-off enters its second season, we continue to follow the troubled rise of Félix Gallardo as the head of Mexico’s first cartel in Guadalajara. After the brutal assasination of Kiki Camarena in season one, the DEA has brought in a black ops team for retribution. But beyond his American enemies, Félix is burdened by in-fighting within his organization and a pissing contest with Colombia’s Cali cartel. Filled with compelling performances and violent twists, this sprawling look at the ins and outs of the Mexican drug trade in the 80s’ is an engrossing watch.
Two decades later, Sir Patrick Stewart triumphantly returns to his most iconic role in Picard. Helmed by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Michael Chabon, this newest Star Trek series isn’t just a nostalgia trip featuring beloved familiar faces. It presents a provocative new character-driven direction, following an aged Jean-Luc after he’s become disillusioned with the Federation. Even as Picard grapples with Starfleet abandoning its moral principles in favour of security, the retired admiral is drawn into a deadly plot involving Romulan refugees, rogue synths and the Borg.
Created by Dreamworks storyboard artist Radford Sechrist, Kipo is a fantastic romp through the bizarre. A post-apocalyptic kids cartoon oozing with color and style, boasting a charming group of heroes, and an absolutely phenomenal soundtrack. Set in a vibrant future where humans live in underground cities, and animals have gained sentience, grown in size, and taken over the surface – we follow a lost girl who falls in love with this strange world of giant bugs and talking cats. This wondrous mix of Noelle Stevenson’ She-Ra and Miyazaki’s fantasy is a must-watch.
Al Pacino leads a renegade group of Nazi hunters in 1970s New York in this pulpy new revenge fantasy. Drawing a lot from comic books, grindhouse and B-movies – this super violent series, produced by Jordan Peele, is Inglorious Basterds-esque wish fulfilment, as we root for this colorful group of Jewish vigilantes. But even amidst the fun that this twisty thriller provides, the show respects the inherent drama present in the story of Holocaust survivors. It’s a tricky tonal balance, trying to reckon with real atrocity while providing stylized action, but Hunters pulls it off.
Veep creator Armando Iannucci takes his brand of quick-witted, profane-laden humour from Washington DC to the stars for his new space tourism comedy. Buoyed by an incredible cast (led by Hugh Laurie and Josh Gad), this sci-fi farce is set on a cruise spaceship in the near future. After a serious mishap, a journey that was meant to take weeks is stretched into years. From an incompetent crew to unruly passengers, this hilarious disaster plays out like a comic Poseidon Adventure that mocks the hospitality industry and human pettiness at every turn.
Over the last 20 years, this exaggerated version of Seinfeld creator Larry David’s real life has become of the 21st century’s greatest comedy. And the loveable misanthrope finally returns for a 10th season (and final), which amply rewards fans with clever callbacks to the show’s history, whilst reveling in a myriad of cringe-worthy situations ranging from the mundane to the politically incorrect. Through it all, Curb Your Enthusiasm keeps mining hilarity from discomfort, and this season especially brings the best of the worst of Larry David, as he deals with a changing world.
The sixth and final season of Vikings returns following the battle between brothers which has left Bjorn victorious and a hero to the people who have been under the tyrannical rule of Ivar for so long. As the new leader of Kattegat, Bjorn struggles to fill his late father’s shoes, while facing several dilemmas and wrestling with the idea that power overshadows morals. Meanwhile, Ivar searches for a new path to separate him from his past, leading him into Russia. Sweeping and robust, Vikings continues to be History’s best series, and it looks to be ending on a high note.
Continuing on from The Young Pope – The New Pope introduces John Malkovich as Pope John Paul III, the titular character, after Lenny Belardo (Jude Law) slips into a coma. Like its jaunty predecessor, Paolo Sorrentino’s sequel series offers us an inside look at the leadership of a fictionalized Catholic Church, alternately honoring and eviscerating its central subject. Built upon outrageous jokes, byzantine plotting, amazing performances and visual lushness – this is an exhilarating series with an acidic view on religious politics and the church’s role in today’s world.
After taking over from Steven Moffat, showrunner Chris Chibnall spent most of series 11 taking the classic British sci-fi show in a new direction, buoyed by the effortless charm of new lead Jodie Whittaker. As fun as those standalone episodes were, the show returns for series 12 by embracing Doctor Who’s 57-year history while still creating its own groundbreaking moments of canon. From it’s rollicking two-part premiere “Spyfall”, which had great fun parodying James Bond, this season finds Doctor Who in top form, offering compelling villains and big mysteries.