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.
Led by astounding performances from Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman, Florian Zeller’s screen adaptation of his own play is a quietly gripping masterpiece about the wages of aging. Hopkins plays Anthony, an 80-year-old man who defiantly lives alone, rejecting the carers that his daughter Anne (Colman) introduces. But as Anthony loses his grip on his mind, becoming lost in the ebb and flow of his memory and identity, the full tragedy of his mental deterioration becomes clear. This bracing, slippery chamber drama of senility is a tough but essential watch.
The feature directorial debut of writer/director Emma Seligman is an absurdly funny comedy about a snarky bisexual named Danielle who runs into her sugar daddy at a Jewish funeral attended by her family and ex-girlfriend. Shiva Baby is a witty and pithy affair, making good use of its claustrophobic single setting for highly uncomfortable humour and well choreographed suspense. Seligman tightly orchestrates this sarcastic and lively film with loving cultural specificity and nuance, working her satirical muscles to elevate every escalating complication.
Garrett Bradley’s decades-spanning documentary is one of the most poignant and substantive films about incarceration in America ever made. Time chronicles the story of Fox Rich and her husband Robert, a couple who committed an armed robbery in the early 90s out of desperation. While there is no doubt to their guilt, Rob’s 60-year sentence is gratuitously cruel. Pieced entirely from home video diaries, Time offers an intimate glimpse of Fox’s 20-year campaign for the release of her husband, telling a story of the resilience and radical love necessary to prevail over America’s prison-industrial complex.
Based on the best-selling book by Naoki Higashida, The Reason I Jump is an immersive cinematic exploration of neurodiversity through the experiences of five remarkable non-speaking autistic teens from around the world. This inventive and sensuous documentary invites viewers into the psychological isolation and overwhelming sensory awareness felt by people at various points on the spectrum. Lyrical and beautiful, the experimental film nimbly translates the ASD perspective using visual and sonic language – evoking autism through poetic, impressionistic detail.
Watch in: Cinemas (Golden Village and The Projector via Anticipate Pictures)
For its past three seasons, Owen Dennis’ underseen series has quietly established itself as one of the greatest cartoons ever made, standing amongst Steven Universe and Adventure Time in terms of its boundless imagination and emotional complexity. Infinity Train is an anthology, with each season following different protagonists as they explore an extra-dimensional locomotive where each car contains a different universe. In its fourth and final season, we focus on Min-Gi and Ryan, best friends and aspiring musicians whose relationship is tested by their journey through it.
This sci-fi series from Ronald D.Moore is a meticulously crafted alt-history that imagines what would happen if it was the Soviets who landed the first man on the moon. While the first season of For All Mankind was wildly ambitious, it was also very uneven. Thankfully, this second season is a stellar improvement – taking full advantage of what if scenarios (U.S. socio-politics have drastically shifted), alongside compelling workplace drama at NASA. The characters now feel more specific and three-dimensional, which in turn makes the show’s interpersonal dynamics vastly more interesting.
Mike Schur (writer-creator of The Office, Parks & Recreation, The Good Place and Brooklyn Nine-Nine) returns for a joyous, witty and barrier breaking new comedy! Set in a small New England town, Ed Helms stars as Nathan Rutherford, a civic booster who fights the moving the historical statue of his paternal ancestor. Rutherford is so blinded by family loyalty that he fails to realize the importance of the town’s Native American heritage when it conflicts with honouring its white history. Despite its weighty premise, this is a warm and lighthearted show that draws big laughs by subtly using ironic humour to highlight the bias against a marginalized community.
Mythic Quest’s first season was a delightful satire of the toxic culture of video game studios, but the series truly raised its level with its masterpiece “Quarantine” episode. Now ahead of season two, Mythic Quest returns with yet another wonderful pandemic-era bonus episode entitled “Everlight.” This special deals with the Mythic Quest staff returning to the office after a lengthy lockdown to celebrate its annual LARP party. While “Quarantine” was an emotional wallop about isolation, “Everlight” is a joyous, silly and hopeful look at how its characters (and us) can face triumph over the past year’s darkness.
This four-part docu-series from Raoul Peck (I Am Not Your Negro) uses archival material as well as animated and dramatic scenes to explore the destructive history of European colonialism and its impact on today’s world. Exterminate All The Brutes is a massive and dense history lesson, capturing over a thousand years of genocide and racial injustice through potent visuals. This is one of the most politically radical and intellectually rigorous documentaries ever put to screen, offering important context and passionate commentary through a sprawling history of atrocities.
Based on the first novel in Leigh Bardugo’s best-selling Grishaverse series, Shadow and Bone is a dense, smart and immersive new fantasy show that amazingly improves upon its source material. Shadow and Bone follows young soldier Alina Starkov who discovers that she has a power that could free her country from the oppressive Fold – a vast expanse of shadows separating warring nations. But first she must learn how to use it while avoiding those who seek to stop her. Despite featuring an excellent ensemble, great writing and spectacular visuals, the show’s greatest strength is it’s update of Alina’s “chosen one” narrative, adding more nuance and depth that elevates it beyond YA tropes.
Kate Winslet shines in this slow-burning murder mystery miniseries. She stars as a defiant and cynical Pennsylvania detective investigating a series of deaths, even as her personal life is falling apart. Mare of Easttown is as much a portrait of a small town as it is a crime drama – vividly setting the scene by engrossing us in the rhythms of its hardscrabble community and the private agonies of its characters. Yes, there’s a crime to solve but the whodunit, clues and twists aren’t all there is. What sets Easttown apart is its rich sense of place and slice-of-life dynamics.
Japan’s most popular modern day shonen anime returns for a highly anticipated fifth season! The teen superheroes of UA kick things off with a training exercise that pits our protagonists in Class 1-A against their rivals in Class 1-B. The battle doesn’t just showcase how far Midoriya and his classmates have come in honing their quirks, it’s also a deserved spotlight for the kids in 1-B who constantly feel overshadowed. Beyond school, the League of Villains comes back into prominence as the series explores the complicated upbringing of their young leader Shigaraki.
Joshua Rofé’s true crime documentary series has one hell of a premise. In 1993, journalist David Holthouse was working undercover on a cannabis farm where he overheard a wild story about three Mexican workers who were torn to shreds, supposedly killed by Bigfoot. Decades later, Holthouse investigates, leading him from Sasquatch to the criminal underworld in the northern California mountains. This propulsive series delves deep into a weird and creepy rabbit hole ranging from the rich history of the marijuana business to Spy Rock where bodies are often found.