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.
This new comedy from Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi is a slice-of-life triumph! Reservation Dogs follows four jaded Indigenous teenagers in rural Oklahoma as they find ways (including stealing) to make money and seek a better life for themselves. Set within a reservation, creator Harjo and his team of Native American writers have created a lovely, lived-in sense of specificity and authenticity to their protagonists’ surroundings and community. But the most endearing aspect of the show has to be the natural chemistry between its leads, and their characters’ coming of age tribulations.
The Other Two was easily the best new sitcom of 2019, delivering a scathing yet sweet satire of Gen Z celebrity culture. Its first season followed two struggling millennial siblings, Cary and Brooke, whose lives are upended when their younger brother, ChaseDreams becomes a viral pop music sensation. Now back for a long hiatus, the series remains a genuine laugh out loud delight. This second season sees ChaseDreams enjoying retirement as he heads to college, but the siblings are yet again forced to play second fiddle to a new star in the family – their mother Pat – who is now the host of a successful daytime talk show.
So much of the fun of PEN15 comes from watching Anna Konkle and Maya Erskine bring their 13-year-old selves back to life. The co-creators and stars play versions of themselves as middle schoolers opposite a cast of actual middle schoolers. Can the cringe comedy still work without that sight gag? As it turns out, yeah! PEN15‘s animated special, “Jacuzzi” finds Anna and Maya on vacation in Florida, where their insecurities start to get in the way of a good time. The episode uses animation to bring the girls’ feelings to the surface, changing the way they look to match the way they see themselves. It’s a painful throwback to teenage vacations gone wrong and a very fun throwback to early-2000s cartoons.
Heels is a fantastic family drama and a heartfelt love letter to the artform of professional wrestling. The series follows brothers Jack and Ace Spade who play enemies in the ring with the former as villainous heel while the latter is a heroic babyface. Outside it, they’re struggling to carry on their late father’s legacy by taking over his local indie promotion. Heels pulls back the curtain to ask, when does kayfabe (the fictional world of wrestling) become a shoot (the real world)? When does a shoot become kayfabe? What happens when those worlds co-exist? And specifically, how do these characters balance work and family when both are inextricably linked?
The cops of Brooklyn’s 99th precinct return for “one last ride” in its final season. Not only is the beloved workplace sitcom tasked with wrapping up long-running stories and character arcs, but it is also forced to reevaluate its goofy cop stories in a post-pandemic and Black Lives Matter world. The fact that Brooklyn Nine-Nine is able to do all that with grace, humour and wit just goes to show how talented Mike Schur, Dan Goor and the rest of the writing team are. Season eight’s plots tackle heavy issues like systemic racism and police brutality. But through it all, the series remains a warm-hearted treat thanks to the crew’s camaraderie and hilarious gags.
With the timelines thrown wide open at the conclusion of the Loki series, Marvel’s latest is an animated anthology that reimagines noteworthy events in their canon to create a multiverse of infinite possibilities. What If? posits the multitude of different ways that iconic characters and stories could have gone if choices or circumstances had been different. From an alternate reality where Peggy Carter takes the supersoldier serum instead of Steve Rogers, to another featuring T’Challa as Star-Lord – this series is a wild and trippy ride filled with inventive twists, fascinating hypotheticals and stylish animation.
A truffle hunter who lives alone in the Oregonian wilderness must return to his past in Portland in search of his beloved foraging pig after she is kidnapped. It’s a bizarre premise that’s fit only for Nicolas Cage, who delivers an affectingly raw performance that subverts all expectations. This isn’t a riff on John Wick and his dog, director Michael Sarnoski instead crafts a character study about the increasingly fragile connections we make as human beings and the isolationist tendencies that can infect our lives after experiencing harrowing grief. A rustic, heartbreaking, funny and poetic film.
This documentary is a revealing and intimate look at Tina Turner, charting her improbable rise to early fame, her personal and professional struggles throughout her life and her even more improbable resurgence as a global phenomenon in the 1980s. With a wealth of archival footage, audio tapes, personal photos, and new interviews, including with the singer herself, Tina presents an unvarnished and dynamic account of the life and career of the music icon. A revelatory doc that celebrates Turner’s impact and achieves remarkable insight without ever being sensationalistic.
A witty, sweetly told coming-of-age dramedy about a hearing 17-year-old girl born into a deaf fishing family. CODA (which means a Child of Deaf Adults) follows Ruby, whose life revolves around acting as interpreter for her parents and working on their boat. But when she joins her high school’s choir and discovers a passion for singing, she becomes torn between her dreams and familial obligations. Grounded, bawdy, tender and hilarious – CODA sensitively explores the specificity of a deaf family’s challenges and accomplishments, alongside the universality of their love.
James Gunn’s reboot of The Suicide Squad is a hilarious, gratuitous, vulgar, unhinged, heartfelt and so ludicrously fun! In fact, it’s far and away DC’s best film in years. The story is essentially the D-list supervillain version of The Dirty Dozen, focusing on a group of incarcerated criminals (including Peacemaker, King Shark, Harley Quinn and more) who are sent on a dangerous black ops mission. And unlike the first film, this thoroughly R-rated movie lives up to its name in gruesome fashion. Balancing irreverent humour with pulpy ultraviolence amidst inspired action set-pieces, The Suicide Squad is an outrageously great time.
This sobering and heartbreaking documentary details what happened when five evangelicals in the 1970s break away and form Exodus International, a group that claims that gay people can become straight through prayer and conversion therapy . They quickly became the biggest conversion therapy organization in the world with hundreds of thousands of members. However after several years, many of these men and women have come out as LGBTQ, disavowing the very movement they helped start. Focusing on the dramatic journeys of former leaders, current members, and a survivor, Pray Away chronicles the movement’s rise, unscientific influence, and legacy of profound harm.