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.
Maid is an unblinking look at the way society traps people in poverty and a searing examination of the way generational trauma keeps resurrecting itself in people’s lives. Based on Stephanie Land’s eponymous memoir, this miniseries stars Margaret Qualley as single mother Alex, an aspiring writer who became a maid to support herself and young child. We follow Alex as she moves through a domestic-violence shelter, family court, and untenable housing situations – even as finances dwindle despite her hard work cleaning filth for rich patrons. This is a haunting, yet inspiring, human story that might make you rethink your assumptions about poverty.
When last we left the Roy family in season two, prodigal son Kendall dropped a bombshell by publicly outing cruel patriarch Logan of being complicit in their company’s pattern of heinous corporate, sexual and human rights crimes. This father-son confrontation sparks an all-out business civil war in Succession’s brilliant third season, built around a series of thrilling clashes, as everyone involved scrambles to take sides and work out what’s best for them, in a constantly shifting landscape. This series about monstrous rich people back-stabbing each other for control over a multi-billion dollar media empire remains as darkly funny and delightfully intense as ever.
Issa Rae’s brilliant comedy returns with a joyous swan song! Insecure has always been able to mine absurd hilarity and affecting poignance from the messy realities of the black millennial experience, and it’s excellent final season proves to be the series’ most reflective to date by exploring big questions about growth, self-perception, parenthood and friendship. While Issa, Molly and others have certainly glowed up and grown up – they all find that maturity and success comes with its own set of struggles. From imposter syndrome to romantic hang-ups, Insecure’s greatest strength continues to be the comedic and dramatic nuance of its authentically flawed characters.
For the past two seasons, You has been the most addictive guilty pleasure on TV, following the twisted romantic exploits of a tech-savvy, obsessive and murderous stalker named Joe. It’s sinister subversion of rom-com tropes from the warped perspective of someone who thinks he’s a “nice guy” has been a gripping barrage of crazy twists and cliffhangers. Season three finds Joe finally settling down in the suburbs with the equally sociopathic Love and their new baby. However Joe falls back into old habits when he finds a new obsession in his neighbor Natalie. What follows is a blood-soaked marital therapy session wrapped in murder, lies, and even more glass cages.
Maya and the Three is the new fantastical new Mexican animated series steeped in Mesoamrican mythology and magic. We begin as the titular warrior princess celebrates her 15th birthday, but when underworld gods appear to announce she must pay for her family’s misdeeds, her life is upended. If she refuses to go along, the world itself will be ravaged by the gods, so she embarks on a quest to fulfill a prophecy which says foretells of three warriors who will help her defeat these gods and save humanity itself from destruction. Maya and the Three is a thrilling, vibrant and grand spectacle that honours the spirit of Hispanic culture and tradition.
The world has changed but Larry David hasn’t, and that’s the best possible news for his sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm, in which the curmudgeon comedian plays a loosely fictionalized version of his misanthropic self. The long-running comedy returns for an excellent 11th season 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 best and worst of Larry David, as he deals with a changing world.
When it debuted in 2019, Demon Slayer instantly became one of the most popular shonen anime worldwide thanks to its stunning sword fights and captivating story. The series is set in Japan’s Taisho era and follows young Tanjiro Kamado who trains to be a demon slayer after a demon mercilessly murders his family and turns his sister into an undead monster. Season two kicks off with an extended and improved seven-episode version of its blockbuster Mugen Train film (featuring 70 new scenes and new music!) before continuing into the Entertainment District Arc featuring the highly anticipated battle between Tanjiro and Daki.
A girl finds out that her best friend is dating her ex, which makes her wonder if she’s still in love with him. A directionless woman in her 30s half-heartedly tries to seduce her old college professor, at the request of her young lover. A middle-aged woman attends her high school reunion in the hopes of rekindling an old flame, but finds an unexpected connection instead. Hamaguchi Ryūsuke’s latest effort is a charmingly bittersweet anthology film, tying together a triptych of beautifully humane, quietly poetic and wildly unpredictable stories about love and coincidence.
Oscar Isaac stars as William Tell, a gambler and former serviceman who sets out to reform a young man named Cirk who seeks revenge on a mutual enemy from their past. Gaining backing from a mysterious financier, Tell takes Cirk with him on the road, going from casino to casino until the unlikely trio set their sights on winning the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. But keeping Cirk on the straight-and-narrow proves impossible. Paul Schrader’s latest film is a spellbinding meditation on sin and salvation as seen through the eyes of a gambler who counts cards to both escape and confront his torturous past.
Watch in: Cinemas (Shaw Theatres and The Projector)
Introducing, Selma Blair is a deeply intimate and raw portrait of the actress after she is diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and makes a valiant, risky effort to try to slow the progression of her disease. This is a remarkably moving portrait of a woman forced to reevaluate her relationships and her sense of self in the face of a chronic illness that leaves her sometimes unable to speak or control her movements. Director Rachel Fleit does an exceptional job at capturing everything with a compassionate lens, offering an unvarnished look at Selma Blair’s experiences in a way that will educate many on the effects of MS.
Woodlands Dark Days and Days Bewitched is an absorbing documentary on the history of folk horror, from the 1960s to today. Writer-director Kier-La Janisse delivers thoughtful commentary, lush visuals and a myriad of perspectives that approaches the subgenre’s history through a wide-reaching critical lens. Featuring interviews with filmmakers like Robert Eggers and Alice Lowe, alongside authors, journalists and academics – this three-hour film explores the cultural origins and stylistic evolution of the subgenre throughout America, Asia, Australia and Europe.
Written and directed by Mariko Minoguchi, Relativity is a poignant German film that explores two interwoven stories. The first follows a young woman named Nora who is plunged into grief after witnessing her boyfriend get killed during a bank robbery. The second follows the bank robber named Natan, a father desperate to raise money for his daughter’s expensive cancer treatment. As one processes her bereavement and the other his guilt, the two eventually strike up an unlikely relationship. Through evocative imagery and finessed pacing, this film nonlinearly fills us in on their backstories, offering compelling dual character studies steeped in the slippery temporality of memory.
David Chase crafts a lively prequel origin story to his seminal HBO drama The Sopranos. James Gandolfini’s son, Michael, steps into his late father’s shoes, delivering an uncanny performance as a young Tony Soprano growing up in the racially-torn New Jersey city of the late ’60s and early ’70s. Following a crew of low-level Italian mafiosos, The Many Saints of Newark focuses on the uncle Tony idolizes, Dickie Moltisanti, who struggles to manage both his professional and personal responsibilities – and whose influence over his nephew will help make the impressionable teen the mob boss we’ll later come to know. Read our full review.
When ancient, dark magic falls into sinister hands, a group of heroes from different eras and cultures must band together to defeat it at all costs. Written and directed by Philip Gelatt and Morgan Galen King, The Spine of Night is a breathtaking accomplishment of hand drawn and rotoscope animation – unfurling a meditative and existential tale of ultra-violent high fantasy. Aided by a talented voice cast that includes Richard E. Grant, Lucy Lawless, Patton Oswalt, Joe Manganiello, and more – it’s hard not to be awed by the sheer artistry and brazen ambition of this grisly anthology.
Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel, which was adapted from a non-fiction book by Eric Jager, is a knotty, stimulating medieval drama with a piquant #MeToo edge, a deft Rashomon-esque structure and the splendour of an old-school historical epic. The film unravels France’s last sanctioned duel between Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris, two friends turned bitter rivals. Carrouges is a respected knight known for his battlefield skill. Le Gris is a squire whose intelligence makes him an admired nobles. When Carrouges’ wife, Marguerite is raped by Le Gris, she refuses to stay silent, an act of bravery and defiance that puts her life in jeopardy.
Daniel Craig ends his run as James Bond in the 25th film of the grand spy franchise, No Time to Die. The blockbuster finds Bond enjoying retirement in Jamaica, but his peace is short-lived when an old friend from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology. Cary Fukunaga crafts an exciting, satisfying, and ultimately, emotional farewell that deepens the humanity of a larger-than-life icon.