Thrilling new drama for cinema-goers and bedroom streamers
It’s Friday! For the 9–5ers among us, that means two full days of pure, unadulterated bliss (and maybe some ironing towards the end). Get yer on-screen fix with Mr Hyde’s weekly bulletin of essential TV and film.
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Crazy Rich Asians
New cinema: Talk about a brain-frazzling dilemma. On the one hand, it’s the movie that’s electrified social media, earned huge money in the States, and has the buzz of must-see cinema. On the other, it’s a rom-com. Quite unashamedly a rom-com. But it’s one in the bittersweet mould of, say, 500 Days of Summer, rather than being so schmaltzy it ignores the reality of our shallow swipe-left age. Adopted from Kevin Kwan’s novel, this is the first major studio film to feature an all-Asian cast in 25 years. After a year of dating, Nick takes New Yorker Rachel to meet his parents in Singapore. And look, you’ve seen the title of the movie, you know what awaits her. This is perceptive, genuinely funny cinema and its success could be transformative.
New cinema: Harry Dean Stanton died weeks before this film was first released, and it feels like the perfect curtain call on a celebrated career. He plays Lucky, a 90-year-old atheist in a remote desert town who’s convinced nothing waits for him after death – until a fall brings his mortality into focus and he searches for meaning. It’s neither morbid nor excessively sentimental – it’s hopeful and plausible, noting the small sudden moments that can shape a life, which no one captured better than Stanton.
Amazon Video: As you get older, shows about suburban marital dissatisfaction move from cautionary tales to near-horror. Just a bit too real, aren’t they? But at least this study of middle-class misery aims to be, first and foremost, bloody funny. The couple, Oscar and June, are played by two much-loved Saturday Night Live veterans: Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph, and writer-producers Alan Yang (Master of None) and Matt Hubbard (30 Rock) worked together on Parks and Rec. A procession of identically dull days leads June to suggest a let’s-shake-things-up ski trip, prompting a Big Dramatic Incident That Changes Everything and fish-out-of-water laughs.
BBC iPlayer: If you can’t trust your dear old Grandad – love him, he meant so well – to pony up a few million when you’ve been freakin’ kidnapped, who can you trust? It’s the implicit question of this star-studded new show (Danny Boyle directs Donald Sutherland, Hilary Swank and Brendan Fraser) about the 1973 case involving J Paul Getty’s grandson, also dramatised in last year’s movie All The Money In The World. Can Getty be anything other than a thundering b*stard for his refusal to play? Sutherland endows him with a smartest-guy-in-the-room confidence that might have you wavering.
Amazon Video: Ruben Östlund’s 2017 Palme d’Or winner feels like the sort of intellectual European film you’d find 3,000 rows down a Netflix homepage scroll, just beyond the “Dogs… With Jobs!” category. It’s an absolute blast – a both-barrels p*ss take of the supposedly welcoming but inherently exclusionary art world. Not the freshest target, sure, but the genius comes with the set-pieces that coax out those behaviours. The on-stage interview scene, where an artist is interrupted by an audience member with Tourette’s, is masterfully constructed and lands more tellingly than the better-known “Ape-Man” disturbance. A brilliantly observed satire.
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(Images: Warner Bros. / Magnolia Pictures / Amazon / BBC)