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🏆What to Watch, #15

ROMA on Netflix and an extended newsflash

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15 issues now! What a fun ride it has been.

I must admit, when I was first pitched the idea for a premium newsletter, I found it scary. It was such a different concept than what we had been doing with the website.

The idea came from our lovely editor (Hi Patrick, welcome to Inception. ((Hi, Bilal 😑)).

Turns out — what a surprise — the editor knew better. I love writing these, researching them, discussing them with the team, working on the illustrations with our beloved illustrator. I love getting your feedback and interacting with all of you. It’s such a different medium, but it is one that is much more personal.

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OUR TOP TV SHOW OF THE WEEK

ROMA

New on Netflix today, exact time depends on where you are.

Alfonso Cuaron is a master storyteller, Academy Award-winning director, and the man behind masterpieces such as Y Tu Mamá También, Gravity, Children of Men, and perhaps more importantly, the (uncontested) best Harry Potter movie (Prisoner of Azkaban, of course). In Roma, he tells a different story. His own.

Building on events from his childhood, he tells the story of a young domestic worker in the Mexico City’s Roma neighborhood. You get tales of class struggle, family dynamics and sexism in 1970s Mexico City.

Illustration for our newsletter by @hermitdraws

The first hour is slow but so beautiful. All it does is prepare you for the events to come, and those who stick it out will be handsomely awarded.

This is a stunning, wise and deeply personal movie. It’s everything we should ever ask from filmmakers at their prime.

📺 on Netflix everywhere; 🍅 rating: 97%


OUR TOP TV SHOW OF THE WEEK

Wentworth

Dark and almost too realistic, Wentworth is the women’s prison drama that I’ve been waiting for.

This Australian show might have the same set-up as Orange is the New Black — following a recently incarcerated woman as she discovers a new world — but the two series couldn’t be more different. Wentworth is more Breaking Bad than Orange is the New Black.

The difference: It doesn’t follow people who are wronged by the system or who are misunderstood, but women that have actually done violent things, and continue being violent in prison.

It appeals to everyone’s dark side: It seems impossible for any character to achieve redemption. The show’s biggest selling-point is that it never goes the violence for the sake of violence route. Its immaculate character development guarantees reason and authenticity behind every act.

This a true hidden gem.

📺 on Netflix US and Canada; 🍅 rating: 80%


Readers’ picks

On Netflix, the 🎖 goes to My Happy Family. The Georgian movie follows a mother who leaves her multi-generational family home to seek independence and find peace. It’s a great movie, watch it with your mom as I did. Solid choice.

On Amazon Prime, Short Term 12 is still on the top of the charts. Natural and understated by budget and by purpose, it is powered by perfect performances that will take you on an emotional rollercoaster ride.


New titles worth your time

  • Roma, our top movie pick, was added to Netflix today after a very successful festival run. It bagged the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and nominations to the Golden Globes for Best Director and Best Screenplay (award ceremony on Jan. 6). It is also Mexico’s official entry for the Academy Awards.
    In other news, if you like the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, there is a Christmas special episode going up today.

  • On Amazon Prime, there’s not much to report this week. Courtesy reminder: The third season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is up.


Great titles that will soon expire

  • On Netflix: big heads-up, The Honorable Woman starring Maggie Gyllenhall is expiring Monday. We called it “Homeland on steroids,” and featured it as the top pick of one of our previous issues. It’s the perfect weekend binge-watch (a mini-series with only one season).

  • On Amazon Prime: no notable movement this week.


The news flash

There are reports that Black Mirror season 5 will hit Netflix on Dec. 28. It’s still unclear if this will be a Christmas special episode or the real deal: another season.

Miley Cyrus has been announced as one of the cast members (sigh). While leaks and rumors have circulated for a while, there has been no official confirmation. We’ll keep an eye on this.

In other news, there is a leaked photo of Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson as the policemen who brought down Bonnie and Clyde. This is from an upcoming Netflix movie called The Highwaymen scheduled for March 2019. Filed under all the things you can do with a $49 million budget.

The following segment is all you need to know about Kevin Hart’s Oscar controversy:

Big announcement earlier this week: The comedian and actor Kevin Hart will host the next Academy Awards ceremony. 48 hours later: Kevin Hart will not host the Oscars.

The reason: Homophobic tweets he posted between 2009 and 2011.

As the old tweets re-circulated, he managed to escalate what would be a PR-problem into a full-scale PR-crisis within a mere four hours. Here’s how he did it:

Hour 1:

This is a picture from his Instagram, picturing a tweet. All I want to know is what his children’s response was.

Hour 2:

In a video showing him apparently naked in bed (Instagram video here. Don’t click.), Hart says had nothing to apologize for and that all he wanted was to spread love.

Hour 2.5:

New video: “My team calls me, ‘Oh my God, Kevin, everyone’s upset by tweets you did years ago’ .. Guys, I’m nearly 40 years old. If you don’t believe that people change, grow, evolve as they get older, I don’t know what to tell you.” Sir, your team should have told you to stop posting made-up quotes of yourself.

Hour 3:

Another video, saying that the Academy gave him an ultimatum: Apologize, or we’ll find another host.

Hour 4:

He spends about 20 minutes deleting all the old tweets, and he makes another video saying “I chose to pass on the apology.”

Then comes the u-turn.

He tweets “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.”

Too late.


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The next edition will be in your inbox on Friday, Dec. 21.

Until then,

Bilal

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