—that’s “Happy Friday” in Danish! This week’s TV show pick is a popular production from Denmark, while the movie pick stars (almost exclusively) the Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen.
Danish cinema and TV remain largely overlooked in North America. Mikkelsen for example insists on living in his hometown of Copenhagen, and over the years has been in incredible movies that few people know about across the Atlantic. The Hunt and After the Wedding (both available to rent on Amazon or iTunes) have to be his second and third-best career performances. The first is probably Arctic, this week’s pick.
OUR TOP MOVIE OF THE WEEK
New this week on Amazon Prime
There are far too many things that are worse in life than being on a journey with Danish super talent Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal, The Hunt).
And that is what this 98-minute movie is: an almost one-actor movie set in the arctic. Mikkelsen plays a man trying to survive a plane crash, which at some point becomes about deciding whether to embark on a dangerous journey or stay in the plane rubble and risk a slow death.
It’s an extremely well-acted movie with nail-biting suspense. Bonus fact: it received a 10-minute standing ovation when it premiered at the Cannes film festival this year.
📰 Indiewire: “One of the best movies ever made about a man stranded in the wilderness…Mads Mikkelsen doesn't need any dialogue to deliver the best performance of his career.”
📺 On Amazon Prime; 🍅 rating: 88%
OUR TOP MOVIE OF THE WEEK
Rita is a comedy-drama about a strong, unapologetic high-school teacher in her 40s, living and teaching in rural Denmark.
It’s a great show to watch as someone who has no relation to Denmark because the way topics of sex, family, and personal life vs. professional life make it culturally fascinating.
There is a lot to learn but a lot to enjoy as well. Rita’s character is incredibly complex and multi-layered. And the show’s also often funny - as it will be obvious from the first episode, where Rita meets her son’s father-in-law who turns out to be none other than her high-school sweetheart.
📰 BBC: “Rita’s popularity makes sense: it reflects progressive Scandinavian values, with a liberated female main character and plotlines tackling sexuality, learning disabilities, abortion and other controversial topics with refreshing honesty.”
📺 on Netflix everywhere; 🍅 rating: not available
Readers’ top picks
Burn Burn Burn on Netflix is the most popular movie among our readers this week. It’s comedy/drama about two friends who embark on a journey across England to spread their passing friend’s ashes.
Trapped, the Icelandic crime thriller on Amazon Prime from a couple of issues ago is our readers’ favorite TV show. It’s about a cop who tries to solve a murder before a big storm comes.
New titles worth your time
Major alert: Derry Girls comes back for season two today. It’s one of our all-time favorite shows, which we first featured when it premiered (What to Watch #20). It’s about a group of girls who grow up in an era of political turmoil that slowed down their pace but didn’t stop them from being the angsty and hilarious teenagers that they were destined to be.
Also, Groundhog Day, Something's Gotta Give and Rocky I through V have been added to Netflix as well.
Our top movie pick this week, Arctic, is new on Amazon Prime.
And in blockbuster news, 300, the Sparta action-fantasy movie has been made available on the same platform today.
Great titles that will soon expire
Only one notable title is leaving Netflix this week: Zodiac, the great true-crime thriller about the 70s serial killer who went by the same name, expires this Monday, August 5th. Features great performances by Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr.
An Emmy-winning documentary called Dinosaur 13 leaves Amazon Prime this Thursday, August 8th. It’s about the discovery of the largest Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton in the world, and the unexpectedly complex legal battle that ensued with the government over who owns it.
The Newsflash: Hulu and Delta
All of Hulu’s catalog is now available for free on Delta flights!
A little back story to the relevancy of this piece of news: HBO and Hulu are big topics of contention for anyone living in Europe with interest in film or TV. That’s simply because they’re not available outside of North America.
This is why I’m unable to watch Ramy for example, a show I’ve read so much about (for its portrayal of growing up in a Muslim family like mine) but have no way to stream legally.
The only chance to catch a show like that is while traveling. Last year, I watched all of Barry on a flight to Canada - which was an HBO show. But up until now, Hulu never offered their catalog to airliners.
Now - you (me) can stream Ramy, The Handmaid’s Tale, and many other shows while flying Delta. The only problem with that will be in fact having to fly Delta, but until Hulu goes international, it seems Delta will have to become my airline of choice.
That’s it for this week, I hope there is something in there for you.
The next edition will be in your inbox on Friday, August 9th.
Bilal Zou, founder [firstname.lastname@example.org]