Another year, another semester of putting off assignments with Netflix. And if there's a cause Film & TV can get behind, it's procrastination. Check out what we watched this past month, covering everything from an Oscar–nominated drama to an absurdist cop procedural.
Film: The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
Genre: Psychological Thriller
This film was just put back onto Netflix and is still amazing the second time through. Jude Law is a charismatic, rich jerk; Gwyneth Paltrow is his sweet and unsuspecting girlfriend; Matt Damon is the deceitful, clever, utterly intriguing Mr. Ripley. Tom (Damon) entangles himself with Dickie (Law) and his extravagant life, but things quickly go awry. Best for those nights when you’re dreaming of an idyllic summer in Italy crossed with a suspenseful murder drama.
Film: The Two Popes (2019)
Genre: Biographical Drama
It's bizarre to watch Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce play two popes who have been selected during our lifetimes, but Hopkins as Benedict XVI and Pryce as Francis have absolutely electric chemistry as they debate religion, politics, and Benedict’s resignation. This movie is up for three awards at this year’s Oscars—the performances of Hopkins and Pryce, as well as Adapted Screenplay—and while it is unlikely to win anything, this movie is lovely and weirdly heartwarming, despite being about two old popes hashing out their problems.
Film: Maurice (1987)
Genre: Period Drama
Maurice is a lovely film with an equally lovely cast, and one of the few queer films with a happy ending. Set in the early 20th century, the film revels in its lush, British aesthetic, following the protagonist from his college years at Cambridge all the way to the English countryside. A philosophical reflection on romance and queer love in an oppressive society, the film is littered with amazing actors and performances. If nothing else, watch this film for young Hugh Grant, who is almost absurdly beautiful in one of his early roles.
TV Show: Sex Education (2019)
Genre: Comedy–Drama, Teen Comedy
Back again with a killer second season, Sex Education continues exploring issues of sex and sexuality with finesse and courage. Its bright, bizarre aesthetic (is it British or American?), lovable characters, and weird–yet–amazing narrative make it one of Netflix’s best offerings. Sex Education continues being funny and groundbreaking without getting raunchy, consistently speaking on the importance of love and friendship. It’s simply a bright show, the picture of a much better world, where we could all get sex therapy from Gillian Anderson.
Film: Atlantics (2019)
Genre: Supernatural Drama
In the long line of female directors snubbed at the Oscars this year, Mati Diop's name is perhaps most unknown to the American audience. Atlantics is the first full–length feature from the French actress and director, notable for the fusing of several genres, including arthouse, fantasy, and romance into a cerebral reflection on love and revenge. Set in a small coastal town in Senegal, lying in the shadow of a newly constructed hotel, Ada (Mame Bineta Sane) and Soleiman (Ibrahima Traoré) are two lovers separated when the latter is lost at sea, his crew shipwrecked while in search of work in Spain. What follows is a series of unexplainable and mysterious events that leads Ada to believe her lover is still alive, and the film follows her search to reconnect with him.
TV Show: Medical Police (2020)
Genre: Alternative Comedy
Medical Police is probably the dumbest show you'll ever love. A spin–off of the comedy series Childrens Hospital (although you don't need any prior knowledge going in) , Medical Police follows two doctors (Erinn Hayes and Rob Huebel) thrust into an international terrorist plot. Sounds fairly straightforward, but this duo take ten episodes to solve the case, during which they recruit a strange cast of characters (including Lake Bell and Jason Schwartzman) and fill each moment with non sequiturs and cheap one–liners, following every nonsense thread to its illogical conclusion, and maybe finding love along the way?