Saturday, 31 March 2018

One Month on Netflix

At the beginning of March, one of my friends started to create a Netflix account and was kind enough to let me have access to it for free during the one-month free trial. As someone who has always wanted to try Netflix, I wasted no time to start going through all the series I've had my eyes on. It also helps that time was of the essence here—I've got only less than 30 days to explore as many nooks and crannies of Netflix as I possibly can, which ended two days ago, in fact. It's been rather interesting and very entertaining to see how Netflix can be immensely different from TV—or cable, for that matter. Here are some of my favourite series and films and what I think about them.


The End of the F***ing World

This series is everything I want and more. It's got the aesthetics that speaks to me, with an incredibly quirky story and unexpected plot twists. It's basically the story of James and Alyssa who one day meet, decide to start a relationship and the next day embark on a journey away from their hometown. Alyssa is a hot-headed, foul-mouthed teenage girl, while James is a self-proclaimed psychopath with the desire to kill her. It is not set in a dystopian universe—contrary to what the title might have you believe. In fact, it's set pretty much in present-day Britain, although with all the aesthetics reminiscent of 80s United States. There is no set plotline, creating the illusion that anything could happen—and they do. Please let there be a season two!

Black Mirror

Or what I'd like to call, "Your Futuristic Nightmare Now on Screen." Firu and my friend Jess roped me into this one and I haven't looked back since. I finished the entire four seasons in around a week—or less than. It's so addictive! The whole premise is basically stories on how technology could take a turn for the worst. Each episode isn't connected to the other, so you can basically just choose whichever to watch and not even look at the rest. It goes without saying that most of them don't end well, although there are anomalies where things work out for the best—or leave on a cliffhanger. It's also like a melting pot of pretty much all British actors. My favourite episode is "Be Right Back," featuring Domhall Gleeson and a romantically twisted story on love and grief.

Jessica Jones

One of those series I've been wanting to check out for the longest time. Although I'm not into Marvel much, this one just reminds me so much of Veronica Mars—with added cool factor on the main character. Krysten Ritter does an immensely amazing job playing her! So different from all her other roles so far, I think. Jessica Jones is a girl who lost her family in a car accident one day and woke up to super strength. Seventeen years later, she opens a private investigator office, while having to fight demons from her past—the first being Killgrave, a mind-controlling psychopath who claims to be in love with her. Maybe his powers work on me, because I am completely in love with him! I like Jessica because she doesn't set out to be a hero and can, in fact, come off rather standoffish.

Girlboss

Someone called this one "The most millenial series" on an Instagram story once. A fact I do not doubt, especially with Sophia Amoruso being the, uhh, mainstream female inspiration of today—creating the term #girlboss. So much so, that, at first, I gave up after watching two episodes. However, afterwards I came back round to it, decided to stick it through—if only for the gorgeous actor who plays Shane—and ended up enjoying it. In case you didn't know, this series is the (very) loose retelling of Sophia's journey to turn her eBay store into a worldwide online clothing business. I can't help but to see the resemblance to Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, to be honest—except less of an organised genius.

Atypical

A series I dipped my toes into without knowing anything about it beforehand—and ended up loving! Atypical is a story of a teenage boy with autism who starts to gain interest in acquiring a girlfriend and the dating game. It doesn't focus solely on the boy's search for love, but also how his family handles life in general. Sam reminds me a lot of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, except with manners and good intentions. I love the relationship he has with his sister Casey. The series feels, to me, a little like a Jodi Picoult novel. What I notice the most about this series is its diverse casts and their non-stereotypical roles in the story—probably the only series where I've seen a male Asian stud. I don't know, I just think that's cool.



Okja

If there's ever a reason for me to create a Netflix account, it would be this film. Having interesting casts, such as Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Lily Collins and Steven Yeun, I am very, very intrigued to watch it. Okja tells the story somewhat starting in South Korea, where a girl named Mija and her super pig friend named Okja live. Little does she know, however, that Okja is given by a U.S. company called Mirando to her family to raise and be slaughtered for meat. When they come to reclaim the 10-year cultivated animal, Mija is determined to get her back. I think it's a Sundance-selected film of 2017. The story is beautifully written and delivered—without forgetting to include comedy amidst all the drama and action.

Icarus

When this documentary feature won an Oscar, I didn't really understand why. It's not after I watched it did I realise how profound and eye-opening its content is. Here is a documentary that completely pulled back the veil from the doping system of Russian athletes. If you think Lance Armstrong was scandalous, you ain't seen nothing yet. It starts out with finding out from the inside how Russia could have possibly pulled this shit off for years without being detected—the athletes have always tested negative for performance-enhancing drugs. It goes way deeper than you probably imagine, rooting deeply in politics and putting people's lives in danger.

The Meyerowitz Stories

The way that this movie was presented is so unique and fresh: it is segmented into four segments that aren't necessarily chronologically immediate after the previous one. The story revolves around the Meyerowitz family, consisting of the father Harold who has been married three times, with two sons and a daughter—one of whom from the second marriage. Harold is an insufferable, undiscovered artist and his children compete to make him proud. Starring amazing actors, such as Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, it is a hilarious, not too exaggerated, yet touching and close-to-reality depiction of a family drama.

I Don't Feel At Home in This World Anymore

Let me just preface this by saying: this is not everyone's cup of tea. I went in knowing almost absolutely nothing about the storyline, except that I have a vague memory of hearing the title somewhere before. The story starts out simple: a woman who's been getting pushed around by people has enough when someone breaks into her house and steals some of her most valuable possessions. In the search for her stuff and her effort of reclaiming them back, she becomes friends with a neighbour and encounters some pretty gory, bloody and unexpected turn of events. Expect a lot of violence, disgusting contents—including pretty vivid vomit—and, obviously, strong language. I love that the main actors are Melanie Lynskey and Elijah Wood—two people who you probably would never imagine to get violent at all—but, boy, did they prove us wrong.

Irreplaceable You

There has to be at least one romance movie in here, don't you think? Here is a story that I never thought to look at before. On paper, it seems pretty cliché, but in execution absolutely heartbreaking. Abby is a young woman who's always been in love with Sam and taken control over everything, even after she is diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. While undergoing treatment and joining a support group, Abby finds time to set everything up and make sure that Sam is taken care of after she is gone—particularly in the dating department. A romantic story with all the feels that also makes sense to me. I think I would do the same as Abby, had I been in her shoes. Love the cast very much—Christopher Walken cameo was so unexpected! The last bit during the credits got me so hard.

If you have any Netflix favourites, please let me know! I'm still thinking about actually subscribing to the service, but ran out of things to watch.

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