We know the feeling. Too long inside and you find yourself endless scrolling Netflix unable to fixate on much but another terrible romcom…Don’t despair! We’ve got you covered with some recommendations. By Sarah Bradbury.
Money Heist, Netflix series
This Spanish series, original title, La Casa De Papel (meaning House of Paper) is insanely far-fetched and not free of cheesy moments but it’s so smartly told and slickly produced, you just don’t care. It’s a kind of Iberian Ocean’s 11 with a bunch of sexy, badass Spanish misfits instead of Clooney, Pitt and co, and a money printing house instead of a casino. It’s pace, constant unexpected twists and turns – helped along by everyone wanting to have sex with each other (is it the mediterranean air or those red jumpsuits?) – makes it massively addictive.
I was forced(ish) to binge-watch all first three seasons by my Madrilenean partner in a matter of days so we could watch the latest season together, and despite some initial scepticism (and perhaps snobbishness? Spanish aren’t renowned for their quality TV…) I haven’t regretted it. Also seconds as a great way to educate yourself in Spanish language – mainly swearing and slang but still useful 😉.
How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast), Netflix series
Bit of a hidden gem I think is this German coming-of-age series following two outcast geeky teenagers and their stumbling venture into the world of selling drugs on the dark web from their bedrooms – which unexpectedly takes off.
It not only makes a change from the ultra-glossy American-style of teen drama, bringing a totally refreshing tone and dry, witty sense of humour, but also tells a unique off-beat story. The ace soundtrack is an additional bonus. Praying for a second season.
Noughts + Crosses, BBC iPlayer series
While based on the novel series by Malorie Blackman, I confess I never read the books (perhaps showing my age as everyone else seemed to read them in their youth…) but was blown away by the adaptation.
Sometimes such premises can feel gimmicky but here the inversion of oppressed and oppressor, imagining a world where blacks are the ruling class over whites in the UK, is genuinely eye-opening and the central star-crossed love story affecting.
Brilliantly executed with a really strong cast, particularly Masali Baduza as Sephy and Jack Rowan as Callum. Highly recommend.
Ozark, Netflix series
This series has been going for a while but it’s a real favourite of mine. There are few shows with a family dynamic at their centre so steeped in murder, drugs and the general criminal world, but this series starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney manages to span these contrasting things effortlessly.
The characters are so well drawn and I especially love the strength and complexity of the female leads – Linney’s matriarchal Wendy Byrd, Julia Garner as the sharp-witted hillbilly Ruth Langmore and Janet McTeer as the cartel’s lawyer – who are constantly giving their male counterparts a run for their money. Its darkly comic sensibilities and original storyline make this an eminently watchable series right to the finale of the recent third season.
Uncut Gems, Netflix film
If you see Adam Sandler as forevermore a not-that-funny comedy actor this high-energy crime thriller from the Safdie brothers is a total mind-changer.
It’s not a relaxing watch – his gambling-addicted, diamond-selling character thrives off danger and chaos and as such the entire film has you in a perplexed state of anxiety wishing he would just sit still for 5 minutes.
Centering around his grand plan to source and sell a precious gem, it’s a totally weird but high quality watch.
System Crasher, Curzon Home Cinema
Another German language recommendation. This is an extraordinary debut feature from Nora Fingscheidt I first saw at Berlin film festival last year where it was awarded the Alfred Bauer, a prize for films which “open new perspectives on cinematic art”.
It follows a wild but charming 9-year-old girl, Benni, whose erratic and borderline-feral behaviour makes her not only too challenging for her mother to cope – but even the state system cannot find place for her.
Played astonishingly by young Helena Zengel, this is a moving and questioning film about how we understand children and the innate need in us all to feel loved. While the cinemas are closed, you can pay to see this and other new releases on Curzon Home Cinema!
Watched something you loved lately? Tell us what it is and why! It can either be a short video or a mini-written review 🙂