The Resort may start off as a familiar murder mystery, but it quickly unfolds into a multi-genre feat re-filled with new characters and questions each episode. Set in the Yucatan forest and embarking on some mind-bending, time-hopping journeys, The Resort is lush and trippy at the onset, unafraid to take its viewers deep into its version of a rabbit hole.
You wouldn’t expect less from the creators of Mr. Robot and Palm Springs, the latter of which also stars Cristin Milioti in a twisty vacation adventure. Milioti of course steals the show as a woman who would rather drown herself in a police-level investigation than deal with her own existential problems, but the show’s strong cast, which includes The Good Place’s William Jackson Harper and Parks and Recreation’s Nick Offerman solidifies The Resort as one of the most intriguing and exciting shows today.
Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe are the only two actors starring in this eccentric movie, and they deliver such grand performances that it feels like another actor would have been one too many.
They star as lighthouse keepers in the 19th century, left on an island to interact only with each other and their rock. It's a fascinating premise of how these men, left on their own, deal with boredom, loneliness, and being annoyed with one another.
Incredible performances, an interesting aspect ratio, and perhaps excessive weirdness, make this movie unforgettable.
In 1994, Danish auteur Lars von Trier came up with a TV series called The Kingdom, an absurd supernatural comedy that takes place in a rundown hospital in Copenhagen. The show was well-received enough to warrant a second season, but just as von Trier was polishing up the third and final installment, the deaths of more than one lead actor pressed pause on the project, till now.
More than 10 years in the making, The Kingdom part III, also called Exodus, is still very much centered on the weird patients and staff members that populate the Riget hospital, as well as the possible evil buried beneath it. The comedy/horror has a robot dishwasher and a giant head. Danes and Swedes are perennially at war with each other. Willem Dafoe and Alexander Skarsgard make odd cameos.
I’m not sure it’s possible to write a coherent synopsis without sounding like I’ve fallen off the rails, but know that it is a unique headscratcher of a show, more interesting as an experience than anything else. Von Trier was also openly inspired by Twin Peaks, in making it, so David Lynch fans in particular will truly enjoy diving into this world.
While it would be easy to make comparisons to The Good Place and other shows and films dealing with the afterlife, Hirokazu Kore-eda's film is devoted to a single thing: commemorating the ordinary moments that make our life precious. Through little more than workplace banter and documentary-style interviews (with an ensemble delivering uncannily naturalistic performances), After Life reminds us how beautiful the mundane can be and how important it is for us to be present for each other in the everyday. And as the fim's characters prepare to create reenactments of each person's most precious memory, Kore-eda also defines filmmaking itself as an act of comfort and empathy. No existential crises here; an overwhelming sense of peace floods After Life, making it all the more memorable.
Probably the weirdest film you'll ever see. Paul Dano plays a borderline suicidal man who befriends a farting corpse that washed up from the sea as played by Daniel Radcliffe. It's an adventurous, witty and hilarious film yet it is filled with discreet and very deep lessons about society and norms. The soundtrack is so charmingly unique as well, it's a definite must-watch for anyone looking for a refreshing comedy.
I think it’s safe to say you’ve never seen a Pinocchio adaptation quite like Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio. It still largely stays true to the source material, which is to stay it’s still about a father grappling with the loss of his son and a boy figuring out where he figures in the world. But the movie departs from it in significant ways too. Instead of a fairy tale setting, for instance, this Pinocchio has 1930s fascist Italy as its background, lending the film a realism and historicism that weren’t there before.
Stars Ewan McGregor, Christoph Waltz, Tilda Swinton, and newcomer Gregory Mann lend their voice in this tender and stellar stop-motion animated movie.
Director Wong Kar-Wai made this loose sequel to one of the best films ever made, his 2000 classic In the Mood for Love. Much of the story is set around Christmas eve.
In the far future, people take a train to the world of 2046, where no sadness or sorrow can be experienced. No one has ever returned from that world except for a lonely Japanese writer, who narrates the first part of the film.
There are four acts to the story and as is common to Wong Kar-Wai, they are listed in non-chronological order. Not that you will care but 2046 is far from confusing. Instead, it functions as a dazzling visual poem on unreciprocated love.
From Mike Flanagan, creator of The Haunting anthology, comes Midnight Mass, a miniseries that is just as gory, unsettling, and supernaturally twisted as any Flanagan horror flick. The series follows an ex-convict who returns to his small town just upon the arrival of a mysterious but alluring priest. As inexplicable events start to happen, the townsfolk hang onto the churchman's words, seeking reassurance where they can.
With lots to say about religious fanaticism and perpetual grief, Midnight Mass is part of a new wave of layered and thoughtful scary stories currently dominating the genre. While its stately and meditative pace can be overbearing sometimes, it never runs out of things to shock and unnerve the soul.
Los Espookys is the name of a horror-loving group of friends, who, following their passion, provide gory services to those who seek them. Their clients range from fearmongering priests to greedy insurance claimants, all of whom demand the most bizarre out of the Los Espookys team. They’re a bit like the Scooby-Doo team in that sense, except instead of solving spooky crimes, they’re called in to initiate them.
It’s an absurd yet surprisingly sweet show that asks you to leave any self-serious viewing lens you might have at the door. Anything goes in this hazy, unnamed part of South America, and you would do well to let its boundless imagination carry you wherever it may lead, and its dry humor ground you on your feet.
These days, pandemic stories can go either of two ways: horribly or profoundly. The realism may be too much to bear, causing so-called pandemic fatigue, or it can compel you to move in the world in kinder, more self-aware ways.
Thankfully, HBO’s overlooked Station Eleven falls under the latter category. Epic, poignant, and lighthearted, the ten-episode miniseries (adapted from the bestselling novel of the same name) is one of the few pandemic-set, post-apocalyptic shows that takes a closer look at the kind and creative ways humans approach survival.
Set in 1970s Italian countryside, this is a quirky movie that’s full of plot twists.
Lazzaro is a dedicated worker at a tobacco estate. His village has been indebted to a marquise and like everyone else, he works without a wage and in arduous conditions.
Lazzaro strikes a friendship with the son of the marquise, who, in an act of rebellion against his mother, decides to fake his own kidnapping. The two form an unlikely friendship in a story that mixes magical realism with social commentary.
Even if it seems like nothing really "happens" for much of The Secret Garden, its characters paint quite the moving picture of neglected children and their indomitable capacity to find hope in the world. Director Agnieszka Holland tells this story with just the right amount of whimsy: at times it's spooky and magical, but everything is grounded in the charming performances of the film's young actors, who are allowed to be difficult, smart, and sorrowful whenever they need to be. It may be old-fashioned, but watching it in this new decade—when we're all trying to guard our kids from sickness and death—makes it feel all the more relevant.
It’s very likely you already know about the fictional character Matilda, a clever but neglected child who discovers she has telekinesis and uses it for good. You may have even grown up watching the 1996 film multiple times, as I have, and secretly tried to move a random object with your mind to see if you somehow shared Matilda’s powers…as I have.
If so, I can assure you that you’ll enjoy the latest Matilda adaptation, aptly called Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical on Netflix. It’s pure energy, all bright colors and high-pitched emotions, but not overwhelmingly so. It is also funny and tender, and the techniques it uses to transition and transpose are eye-poppingly inventive. It stars Emma Thompson, once again prosthetic-ed to perfection; Lashana Lynch, a grounding and heartwarming presence; and Alisha Weir, a revelation of a child actor.
Peter Jackson made the transition from splattery gross-out movies like Braindead to more respectable fare with Heavenly Creatures, the true story of an intense relationship between two teenage girls that culminates in the murder of one of their mothers.
As the girls’ friendship becomes unhealthier, they invent a secret world for themselves, amusingly including a heart-throb Orson Welles. This gives Jackson the opportunity to indulge in his love of fantasy, creating some dazzling hallucinatory sequences.
The fantasy element contrasts beautifully with the humdrum setting of ‘50s New Zealand, and the final tragedy is heart-breaking. The film also provided an auspicious debut for Kate Winslet, who is terrific as one of the misguided fantasists.