July is almost through and we’re already getting excited for next month’s releases across streaming services but in the meantime let’s take a look at some of the great titles you can watch right now on Netflix and NOW TV.
On Netflix this week:
Hot New Arrival: Ozark
Released today; Jason Bateman directs and stars in this dark and moody drama about a financial planner and money launderer for a massive Mexican drug cartel. When things go from bad to worse, Bateman must uproot his family from suburban Chicago to a summer resort community in the Missouri Ozarks to pay off a debt to a Mexican drug lord.
The initial critic reviews are fairly complimentary and the show has a 73% positive score on Rotten Tomatoes: “Ozark hasn't yet reached the same level as the classic crime dramas to which it will inevitably be compared, but its satisfyingly complex plot - and a gripping performance from Jason Bateman - suggest greater potential.”
Give it a go: If you need something for that Breaking Bad shaped hole in your life.
Give it a miss: If you’re not a fan of slow burners.
Homegrown hit: Handsome Devil
A coming-of-age teen drama set in a very Clongowes-esque, rugby obsessed, boarding school in the Irish countryside, Handsome Devil follows gay schoolboy and social outcast Ned, who finds an unlikely friend in the school’s new ultra-jock rugby star Conor.
Though the story is coming down in overused, tired teen movie tropes like the inspirational teacher, the humiliating school talent show and the climactic end of year big game; the winning performances from the young performers draw you in and make you believe it all. As one critic put it: “An endearing cast of characters [are] able to charm their way out of the stereotypical boxes dictating their purpose to the story.”
Give it a go: If you’re looking for an Irish take on the classic teen high school movie formula.
Give it a miss: If you’re looking for something with a little more originality.
On NOW TV this week:
Explosive political drama miniseries: Guerilla
A period piece, Guerrilla is a love story set against the backdrop of the Immigration Act 1971. A politically active couple (played by Freida Pinto and Babou Ceesay) have their relationship and values tested, when they liberate a political prisoner and form a radical underground cell in 1970s London.
Lauded by critics for its strong performances (especially from its supporting cast) and accomplished direction from John Ridley, Guerrilla holds a respectable score of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes; “Ridley's urgent storytelling style dramatises the period's susceptibility to the attractions of revolutionary violence, the use of violent methods being viewed as proof of authentic political commitment and personal courage.”
Give it a go: If you’re looking for a viscerally real dramatic thriller.
Give it a miss: If uneven pacing gets under your skin.
Stunning contemporary crime series: The Night Of
The crime-drama series delves deeply into the intricate story of a murder case, its investigation and the subsequent trial. In the first episode we meet Naz; a quiet, law abiding college kid who, after a very uncharacteristic night of sex and drug taking, wakes up next to a dead woman with no recollection of what happened. When the police find Naz with the murder weapon in this pocket, things go from bad to worse for this unfortunate young man…
At once an intriguing mystery, as well as a scathing assessment of the United States’ criminal justice system, The Night Of is a damning tale about how “the slow gears of justice grind up those caught in its wheels” as one reviewer put it.
Give it a go: If you like character studies and dramas that expose the dark side of everyday society.
Give it a miss: If you like your crime shows in a procedural format.
The one we’ve all been waiting for: Game of Thrones Season 7
It’s finally back and back with a bang at that! Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of months, you will have doubtless heard many rumblings about the return of TV’s biggest epic fantasy drama, Game of Thrones. (If you somehow haven’t, watch every season and catch up on NOW TV now - seriously, you are missing out!).
Episode one; “Dragonstone” aired last Monday night on Sky Atlantic and fans were far from disappointed. Arya’s revenge plan is right on track, Cersei is gearing up for war, Sansa has found her voice and is ready to kick ass and Daenerys is back on home soil AT LAST.
It looks set to be an incredible season and thousands of people online are already making predictions and forming theories about what’s going to happen next. You can catch new episodes every Monday on Sky Atlantic or on NOW TV.
Give it a go: If you want to be part of one of the biggest TV audience communities since Lost.
Give it a miss: I guess if you’ve been determined this far not to watch the show. I can respect that.
Check out last week’s recommendations.