Another Friday, another great selection of movies and TV shows to stream this weekend.
Hot New Arrivals: Riviera and You Me Her Season 2
A new and lavishly produced series set on the Cote D’Azur, Riviera made its debut last night on Sky Atlantic with all of the episodes now available to stream on NOW TV. Julia Stiles stars as Georgina Clios, the second wife and art curator to billionaire Constantine who meets his untimely end in the first few minutes of the first episode in a superyacht explosion just off the coast of Monaco. Heartbroken, desolate and confused, Georgina is shocked to discover that the fortune and lifestyle she has become accustomed to was maintained through violence, lies, murder and of course, intrigue.
Based on a story idea from Paul McGuinness, former manager of U2 and co-written by Neil Jordan and John Banville, Riviera has so far left critics divided. Most seem to agree that the show essentially amounts to high quality soap opera but not all view this as a good thing. The Independent was full of praise; “Riviera isn’t high art, and doesn’t pretend to be. It’s slick, glamorous, fast-paced, precision-tooled entertainment: brain-candy of the purest grade, and I gobbled it up” while The Guardian turned out a vitriolic diatribe against both the show and the French riviera in general; “Riviera might be flashy and moneyed but it lacks personality, charm, humour, soul. It is shallow, vulgar and boring. Perfect, then, for the setting.”
You Me Her: Season 2
Yesterday also saw the release of the second series of You Me Her over on Netflix. If you’re not up to speed on the first season, the story follows a settled but childless suburban married couple in their 30s who decide to shake things up by introducing a third person into their relationship. This third member comes in the form of Izzy, a 25-year-old grad student and part time escort.
Season 2 sees the throuple openly declare their relationship with the rest of the world by having Izzy move into Jack and Emma’s suburban home. This season is filled with many of the same titillating kind of obstacles we saw the throuple face in the first season, but unfortunately the verisimilitude of the narrative wanes with each episode as Izzy, Jack and Emma become more settled. As the series goes on it kind of feels like the writers introduce a laboured new plot device each episode just to keep things going.
Still, You Me Her is an easy binge and the leads are charming and likeable making for enjoyable light diversion.
Reality TV fix: Ultimate Beastmaster
Looking for a show like Ninja Warrior that combines incredible strength and commitment to the oddest of disciplines (in this case bizarre obstacle courses) with the campy and giddy sense of unity and friendly rivalry that you get while watching the Eurovision? Then look no further than Ultimate Beastmaster; a Netflix series that sees contestants from six different countries (USA, Brazil, Germany, South Korea, Mexico and Japan) battle it out to be crowned Ultimate Beastmaster.
The premise is simple; each country has its own set of presenters and each episode sees 12 contestants (two delegates from each country) compete to be crowned ‘Beastmaster’. In the final episode of the season each Beastmaster competes against one another for the title of ‘Ultimate Beastmaster’ in the ultimate showdown.
Ultimate Beastmaster is a lot of fun and showcases some truly phenomenal skill and strength amongst the competitors - Total Wipeout this is not. These guys are far from amateur and you’ll be left in awe.
Timely coming-of-age fantasy: Girls Lost
Three bullied and outcast teenage girls rely heavily on their friendship to get them through the torture of school and the pain of puberty. Their lives are forever turned upside down after they plant a mysterious seed that sprouts a strange and magical flower overnight. After drinking the sweet nectar of the dark flower, the girls are stunned but pleased to discover that the nectar has the power to temporarily turn them into boys.
Exploring common adolescent themes through a wonderful and engaging new lens, Girls Lost is an appealing Swedish drama that not only tenderly portrays the adolescent experience but also the confusing world of gender identity. It holds a score of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes with critics particularly lauding the young actors’ performances. Tom Huddleston of Time Out summed it up thusly; “Imagine Stranger Things with Barb playing all the main characters or The Craft with gender identity issues, and you've got this intense, authentic Swedish fantasy.”
Classic Cruise: Risky Business
NOW TV recently released a huge collection of Tom Cruise movies including Minority Report, Tropic Thunder, Cocktail, Jerry Maguire, Top Gun (I could go on) but our favourite of the lot has got to be one of his earliest; 80s teen classic Risky Business. If you haven’t seen it, Risky Business represents all that was great about the Reagan Administration - good time America and good old fashioned capitalism. The story follows wealthy teenage boy Joel Goodson (Cruise) who finds himself in a spot of good luck when his parents leave him home alone for a weekend to go on holiday.
Now, instead of having the expected massive party (as teens left to their own devices are wont to do), Joel somehow manages to get mixed up with a beautiful young prostitute named Lana and regrettably - Lana’s pimp. Things go from bad to worse and young Joel will have to use all of his entrepreneurial spirit to get out of a few tight spots.
Unrealistic, campy and kitsch in all the best ways, Risky Business is an undeniable classic and worth a revisit if you haven’t seen it in a while!
Nothing catch your fancy?
Check out last week’s recommendations.