It’s looking like a great week if you’ve got Netflix or HBO in particular. It’s also a good week for projects from other countries – including a new series from Spain, and new films from India and Nigeria.
This is a week where I’ll split off new documentaries by women into a separate article for next week. It’s always good when there’s too much to cover in one go for this feature. Let’s get to the new series and narrative films:
The Undoing (HBO)
directed by Susanne Bier
“The Undoing” is a thriller based on the novel “You Should Have Known” by Jean Hanff Korelitz. Grace is a therapist who has a number of run-ins with a strange woman who ends up discovered dead in her studio. Her husband is cast under suspicion, and a number of hidden truths come bubbling up to the surface during the investigation.
The cast for this is ridiculous, with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant as the wife and husband, Edgar Ramirez as the investigating agent, and Donald Sutherland as…I’m not entirely sure, but Donald Sutherland playing vicious is always fun to watch.
Susanne Bier directs. She started directing music videos and features in Denmark in the late 1980s and early 90s. Her 2010 film “In a Better World” won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. She won an Emmy for directing Tom Hiddleston-starrer “The Night Manager” in 2016. And love it or hate it, her film “Bird Box” was a massive success for Netflix – garnering a record number of views for a Netflix original movie in its first week.
You can watch “The Undoing” on HBO with a subscription. New episodes will air weekly.
Perfect Life (HBO)
showrunner Leticia Dolera
“Vida Perfecta”, or “Perfect Life”, is a Spanish series that follows three friends who find their lives in crisis. They support each other as they try to find a way through to being happy again.
There’s no English trailer currently available, though I believe the show will be translated on HBO. You can get a pretty good idea of the series’ subject and tone from this, though.
Leticia Dolera writes, directs, and stars. Dolera is primarily known for acting in films ranging from “Imagining Argentina” to “[REC] 3: Genesis”. This is the first series she’s directing, though she directed the well received feature “Requirements to be a Normal Person”.
You can watch “Perfect Life” on HBO Max with a subscription. The entire series is available at once.
Kaali Khuhi (Netflix)
directed by Terrie Samundra
Shivangi’s family moves to a rural village to look after her grandmother. Soon enough, she spies strange occurrences, even as residents of the village wind up dead. What’s a little girl to do but unravel a supernatural mystery?
This is Terrie Samundra’s first feature film.
You can watch “Kaali Khuhi” on Netflix with a subscription.
directed by Autumn de Wilde
It’s easy to consider the latest take on Jane Austen’s “Emma” a light comedy with brilliant design. The trailer seems to speak to this, but there’s more to it than just that. The design itself becomes a storyteller in the film that alternately complements and undermines the characters and even the main narrative voice.
If we think of a film as being told to us by a single voice, the design here is used in a way that provides a second and often contradictory storyteller. It’s a unique approach to a period comedy of errors that makes another take on “Emma” feel exhilarating and fresh.
Director Autumn de Wilde is chiefly known for her music videos for Jenny Lewis, Beck, Rilo Kiley, The Raconteurs, and Florence + The Machine. “Emma” is, somewhat mind-bogglingly, her first feature.
You can watch “Emma” on HBO Max with a subscription.
Yes, God, Yes (Netflix)
directed by Karen Maine
“Yes, God, Yes” follows a teenager who attends a Catholic camp while trying to resist sexual temptation. She feels deep shame while making that most profound teenage discovery that a lot of the people telling you how to behave are complete hypocrites. If you recognize lead Natalia Dyer, it’s probably because she plays Nancy Wheeler on Netflix’s “Stranger Things”.
“Yes, God, Yes” is a dryer comedy than director Karen Maine’s previous work. She co-wrote the short film on which 2014’s “Obvious Child” is based and has story credit on the feature. “Yes, God, Yes” is her feature debut as a writer and director, though.
I included this previously during its virtual theatrical run, but missed last week when it came to Netflix. This is the first time it’s on a subscription streaming service.
The Craft: Legacy (Amazon)
directed by Zoe Lister-Jones
“The Craft” was a rare crossover that was both cult movie and pop sensation in 1996. It followed a group of high school students who became a coven of witches. Some of them use their powers productively, others less so. “The Craft: Legacy” is a sequel, albeit one that follows a new group of high schoolers discovering similar powers.
Director Zoe Lister-Jones worked her way from guest appearances to series regular on shows like “Whitney” and leads in indie films like “Lola Versus” (which she also wrote). As a director, this is her second feature after the well received “Band Aid”.
You can watch “The Craft: Legacy” on Amazon with a subscription.
I Am Woman (Netflix)
directed by Unjoo Moon
“I Am Woman” is a biopic about singer Helen Reddy. She was considered one of the most successful pop artists of the 1970s. Songs like “I Am Woman” spearheaded a wave of freshly empowered music that helped give popular voice to the era’s feminist movement.
The film’s written by Emma Jensen, who also wrote 2017’s “Mary Shelley” biopic. This is the first narrative feature from director Unjoo Moon, and she previously directed Tony Bennett documentary “The Zen of Bennett”.
You can watch “I Am Woman” on Netflix with a subscription.
In Line (Netflix)
directed by Tope Oshin
A man comes home from prison hoping to pick life up as he left it. Soon, he suspects his wife of cheating. Their marriage and business are both at risk, so he hires a private investigator to discoverer the truth.
Tope Oshin is a fascinating director in Nigeria’s film industry. She risked a great deal in writing and directing the queer film “We Don’t Live Here Anymore”. It was refused a theatrical release in Nigeria, yet went on to be picked up by Amazon and earn several nominations and wins at the Best of Nollywood Awards.
You can watch “In Line” on Netflix with a subscription.
Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.
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