It’s a good week for Netflix and HBO Max, with each seeing a pair of projects arrive. It’s particularly good to see Sandra Oh lead another series, and one that seems tailor built for her to shine. It’s astonishing that a comic actress of her caliber has seen so few leading roles, and she’s often talked about the difficulty Asian women have getting cast as leads.
Before we dive in, I’ll also highlight a short film. MUBI is now featuring the short film “Menarca”, where women learn from piranhas how to defend themselves from men. It’s directed by Brazilian filmmaker Lillah Halla.
The Chair (Netflix)
showrunner Amanda Peet
A scandalized university English department declares its next chair and intended scapegoat: their first woman of color in the position. Sandra Oh leads what looks like an exceptionally promising series.
Amanda Peet is the creator and showrunner of “The Chair”. Chances are you’ll recognize her work as an actress from “Dirty John”, “Brockmire”, “The Good Wife”, or “Studio 60”. This is her first work as a showrunner.
You can watch “The Chair” on Netflix.
Reminiscence (HBO Max)
directed by Lisa Joy
Nick is a detective who dives into people’s memories. In a world that’s crumbling around him, he’s obsessed with tracking down his missing lover, Mae.
The cast for this is ridiculous. Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Ferguson star as Nick and Mae. Thandiwe Newton, Cliff Curtis, Marina de Tavira, and Daniel Wu also star.
Writer-director Lisa Joy co-created, writes, and directs on “Westworld”. Before that, she wrote on “Pushing Daisies” and “Burn Notice”.
You can watch “Reminiscence” on HBO Max.
Reefa (HBO Max)
directed by Jessica Kavana Dornbusch
Israel ‘Reefa’ Hernandez-Llach is a Colombian immigrant in Miami. It’s his last summer before going to college in New York on an art scholarship. Before he can get there, he suffers an act of police terrorism.
The film is based on actual events, where Israel was beaten and murdered by Miami Beach Police in 2013. Officers chased him for blocks before beating and tasering him for spray-painting graffiti in an area that’s a popular tourist destination in large part because of the work of artists like him. The eventual wrongful death settlement cost the police department a mere $100,000.
Writer-director Jessica Kavana Dornbusch is the child of Uruguayan immigrants. This is her first feature film since 2006’s “Love and Debate”.
You can watch “Reefa” on HBO Max, or rent it on Amazon, Google Play, Redbox, or Vudu.
Out of My League (Netflix)
directed by Alice Filippi
In this Italian film, Marta is an orphan coping with a fatal diagnosis. Her one dream is for a beautiful man to fall in love with her.
Director Alice Filippi has been an assistant director on “Hannibal”, “Spectre”, and “Inferno”. This is her first feature.
You can watch “Out of My League” on Netflix.
directed by Janell Shirtcliff
A trio of drug dealers lose both the money and the drugs. Their only way out is to pretend that they’re nuns. “Habit” continues lead Bella Thorne’s interest in leading genre comedies and satires.
This is writer-director Janell Shirtcliff’s first feature.
You can rent “Habit” on Redbox.
Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.
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