I’m continuing to cover new series and films on streaming. With box office having returned to normal levels, you might wonder why I’m not yet covering new films in theaters. I’ve struggled with that, and I recognize most of my country (the U.S.) has returned to some version of “normal” in relation to COVID. Yet in the midst of another West Coast surge, case numbers that dwarf last summer’s (though deaths are lower), new strains for which we haven’t yet gotten vaccines, and other countries still rushing into lockdown, it’s hard to feel like we’re out of the woods.
That’s not what people want to hear, there’s so much else that needs facing right now. We’re exhausted, a movie in a theater would be nice, and I’m not qualified to judge anyone who’s going to see a movie. That’s not my point. Different parts of this country are in different COVID situations, and we’re in such a disorganized gray area that it’s hard to be able to assess things accurately. If I were in certain areas, I’d feel comfortable going to the theater. In my area, it’s iffy. In California today, this week, I probably wouldn’t. Since my readership is across the country, and even in different countries (I do well in Southeast Asia, Oceania, and Central Europe, and I’ve got no clue what the COVID situations are there) it makes sense to me to still focus on what we can watch at home.
It’s not as if there’s a shortage of great work out there, and anything I don’t cover in the theater today I’ll be able to cover when it comes out on VOD and when it hits a streaming platform. Is it the right decision? Oh god, who knows anymore? It’s the one I’ve got, and that makes sense in terms of how to keep covering things for now. Please keep on taking precautions and staying safe, all.
This week, there’s a promising new comedy, new anime, and new films from Egypt, France, Laos, and the U.K.
Boo, Bitch (Netflix)
Showrunners Erin Ehrlich, Lauren Iungerich
Lana Condor stars as a high school senior desperately trying to get seen. This becomes a lot more difficult when she dies and becomes a ghost.
Erin Ehrlich wrote and produced on “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”, “Awkward.”, and “King of the Hill”, while Lauren Iungerich wrote and produced on “Awkward.” and “On My Block”.
You can watch “Boo, Bitch” on Netflix. All 8 episodes are available immediately.
co-showrunner Maggie Mull
mostly directed by women
Maggie struggles to balance her psychic abilities and seeing the future of all her friends, while still leading a normal life.
Maggie Mull showruns with Justin Adler. Mull previously wrote and produced on “Life in Pieces” and “Family Guy”.
10 of the 13 episodes are directed by women, with 5 by “Black-ish” director Natalia Anderson, and one apiece by five other directors including Shiri Appleby.
You can watch “Maggie” on Hulu. All 13 episodes are available immediately.
When Will Ayumu Make His Move? (HiDive)
directed by Mirai Minato
Ayumu is a first year high school student, Urushi a second year. Ayumu decides to tell her his feelings once he’s at her level in a game called shogi, but his skill is nowhere close to Urushi’s – and she thinks he’s too straightforward already.
Director Mirai Minato has helmed recent anime series such as “The Dungeon of Black Company” and “I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, So I’ll Max Out My Defense”.
You can watch “When Will Ayumu Make His Move?” on HiDive. Episodes are simulcast as they air in Japan, so expect to see new entries every Friday.
The Long Walk (Shudder, Tubi)
directed by Mattie Do
In Laos, a ghost transports a hermit 50 years back in time. He arrives at the moment his mother is due a painful death.
Horror director Mattie Do has pioneered Laotian filmmaking and foreign co-productions in a country that struggles with rigid censorship. Her first two films were funded through crowdfunding, and the first was even made open source. She originally trained as a make-up artist for film.
The Souvenir: Part II (Showtime)
directed by Joanna Hogg
“The Souvenir” is a pair of films starring Honor Swinton Byrne and her mother, Tilda Swinton. Swinton Byrne stars as Julie, a film student in the 80s who gets involved with an untrustworthy and gaslighting man. “Part II” tells the story of her processing this relationship as she makes her graduate film.
Writer-director Joanna Hogg is a standout indie British filmmaker, previously directing “Archipelago” and “Unrelated”.
Dangerous Liaisons (Netflix)
directed by Rachel Suissa
The academic Celene falls in love with Tristan, unaware she’s the subject of a bet he’s made with the narcissistic Vanessa. The French series is based on the 1782 novel. It’s been adapted many times into many eras, and chances are you’ve seen “Cruel Intentions”, “Valmont”, or one of several “Dangerous Liaisons”.
This is the first feature from writer-director Rachel Suissa.
You can watch “Dangerous Liaisons” on Netflix.
directed by Manal Khaled
Seven women are trapped inside as the 2011 Egyptian revolution rages. They attempt to cope and busy themselves as communications are shut down.
Director Manal Khaled has a background as an assistant director and creating documentary shorts.
You can watch “Trapped” on Netflix.
Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.
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