Netflix has updated its UK roster with a host of familiar faces and new content – here’s the best of what’s on there right now
DOPE Referencing every potential meaning of the term, this coming-of-age film was lauded at the Sundance Film Festival last year. It follows the story of Malcolm (Shameik Moore), who nurses the trials of his final year at school and ambitions of reaching Harvard in the face of a rough upbringing in Los Angeles’ Inglewood neighbourhood. A chance invite to a party involves him in the drug trade, which triggers a chain of events that threatens his plans to put distance between himself and the gangbangers and drug dealers he grew up around.
Quentin Tarantino’s first film has recently been uploaded to the streaming service, giving new audiences a peek at this crime caper classic, now nearly a quarter of a century old. Featuring sustained waves of violence and quirky, non-linear storytelling that the American director is now famous for, Reservoir Dogs details a jewelry heist gone wrong, but the heist itself is the least important aspect of the story as the gang deal with the fallout from their failure and the mistrust that grows between them as law enforcement closes in.
BETTER CALL SAUL
Better Call Saul was always an unlikely idea for a spin-off – the high-octane thrills of Breaking Bad, the hinge on which so many people’s fates swung, are largely absent from this show, which spends more time exploring Goodman’s origins as public defender Jimmy McGill. The second season promises conflict with his older brother Chuck, also a lawyer, and a further slide into the morally compromised, shortcut-taking person McGill was already becoming.
GARY: TANK COMMANDER 2
Comedy that chimes with both critics and the public is rare, but Gary: Tank Commander 2 is one of them. A Bafta-award winner and a hugely popular TV show, it was written and created by Greg McHugh. He plays the titular character, Gary McLintoch, a corporal in the fictional 104th Royal Tank Regiment. While each episode is filmed in a sitcom format, the show is interspersed with docu-style interviews with Gary, who gives his innermost thoughts and feelings on various topics. The show returns for a highly-anticipated second season in February, and is available now to stream.
MAKING A MURDERER
Making A Murderer is one Netflix’s biggest hits yet, and no-one with a Facebook account has escaped talk of it. It follows the true life story of Steven Avery, a man who spent nearly two decades in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. After being released, he filed a lawsuit against Manitowoc County, Wisconsin and those involved with his arrest. Shortly after, he was rearrested for the murder of a photographer, but graduate students Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos discovered his story and decided to make a documentary out of it. Netflix picked up the idea and made it into a mini-documentary series, which has prompted petitions to have Avery’s case re-assessed.
Another Netflix Original production hits our screens this month in the shape of Judd Apatow and Paul Rust’s Love. Through the lens of awkward and somewhat reluctant lovers Gus (Paul Rust) and Mickey (Gillian Jacobs), Apatow and Rust explore modern relationships and the myths – lies? – that surround conventional narratives of how love comes to be. It’s scheduled for release on February 19.
BEASTS OF NO NATION
Despite starring Idris Elba and being widely acclaimed by critics, Beasts of No Nation still feels underappreciated. That might be because of the difficult subjects it touches on. It’s a war drama punctuated by in-the-thick-of-it storytelling and in-depth character portrayals. A young child joins a rebel group led by a charismatic leader (Elba) in an unnamed, war-torn West African nation. Elba delivers a chilling performance as the depraved Commandant, which forces the viewer to confront the diverging character development of young Agu, the Commandant and the wider battalion.