Wild Wild Country – A Wild Documentary on Netflix

Wild Wild Country is a six-part documentary on Netflix about the controversial Indian guru, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho), and the community, Rajneeshpuram, he set up in Antelope, Oregon, in the early 1980s.

Well, he didn’t set it up. He didn’t do much in the early days except make an entrance at important moments in a Rolls-Royce, wearing lots of bling, and reaping all the glory. Sometimes he would dance. Mainly with the women. Ma Anand Sheela, Osho’s right-hand lady, was responsible for all the important bits. She was the brains behind most of it and is the real star of the show.

I don’t want to reveal too much about what goes on except to say that as a result of the locals resenting the commune/city, it all goes downhill very quickly, in a spectacular way. And it’s a thrill to watch.

Don’t read the reviews (they are good) because if you’re like me and knew little about this story, you will be gobsmacked and thoroughly entertained with the twists and turns it takes.

Watch the trailer.

Watch Wild Wild Country on Netflix.

Safe Harbour TV Series – A New Psychological Thriller on SBS

Safe Harbour is a psychological thriller about a group of friends whose sailing holiday alters their lives forever after they cross paths with a struggling fishing boat overloaded with asylum seekers en-route to Australia.

The Australians decide to tow the refugees, but when they wake the next morning the fishing boat is gone. Five years later they learn that someone cut the rope between the two boats, with tragic consequences.

I’ve been in a bit of TV watching slump since The Crown and two episodes of Safe Harbour has pulled me out of it.

The four-part series from Matchbox Pictures stars Ewen Leslie (Top of the Lake: China Girl), Leeanna Walsman (Seven Types of Ambiguity), Joel JacksonPhoebe TonkinHazem Shammas and Jacqueline McKenzie.

Watch the trailer.

Read more about Safe Harbour or watch it now on SBS On Demand.

THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD – A Bold Dark Comedy TV Series on Netflix

The new TV series on Netflix,  THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD, takes you into the dark and confusing lives of teen outsiders James (Alex Lawther – Black Mirror, The Imitation Game) and Alyssa (Jessica Barden – The Lobster, Ellen, Penny Dreadful) as they embark on a road trip to find Alyssa’s father, who left home when she was a child.

It’s hilarious and deeply unsettling in equal measures. Jessica Barden as Alyssa is incredible – she’s terrifying yet vulnerable and you just want to hug her. I wish I had half her confidence level and disregard for others opinions during my teenage years.

The show is based on the award-winning series of comic books by Charles Forsman and consists of eight episodes around 20 minutes each.

Watch the trailer for The End of the F***ing World.

Watch the show.

The Movie ‘Call Me By Your Name’ – An Outstanding Romantic Drama

Call Me By Your Name is a romantic coming-of-age-drama based on the novel by André Aciman. It’s directed by Luca Guadagnino and is the third and final installment in his ‘Desire trilogy‘, following I Am Love and A Bigger Splash.

In the summer of 1983 in Northern Italy, Elio, (Timothée Chalamet) a 17-year-old American spends his days in his family’s villa transcribing music and flirting with his friend, Marzia (Esther Garrel).

Then along comes Oliver (Armie Hammer), a 24-year-old graduate student and research assistant to Elio’s father (Michael Stuhlbarg), an eminent professor. What transpires is a sensual and transcendent tale of first love and inevitable heartbreak.

Read a review.

Watch the trailer for the movie.

In select cinemas now.

Sunshine – A TV Crime Drama Series

Set in Melbourne’s outer-west suburb of Sunshine, the four-part TV crime drama series, Sunshine, follows Jacob, a young, aspiring South Sudanese-Australian basketball player who dreams of making it to the NBA.

He’s on the cusp of being picked up by scouts for the US college league but his future is put in jeopardy when he’s drawn into a criminal investigation.

Sunshine features a line-up of renowned and seasoned Australian actors including Anthony LaPaglia, Vince Colosimo and Kim Gyngell, alongside a stellar South Sudanese Australian cast being seen for the first time on Australian TV.

According to The Guardian, “Sunshine is one of the standout Australian TV shows of the year.”

Watch Sunshine now on SBS On Demand.

Dark TV Series – A German Supernatural Thriller on Netflix

Netflix’s new supernatural thriller, Dark, is set in a German town in present day where the disappearance of two young children exposes the double lives and fractured relationships among four families.

True to its name, the content is fairly dark and given the storyline, comparisons with Stranger Things, The Missing and The Returned are inevitable.

It does take a few episodes to wrap your head around who’s who and how they are connected as the show jumps through various points in time but you are rewarded with a thrilling series and excellent soundtrack.

Watch the trailer.

Watch Dark on Netflix.

The Secret To Living Longer May Be Your Social Life – A TED Talk

Well, this is uplifting news for people that beat themselves up about not eating the right foods, not exercising enough and drinking too much.* It turns out that the strongest predictors of longevity are two features of your social life.

It turns out that the strongest predictors of longevity are two features of your social life.

The Italian island of Sardinia has more than six times as many centenarians as the mainland and ten times as many as North America. Why? According to psychologist Susan Pinker, it’s not a sunny disposition or a low-fat, gluten-free diet that keeps the islanders healthy — it’s their emphasis on close personal relationships and face-to-face interactions.

Learn more about super longevity as Pinker explains what it takes to live to 100 and beyond, and why social isolation is the public health risk of our time.

Watch or listen to the talk.

* I don’t condone reckless living but it is refreshing to hear about studies that have found there may be other factors at play with regards to a living a long life. 

Ozark – TV Crime Drama on Netflix

Jason Bateman is best known for his comedy roles but there is nothing funny about his character, Marty Byrde, in the Netflix drama, Ozark.

It’s tense from episode one where it is revealed that Marty, a Chicago-based financial advisor, has connections to a drug cartel that go awry so he is forced to relocate his family to the Missouri Ozarks in an attempt to fix the problem (and escape death).

The series is well cast, with Laura Linney playing Marty’s wife, Wendy, who leaves her own mess behind in Chicago, and Julia Garner as the smart and fiery local, Ruth Langmore.

Ozark has been compared to the highly-awarded Breaking Bad (family man gets caught up in drug world and needs to keep his family safe) and whilst it’s not as groundbreaking, it is gripping and has just been renewed for a second season.

Watch the Ozark trailer.

 

Top of the Lake: China Girl, Starring Elisabeth Moss & Nicole Kidman

Top of the Lake: China Girl sees Detective Robin Griffin return to Sydney (after a lot bad stuff went down in New Zealand in season 1) and lead an investigation into a prostitute that was thrown over a cliff in a suitcase.

Uplifting, I know. It’s dark and seedy but intriguing and beautifully shot. Elisabeth Moss and Nicole Kidman are both excellent. Most of the male characters are sexist and repugnant and there is a particularly disturbing scene with a bunch of young guys on laptops in a cafe that will make your jaw drop.

It’s shot in Sydney and instead of seeing an idyllic city, which is usually how Sydney comes across on screen, we are shown a seedy underbelly. Jane Campion wrote and directed the series and fun fact: the character Mary (Alice Englert), who plays Nicole Kidman’s adopted daughter, is Jane Campion’s real life daughter.

Top of the Lake: China Girl airs on BBC First in Australia on 20 August or you can watch all episodes now with BBC iPlayer.

Watch the trailer.

Watch season 1 on iTunes or on ABC from 6 August.

 

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