Early June Streaming: From A Futuristic Crime Drama to Real-Life Documentaries
It’s early June, and here are the latest streaming highlights
We've made it this far into the quarantine, and we’re looking over the very latest shows that our streaming services have to offer. From a bloody, futuristic crime drama, to two entertaining real life documentaries—one about unsung COVID-19 heroes, and one about Indian-American children excelling in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
The Last Days of American Crime (Netflix)
Adapted from a graphic novel, The Last Days of American Crime is a near-future crime fantasy film that’s shot with a gritty, noir feel. The premise is that there’s an American Peace Initiative which will institute signals throughout the country that somehow blocks criminal activity in the brain of anyone intending to do something of that nature. You can think it, plan it, but the moment you begin the act, a searing pain renders you senseless. And we’re placed right at the center of this Initiative, as the signal is about to be broadcast.
Graham Bricke (Edgar Ramirez) is a criminal in a border town with Canada. He’s lost his brother in prison, and with one week to go before the ‘End of Crime,’ he’s recruited to do one last job by Kevin (Michael Pitt) and Shelby (Anna Brewster). We follow the logic of the caper, and are made to understand what’s at stake. Halfway into the film, the action really picks up, with the visit to the Dumois mansion—the city’s crime boss. If you like burning flesh, double-crosses, crazy car chases, and plot twists and turns; this ones for you. Just wish they had made better use of Sharlto Copley, who plays a cop. Loved him in District 9 and Chappie, but sadly, he’s wasted here.
Regular Heroes (Amazon Prime)
It’s rare to find a feel-good coronavirus special on the streaming platforms, as the ones that exist were often prepared on the rush, having more to do with the nature of pandemics, their origins, and how they spread. So kudos to Regular Heroes for finding its way to our screens in such a short time. Each episode is hosted by the likes of Alicia Keys, Kevin Hart, Nick Jonas, and Kelly Rowland, and they seek to find (and reward) ordinary, regular citizens who have been working and contributing during these times. The series puts the spotlight on the unsung heroes of this pandemic, and well, do they deserve it!
In Alicia’s first episode, they feature the owner of a grocery store owner in a New Orleans suburb, a woman who used to be homeless herself and now feeds and clothes the homeless in LA’s Skid Row, and a Senior Inventory Specialist working at the NY Hospital for Special Surgery, which was converted to a emergency front line COVID care center. Kevin highlights a HS teacher who converted his kitchen into a virtual lab to continue teaching his students, a NY deli owner who feeds first responders, and a zookeeper from New Jersey. All the stories will touch your heartstrings, knowing that no matter the role, these individuals matter for what they’re doing during these troubled times.
Spelling the Dream (Netflix)
This documentary is, on one level, about children seeking excellence and achievement via the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and secondly, about the extraordinary success of Indian-American children in this arena. 2019 saw the unbelievable situation of how 8 kids were declared co-champions, the octo-champs, and how 7 of the 8 were precisely of Indian descent. Interesting because in what has to be considered an intellectual pursuit, these kids have become a metaphor of success for all of South Asia, and how it’s rooted in being such a family affair for each of the children.
In a way, it’s American assimilation at incredible work. Shourav, Tejas, Ashrita, and 7-year old Akash (spelling since the age of 2, and now fluent in three languages) are the children the documentary focus on; and they all have interesting back stories. An attempt is made to analyze the reasons behind this success; and they point to the two waves of Indian immigration—engineers and doctors in the 1960s, and IT engineers in the 1990s. It’s revelatory when they have Balu Natajaran on screen to talk about his historic 1985 win, the first time an Indian-American took the prize. And they have footage of the places where these children’s ancestors hail from in India, and how they’ve become models of global success.
Lead photos from IMdB