Grab The Popcorn And Enjoy These 3 New Additions to Netflix
With so many entries on Netflix’s ‘Recently Added’ listing, it can be something of a chore knowing which new releases are up your alley, or will provide hours of streaming enjoyment. Here’s the scoop on three new originals that you may have to catch up on, as your friends may have been talking about them:
Isn’t It Romantic stars Rebel Wilson in a comedy that wants to poke fun at romantic comedies, and the bundle of cliches and tropes that have become the staples of this by-now formulaic genre. Put the blame on the likes of Bridget Jones and The Devil Wears Prada for turning the workplace into a hothouse for comedy and romance; and in funny meta-style, Isn’t It Romantic would seem to want to ‘have its cake, and eat it too’.
Photo from iMDb
Co-starring Liam Hemsworth, Adam DeVine, and Priyanka Chopra, the big lesson at the end of all the satirizing would be that self-love is the ultimate dictum we should learn; but it seems funny to be saying that when all the sequences would seem to embrace that which it is making fun of. Rebel Wilson is great in her role as cynical, know-it-all who just doesn’t get the recognition she deserves—and I wonder what Miley Cyrus thought of Liam’s dancing in the end-credits production number.
Triple Frontier is an Action/Survival high stakes adventure that boasts of an all-star cast. It has Oscar Isaac, Ben Affleck, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, and Pedro Pascal as ex-servicemen toiling in ‘real life’, and brought together for one last mission, one that entails an attack on the stronghold mansion of a drug lord, deep in a South American jungle. At one point, I was wondering if the cast had now reached Expendables status, but with stronger acting chops; and if this one was more about the paycheck.
The tropes are familiar: morally ambiguous survivors off on one last adventure. And it starts off strongly with an action sequence that establishes Isaac’s character. But inexplicably, it slows down right after; and while I know it’s about establishing the other leads, only Affleck’s character is given that opportunity. In the second half of the film, we get a Humphrey Bogart The Treasure of Sierra Madre-type story, and I’m not certain this works at all. Great location, good actors, and strong action sequences; but you wish more thought had been put into the story development.
Photo from iMDb
After Life is the latest project from comedian Ricky Gervais - who wrote the original British-made The Office (yes, we’re more familiar with the Steve Carrell-led American adaptation). It’s 6 episodes and dwells on the life of a widower who turns into a seething, cynical clown. It’s bittersweet comedy with an edge, and may not be for everyone; but I found the premise and the first few episodes hilarious.
Unfortunately, there is something of a repetitive quality as the episodes roll along. The classic scenario of an angel and a devil sitting on either shoulder of Gervais’ character is where the tension lies; but it also makes for uneven development, as the need for redeeming qualities and feel-good storylines have to evolve. I’m thinking maybe better as a film, and not extended in a series as it is?
Photo from iMDb
And so that’s the scoop on three new Netflix entries. It’s not always high quality like Okja and Roma—perhaps the prestige projects look good on the corporate résumé, but the reality is that you also need originals and series that appeal to the wider Netflix streaming audience.
Lead images from iMDb