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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Ten Films and TV Shows You Need to Stream This Month

Cancel your plans to get stuck into the first season of 'Watchmen', a double dose of Paul Rudd and the new 'Breaking Bad' movie.
By Sarah Ward
October 14, 2019
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Ten Films and TV Shows You Need to Stream This Month

Cancel your plans to get stuck into the first season of 'Watchmen', a double dose of Paul Rudd and the new 'Breaking Bad' movie.
By Sarah Ward
October 14, 2019
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Not all that long ago, the idea of getting cosy on your couch, clicking a few buttons, and having thousands of films and television shows at your fingertips seemed like something out of science fiction. Now, it's just an ordinary night — whether you're gathering the gang for a stay-at-home shindig, cuddling up to your significant other or shutting the world out for some much needed me-time.

Of course, given the wealth of options to choose from, there's nothing ordinary about making a date with your chosen streaming platform. The question isn't "should I stay in?" — it's "what on earth should I watch?". Hundreds of titles are added to New Zealand's online viewing services each and every month, all vying for a spot on your must-see list. And, so you don't spend 45 minutes scrolling and then being too tired to actually commit to watching anything, we're here to help. From the latest and greatest to old favourites, here are our picks for your streaming queue for October.

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NEW STUFF TO WATCH NOW

EL CAMINO: A BREAKING BAD MOVIE

Six years after he was last seen driving off into the night, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) is back. That's how long it has been for Breaking Bad fans; however, for the character, absolutely no time has passed. Picking up where the show's grim finale left off, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie explores what comes next for Walter White (Bryan Cranston)'s former meth-cooking partner. The cops are on his trail, but Skinny Pete (Charles Barker) and Badger (Matt Jones) are on hand to help. As Jesse tries to find a way forward, plenty of flashbacks also flesh out and reshape his story. While El Camino might be superfluous — Jesse didn't really need this lap of honour, and viewers didn't really need such a definitive conclusion — it's still an immense pleasure to return to the Breaking Bad realm, especially with series creator Vince Gilligan at the helm. Of course, Better Call Saul has been letting audiences do that since 2015, but every BB aficionado has a soft spot for Jesse, his love of saying "yo", and his fondness for science and magnets.

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie is available to stream on Netflix.

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CRIMINAL

Don't forget to breathe while you're watching Criminal, and to unclench your fists as well. Given the show's premise, you're likely to feel more than a little tense and on edge while you're watching this new Netflix show. From David Tennant and Hayley Atwell to Nathalie Baye (Laurence Anyways) and Jérémie Renier (Saint Laurent), everyone on-screen certainly does  — because, whether they're a suspect or a detective, they're involved in an interrogation. That's how this anthology series plays out, with twelve cat-and-mouse chats taking place in four countries (the UK, France, Spain and Germany). If you're particularly fond of these kinds of face-offs (and can happily do without the other law-and-order procedural bits and pieces that usually fills cop and crime shows), then you'll be in your element.

Criminal is available to stream on Netflix.

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ONES TO WATCH OUT FOR LATER IN THE MONTH

BOOKSMART

When Booksmart premiered at SXSW in March to widespread acclaim, it earned immediate comparisons to another teen-centric comedy. Like Superbad, it follows two high-school outsiders who finally let loose before graduation. The film also stars a member of the Feldstein family — Beanie Feldstein, who is best known for Bad Neighbours 2, Lady Bird and the television version of What We Do in the Shadows, and happens to be Jonah Hill's sister. But likening this hilarious exploration of female friendship to a male-centric flick doesn't do Booksmart justice. Nor does badging it a gender-swapped twist on its ostensible predecessor. Drawing upon a smart, sharp script (by seasoned TV writers Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins, as well as The Spy Who Dumped Me's Susanna Fogel and Isn't It Romantic's Katie Silberman), actor-turned-filmmaker Olivia Wilde isn't trying to create a female clone of anything. Rather, the first-time director brings an insightful and amusing story to the screen, plus two relatable characters that make it shine.

Booksmart will be available to stream on Lightbox from Wednesday, October 16.

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MODERN LOVE

For the past 15 years, the New York Times has explored life, romance and the inescapable intersection of the two in its Modern Love column. It's a podcast, too — and, thanks to Amazon, it's about to become a TV rom-com series as well. Using an anthology format and telling different tales in each of its eight first-season episodes, Modern Love hasn't spilled much in terms of its storylines, other than its focus on the obvious; however, the series' stand-alone instalments will see everyone from Tina Fey and Anne Hathaway to Dev Patel and Andy Garcia follow their hearts. The cast list goes on, including Sofia Boutella (Kingsman: The Secret Service), Olivia Cooke (Ready Player One), Catherine Keener (Get Out), Andrew Scott (Fleabag) and John Slattery (Mad Men), too, with the whole thing written and directed by Once and Sing Street's John Carney.

The first season of Modern Love hits Amazon Prime Video on Friday, October 18.cp-line

LIVING WITH YOURSELF

For audiences, Living With Yourself really couldn't have a better concept. Netflix's new existential comedy asks the question we've all been pondering since the mid-90s: why have one Paul Rudd when you can have two? That said, doubling the Rudds causes quite the chaos within the show's story, especially given that it's a wholly unintended development. Everyone's favourite ageless star plays Miles, a burnt-out writer turned advertising agency employee who heads to a spa looking to come out relaxed and refreshed. That happens, but only because he's replaced by a clone and left for dead. Now, the original Miles and the new Miles have to work out how to live their life — and decide who gets to live it. While contemplating existence and our place in it is the current hot topic on television (see: The Good Place, Forever, Russian Doll, Miracle Workers, Maniac and Undone), Living With Yourself finds its own charming niche. Yes, twice the Paul Rudd is twice as nice; however Irish actor and comedian Aisling Bea is also great as Miles unhappy wife.

The first season of Living With Yourself hits Netflix on Friday, October 18.

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WATCHMEN

Have a superhero-sized hole in your viewing schedule? Already binged your way through Amazon's The Boys and watched all of this year's Marvel movies? Watchmen is here to fill that gap — although, as based on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' graphic novel, it's impossible to simply bundle this tale in with all other accounts of caped crusaders. Set in an alternative version of 2019 where masked vigilantes are considered outlaws rather than champions, this is the dark, grim, brooding and moody flipside to the huge pop culture phenomenon. Yes, it should sound familiar, given that it was first brought to the screen back in 2009's movie of the same name. This time around, Watchmen boasts Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers) as its guiding force, plus a cast that includes Oscar-winner Regina King, Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson and Jeremy Irons.

The first season of Watchmen starts streaming week-to-week on NEON from Monday, October 21.

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BREAKFAST, LUNCH & DINNER

In Netflix's Ugly Delicious, acclaimed chef David Chang explored the history of different dishes and occasionally caught up with a celebrity friend — such as Aziz Ansari, Steven Yeun and Ali Wong. With Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, he's doing pretty much the same, just focusing on specific global cities rather than specific foods. The four-episode food and travel show sees the Momofuku founder head to various corners of the world and eat three meals — breakfast, lunch and dinner, of course — with the famous person who happens to be by his side. In Vancouver, he spends a day with Seth Rogen. Over in Marrakesh, he eats and chats with Chrissy Teigen. Laughing through Phnom Penh with Saturday Night Live's Kate McKinnon and kicking back in Los Angeles with Master of None's Lena Waithe are also on the agenda. The aim is not to only focus on cuisine, but to explore the variety of cultures and experiences that the planet has to offer — although, naturally, plenty of food is going to be consumed.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner hits Netflix on October 23.

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THE KING

Since he came to widespread fame in Call Me By Your Name, Timothee Chalamet has become cinematic royalty. In The King, he embraces that status. Stepping into both historical and Shakespearean territory, he plays Hal, aka King Henry V, in a slow-building but astute drama based on the Bard's Henriad plays. Perfectly content never to take 15th-century England's top job, Hal nonetheless finds himself donning the crown — and, thanks to a war with France, following in his father's (Ben Mendelsohn) footsteps in more ways than one. Directed by Australian filmmaker David Michod and co-written with his Animal Kingdom star Joel Edgerton, The King plays up the internal and external conflict, tones down the language and, when it comes to political manoeuvring, finds much to muse on. Michod and cinematographer Adam Arkapaw particularly revel in the film's battle scenes, while, cast-wise, the sight of Chalamet facing off against a long-haired, French-accented, almost-comedic Robert Pattinson is the stuff that the internet's dreams are made of. Edgerton, Sean Harris (Mission: Impossible – Fallout), Thomasin McKenzie (Leave No Trace) and Lily-Rose Depp all also make an impact.

The King hits Netflix on Friday, November 1.

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CULT CLASSICS TO REVISIT AND REDISCOVER

HAYWIRE

One of cinema's most prolific filmmakers, Steven Soderberg has made two movies for Netflix this year: sports drama High Flying Bird, which hit back in February, and the Panama Papers-inspired The Laundromat, which drops on October 18. His resume is filled with highlights, from award-winners such as Sex, Lies and Videotape and Traffic, to the heist antics of Ocean's Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen, to the vastly dissimilar Logan Lucky and Unsane. Among all of the above, action-thriller Haywire hasn't received as much love — but it should. Released in 2011 between Contagion and Magic Mike, it's an immersive, no-nonsense piece of genre filmmaking centred around mixed martial artist Gina Carano, who plays one hell of a kick-ass secret operative (and performs her own stunts, too). In terms of action choreography and spectacle, it oozed John Wick-style slickness long before that franchise even existed. And, among the folks either helping or chasing Carano's on-the-run agent, it boasts a stacked cast that includes Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton and Michael Douglas.

Haywire is available to stream on NEON.

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NEW GIRL

It's a classic sitcom set-up: a group of friends, in this case three guys (Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield and Lamorne Morris), advertise for a new roommate. When they find someone, hijinks ensue because these things never, ever run smoothly. Just who moves in is right there in New Girl's name, with the group's sprawling Los Angeles apartment soon welcoming uber-quirky teacher Jess (Zooey Deschanel). Over seven seasons, the show charts their ups and downs — and while it definitely peters out in its last few seasons, when New Girl works, it's hilarious, fun and extremely perceptive. Unsurprisingly, much of its success stems from its ensemble cast, especially the Johnson, Greenfield, Morris and Damon Wayans, Jr (who was supposed to be one of the show's main stars, but had to leave when his other sitcom at the time, Happy Endings, was renewed for a second season).

Five seasons of New Girl are available to stream on Lightbox.

Published on October 14, 2019 by Sarah Ward

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