What To Watch This Week (7/30/2019)

The weekend is here and so is the pizza! Now, you just need something to watch. Here are several recommendations from the wonderful world of on-demand. Enjoy!

David Harbour in Frankenstein's Monster's Monster, Frankenstein

NEW! Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein (Netflix) (12)

Although you may have seen a trailer, I guarantee you didn’t know this was a mockumentary. Neither did I. This weird little gem stars Stranger Things actor and fan-favourite David Harbour. Harbour plays himself as he investigates the (fictionalised) story of his curious past. Specifically, the antics of David Harbour Jr., his father and classical actor. Harbour focuses on his father’s insecurity as he faces becoming a sell-out and a forgotten relic of the theatre. He uncovers some uncomfortable truths during his investigation.

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He also looks at an awful play his father wrote about a famous doctor and his even more famous undead creation. It’s a weirdly fun short piece, clocking in at 32 minutes in length. It does leave you wanting more, so here’s hoping that there is more to come.

David Harbour’s performances as himself, peeling away the onion layers of his father’s past, and of his overly-enunciating and somewhat pretentious father, are great fun to watch. The surrealism might be a bit off-putting for some, but it’s weird spoofy uniqueness will surely appeal to many.

The Great Hack

NEW! The Great Hack (Netflix) (15)

Worth watching for the visually startling intro alone, The Great Hack is an ode to our almost magical, innovative, hyper-speed technological advancement. However, it also serves as a warning about the terrifying truths of our ever-connected, data-mined, data-driven, perma-tracked, web surfing, on-demand, share everything, social media-obsessed world. The Great Hack is a documentary about how this ‘connected world’ risks tearing apart our society.

It particularly focuses on the data scandal regarding Cambridge Analytica, the $1m-per-day Facebook campaign ‘Project Alamo’, and its links to the 2016 U.S presidential vote and the U.K Brexit vote. It is a fascinating deep-dive into the Modern Age of Big Data, the Age of Psychographics, and its incredible usefulness in predicting individual behaviour. Not to mention, the terrifying way in which data is used to manipulate the masses and its many dangers and how it threatens democracy.

The BoysNEW! The Boys (Amazon Prime) (18)

Aren’t we getting a little too much superhero stuff now? No, the answer to that question is ‘no’. You’d be forgiven for thinking that The Boys is just another action-comedy series jumping on the superhero bandwagon. The truth is, yes that is pretty much the case (though it’s actually based on a Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson comic series), but The Boys is something a little different. For one, it’s a dark comedy meant strictly for adults, and it focuses on an elite group of superheroes known as ‘The Seven’, a corporation called the ‘Vought Group’ , and the world of superhero public relations. You see the problems that occur when over 200 super-powered individuals have to coexist with normal society.

Following the retirement of one of ‘The Seven’, we are introduced to their newest recruit Starlight (Erin Moriarty), a sweet girl with big dreams who discovers what it’s like “behind the scenes”. We also follow Hughie (Jack Quaid) who loses everything in an accident involving one of ‘The Seven’ which leads him to team up with the shady Billy Butcher (played brilliantly by Karl Urban) in an attempt to find some kind of justice. You see that the superheroes are not just saving lives but are major celebrities. They involve themselves in society and politics and have numerous entertainment contracts, merchandise, video games, and movie franchises.

And of course, like people in general, not every hero is a paragon of righteousness, squeaky clean, innocent, and all about saving lives. Some are even capable of villainous acts. With some excellent action, humour, and characters, The Boys is another welcome and brilliant addition in this era of comic book movies and TV shows. Great fun, great performances, highly recommended!

Spaced (Amazon Prime) (15)

You may recognise some familiar faces in this classic British comedy series both on-screen and behind the camera: Shaun of The Dead, Hot Fuzz, and At World’s End director Edgar Wright and actor buddies Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. This was the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy teams’ earliest creation. Spaced stars Pegg as Tim, a nerdy and jobless but talented comic book artist. Tim stumbles into a friendship and sudden flatshare situation. His new flatmate is struggling freelance writer Daisy, portrayed by another familiar face, Jessica Hynes.

Spaced also stars many more familiar faces from across British comedy such as Bill Bailey, Mark Heap, and Julia Deakin. There are so many memorable moments and episodes in this excellent series. It’s worth watching just for Frost’s performance alone as Ed, a military obsessive gun nut. It’s also worth watching for a particularly awesome episode that some may refer to as “the Resident Evil episode”. Beginning to end, the show is infinitely re-watchable. Spaced is super quotable and full of that Pegg-Frost-Wright signature comedy style.

The Raid (Netflix) (18)

The Raid is a Welsh-directed Indonesian action thriller that has gathered quite the cult following. Its reputation is well-deserved for its unrelenting portrayal of violence, incredibly intense, adrenaline-pumping martial arts combat, and straightforward storytelling. The Raid tells the simple tale of a determined police team as they attempt to conquer a tower block ruled by a powerful drug lord. The story is interesting enough, but it doesn’t get in the way of the kick-ass brutality on display.

Some might find the violence a little heavy, but if you love excellently choreographed battles and love your action movies with some impact, then The Raid will leave quite a dent. Also, keep an eye out for its sequel, The Raid 2: Berendal, the high point of which features an incredibly intense one-on-one battle in a restaurant kitchen. Both movies are quite spectacular and left fans immediately demanding The Raid 3, which is yet to be confirmed. However, it would be surprising not to see another excellent sequel in the next few years.

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David White

David primarily writes retro video game content for Culture of Gaming, he is almost exclusively a retro gamer and a collector of classic games and video game consoles. He fancies himself a bit of a video game historian with a deep love for video game and arcade game history and so is the host and creator of Culture of Gaming's Retro Rumble Podcast. He comes from Wales in the United Kingdom though absolutely loves the country and culture of Japan. He is a professional poker player and often listens to <i>The Cure, </i>metal, blues or jazz. When not, he spends most of his time gaming, hunting for classic video games, reading, practising the guitar, watching anime, sci-fi or horror movies and cooking Japanese food.

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