The best Netflix original movies: April 2022 edition

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by Judd Apatow the Bubble.
Picture: Laura Radford/Netflix

It wasn’t an April Fool’s joke, though now it feels like one: on the first of the month, Netflix released not one but two feature films by marquee American directors with moderate (that would be satire calamitous pandemic by Judd Apatow The bubble) to non-existent (spellbinding time capsule by Richard Linklater Apollo 10½: A Childhood in the Space Age) promotional campaigns. The latter is surely one of the service’s best additions of the year so far, and it’s in respectable company with a goofy, hard-to-resist coming-of-age image about young metalheads and a southern cop thriller. -hard-nosed korean. Beat the annual April showers, stay indoors and catch the latest Netflix Original movies:

God bless Richard Linklater. His third rotoscope-animated feature (moving to a looser, lighter place after the philosophically heavy waking life and A dark scanner) barely holds up like a film. It’s closer to a hundred-minute monologue, detailing how awesome it was growing up in late ’60s Texas. Anyone not inclined to roll their eyes at this obsessively watched exercise in nostalgia will be wowed by the level of commitment to the bit; the narrator (Jack Black, an apparent stand-in for the filmmaker himself) spouts dozens of TV shows, records, and other cultural ephemera, setting the stage for this time and place. Linklater praises a happy moment with golden sentimentality even as he acknowledges the corporal punishment and lax security standards that seem insane in retrospect. But he’s non-judgmental, more interested in cataloging the ways unsupervised children entertained themselves before the insularity of the computer and smartphone.

Everyone has reacted to the upheavals of the pandemic in their own way. Some of us have learned how to make the perfect stew or how to make macrame; Judd Apatow assembled a production crew in a well-appointed English mansion to precipitate order into existence for this bewildered and unfunny-for-the-moment reaction. A misplaced sense of duty to make the weary masses laugh clearly motivated his follow-up parody of the filming of a fake blockbuster and the cast of pampered actors are gradually losing their marbles in a world of 14-day isolation periods and sanitization regulations. Put aside the problems of rhythm and writing (dear Lord, another TikTok interlude?), and there’s still the fundamental problem that, in such a difficult time, the last thing regular people care about is the inconvenience and boredom of showbiz guys. The movie even admits it, and yet that realization wasn’t enough to convince anyone to stop and rethink the unfortunate approach to the material.

The first Italian teen crying trilogy draws to a close in this final installment, which lacks meaningful narrative challenges for cystic fibrosis survivor Marta (Ludovica Francesconi). The film begins as she emerges from the medically induced coma used as a cliffhanger for the last one, but once she is cleared by her doctors, writers Roberto Proia and Michela Straniero struggle to come up with something with a comparable gravity to do. Their best shot is “navigating the choppy waters of real estate,” as Marta searches for an apartment with her boyfriend while her former roommates work out an Airbnb scheme. The emotional core of the film is about Marta mending fences with the grandmother who wasn’t around enough when she was orphaned at age 3, but the mishandling of the tone leaves those scenes just as insignificant as the relationships with owners and the search for guarantors. . Once the stakes have been set for life or death, you can’t go back to the agony and ecstasy of improving your credit score.

The uncanny preponderance of Polish-language crime thrillers in the Netflix Original catalog dictates finding some form of novelty in each successive instance, and director Cyprian T. Olecki doesn’t seem up to the challenge. The hook for his inexcusably overlong gangster photo sends an undercover informant into the ranks of his brother’s soccer hooligan team to free him from drug trafficking charges. This puts him on the path to a crisis of conscience between his obligation to the law and his loyalty to his family, a configuration so done to death that there is a 30 Rock joke about it. While the brutal gallows humor and hearty fight scenes are better than most, it’s too predictable to hold anyone back for the two-plus hours the film demands, and the muddled digital cinematography only gives us not much to look at while waiting. What should have been the distinguishing factor – the unique role that organized crime plays in Polish society – is decontextualized and ironed out in a vast inner struggle like any other.

As the movies say, there are few jobs as psychologically demanding as being a ballerina. by Jota Linares Black Swan The riff begins with the suicide of a prima donna and then shows us the cocktail of internal and external pressures that could very well lead the next big face to a similar fate. National Classical Ballet’s new talent, Irene (María Pedraza, a Netflix favorite for her roles in Money theft and Elite) immediately begins to see why his predecessor jumped on it as his own eating disorder and associated insecurities combine with the constant battery of emotional abuse from draconian instructor Norma (Mona Martínez). She finds solace only in the company of junior dancer Aurora (Paula Losada), with whom she forms a dark and illusory bond of comfort. It’s all captivating enough on paper, but Linares’ use of neither camera movement nor color conveys the visceral sense of mental distortion that has made previous entries in the unsteady ballerina canon stick on landing.

Metalheads have a bad rap as violent ne’er-do-wells with tastes for everything from wanton destruction to murder (it happened, like, once), but Peter Sollett’s movie fury investigates the pathos behind headbutts and pentagrams. In the bond between lifelong best friends Hunter (Adrian Greensmith) and Kevin (Jaeden Martell), their band roster soon expanding to include vocalist Emily (Isis Hainsworth), metal’s anti-everybody ethic serves as a pillar around which they can organize their own mini-community. Screenwriter and former The iron Throne Showrunner DB Weiss leans towards the juvenile in his attempt to divide the difference between his characters’ childhood and adulthood, so they articulate their solidarity through silly language that often strays into a ball-place anathema. corn to the true metal mentality. Ultimately, however, there is a trace of authenticity in the way Hunter translates his own personal frustrations into music that empowers the powerless.

The location of the Chinese city of Shenyang, just north of the border with North Korea, makes it a hotspot for espionage, as spies from both countries, as well as South Korea, Russia and Japan, jostle to get ahead of each other’s plots. South Korean prosecutor Ji-hoon (Park Hae-soo, best known for the popular series squid game) gets an assignment to clear up some corruption charges in Shenyang, but falls into a much grander plot aimed at the covert ops group he’s supposed to be working with. He and the team’s leader, Kang-in (Sol Kyung-gu, the star of Lee Chang-dong’s Peppermint candies), must earn each other’s trust if they are to survive the traps, sabotages and tortures that await them in this neon playground. With this vibrant backdrop, they form the expected rapport and fight the expected fights, though predictability isn’t an issue in either case due to the accomplished execution. Both actors bring gruff credibility to their archetypal personas, the spotted tough guys who populated American cinema in the ’70s.


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