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Films and TV series to stream this lockdown

As we face another weekend in lockdown, some people may be running out of series to stream. Worry not, with an abundance of streaming servers there is sure to be something that you haven’t yet seen. If you’re keen for something to while away the lockdown blues, here are a few options to add to your binge list.

Sparking Joy — Netflix

As we enter the third week of lockdown you may have started to notice that your home is crammed full of stuff.

In the before-times when you were constantly in and out of your house it was easy to overlook the overstuffed kitchen drawers, ignore the taped-up boxes in the garage, and not worry about your straining wardrobes. But now all that stuff is staring you in the face each day.

Chances are it is not sparking joy but is instead stressing you out.

Now’s the time to get on top of it and get rid of the needless items.

Starting is the hardest part so for decluttering inspiration turn to the new series from world-renowned tidy-upperer Marie Kondo as she goes about transforming people’s lives through the power of tidying up.

An American Pickle — Neon

This delightfully absurd, humorous modern fable sees Seth Rogen playing double duty in both lead roles.

The first is Herschel Greenbaum, a cantankerous Eastern European Jew who accidentally falls into a giant pickle vat where he is perfectly preserved in brine for 100 years.

The other is Greenbaum’s great-grandson Ben, an affable app developer who takes him in. At first, the distant relatives get along but Herschel’s old-school values quickly clash with Ben’s modern takes and after a huge falling out both vow to ruin the other.

Reviews for the low-key dramedy have been mostly positive with Rogen’s dual performances praised.

Of the film, one critic noted that while “it asks its viewers to suspend a lot of disbelief, those willing to go along for the ride will find much to entertain them”.

McCartney 3, 2, 1 - Disney+

A Beatle and a fan, alone in a room talking about music.

If you’re of a certain age or a die-hard Beatlemaniac, this documentary series featuring music producer Rick Rubin and the legendary Paul McCartney looking back at his career is a must-watch.

It’s not a flashy Beatles celebration, but more of a focused, chatty look at how great music is made that gets deep into song-geek heaven and it is utterly fascinating.

Cruella — Disney+

This dazzling, visual extravaganza is the origin story of one of Disney’s most fashionable villains, the puppy-hating Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians.

Academy Award winner Emma Stone struts and schemes as the well-dressed de Vil, resplendent in trendy, trademark monochrome fashions as she plots out wicked revenge on those who wrong her.

Lavish and stylish, the prequel particularly impressed fashion lovers, with one critic calling the movie “visually striking, fashionably astute and all-embracingly entertaining”.

Superman and Lois — TVNZ OnDemand

Yes, there’s about a million movies and TV shows out there based on superheroes, but quietly, the first and greatest of them all has come back in a terrific new series which just wrapped up its first season.

This one changes the game by being a story of a 40-something Superman who’s married to Lois Lane and has two teenage sons, one of whom is developing powers just like good ol’ dad.

Tyler Hoechlin nails the Man of Steel’s core appeal with the best performance as the character since the late Christopher Reeve, and this show balances a lot of heart with some excellent heroic action.

The Expanse — Amazon Prime

If you’re sick of 2021 and want to dive into a complex, inventive possible future, you can’t go wrong with The Expanse’s five seasons to date, based on a series of science-fiction novels about a future where man has spread to colonise Mars and the stars, and the conflicts that result.

Packed with space politics and strange alien threats, it also features the excellent Samoan New Zealand actress Frankie Adams as a kick-arse Martian commando.

Nine Perfect Strangers — Amazon Prime

Will there ever be a TV series where a group of strangers go on a wellness retreat and just have a nice, fun, soul-replenishing time? Maybe one day, but Nine Perfect Strangers isn’t it.

David E Kelley’s adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s 2018 novel is a follow-up of sorts to Big Little Lies.

The series takes place at a new-age health and wellness resort called Tranquillum House, run by mysterious spiritual guru Masha.

Everything about the place looks unimaginably expensive, which the backgrounds of the nine guests seem to confirm.

Masha “mixes and matches her guests” to get the right mix of traumas, and on this retreat she’s matched a romance novelist, a former sports star, a young couple whose lives are falling to bits after a Lotto win, a divorced single mum, a wellness retreat junkie, and a family grieving the loss of a son and brother.

What Masha’s got in store for them over the course of the 10-day retreat is the mystery, but it looks a bit like Outward Bound meets that New Age sweat lodge retreat that ended so badly there was a podcast series about it (Guru: The Dark Side of Enlightenment).

Maybe what led these people here isn’t the question, it’s how they get out of there. — NZ Herald

NINE PERFECT STRANGERS: Nine people show up at an experimental wellness retreat overseen by Masha (Nicole Kidman), and secrets, lies, and all kinds of drama ensue over their 10-day stay.
SUPERMAN & LOIS: Follow the world’s most famous super hero (played by Tyler Hoechlin) and comic books’ most famous journalist (played by Elizabeth Tulloch) as they deal with all the stress, pressures, and complexities that come with being working parents. Pictures supplied
SPARKING JOY: Marie Kondo brings her joyful tidying tactics to people struggling to balance work and home life — and shares her own world.