Lots of wonderful streaming options to share with you as we enter my favourite season! Put on that cardigan, grab a blanket and cozy on up with your Pumpkin Spice Latte and enjoy some of our recommendations!
SQUID GAME (NETFLIX)
This South Korean Series is bloody violent and a sleeper hit for Netflix, just now garnering all the buzz! The nine-episode Drama pits 456 contestants who are deeply in debt, against one another in a game of survival where they are to compete in children’s activities with deadly consequences. But who exactly will go on to win the 456 billion (Korean dollars) prize with the stakes being upped as each contestant gets killed? At the center of it is Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae), divorced and a single father with a gambling addiction who gets in way over his head, literally gambling his life away – but this might be his only shot left at reclaiming back his life. Will he succeed and at what cost does this come? The Series is overdubbed in English for those of us who are just too tired to read and the Voice Actors do a very capable job translating the emotions and fears of these Actors. We’ve never quite seen anything like this deadly game of survival, which is one-part The Hunger Games, one-part Tarantino and all sorts of crazy! SQUID GAME streams now on Netflix.
This ten-episode Mini-Series is based on Stephanie Land’s New York Times best-selling Memoir Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive. It centers on a young single mother Alex (Margaret Qualley) who decides to leave her manipulative partner Sean (Nick Robinson), following her struggles in poverty and finding shelter, while also battling for custody of their daughter Maddy (Rylea Nevaeh Whittet). Alex aspires to be a Writer but to survive, she takes on the job of maid, with costs adding-up while she makes very little money. Qualley delivers a sympathetic performance which really gets into the soul of Alex, who wants the best for her daughter knowing this can’t come if Sean gets full custody. But also, she must carve out her own path in life, which has taken a backseat in an unhappy relationship. We explore all aspects of Alex’s life including her troubled relationship with her Artist mother Paula (acommanding performance by Qualley‘s real-life mother Andie MacDowell), and what it might look like for her to begin pursuing romance again and the gray areas that come with it. A phenomenal layered performance also from the well-to-do and frenetic Regina (Anika Noni Rose), who is one of Alex‘s clients, and with production taking place in Vancouver, we see many familiar Canadian faces like Raymond Ablack and Théodore Pellerin who also turn-in great work in supporting roles. We are a huge fan of Qualley, so it is a treat getting to see her really show her range. So excited for you to discover this when it streams October 1, 2021 on Netflix.
BRITNEY vs SPEARS (NETFLIX)
Erin Lee Carr directs this new Documentary shedding light on Britney Spears‘ struggles with her conservatorship. Carr teams with Rolling Stones Writer Jenny Eliscu, who prior has profiled Spears, to give us a clearer focus on the events leading to the much-talked-about conservatorship and more so the strained relationship between Spears and her father, as well as her deep unhappiness. Unlike other Documentaries we have a clearer motive on the deliberateness of Jamie Spears’ intentions in controlling his daughter and it becomes more apparent the fear instilled in others involved or engaged along the way. Once again we meet among others, Felicia Culotta, a friend and Assistant to Spears, shedding light how she was separated from the Artist. Interestingly, we get firsthand interviews with often-vilified ex-boyfriend Paparazzo Adnan Ghalib and former manager Sam Lutfi and the narrative is that perhaps maybe they weren’t as evil as we were led to believe. Carr uses dramatic music to build a bit of tension and overall, this was an informative watch. BRITNEY VS SPEARS streams now on Netflix.
CONTROLLING BRITNEY SPEARS (CRAVE)
This follow-up to The New York Times’ FRAMING BRITNEY SPEARS gives us additional insight into Britney Spears’ conservatorship. We get interviews with former members of her touring/management and security team with some shocking revelations about some of the perhaps illegal surveilling, that had been put in place over the Popstar. The Documentary sets-out to paint a portrait of the motions that occurred as a result of the #FreeBritney movement and the concern and love of fans and it is even clearer that Spears is a woman imprisoned against her will by red tape and legal deadbolts. Not that we didn’t know this before, but one can’t blame the Filmmakers for catering to public interest seeing how well this Film’s predecessor did. In the end the Film rides its hopes on first-hand eyewitnesses and footage. What we really want is Spears to tell us her truth on-screen and we feel this is coming with the latest movements in this story. CONTROLLLING BRITNEY SPEARS streams now on Crave.
RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE UK SERIES 3 (CRAVE)
You know how much I love RuPaul’s Drag Race, so while we wait for a new season of the U.S. flagship Series, our thirst is quenched by this latest season of the UK sister Series. We get 12 new Queens and we were wowed by some of the fashion and style here, definitely a step-up from the prior season. While I find it interesting that legalities in the UK prohibit these Queens for competing for cash like the other versions of the Series, these “girls” are ready to bring it to win a badge! Victoria Scone makes things super-interesting being a contestant assigned a female at birth and competing as a Drag Queen, and we love the Show is embracing a wider inclusion in its contestants. There also are a couple Queens who are as young as 19-years-old but show an amazing level of professionalism against some of these seasoned performers. New episodes arrive Thursdays on Crave.
NAILED IT! SEASON 6 (NETFLIX)
I adore this Series so much and it never fails to make me laugh. I somehow missed this Series amidst all the TIFF ’21 bustle but finally put aside some time to catch up with my favourites, Nicole Byer and Jacques Torres! My jaw dropped even seeing surprise contestant Jack McBrayer (30 Rock) surface! Challenges include a Veggie Patch Cake, Alien Candy Apples, Cakes celebrating Black Women in history (!!!) and more. My only complaint ever is that six episodes a season simply isn’t enough. I love celebrating these culinary flops and need more already! NAILED IT! Season 6 streams now on Netflix.
LEGO STAR WARS TERRIFYING TALES (DISNEY+)
By Justin Waldman
Just in time for October, we have an all new LEGO Star Wars Feature, Terrifying Tales which is a series of Shorts re-telling classic Star Wars stories with a dark side twist to them! All of your favourite characters return in this all new Feature, including Kylo Ren, Luke Skywalker, Darth Maul, BB-8, Poe, Darth Maul, Darth Vader and more.
Directed by Ken Cunningham and written by David Shayne, who wrote and directed the last Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, the Duo team together to bring forward this new terrifying Tale. What would have happened if these dark stories that the Siths are trying to pass as fact were actually true, what would have happened to the Galaxy? Our hero Poe Dameron (Jake Green) must see through these evil rehashing’s to escape the Siths and make way back to his friends.
The Voice Casting is the most distracting part of this new Short, as its clear that none of the characters are the original Actors that voiced them, and the Voice Actors are doing their own voices. While there is no issue with moving forward and having Voice Actors do voice work, hearing someone other than Mark Hamill deliver Luke Skywalker lines just feels off. However, the younger audience that this feature is targeted to, will be delighted by the Feature, delivering the entertainment the feature provides. Disney+ Canada release LEGO STAR WARS TERRIFYING TALES October 1, 2021.
MUPPETS HAUNTED MANSION (DISNEY+)
The Muppets never disappoint and this latest Halloween Special is pure laughs! The Story centers on Gonzo, who while being known as a bit of a daredevil, must step-up to face the scariest challenge of his life – staying one night at the Haunted Mansion. Pepe the King Prawn joins along for the adventure and all the while, they are tasked with finding the MacGuffin – a device necessary to the Plot, explaining the motivation of the characters. Along the way, we meet the charismatic Host (Will Arnett), The Caretaker (Darren Criss) and Constance Hatchaway (Taraji P. Henson) who tries to seduce Pepe into marriage – although it is clear she has other motives! Will Gonzo be able to make it out alive and save his buddy from doom? This Special while cute and filled with silly musical numbers, with jokes that connect to an audience of today (the Pumpkin Spice jokes don’t quit!) certainly speaks a bit more to its older audience. Nonetheless, these 50 minutes are whimsical and full of joy, a nod to those classic Muppets Specials we loved in the ’80s! MUPPETS HAUNTED MANSION arrives October 8, 2021 only on Disney+.
We love our Movies too! Don’t forget to check-out some of our Reviews for the latest theatrical releases like VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE, THE GUILTY, NO TIME TO DIE, THE ADDAMS FAMILY 2 and moreright here.
Several other new releases like THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE, DEAR EVAN HANSEN and more can be found in our TIFF ’21 coverage here.