All posts by Elwood Jones

10 Binge Worthy shows you might have missed

With the festive period fast approaching and with the Covid lockdown no doubt meaning you’ve burned through the heavy hitters of the streaming services like Netflix / Amazon Prime like Ozak and The Boys. So allow us to present some hidden and overlooked gems worth binging.

Daybreak


Frustratingly axed after one season like several of the picks on the list, this post-apocalyptic comedy based on Brian Ralph’s comic in which a biological attack kills all the adults and those who survived were turned into mindless zombies known as Ghoulies. With the kids left to run society life has decended into a Mad Max style society with the high school clique becoming the gangs fighting for supremacy in this new world.

Following Josh a transfer student from Toronto who now along with a black samuari and a genius 10 year old with a love of starting fire set out to stake a claim in this new world while at the same time looking for Josh’s missing girlfriend Sam and especially avoiding the warlord Jocks and Glamazon cheerleaders.

Featuring a great cast which included a rare bad guy role for Matthew Broderick, the show has a great concept and does some fantastic world building over its run only to end on a killer cliffhanger that frustratingly looks set to unresolved. However while incomplete it’s a fun and action packed show throughout with some great twists along the way.

Bonding

Hated by the Dominatrix community who felt that that the show was both problematic and Inauthentic this black comedy about Tiff a psychology student who moonlights as a dominatrix and recuits her best friend from high school best friend and aspiring stand up Pete to be her assistant.

What follows is a series of misadentures for the pair as Tiff attempts to balance her school life and job while Pete discovers through the often random jobs the pair taken on how to become more liberated.

Ink Master

While it might feel like we currently have a competion show for everything from baking to glass blowing this is one of the few competitions which not only has gotten harder with each season, but also a title which actually carries some real weight in the professional world.

Each season sees the competiting Tattoo artists having to prove themselves in a variety of diffrent tattoo art styles such as black and grey, american traditonal and japanese. Throw into the mix demanding clients, raging egos and tight time limits and you have one of the most engaging competitions on TV.

Even if your not a tattoo fan or havn’t the first clue about the diffrent styles it remains highly accessable with the contestants and judges often providing cut aways to explain things.

Spawning 13 seasons and three spin off shows this is a must see if your a fan of intense compeition and colourful competitors.

Russian Doll

Like the foul mouth cousin to the classic comedy Groundhog Day as the acid tounged, wise ass Nadia finds herself caught in a time loop ending each time with her death as she attempts to find a way to break the cycle.

Having finally broken away from the shadow of American Pie playing Nicky in Orange is the New Black, Natasha Lyonne here takes that same energy and sarcastic outlook on life and applies it to Nadia which maintaing the control over her character by co-writing the show along side Leslye Headland and Amy Poehler to create a show which is so much more than another Groundhog Day clone.

Kim’s Convenience

Based on Ins Choi’s play of the same name this sitcom follows the Kim family who run a convenience store in the mos park area of Toronto. It’s a show which is both touching as it is funny with Paul Sun-Hyung Lee’s blundering Appa consistantly providing some of the shows best moments, while being supported by the saint like patience of his wife Umma (Jean Yoon).

At the same time thier kids Janet (Andrea Bang) and estranged son Jung (Andrew Phung) help give the show the scope to keep the format constantly fresh as the family face various issues from crazy customers to the ones often caused by thier equally problematic friends.

Crazyhead

Another show frustratingly cancelled after one season, this British attempt at a Buffy esq show from Misfits creator Howard Overman which sees Seers Amy (Cara Theobold) and Raquel (Susan Wokoma) becoming demon hunters when their powers awaken enabling them to see that demons walk amongst us.

While the show might not have had chance to fully realise it’s potential it’s brief six episode run is still alot of fun as like Buffy it blends the laughs with the spooky thrills.

Banshee

A pitch black crime drama set in the small town of Banshee in Pennsylvania armish country as Anthony Starr’s professional thief is released from prison after serving 15 years for a dimond heist for his former employeer the Ukrainian mob boss Rabbit.

Hiding out under the giese of being the new town sheriff he is soon slipping back into old habits as he reconnects with his former lover and acomplice Ana (Ivana Miličevic) and his transvestite hacker Job (Hoon Lee) all while dealing with the towns own seedy underbelly headed up by the Amish crime boss Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) whos henchman Clay (Matthew Rauch) is terrifying even just taking off his glasses.

Featuring nail biting heists and bone crunching action scenes this show is gripping throughout it’s four seasons while for a small backwater town there is certainly no shortage of problems for Hood to deal with from bikers, drug smugglers and an albino crime boss as Banshee constantly manages to find a way to add to it’s colourful rogues gallery.

Maniac

Based on the Norwegian series of the same name, this adaptation directed by True Dectective‘s Cary Joji Fukunaga as a Netflix miniseries sees Emma Stone and Jonah Hill playing participants in a phamaceutical trial to test a drug which apparently can cure all disorders only to instead find themselves on a mindbending journey.

While perhaps not a show for all tastes this genre hoping drama sits just on the right side of the surreal as oddball characters play against the constantly changing situations our leads find themselves in with each round of the trial bringing with it a new personality for them to inhabit.

At only ten episodes the show never really outstayed it’s welcome especially with such an outthere concept, somthing that American Horror Story could learn from as it continue to create tedium at the halfway point of each season. Here Maniac constantly finds a way to keep the audience second guessing themselves, much less were the next personality shift will take the story.

Son of Zorn

Essentially He-man gets an office job as Zorn a cartoon barbarian warrior from Zephyria who also somehow also lives in the real world with the show following him as he travels to California to reconnect with his ex-wife Edie (Cheryl Hines) and akward nerdy son Alangulon aka Alan (Johnny Pemberton).

Giving up the battlefield for an office job at sanitation solutions as he attempts to win back his ex-wife and prove that he can be a good dad, this Who Framed Roger Rabbit style sitcom sadly only got one season and more frustatingly ended on a cliff hanger. However blending the He-man approach to everyday situations like the rival office stealing the hot sauce and played against Tim Meadow’s sensitive college professor and Edie’s fiance Craig the fish out of water antics of Zorn this was certainly a show which deserved more love than it got.

Gravity Falls

While Disney might have failed to have an original idea in years instead focusing on live action remakes of their classic animated features and buying up sucessful properties like Star Wars and Marvel to prop up the empire. They have however managed to put out several great tv shows like Star Vs. The Forces of Evil and this show especially.

Picking up the spooky small town mantle from Joe Dante’s much underappriciated Eerrie Indiana (a show still totally worth checking out) here brother and sister duo Dipper and Mabel arrive in the Oregon town of Gravity Falls to spend the summer working with thier great-uncle (or Grunkle) Stan in his tourist trap “Mystery Shack” which investigating the many mysterious hidden in this quiet town.

Using a monster of the week format as the pair team up with handyman Soos and lumberjack daughter Wendy to investigate the many strange occurances happening in the town and it’s surrounding woods from Gnomes and lake monsters to Time travel the show is never limited in it’s scope while the main mystery behind the town is engrossing to the suprisingly emotional climax. The humour in the show taking on the same multi-level style of the Simpsons constantly slipping past the kids and seemingly the Disney censors some suprisingly risque jokes which only adds to the fun.

So there you have our recommendations to get you through the festive period or perhaps just the next lockdown. But what shows did we miss off?
Let us know in the comments section below.

Film School: David Fincher

“I don’t know how much movies should entertain. To me i’ve always been intrested in movies that scar.”
– David Fincher

Part of a collective of highly creative and visual driven directors who number includes the likes of Spike Jonze and Michael Gondry. These directors all emerging from a background of music videos and commercials before seemingly all at the same time choosing to make the leap into features and changing how we look at cinema in much the same way that the independent film making scene and especially the Sundance Kids like Quentin Tarantino and Steven Soderberg had done before them.

Out of this wave of visuals driven directors Fincher has unquestionably made the biggest impact managing to bring the same talent for making really cool music videos and the likes of Billy Idol and Madonna alongside memorable commericals such his much discussed smoking fetus PSA for the American Cancer Society to the larger canvas provided by feature films. However after studio clashes lead to a rocky start with Alien 3 an experience which left Fincher more than happy to turn his back on the idea of directing another feature. Ultimatly tempted by the dark tones of his breakout hit Seven which would inturn layout many of the themes and style choices which would become synonimous with his work.

Filmography

Alien 3 (1992)
Seven (1995)
The Game (1997)
Fight Club (1999)
Panic Room (2002)
Zodiac (2007)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
The Social Network (2010)
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Gone Girl (2014)
Mank (2020)

Director Trademarks

  • Innovative title sequences
  • Social outcasts
  • Dark urban settings
  • Dimly lit rooms with blue and green tints
  • Distorted points of view
  • Compartment Angles
  • Impossible shots
  • Time lapse sequences
  • Lens flare
  • Piercing Flashlights
  • Faces of evil
  • Shocking reveals

Movies and Tea #25 – The Game

What do you buy the man who has everything? Michael Douglas’ investment banker soon finds out when his brother gives him an invitation to play “The Game”.

But what is the game? Norman from Flickhunter joins us once again to the discuss the film as we explore one of the more overlooked films in David Fincher’s filmography.

Further Viewing

Sabrina
Escape Room
Don’t Say A Word
Shutter Island
The Machinist

Music on this episode

Howard Shore – Consumer Recreation Services
Keith Mansfield – Funky Fanfare
Jefferson Airplane – White Rabbit

Listen to the Show

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Movies and Tea #24 – Seven

Our David Fincher season continues with Seven the thriller which would bring Fincher back to directing feature films having sworn off returning to direct another feature film in the aftermath of the Alien 3. It would however be the script for Seven which would tempt him back. Not only would the film give Fincher a chance for redemption, but to bring to the screen one of the most original thrillers in years as two detectives attempt to track down an elusive serial killer commiting murders based around the seven deadly sins.

We dive into the making of the film and try to find out what the lasting appeal of the film has been that makes it still so infinatly rewatchable.

Further Viewing

Silence of the Lambs
Gone Baby Gone
8mm
One Hour Photo

Music on this episode

Howard Shore – Linoleum
Keith Mansfield – Funky Fanfare
David Bowie – The Hearts Filthy Lesson

Listen to the Show

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Spotify
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After Hours: You Cannot Kill David Arquette

We check out the new documentary charting David Arquette’s attempts to become a professional wrestler and make amends for the disrespect many fans feel he caused to the industry by winning the the WCW Title.

In many ways playing like the real-life version of the Wrestler as we get to follow Arquette at his lowest to once again finding a way to make life exciting for himself within the squared circle.