The best movies and TV series to watch right now

Fight the panettone sinking with the vision of energy series, get ready for the conversations of the “Natalini” knowing all of the most talked about, finally relax by catching up on what was “talk of the day” but, unfortunately, you were busy that day.

The Bad Guy. Director: Giancarlo Fontana, Giuseppe G. Stasi. With Luigi Lo Cascio, Claudia Pandolfi, Selene Caramazza, Giulia Maenza (series, PrimeVideo, 6 episodes)

How to take an ultra codified genre (the mafia movie) and by now also worn out by an ancient imaginary to transform it into something else? In something, perhaps not revolutionary but certainly new and above all centered? Contact Stasi and Fontana. Lo Cascio plays an anti-mafia judge who suddenly finds himself on the other side of the battle: accused of being a mafioso, imprisoned, turned vicious. In recounting this world upside down, the directors take enormous, stupendous liberties (the bridge over the Strait exists but collapses in the first episode because it was built by mobsters) and they make no mistakes: the cast, the photography, the hypnotic dark comedy rhythm are perfect with moments of grotesque full of pure intelligence. Must see if you loved breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.

Everything asks for salvation Director: Francesco Bruni, with Federico Cesari, Fotinì Peluso (series, 7 Netflix episodes)

Another (deserved) Italian success this year. If you haven’t seen it, get it. Daniele wakes up in the psychiatric ward and spends a week there. One episode a day, we enter a world that makes us uncomfortable, moves and even makes us laugh. Bruni, director and screenwriter of great skill and humanity (the two things don’t always coincide), recounts the lives of the “crazy” (but also of their families, doctors and nurses) in a solid and flowing way, avoiding clichés, making them closer than ever. Taken from the autobiographical book Everything asks for salvationza by Daniele Mencarelli, the series (which is already being filmed next season) has excellent actors and Bruni confirms himself as an excellent director of actors, capable of making the most of both young people (Cesari, launched by Skam Italywho shines here in a particular way) and those of long standing (Filippo Nigro, Ricky Memphis). Everything asks for salvationabove all he has a truly unique “tone of voice”, certainly the son of the best Italian comedy, of its sweetness and its bitterness.

Bad Sisters. Written by Sharon Horgan with Sharon Horgan, Anne-Marie Duff, Cales Bang, Eve Hewson (series, 10 episodes, AppleTv+)

Feminist black comedy that begins with the funeral of the husband of Grace, one of five Garvey sisters. Except for the widow (moderately), the other four do not seem grieved. We will later discover that they have tried to kill him several times but only at the end will we know who did it. The late John Paul, played by Claes Bang (Swedish actor, seen in The Square at the cinema and in The Affair), it’s the opposite of that old commercial, it’s “the worst of a man”. Arrogant, busybody, self-righteous, manipulative, violent. He’s got it all, and he’s hurt all five sisters and, in general, anyone else who’s bothered him in his life. A villain squared, at the heart of this perfectly constructed series. Story of sisterhood without even a dull moment, set in a beautiful landscape (the Irish coast), suggests a Big Little Lies less glamorous, less Hollywood but also much more ironic, with some moments of pure comedy.

The Crown. Showrunner: Peter Morgan. With Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Elizabeth Debicki, Jonathan Pryce, (series, season 5, 10 episodes, Netflix)

The facts narrated in this season are the closest to us and, even for those who were not already adults enough in the nineties, the best known: the divorce of Carlo and Diana, the interceptions of the intimate telephone calls of Carlo and Camilla, the interview of Diana who publicly destabilizes everything that was already crumbling in private. Josh O’Connor’s replacement by Dominic West as Prince Charles has been much criticized, both by professionals and spontaneous social media reviewers. Elizabeth Debicki plays Diana and she, unlike West, is very similar to the original. A perfect imitation, but she remains a heartless figurine, precisely because by attracting us with resemblance, the authors distract us from the substance. Imelda Staunton is the new queen, after Claire Foy and Olivia Colman. She perhaps she is not the most successful of the seasons of the series, but always better than boring Harry & Meghan.

Boris 4 – by Giacomo Ciarrapico and Luca Vendruscolo, with Francesco Pannofino, Pietro Sermonti, Caterina Guzzanti, Carolina Crescentini (series, eight episodes, Disney+).

Borisdebuted in 2007, written and produced by semi-unknown young people, including the brilliant Mattia Torre, who died prematurely three years ago. The only known interpreter was Pietro Sermonti who, incredibly, had lent himself to this strange operation that made fun of the very reason for its success. (For the very young: before BorisSermonti was one of the protagonists of a familiar and beloved Rai series, A doctor in the family).

The original project came out in a very different time than today, television speaking. It was a world without social media, without streaming platforms with huge international ambitions, with a system still tied to linear schedules.

As a fan of the first hour I feared that Boris 4 turned out to be a disappointment. Instead, no. “Smarmella” still great.

The First Lady. Showrunner Aaron Cooley and Cathy Schulman, directed by Susanne Bier, with Viola Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Gillian Anderson. (Series, 10 Episodes, Paramount+)

Images almost always shot inside the East Wing of the White House, close-up shots, claustrophobic: The First Lady wants to tell us the hidden story of women overshadowed by their powerful husbands. Themed series, feminist revisionism, dripping with good intentions, intertwines the lives of Michelle Obama, Betty Ford and Eleanor Roosevelt, three wives of Presidents. The portraits of Eleanor and Michelle lack hagiography. In the second case, even a bit of Bagaglino syndrome: we know the real Obamas too well and not even the very skilled Viola Davis can make us forget that she is an actress. The most successful segment of the series, which redeems it from weaknesses in other parts, is the one dedicated to Betty Ford, the least political and least glorified of the three: she is played sublimely by Michelle Pfeiffer. It’s a pity that The First Lady it’s not all about her.

Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. Showrunners Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, with Evan Peters, Richard Jenkins Niecy Nash. (series, 10 episodes, Netflix)

Between 1978 and 1991, in Milwaukee, a city of about half a million people in Wisconsin, Jeffrey Dahmer killed seventeen boys, many of them black and gay. He was arrested in 1992 and then murdered in prison two years later. His repertoire of actions is chilling: dismembered corpses, cannibalism, necrophilia. Few true crime stories, few serial killer exploits are more monstrous, more desperate than this one. The single psychiatric case is so enormous that it casts a shadow over all of humanity. Really, can one of us do these things to his fellow men? dhamer it was a success but the audience was divided. Who found it too violent and also too ambiguous: isn’t it that some people feel sorry for the cannibal killer, with all those flashbacks about little Jeffrey unhappy and bullied?

The Offer. By Michael Tolkin, with Miles Teller, Juno Temple, Matthew Goode (series, ten episodes, Paramount+, Sky)

In 1972 the film was released The Godfather, produced by Paramount who had bought the rights to Mario Puzo’s novel before it became a best seller. Relatively easy move. The difficult thing was putting the film project together. Key character of the story is Albert, known as Al, Ruddy. He is the big head who brings home a result that seemed impossible. There is something heroic in his story, like a bit in all the cinema of that period, of the Hollywood that produced Chinatownand not the Marvel comics, a cultured but also aristocratic and debauched Hollywood, with its lunches at the Polo Lounge. Just joined Paramount as a junior producer in the shadow of Robert Evans, one of those characters larger than life who are gone, Ruddy is in the hands of The Godfather which immediately turns out to be a big problem. The threats of the mobsters who consider Puzo a traitor and immediately make it clear in their own way that they don’t like the making of the film. Little did they know that in the years to come we would be overrun by Narcos, Suburreand Gomorre: the ferocity with which they opposed the Godfather it’s almost cute.

Uncoupled. Authors: Darren Star and Jeffrey Richman. With Neil Patrick Harris, Tic Watkins (sitcom, Netflix, 8 episodes).

The authors are Darren Star, the father of Sex & The City and Jeffrey Richman, the one of Modern Family. They know how to handle matter: couples, love, sex and explain how things change without really changing. Here too “the city” is the most glossy of the bubbles: a New York that gets excited about openings, restaurants, parties, as if we were in the nineties. The protagonist Michael (Neil Patrick Harris) is a real estate agent by trade and is a kind of Carrie Bradshaw. She has already conquered her Mister Big: a certain Colin, with whom she has been with for 17 years. Except that, in the first episode, Colin leaves him. Friends convince him that there is no better cure than to jump into the fray and find nails to crush Colin with. But, after nearly two decades, the “dating scene” has changed. There are apps, social media, Gen X kids. The real surprise of the series is the character of Claire, a middle-aged, very rich and annoying divorcee played by Marcia Gay Harden (formidable actress and, usually, unjustly underestimated) that eats up the scene at all.

House of the Dragon. Showrunners Ryan J. Condal and Miguel Sapochnik, with Paddy Considine, Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Emma D’Arcy, Rhys Ifans (series, on Sky and streaming on NOW).

Prequel of the most successful fantasy saga of recent years. Success for some inexplicable (dragons, the fake Middle Ages, but what is it) or unbecoming (violence and sex, even incestuous, above all incestuous, but what a horror), for others passion and mania worthy of “nerd” whims of yesteryear . House of the Dragon it is for historical “Tronisti” but also for newbies. In fact, it takes place 200 years before the birth of Daenerys Targaryen, so all the characters are new, never seen before. For those who know the world of Throne, it will be like going home, starting with the emphatic violins of the theme song, written by Ramin Djawadi, already author of the catchphrase of the original soundtrack. Spoiler free example of timeline from the first episode? A dragon flight at minute one, a decapitation within the first twenty, a sex scene within the first 24. The only thing missing, compared to the Throneis the extraordinary sense of humour, foul-mouthed and very witty, given by a character like Tyrion Lannister played by Peter Dinklage. For the rest, come on, actually Dracarys!

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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