New on netflix: Ryan Phillippe gets shot at the big time again
Shooter, 13 episodes, available from Wednesday
Published 14/11/2016 | 02:30
More Ryan Phillippe on our screens is always a good thing, and he could probably use a little cheering up after his engagement was recently called off. He also hasn't had a movie hit in a while, although he has carved out a nice niche on TV, particularly in the murder mystery series Secrets and Lies (not to be confused with the excellent Mike Leigh film). So, the time is right for this new drama/thriller series, which premieres in the States on Tuesday and here on Netflix on Wednesday.
It sees Phillippe (who, shockingly, is now 42) as Bob Lee Swagger, a retired military marksman coaxed back into action after learning of a plot to kill the president. Ultimately double-crossed and framed for the attempt, he goes on the run to find the real killer and the reason he was set up. The show's original air date was moved from July after a sniper attack in Dallas that month. Mark Wahlberg takes on the role of executive producer, and both the earlier film starring him and this series are based on the book Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter.
Lovesick (Scrotal Recall) season 2
Six episodes, available from Thursday
Well, you didn't think a mega-corporation like Netflix would honestly allow a pun-tastic title like Scrotal Recall on to their roster, did you? And so it came to pass that the second series of the Channel 4 comedy has been rebranded as the much more anodyne-sounding Lovesick. To be fair, the change took some balls (sorry, we couldn't help it) as the original title did make it sound like a gay porn Arnold Schwarzenegger parody. The first series centred around playboy Dylan (Johnny Flynn) revisiting past relationships after finding out that he's caught an STD. Each episode focuses on one woman from his past. Antonia Thomas and Daniel Ings star as his best friends, Evie and Luke, who help him on his mission. There's also a romantic spark between him and Evie, which makes the whole setup even more complicated. All main cast members will return for the second season, as will Tom Edge as writer and executive producer.
Rick and Morty
What do you get if you combine Futurama, South Park and Beetlejuice? From the wonderful imaginations of Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland (House of Cosbys) comes this animated series which premiered three years ago to critical acclaim in the States. It tells the story of drunken, morally skewed scientific genius (Rick) and the idiot grandson/unwitting protégé (Morty) whom he drags - often unwillingly - into outlandish and increasingly grotesque interdimensional escapades. It's sometimes hard to listen to Rick's incessant belching, but the writing is razor-sharp, and for all the sci-fi flights of fantasy, there's also a sense of reality, which provides an anchor that stops the madness of the two lead characters from tipping the story over into something exhausting and unrelatable. Part obscene Saturday morning cartoon, part sharply observed family sitcom.
Queen Mimi (2015)
Israeli director Yaniv Rokah was working as a barista when he first encountered Marie "Mimi" Haist in a Santa Monica laundromat. Described by one of her friends as the "Queen of Santa Monica", Mimi had been living there for 20 years, thanks to the generosity of its owner Stan Fox, who allowed her to sleep on a chair and assist the patrons in return for tips. Rokah, needless to say, had an even better idea, and started work on this quirky documentary. It begins as a hagiography of its underdog subject, featuring testimonials from those who know her, and describe her as "an artist of life". Among those commenting is actor Zach Galifianakis, who met her many years ago and has been her friend ever since, even as his Hollywood star has risen. He's taken her to red carpet events, which he professes to despise, and eventually bought her an apartment in Hollywood. It was furnished courtesy of Renee Zellweger, another of Mimi's celebrity friends (who does not appear). Overall, Mimi might be the most popular homeless woman since JT LeRoy - who wasn't homeless or a woman, but you catch our drift.
Catch up now
UTV Player, ends November 19, episode 1
Based on the best-selling novel A Very British Coup by Chris Mullin, this is pretty bombastic stuff from the start. Britain is broken, again, and a blast at a petro-chemical plant leaves 19 people dead, and a lot of unanswered questions around toxicity and safety. Cover-ups begin, at home and internationally. And then the Prime Minister is unexpectedly, mysteriously put out of action. Enter Gabriel Byrne (above) as Tom Dawkins, deputy PM and a man who just might have a shred of morality. Unlike chief whip John Hodder, played by Charles Dance, who looks set to do Whatever It Takes to ensure his own success and that of the establishment he belongs to, and do it in proper panto villain style. Amid a whole lot of exuberant over-acting - cartoon baddies abound - promises are given to be broken, and allegiances are fragile at best, Byrne is, as usual, very watchable in a downbeat, energy-conserving kind of way. Entertaining stuff.
Asking For It: Reality Bites
RTE Player, until December 1
When Louise O'Neill published her first novel, Only Ever Yours, it was immediately obvious that here was a writer doing something brave, new and difficult. The only question was, could she do it again? With Asking For It, she did. Less subtle than the first, Asking For It didn't bother pretending not to be a cry of outrage against the rise of what we now call "rape culture". That's when rape is somehow socialised, normalised, legitimised, made into something else, by adding the prefix "date" to it, or talking about how much a woman had to drink and what she was wearing that night, or because the victim knew the perpetrator. Now, to battle rape culture, comes an upsurge of discussion around the idea of consent, and what it means. This documentary stokes that fire, with O'Neill asking the kinds of tough questions that have been avoided for far too long. This is her calling it like it is, and it is very good. Watch it.
Note To Self
Unlike the more factual, or indeed enthusiastically anticipatory tech podcasts, this weekly show focuses around the idea of preserving humanity in the digital age. Host Manoush Zomorodi reminds listeners to question everything, from whether your phone is watching you, to the idea that "wexting" (basically sexting) can make you smarter. Recent episodes include an interview with the fabulous Marina Abramovic, who convinced 750,000 people to wait in line at MoMA just to sit across a table from her, and the tech exec revolutionising pre-school education.
The Axe Files
David Axelrod is founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. He was also chief strategist for Barack Obama's presidential campaigns. With The Axe Files he draws on his experience and many contacts to set up revealing interviews with key figures in the world of American politics. A skilled and experienced interviewer, he manages to get beyond the usual soundbite stuff, to the heart of the matter. Recent interviewees include Samantha Power, journalist Katie Couric and political consultant John Weaver.
Sleep With Me
An interesting idea, this, and one for the many who suffer with insomnia. Basically, it promises to soothe you to sleep with meandering stories deliberately lacking in drama or action, aimed at giving your mind enough to keep it from racing, but not enough to stimulate activity.
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