The four must-see films just released on netflix
Tony Robbins: I Am Not your Guru, Available now
In this documentary the world-renowned self help guru begins with a question. At a huge seminar in an American hotel he asks a man "Why are you suicidal?" The man has trouble formulating a response - as you would - so Robbins takes the lead. He pokes fun at the man's shoes. The man smiles shyly. Robbins gently touches the man's cheek with the backs of his fingers. "Don't you be smiling like that," Robbins says as he moves back, leaving the man to be surrounded by the other attendees, who hug him one after another before literally lifting him up and crowd-surfing him around the venue.
At this point you may want to vomit, but stick with it. Robbins cuts through the saccharine patter with revelations on his own family life and we learn that his mother was an alcoholic and addicted to pain medicine. There's also a montage of TV personalities (Ellen DeGeneres, Larry King and Piers Morgan) who give texture to Robbins' achievements. This documentary may cause a sugar rush at times, but there is something nutritious there too.
The Mirror Has Two Faces
1996, Available now
The 1997 Oscars were one of the most fun in history because of the Best Supporting Actress category. Lauren Bacall had been nominated and was heavily tipped to win for The Mirror Has Two Faces. But when Juliette Binoche was announced as the winner, Bacall's face in the split screen was a priceless portrait of frosty sore loser-dom. Bacall was robbed, in fairness (Binoche's wide-eyed and gushing acceptance speech probably didn't help matters). Her performance as Barbra Streisand's vain and overbearing mother was brilliantly judged and anchored a film which has been accurately described as a melodrama. It focuses on a dowdy woman (Streisand) who like Streisand herself, becomes something of a beauty in middle age, with startling consequences. Everyone begins to treat her subtly differently. The guy she's been chasing, a sex-averse maths teacher (Jeff Bridges) finally realises that it wasn't her appearance but his own wacky theories on feminism and marriage that stood in their way, and she finally grabs that brass ring.
2015, Available now
To the football-obsessed, and the washboard stomach-fascinated, Ronaldo is a force of nature, whereas to the rest of us he is a human Ken doll, who looks as vain as a Kardashian sister. This documentary, a new release on Netflix, picks apart the myths from the man. It presents the Real Madrid star on the one hand as a self-obsessed diva, who speaks in sporting cliches, and on the other hand as a victim of his own success. We see the isolation that Ronaldo endures ("most of the time I am alone") and the discipline that he needs to show: not just in training or playing but in dealing with the fans who crowd around him every time he sets foot in public, asking for autographs and photos. We see a man who doesn't hide his vanity, describing it as an essential part of his success, although he is very circumspect about his relationship with his alcoholic father, who died a decade ago but whose portrait hangs prominently in his sitting room. He won't reveal the identity of his son's mother, either.
Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask
1972, Available now Maybe Woody Allen isn't the person whose thoughts on sex you want to hear (there will always be a slight ick factor there) but you have to love anyone who described masturbation as "sex with someone I love". This film consists on 13 short and witty sequences, which are based on David Rueben's book of the same name. It was an early hit for Allen and foreshadowed some of the triumphs to come - Annie Hall followed just three years later.
Catch up now
Superfoods: The Real Story
Channel4 On Demand. Until July 28.
One for the health enthusiasts, and the sceptics. Kate Quilton (above), previously of Food Unwrapped, is back with a new series of Superfoods: The Real Story, investigating the alleged health benefits of so-called superfoods. Last season, she munched her way through a whole lot of kale and saffron. This time, she kicks off with tomatoes, soy beans and red wine, travelling to Italy in search of the truth about tomatoes, then to Japan to see if the secret of youth is a fermented soy bean, with a detour via some musing over whether a glass of red wine will really help brain function. Actually, she discovers that 13 bottles of the stuff would be required in order to get enough resveratrol, a compound which may have a protective effect on brain function. It's all very enthusiastic and energetic, and will appeal to the many of us who half-read the endless headlines about the latest 'superfood' and the extravagant claims made for it. Mostly, she discovers what we all already know - everything in moderation, essentially - but are too bored to abide by it.
Heroes of the Somme
RTE Player, until August 1
July 1 was the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, a British and French joint offensive aimed at German lines. It lasted 141 days, and more than one million men were killed or wounded in the taking of just six miles of muddy field. In this documentary, military historian Gavin Hughes uncovers the stories of seven of the Somme soldiers, whose remarkable bravery won them the Victoria Cross, Britain's most prized military medal. These men came from England, Ireland and New Zealand, and from every rank and social background. The documentary uses original archive from the Western Front and a copy of a 100-year-old battle map to navigate the Somme landscape today, pinpointing the locations of the men and their battalions.
- Emily Hourican
Dave Asprey (right) has devised an entire 'Bulletproof' lifestyle, based on ideas of 'supercharging' your body and brain. He is offering 'limitless focus and energy', the ability to 'sleep smarter' and 'consciously control your brainwaves.' A pinch of salt aside, there is plenty of interest in Asprey's ideas and recommendations for anyone looking to make changes in the way they live. The podcasts cover a range of topics, often with input from serious nutritionists, personal trainers, various experts, as well as interesting success stories.
So, alongside pieces on gut health and how to get rock-hard abs, are interviews with guys like Joe Biel, publisher and filmmaker, on growing up with Asperger's and succeeding in business, and documentary maker Maryam Henein, who made Bees, a documentary exploring the causes and effects of bee colony collapses.
Critically-acclaimed podcast with over two million monthly listeners, Lore is a series of true-life scary stories, drawn from history and retold in a round-the-camp-fire style. Presented by Aaron Mahnke, who has been fascinated by ghost stories since he was a child, the stories represent his delvings into the world of folklore, and often reveal a very dark side to human nature. Because the stories are all essentially true.
Exploring the ones that have been embellished in the telling, Mahnke refines until he arrives at the core happenings, usually just as strange as the later exaggerations. These are tales of superstition, ignorance and, often, human wickedness, delivered in Mahnke's appealingly enthusiastic style.
- Emily Hourican
Sunday Indo Living
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