It’s been a pretty busy week in streaming. The 72nd Emmys were held on the 20th September at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and winners accepted their awards virtually. But we’ll tell you more about that later.
Firstly, there was a film release last week which is unusual in these days of COVID-19. Called The High Note, it stars Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey) and Tracee Ellis Ross (Girlfriends and daughter of Diana Ross). Some have dubbed it the ‘pop remix of The Devil Wears Prada‘ and while it’s still playing at the cinemas, you can stream it on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, iTunes and Google Play.
Johnson is very watchable in it as she plays Maggie Sherwoode, the ambitious personal assistant to Grace Davis, played by Ross – a forty-something R&B diva, staring at her future of endless concerts singing the same hits.
This is a feel-good movie in the best sense and hey, we need that right now. There’s a pleasing chemistry between the two very likable leads. We also get some nice scenes with Kelvin Harrison Junior (from Waves) who gets to sing and Ice Cube plays his role as the diva’s manager with some nice comic touches.
The High Note has a great premise for its story but it seems to lose its way halfway through. Directed by Nisha Ganatra (Late Night) and written by Flora Greeson, it’s an interesting exploration of gender and age and race in the music industry but with a rather implausible twist at the end it turns into a rather familiar, Cinderella-style romcom. But it’s still an enjoyable way to spend some time.
Ross is the ideal star to play Grace Davis. She has a good singing voice and you can’t help but think she must have some good genes there, being the daughter of Diana Ross. Johnson is so likeable and watchable, she holds her role well and you keep thinking it’s nice to see her in something where she gets to act a wider range of emotions than she did om Fifty Shades.
While the plot’s a little implausible as we said, we all need to watch something that’s fun, light and escapist right now – so The High Note could fit the bill.
The High Note is in cinemas and streaming on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, iTunes and Google Play.
Canadian comedy, Schitt’s Creek scooped the Emmys
It was a big night at the Emmys recently but Australian actors Hugh Jackman, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette and Sarah Snook all missed out. The Canadian comedy, Schitt’s Creek, swept the comedy pool taking out nine awards while Succession and Watchmen split the honours in drama..
Schitt’s Creek started airing in 2015 and the last season aired earlier this year. The show revolves around the ultra-rich Rose family who, after being defrauded by their business manager, are left with only one asset: a backwater little town called Schitt’s Creek, which Johnny (Eugene Levy) bought his son David (Dan Levy) as a joke in 1991.
Faced with financial ruin, the Roses move to this town, where their privileged attitudes come into conflict with the parochial residents including the motel’s manager Stevie Budd (Emily Hampshire) and the town’s mayor, Roland Schitt (Chris Elliott).
The series earnt 15 nominations for its final season and won nine awards on the night, breaking the Emmys record for most wins in a single season for a comedy. Succession took home the night’s top award – best drama series – as well as best actor for Jeremy Strong.
Succession also won prizes in the drama categories for best writing and best directing during the virtual ceremony. “This is such a very nice moment,” said the show’s British creator, Jesse Armstrong from London. “But it’s sad not to be with the cast and crew to share it.”
Schitt’s Creek’s five seasons are streaming on Netflix and Succession’s two seasons are streaming on Binge.
My Octopus Teacher will win you over
It sounds strange to say it but this is a moving documentary – so much so it could move you to tears. It’s about Documentarian, Craig Foster, who goes to spend some time at the coast so he can take in that rejuvenating sea air and swim in the ocean, because he’s not been feeling well for some time and needs the invigoration.
Foster directed 2000’s gorgeous film, The Great Dance, about a group of expert hunters in the Kalahari desert who can track anything, but it was when he experienced his own period of gloom that he ended up back at the South African coast. There he braved the freezing waters and kelp forests to befriend a clever little octopus who stole his heart.
Out of the footage he took of his eight-limbed companion, directors Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed, with the help of underwater cinematographer Roger Horrocks, made My Octopus Teacher.
He met this small female octopus and at first, she scared of him, but Foster decided to try and visit her every day. After months of acclimating her to his presence, leaving cameras near her den to observe her behavior, and drawing maps of this tiny region of the seafloor, the little mollusc became not only accustomed to him but actively sought him out – and one day reached with a tentative, questing tentacle to lightly touch his hand.
Over the course of nearly a year, Foster documented everything, from the octopus growing more comfortable hanging onto him as he swam, to all the daily dramas that make up a wild creature’s life. Octopi don’t live very long, just one to two years, and so this wonderful friendship has an expiry date but it’s an amazing story of an interspecies friendship and one which makes us realise so much more about this planet we’re on.
My Octopus Teacher is streaming on Netflix.