The Adam Project
Film, US, 2022 – out 11 March
Ryan Reynolds teams up again with Free Guy director, Shawn Levy, for this sci-fi adventure about a man who travels back in time to help his 12-year-old self save the world for one narratively flimsy reason or another. Did this Adam guy not see Back to the Future? Did he miss that whole bit about how you’re not supposed to interact with past you? Expect a broadly appealing film that plays to the back rows.
Bridgerton, season two
TV, US, 2022 – out 25 March
Luxurious locations and costumes, lascivious characters and oodles of soapy drama in a Regency setting, with Julie Andrews as the narrator – yep, the first season of Bridgerton sure ticked some boxes. The result was nothing less than one of Netflix’s all-time most watched shows. Returning to the Bridgerton family, the second season will be centred around its eldest son, Lord Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey). Expect more seasons where this came from.
TV, Australia, 2022 – out 9 March
There’s an argument that says reality TV isn’t an inferior genre, just a different approach to telling quintessentially human stories. Of course this is total bollocks: all these shows should be turned into material forms so they can be stuffed into a giant cannon and shot into the sun.
Netflix’s new reality series, inevitably full of good-looking attention seekers, has been a magnet for controversy – first generating community uproar from the locals of Byron Bay, then when some of the cast allegedly flouted Covid health measures. I include Byron Baes grudgingly, in recognition that it may well be a water-cooler production. But you know what I think: cannon/shot/sun.
Honourable mentions: Against the Ice (film, 2 March); Pieces of Her (TV, 4 March); The Andy Warhol Diaries (TV, 9 March); Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood (film, 11 March); Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives (TV, 16 March); Human Resources (TV, 18 March); Redfern Now, seasons one and two (TV, 24 March); Redfern Now: Promise Me (film, 24 March).
Joe vs Carole
TV, US, 2022 – out 4 March
Netflix’s 2020 documentary series Tiger King looked sure to be a flash in the pan success, but a second season and this new dramatisation has kept the story of convicted felon Joe Exotic and animal rights activist Carole Baskin on our screens. In Joe vs Carole, Exotic is played by John Cameron Mitchell and Baskin by Kate McKinnon. At one point a different take on the story was set to be produced by Amazon, with Nicolas Cage in the role of Joe Exotic. Now that would have been something to see. Those who want to watch Cage play a dodgy dude who loves large cats can check out the entertaining 2019 film Primal, featuring the great actor delivering lines such as: “I just spent 10 months in the jungle, and this all smells like cat shit to me.”
Swiss Army Man
Film, US, 2016 – out 20 March
We know all the feeling: you come home from work, totally pooped, and all you want to do is slump on the couch and watch a film about a farting corpse. In this strange black comedy, Daniel Radcliffe plays a dead (albeit flatulent) man with relish. This one-of-a-kind (for better or worse) film follows Paul Dano, who is stranded on a beach and befriends said corpse when it washes up on a shore.
Honourable mentions: Rosemary’s Baby (film, 7 March); Show Me the Money (TV, 10 March); Bust Down (TV, 11 March); Chinatown (film, 15 March); Election (film, 17 March); A Mighty Heart (film, 21 March); La La Land (film, 29 March).
Film, US, 2022 – out 18 March
There isn’t a lot coming to Prime Video this month, but there is this erotic thriller starring Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas as a married couple who play mind games with each other in a plot filled with murder, infidelity and twists.
I know what you’re thinking: that’s all pretty familiar. And yet this film has a couple of distinguishing factors. The first: Deep Water was adapted from a novel by the great Patricia Highsmith, whose books have provided the foundation for classic films such as Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr Ripley. The second: it’s the first film for 20 years from Adrian Lyne, who directed some hit erotic thrillers from the 1990s –namely Indecent Proposal, Fatal Attraction and 9 ½ Weeks.
Honourable mentions: The Boys Presents: Diabolical (TV, 4 March); Creed II (film, 3 March); Upload, season 2 (TV, 11 March); A Most Wanted Man (film, 23 March); The Hustle (film, 31 March).
SBS on Demand
Time to Buy
TV, Australia, 2022 – out 8 March
Australian musicals are few and far between – and I’m pretty sure we’ve never had one about buying a home. The funny folk from The Feed team up with songwriter and comedian Tom Cardy for this spritzy musical, in which a couple of millennials (Vic Zerbst and Jenna Owen), fed up with rent and roommates, decide to take the plunge and purchase their own property.
This means they must confront several inevitable horrors, including mortgage brokers and older rival buyers, who they fear will “buy it with their boomer gold!” The musical genre is a tough one to get right, but this 35-minute production directed by David Harmon is a pleasure to watch. The time, so to speak, flies by.
TV, UK, 2022 – out 16 March
Police dramas are a dime a dozen, but they don’t all get reviews like this five-part Martin Freeman-led series about a troubled cop attempting to save a young drug addict. This five-star review from our own Lucy Mangan called it “fast and riveting”; the Spectator observed the show’s “overwhelming air of authenticity”; and the Standard said it “feels like a contender for the best police drama of the year”. So: getting some vibes that my critic brethren think it’s rather good.
Honourable mentions: Greta (film, 1 March); Without a Clue (film, 4 March); Galveston (film, 4 March); The Elephant Man (film, 4 March); Ghost World (film, 4 March); Whiplash (film, 14 March); Life on the Outside (TV, 16 March); Teachers, seasons one to four (TV, 17 March); Midnight in Paris (film, 19 March); Scandinavian Star (TV, 24 March); Atlanta, season three (TV, 25 March); Dough (TV, 31 March).
Film, Australia, 2022 – out 2 March
As I noted in my review, Australia’s self-professed “queen of honky tonk”, Wanita Bahtiyar, is what they call “good talent” in documentary land: a charming, albeit rough and rowdy country music singer who commands the screen and stage. Director Matthew Walker’s very entertaining film follows Bahtiyar to America, where she plans to record a full country music album.
Film, Australia, 2020 – out 8 March
There’s a fist-pumping energy in Catherine Dwyer’s well-paced documentary about the women’s liberation in Australia during the 1960s and 1970s: it’s one of those films that makes you want to whip up some placards and take to the streets. There are familiar documentary elements – talking heads, faded photographs and grainy archival footage – but despite the film’s reliance on old materials, it still feels fresh.
Honourable mentions: Women of Steel (film, 6 March); Women in Politics (TV, 8 March); The Teacher (TV, 11 March); Louis Theroux: Forbidden America (TV, 13 March); A Dog’s World with Tony Armstrong (TV, 22 March).
TV, US, 2022 – out 3 March
Amanda Seyfried is an impressive actor, with a fine sense of control and an ability to shift tones unpredictably. Sometimes she projects warmth and innocence; sometimes – as is the case in this series about tech entrepreneur, billionaire and convicted fraudster Elizabeth Holmes – she has eerie cunning and coldness. Holmes founded the now-defunct tech company Theranos and spruiked a revolutionary medical device that never really worked.
Seyfried is the best thing about The Dropout, which is scrambled chronologically in a way that jars. It also seems unsure what it wants to be, reducing its corporate thriller elements (where it would have been most effective) in favour of a broader picture of Holmes’ life.
TV, US, 2022 – out 30 March
Having endlessly rehashed the stories of countless big-name Marvel characters, from Spider-Man to Iron Man to Doctor Strange to Black Widow etcetera etcetera etcetera, Disney are now rummaging through the vaults and plucking out characters most people have never heard of. Enter Moon Knight (Oscar Isaac), the superhero alter ego of a former mercenary with dissociative identity disorder, who grapples with his powers as cult leader Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke) encourages him to “embrace the chaos”.
Part of that chaos is Isaac’s choice to perform one of Spector’s identities with an unconventional British accent, amusingly described by Stuart Heritage as sounding like “an 18th-century Leicestershire grandmother.” I for one welcome our new granny-sounding cape-wearing overlord.
Film, UK/US, 1985 – out 25 March
It would be remiss of me to not mention one of my favourite films: Terry Gilliam’s astonishing sci-fi satire about a daydreaming government employee (Jonathan Pryce) who goes mad, in a dystopian future world so riddled with bureaucracy that people die on the street after being covered with too much paperwork. Gilliam fills out this absurd albeit chilling universe in idiosyncratic visual detail, infusing it with an intensely hallucinogenic atmosphere.
Honourable mentions: West Side Story (2021 film, 2 March); Fresh (film, 4 March); LA Confidential (film, 4 March); Turning Red (film, 11 March); Assassin’s Creed (film, 25 March).
Our Flag Means Death
TV, US, 2022 – out 3 March
Creator David Jenkin’s pirate-themed period comedy is funny, if a little one-note, from the start, with Rhys Darby’s Captain Stede Bonnet declaring “what we’re about to do is perilous. Very perilous.” Bonnet – a real figure from history – is played here as a well-meaning nincompoop, attempting to manage a cynical crew who don’t respect his authority; in other words, it is Murray from Flight of the Conchords in pantaloons. Having only watched the pilot, directed by Taika Waititi, I’m curious to see if the show can sustain itself for an entire series.
Honourable mentions: This is Going to Hurt (TV, 1 March); The Larry David Story (TV, 2 March); Boy Erased (film, 4 March); The Butterfly Effect (film, 6 March); Shining Vale (TV, 7 March); Kung Fu, season two (TV, 10 March); Shazam! (film, 12 March); Richard Linklater: Dream is Destiny (film, 16 March); The Man Who Knew Too Much (film, 20 March); In the Heights (film, 22 March); Mortal Engines (film, 25 March).
TV, US, 2022 – out 24 March
Adapting video games into movies is notoriously difficult, which maybe why they have “an unimpeachable reputation for dreadfulness.” This year maybe – though you wouldn’t want to bet the house on it – some TV shows might crack the code. Netflix’s cartoon series Cuphead (now streaming) is decent, and there are high hopes attached to the upcoming adaptation of Naughty Dog’s terrific The Last of Us. Ditto for this big budget take on the smash-hit sci-fi franchise Halo: a military first-person-shooter about a war fought in the 26th century between humans and a confederation of aliens known as “The Covenant.”
Honourable mentions: Three Months (film, 1 March); The Desperate Hour (film, 3 March); More Than This (TV, 4 March); The Requin (film, 8 March); No Return (TV, 14 March).