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RED OAKS

Amazon Studios (available on Amazon Prime)

Craig Roberts plays David Myers in this Amazon Original Series. Red Oaks is a coming-of-age comedy set in the 80s; Myers finds himself at a crossroads as all students do at some point. With pressure from his father to go into accounting, stock markets etc. clashing with his dream of pursuing film, Myers has to figure out his next move. For now, he gets himself a job at his predominantly Jewish Country Club ‘Red Oaks’ in New Jersey as a tennis instructor; here he meets a whole host of characters that make for a very interesting summer. *****CD

Feature

JACK WHITEHALL: TRAVELS WITH MY FATHER

Tiger Aspect (available on Netflix)

Comic Jack Whitehall and his father Michael are back together again, this time they’re in South East Asia, travelling through Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. Due to his early start to his comedy career at 17, Jack never had the opportunity to go on a gap year, so when is better than in your late 20s with your 77-year-old father? Complete with hostels, kayaks, elephants and a Full Moon Party, this is the ultimate bonding experience for the witty son and sarcastic father. ****CD

THE DEFENDERS

Marvel (available on Netflix)

Marvel have once again brought together well-loved heroes to fight a cause bigger than them as individuals. The Defenders joins together Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist for their common goal, to save New York City. Sigourney Weaver is the perfect villain and leader of the antagonist group the Hand, her character Alexandra is the perfect balance of calculating, intimidating and smart, while believing her actions are for the greater good thus creating an interesting enemy for the group to overcome. ***CD

Feature

STRIKE: THE CUCKOO’S CALLING

BBC (available on BBC iPlayer)

Adapted from J.K Rowling’s successful detective series, The Cuckoo’s Calling follows former soldier turned private investigator Cormoran Strike, played expertly by Tom Burke as he seeks to uncover the truth surrounding the apparent suicide of a famous model. Accompanying him is his secretary Robin Ellacott, compellingly portrayed by Holliday Grainger. The supporting cast includes Martin Shaw, better known for his portrayal of Detective George Gently, being uncharacteristically sinister as Tony Landry, the uncle of the dead model, Lula Landry. The performances are stellar by the cast and save what at times can be weak story elements. Well worth a view for those who enjoy detective dramas. ***GE

DEAD RINGERS

Morgan Creek Productions (available on BFI Player)

Identical twin gynaecologists begin to break apart when one of them falls in love. The central performances of Jeremy Irons as the respectively empathetic and cold Beverly and Elliot Mantle, alongside the alluring Geneviève Bujold, bring enough humanity and emotional investment to carry home the thematic depth of the piece. The film’s construction is not overly flashy, but carries a subtly effective professionalism under David Cronenberg. Exuding a queasy, clinical eroticism, the film states some of its psychosexual dimensions in the narrative, making you look deeper for answers in its gripping tale of repression, addiction and identity. ****EL

THE DIRTIES

Zapruder Films (available on Google Play)

Two Canadian cinephiles make a film about wreaking revenge on the bullies in their high school. The found footage aesthetic imbues the film with a youthful, kinetic energy, the technique never obtrusive thanks to clever use of cinematography and sound design. The friendship between the leads is palpable across moments of comedy and drama, and carries an underlying psychological depth. The editing seamlessly blends the filmic reality with the film the leads are making, and packages the finished product as real-life footage. The understated commentary and sense of tragedy here further elevate what remains a relatable, consistently engaging piece. ****EL

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