Friday, February 19, 2021

What to watch tonight on Netflix, Prime & Crave


reviews by Allan Tong 


THE CROWN (on Netflix)

ChinoKino score: A+

A dramatic series about a rich English family who live in big houses with servants, and they can't stand each other's spouses. The Crown covers the second half of Britain's 20th century and the latest season explores the slick, big-shouldered 1980s. This season (arguably the best) features a powerful woman named Thatcher (brilliantly played by that redhead from X-Files, Gillian Anderson) who bosses a lot of wimpy men around, even though she herself doesn't like women. Thatcher must be a cokehead, because she perpetually speaks as if she has something stuck up her nose.

Meanwhile, the rich family is thoroughly miserable, though they live in really nice palace and millions of people love them, especially the blonde princess, Diana.

The show hits a grand slam in every department: writing, acting, directing. By now, everyone on the planet including the Pope has seen The Crown, so if you haven't, what are you waiting for?

FLACK (on Prime)

ChinoKino score: A-

Canadian Anna Paquin, heads a quartet of spin doctors (Latin for bullshit) in London who rescue their showbiz clients from all kinds of emergencies they get themselves into, whether it's obnoxious behaviour on a transatlantic fight, faking a lesbian sex tape, or a gay hooker OD'ing in a hotel room. The irony is that Robyn is a bigger screw-up than all her clients while her colleagues are no better.

Paquin plays Robyn, who flees a broken life and destructive mother in America to lie her way through the British media and destroy her sister's marriage to an English guy. Her boss (Sophie Okonedo) and icy blonde English colleague (Lydia Wilson) are so cold-blooded and pathological they make Hitler look like Jesus.

Needless to say, Flack is a funny show which plumbs the tortured psyche of Robyn and the P.R. business itself. The show's only fault is its believability. Selfish and arrogant behaviour is fun to watch but—as we all know—people in showbiz are sweet, selfless and never trample on the feelings of others.


The Go-Go's Documentary (on Crave)

ChinoKino score: A

After watching this superb history of the first self-contained, all-female group to hit number one, you'll conclude that women are as stupid as men.

Every bonehead mistake that every male rock band in history has ever committed, from the Beatles to the Sex Pistols, the Go-Go's did it too. Egos, drugs, bad business deals, backstabbing, lousy managers and more drugs, these ladies—Jane Wiedlin, Charlotte Caffey, Belinda Carlisle, Kathy Valentine and Gina Schock—rocketed to fame and disintegrated in a spectacular few years in the early-1980s after just three albums (which I own).


Then again, should anyone be surprised? Anarchy was in the Go-Go's blood the day they blossomed on the L.A. punk scene of the late-1970s. These ladies chaotically evolved into a tight band, but ditched their original drummer and guitarist, then brutally dumped their first manager, who actually gave a damn about them. Told in animation, Polaroids and new, frank interviews, the older, wiser Go-Go's hold nothing back.

You age and regret. That's the message of The Go-Go's Documentary and it raises this film above the heap of run-of-the-mill rockdocs.

Play loud.

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