The Hollywood writers strike has ended after five months of writers, actors and filmmakers fighting for better pay conditions around the use of artificial intelligence. The disruption has meant many big-name films like Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things, starring Emma Stone, and Dune: Part Two, with Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, are now scheduled to hit cinemas later in the year or in 2024. But one huge cinematic release from Martin Scorsese is still opening this spring and we’re very excited to see the highly rated film in the company of other film lovers, so we’ve included it in this list as a save-the-date.
Before Killers of the Flower Moon arrives, there are heaps of binge-worthy TV series to see – including one psychological mystery set in New South Wales starring Jodie Whittaker and Yael Stone. Then there’s the creepy-but-humorous office thriller adapted from the best-selling novel by Zakiya Dalila Harris, The Other Black Girl. Plus, a fitting goodbye to the sexually curious kids from Sex Education.
Here’s what we’re watching right now.
For an upbeat charmer: Scrapper
Debut filmmaker Charlotte Regan won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2023 for her joyful feature about 12-year-old Georgie (Lola Campbell), who doesn’t need anyone’s help, thank you, as she grieves her mother’s death in their pristine flat on a council estate in London. The fearless Georgie gets her mate at the cornershop to record some voice notes to help fool the social workers. She makes money stealing bikes with her bestie Ali (Alin Uzun). And she keeps track of her grief on a chart. All’s going to plan until her dad Jason (Harris Dickinson) turns up and announces he intends to stay. Regan tells a lovable tale of English working class community that’s fun to watch thanks to the straight-talking, often unscripted conversations between two first-time actors in Campbell and Uzun.
In selected cinemas now.
For one final fling: Sex Education Season 4
It’s time to say goodbye to the characters we’ve come to love since Sex Education first aired in 2019. Sadly, not all our favourites return for the final season, but the last hurrah does bring new faces to spice things up. Dan Levy is Maeve’s tutor; Hannah Gadsby plays Jean’s radio producer; and, along with a new school campus, there’s “the Coven” made up of Abbi (Anthony Lexa), Roman (Felix Mufti) and Aisha (Alexandra James). Old-school Moordale has been replaced with artsy Cavendish College which has an indoor slide, sound baths and tote bags for all. Plus, this season brings with it big changes for characters like Eric and Aimee. The latter is journaling, on a path to healing from sexual assault and testing out a new vibrator. And the effervescent Eris is finding his people and his own relationship to religion as he contemplates becoming a pastor. Plus, there’s a new sex therapist on campus to give Otis a run for his money.
Stream it on Netflix.
For gun fu: The Continental: From the World of John Wick
There’s no Keanu in this action-packed spinoff series, but die-hard fans of the franchise will get their kicks from the highly stylised combat scenes and the backstories of characters like Winston, played here by Colin Woodell. Each 90-minute-ish episode centres around the underworld that hums at the Continental Hotel in the 1970s, a safehouse governed by head honcho Cormac (Mel Gibson). Young Winston would rather be building car parks for easy money than kicking about with brutal assassins, but in a John Wick prequel it’s not long before he’s rounding up a posse of armed crims to locate a stolen object and ultimately take over the hotel. It’s loaded with heaps of new characters, and there’s plenty of “gun fu” and ’70s tunes, but we do wonder why Gibson got the call up. The show’s director, Albert Hughes, has defended the controversial Aussie actor’s casting by saying his early roles fit the character perfectly.
Stream it on Prime Video.
For an unmissable epic: Killers of the Flower Moon
One of the biggest releases of the year is hitting Australian cinemas soon. Martin Scorsese’s epic three-hour western, about the murders of Osage people in the 1920s, received gushing reviews from those who saw it at the 76th Cannes Film Festival. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the slippery, impressionable Ernest Burkhart, and Robert De Niro is his mob boss-like uncle William Hale, known as “king”. Burkhart is taken under his uncle’s wing in Oklahoma, where the Osage people own oil-rich land but need a white co-signatory in order to claim income from it. Hale convinces Burkhart to marry Mollie Kyle (Lily Gladstone, Certain Women), who’s from a wealthy Osage family. At the same time, there’s a string of brutal murders of the Osage people that’s starting to attract attention from the Bureau of Investigations (later called the FBI). Scorsese’s true-crime thriller, which is based on the nonfiction book by David Grann and written for the screen by Eric Roth, is said to have his signature dark humour alongside the gruesome violence.
In cinemas from October 19.
For suspenseful satire: The Other Black Girl
Based on the best-selling novel by Zakiya Dalila Harris, The Other Black Girl is a comedic horror story about an editorial assistant called Nella – the only black person at New York publishing house Wagner. When another black girl, Hazel (Ashleigh Murray), is hired, Nella is happy to finally have someone else at work who gets it – from the microaggression to the code-switching. It’s no longer just Nella on the diversity taskforce. But then Nella starts receiving threatening notes to “leave Wagner now”. Lights start to flicker in the building, and Nella starts seeing eerie reflections on the computer screen. Just like Harris’s novel, the series has a secondary plot involving two black women who worked at the company in the ’80s. Rashida Jones is an executive producer on the show, and the author worked on the series adaptation. There are some key differences – including the ending – but the vibe is still Get Out meets The Devil Wears Prada meets Severance.
Stream it on Disney+.
For Aussie mystery-drama: One Night
English actor Jodie Whittaker gives a standout performance as Tess in this six-part series about friends grappling with something awful that happened decades ago. It’s all coming back to them – and to us via flashbacks – because a book has been published detailing the traumatic events. Simone (Nicole da Silva) is the book’s author (though she’s keeping that secret), but it’s clear from the outset that she’s not comfortable signing the contract to say the novel is a work of fiction. When Hat (Yael Stone) realises who wrote One Night, questions arise about whose story it is to tell and if we can trust what we remember. Shot in New South Wales, the Australian series was written by Emily Ballou (The Slap), and it features an impressive ensemble cast including Noni Hazlehurst, who plays the matriarch of the town’s scariest criminal family.
Stream it on Three Now.