Netflix period drama 1899 a worthy successor to Lost

Luke Evans plays an elite US soldier in the disappointing geopolitical thriller Echo 3.

Luke Evans plays an elite US soldier in the disappointing geopolitical thriller Echo 3.Credit:Curtis Bonds Baker

Eric Haas (Michiel Huisman) and Alex Chesborough (Luke Evans) are respectively the just-married husband and dedicated brother of Amber Chesborough (Jessica Ann Collins), a scientist whose jungle research trip becomes an international incident. Divided by a previous loss under fire, the duo battle government agencies, rebels, and unwritten rules in Colombia, in a story that is littered with romantic cliches, implausible plotting, and barely defined storytelling.

Lead director Pablo Trapero, who made the compelling 2015 Argentinean drama The Clan, provides accomplished visuals, bestowing geographic certainty on his action sequences. In those scenes Eric and Alex are sturdy professionals, but elsewhere little rings true – Evans has to deliver a drunken confession in a bar so formulaic it verges on satire. Colombia’s political strata are examined with some welcome detail, but little involving the three leads resonates. Echo 3 is beyond rescue.

Limitless with Chris Hemsworth
Disney+

Marvel superhero Chris Hemsworth tests his body against real-life extremes in the National Geographic series Limitless.

Marvel superhero Chris Hemsworth tests his body against real-life extremes in the National Geographic series Limitless.Credit:AP

Chris Hemsworth is a laconic but dedicated host in this National Geographic documentary series, which finds the Marvel superhero testing his body against real-life extremes. “Impose your will on the sea,” exhorts a cheerful sports scientist before Hemsworth has his first immersion in the waters of the Norwegian Arctic, in what is an extreme makeover show for dudes that is delivered with a degree of scientific detail and cinematic production values . Hemsworth, blue eyes sparkling in his interview segments, also shows us the hunger to physically endure that motivates the ripped modern movie star.

Inside Man
Netflix

David Tennant stars as a British vicar in the macabre thriller Inside Man.

David Tennant stars as a British vicar in the macabre thriller Inside Man.Credit:Kevin Baker

A caveat: Stanley Tucci and David Tennant are the drawcards in this macabre British murder thriller, but the plot keeps them on separate continents. The former is a playfully grisly American death row inmate with a touch of Hannibal Lecter’s who offers insight on cold cases, the latter a British vicar who gets in over his head helping a parishioner. Recovered from the car crash that was The Time Traveler’s Wifecreator Steven Moffat (Dr Who, Sherlock) crafts a bloody drama of desperate solutions that is more interested in the next twist than moral imperatives.

Sort Of (season 2)
Stan

Bilal Baig is the star and co-creator of the gentle culture-clash comedy Sort Of.

Bilal Baig is the star and co-creator of the gentle culture-clash comedy Sort Of.Credit:Stan

Kicking off a month after the quietly tumultuous events that closed the first season, this bracing, heartfelt Canadian comedy continues to deliver. Co-creator Bilal Baig plays Sabi Mehboob, a first generation Pakistani-Canadian trying to balance family and religious tradition with being non-binary and yearning for love. With their father returning from expatriate work in Dubai, Sabi has a new problem to avoid confronting, and the show’s perfect spin is that instead of generating oversized drama Sabi is most comfortable expressing themselves by caring for others, whether it’s their mother, friends, or the family they nanny for.

Is That Black Enough for You?!?
Netflix

Former film critic Elvis Mitchell explores the history of black cinema in Is The Black Enough For You?

Former film critic Elvis Mitchell explores the history of black cinema in Is The Black Enough For You?Credit:Hannah Kozak/Netflix

Written, directed, and narrated by former New York Times film critic turned curator and academic Elvis Mitchell, this documentary puts a collegial, defiantly rambunctious spin on an immense topic: the often buried history of African-American cinema culminating in its commercial breakthrough in the 1970s. The style is anything but dry, yet Mitchell subtly crafts an overview that is both studded with detail and allows for terrific commentary from the likes of Samuel L Jackson, Zendaya, and Laurence Fishburne. But no-one can top the legendary Harry Belafonte, who makes this vast story sing.

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