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Streaming to the rescue: Must-see films to bust that stay-at-home ennui

Josa Lukman

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Fri, April 3, 2020  /  04:22 pm
Streaming to the rescue: Must-see films to bust that stay-at-home ennui

Netflix goes ‘Nusantara’: 'Banda: The Dark Forgotten Trail' is one of four Indonesian films by Lifelike Pictures that is now available on streaming service Netflix. (Courtesy of Lifelike Pictures/-)

Streaming services around the world have seen an unprecedented surge in viewership as millions are confined to their homes to contribute to the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are a few recommendations for the latest programs to stave off boredom as well as help take your mind off the constant barrage of bad news.


HBO GO, cable channel HBO’s streaming service, will be premiering the latest season of Insecure and a new comedy series in April.

Issa Rae’s weekly comedy-drama series Insecure returns for its fourth season on April 13 on HBO GO as well as on HBO, to coincide with its US launch.

Showing every Monday, the 10-episode season will pick up where the previous season left off to see how the characters’ decisions play out.

Issa (Issa Rae) finally pursues a project she is passionate about, while best friend Molly (Yvonne Orji) enters a real relationship for the first time. Meanwhile, Issa’s boyfriend Lawrence (Jay Ellis) learns what it means to “level up” as Tiffany’s (Amanda Seales) new baby brings some changes to the friends’ group dynamics.

Since its debut in 2016, Insecure has been a hit with critics and viewers, with the first season receiving a 100 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 

The series has also garnered two nominations for creator and lead actress Rae: a Best Actress Golden Globe nod and a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

Also on April 13, following on the heels of Insecure’s season premiere, is HBO’s new half-hour comedy series Run, a romantic comedy written and produced by Vicky Jones.

Starring Emmy winner Merritt Wever as Ruby Richardson, Run follows the story of a woman living a life of monotony in equally monotonous suburbia. Ruby finds herself throwing her life under a bus to revisit a romance with college ex Billy Johnson (Domhnall Gleeson), with whom she made a pact 17 years prior.

That pact is the title of the series: if either of them texted the word “RUN” and the other replied with the same word, the two would drop everything and meet at New York’s Grand Central Station to embark on a grand journey together across the US.

Season one features a star-studded trip through a recurring guest star lineup that includes Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag), Rich Sommer (Mad Men) and Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife).


The gamut of Netflix titles is likely to have something for everyone, and the leading streaming service’s April releases will present some rather interesting genres and mediums to try out.

Anime might not be something you’d expect from a US-focused provider like Netflix, but their Japan office is nothing to scoff at.

After titles like 2018’s DEVILMAN crybaby and the cutesy yet relatable Aggretsuko, April 2 saw the release of Sol Levante, billed as the world’s first hand-drawn animation short that has been shot in 4K.

The film – about a young warrior on a quest to find a sacred place, said to grant the wishes of those who reach it – is being hailed as the dawn of anime production in Japan for its technological feats, especially for director Akira Saitoh and animator Hisashi Ezura.

Sol Levante – which means “rising sun” in Italian – is a collaboration between Netflix and noted anime studio Production I.G that has been in the works for two years, owing to its meticulous illustration process.

Those looking for a bit of a scare would be delighted to catch up on Kingdom, the South Korean period horror series that premiered in January 2019.

The response to Netflix’s first original Korean series has been generally positive, and the series was renewed for a second season that premiered on March 13.

For the uninitiated, Kingdom is set in the 1600s during Korea’s Joseon dynasty, with Crown Prince Lee Chang (Ju Ji-hoon) navigating political turmoil that has been beset by a plague of the undead.

The second season sees the virus spreading to several provinces – which could make some viewers uneasy, given our current reality.

If you’d rather support our film industry, four titles from Lifelike Pictures have been available on Netflix since March 31: Pintu Terlarang (The Forbidden Door), Modus Anomali (Ritual), Tabula Rasa, and Banda: The Dark Forgotten Trail.

Lifelike Pictures producer Sheila Timothy said in a statement that Netflix allowed Indonesian movie buffs to easily access a wide range of quality entertainment.

“We’re very happy to add to the list of Indonesian titles available on Netflix,” she said, adding that utilizing the streaming service was a way “to encourage Indonesian film enthusiasts to support Indonesian cinema and rewatch our best movies legally”. (ste)

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