Netflix’s top three hits

September 13, 2020

With Netflix dropping new content that caters to 190 countries, the streaming service seems to have the largest selection of documentaries, films, limited series, movies and more. Here are three of their most recent productions and acquirements that make for required viewing.

With the outbreak of coronavirus, a global pandemic that has led to thousands of deaths with numbers once again rising, events have shifted to virtual reality. Even as efforts are being made to make upcoming events safer but, by and large, we’re dependent on streaming services like Netflix to kill time. But, deciding what to watch can cause content overload, cognitive dissonance if you will. And so, here’s a list that includes everything from documentaries to movies to limited series that make for required-viewing...

Documentary: Quincy
Written and directed by: Rashida Jones and Alan Hicks
Platform: Netflix

Ever wonder what makes a music producer special? Beyond technical skills, what does a producer see in an artist that an average person may not even have the potential to see? No documentary presents this fact more beautifully and somewhat amusingly than Quincy, available on Netflix.
Directed by Quincy Jones’ daughter, actor and director Rashida Jones alongside Alan Hicks, it goes to great lengths to remind us why Quincy Jones, winner of multiple Grammys, is one of the most original producers the American music scene threw up. His influence on pop culture is indelible. In 70 years, he has worked with the best of the best. The documentary is full of appearances by stars including Beyonce Knowles, Mary J. Blige, Bono (from U2), Dr. Dre, Lady Gaga, Herbie Hancock, Kendrick Lamar, Will Smith and many more.
By watching this documentary, we learn how Quincy Jones jumpstarted several careers including his own even as his personal life went up and down with multiple divorces. His distinct personality also shines through and is captured in an intimate, never-seen-before fashion. For music fans, this is one documentary they shouldn’t miss.

Film: Begin Again
Cast: Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Adam Levine
Written and directed by: John Carney

Platform: Netflix

Three-time Oscar nominee and Marvel’s Hulk, Mark Ruffalo (Dan), plays a down on his luck music producer who refuses to make bad music and has perhaps lost his mojo. This also leads to friction in his personal life where he is separated from his wife and child.

Sitting in a bar one day, he hears singer-songwriter Gretta (Keira Knightley) accidently and the scene is more open mic night than a glamorous gig. All she has is her lyrics, a guitar and vocals.

Keira Knightley is the gentle singer-songwriter and as he sees her perform, we see how a producer can see an emerging talent. He sees cello and bass and drums in the background (in his imagination) and instantly knows that this singer-songwriter, whom he doesn’t know at all, has great potential.

What’s fantastic is that they don’t hook up; their relationships with loved ones may improve over the course of the film or not but they don’t fall in love with each other as is the case with so many films.

Instead, as producer, Ruffalo falls in love with Knightley’s music to a point that all bets are off. He believes in her and whether that belief pays off or not is the crux of the film.

Well-acted with a casting coup in the form of Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley, this is the smartest fictional film on the relationship between a producer and an artist and what happens when creative unknowns band together. The film is also a great metaphor about life and how – out of the blue – an opportunity appears and when it does, you just have to go with the flow. Adam Levine of Maroon 5 also makes a sizable appearance.

The Mechanism (O Mecanismo)

Created by: Jose Padilha
Cast: Caroline Abras, Selton Mello, Enrique Diaz
Platform: Netflix

Contrary to what is believed, corruption is part and parcel of both democracies and dictatorships. The Mechanism, set in Brazil, is a limited series about how corruption is rooted and has deep pockets. From the police to the judiciary to the highest echelons of power, greed and corruption continue to be strong motivators.

But it is not acceptable to Russo (essayed by Selton Mello), a cop with decades of experience, a child with special needs and a wife. He is so frustrated with the system that he tries a little too hard and is thrown out after 20 years of service.

But along with his protege, Russo doesn’t leave a single matter alone; he figures out the mechanism that makes Brazil a corrupt nation. But in doing so, he rubs nearly everyone in his life the wrong way. Inspired from real events, The Mechanism is addictive and Selton Mello is the driving force. His acting takes what could’ve been an average series to the next level. Watch out!

Footnote: Kit Harrington is all set to appear in a whodunit detective series called Criminal where the entire episode is about interrogating the suspect. Whether he essays the detective or the suspect, it looks like Harrington’s Game of Thrones days are firmly behind him. 

Netflix’s top three hits: Quincy, Jose Padilha, Begin Again