Welcome to the latest chapter of StreamChat, where we chat about what we’ve been streaming at home this month. If you have anything you’d recommend we watch, based on any of the shows or movies in this post, then feel free to get in touch and let us know via our socials.
Schemes in Antiques
Erika: After a member of the Xu family steals a Tang Dynasty Buddha’s head and takes it to Japan, the once-renowned cultural relic experts fall into disfavour. Years later, the Japanese owner, Kido (Matsumine Lielie), seeks to return the item but will only allow a member of the Xu family to accept it. Xu Yuan (Lei Jia Lin), the only living descendant, wants nothing to do with the antique business. When Xu Yuan evaluates the Buddha’s head, which turns out to be a fake, Xu Yuan goes on an adventure, following his father’s clues, to locate the genuine artefact. However, another expert on his tail, Bu Ran Yao (Li Xian), the search for the relic turns into a race.
These sorts of films are some of my favourites, mainly because I studied archaeology at university. I love a good adventure about following clues to locate a particular artefact, and it’s even better when two experts are at odds with each other.
I really liked this movie. There was a very cool part where Xu Yuan and Bu Ran Yao had an actual face-off to identify whether the artefacts were authentic. The nerd in me loved hearing all the analysis. It was one of those movies with a familiar plot, which I usually complain about. However, it had enough fun historical facts and an exciting conclusion to keep me interested the whole time. 4.5 stars
Trying, Season 3 (Apple TV+)
Lee: Trying is one of those shows that’s just a nice, easy watch and season three continues to be just as enjoyable as it’s ever been. Following a dramatic ending to season two, Nikki (Esther Smith) and Jason (Rafe Spall) now find themselves as new adoptive parents to two young children. On top of being thrown straight into the parental deep end, they have to fight to keep hold of the kids, all of which provides plenty of humour, tension and heartwarming moments. Nikki and Jason are such a likeable couple, which makes the show all the more enjoyable. There are a number of peripheral characters, whose lives are dipped into here and there but the show is always at its best when it focuses on Nikki and Jason. I’m so pleased it’s been renewed for season four. 5 stars
Running with the Devil: The Wild World of John McAfee
Erika: Netflix’s documentary film, Running with the Devil, follows antivirus creator John McAfee after he was accused of murdering his next-door neighbor. For some reason, McAfee thought it was a great idea to invite a journalist and a videographer along to document his time on the lam. The film rollicks through time and ends with a debate as to whether he died in prison or not.
This guy reminded me of Joe Exotic, a crazy, paranoid, gun-toting narcissist desperate for attention. Only McAfee wasn’t as funny as Joe Exotic.
Even though this was a documentary film, it felt as long as a six-episode series, not in a good way. It was only marginally interesting and didn’t hold my attention past the first 30 minutes. It wasn’t necessarily a bad film, but it wasn’t good enough for me to recommend to anyone. 2 stars
Black Bird (Apple TV+)
Lee: There are plenty of true crime shows around at the moment but this one is definitely worth sticking with, thanks to a couple of great performances from its two leads. Based on James Keene’s memoir ‘In With the Devil’, Taron Egerton stars as Keene, a charismatic high-flying drug dealer who finds himself serving a 10-year prison sentence. A short while into his sentence, Keene is offered a deal by FBI agent Lauren McCauley. She wants him to move to a maximum security prison where suspected serial killer Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser) is being held and would like him to use his charm in befriending Larry and getting a confession out of him before his upcoming appeal in which he could be released. In return, Jimmy Keene would be set free.
Based on true events, it’s one of those adaptations which has you reaching for Google in order to read up on the details a bit more. It takes a little while to settle in, but as mentioned already, the real tension and backbone of the series comes from the performances. Larry Hall is suitably creepy and unnerving while Jimmy Keene is all calm bravado, until eventually breaking down emotionally when discovering the extent of Hall’s crimes. Brilliant stuff. 4 stars
Cobra Kai, Season 5 (Netflix)
Lee: The return of Cobra Kai is usually a pretty big deal in my house and probably the only show that my wife and I immediately switch on and binge together when released. After the traditional nailbiting cliffhanger of season four, season five kicks off with Terry Silver riding high, opening up new Cobra Kai dojos across the valley while John Kreese is stewing in jail. Things start off slowly and on what turns out to be a fairly pointless tangent while Miguel travels around Mexico, trying to track down his father, while pursued by Johnny and Robby and there are also more returning characters from the Karate Kid movies. Overall, the season is a lot lighter on grudges and fights than in previous seasons, taking some time out to focus on some interesting character development, but the season finale more than makes up for any shortfall of action in one of the most intense finales I’ve seen in a long time. 5 stars