On the Rocks (2020) movie review

Where to watch: Streaming on Apple TV+

On The Rocks movie trailer

Rating: 3/5

Time: 1 hour, 38 minutes

Cast: Rashida Jones, Bill Murray, Marlon Wayans, Jessica Henwick, Jenny Slate

On the Rocks is the story of Laura (played by Rashida Jones) and her father, Felix (played by Bill Murray). Laura feels her marriage is on the rocks. She is barely able to hold her life together. She has to manage two kids, while trying to write a book with no help from her husband Dean (played by Marlon Wayans). Dean is super busy with a business he has just started. On top of everything, she suspects Dean is having an affair. She tries to rationalise the situation – “What if Dean’s just busy and I’m stuck in a rut? That’s it?”

Laura is clearly stuck in a rut. While sitting down to work on her book, we see her rearranging her desk for the nth time and then staring out of the window because of writers block. In desperation, she turns to her father for help. In part because Felix, a man about town, may know a thing or two about other men about town. Felix’s solution is to spy on Dean and so, father and daughter follow Dean all over Manhattan and a Mexican resort.

Rashida Jones plays the part of the overworked mother and suspicious wife very well. Bill Murray is classic Bill Murray, delivering comedic dialogues with a deadpan face. Directed by Sofia Coppola, On the Rocks is a lightweight movie for someone like her with established filmmaking capabilities (Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette) and family pedigree. One would have expected something better from Coppola. Nevertheless, On the Rocks is a light-hearted watch.

Deutschland web series review

Where to watch: Streaming on Amazon Prime

Deutschland 83 trailer

Rating: 4/5

Time: 19 episodes of 45-50 minutes each

Cast: Jonas Nay, Maria Schrader, Sylvester Groth, Carina Wiese, Sonja Gerhardt, Alexander Beyer

At the height of the Cold War, Europe was divided into two – Communists and Capitalists. The city of Berlin was literally split by the construction of a wall.

The Deutschland series (Deutschland 83, Deutschland 86 and Deutschland 89) covers the decade leading up to the dismantling of the Berlin Wall and the fall of communism in Europe. It provides a front row seat to the Cold War by depicting the adventures of the East German spy, Martin Rauch (played by Jonas Nay). Rauch is a reluctant spy who is forcibly recruited by his aunt Lenora (played by Maria Schrader) – a spy herself. Planted as the assistant to a West German general in NATO, Rauch passes on secrets from the West to communist East Germany.

Deutschland 83 is the first season that was released in 2015. It is set in 1983 at the height of the Cold War. The second season, Deutschland 86, came out in 2018 and reveals how cash-strapped East Germany tries to make money by embracing not-so-socialist ideas. The third season, Deutschland 89, was released in 2020. It is set in the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Sadly, Amazon Prime only carries the first 2 seasons in India. However, it includes a documentary on East Germany, which is a great watch for history buffs.

Deutschland 83

While the characters in the Deutschland series are fictious, some of the key incidents are based on real-life events. This includes NATO’s Able Archer war exercise that the East Germans believed to be an actual attack. In the series, our hero, Rauch, is able to correct this misunderstanding and prevent the breakout of war in Europe. Rauch comes across as a street-smart character who consistently thinks on his feet to extricate himself from dangerous situations. Not quite James Bond, he displays the vulnerabilities of his young age and lack of experience. As he learns more of the world around him, Martin Rauch tries to maintain his moral compass.

Deutschland is an engrossing and binge-worthy show. It brings in a bit of 80s nostalgia with its music and fashion. It also touches on more serious issues such as the breakout of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s. Fans of this series in India are missing closure, so let’s hope that Amazon Prime streams Deutschland 89 soon.

The Tomorrow War movie review (2021)

Where to watch: Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Trailer of The Tomorrow War

Rating: 3/5

Time: 2 hours, 18 minutes

Cast: Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, JK Simmons, Sam Richardson, Betty Gilpin

The Tomorrow War is a fun watch, although in terms of story there is nothing new here. We have a bunch of aliens, time travel and end-of-the-world scenario with one hero, Dan Forester (played by Chris Pratt) saving the world. Well, one hero and his daughter, Muri Forester (played by Yvonne Strahovski).

Although, the movie is full of cliches, it still has the thrills, special effects and fight sequences, that make it an interesting watch. The movie opens with a dramatic open sequence. We see Chris Pratt and others falling from the sky. If he had not fallen into a swimming pool, we would have lost our hero in the opening scene. We get to know that in the future, 30 years later, aliens have taken over the world and human species are faced with the threat of extinction. So, naturally, our hero has to time travel to the future to save the world.

Chris Pratt plays a character that we recognise from the Guardians of the Galaxy – a swashbuckling, goofy hero who gets the job done in the end. In the words of our hero “I have to do what nobody else is willing to do.” Cliched dialogues aside, The Tomorrow War keeps itself interesting from the beginning to the end and is well worth the watch.

The Tomorrow War